Moving and the Cement Trout Pond

by Rebecca on December 15, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Such natural potential~

~Such natural potential~

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 fishing tale and I would never do such a thing on a fishing blog… know, spray paint reality with fanciful daydreams.

The boring version reads like this… I was moving homes. That is, moving homes during the coldest days on record in over 10 years in my little city. It was a miserable experience to put it in G-rated terms and I would not recommend moving in zero degree temps to anyone.

Why is it that I can go fishing during a nasty storm, freeze my arse off, subject my fingers and toes to frostbite and still have a great, albeit uncomfortable, time? Or why can I go hunting in sub-zero temps where I think my toes will never thaw out and I’m certain my eyeballs have frozen to the inside of my eyelids, but by gawd, I still sign up for another round each year because it was so enjoyable? Moving does not fall under the same umbrella of ignorable misery.

Now, usually when people move into a new house the family members might barter for certain furniture or fight over the biggest rooms. With this new home the huge debate hovers over a bonus located in the backyard. There are some people in my home, I shall call them – kids– who call said bonus a “swimming pool!!” while someone else –that would be me– has christened the blue hole that happens to have a slide and diving board, “the future cement trout pond of Rebecca Anne.”

My daughters are not amused by my stroke of brilliant fishing genius which is a bit of a road block to my swanky idea. I even mentioned that trout are basically harmless and surely the daughters and fish could co-splash in the same body of water, but that was met with typical eye rolls and exasperated sighs. I don’t get it……..teenagers these days totally lack imagination!

I may not win the debate about turning the swimming pool into a trout pond, but as a Mother I reserve the right to annoy and torment my daughters as often as possible. I see dry fly practice across the top water, nymph testing under the water and various other lure experiments happening in my backyard in the near future.

I may even put on my waders before I wander out back, just to ensure my daughters think I’m the wackiest fisherman they ever encountered~


~Testing out the casting perch~

~Testing out the casting perch~


Murder of a Fly Rod: Till Death Did Us Part

by Rebecca on November 13, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Reds Final Fish, captured Forever in Picture and Thought~

~Reds Final Fish, captured Forever in Picture and Thought~

My first Fly Rod was a Redington Redstart. I purchased it when I was in my twenties and at the time I was about as broke as a twenty year old could be. I knew I wanted to fly fish, I knew I didn’t want to buy my fly rod from K-mart and my soon to be full time Fly Fishing mentor suggested that if I could come up 300 dollars, I could buy a package deal and be off to a great start. My goal took awhile, a lot of pennies saved, a mini-car wreck with a $240 dollar pain and suffering check (yay me!) and I was finally able to purchase Red, my new best friend.

A full time relationship blossomed. There should have been a commitment ceremony to symbolize the love, trust and monogamous relationship that formed between Red and I. An ordained Entomologist could have wrapped leader around my hand and the cork of my Red and pronounced us, ’till death do you part.”

Like any true relationship, Red and I were put to the test occasionally. A 7 year inch almost ruined our relationship when my eyes wandered to the sleek new designs of younger, more flexible models. I learned it was safer to stay out of the red light district, specifically, the ”Fly Shop Brothel” and ignore the sexy options with first names like Sage and Loomis. Each time I put myself in front of the almighty temptation–rows and rows of new fancy fly rods,  I walked away a one rod loyaltist rather then succumbing to the allure of fly rod polygamy.

I also wasn’t into swinging with my Red. For the most part, but not always, I kept Red out of affairs and trists, with other hands. But swinging seemed the unavoidable pitfall of fishing with others. It would always start out innocent enough, someone would ask to ‘give ‘er a try’ and if I couldn’t come up with a dire enough reason to say no, I would reluctantly relinquish my tight hold and pass Red off with a Mama Bear list of cautions and warnings.

If life was fair and just, I would have been the one to eventually kill old Red, but life generally doesn’t subscribe to the fair philosophy. Robert, Russ and I traveled to No’tellum creek in Wyoming for a weekend of fish frolicking fun. They with their spinning rods, me with reliable Fly Flinging Red. The first morning I was up and on the fish. Big Fish. Beautiful Fish. I couldn’t not catch a fish it was so good. Red and I were beyond thrilled and even delighted in the jealous spinning rod eyes trained on our good fortune.  

Hat and sunscreen, I had forgotten both and the sun was blazing down on my skin. I told myself, “One more fish and then you have to run to town, the fish can live without you for 30 minutes.” So I caught that one more fish, and in hindsight, I thank the river gawds I asked Robert to take a picture of the beauty. As I told the boyz I was running to town, one them, who shall remain un-named spoke up, “Hey, if you’re running to town, can I use your fly rod while you’re gone?” Gasp. Double Gasp. Alone I thought? Without my supervision?

But since I didn’t think, “Hell no, old Red needs to rest up, it’s had a strenuous morning” would pacify the eager (jealous) guy, I buckled under the pressure. I gave my normal run down of instructions, rules & regulations and abandoned Red for 30 minutes.

Him: I broke your fly rod.
Me….Stunned silence… Blink, Blink…Blink…. 

Until that point, I’d always wondered how a person “snaps’ or goes to the lands of lala in the blink of an eye. The defining catalyst that spirals a person into a moment that would blacken the sky and sound would suck into a vortex of silence where all sense of reality evaporates. I know that place now, sat right down in the lap of crazed devastation. I didn’t commit murder which seemed a reasonable retaliation for such an atrocious crime, instead I gathered up Red in my arms, and walked to a serene place next to the river to (curse the day the fly rod murderer was born) soothe my broken heart.

I had been fishing with Red for over 12 years without so much as a eyelet guide breaking and in the absence of 30 minutes, Red was in pieces. I’m quite certain the story the boyz offered up was intended to paint a good light on Reds final moments, but it sounded rather fishy. Supposedly a huge fish was on the line, so ginormous that the strain didn’t break the line, oh no, instead the raw power of that fish magically transferred into my Red and snap, snap, a two piece became a four piece…..Although I would like to imagine Reds last hoorah was fighting a fish, I’m still not buying it.

For almost two years now I’ve felt like a fly rod widow. At first I thought I’d never be able to see another fly rod without thinking only of Red, but as time eased the pain I started dating again. My first purchase was another Redington. I imagine I did that because there was comfort in the name, but I’ve used it, a lot, and it still doesn’t feel the same. My next dating came in the form of a Sage rod. It’s fine as well, does the job and all that, but it still doesn’t feel like commitment time.

Maybe I’ll never commit to another fly rod again the way I did with Red. Maybe each fly fisherman only gets one true love and after that love is broken all fly rods will simply be stand ins…just fly rods. Only time will tell……….



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…



Size Matters Not When Fishing

by Rebecca on October 21, 2009

in Fly Fishing

Small but Beautiful Trout

~Small but Beautiful Trout~

Several years ago I lost Robert to his pursuit of big fish. Leisure trips to the local river flyfishing for a standard 12 inch trout no longer impressed him. Although my arms have felt the difference between hauling in a 9 foot sturgeon (pain and torture, oh joy) to a 40 inch salmon (fantastic fight) and a 12 inch trout (always enjoyable) my mind has yet to draw a line in the size sand. In my world, a fish is a fish, no matter the size and any fish is an opportunity to go fishing, so lets just go and catch some damn fish no matter their magnitude. (Robert)

Because Flyfishing is always my first choice in fishing excursions, I’ll always hold a special spot in my fishing heart for Trout—all species, all colors, all sizes. Flyfishing and Trout are like the chicken and the egg. One does not exist without the other and no one really cares which came first, just so long as we have both.

I could wax poetically about the beauty and tranquility of flyfishing for little trout, but I’ll spare the masses. When it comes down to it, for me, the act of fishing, whether for big lunkers or spunky little brookies, is about getting outdoors and enjoying the challenge. I believe for Robert, it’s about the adrenilene rush when he has a 9 foot sturgeon spooling his line or when it’s the mad war zone of salmon fishing. In his world, if he hasn’t broken a sweat or his arm isn’t sore the next day, he implies it’s hardly worth the effort.

I enjoy catching a 24 inch brown trout or hooking into a huge salmon for the wild rides just as much as I enjoy catching the little guys. I call it an ‘open minded fish perspective’ of the non-size judgemental kind.

The non-judgement concept works well when I feel the need to guilt Robert into coming leisure fishing with me. He might grumble about the lack of potential size from the truck, but I’ve noticed he always comes around the second his line hits the water. Once he’s there, he’ll fish just as hard for a pan sized trout as he would for a King Salmon in Alaska. It goes a little something like this once the lines hit the water seeking dime a dozen trout:

Robert “Fish On!” Bellowed just as loud as he does when hooking into a salmon.
Rebecca “Nice one, ummm, by the way, you don’t have to set the hook so hard, flyfishing isn’t meant to be taken literally, fish aren’t supposed to fly through the air like that”
Robert “Fish on! And this one is 8 inches! Have youuuu got one this big? Huh? Have ya? THIS BIG?”
Rebecca “Nice one, almost big enough for a snack”
Robert “Fish on!!!!!! Biggest one on the river so far, 10 inches, do you have the camera?”
Rebecca “Nice one, you’re sure excited, maybe the little ones are worth your time after all.”
Robert “Just practising for steelhead season.”

I don’t buy it. I’ve watched him out there just as enthralled as I am. That’s the thing about fishing, even the little fish can humble the big guys ~

I don’t know how other people feel about fish size and worthiness of time. For now, I’m sticking with my no measure tape needed mantra.