A little Fly Fishing Fate

by Rebecca on April 6, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~From under the Blackberry Camera~

When I woke up yesterday it was rasnowing. You know, a sweet mixture of rain and snow. It was exactly the kind of mixed weather signal that just dared me to go out and fly fish in it. So being the brave and fearless sort of fisherman that I am, I grabbed my gear– plus one dog and headed straight for a Fly Shop to pick out a new fly or two that gave off a rasnowing fishing vibe.

I do love visiting this fly shop. The guys that run it, (especially you Michael) are always smiling,  helpful and encouraging of my activities both on the river and this website.

While Michael and I sifted through the flies we chatted it up, fly shop style. Like a good Fly Fishing Pastor, Michael kept me in check when my hand hovered over the stripper pole flashy type nymphs and he dropped several Holy Celestial flies into my plastic tithing cup. No multicolored flash with neon disco dubbing and extra large beadheads for me…..

As I was waiting to check out I found myself surveying another anglers pile of purchases. Now, normally I would never snoop like this, but something caught my eye and I couldn’t resist (no really, there was no containing myself) asking what in the world were those thingamajigs.  Now, I won’t get into what those thingamajigs were because that calls for a whole ‘nother blog entry, but I was concerned about the wayward angler and told him I had a better solution right outside in my truck.

My Fly Fishing Good Deed for the week got a check mark when I shared two items from my personal stock of illicit and controversial enablers. Based on the ratio of good vs. evil, I realize today I probably could have gotten away with one sinfully sparkly fly because my good deed would have balanced out the sinner flash……

Sinful flash aside, I believe that my good tidings to the Fly Fishing Brethren did inspire a bit of reward from the weather front. It stopped rasnowing while I was in the Fly Shop and only a non-fisher type would argue that these things aren’t all linked together in one large cosmic cloud of FATE.  

The ever loyal Bandon and I raced down to the river for what ended up being an afternoon of tree snags and little hatchery trout. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I absolutely hate losing flies and typically I hold onto my little furry friends like a nun clutches her rosary. The area I choose to fish was new to me and despite exploration I was unable to find either a wadeable area or a section of river that wasn’t surrounded by trees, bushes and weeds.

Perfect for the fish of course, a nightmare for casting and missed hook sets. I won’t admit how many flies I lost or how many trees I climbed or even how many cuss words I spewed. Instead I will let yesterdays fly fishing excursion lie in the past and offer up a mini-video I took while retying for the blankenty blankth time.

Disclaimer: I didn’t take a camera yesterday. This is from my new Blackberry which I took to the river swaddled in 2 ziplock bags. I’ve never done video and I’m not convinced I should. There’s a reason I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself and furthermore, why there are no videos of me. I tend to flip off camera operators, spit like a hissing cat and run the opposite direction when a lens is lurking around. But, because of this person…..and this person….I’m testing out the possibilities with this irrelevant, shaky and pointless video ~

I know. I’m as big a chicken as Bandon is, but at least I don’t try to lick fish ~ 


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… 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…..


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


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Fly Shops…..

by Rebecca on January 15, 2010

in Fly Fishing

I can be……..

There is a level of trepidation that surrounds me each time I approach the doors of a Fly Fishing Shop….For awhile I wondered if it was just a ‘me’ thing, an individual nervousness that occurred without provocation or reason, but offhandedly, I’ve asked a few others about this peculiar neurosis and several of them also admitted the same pangs of Fly Shop shyness.

I’ve been in fly shops in many different states…a good cross section if I may. I feel like I’ve experienced the majority of levels an angler can feel of welcome, greetings and singe the hair off the back of your neck fun. Some fly shops I’ve left with a smile on my face, some fly shops I’ve left with a shrug of my shoulders, and some fly shops I’ve left running to the nearest bar for a few shots to calm thy nerves.  

When I approach a fly shop I’m typically from the invader, out of towner position. I’ve adopted a protective routine, one that gets me through the first few minutes while I taste the temperature of the air. I like to pull my fishing hat down low over my brow in an effort to appear inconspicuous and I’ll slip through the door with my arms extended out in front of me, palms up in a submissive pose. Basically the, I come in peace and just want to buy flies, posture. (ok, maybe I’m not that extreme, but close enough)

At this point, with years of fly fishing and holding my breath when I go into fly shops under my belt, I would have thought I’d be beyond the nerves. Maybe someday it will go away, but to this day I still hold back certain questions I may have just in case the fly shop has a 10 lashes with an 8 weight fly line policy for any inquires that may be deemed unacceptable.

Now, I can only imagine what it’s like for the people who run fly shops. The clientele that walks through the doors must be as varied as the fish in the ocean. In fact, they could probably name 50 different fly shop visitors by levels of fish. The smart dolphins, the cheeky blow fish, the arrogant sharks, the yap guppies, comical clown fish, serious trout, the silent eels and so on. So I’m sure they have seen it all, heard it all, dealt with it all and some of them may have built up the outer shell of say, a crustacean over time…..

I guess like all things in life, Fly Shops come in all shapes and sizes. I just wish there was a sign on the door that indicated the levels of expectation once I enter the premises. For example: 
1) All welcome, no intimidation or interogation tactics will be applied.
2) All welcome, only minor use of hot searing pokers will be utilized to the highly irritating.  
3) Equipment and creditials will be checked at the processing area. Liberal use of waterboarding and fly line lashings will be employed if you are found unworthy.

I hope someday I’ll move beyond my Fly Shop shyness because I do love them. If I’m not standing in water, a Fly Shop can be a whole ‘nother form of fishing nirvana. Standing amoung the new fly rods and surrounded by thousands of  crisp unused flies is a wonderful place to daydream (until someone jabs you with the end of a size 4 hook) and spend a great deal of money on things that make fishing all the more fun.



The Twisted Sister Fly and Whippersnappers

by Rebecca on January 11, 2010

in Fly Tying

~I shall call this one....the Twisted Sister Fly~

I did it. I succumbed to the flame like a moth to an electric bug zapper. I tied flies.

Full credit and blame for this second try at fly tying (aggravation, frustration &  the occasional cuss word) goes to Austin “the Otter” of the very good blog, 365 Flyfish.  He kept writing all these beautiful entries about this fly and that fly he was tying that a desire I previously thought dormant was resurrected.

On Saturday night I sat down with my daughter Kaitlyn, age 14…aka the young whippersnapper, and went to work on creating flies so tempting for fish that I would never fear a skunked day on the river again.

My first fly brought to surface all the reasons I quit tying flies in the first place. It was originally intended as an olive colored San Juan worm because Kaitlyn snaked the red chenille before I could. But then, the karma of my former abilities arrived. After a mild (in my opinion) pull of the bobbin things went wildly out of control. There was snapping and snarling then suddenly my first fly looked like the hairstyle of an 1980′s rockstar from Twisted Sister. All that was missing was some tight black tubing and a flashy bead.   

~ Kaitlyn schooling me ~

Kaitlyn Schooling Me

As I ran upstairs to grab some hairspray so I could properly set my new Twisted Sister fly, Kaitlyn was already whip finishing her first fly with a triumphant, if not slightly smug, smile. That’s the problem with young whippersnappers, they have no doubts when they have one upped, out manuevered, or schooled an elder.

My fly morale sunk to the depths of a lake trout, but I didn’t give up. By the time I had my next hook securely set in the vice Kaitlyn was already on her third fly. 

I did manage, second attempt, to tie my San Juan Worm. An ugly version that will never feel the grace of water or the thrill of fish lips around it’s warped profile. When I was basically done, Kaitlyn (on fly number 6 now) assumed the role of instructor and helped me with the whip finish. Whippersnapper.

I understand that if there are people reading this that tie flies they may be tempted to think, ‘good gawd lady, it’s a San Juan worm, the easiest fly known on the tying circuit’ and I get that. I know….Whippersnapper (now at fly 10 and moving through the beginners book to the harder flies) said the same thing to me. As evidenced once again this weekend, it’s just not my talent….at all…..

As I struggled with fly number three, a plan B formulated in my mind. As I watched little Miss Whippersnapper whirling off yet another fly, I realized I’ve got a perfect scenario here at the new house. I have a kid. I have a basement. I have money to buy fly tying materials. She’s short like one of Santa’s elves. I could set up my own personal fly tying shop! I’ll be manager and owner who will submit fly requests on a daily basis and let her do her thing. Her payment will come in the form of frequent trips to the river fishing with her Mom….. 

Feels like a win-win scenario to me.


p.s. The Twisted Sister Fly is unique, absolutely one of a kind and cannot be reproduced. All requests to own such a beautiful twist of fly tying art will regrettably……be declined.


Dear Santa, I hope you’re a Fly Fisherman…….

December 23, 2009

Because if you are there should be no problems with my X-mas wish list: Mr. Fly Fishing Santa, you should know that after a full season of flinging flies, my waders leak and I need new ones. The leaking is more so on the right foot than the left foot, so basically, I’ve got one damp sock and one wet sock [...]

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Moving and the Cement Trout Pond

December 15, 2009

I know, I know. I abandoned the online world for over a week without so much as a decent explanation or goodbye. I could say I was forced to take an emergency fly fishing trip to New Zealand or that I was kidnapped and forced to fly fish in Montana for a week, but wishful thinking could be construed as a [...]

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Warning Signs and Other Perplexing Ideas

December 4, 2009

This is the second edition of Signs that make a person think…What The Hell? The first entry of signs that I had collected from various places is located here ~ Warnings and Other Reasonable Guidelines and I’m happy to say that entry inspired a few people to send over more signs….. Without further adieu ~ This sign was [...]

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Fraudulent Fishing Behaviors

December 2, 2009

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 [...]

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Disclosure Forms of the Outdoor Risk Variety

November 23, 2009

A few nights ago, my parents and I were discussing some of the tragic and hilarious outdoor trips we’ve taken with “risks’ in the past. A ‘risk’ is defined by someone you’ve never camped, fished, hiked, hunted or broke bread in the dirt with in. So basically, everyone reading this would be considered a ‘risk’ [...]

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Warnings and Other Reasonable Guidelines

November 11, 2009

Recently I read a great article by the Trout Whisperer and his words reminded me of a hobby I recently adopted. Basically, I kept running into signs in the Great Outdoors that made me stop and wonder, “For Real? Seriously? No they didn’t, oh yes they did!” So I did what any amused soul should do, I started taking pictures, proof style, so I could later [...]

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