BEWARE THE BACK CAST- or, More on Jean Dujardin

for the third time now, Pete Tyjas at Eat Sleep Fish asked me to send a little something to be included in issue 41 that came out last week.  this breaks the ‘more than twice’ barrier, meaning that ESF is kinda turning into a home away from home and i couldn’t feel more honoured because it’s a really nice place to be and i’m very grateful towards Pete for inviting me in.
so far my contributions have been fly casting related: the first was Poetry Grace Fluidity and the state of Relaxed Butt, the second on How to Loose your Fly in Trees and now this one about this goofy french movie actor.
here’s a preview-

“Fishing in tight spaces is always a tricky situation because casting and therefore fishing successfully involves thinking and more precisely, thinking before acting. What I’ve noticed in life so far, is that thinking after the fact usually doesn’t do much good because contrary to popular belief, most people don’t really learn from their mistakes.

Lefty’s still saying that God won’t let you cast this way or that, we still burn our tongues biting into a hot pizza and rap is still a popular music form…

When encumbered by trees and brush, cliffs, girlfriends/boyfriends and livestock, to get the fly out to the fish in an inciting manner the successful angler needs to look around and be aware of all those dumb things that nature surounds us with and puts between us and our slimy friends before going about it or they’ll just have to risk being as silly as the guy below.”

for more silliness briefly interspersed with hopefully-helpful mind-set casting/fishing tips click on the frenchman above and while you’re there, be sure to check out the whole edition for a more than fine as-always selection of great fly fishing related articles from around the globe. enjoy !

Exploring and Water Music

some great thoughts from Paul Harps.

“How much do you need to know before you go fishing somewhere? Knowing the regulations is an obvious need, but what else is required? It’s good to know a basic target species so that you can be prepared with the size of rod and fly. But assuming you are in an area with trout, do you research Google Earth ahead of time to find where the best looking pools are? Do you search the web for every fishing report? Do you go to some fly shops and ask subtle or not so subtle questions? There is something grand about exploration and discovery with your boots in the dirt, walking no known trails. But as I sit here behind a desk for too long, there is some else inspiring about looking at contour lines on a map, guessing if they direct a little stream down a hill. There is an excitement that comes with looking at a tree lined image on Google Earth, guessing the size of trout that might live in the shadowed waters. The idea of turning blindly down a road, only knowing that it goes downhill to some little creek is grand; no other preparations but an explorer’s mind, a rod in the truck, and the knowledge that eventually gravity and terrain will force the water into something that can hold fish. But also the idea of following those hastily jotted down notes or that printed map from Google Earth, down a road also never traveled, to a creek never seen. Either way, it’s a trail you’ve never explored, and when you reach the creek, you are never disappointed. Fish or no fish, you attained greatness, you became a dying breed; an Explorer.
Harps

some might start debating whether it’s ethical or not to use satellite maps or whatever other gadget to plan a fishing trip and i’ll leave them to argue on their own as i have no problems with this as long as the locations don’t get shared in public.
Mystery River X is the was to go.
now Paul’s piece got me thinking in a traverse wave sort of fashion, and maybe because i can’t help but mix up my waves in one way or another but this exciting exploring stuff reminds me that this is precisely the subject of the book i’m currently reading and very much enjoying although there aren’t any electronic devises as it happens in the sixteenth century and they where far from being invented yet.

water music TC Boyle cover

 excerpt:

SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY

“At an age when most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, plowing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haj’ Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.  The year was 1795.  George III was dabbing the walls of Windsor Castle with his own spittle, the Notables were botchings things in France, Goya was deaf, DeQuincey a depraved pre-adolescent.  George Bryan “Beau” Brummell was smoothing down his first starched collar, young Ludwig van Beethoven, beetle-browed and twenty-four, was wowing them in Vienna with his Piano Concerto no. 2, and Ned Rise was drinking Strip-Me-Naked with Nan Punt and Sally Sebum at the Pig & Pox Tavern in Maiden Lane.  
Ali was a Moor. He sat cross-legged on a damask pillow and scrutinized the pale puckered nates with the air of an epicure examining a fly in his vichysoisse.  His voice was like sand.  “Turn over,” he said.  Mungo was a Scotsman.  He knelt on a reed mat, trousers around his knees, and glanced over his shoulder at Ali.  He was looking for the Niger River.  “Turn over,” Ali repeated.
 

While the explorer was congenial and quick-to-please, his Arabic was somewhat sketchy.  When he failed to respond a second time, Dassoud–Ali’s henchman and human jackal–stepped forward with a lash composed of the caudal appendages of half a dozen wildebeests.  The tufted tails cut the air, beating on high like the wings of angels.  The temperature outside Ali’s tent was 127 degrees Fahrenheit.  The tent was a warp-and-woof affair, constructed of thread spun from the hair of goats.  Inside it was 112 degrees.  The lash fell.  Mungo turned over. 
 

Here too he was white: white as sheets and blizzards.  Ali and his circle were astonished all over again.  “His mother dipped him in milk,” someone said.  “Count his fingers and toes!” shouted another.  Women and children crowded the tent’s entrance, goats bleated, camels coughed and coupled, someone was hawking figs.  A hundred voices intertwined like a congeries of footpaths, walks, lowroads and highroads–which one to take?–and all in Arabic, mystifying, rapid, harsh, the language of the Prophet.  “La-la-la-la-la!” a woman shrieked.  The others took it up, an excoriating falsetto.  “La-la-la-la-la!”  Mungo’s penis, also white, shrank into his body.”

click the book for more on this well-knit, randomly wavy, highly recommended, entertaining book.

Put and Take

by Bob Wyatt

nothing like a grumpy ole’ article from a grumpy ole’ man to brighten up a dismal sunday afternoon. enjoy !

With the demise of so many great fishing waters, and increasing pressure on the remaining wild fisheries, the best thing that has come down the pike for fly fisherman is the put and take fishery. Let’s face it, who has the time these days to put in the hours, years for chrissake, necessary to catch sufficient numbers of wild trout to be able to call yourself an angler? Well, nowadays, with these fantastic put and take fisheries, all that lore and experience stuff about flies and hatches and so on is just a bunch of boring old crap preached by boring old farts. No wonder the kids aren’t interested in fishing anymore.

And, even better, the P&T waters are just getting better all he time. No nettles, brambles or mud, all nice green grass and neat wood and concrete jetties to fish from, no need for waders and all the paraphernalia. Your nice expensive Nikes stay as clean as when you stepped out of the car, only feet away from the old fishing hole. And the fish keep getting bigger! We no longer have to work so hard for weenie little sprats like on the so-called wild waters. Now the time put in is worth something, all these fish are whoppers, easy two pounds and up. Some are real hawgs too, over twenty pounds of fighting rainbow swimming around out there in plain sight, with its mouth open. It’s better than Playstation!

No, there’s no two ways about it, ‘wild’ trout fishing just ain’t worth the candle. I have to admit though, catching hawg after hawg can get a bit samey. But I was thinking these same operators could provide something with a bit more edge for all of us who have logged the hours on the trout. You know, just for a change of pace. For a bit more money you could fence an area and stock it with chickens. They’re better eating than trout anyway. You go in there with a golf club or two and pay for a limit of, say, five. You don’t want it too big an area, because you’d never get a good swing at them, and of course you’d have to think about the disabled, maybe have wheelchair access.

Anyway, that would really get the blood running, so to speak, don’t ya think?. Good aerobic exercise, too, for the heart or whatever. There’d be all the same really interesting stuff about tackle and tactics, just like fishing. You know, what action you prefer, swing weight and so forth. No end of fun. And hey, if it caught on, which I’m sure it would, you could graduate to ‘big game’ – have an area stocked with pigs or something. Use a range of hammers. Sporting stuff, say 1.5 pound ballpean for light corner work, and heavy sledges for long range. You could have a weight class competition.

You can imagine the chat around the artificial campfire up at the lodge. “Man, that last one was a real stonker. I was going too light, definitely. Struck too hard and he broke me. I know where he’s hiding though. I’ll sneak up on him at dusk with the post maul.” 
Best yet, who doesn’t prefer BBQ ribs to fish farm trout? If you get a big bag, you could donate the catch to charity, hospitals and old folks homes and such, who are probably getting mighty sick of rainbow trout by now…

i feel better now, thanks for allowing me to share this Bob.

behind.

go on, say that it’s about living in a world where we want everything and everything happening at the same time and i’m just a sucker like almost everyone else but, fly fishing, at least when we’re fishing is mostly about looking down.
sure, we’ll look around for casting obstacles and such and check our back cast (you better !) but most of the time is spent staring into the water, tracking our flies, looking for natural bugs or baitfish and trying to not fall in by sliding on round-slimy rocks and logs and shit.

on the other hand, if we had something like this:

behind-the-head-vision (and a built-in super-duper telescope) we could enjoy observing the whole Universe while doing the things we love and still catch a few fish.
maybe one day…

“And I won my division,” he said. “It’s the over 60, gray hair, profuse grey chest hair, paralyzed from the chest down, colostomy and urine bag carrying, lung cancer division. You have to use a bamboo fly rod, 2-pound test line and dry fly only.”

old farts fishing

gotta admit, it’s always charming to see old farts stream-side.

semi-cheerfull, flaccid and reminiscent in their own special geriatric way they’re always good for a laugh or two but more than that they remind me of what’s coming up next.
i, we, can chose to see that as an inevitable miserably depressing fact or, maybe that certain activities during our ‘working age’ should be pushed away for the sake of being waterside instead of at work so, thanks, your mumbling words hit home.

today’s lovely quote comes from Passion, controversy and rain at America Cup fly fishing tournament
i actually abhor competition fishing but it’s still a nice read, specially the old fart part.

hey Papa !

i usually have this unwritten rule of not writing about my personal life. it’s not like i have anything to hide or feel bad about, it’s just that i don’t find it all that interesting and tend to live for the future and sort of forget the past. having grown up in the cold war, hippy era, Vietnam war, rock and roll, punk and you-name-it whatever other events since the 60’s that have encouraged people to rethink established ways of thought has also taught me that rules are meant to be not necessarily broken, but a little bending now and again seems to keep things fresh. maybe digging up the past is a way of  finding some sort of roots where i don’t really have any. maybe, but this isn’t about me. it’s about my dad.

he started off his teen years as a keen airplane model maker. he specialized in gliders and won national titles in both the construction and flying events. his father was the president of the local amateur airplane club so, the logical step was to move on to a bigger scale and make planes both with and without engines, and fly them from inside instead of on the ground. he was really good at this and also won many events. designing and making planes, pylon races, altitude and speed records, endurance and etc, and etc, and etc.
i can’t remember if it was at age 16 or 18 but he made sure to pass his pilot’s exam on his birthday. he was eager to fly on his own.

dad&chick planeridebringing some chick for a ride. it’s still one of the better ways to score.

a bit later my grandfather crashed his plane into a mountain peak and family obligations brought him back to earth and forced him to seek out more terrestrial occupations.
he wasn’t into fishing or hunting or any other outdoors activities.
outdoors, i guess, was a place where barbecues and picnics with friends and family would happen. we’d go there regularly but in a way, these outings where mostly based around the cooler. in order to keep some sort of sanity in this young boy’s mind, i always had a rod and reel stashed away in the car, just in case these outings happened near water. they usually did and these where wonderful opportunities to discover on my own all these countless treasures that laid between the cooler and the shoreline.
i often read odes to dads that have shown their offspring the ins and outs and ways of nature and i used to think i should be envious of those lucky people but i wasn’t. my papa didn’t know much about trees and animals and soil and water but he did know about the things above. every single cloud had a name and so did each star.
as fishers, we spend most of our time looking down and this early upwards apprenticeship brought a balance to my vision of life in general and maybe mostly of the outdoors.

his name was Bernard and he died when i was 22. i had worked out long before that, that death was just part of life so in a sense, even with the big empty space left, it wasn’t such a big deal. at one point or another it’s supposed to happen. besides, people only really die when they’re forgotten. i obviously won’t forget him but maybe these few words will help that from happening with those who weren’t so close to him.

papa&methe two of us, 1962

today, August 2nd is his birthday. i wish i could have known him better but wishes don’t always come through. i’m still looking up papa.

Worms, Salmon Eggs, Marshmallows, Erin and S’mores

by Erin Block via MidCurrent

It’s about tying nice flies…
FlyDesigner-1 by Erin Block

but maybe s’more than fly tying, it’s about love.
the love of doing something oneself, of giving it ‘that special touch’, of adding a bit of your personality; what some may refer to as ‘soul’ to everything you do to make every moment, your moment. of not doing good but of doing nice.
personally, i’ll add an extra layer of chocolate to my S’mores so the marshmallow goo is completely surrounded by the good stuff. after the tenth or so i might keep the same inner configuration and work on the crust volume by adding another layer of chocolate on top (and bottom) of each cracker and then add another cracker top and bottom as crust.
a sandwich within a sandwich…

’nuff said. here’s Erin’s top cracker-
“Once upon a time, in a world not as very far away as we like to think, we had to tie our own flies. Just like we had to grow our own food and build our own homes. And we did these things, and they were hardy and served us well. There was no online ordering, no fly shop bin of options, no grocery store or butcher. You did it yourself because you had to. And sometimes life still requires of us that we take up the slack and drive like we know where we’re going—there will be time for looking at the map when you’re lost.  As I often feel, discouraged, sitting at my tying desk.”

and here’s the bottom one-
“One of the things that sticks with me is not the catching, not the fish.  Rather, it’s watching a new fly tied the night before swim lucidly through a backcountry lake, never ceasing to make me feel like a kid again, surprised by the fact that it works. Casting out I do it again, but only for myself, not for the trout. Because it’s not about not half-assing it.  It’s about tying nice flies.”

CrumplerCricket2 by Erin Block

if you liked the crunchy parts, click either pick for the soft, delicious, creamy filling.
enjoy !