October 2009

The Trusted Hip Waders

~The Trusted Hip Waders~

Ask a thousand people how they want to die and 995 people will say, “peacefully in my sleep” as the preferred method of departure. From that predictable point the various ways one can bite the bullet are endless. Each individual harbors personal death preferences and for me, death by drowning is extremely low on my desired ways of walking toward the light.

When I first started fly fishing I wore the full blown chest waders because that’s what you do when you become a fly fisher-er-man-woman-whatever. Despite the fact a touch of girly came out in me and I thought those overall waders made my ass look like the state of Texas, I did love the river freedoms they afforded. I went from a dirt bank dweller to a water rat with no boundaries.

The problem, for me, or maybe I should label it for what it was—the temptation—with chest waders was the ability to wade out to that one spot. You know the one, that if you can just get to there you can roll cast back to the bank, around the hanging tree and to that one rising trout. I’m sure this is a me thing and others don’t suffer from such temptations. The sort of fishing weakness that leaves a good set of common sense guidelines back at the truck.  It didn’t take long to figure out I wasn’t Jesus and couldn’t actually defy water, command water, and I certainly couldn’t walk on water.

I discovered that unlike my Fly Fishing Mentor or other more stout guys around, weighing in at a buck 35 (that’s right, I wrote my weight, I’m also tall, but weight is the only measurements I’m parting with today) doesn’t exactly weigh me down like everyone else if there’s any sort of current. I’m sure there’s some physics involved here, a mathematical formula that would explain why Rebecca + River divided by Wade Depth x Current=Certain Death Swirl.

I had my fair share of ‘oh shit, I’m gonna die’  moments. It didn’t take that long to put two and two together to realize my personal red zone. The threshold between safety and danger Will Robinson !! was my hip area. I can wade all day long with water swooshing between my legs, but take those one or two temptation steps into a current that puts my hips under water and it’s like a freight train pushing against me and underwater arms pulling me out for a lets talk about dead meeting.

The breaking point was on the S.F. of the Boise River. A beautiful June afternoon when the river was still high ( I know! I know! No lectures nessassary, I swear, I learned my lesson) and the fish were rising all around me. Temptation was doing a good job of luring me into the red zone or maybe it wasn’t temptation that time. I think I’d rather blame the trout that was rising behind a rock and I couldn’t get a good drift into his honey hole. I blame the fish (written like a true addict, push blame) for those few extra steps that would have lined my fly up just right. Two extra steps, freight train pushing against my stomach and whooosh…..sucked out into the current and down the river.

Obviously I lived, but not without getting spit back out on the wrong side of the river, drenched, frozen, exhausted, stranded and hyperventilating like a fish tossed on the riverbank. Two hours. Two long ass hours I laid on the other side of the river sunning myself and pondering the meaning of life. Rescue came in the form of two Fly guys, one black lab and a drift boat. Mortification would be an understatement here, but I took the safe passage, quietly said my grateful Thank You and went home.

The next day I did what anyone who has a second chance at life should do. I admitted my weaknesses in the face of temptation, embraced my responsibility and made the step to remove the catalyst of my downfall. If you’re an alcoholic, you remove the booze, if you’re a smoker, you throw away the cigarettes, if you’re a gambler you stay away from casinos. I was consistantly guilty of  stepping one foot too far while wading, so I threw away the chest waders and purchased a set of hip waders. I call that restriction by choice removal.

Step 1)  
My name is Rebecca and I am weak,
full of temptations and a textbook 
addict in the face of Trout pursuit.

P.S. I have not participated in a single death swirl since my hip wader purchase. When I’m not wearing waders, I adhere to a strict 4 inches above the knee rule. Clearly I’m back in the ‘die peacefully in my sleep’ fold.

{ 9 comments }

As I continue to discover fantastic websites across the Internet Landscape I realize listing them all on the side of my blog will eventually create a skyscraper sized column. This is my version of organized accumulation. You should see how well I pack for a fishing or hunting trip! It’s my only domestic quality~ packing and organizing.

If you happen to come across this entry and would like to see your blog or website listed (if I haven’t discovered it yet), just leave a comment and I’ll put your site on the list. Let me know which category you’d prefer and send me two trout flies in the mail,……Ok, you don’t have to send me trout flies (unless you want to), but you could tell me the exact coordinates of one super secret honey hole location (because everyone should share) Ok, I’m kidding…(Fine, only half kidding)

This page will forever more be a collection in progress……..

Fly Fishing Blogs

Fishing the Rockies ~ Fly Fishing, Talented Writing (videos!) Oh my ~
Bigerrfish ~ A calm, refreshing interlude with a Fly Fishing Freak ~
She’s So Fly ~A Woman’s Fly Fishing site~
Seven Bridges Road ~ Fly Fishing and Beautiful Pictures~
Unaccomplished Angler ~ Fly Fishing with a side of Humor and great writing~
Fly Fish Yellowstone ~ Informative and reminds me why I love Yellowstone~
Trout Underground ~ Humor, Fly Fishing, need I write more?
Middle River Dispatch ~Fly Fishing freelance writer, columnist, advocate, and more~
Kentucky Jims Blog ~ Fly Fishing Fish Tales~
BAD FISH ~ Fly Fishing and Guff the Bionic Dog~
Cutthroat Stalker ~ Essays and Musings on Fly Fishing for Trout~
365 Flyfish ~ Fishing once a day for an entire year! An amazing quest~
A Bad Backcast and other Inane Musings ~ Salt Water Fly Fishing Stories, the Outdoors, and Stupidity?
Flyfishing Fool ~ A trout bum with amazing photography skills~
Texas Flycaster ~ Fly fishing culture on the skids (love that!)
Lunker Hunt ~ Bass Fly Fishing and Fish Tales
Troutrageous ~ An equal opportunity Fly Fisherman, all are welcome!
Fishing Jones ~Blogs For–No good reason. Purveyor–Dangerously inaccurate fly fishing information~
Fly Fishing 101 ~ A site for the newbies and oldies who can always learn something new~
SwittersB & Fly Fishing ~ Beginner’s Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Blog (and more!)
FishingPoet ~  Fly Fishing and Words, my two favorite things found here….
Thrashin’ Trout ~ Ruminations on Fly Fishing and Fly Tying~
The Fly Fishing Monster ~The monsters Fly Fishing Journeys, Reports and Stories.
Fat Guy Fly Fishing~ They love fly fishing, the outdoors, and beer. Definitely beer…
Sleeping in the Dirt ~ For those who fish, not just post about it…
Emerging Rivers Guide Services ~ (Fly Fish The Yakima) ~ Both a Guide Service (insider secrets!) & A Blog (Keeps it real)
Riverwood Blog~ Fly Fishing and Fly Tying in the Santiam Canyon (not to mention excellent info)
Mikes Gone Fishin’ ….Again ~ Well, I don’t see a problem with that! Great stories follow ‘again’….
Fly To Water ~ Incredible Photography…..Talented writing…..(I’m hooked, with a barb)

Fishing Blogs

Terry B Outdoors ~ Bass Fisherman and Writer Extraordinaire~
Blog Cabin Angler ~ Eastern Idaho Fishing Stories~
Fisherbabe ~ Another Lady who likes to wet a line~
Snag This ~ This Gal can catch big bass! Great pictures to be seen~
Flowing Waters ~ Any water, anywhere. All fish are game here ~
Northern California Trout ~ Fishing in the Mountains of Northern California (can I come?)
Ben, The Hairy Angler ~ In pursuit of things with teeth (and he finds them!)
Blazer Shane’s Blog ~ Pursuing fish in the great State of Oregon ~
Journal of a Minnesota Angler ~ Fishing stories of an Avid Fisherman ~

Hunting Blogs

Ben G. Outdoors ~ Stories, Advice and Good Company~
Bulls and Beavers~ Alittle Bit of Everything Hunting~
Hunt Only ~ A group setting of Hunting Blog posts, variety style!
The Hunters Wife ~ An indoor gal with a charming perspective of the hunting life~
Wildlife Callers ~ Mountain Lion and Predator Calling Fanatics with a side of Great Photography~
Hunts Like A Girl ~ A Sister of the Arrow! I just need some scent free lip gloss now~

All Around Outdoor Blogs

LarryB’s Blog ~ He’s got it all, fishing, nature, outdoors~
Wandering Owl Outside ~ Outdoor pursuits, photography, books, and more…~

All Around Outdoor Websites

The Trout Lie ~ Boise Area Fly Fishing Reports | Premium Fly Patterns~
Just North ~ Outdoor Adventures and Minnesota Lifestyle Guide~
Woman Anglers ~ I put this website here because it’s full of fishing, but has hunting as well! Lots to read~
Star Tribune Outdoors ~ All around outdoor articles, make sure to check out the ”Trout Whisperers” column~
Dream Cast Idaho~ Idaho fly tying and spey casting classes. Information, blog and much more~
Fly Fish Map ~ Discover the world of fly fishing on their Google map site. The Outdooress claimed her spot, have you??
Riverwood Flies ~ Fly Fishing Flies and Fly Tying Material. A great resource!
Oregon Outdoor Excursions ~ Planning a Trip to Oregon? Check out this website first.

Fly Fishing Gear, Flies, Supplies and More….

Fishing Supply Co ~ Fly Tying? A wide variety of  materials found here!

{ 21 comments }

Fishing Companions: Ones that Don’t Talk

by Rebecca on October 29, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Bandon and I, heart to heart~

~Bandon and I, heart to heart~

I fly fish alone the majority of the time…..now, now, don’t feel bad for me. I consider my solitary fly flinging excursions a result of natural selection and been there, done that. Apart from going with a few select individuals, a few predictable fly buddies, I’ve found fly fishing is on par with a trip to heaven and I see no need to drag a few potential sinners along to tempt the water gods. (again, been there, done that)

However, I do have one very predictable and always loyal fishing companion and she is the El Dog. Also known as Bandon. A sweet tempered Golden Retriever who is my constant shadow.

Bandon wasn’t acquired to play the part of constant fishing companion, no, not at all. She was purchased to be a reliable duck/goose hunting dog but despite her neurotic fetching addiction, a duck or goose is completely beneath her girly tastes. Essentially, the dog wouldn’t touch anything with a feather even if you slathered it with bacon grease and stapled a lamb chop to it. No freaking way she declared as she stuck her nose in the air and pranced back to my side during many (many MANY) feeble training sessions.

A Hard Day on the River

A Hard Day on the River

Going fishing however, was right up her alley. Because she’s so girly, and polite, with a set of impeccable dog manners, she’s never, ever, a pain on the river. She’s content to stand chest deep in the river with a stick in her jaws for hours waiting for her big chance to fetch something. She doesn’t move an inch towards random people as they walk by and other dogs are irrelevant nuisances she sometimes encounters but typically won’t give them the time of day. She’s got me in her line of sight and that’s the only thing that seems to matters in her world.

Must Not Look

Must Not Look

I have come to the conclusion that once a decision to go fishing has been made, we humans must give off a certain excited aroma or aura that only dogs….or maybe it’s just my dog…..can pick up on. The moment I decide to go fishing, without saying anything, without even going to the closet to get my gear, Bandon picks up on the ”going fishing” scent and darts to the front door, guard style, as if to remind me that if I am going fishing it would be blasphemy, a true mortal sin of dog ownership,  if I left her home. Because she knows that’s exactly what my plans are.

Nope, NOT going to Look

Nope, NOT going to Look

This is a good time to mention that my darling timid companion is also terrified of cameras, so the odds of ever taking a decent picture of her and posting it is slim at best. I think I have 2, maybe 3 where she didn’t have a chance to twist her head sideways. It seems at some point in time she deemed the camera her version of potential ‘death by looking’, a Medusa like contraption that will turn her into instant stone if she looks directly at one. Maybe that will change as we continue with, “project desensitize Bandon to the camera” but so far the therapy isn’t working.

For many, many years I simply went fishing by myself, but now that I have Bandon, I can’t imagine not taking her. She’s excited for me when I catch a fish and always there to encourage me along. Now if only she could learn how to collaborate my claimed fish stories I’d be doing good.

Rebecca

{ 5 comments }

~The Tree of my Terror...Me, Dale in the Tree, and Robert~

~The Tree of my Terror...Me, Dale in the Tree, and Robert~

Morning and Evening Hunt~ 
6 Bull Elk
12 Cow
7 Moose
So many Mule deer I lost track

The morning hunt was utterly unremarkable. Nothing to even report.

This evening I was banished to the tree stand. I knew this moment would come despite my reservations and feeble attempts at hinting that I wasn’t so sure I, who has a slight aversion to heights, would enjoy hunting from a tree stand. Both Dale and Robert assured me it was easy, no problem, I was gonna love it. I don’t think they understand the concept of  internal fears, but I was willing to give it a try, the old climb, conquer and get over it theory.

My banishment started at 4:30 this evening. I slowly climbed the mountain to the tree stand taking my own sweet time hoping for some sort of reason, like a bull elk bugling somewhere, anywhere, that would force me to abandon the tree stand idea and head off on a new adventure. No such luck.

I climbed the ladder without much trouble, I think I even felt a bit of triumphant accomplishment when I arrived at the platform part of the ladder. That elation however was short lived. I leaned over and hung my hunting pack on the tree peg and than proceeded to stand properly on the platform. The minute I put two feet on the platform and turned around, life as I knew it ceased to exists.  I should have checked if Aetna or Aviva health insurance companies had a ‘falling from tree’ clause to cover me just in case. So I quickly sat my arse down, pressed my back against the tree, encircled my arms behind me to hold onto the tree for dear life, let my bow dangle from it’s strap around my neck and closed my eyes. No, life was no longer peaches and cream, it became more of a heart palpitations and cold sweat mixture of hell.

1 hour and 25 minutes….that’s 1,2, 3, 4……85 minutes of minute by painful minute pure terror. That’s exactly how long my adventure in panic and anxiety lasted.  It would have been shorter if I could have dug in my pack and grabbed my GPS unit to call for an emergency evacuation, but that would have required serious movement and I couldn’t do that!

So I sat there. And sat there. And sat there some more envisioning all the ways I would die in that tree stand. I figured either 1) I would fall and die 2) A branch would fall on my head and I would die 3) A bear would climb the tree and eat me and I would die 4) No one would ever come looking for me and I would starve to death up there and then the Sheriff would wonder why I starved to death considering there was a perfectly good Snickers bar in the backpack I wouldn’t dare reach for – regardless, I die 5) Heart Attack and I die 6) My bow strap was going to strangle me and then I would die………….and so on and so forth. You know, only the type of things an overly active and panicked mind could conjure up.

I was so frozen to my spot I was sure roots had grown out my ass, attached themselves to the seat and I would never, ever get off that stand. As far as hunting was concerned, a dream 400 class Bull could have sauntered up underneath my tree, grazed on some grass, laid down for a nap, bugled all his buddies in to stare at me and I would have simply yelled, “HELP ME damn you!”

Finally the worst and I guess (now) best thing could have happened. On about minute number 81, a hard wind kicked up suddenly and my stationary form of torture instantly became a new improved version of Nightmare on Tree Street. The tree started swaying back and forth, and that was enough to inspire a new form of motivation called, “get the f*ck out of the moving tree, even if it means doing a swan dive off the platform.”

At this point, I can’t even remember getting out of the tree. I think my mind has blocked it, repressed the nightmarish memory, but I’m here, clearly alive. There is only one last thing to say.  Dirt is my new best friend and trees the enemy. If I am to hunt out of a tree stand in the future, Robert will need to build me a four star tree house complete with shutters and a wrap around deck.

Signed, Non-negotiable,
Rebecca

For an explanation about my Outdoor Journal Series:
Please visit Outdoor Journal-An Introduction

For those seeking legit and helpful advice about tree stands and such, I suggest visiting Ben G Outdoors website for reviews about tree stands and other hunting tips!

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Fly Fishing Attire: Runways On The River

October 27, 2009

I haven’t seen him in a few years, but there was a flyfisherman I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of in Yellowstone Park (on the Yellowstone river) while I was fly fishing for gorgeous cutthroats. Truth be told, there was no way to miss, or forget  the man because he was always decked out in NEON GREEN among other [...]

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Fishing Mentors: My Dad Inspired Me

October 26, 2009

There are two people I can credit with mentoring my fishing evolution. Today’s entry is about my first mentor. I credit my own Father with introducing me to the Great Outdoors and specifically, fishing. He christened me when I was a 6 week old baby with a Mepps Treble hook to the forehead and I [...]

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Fly Fishing Identity: FlyLady? Flychick? Flygirl?

October 24, 2009

Men have it easy in this department and I imagine they have never looked at this name thing from a female perspective. They are Flyfisherman. A.K.A. Fisherman, the universal meaning for those that cast a line. Considering guys started the activity, I guess it’s only fair they get the easiest designation. But when you are female, the lines [...]

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Fly Fishing: Fly By Questions

October 22, 2009

One of the best parts about fishing is the people one meets while charting their own fishing destiny. Paths cross, people toss lines into the same body of water and we all share a similar goal—-catch fish. We share nods or smiles as we respectfully adhere to wide margins of personal fishing space (except in salmon fishing, [...]

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Outdoor Journal: Elk Hunting

October 22, 2009

First Day of Elk Hunting—-Finally!! Morning Hunt Animals Seen: 3 Moose (1 Huge Bull Moose) 9 Deer 1 group of 3 bulls by themselves 5X5 bull at 65 yards Another herd of 6 Elk All by 10:30 a.m. Dale and I got into excessive noise trouble right out the gate by talking too loud in the [...]

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Outdoor Journal: An Introduction

October 22, 2009

The official Explanation ~ On August 15th 2007, I started a handwritten field journal of my hunting and fishing experiences. That day happened to be the opening day of Antelope season and I have packed my little brown leather journal with me on every trip since. I’ve shared my handwritten field journal with several people and each [...]

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