Category Archives: Random

The Real Deal On Streamers

I don’t often think. Really. Today was a different story. I was really curious as to why fishing with streamers hasn’t taken off like it should have, it still feels like a novelty. I heard grumblings about it in the nineties; Dahlberg Divers, Clousers, Deceivers, so on and so forth. I think the Hollow Fleye was also developed in that time frame. It was a huge era for streamers (so were the 40’s), but the only source of knowledge for a guy like me was magazines. Word spread at a snail’s pace then, but all these flies made it to the masses for good reason, they worked. Sure, maybe a wayward fly ended up in a magazine due to the buddy system, but was quickly and efficiently snubbed out if it failed to perform or benefit anyone.

Here’s my thought process on why streamers haven’t gained much traction in the last five or so years. Allow me to preface, FRESHWATER.

Theory 1: I’m involved in it.

Theory 2: Social media. Hear me out, this isn’t a big ol’ glass of haterade for social media. We can use it to advance the progress if we are patient. For popularity sake, for the sake of content, we internet people have teetered on the edge of running out of material to endow upon you. More often than not, information is regurgitated and accredited to a source from whom is most popular. The problem with this is much like the problem pre social media. Whatever buddy had his article published after he heard the story from the source, without citing the source, gets all the glory. Leading to dissemination of knowledge not fully understood by the writer who is now the leader in whatever field of knowledge they do not quite grasp. This came down the pipe roughly once a month in the world of magazines. Now, this happens every single day. In order to keep your social media followers alive, they need that daily hit of info. This leads content creators to throw out untested flies claiming they do what the creator said when this person has yet to get the fly wet, but it looks pretty, so that’s good enough right?

Let us not put the blame fully on social media content creators, let us also blame fly tying companies for not dropping the expense of streamers to the market and still plays the buddy system to create designers. On the backs of these content creators, companies also pick and choose based solely upon likes or followers. Who, by the way, get there for a reason (for the most part). It’s a lot of hard work to become a viable social media person. Believe me, I’m not viable and it is still a whole lot of work.

Companies and content creators aside, streamers are really hard. They take time and effort to tie and more often than not, you have no idea what you are going to get when it hits the water. The real water, not a bathtub with 5x tippet towing it along. The bathtub gives you a good idea of what the fly wants to do, but not what it actually does when confronted with proper tippet and a sinking line (or whatever). There is only one way to figure that out and that is to fish it. On top of all the time it takes to tie and develop, there is no telling if you will catch a fish with it. Add in the technique to cast and retrieve your unique fly properly, and many people who want to get into streamers fall flat on their face and give up. The terrible part of this scenario is that streamers can be far more effective in the long run for all species if an angler puts in the time.

Truth be told, sometimes you get lucky, like I did with the Laser Yak. Even then, it is a further development of Der Helmut, which was born from a fly called the Broadway (my first true glider) combined with the Arctic Yeti. If you look at it this way, it took me 6ish years to develop the Laser Yak. That timeframe does not mesh with social media. Had I cared for cranking out content, I would have sent some real garbage into the world by teaching you guys how to tie every pattern in between that turned out to be failures.

You are probably asking yourself, why does this guy feel that it is just streamers and not typical trout flies? Trout fishing is what it is, stuff wrapped around a hook that trout eat. We have had a few hundred years to work this out. The only innovation that can come out of this time period are new materials, iridescence, texture and color tinkering. We are entering an era of realism in trout flies. Something we would not have been capable of in the 90’s due to the advent of new materials. I’m not saying that we are following art history to the T, but we are following a certain progression and our changes in the future will be subtle (but quick) shifts in style rather than innovation. Trout flies are established and it is really easy based upon the common flies in the genre to excel by sticking to a certain equation. Streamers are not so easy and we who are looking to progress the streamer genre are reinventing the wheel, leaving the industry to play catch-up.

This is where it all breaks down. Unfortunately, you can’t slap some stuff on a hook and make a streamer work like you can with most trout flies. This truth can be seen on social media. You can see what will swim and what will just spin and side roll. Break it down. Think of all of the styles of trout flies, generally (take your time, there are a lot). Heck write them down and do the same with streamer patterns. Your streamer side is going to look really chaotic because a lot of these patterns are still being developed and mixed. It is evolution in motion. Don’t forget to put a giant question mark on streamers because the places some of us are going, there is no path. If this process is fogged by people cranking out a number of untested patterns, we will have far too many people claiming that “streamers don’t work” and cutting the head off of any progress we can make by being dissuaded and spreading info falsely to others.

This needs to be fixed before it breaks. How do we do that? I’m so glad you asked! First, get into streamer fishing no matter what anyone says. You don’t have to go all in, but keeping one handy when fishing is good and you get bored of throwing a bugger to bass or nymphs to trout. You’ll get good at it, I promise. Second, tie your brains out and don’t think twice about tossing a crap pattern (save the hooks though). Learn from what you have tied and use it to understand what to or not to do for the next pattern. If it works, constantly be thinking of ways to make it better. Third, just because you tied something that looks like a pattern you have seen, doesn’t mean you can accurately replicate what that fly does. Even watching a video may not help. Open up communication with tiers. Get a couple flies from them and physically touch what they have done. It will help with understanding how much of a certain material is used and where. We are (for the most part) normal people, give us honest feedback and forget who we are. We are not infallible either. Sometimes humans are wrong, it happens. Lastly, be careful of who you listen to in the social media world. One of the best tips I can give you is when people use always and never, they just don’t know enough yet. For example, “I always catch fish on _______”. If this is true, this person hasn’t fished enough to fail.

Keep it alive my people!







Oh! The Smell

September and October ring in a sense of delusion here in New Mexico. The world seems as though it remains in a state of imbalance, swinging wildly out of control. As I type this, hurricane Michael is slowly reaching shore, the temperature in Augusta, Maine is 80 degrees and winter is beginning to settle in the northern rockies. The normal patterns for this time of year (except Maine, that is a bit extreme). The prediction in other places seems quite doable, but here, we get delusional.

Our first mountain snow fell while I was asleep on Monday night. The accompanying rain in our lower elevations lulled me to sleep with a feel of excitement. Rain is scarce, and like a sleeping child waking to see if mother was still there, I awoke to make sure it was still raining. For comfort. I knew from the smell, the crisp, damp freshness culminated into one thing. Snow. No matter rain or snow, the smell remains, the smell of the freeze. Instinct recognizes the smell as a time to end the growing season. It brings us an ancient and primal feeling of excitement, “the work is over”.

It is hard to beat the feeling of the first snow or frost. Waking with a thick flannel and being able to see your breath. Sitting in front of a crackling fire filled with wood cut with your own hand, it is a sigh of relief. A delusion. No matter how much I know that it will warm, I still settle in and get comfortable. It’s only a trick. The sudden, abrupt change is a reminder but not persistent. I know what is coming now, 50 degree temperature swings from morning to afternoon, 70 one day 50 the next, flooding or snow. It is expected and anticipated. For us, fall is a great big prank. For now, I will enjoy my delusion that it already is winter and enjoy a nice warm cup of hot cocoa.

Quantify and Scrutinize

Call me #triggered or whatever you like. Sometimes, things become an automatic switch flipper. Things that I feel as though I need to lash out irrationally upon. As of yet, I have not wanted to soak my computer in lantern fuel and set it ablaze, until yesterday. I mean, turning it off is a great option too… No, this is not about politics.

Yesterday, on a post in a place, there were talks of a “bobbin shootout”. For those who do not know, a bobbin is the thingy that thread is spooled onto. Getting super technical here, we in the fly tying industry have called the thing that holds the bobbin a “bobbin” for like eternity, when the reality is that it is actually a “bobbin holder” due to the lack of a technical term. All technicalities aside, bobbin holders are pretty much based on price. A $10 bobbin holder is not remotely built as well as a $30 one and the $100 type blow everything out of the water. My opinion stands that after $30, you are just paying for art. There is a certain cool factor of unique bobbin holders. Whether that means vintage or really neat and futuristic. That hand carved chunk of wood grip may not feel great, but it took a lot of work and it is a beautiful addition and show of care a company took to give you something cool. The mechanics are really simple, so long as the tip is ultra polished and it keeps a moderate amount of tension, you are in the clear. The rest is just fun.

One does not just rank the work of artisans in terms of function. I get it if you go on ranking utilitarian style bobbin holders or ones within the same price point. Comparing a $4 chunk of bent wire and tube to a $150 piece of similar idea, you lost me. We all know the answer. Heck, even at a $30 price point, none is “better” than any other. It becomes a matter of preference at this point. We want something that fits our hand and has a cool aesthetic with the features we need for our individual style. Who the heck is going to compare watches this way? Let alone, toss an Apple Watch into the mix… Announcer Voice: “And the best time-telling piece is…” (frankly, I think it is the one attached to the satellites)

This is not totally what triggered me. The fact that someone is trying to persuade others to believe there is a hierarchy in bobbin holders aside from end user opinion is absolutely ludicrous. The “best in the world” in comparison to other bobbin holders highlights the idea that one bobbin holder and the one that yields it is part of an elite few. Reality check! It is art. Plain and simple. How many times have you heard “cool bobbin (holder)” as opposed to “that looks like a well functioning bobbin (holder)”? The more we try to quantify products in this industry, the more the industry has a need to react by puking out companies like YETI. Let companies explore these little things. Let them make $100+ bobbin holders and leave them be, admire them rather than scrutinize and quantify them. Not one of those companies will ever put a $4 tip on it. Personally, I love seeing the art and designs, the craftsmanship. It shows individuality and it should reflect yours as well. Sheesh!


It is very difficult to be in the position that I am, the “all talk” ambition that falls short of coming through. That ambitious pimple just continues to grow and irritate me and it is time to pop the pimple. Just get on with it. I will admit it is quite difficult in today’s social media style economy that really drives start-ups to be a cusp-millennial/Gen-X person. One that did not grow up with smartphones and “friends” as actual friends hold more value to me than a number. It seems in our business environment, your “friends” are also your bank account. The difficult position I find myself in is a position in which I am incapable of acquiring “friends” just by the click of a button. I always wonder who the person is and why they would want to be friends with a person like me. Furthermore, why would I want to be “friends” with them. I literally have no idea who they are and that stops me from confirming these countless numbers of people who have every ability to benefit a business.

Just recently, I watched an episode of “Black Mirror” and almost threw away ALL of my electronics. The episode was based on the ability to rate a person at any given time for any reason. The higher rated you were, the higher you stood in social class, your ability to get a high paying job, plane tickets, and what car you drove was all rooted in being highly rated. It hit WAY too close to home for me. Seeing the social media platform from a business perspective where I scoff at anything less than a 5-star rating, I have seen myself go to good lengths to recover from a single 4-star rating. We are after all, humans. This episode threw me into a spin considering interaction. How the social platform has been shifted to sell products, just like every other business. From news to politics to religion and back again, everyone is using social media as an outlet for getting themselves higher on the platform of the social elite. Internet famous. So, we watch our words and actions and we choose our friends well so that we can tiptoe around being who we really are. I will say, the person I am on social media is definitely not the real life me.

Due to my imbalance of social media skills and also my stepping away from it time to time, I have realized that gaining the traction I need to continue growth or simply momentum is a difficult task. It is the mark of a terrible magician. Now you see me, now you don’t… for an indeterminate amount of time. In those times of disappearance, things become more and more frustrating, which is exactly why I step away in the first place. Some Joe Shmoe off the street who has never tied or fished more than one day a year goes on to repeat something heard from someone who heard something else from someone. Thus, an expert on ALL subject matter. I have previously expressed this before.

In growing frustration, I have felt there is a way to go about things properly. Without trying to pinch pennies to do so. When you dive into things associated with manufacturing, you can see the utterly brutal side of the fly fishing industry. A place where flies cost pennies to produce, tying materials are fractions of pennies and things are done the way they are expressly for cost management. These moments of thought are often sidelined by my ability to process the fact that a large company and the loyal hashtags can absolutely hold down an at home manufacturer. The money they can throw around and the loyalty they have can make a guy like me appear to be the fool for being reasonable.

The elephant in the room is what holds me back. Myself. The frustrations that I have, the lack of money, all excuses to hold me back to a goal that I could easily achieve. In the words of A Perfect Circle, “Just begin”.

This process will take some time indeed. At least 3 months. I’ll keep those who want to know, in the know. As this process of blogging has turned into a personal venting space. A place for thoughts where only my fingers are the guides.


Trudging Through Sludge

At times, life seems to reminisce, especially when I get into the more difficult situations. The correlation to my life at this moment is akin to running the mudflats chasing carp. When I was buried knee deep at times, and friends around me as well. That silted ditch filled with wet sediment grabs onto you all the way to your knees. The struggle to free yourself pulls bones from their sockets as motions become more frantic. You are locked in and in pain. Tired from overexertion, exhausted. I could have given up. I could have let go to be consumed by coyotes and vultures, no one would know or look for me there. I’d just be a dead guy in the mud. That is not the human spirit though. The human spirit wants to live. To catch more fish, despite dangers. The escape, in the moment of panic always seems impossible. It isn’t until you assess your situation that you find clarity.

Slow. Down.

Slow down and look at your life, assess your situation, turn off the panic switch. Things will happen and you will feel it as it begins to release you, it feels great. There is still more mud ahead, but there are fish to catch. You’ll laugh about it later.

Drawing Blanks

If it wasn’t obvious by my lack of fishing oriented posts, I have obviously been slacking on the fishing and a whole lot of other things I need to do. I knew this coming back into writing on this blog. I also knew that this time would focus away from pictures onto the story or thoughts. Straying away from the typical social media quip to focus on writing.

These last couple of weeks have been frustrating. Monsoon season is in full swing. To some, the rain is just the rain and is also a day in which to mosey around the house to clean or pick up the last few days of trying to be outside. Our earth moves, the sand shifts every which way. What was once an area of trail, now a river and tomorrow it will be somewhere else entirely. The lightning strikes are close enough to put holes through the roof. To collect static electricity and connect from the inside. Enough to soil your pants.

Flies and leaders are rolling off of the vice. Things are being fixed, the internet repaired, storage rooms built, shelves put up, simple fixes to cars and the like, the garden, the shop in it’s busy season and every year around this time, I’m itching to fish. The flies keep my sanity in check for the most part. The leaders tear my hands up. They are a reminder of what will happen. Fishing will happen. My imagination runs wild, putting me in the drivers seat of a perfect day while staring down the barrel of the vice. I know the day is coming soon.

In other news, when I began writing again, I knew that I had to freshen up my skills. To hone the edges of the proverbial pencil and just write. You’ll notice a few things different about the blog now. One of those is not trying to put out gold. This post is a great example of that. Keeping people in the know. I do not wish for people to have it in their head that nothing but fishing happens in my life. Granted, much of my life IS dedicated in some fashion to fish, there is so much more that goes on. Fish have even influenced my gardening technique. Off topic…. There will be many of these non-fishing, diary/journal style posts. There will be technical posts, tips and whatnot. Heck, I might even take a shot at fiction. Who knows!? I just want to keep that edge sharp. this is how I’m doing it.


Fingers worked to the bone, to dust. A stretched out arm divided, equally separated, neatly. Forced to commiserate, yet, never mourn. Harrowing footsteps on a path snubbed out by lightning strikes, never in the same place twice. All culminating into the visceral image of a man shattered, glass shards of equal distribution across a plane of strife.

The greatest enemy, those inner demons. Marching lockstep toward the infinite black of the mind. Never-ending armies of turmoil created by the same, motivated by the same. Dreams of happenstance and matters unrelated. Dreams of people thought of as friends. Still here locked away in a dungeon by choice, by name, unable to reach out. Dreams carried beneath the wings of wistlessness, undistracted by the horde, as a reminder to be.

Back and forth as a pendulum swings. It seems unending, relentless. The constant repetitive nature of the measurement of existence. The count grows higher, the ladder longer, the battle harder. Fight while it is still possible. Fight with fervent rage.

Take the step headlong into the abyss of the unknown. Change the course with every motion. Break the chains that restrict the motion and bind the pendulum. Express beyond the gleeful extreme, that ever increasing bar of pleasantries defined by what is seen, into reality. Struggle.

Cyclical Overthinking

As I sit this morning, I must bar all thought. A blank space, fingers moving, typing. A warm-up exercise for the day to get the fluids moving. To conjure a thought, new, fresh. It is a thing for writers to write about their writer’s block, but is it a thing to force yourself to be blocked? I’ve always stated that repetitive motion is not understanding and I hold fast to that. The complexities of understanding are to see whatever issue it is from all sides. Sounds easy enough, politics has been polarized over the years to make us believe that it is one way or the other. The only way to simplify the block is to say it is either on or off. But it is not quite that simple. To force oneself to be blocked with the intention of being blocked is the same as being blocked with the intention of not being blocked. Feel free to read that last thought again as I gather some new ones.

It is curious, thinking about thinking. The idea of where a thought comes from and how those thoughts come to light. Paradoxical really. Time traveling through predictions of future thought but being there at completion and going back to change it. The quantum superposition of thought. In our minds we carry the cognitive ability to imagine, fictitiously, any scenario. Any possibility. As infinite as it all seems, somehow we drown it out. We focus. We bear down on the thought that we are incapable and by doing so renders us incapacitated. Feel free to read the thought from the first paragraph that you reread the first time.

I find it impossible to keep up with overthinking. What started as a blank idea, free of thought has now become a buzz in which I can not type fast enough, but it is sinking in. The ideas that I can pluck are not explainable on the fly and I have hit a wall that casts aside new ideas.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

Now, I’m trapped in the thoughts prior to this point. To more deeply think and explain the prior writings. They are already there and I promise they were not edited. It is much like linear time travel in real time. As titillating as thinking about the process of thought is to me, I feel as though it should be left there. Unchanged. Unabashed. Pure, raw thought… about thought. As ambiguous as it seems, maybe it isn’t at all. One day, I’ll wake up and write about this. Please reread from the beginning.

The Escape

The sun beats down on the water as pearls of focused light spray themselves across the projector screen of a stone face. The drama unfolds in some futuristic, alien movie. Untranslatable and silent playing a message across the world at all times. It is a moment of zen, of purity.

The breeze gently slaps waves into the hull of the boat and against the shoreline allowing a subtle break from the heat. The prime function of the cooling evaporative effect in the human body working in overtime. Beneath the surface of the water, mechanisms are working in concert to sustain life. Life is making decisions of it’s own, choices to eat or die, to be prey or be predator. From atom to amoeba, from insect to human. All right here for a reason. It is chaos on an imperceivable level. It is output and work to maintain what we simply know as life.

Far beyond this place lie structures, concepts, ideas. The notion the we are in control of this chaos. A place where we think we can turn abstract complexities into something more pleasing. Something measurable. Geometry. Utilizing science to define, to predict the coming of something else. To assume we can fathom the concept of life itself. The constant turmoil of our machines, and the chaos of trying to get somewhere within a certain measurement of time. Bickering over self worth and ideas to manipulate the thought processes of others to be like us. Numbing ourselves with scenes of violence, with keeping up with the Joneses, with contributing ideas to the idea of how society functions and keeping that ideal of what we should be. All the while keeping us believing the chaos is controlled. Delivering peace through the word “because”.

Seeing through the eyes of the nascent, surrounded by the chaos beyond the city walls, magically floating on water, squinting as though seeing the sun for the first time, I am. I am here, part of this chaotic situation, at peace. Shrodinger’s cat, both alive and dead, unobserved and unable to observe those who live in the cities. Both answers unknown to either side, I have escaped. Only manipulated by the abstract concepts surrounding me, only defined by my impact upon it.


The Call

It is a sickness, similar to being laid up in a hospital bed with unfinished business. You left your oven on and you know it. The constant tug pulling you away from where you are. A place you do not wish to be. Any excuse seems legitimate.

There is no reprieve, no detox, no helpline. No friends to help with the itch beckoning you to your release. The friends are only enablers. Even in those moments of joy and excitement the memory seems dull and uneventful. Times spent around people numbingly tedious. Deep down, you want to enjoy those moments, but the oven is on. You left your home unlocked and your focus on the world around you fades.

The itch, the pull, the ever active light in your head. To be there in the cold while yearning for warmth. Surrounded by a safe place. To escape the relentless barrage of people breathing the same air, choking what oxygen is left. To be free of neon lights and unsmiling faces walking with no other care for the others who, blank-faced and emotionless, do the same. To be in that place again, to be in a place of non-judgement, to be free in that vast expanse of nothing. Those are the thoughts that dominate.

Until then, walking head down with my hands in my pockets, you will know what I am thinking and where I want to be. That person hiding in his cloak in public with the end goal of casting it off. To be who and what I really am, even though I might not know what that is. Even with age, I should know how to block it out, but I can not. A burden I have carried since childhood still wants me, still calls.