Posts Tagged ‘Outdoor Memories


Camping & Memories

The kids camping and traveling in Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska

Camping and all it entails brings back memories that, for me, are almost sacred. A family bonding that makes one yearn for those days of young children and the camp routine. I recall sitting out early, before the others have awakened. The camps around are quiet but for the other early risers. I would find the first glimmer of sunshine rising over a crest and sit in it for warmth, color and smoke my briar, Emma my Lab at my side. Soon the French Toast & Bacon would be consumed and the day would be filled with the sounds of families, dogs barking, fishing and family time. 

Recently, my kids were squabbling more than the usual brother-sister banter. I sent them each these old, faded pics to remind them of the good times and told them to behave (they are in their 20’s). Perhaps these times will be had again, but in a different way. New family members, grand children. I have visited my oldest boy’s family, camping near a lake and enjoyed their camp site. I am hopeful, almost certain, that the traditions will be carried forward in the years to come. Early Summer mornings, birds chirping, blue skies and big billowy clouds and tall trees. Fish rising and beckoning.


Old Photos: What Could Have Been

I have remarked often how much I like old photographs, of family members…to include me. After several years of cleaning out my mom’s hoarding home (after she died) and my just passed aunt’s hoarding home looming, I have come across some gems. Much of my young life is hazy. Partly because I am getting old, partly because of life style habits and partly because my folks didn’t take a lot of pictures of me past a certain point. I try not to take it personal, alright?

SwittersB (9 y/o) @ Wallowa Lake, 1957

So much comes to mind when I look at this photo. I am holding one of those confounded, damn closed faced spinning reels. I recall that this was our first camping trip. Odd now that I think about it as my folks were fairly outdoorsy, raised on farms. My dad survived several years in WWII on the Aleutians Islands, and then moved in to work the Al-Can Hiway to it’s completion. He was no lightweight. When he came home my folks worked two years clearing a piece of land they intended to homestead. But, that fell through. So, they were tough kids. 

So, here we were with borrowed camping gear and borrowed fishing gear. You might wonder why I am looking that way. No, not the clothes! My gaze. Am I looking down at that damn reel wondering how does one get that tangle out of that reel housing? Was it a look of ‘how will I tell dad that I screwed up the reel again?’ No, it was me staring down off a dock into the water with the blinding sun glaring up off the water. The only respite I had was that cool hat my mom must have bought from a woman at the resort store. 

Yes, that was my first excursion with a ‘pole’ and my dad’s as well. My dad never touched a ‘pole’ again until about 25 years later, when I took him fishing at another lake with my young boys. We used regular spinning rods then, plunking the gunk off the bottom with success as I recall.

By then we had had many camping trips under our belt. By then I was an avid fly fisher and owed it, as I have recounted here before, to a neighbor boy (Lenny) who tied flies for Audrey Joy at Meier and Frank Department Store in Portland, Oregon. That simple connection with Lenny (and his Tied Down Caddis he tied) and my Uncle Felix, who handed me an old fly rod, took that closed face spinning reel and rod out of my hands for good. 

That’s not to say I can’t still manage a spinning reel or level wind when not a soul on the boat in Alaska cares a hoot for a fly rod, but I have to give thanks to my dad, Lenny and my Uncle Felix regardless of the rod I am holding.

Now those clothes? I must be short waisted because every photo of me back then has the waist of my pants up into my armpits.


Practical Advice & Worthy Observations…………..

by Zane Mirfin

“Preparation is an important part of success in life. I’m planning for good guiding success but when heading outdoors many factors are out of our control so in reality you can only plan for the worst and hope for the best.

A fishing mate of mine regularly reminds me of the seven Ps, which stands for “prior preparation and planning prevents piss poor performance”. It’s so true, and like the trials and tribulations of life, success in the outdoors relies on going to the right place, at the right time, with the right skills and ability, the right equipment, and the right attitude.

People feel pressure to perform, have often travelled a long way, spent a lot of time and money getting into position, and have a burning need to succeed. These people need stories to tell, dead animals or fish to show or share, and photographic images as symbolic trophies to email, frame, or publish.

Failure tells no story, provides no tangible proof of success, and leaves individuals open to scorn, humiliation and the fear of ridicule. Pride, vanity, and ego are powerful human emotions and the need for instant gratification is within us all.

When it comes to fishing and hunting you can’t always control the outcome but you can always control your attitude. Let your expectations be tempered by reality and you won’t go too far wrong. Try to enjoy your time out there in the outdoors and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned.” (excerpts from a opinion piece in the Fairfax NZ News)


Longing for……………

A warm Fall day. The crowds gone. Rustling reeds, a brush of warm breeze across the face. Anticipation for the take. No one around. Like your own private lake with a cabin on the hill in the distance amongst the Ponderosa. Bliss!


Fishing Journals & Keeping Memories, Not Just Intell

I am a strong proponent of keeping a fishing  journal. There are several out there and find one that suits your style (free flowing writing or entries prompts that seek specifics and a little space to write. Many of us gather intell on the front end via friends, shops, on line etc. but afterwards we don’t write it down. Starting a journal requires self discipline to maintain, especially if your outings don’t yield results. 

SwittersB's & Tony's Fly Fishing Journals

The journals provide plenty of intell for future outings and you will soon write to not only provide data for future trips but to capture special moments and emotions. Going back and reading the entries 20 years or more later about yourself or your fishing partners is quite satisfying. Here are some entries that while not overly unique, show the excitement and pleasure I felt and still provided prompts for future outings.

I remember this day, a water boatman return to the lake with pronounced plops hitting the lake and me. Fascinating.

The journal can even be the repository for old cards and pictures. Here I found a card from my mom, who obviously knew how to select a Christmas card I would enjoy.

Tony's entry showed his transition to a 2 hander and expensive tastes.

Consider a journal that fits your writing style, temperment and invest the time (takes maybe 10 minutes or so) to make the entries and reap the rewards in the near future and many years later. Oh, that Little Gray Nymph….I will throw it at you again.


Fly Fishing: Posing the Fish & You

Deneki Outdoors (Photography-Hero Shot) has some real life, useful tips on setting up and taking that trophy shot. Often there is a glitch in the presentation or the taking and the opportunity is lost for others to see and for you to refresh your memory. In addition, Deneki Outdoors (The Best of Deneki) has compiled a sizable list of immensely useful information about various aspects of fly fishing and fly tying.  

The rush, the feel of the pull, 'the moment'. The fish is played and brought to hand, or net, or somewhere in between. You played it quickly, so as to not overplay and stress the fish. So, now it is thrashing about, still pivoting about on the tension of a tight leader. The photographer is attempting to get closer. The camera is being readied, the angle of sun considered. Words of encouragement are offered. The angler makes the attempt to control the fish....and it all ends in a thrashing, splashing plunge. Captured from too far away, but still a glimpse of thickness and beauty. Thank goodness there are often opportunities to repeat this fire drill, and yes, they will often end the same way. (PP/SM)


Fly Fishing: Nostalgia Can be A Bummer

“Starting this summer, bull trout of different life stages will be reintroduced into historic bull trout habitat in the upper Clackamas River above the confluence with the Collawash River, within the Mt. Hood National Forest. Donor stock comes from a healthy bull trout population in the Metolius River. The project is expected to include additional fish transfers annually for at least seven and possibly up to 15 years. The goal is to reestablish a self-sustaining population of 300-500 spawning adult bull trout within 20 years.”

Metolius R. Bull Trout to Travel to Upper Clackamas River

One of the laments of fly fishers, or fishers in general, is the decline of a fish population or body of water. On a global scale we talk the theoretical, impersonal when it comes to declining fish population in the oceans. But, when it is a piece of water we have a history with it becomes personal. When the decline comes, when it is realized, the memories become nostalgic to the point of bittersweet. There is nothing there to renew the memory, to reconnect to the past. This happens in much of life, of course, but fly fishing was and is my escape from life and when it is altered things can get askew. There are enough reckonings in life.

In 1960, Lenny and I were driven up the Clackamas River by his dad in an old DeSoto. When we reached the North Fork Reservoir the pavement ended and a narrow dirt road commenced, winding upward into the wilderness. Lenny’s dad took us to a place far beyond where the pavement ended. Lenny and I caught many large (to us) trout that day and yes we killed them all. I have been drawn to the upper reaches of this drainage ever sense…in particular the Collawash River and the Bull of the Woods Wilderness area. In the years that have passed, the fishing has progressively diminished.

Typical Little Aggressor

I long ago stopped killing fish. I see few other fishers. Wild trout seem almost non-existent. The hatches seem adequate or at least equal to other watersheds that support trout. Yet, in these wild, upper reaches the reality has changed. There are few fish. What a shame. Perhaps the Bull Trout project will brighten someone else’s future. If they allow fishing. Many waters are closed to trout fishing to protect the Bull Trout that remain. Great. So, the reality is more people focus on put and take stretches of rivers or lakes and/or the truly remarkable waters draw ever more attention.  

Clackamas-Collawash R.

Clackamas R. Bull Trout tagging 2011 Poster, old Ripplebrook R.S. (SwittersB)


Fly Fishing Creativity Links (must be the altitude or chemistry)

Erin Block

Jay Zimmerman at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports Blogspot (nice tutorials on flytying and pleasant photography) and his partner in fly lines Erin M. Block at Mysteries Internal (gifted wordsmith and passionate fly fisher) are nice places to visit. Check out both of these sites. They both have a warmth to them that suggests no pretense, totally welcoming. I like the Clown Foot Caddis/Sally that Zimmerman created (note earlier today I wrote about attractor pattens or flies capable of the dry/dropper set up…check out the Clown Foot). And, tell me if you don’t enjoy the insightful way Erin puts words down that resonate.


Happy Father’s Day

This day, to celebrate the father in our life, is worthy from all manner of angles. If you have a good one you are blessed and know it. If you never knew your dad (rambling procreation) or he was more like child than a man, then the celebration is seemingly inappropriate. That is life. No point sugar-coating it. I was fortunate to have an amazing father. As he lay in a hospital bed, chugging out his final breaths from a stroke, I rubbed his forehead and held his hand and told him I loved him as he grew still. My father never told me he loved me. He never gave me a hug. He just crafted an image in my mind of how a caring, enduring father should operate day after day.

He did give me much and I am thankful I saw it, sensed it, early on. He worked from  about 12 y/o until his death in his 70’s. Often he worked two jobs. He never complained, at least so I would hear it. He had his demons and dark side, I know today, yet I never saw it. He worked day in and out and instilled in me a stoic work ethic that coupled with pride I have copied most of my life.

What is most enduring is his love of the outdoors. He loved camping. CAMPING CRAFT GUIDE
The whole process of getting ready for the trip was as important to him as it was to this boy. And once we were at our campground (early on selected for its close proximity to fishing) he shined with such perfection that I have spent my adult life emulating his skills, pace, confidence to provide my family many pleasant, memorable outdoor experiences. He taught me all manner of camp skills that I have passed on and already see my dad’s efforts coming to pass in all my children and their loved ones. He taught me how to BBQ, how to prepare and cook not just camping but at home as well. And he taught me to appreciate funky ‘Hawaiian’ shirts before they, if ever, became popular.

To the quiet, steady man from the hills of West Virginia…who endured the Aleutian Islands of WWII…helped conquer the truly wilds of the Yukon to create the Al-Can Hiway…who worked his rear off at two jobs and provided for me a work ethic, safe home, education and much more….Thank you dad. 

To all the good men who do the good deeds of fatherhood~manhood….cheers to you!


A Bright Spot, A Retreat…

Bright Spot (SwittersB)

Why do we/you fly fish? A new challenge, like golf, like skiing? To be with special friend(s), who attaches great significance to the endeavor, so you do too? To fidget and fuss with gear; a love affair with process and preparation? To be near water, wind and the irregular edges of earth? “The moment”? The take, the pulse, the power, the holding on? The  catch/the kill? The catch/ the release? The reverence for a creature described as possessing but a pea brain, but that possesses your mind, heart, some would say your soul? The draw of the group, the associated bonding of the group and memories? Egocentrism, elitism, distinction? Goofball fish porn, bumism, machismo, rebel without a cause? Individuality and solitude?

After the preparation, anticipation, tinkering, tying, technical how to’s, talking, following the contemporary trends (as you may have since middle school)…..why, in your mind, do you fly fish? Strip away all the trappings and I hope you settle upon a renewing force beneath the trappings. It will be a bright spot in your life, drawing you back to rebuild, rejuvenate, re-gain your bearings. 

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

July 2020

Please visit MUNCY DESIGNS (click)

Welcome to SwittersB & Exploring. Please Share, Comment & Like Away!

Please subscribe just below. Use the Search box to search topics.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the SwittersB blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,215 other followers

The Past

231!!! Countries Visiting SwittersB~Thank You!!!

free counters

Blog Stats: There are lies, damn lies and statistics

  • 4,819,245 Visits/Views (WP Original Stat~Pre Flag Counter Stats)

There’s No Accounting For Taste; Search the Blog for Much More. Thanks for Visiting!

%d bloggers like this: