Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Holiday Hangover

Ah the Holiday Hangover the colossal queen and mother of head-pounders. It’s like mixing vodka with pure sugar and adding a dash of more turkey and stuffing then anyone could stand, then ride out the high and crash with your family.

Yes my friends the Holiday Hangover is a blood sucking river wolf of a nightmare. You’ll feel like more cuss words then you want to hear and I’m sure you are all hearing them and I swear to god if old ant May what’s her name asks me one more time about those pretty little fish hooks I’m making I just might test out that new Mossberg uncle Charles got from Santa.

What a mess, the dogs are even lazily lying around the house fat as ticks from table scraps and refusing to move for anything. Bigfoot could walking in here, ransack the place and no one would bother getting up.

I would like to say that I’m going to head of to the river in an hour and get some fishing in but the truth is bleak. If I did you would all read the headline tomorrow, idiotic fisherman found dead in the river from over exposure to Christmas cheer.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Nostalgia of Bamboo

I’ve been wrapped up in the nostalgia of bamboo lately. I suppose I’m drawn to the romance of that bygone era. An era when man made great functional objects that were meant to be used and stand the test of time while displaying the utmost beauty, which in the same hand displays true art through craftsmanship. Sure my graphite rods are great and very functionally even down right scientific, but there is just something about natural materials being fashioned into a tool which can be used to supply and or simple enjoy.

Now I’m no aficionado but I’m sure fiberglass and graphite came about like everything else in this world, from the necessity to make a lousy buck by going faster and cranking out more and more. Thank god we have those among us who have taking up the old ways and learned the trade and how to use knowledge and their hands to build instead of relying on some machine, which possesses no emotional bond or understanding of the material.

And thus we have a new obsession an a new hunt to begin.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Midges and Meditation

There is, has and always will be something to be said about dry fly fishing. It’s the purest form of catching trout by the fly and an art in it’s own right.

However, I look forward to this time of year when the midge is king. To fish with a midge you have to tune in and tune out all other distractions focusing only on the strike, which will be subtle. It can be as technical and as challenging as you make it and very rewarding to those who can read water.

To me midge fishing in size 18-22 is almost spiritual. If you have confidence in your fly, cast and location midge fishing becomes tangled in meditation, emptying your mind of all but one thought. The strike.

- H.L.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Claim Before the Storm

Tomorrow will be my first trip into the Blue's C&R in over a year. I hear the fishing is tough up there so the plan is to fish midges and try not to get skunked. I have Zebras, Discos, San Juans, RS2s, Griffith's Gnats, Ole Grays, and a new midge larvae pattern I have developed in the box and ready to go.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rebel Flags and Rusted Out Mercurys

If you head down Highway 3 far enough east past the Rebel flags and rusted out cars of a bygone era, which reminds you that cars aren’t as visually interesting as they used to be and even in a state of decay they still seem to present themselves with more class and beauty then any modern day tin can excuse of an automobile. Oh and don’t forget to turn left at the End Of The Trail sign, not too far from there you’ll find a fisherman’s stream hidden behind the pines, running between the tall hills left over from an ancient range of long ago.

The plan was to be on the water by 2:00pm but before that scouting had to be done. Which will be the best holes to fish? Where is the wind backing up the river? What spots are crowded? Where are the browns?

First stop is the fly shop.

This intel will be some of the most valuable. Pay attention to what areas they say are hot and more attention to which are not. Now here is the real trick, mill around the shop then ask that question. Then find something like a T-Shirt for your kid, strike up a non-fishing conversation try to find some common ground, when you’re checking out ask more questions about that area then ask about a map. Nine times out of 10 while drawing you a map another area will come to mind and now since you don’t seem like an outsider they will share that location, bingo.

The upper Spillway was hot, AKA crowded. The Evening Hole was dead, AKA less pressured and Zone 2 was the secret saved for Locals. You see a tourist trap fly shop attracts a certain kind of fisherman, I’m not going to say a lesser fisherman but defiantly not the kind that only shop these shops to gather crucial information and to buy T-shirts for their 2 year old.

Next stop the less pressured Evening Hole.

I’m going to keep this one simple, a tiny fly fished at a dead drift in a area that 30 minutes before was considered DEAD has now produced a 18 inch rainbow and 3 more after that.

Zone 2

I saved this area for Saturday morning. By walking the trail to the stream the day before in clothing that in no way resembled a fisherman I meet fisherman, many of which love to brag and share info with someone who looks to not be a threat I.E. a non-fisherman. In fact I learned that the day before a 21 inch brown was caught there and the guy showed me a picture of it on his phone. Now I know many of you are thinking this guy is some sort of fly fishing double agent, but all I’m saying is fish smarter not harder.

I entered the trail to the stream at about 7:30am and right off the bat met an interesting character, which is not that uncommon, It seems like I always meet colorful characters on the trail to a stream. This one, may however take the cake. He was a wild eyed man with more feathers in his hat then a Cheyenne war bonnet and more duct tape around his waders then I thought was even possible. He was super excided about this rainbow he had caught the day before and preceded to show me it’s head, which was now dripping blood on the tailgate of my truck. (This is the type of fisherman that I referenced as a Head Hunter in my previous blog titled “Sworn To Secrecy”)

Now, being the kind of guy that I am my first notion was to sock his lights out for killing what once was a 20 plus fish and ensuring that he would be the last man on earth to catch him, leaving the rest of the world to dabble with stockers. But, the teachings of the society we live in took hold and I refrained from fist to cuffs on the banks of a stream over a dead fish that was legal to harvest. And now that I sound like a 20 Plus Club elitist i should disclaim that I really don’t mind catching any size of fish and it is my personal policy to catch and release, especially in a stream that fish live in year round. It is also my personal pleasure to have a mental image of myself knocking this guys tooth out for violating my code of ethics, but enough about him and yes he had one tooth.

8:00am at the first set of falls

Down from the small spillway at the first set of falls I cast into the closest fall as the line began to drift in the current it suddenly stopped. A rock or limb this thing isn’t moving. Then all of a sudden Zing the line took off like a rocket down stream leaving the distance between the line and backing shrinking at an incredible rate. This is getting exciting I take off following, keeping the line tight trying to get into some slow shallow water where I can have the upper hand. Unfortunately here is where it went south with a slip and quick plunge into the water, but the line is still tight. Not long after that the fish breaks the surface and it’s yellow and my big Brown. What happened next is gone now and I have no idea how it happened but the line went dead and the fish was gone. My brown, all my intel, my hopes, my dreams, my strict code of ethics all gone with the only saving grace being a line I read in one of John Gierach’s books where he talks about the Long Distance Release. Not long after that the wind went from 0 to 18 MPH with gust up to 30 MPH and the fishing was over.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best Month Ever

Days to be on the water as indicated by fly illustrations!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Change Up

With the seasons changing from autumn to winter I too have the overwhelming desire to turn a new leaf. So with that being said, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Dead Drift Media!

Now, we would love to tell you about the exciting ideas and projects that we have on the drawing board, but until things are a little more ironed out this site will continue to be an angler’s blog with writings of fly fishing adventure from yours truly.

See you on the water,


Co. Captain of Dead Drift Media

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Outside the Box

So, I've been working on a minimalist approach with my ultimate fly selection for about a year now. I wanted to get away from taking boxes of fly's that i'll never use. Here is what i've come up with! One box, two sides; one for drys, emergers, sowbugs and killers the other with streamers, worms, nymphs and midges plus spots for the strike indicators as well as spit shot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where The Trees Touch The Sky

There are those places in this world where our life’s little worries seem to disappear and for me that place is a stream nestled between the banks of rock and soil where the woods grow tall and the trout grow large. There is such a place not far from my home and once you are there and the first fly is cast you will never leave, for this place is forever with you, it grows on your mind and you will think of it often.


Written in reflection of my first trip to the Lower Mountain Fork.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

To do Battle with these Magnificent Beasts

My mind has been wondering back through the pages of fly-fishing history and to the anglers who had came before, the equipment and strategy.

I had read once that Thor still holds the record for Norwegian Sea Serpent and in his day they would swim in to the mighty depths to do battle with these magnificent beasts. Now I have swum in the ocean and chased small fish trying to grab their tails. I have also come head to head with shark, which will test the medal of any man. I figured if this thing wants to eat me it is going to get cold hard steal to the head, you see like Thor I never swim in the ocean with out a knife strapped to my leg.

My heart tends to lay more with the anglers of the 19th century. I’m drawn to the simplicity, exploration and rawness of the sport. The eloquence of the time has a romantic charm about it. Tweed jackets, hats, a creel and bamboo rods, it’s the definition of class and stream etiquette. I like to think of these characters practicing catch and release in a time when it was considered an insult and to a extent to this day it still considered a fools action.

We can learn a lot from our past and the lesson I see over and over is simplicity. We simply do not need all this junk that some marketing whiz wants us to use. Our fly boxes can be narrowed down to what works best. In fact challenge yourself to take only a few pheasant tails if your not catching fish change the depth or location of the fly, it’s really that simple. Learn how trout behave, how they eat, how they swim, where they swim and why they swim there. Fish new water it will make you better, take good notes and keep a tight line.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sworn to Secrecy

Have you ever noticed how most fishermen are as secretive as a double agent and fly fishermen have to be among the top percent of that and defiantly the crowd that draws the most mystery. It’s like a fraternal order, now I’m not much for a frat and usually fish alone but even then I’m as secretive as a nation’s A-list spy. I have to admit if someone is worthy of the knowledge the tips and wisdoms can come as furious as a winter midge hatch. If you’re a head-hunter, which is code for another type of fisherman, forget it. I catch myself renaming holes, renaming flies and fishing off the beating path. It becomes a cloak and dagger operation and I like catching fish in odd places with odd methods.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Firewood, Check!

The weeks and days leading up to a fishing trip can be a little overwhelming. You have nothing else on your mind but that particular stretch of water and what to pack or what not to pack. Fishing gear, check. Firewood, check. Beer, what kind should I get? Scotch, check. Cigars, check. .45, check. No wait, leave the gun take the tying vice.

One has to spend their time wisely, oiling the reels weeding out useless gear that only weighs you down and cleaning your waders so you don’t spread those filthy little aquatic hitchhikers. I look forward to this type of thing and compare it to a pitcher preparing for game 5 of the World Series.

Much like Rommel’s meticulous planning for the invasion of North Africa I spent the day preparing my gear then I came across my fishing Journal. I rarely turn the back the pages and read my scribbled notes from previous trips and outings. I more or less look forward to the next time I can be on the water and the next fish I can record and with what fly he was caught on.

Today was different, I started on page one and worked my way to the fly recipe pages which show how I tie them and on to my hand drawn detailed map of the blue river listing my own secret spots and their code names. With every new page I began to realize how much this book means to me and what knowledge It will pass to my kids. I also, realized I don’t need four fly boxes because I catch fish with a core group of 7 flies, fished alone or in tandem and at different depths under different weather and water conditions. The Zebra is a killer in slow water, the Pheasant Tail in murky and San Juan is typically just a bad ass. Everything else is classified.

So plan a trip, go through your gear and fish smarter not harder.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Coffee on the Water

When most of the world is sleeping in all nestled in their beds I’m standing in the middle of a 58 degree river in 40 degree weather chasing those ever elusive trout. You see with the long summer absence of trout comes the deep desire to fish every wakening available moment. Even though today only brought 4 to hand it was not without rewards as the pheasant tail is a prizefighter in a murky post rain stream.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Veterans Day

The first day back on the water was pretty damn nice. I had good weather and good company. This day happen to fall on Veterans Day so I took a Marine friend of mine who was in Vietnam in ’68. He is new to the sport and it was an honor to show him the ropes and the Blue. Like most mornings we were on the fish pretty fast and before I knew what was going on I had 5 to hand and he 3.

It felt good to get back into the rhythm, reading water, casting, playing the fish to hand. All the troubles of the world and battlefields of yesterday seem to disappear down stream with the leaves of the previous spring.

Thank you to all who have served this country and to those serving now.

A Gift From The Gods

It’s that time again, my favorite time of year when the leaves are changing color and a chill is in the air and the river whispers those familiar sounds. It’s Trout season and in my opinion a gift from the gods for surviving the hot hell of summer.

May this season bring us all joy and happiness, many fish to hand and more knowledge to pass on! Keep good notes and tight lines!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

When Giants Walked the Earth

I remember the first Trout that I brought to hand like it was yesterday. Up until that point I had done a lot of fishing but not a lot of catching. Well, catching trout that is. Sure I had slayed Bluegill and Bass, but trout were elusive mythical creatures. And now after all the ones that I have brought to hand, I still find them to be the prize of the kingdom of fish.

I usually fish alone for pleasure and scenery I enjoy the sounds of a river and in knowing that two billion years of wind, water and rock had all taken place for that one moment in time on that one spot of the river and that one fish.

The cast was smooth and subtle the streamer landed inches from the small horseshoe shaped waterfall and quickly sank below the surface. I began to strip the line slowly and steady, letting the fly drift naturally in the current with just the slightest of motion. Tug, the rod tip goes up and the hook is set.

The details of the fight have escaped me now. The landing however is as vivid today as it was that day. I had no net, I simply reached into the water slid my hand down the line and onto the fish. I remember how green it seemed and how the black dots stood out in the light. The belly was so silver and strip of red, absolutely brilliant. The hook was removed and the fish returned to the water suspended above my hand until it was ready to swim away.

A fisherman across from me simply shook his head as to say, “That was a keeper son and you let him go.” I smiled and walked back down the path that had brought me to this day and to the angler I would become.

- H.L.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Anglers are Versatile Anglers

We are halfway through our fishing season and what a strange one it has been so far. It seems as if I’m not firing on all cylinders. At first I thought maybe it was just the early season shakes, a bit of rust on the ole tackle box if you will. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve had some good days and caught some great fish, but geez.

I don’t seem to be fishing as smart as I usually do. For instance I generally carry 3 weights of rods with me for different weather and styles. This season I’ve just taken the short 4wt. So if we have a north wind and I the 4wt, well you guessed it. I get a fraction of the distance and about 5 feet from the fish. If I want to fish a heavy streamer I’m simply S.O.L.

My timing is off and I’m not talking about casting. I’m talking about heading to the water. It’s important to pay attention to the weather. One should fish in front of a weather pattern and on the light of the moon or between a new moon and a full moon. Don't fish with the river flowing at 25 times its normal strength. These are all things that I have ignored lately.

The other thing is entomology. I haven't paid much attention to what is going on in this department. I just figure they will hit whatever I sling at them. Not the case. Entomology on a river isn't that complicated, especially in the winter yet we never talk about it. If we spent half the time on entomology as we spend on casting and keep our line in the water where the fish are, we’d all catch more fish. Who gives a flying crap about the loop, just get the fly near the fish and watch your drag. Now don't crucify me just yet. There are times when presentation is essential, but we have to learn the art of balance. Don't put all your stock in one aspect of this sport or you will starve. The best anglers are versatile. You have to have the ability to change and adapt to the river and the whether. Become a hunter, think of yourself as a field marshal, use strategy and know the limits of your equipment.

What a sport and a humbling one at that, just when you get cocky and lazy the weather changes then the river changes and the behavior of the trout change. You either grow as an angler or you don’t catch fish. I learn something new about this sport and myself after each and every trip. I rise and fall, push and pull myself to do better, to be better.

- H.L.