Fishing Companions

~Ok, one gratuitous Salmon picture~

I could write about my last two weekends of salmon fishing, post some more gratuitous pictures of lunkers and spin some tales of pulled muscles and flying sinker missiles, but today, I think I’ll write about something else that occurs out on the banks of water. Fishing Nicknames.

I think if you spend enough time in the Great Outdoors (with other people) you’ll eventually end up getting a few nicknames stamped on your forehead. I’ve been assigned, or inherited, or shamefully earned a few names over the years, but the most recent I’ve been branded with by my fishing buddies is – Rebecca,  Water Swatter

When I do go with my fishy friends I tend to get harassed about my floating line and fake flies because they all fall under the ‘non-fly fisherman’ classification. My stubborn stance on fly fishing along side them opens the door for prime nickname assignments and heckling. With them I never hear, “Hey Rebecca, nice loops!” Nope. I hear things like, “Hey Water Swatter, stop frothin up the water!” All part of the fun because the harassment goes both ways…

The last few weeks of salmon fishing have taken me out of my normal comfort zone in that I’ve been fishing in tight quarters with a large variety of people. The sort of fishing community that forms on the banks of a river that’s chocked full of salmon and people is actually pretty interesting (entertaining)—despite the fact it goes against every ounce of my fly fishing nature.

I’ve discovered that when you put a large group of people fishing together, rules are created, bonds form, friendships happen and generally everyone is there to have a great time. A lot of nicknames also happen. I noticed quite a few people started calling me “Turbo” and I didn’t ask for an explanation. I also christened a few people with new names.

There’s Drifter — lightening could strike down the person next to him and he still wouldn’t miss his turn to drift through the run. And Slayer–the man who counts each and every one’s hook sets, landed fish, broke off fish. Anything less than 30 fish a day and he’s depressed. Next up is Smokes — it’s simply mesmerizing to watch his ability to cast, drift, catch a salmon, fight a salmon, net a salmon, take hook out of salmon all while keeping his lit cigarette firmly between his lips. (never touched by hand) ……and Kuna John & Jumpin’ Jack & Longliner & Indiana & Twitch…

My list could go on and on here…….especially if I included the not so nice nicknames people can earn on the riverbanks. One reliable nickname for this department is ’DipShit’ –basically a generalized nickname for lots of oh so special people.

The thing about outdoor nicknames is someone else has to brand you with it, say it out loud and if enough people repeat it, it’s all yours, like it or not. The scary part about nicknames is one wrong move and the next thing you know everyones calling you –Snags, FoulHook, Slipshot or like someone in my circle who is now known as Blow for accidently blowing up a gas can a few weeks ago—a name you might not have wanted.

So I’m curious about those who are reading this. What sort of nicknames are you stuck with?  

Signed,
Water Swatter……

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The Ponderings of a Wandering Fly Fisher

by Rebecca on January 9, 2010

in Fly Fishing

The Mini Refresher:I know in my heart fly fishing is something I can learn in a lifetime. There’s a secret out there, a code I know nothing about–yet. Someday I’ll get to the point when I can slice a line through the air as quietly and involuntary as the act of breathing. Someday I will perform art on the riverbanks…….Someday, I will call myself a fly fisherman.” (first time I ever went fly fishing)

The Question:  “How different do you think you are now from the person you described then? Are you performing art yet?” asked in the comments by Clif  who writes the blog LunkerHunt

The Answer: Code…..the secret, that elusive feeling I wanted so badly all those years ago has indeed settled comfortably into my way of life. What I didn’t realize back then was that fly fishing and all it’s possible meanings is about individual definition rather than a general consensus.

I may be a member of the ‘club’ now, but my reasons, my observations, my levels of accompliment are seperate from the whole. It took time, but I eventually understood that I was writing my own code, creating my own secrets.

I spent the first few years of my learning phase safely tucked in my Fly Fishing Mentors creel. Through him, I learned the basic lessons, the little details that have become my second nature on the water. The days of casting with a precursery prayer of hope or the exclamation of thankfulness at the end of a successful cast was replaced with that involuntary action I coveted the first time.

At this point in my life, I will say~ I catch fish, I don’t struggle with casting or presentation. I can match the hatches adequetely, read water and all the subtitles it offers. I may even know a thing or two about fish. I have no doubt there is much more to learn….

As for how ‘good’ of a fly fisherman I am, honestly, I have no idea. Now that I think about it, I guess the judgement of how good a fisherman is lands squarely in the net of other people to decide. I haven’t physically fished with anyone who knows more about fly fishing than me in years so I haven’t exactly gotten any feedback….The truth is, when the river that my Fly Fishing Mentor and I waded together split into seperate channels, I entered my years of solitary wandering and learning.

When I wrote that final paragraph about my first time, I was eager to be an accepted member of an illusionary club I had created in my mind. Today I look back and admit that in reality, I choose a fly fishing path that was centered around being alone without ever feeling lonely. All these years, the river has been my companion, my comfort and the fly fishing is the thread that bound me there.

Which brings me to current days and this website I’ve created. Essentially it’s the biggest change of fishing direction I’ve taken in the last several years. By starting this writing venture and reaching out to other fisherman, I’ve finally made the first steps in joining a sense of community, aka, the Club.  My goal this year, beyond being nicer to whitefish, is to enhance my fly fishing experiences by sharing them with others, both on the rivers and off. 

And finally, if there is one claim I’m willing to make, it’s this…. I do consider myself a fly fisherman now. 

Rebecca

Amendment: as pointed out by Austin of the blog, 365 flyfish, I will also be entering the beginning stages (again) of fly tying this year. I have vise, feathers and I’m totally afraid to use them…….

(the tone of this entry is the viable risk one takes when self reflecting the personal evolution of their fly fishing. It can quickly vear down the drain of sentimental navel gazing)

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Fraudulent Fishing Behaviors

by Rebecca on December 2, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Jack Salmon~

~Jack Salmon caught on a fluff of tied yarn. I'm so sneaky~

They say you can judge the character of a man by the company he keeps. (I’ll assume that principle applies to woman as well)  I know I gravitate to those I would consider like minded individuals who enjoy the same things I do. So basically that means I hang out with fisher types who consider a day on the water superior to just about any other entertainment possibilities out there. 

It also means the company I keep is well versed in the fine art of fraudulent behavior. The way I see it, we fisherman lean so heavily on the fraud front we all could be pinned as the masters of deception. Ask any fish and I have no doubt they could confirm.

We are all participants of fraud, lies, deceit, misrepresentations, shams and scams, i.e., flies, lures, bait, casting, presentation etc…Throw in a bucket of fishing tales and erroneous fishing advice and we’ve got a solid case of fraudulent characteristics for the whole lot of us.

I don’t believe any of us need to visit a confessional over our acts of deception against fish. They are fish and we are the humans who work so hard at fooling them. Clearly we are the superior species that need not explain or justify our counterfeit efforts. We only need to observe one fisherman standing in partially frozen water with blue lips and icicles hanging out his nose to appreciate his repeated act of deception as pure brilliance. The whole scenario makes logical sense and only a non-fisher would question the rationale of it all……..

I think the deception of fish as a general human habit shouldn’t count against our personalities. However, I’m not so sure about the behavior we occasionally display towards the other fisherman out thrashing water with us. The little white lies that tend to slip out fall into a new level of fraud. Is it really so bad to add an inch to a fish no one actually saw? Is it a crime of the moral compass to imply you caught those 5 great big submarine fish on a #12 stonefly when in reality you caught them on #18 disco midge? Are such misrepresentations significant enough to blemish a persons wholesome demeanor?

There is of course the unavoidable question on the waterway, “Have you caught anything today?” Answering this question truthfully or shrouded in deception falls into the case by case scenerio with sublevels, exceptions, iron clad rules and subjective interpretations.
For example:

You’ve caught 3 fish. Your friend sloshes up the river looking defeated and asks, “Catch anything yet?”
Possible levels of truth:
     1)You drove, but friend didn’t chip in for gas: Answer “Couple of bites”
     2) Last fishing trip, friend caught 15 and you were skunked: Answer “Hell Ya, 5 so far!”
     3) Friend still hasn’t replaced the 5 flies he borrowed and lost on the last trip: Answer “Nope.”
     4) Friend brought coffee and an extra granola bar for you: Answer “3 fish on a Caddis Larva.”

And so on…….Strangers encountered can be answered on the sliding scale of personal mood.  Just smile while you answer and anything will sound peachy.

I don’t mean to imply we are all liars and of low character, not at all. I happen to think fisher souls are some of the best quality people around. I’m just merely remarking today on the fine art of fraudulent behavior fishing requires in all of us. On the whole, I surround myself with people who know a little sumthin about trickery and I’m good with that fact.

Disclaimer 1: Any ideas I may have expressed in the above paragraphs should fall into the acceptable guidelines of deceptive fishing practices when applied properly.
Disclaimer 2:…..just in case anyone is thinking it, I promise to always tell the fishing truth on these web pages. On my Fisherman’s honor……

Rebecca

{ 15 comments }

Fishing the Local Option

by Rebecca on November 5, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~ Dad and I, Photo Credit of course, goes to Kaitlyn~

~Nov. 1st '09: Dad and I, Photo Credit (of course) goes to Kaitlyn~

On Sunday my Father, my daughter Kaitlyn and I went down to our local river for a leisure afternoon of fly fishing and fall gazing. I would have posted a picture of the few fish we caught, but once Kaitlyn snapped a couple of  Bandon the Bashful dog and a couple of Dad and I, we got the fabled “warning: Battery exhausted” screen and that put an end to that option. That moment of failure also inspired this entry on Monday. ( P.S. huge thank yous for all the advice offered up, it was needed, helpful and I have no doubt photography in my little world will improve)

In my town a river runs through it. I live in Boise Idaho and the river is aptly named… the Boise River. I know, jump back, our originality astounds you. It’s an unassuming river that meanders straight down the middle of our city. I happen to find it convienant and find myself stealing time over on it’s water quite a bit. The fact that it’s 5 minutes from my house could have something to do with it’s appeal.

On my local river you’ll find pan sized trout with the occasional “hey, that’s a biggin!”  It also plays home to my nemesis…the White Fish and local folklore suggests there are huge Browns lurking around. (If there is such a possibility in our humble little local river I’m not sayin a word, not a single word. You could torture me with barbed hooks and I still wouldn’t confirm or deny this myth.  but I will say, they are fabulous)

I’m mentioning my local flair today because for several years I ignored what was right in my own backyard. Back then, if I went fishing, I went fishing….away, out of town, down the highway or up the hill. Fishing meant a trip, even if it was just for a day or a mad dash afternoon. Fishing is a sense of freedom so perhaps having the wind in my face as I drove to a destination sort of shored up that concept.   

But sometimes I found myself stuck, in town, mopping because I couldn’t sneak away. It was my dad who took the proverbial fish and smacked it upside my head. I believe the phone conversation went a bit like this:

Pouting Me:  This has been such a rotten day, I wish I had time to go fishing.
Dad: Just go over to the Boise River and fish there. It’ll take you 5 minutes to get there.
Stunned Me: Huh? That river? Seriously?
Dad: Yes Rebecca, the fish in that river that will bite a fly just as good as a fish out of town.
Amazed Me: Umm, well, I guess I could try……..

So I did it. Dragging my feet in the dirt, skeptical and acting totally put out for being demoted to the local river. In defence of my poor attitude, I think I’ve realized it somewhat parallels the concept of why do people walk up to a water way and do their best to cast out to the middle or the other side of a river. It must be a general idea, that the best fish are always farther away…….in all principles.

Bandon the Bashful and I

Bandon the Bashful and I

I hope everyone has a local option that can tide them over between intentional fishing trips. A place that welcomes them despite the 5 minute notice and  they can visit with nothing more than a rod, and perhaps good company.

For me that place is the Boise River with it’s average trout, annoying white fish and mythological Browns. The place that ensures I can still participate in regular life and fish every single day if I so choose…

Rebecca

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Fishing Companions: Ones that Don’t Talk

October 29, 2009

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 [...]

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