February 2010

The Fly Fishing Film Tour and Swag Girl

by Rebecca on February 23, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~Fly Fishing Film Tour~

On Saturday night I swallowed any public shyness I harbor, summoned my bravado and faced the ultimate herd of Fly Fisherman collected into one spot (without water) and went to the Drake Fly Fishing Film Tour as it passed through Boise Idaho.

When I first learned it was coming to town I had devised a plan. Buy a ticket, drive to event, wear my trusty fly fishing hat low over my brow and simply slink in and slink out. A bit like my normal Fly Shop routine.

However, the week prior to the film, I met via the Internet medium and phone, a local fly fisherman and custom rod builder, Steve Vance. We talked fishing a few times and the day before the showing, he called and asked me if I would help him and the tour out by passing out hats at the event.

By saying ya, sure, I can help out (handle it), I blew my incognito plan out like a river in early June run off. Next thing I knew I was party crashing the Idaho Angler pre-film gathering which was a great get together at a local fly fishing shop. Then we headed down to the theater and I became part of the Film Tour swag team! Talk about a good deal…and this is for everyone…for the price of one ticket you got entrance to the movie, a Fishpond hat, a Belize DVD, a Costa Del Mar sunglasses retainer and a swanky program….passed out in a frenzied blur by yours truly. (My only gig was Boise, sorry)

At one point the event guy running the actual theater told Steve and I to pick up the pace because the line of frothing fly fisherman stretched around the block. If I had a second to spare I would have explained to him that this was bonus swag of the fly fishing nature and such treasures shouldn’t be hurried. Instead of stating the obvious, I flung goodies as fast as I could. Hundreds of people had to pass by me and accept my swanky offerings, but I’ll be damned if I remember a single one in that blur. But…it was all good, I was like the fairy godmother of fishing.   

When the line finally stalled and the movie started, Steve and I raced into the theater to find a seat in the dark. Since this is the first time I’ve ever seen it, I have nothing to compare to past years films, but I really enjoyed myself. I can’t imagine a better time to tease the fly fishing soul and wet the parched lips of winter locked hysteria than a February film of fish temptations. Have a touch of Cabin Fever? Go see the Fly Fishing Film Tour for 3 hours of jealousy and visual pleasure.

I did have the pleasure of meeting Thad Robinson, Marc Crapo (stunning Indiana Jones satchel) and Jay (thank you for the t-shirt!) along with one special lady who seems to have as bad a luck as I do in the raffle department. Julie…lets go fishing soon!  

All in all, I’m very glad I went.

Rebecca

P.S. as a former swag swinger for the Fly Fishing Film Tour, a piece of advice. Get your tickets early and furthermore, get in line early! Some swag ran out and the stragglers only got a hat and program! Early hatch gets the biggest rewards ~

P.P.S. Hey John Dollar (who writes Seven Bridges Road) I waited and waited to be haunted, spooked, or at least feel the cold air of ghosts at the Egyptian Theater all night, but the only scary thing in the whole theater was the screaming fly fisherman =)

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Fly Fishing on a stage while playing the Midge

by Rebecca on February 16, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~Working on the self portrait! Almost a whole face this time~

On Sunday I took Bandon the Bashful out for a Valentines Day event I knew she would appreciate more than say, a rawhide dipped in chocolate. We went to the local river establishment. A cheap venue, close to home, no-frills sort of date. She’s a dog, she’s easy to please.

I went to a new section of the river I’d never practised my casting on: a zone of water that I’m now torn over. In one regard, it’s a great stretch of water that provided a few nooks and crannies, seams and pools that I normally gravitate to. On the other hand, this stretch of river ended up (snuggling too close for comfort) right next to the walking path that partners with my local river for miles and miles.

Try as I might, I couldn’t ignore the fact that my choice of river locations for the day landed me square in the middle of lovers lane for Valentine walkers. Who would have thought every couple in my town would think a nice cold stroll along the river would emulate romanticism.

To me, fly fishing is a solitary act. An individual state of being wherein the practitioner goes to their happy place of mind and body. It’s like a Zen Fly Fishing Master whispers in my ear…..shhhconnect, be one with the river….

But on Lovers Lane Sunday, the Zen Master voice turned into a Cage Fight Announcer and chanted in my ear…..you have an audience! Catch a damn fish, these people are staring, waiting, cheering, watching, give ‘em a show!…..I realized I had waded myself into a spectator event and I was center stage. I admit it, I suffered from various degrees of stage fright. ( At one point I slowly turned around and counted 8 people stopped and watching me, I lost my happy place)

Not only did I have a constant stream of witnesses at my back, I had to submit my poor little flies for inspection several times. I guess if you have enough guys walking their ladies along the river, you’re bound to have a few fly fisherman sprinkled in the mix. Showing my flies in this manner always feels like a slim line between a Miss Fly America contest and the criminal line up at a police department. It’s either beauty approved or the guilty fly that belongs back in lock up…err,,,fly box. Thankfully my choice of flies got several nods of approval and no one said, “Umm, that fly only catches fish in Alabama.”

About the actual fish. I don’t wanna talk about them..(the dirty rotten)….  

~My big catch of the day.. Mr. Midget~

The best thing to interrupt my happy place all day was confessionals from two–not one–but two other fly fisherman. They both confessed they had been skunked. It’s not JUST ME!! Praise the fish gawds ~

Isn’t it time for some fluffy caddis? Perhaps a big juicy salmon fly? Soon maybe? Like tomorrow? I’ve had about all the midge fun I can take…..

Rebecca

Public Service Announcement: A Fly Giveaway! In honor of the big red heart day we just had, Austin from 365 Fly Fish is giving away a dozen #18 Red Hot Nymphs by Feb. 19th. OR by the 30th comment on his blog. All you have to do is leave a comment….so get on over there, cast your comment and you just might score some new flies~ LINK ~~> Red Hot Nymphs Ohh lala spreadin’ the love

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Once, when I was in Alaska, I was casting into the surf, just to see if I could entice a passing salmon or two. I was delighted when I felt the undeniable pull of a fish and I quickly reeled up my prize onto the sandy beach. The thrill turned to shock when I got a good look at my bounty. If my over-active imagination serves me correctly (and it’s had several years to over-exaggerate the situation), when that fish looked up at me it’s gills flared out with razor fish spikes and countless whiskers protruded from the sides of it’s huge mouth. As that fish glared at me, the razors and whiskers waved around just daring me to retrieve my spendy lure. I’m also pretty sure it hissed at me. That single ocean surprise fish became a star character in some reoccurring nightmares.

Ewwweeeeiiiii

This is the entry where I risk displaying my true feminine side by talking about the looks of certain fish. This of course could be a me thing and surely no one else out there is phased by the appearances of fish, but there are a few species that give me the heebie jeebies.  

I’m pretty sure my aversion to certain fish started at a young age. I believe I observed as a young thang,  that say, a sucker, was properly greeted by revulsion and dismissed with a mandatory rock or two…Please remember, that was back then, before being politically fish correct was the right thing to do. As for what to do with a sucker fish in this day and age. No comment.

It’s a lip thing. The slurping bottom sucking pucker that makes me recoil and cut my line before I’d attempt to go in for a fly retrieval– even IF it was a favorite fly.. (Girlie Alert!) Yep, that’s right, I have my limitations on the guyish bravado front and I draw the line at sucker fish. The few times I’ve accidentally caught one I was appalled and quite frankly embarrassed through my trout heart that such a slimball crashed my fishing party.

I’m pretty sure I can blame suckers for my aversion to the whitefish. It’s the lip thing again. Their small rounded little fish lips are a visual reminder of all things sucker fish and distinctively non-trout-like. My prejudice is irrational, but drawn around a solid circle factor.

Trout have good lips, nice smile, straight teeth. Just saying….

Whisky Whiskers Whoaa

When I judge a fish by it’s looks, it’s not limited to just the lips. There’s the whisker issue to mention.  I’m not sure why or when I took a disliking to the fish with whiskers, but on the whole, I’d rather not. The way I see it, moving whiskers that give out a grabby tentacle vibe should be avoided if possible. Basically, you’ll never hear a catfish report out of me.

Now, just to be clear, a website is one place to confess all sorts of shortcomings.  However, when I’m out on the water and find myself in the unfortunate situation of having an undesirable at the end of my line, I do remain stoically composed. Solid pride dictates a calm demeanor, play it cool and zero involuntary dry heaving motions are allowed, especially in the presence of (male) witnesses. I would never, ever…..

Only a Blob Mother could love......A BlobFish

Although, if for some reason this following fish were to end up at the end of my leader I’m fairly certain I would either
1) Faint…no…make that swoon
2) scream like a little boy or
3) retire from fishing and take up shuffle boarding

Happy Valentines Day Everyone~
Rebecca

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The Kindness of Fishermen

by Rebecca on February 10, 2010

in Fly Fishing

Yellowstone Fly

~The Unknown Fly I named Kindness~

I’m not sure what the above fly is called, maybe the man who gave it to me told me, maybe he didn’t. The fly used to have little rubber legs and was a bit more fluffy and distinguished. Now it’s a piece of my vintage fly history and a testament to the kindness I’ve stumbled across while on the waterways.

The morning I was given that fly, I was sitting on the dirt bank of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone Park. My fly rod was propped in the dirt leaning across my shoulder, my fly bag was tossed near my feet, open, ignored, and I was gazing out across the big Yellowstone watching risers that I couldn’t get close enough to. At the moment, I was feeling frustrated and defeated by my wading limitations.

Then he came along, a nameless man who just happened across my sovereign spot in the dirt. He stopped, asked me the normal fisherman pleasantries…how’s it going….have you caught any fish…I opted for honesty and told him that despite all attempts to love the Yellowstone River, she continued to toy with me, tease me and deny me reasonable (without the threat of death via drowning) wading entrance.

He pulled out a fly box and started sifting through it while he explained to me that although the Yellowstone liked to keep her treasured rising cutties out in the deep zones, the fish could be caught nearer to the bank if you know where to look for them. He pulled out the above fly, handed it to me and told me to walk along the bank and spot fish for underwater bank cruisers. Then he smiled, and was gone….

Honestly, I can’t remember if I caught a fish with that fly, but his kindness is something I’ve never forgotten. He’s not the only one who has given me flies on the riverbank over the years. I have a special little box I keep that holds the flies men (sadly, it’s all men, I rarely, if ever come across woman on the rivers) have graciously given me. I can be catching fish just fine, but I’ve noticed men like to stop, talk, and impress upon me their favorite, or secret fly for the day.

It isn’t just about the flies that have been given me, this kindness I write of, it’s the friendliness and willingness to offer conversation, wisdom or just a friendly smile to me…the anomaly on the river.  I’m not sure how it is for other men– the man to man interaction–on the water. But I have witnessed acts of kindness between guys that confirms this sort of graciousness isn’t just reserved for the pink elephant (me) wading in the water.

I believe in every persons life, it’s good to pause, look back and thank the people who made a good impression in your life. So today I’d like to publicly thank:

~The man on the Yellowstone River for a fly I would never have thought of. I don’t remember the fish of that day, but I remember your smile, your laughter and your kindness. The other men who have gifted me their secret flies over the years, if I didn’t lose them to fish, I’ve still got your flies.

~The two men (and dog) who rescued me from the wrong side of the South Fork of the Boise River with their drift boat after my death defying swim. I know I was frozen silent, embarrassed into stone, but I was grateful for the safe passage back to the other side. If it weren’t for you, I’d probably still be over there.

~I’d like to thank the man who came running up the river when he saw me fighting a huge fish on my little fly rod. Your passionate chase with your net did not go unnoticed, your gallant dive in the river was impressive and I’m sorry the fish ended up being a monster sucker fish. I told you it felt like I was hauling in a water logged tree that moved….not a steelie like you hoped.

~Thank you to all the guys who have offered marriage proposals over the years. I may never hold a big fish record, but I bet I’m in the running for the most proposals in a lifetime =)

~Thanks goes to the several different men who provided jumper cables, towing service and hitchhiker rides.

~Thanks goes to the fly shop manager who was beyond kind and helpful to me yesterday. You have renewed my faith in the local fly shop atmosphere…

~Thanks goes to all the people who have visited this site, commented, emailed and encouraged me along. I hope to run into you all on the river ~

Rebecca

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Introspective Thought: A fishing side effect

February 1, 2010

Yesterday I tried to send January off under the bold banner of “FISH ON”  ~ So I braved the rugged lands, forged through rough water (I went to the local city river) and intentionally stood under the gray sky contemplating if the wet stuff that continued to fall on my head was snow, rain or a sweet cocktail of [...]

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