The Trout Conundrum (calling out a steamy load of BS)

Trout are food. Yes, we can eat them, but we do not. Why? Simply stated, we are in the know. The value of a trout in a river system is more than on a plate. For those who do not know, the trout is a measure of pride and the value is on a plate as a source of “free food”. They aren’t remotely free. Allow me to explain…

For the frugal fisherman lucky to be within a $20 gas run of trout, will also spend $10 per trip on bait. Is that all? Nope. How bout another $10 on food, $10 on misc equip (bobbers and hooks), and $5 to get into a state park. That’s $55 dollars per trip. This isn’t including the money the frugal person lost by calling in sick on a “hot” fishing day. But the cost doesn’t end there, the fisherman also has to spend $35 on a license and $20 on a “fishin’ pole”. I’m leaving tackle boxes and trout towels out of the equation entirely because, if the frugal fisherman fishes every weekend, he is already spending $2,915 per year. If this fisherman catches his limit every time he fishes (which would never happen), he would have 510 fish averaging about 1/2lb each. That’s 255lbs of fish in a year. Heck, let’s say he was lucky and caught 1lb fish all year. That’s 510lbs…
His grand total per pound of fish is $5.72. FIVE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-TWO CENTS!!!! PER POUND!!!! FOR TROUT!?!?!? Are you crazy???

It does not end there either. Oh no, because the frugal fisherman has no idea that it costs the state roughly $1 per trout to stock “catchable” trout. I’m not even including post-stocking dead loss and both summer and winter kill. On top of that, clubs and the federal and state governments spend about $2,300,000 per year (situational) on habitat restoration to help these feeble trout survive the harsh conditions of New Mexico. Let’s say that $2M supports (more than likely only 500,000, but we are going full benefit of the doubt here) 1M fish, that is another $2 per fish. This brings the grand total to $8.72 per pound of hatchery raised “wild” trout. Is this guy actually frugal?

Get a clue. Buy direct from the store (identical to hatchery fish) and save $5 per pound.

If you made it through this and you are “that guy”, I hope you understand the real reason you fish. You aren’t fishing to save money. Truth be told, we wouldn’t need hatcheries and restoration projects if we all cared about the places we fish. Just my honest opinion.

Side note: Stop blaming the muskies for eating all of “your trout” if you are also eating all of “your trout”. Let’s all be more productive and start blaming other fishermen who are incapable of self-regulation. (Extra credit: the average human consumes 600% of their body weight per year. Muskies, 120%. Tell me again, who eats everything in sight?)


Oh Dear, I Did It

So, you may know by now… But I’ve been working on a project for the New Mexico Fish On Film Fest put on by some of my very good friends who are doing a fantastic job of promoting our fisheries! I will tell you though… This is the most nervous I have ever been about posting anything. Go easy on me! Haha


Fly Hacks #3 is live!

I mashed up a klinkhamer and a clownshoe to produce a cripple type fly called the “Awe Shucks”.

The episode is a bit strange. I have been coming down with a little cabin fever lately. You’ve been warned.

Fly Hacks #3: Awe Shucks


Recon Mission: Success

Beneath the noise of the inner city hustle and bustle, there are places relatively unknown to most anglers. Even though some might drive by everyday, the fish are right there waiting for a tug of war battle. These fish are the object of dreams in locations of nightmares.

If even so much as 1% of people are die hard anglers, there would be roughly 8,000 people gracing these waters daily. After hiking five miles, I saw a total of zero anglers. On a Saturday no less. Maybe places like these are too difficult, too technical. Is it really easier to drive over an hour to get to a more distant, easier upper-class fishery?

But these… These are the inner city hoodlums that nobody wants to mess with. Fish that are far too big for the water they occupy, these are carp. Finding their locations requires hiking miles of fishless waters for a single pod. If it is a challenge you are seeking, this is it.

Lesson #23: Carrying a fly rod around in the city elicits awkward stares.

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A Slow Start

Fly Hacks is slowly starting to move forward. If you are a long time reader, I have mentioned the “San Juan Devil” before, but it is way better live! :) Enjoy!!!

Fly Hacks: San Juan Devil/Sanjuannelid


November Mornings

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I woke up this morning at 5am with a little extra bounce in my stride. That is, while still nestled warmly beneath a mound of blankets. This past week was pretty rough on my emotions, feeling small and pretty much worthless. I chalked that up to added stressors of the coming winter. I had to push myself to get up, get moving and move forward. Moving forward and getting over the cruddy mindset was the easy part. Just beyond the veil of a warm and comfortable bed was the impending doom of cold.

I hear it a lot as a guide, “I came to New Mexico to warm up a little.” Or, “I thought it was going to be warm.” Both of these things said as a jacket goes over their shoulders in mid June. The common perception of New Mexico is we are in the desert, it is warm. To some degree, they are correct. From 2-3pm it is generally warm, so long as the sun is shining. During the fall, it could go any direction. Last year, there was a day that started at 17 degrees in the morning and the mercury smashed 70 degrees by the afternoon. Count yourself lucky to have humidity.

Last night, Matt Pelletier sent a video of the time we chased grass carp. Well, seeing yourself hooked up into a fish is unreal. It keys your memory into what it feels like, and you itch down deep to feel it again. The true sign of an addict. With that thought, I sprang from bed. When you get in the pool, you don’t put your toes in first.

Feeling motivated inside did not prepare me for what awaited just beyond the door. The sun had yet to rise, and the cold wind hit me like a semi. To add insult to injury, I had to walk the entire quarter of a mile to the lake. Confidence was pouring from me like the fountain of youth, I was paying my dues.

I have yet to completely acclimate to the fall. After I reached my destination, the cold began to sink in and I had forgotten gloves. No matter, still paying dues and shivering, lots of shivering. For the first twenty minutes, I swore that if I could keep my stripping hand out of my pockets, I would catch a fish. The icy line froze my hands and began to creep up to my elbows. It slowed reflexes that were on high alert from caffeine. If a fish took the fly, I wondered if I could even set. In my head, I figured if a fish rolled on my fly beyond twenty feet, I’m good. A hard strip set would get the job done. However, my fly lingered five feet from my toes which were, strangely enough, warm. When, from the left, a darting shadow appeared in musky form. It was a bad time. My muscles were not going to react in time to sweep the rod into a hook set (you can’t strip set when the end of your fly line is at the tip of your rod). The fear alone, the startling jolt, forced me to set the hook. It worked by nothing short of a miracle. In the very tip of his lower jaw, from the outside in, my hook had found home.

The water and fish were practically liquid nitrogen, but felt warm when compared to the now 25 degree air. After his release, my hands were covered in slime and I was able to make two casts before my fingers started to turn purple. I was done, I had paid my dues. That half hour and half mile hike seemed like an eternity, slowed significantly by the air itself.

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Lesson #22: Buy new gloves. You have to wear them before they start working.


Notes to self: Gambling

We are all entangled in the snare that is life. Each action results in a reaction that subtly alters our course. If ideas and dreams move too slowly, we give up in them and cash out before it is too late. Much like gamblers, coloring up and moving on is a sound idea. At the poker table, there is a man whose nickname is “The Dinosaur”. Because he has sat in the same position longer than any individual, he has learned and evolved with a table of people who come and go. Through all of his wins and losses, the odds are always in his favor. The answer to why is simple. Momentum.

Too often, people feel they have reached their apex in life and knowledge. That they know better in all situations, their way is the only correct way to go about your path. The fly fishing industry is one of the few whose “gods” are prevalent and make it known. Sometimes it seems that everyone wants to follow along, to breathe the same air, to walk in the same shoes and to cast the same rods. In the same token, some aspire to be those gods, to want the same affection that they think is felt by the ones in position. Even in the fly fishing industry, there are dinosaurs. People who are in it for the game, the excitement and pure sport. Again, the odds are in their favor.

I often think of secrets that I have shared and also the ones I have held. Secrets are only a mutual respect. A display of solidarity. I feel terrible letting one slip here and there, or teaching a competing guide how to catch more fish. With each of these confessions, I’m changing the game, changing my own game. Trying to become more efficient with the task before me, unknowingly. Deep down I know the info I shared will fizzle from the supreme beings I shared with. Each real person, each dinosaur, will use it for the purpose in which the info was intended, progression. Not just for myself, but everyone. The results are never instantaneous or known, just theoretical in nature. The only way to overcome is to keep moving, have faith and push that damned publish button. The odds are in your favor. Together, us dirty underdogs, will continually learn and never collect the credit for showing those gods of fly fishing what they “have always known”.

Keep pushing yourself and have fun doing it. Learn and love what you have near. Most importantly, do things the way you want to do them. Who knows, you might revolutionize something, you might help someone in the distant future.

Lesson #21: Stop making excuses and caring about what people might think. “If” is hypothetical rhetoric.

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