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.

blanking, fish coffee and worms.

last time i went fishing i blanked. now onto more interesting stuff.

apart from the mandatory rod, reel, line, well organized chest-pack with nippers (well sharpened), forceps, floatant, net, sink paste, extra tippet, extra leaders, some flies, hand rag, tippet rings, a do-whatever needle, hook sharpening stone, lip gook, extra nippers, amadou patch (from Troutline), knife, emergency whistle, lighter and smokey things, hat, polarizer glasses in amber & yellow, buff and whatever clothing needed for the day and a million more things (basically all the above in double or triple) safely tucked away next to the mattress and the chocolate box in the van, the absolute most biggest necessity for a successful day on the water:

TLC espresso maker isn’t really the custom engraved, on-the-go espresso maker but the van.

see, what happened is, not only had i not brought the coffee maker (which isn’t such a big thing considering i didn’t yet own this beauty at the time) but since the van was at the doctor’s i took another car for the day. a Mazda.
i did miss two strikes, one on a dry and the other on a nymph and i did actually see one whole fish within range but wasn’t able to present a fly to it it before it wandered off out of sight: meaning that even if it was all trickle, drop by drop slow, the fish hadn’t all mysteriously disappeared into some weird, black, worm-hole (more on that later) but simply that my good mojo had been sucked out by the freak replacement vehicle on the trip to the water.
going back through my fishing journal at home i realized that blanking hadn’t happened in the last year and a half. i believe that’s a first for me since i started fishing something like 47 years ago so i’m actually quite pleased. blanking in itself isn’t any problem whatsoever, it’s actually a good thing as it makes one think a lot more about why one blanked as opposed to when having a good day where i’ll find myself running on ‘automatic’ and all seems to happen in a blur. sort of.  besides, thinking doesn’t hurt.
anyhow, on that particular far away day i happened to have gone to the water in someone else’s car and it happened to be a Mazda.

random occurrences are only considered random because our brains aren’t sufficiently developed to encompass all variables and we comfortingly use it as an excuse so, what remains is, things don’t happen without a cause and finally, we can deduct through scientific proof  (of sorts… but these two incidences are more than enough for me to reach this conclusion) that blank fly fishing days are caused by Mazdas.

as for the worms, Worm 2 thanks to our friends at Fly Fish Food in what might just be the most important reminder a fly fisher should keep in mind at all times: ie, that all fish love worms in one form or another and will eat them any time, anywhere and even just for heck of it, perhaps with the idea of embarrassing the more ‘noble’ insects such as mayflies: double-meaning that if we chose to try to entice them with anything else, it’s just a matter of irrational wishful thinking. combine the latter with a deep mojo-sucking Mazda and you’re screwed from the get-go.Worm 6

to conclude, firstly as a public service/good will thing to my fellow fly anglers and mankind in general, i sincerely hope the Mazda company collapses. something like a big huge-monsterous tsunami tidal wave while the employees are out having coffee would do the trick nicely i think. i don’t really mean them much harm as i’m sure fly fishing mojo probably isn’t very high on their list and they’re not doing it on purpose but fuckem’ for making me blank.

related articles

Why you should Always wear Glasses and Only use Barbless hooks.

the images speak for themselves…

ft_fly-in_the_eye
755_eye 250664_10150899939505186_573756238_n 374548_2559520602579_67724225_n 487690_3523193360814_277192784_n 525804_10150977636619210_1119082281_n 545753_356389161114475_160658588_n 552444_447941398603011_684347760_nhook in eyelid 559016_422195607816972_1299459440_n 644602_356388527781205_1181476481_n 728157 afp20030401p1481-f7 fishhok injury to the eyelid of right eye hook ear-ringKiefer's fishing hook miracle 008[3]

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flhYR
this last one shows permanent damage several years after the hook was removed.

 

and if you’re thinking that glasses aren’t necessary for fly casting practice, think again.
even without a hook the line and/or leader could very easily slice through an eyeball should it come across the face as in the video below. my friend Aitor was very lucky he didn’t get hurt.

eye protection sticker