Category Archives: Random

Acting On A Myth…

Short and sweet this morning. Not often do I have the opportunity to find new water or new fish. It did happen a couple years ago and might just happen again today. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to find new things in New Mexico, we don’t have much to find. Water, at least. I mean the accidental fish in waters you normally fish is cool and all, but I get to hunt one, to see if rumors are true.

Having a great deal of experience with the fish I’m searching for. But from experience in Illinois, no matter how stupid a fish seems to be, they can also be very elusive. Today, I’m strapping on the hiking boots and darting across fields of boulders to (literally) find the best news of my life.

The crazy part of all of this is, my life does depend on it. My future decisions depend on this fish. It seems mundane an unexciting to some, but I’ll see you later and hope to come back with fantastic news. As anticlimactic as that news may be. Until tomorrow!

To be continued…

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And Then, Rain

“Here comes the rain again.”

It is a line in a song to which I know neither author nor title. For that matter, any of the other lyrics in the song. Probably comes from my youth, sitting in front of the television, singing along to the sales pitch of boxed set cassettes. Hits from the 80’s. The commercials were prevalent in those days and in my innocence, I would think they were the same song. To this day, I remember the lines and sequences of the commercials. Something you would learn after being in a boat with me on a slow day.

I digress… The misplaced line of the song in question is sort of doldrum and probably not about rain at all. It is reminiscent of most songs in the rain genre. Minor keys, sadness, bankruptcy, all elements of rain apparently. These people must come from Seattle where nonstop, boring, minor key rain is a way of life.

It has been 19 years. NINETEEN YEARS of extreme to exceptional drought here in New Mexico. In case you were wondering, exceptional is not positive. All those years I thought my P.E. teacher was complimenting me… Allow me to preface, I don’t live in the mojave or similar, it just doesn’t rain much here. Our record high temperature was 99 degrees some years ago. Our rainfall has just been unusually low. It may change, and I’ll be waiting.

The adage, when it rains, it pours, is fitting around these parts. Most often comes as a surprise to us muggles and meteorologists alike. Not the Louis Armstrong Muggles or the ologists of meteors, for that matter. I can see for parsecs out here and one would think they could see it coming. You can’t. At first, a puffy cloud, a normal anomaly of humankind. Don’t blink, it’ll get you. Much like the rhythm. When I see that water column falling from the sky in my path, I rejoice. Everyone does, it is a powerful virus out here (do I keep referencing stuff… The Thing) that spreads joy. The end of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, cannons and all. Somehow, in my demented little mind, destruction via rain is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of and there is no storm as potentially destructive as a New Mexico storm. It just has nothing to destroy here.

Maybe we do not have big rivers that expand beyond their banks, so what!? Here, both rain and rivers are a new surprise every time.

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Wide Open

Perpetually gray, continually covered in a thin layer of clouds, desaturating the overwhelmingly drab hues of the desert, it gave a sense of twilight. To decode the reasons for the lake to maintain a mysterious air brings me back to my first visits. Sunny day trips were inevitably squandered by the cloud cover looming over the proverbial castle of Frankenstein himself. Conjuring thoughts of the deranged, but the thoughts were not unfounded. Some years ago, someone lost their truck down the boat ramp and when the scuba divers went to retrieve it, they found a different vehicle with an entire family trapped in their car at the bottom of the lake. No sign of the truck, however. Maybe it was the dismal brown of the lake that hid its secrets, maybe the clouds hovering above that covered up what the lake had done. Maybe staying too long could pull you in as well.

During the summer, the water changes from heavily creamed coffee to a chalky shade of green. In neither situation does the light penetrate to see what is underfoot. Could be anything down there, any depth, any creature. Around the bend could be a skin walker or any number of mysterious beasts. The air of the unknown. The landscape and the imagination wide open and empty. Rather than be filled with real and rational, instead, the mind wanders to parts unknown.

Colloquially, it is referred to as “THE DEAD SEA”. No fish in New Mexico is more tight-lipped than the ones found here. All the while adding to the idea that secrets are abound. There is the distinct possibility, they too, fear what is around the corner. Fear of the beasts themselves who lurk within.

We shuttled along the riprap of the world’s 11th largest earth-fill dam. The blackness of the massive basalt structure disappeared at the shoreline. For the second time in my life, the skies overhead were clear. Only, this time we didn’t have a wayward rattlesnake trying to seek refuge in the boat. The high altitude sun was brutal. The air was still and quiet. No other boats or children playing, no airplanes or birds, just a fly line sailing through the air. That familiar whistle evoking the mind’s deepest thoughts of the world.

No fish yet. No carp stacked in the inlet of the mighty Rio Grande, no bass on the cliffs, no pike in the grass. All hope was fading, ushered out by the burden of heat exhaustion. Our options dwindled equally. The last hope was a small population of bluegill and perch that I knew were in the lake. There have been rumors of white bass, but in all of my days I have yet to see one. I sat in the boat looking at materials to jumble together to make a small enough fly and commenced tying the stupidest fly to date. Just a hook with black dubbing and black shimmer fringe. I lobbed a cast at the bank with everything I had left and saw a familiar white flash. Game. Set. Match. I had found the elusive white bass.

…Or so I thought

Maybe the beasts and denizens around the corner, although unexpected aren’t really that unreal after all. Definitely not as frightening. Unless, you are afraid of crappie.

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The Story is Dead

I hope you are prepared to read. I offer no pretty pictures or frill, no shark eating grouper or fail compilations, just words. I know the drill with online articles these days is to leave you hanging and put a thousand words between you and the punchline of the story. Forgetting to make the title clickbait worthy is also a mistake on my part. Who said the rules should be followed anyway?

They used to say, “print is dead” back in the days when blogging was the thing that cool kids do. Looking back on those years, it was. Magazines and books were caught up in a choke-hold underneath the hairy armpit of the all-powerful blogger. For a time, it was cheap (free) advertising and companies basked in the light of offering a lighted keychain to a fellow willing to write about their company. Many, clamoring at a glimmering hope of recognition, jumped on the opportunity. If they didn’t, someone else would. Boy did they learn from us.

In the earlier days when I was reading more than writing, it was about the story. The old it’s-not-the-destination-it’s-the-journey tagline was rampant and serves a dual purpose in this circumstance. The love of fishing brought us to read stories from others about our internal thoughts. We related to one another. We commiserated in our failures. We cheered our fellow man. And the plot thickens…

Times have changed my friends. Each of us, whether in the industry or not, is now free advertising space for those who choose to use it. Fly fishing companies KNOW it happens and can’t say no to it. Which, in turn, forces us to accept almost any offer. The state of the internet knows how to drive sales in the market and has entered “visibility” as pay to play. “The Big Boys” dump money into and focus on relevance (now figured in total postings rather than engagement, visitation and quality) to get that coveted top listing. All fueled by links and clicks over content. Pair this up with the free advertising companies get from posts in the insta that are absolutely dripping in hashtags, and you get a magical outcome. If you’ve got money, even if you don’t know sh#t and your content is sh#t or regurgitated sh#t, you are on top. See what I did there?

I caught wind of this situation some years ago, but didn’t really say anything about it. Totally turned me off of the blogging scene and there was no sense in fighting against it. It was the journey, after all. Writing purely for the enjoyment of another reader seems to be lost in the black and white, or orange and black, depending on your blog settings. They’ve gone back to print and paper. The wordy and unruly renegades of the blog, famished and tired, lay quietly in the dark. Bottom-listed, unshared and unloved (and more than likely working on a book or a publishing deal).

[Insert cat meme here…]

Really, all of this rambling brings me to the point (after only 500 words). The story is lost among all of the internet trash, the top listed filth spewing from articles disguised as helpful with the only goal of selling you a product. Even if the article is profoundly misleading or from a poorly educated source. They have no fear of the publish button on the top right hand side of the screen. Just efficient, content producing machines. They have become popular opinion and their fuel is, “this works, it drives traffic, let’s continue even when it gets annoying”. Here lies the rest of us, telling stories beneath the freight train of advertising. After all, from the heart is not as valuable as from the wallet.

 


The First

Well now, I mentioned yesterday that I would begin to create more content. This is the first of that content. Rainbow trout in some little known tailwater in Northern NM. Twas a journey for sure. Here in the next week, be on the lookout for more videos. I’ll be creating a musky leader video, fly hacks, I’ve got a 3-day journey ahead of me and I’ll also be manufacturing a few more products. You’ll be first in line to see those!


Holy Shamolies!

It has been one year since I have posted anything here! As you have probably gathered, I am not so good at the blogging thing. I am currently thinking about finding new and interesting ways to use this format. I really like telling stories, but in the video format, it takes a very long time to edit and make all of that come together in my mediocre way. Maybe, I’ll start telling the stories when I upload videos without the narrative. Maybe that is what will happen. So, 2017 is  resurrecting the blog and maybe some interesting writing instead of photographic posts. I feel like Facebook and instagram are your places to see images and this blog format has essentially been reduced to essays. Not a bad thing by any means. I’m back in the blog (even though I have made this promise before)! Anyhow, I will not be linking this site from Facebook anymore. I’m going to let the blog be the blog. To all of my 5 followers, you can see more content on YouTube. If you haven’t subscribed already, please do. I feel that youtube is a great social platform if you feel so inclined.


Mitosis Egg!

I set out filming Fly Hacks to help people understand the “why” and “how come” that I find myself asking when watching other videos. Anyone can bake a cake by recipe, but knowing how and why certain ingredients are used can lead you to make better cakes. I feel the same with flies. We can copy other patterns, but when we understand what we are doing, we can take an idea further. I hope my readers and watchers can take my patterns further. It is more about how you can use a material than it is about what new materials are out there.

 


New Fly Hacks Is Out!

I wanted to keep everyone posted here. I dropped the new fly hacks and currently working on a DVD for season 1 aka last year. Only 5 episodes, but I’m trying to pack it as full of extras that I can. I might even film the entire season this year and put that out? Heck, I may do something altogether different. Either way, a tying DVD will be out soon. Maybe, a little spiral book of recipes as well. Who knows. Anyhoo, I really wanted to focus on upsizing small flies to give some ammunition to tailwater anglers this winter. Here it is!


Alas

IMG_1009Through a downward slope of chaotic meanderings, water tumbles over stones millions of years old where the basalt has been polished to glass by the traffic. Traffic without stop lights, where jams are managed by toppling over one another. But here, alas, respite. 6,000 vertical feet to go.
The journey of water is nearly as mysterious as the fish who reside within it. Maybe the water melted from a glacier stored thousands of years ago. Maybe from rain or snow. Maybe this is it’s first journey to the ocean. I almost feel bad for flinging droplets of water to the shore from the back of a fly who’s weight is nearly measurable in ounces. Those drops evaporate and are carried east to slower, probably less desirable water. Maybe that water will get the chance to flow here again, after it makes its way around the world. Not in my lifetime though.

The rhetoric and the mystery continues with the fish. These pike reside in class 5 rapids. Pushed to the edge of their ability and they thrive, giving credence to “what doesn’t kill you”. As a human fishing for the brutish beasts in the destructive terrain, the words should be changed to, “if it doesn’t kill you”. It wants to, and every chance it gets, it will. Fitting that pike would be here to live in harmony with the chaos and destructive force of this mighty divide in the earth. IMG_0997

The pike here aren’t as few and far between as one would expect. They are concentrated in great numbers and more aggressive than any other pike in the world. The only place to my recollection that a pike would eat after being caught. A place where you have to wait for the second take to be prepared enough to set; or by the time you set from the first take, the pike has already eaten your fly a second time. A place where if you talk to someone, you’ve already missed three. IMG_0998

We forget about what it takes to survive. Our buttons and knobs that complete simple tasks lead us to believe that a fish can be an annoyance, a nuisance. What it takes to survive here is more than what us humans can muster. There are no prepackaged meal plans here, no heaters, stairs or escalators. No mechanized tools of survival or assistance from ones who can. Just a fish that has all the cards stacked against it in a place where the water can rest on its journey to who-knows-where. Alas, here we are.IMG_1001


Not a Rich Man

I may not live in a giant house or drive the newest of cars. I may not dine on the most elegant foods or drink the finest champagne. The shop I work in is not the most beautiful spectacle to behold. However, as mediocre as it all sounds, all of the things I have are all that I want or need in life. They exceed every expectation; the friends are true and the food is real. It may be a rustic way of living, but at least my excersize is climbing a mountain rather than flights of stairs. The decisions are whether or not to fish, rather than attend a meeting. I don’t live a life where I can ask what the easy way is. If I worked in an office building, the elevator would always be broken. On occasion, I ask myself why in a self loathing tone. Looking back, even in the five years I’ve spent blogging, it is all worth it. Every step was worth the work, every decision worth the effort. Even though I am not a popular guy with the masses, in the hearts of some, I am. I ended up in one of the most beautiful places on earth around the greatest people alive, my friends. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to share it. Without you, I would be miserable AND broke.