Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fit to be tied

We have spent the last week hunched over the vise, covered in bunny fuzz, guard hairs, and tinsel ends.

While some of the tying was work-related, most of it was for fun. We're gonna take a trip to a little river in a faraway land where the steelhead come to the surface in October, sipping stuff off the top like metrosexuals at an art opening. Normally, we would pooh-pooh the surface skater for steel and opt for the go-to bead n' bug rig that works so well in so much of the rest of the world, but...We need to know.


We're gonna give the first-light show a go with a few flies that might resemble food to these well-traveled little beasties. This is our first go at spinning deerhair and we're here to tell you that it is easy to do poorly, frustrating as hell to trim, and reinforces our belief that natural materials suck. But they do make pretty flies.

We weren't content to be normal...

If those don't work, we're goin' in after them.

And if THAT doesn't work, well...you know what comes next.

11 more days 'til Road Trip v.III

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Steppin' Back In

Went to visit a local flow yesterday, totin' the bead rod and a bouquet of flowers to have a little conversation with the jiltee.


"Yeah. But we came back. Back to you. Doesn't that count for anything?"

"That other river didn't mean a thing to us. It was only fishin'"

"Yeah...did you put a new logjam on? It looks nice"

"We know...sorry"

Only a little guilty for steppin' out on our beloved local flows, we eased back into the game yesterday only to find that 2 rainy weeks had changed things considerably. With a recent freeze locking up a lot of water, the flows are shaping up nicely, but some of them seem...different. Logs in logless holes. New gravel bars. Braids? Those weren't there...Dammit, where are all the salmon?

On the other hand, it's like christmas all over again. Newer versions of old friends, waiting to show you the new outfit, yearning to tell you what they've been up to since you've been gone. Fishing is a little tougher now that the salmon are mosty gone, but somehow that makes it more exciting, more focused.

This is a conversation we have been looking forward to for weeks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

In the Can

We just about spilled our Bloody Mary when the stewardess woke us up to tell us that the plane was landing.

3 days on the big river went by mighty fast, and with the fine companionship of D, Jimbo, and Ratbone, the fact that we caught fish was merely a bonus. D and Jimbo caught on to the piscine biathlon theme rapidly, proving themselves to be quite capable of holding their own when the sun went down and lightly hopped adult beverages commenced flowing.

Yet another biathlon in the can, and this time we got a brand-spankin'-new set of fishin' buddies out of the deal...hope you guys can make it down SE way someday.

Now that you have shown us yours, we would be more than happy to show you ours.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Мы отсутствующее рыболовство еще раз

Мы снова, давали задний ход к северной стране для другой съемки на названии. Практикующ наше русское на всякий случай мы видим любые, по мере того как кажется, что делает наш воевод на регулярн основание.

Пойденный удить, задний в немного дней, малышах.

Gotta practice, y'know...you can see 'em from the river we're going to.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Decompression stop

Four days went by waaay too fast, but we had a feeling that the first trip would be a blur.

The Narwhal showed us his fine river from his fine craft, and the Drifter the wonderdog kept us company in our lonely backseat while FishEye, Bobber, Big Al and Flyboy held down the bow in recombinant duos for every float.

This was merely a teaser, though. This trip took the edge off, let us feel the weight of the flow and the size of the fish. Now that we know what lives there, and now that we found the super-secret river decoder ring in our breakfast cereal, we're gonna raise up next week with D and cause mass panic among the trout population.

At least, that is the game plan. But knowing just how fickle these fish are helps us get ready for the beating if it comes. If we steal a game or two, mebbe get a shot at the title, we're good with that.

On the topic of pain and suffering, we also sustained wounds this week, and only some that have the potential to heal. For 2 consecutive days we were taunted by a pair of huuuge fish in the same run, one at top and one at bottom. Both days we got fin in large amounts until we got to the color that they wanted right that minute, and when the spray and waves cleared, both were still finning free and happy in the river while we sobbed quietly in the grass, wondering if we would ever again get a shot at trout that big. We actually held fast to one of the behemoth twins for more than 10 seconds on friday, but he quickly tired of the game and made a run for his pet logjam. Snap. Sigh. Sob.

The only physical wounds we sustained were from our brand spankin' new SA Sharkskin Magnum Taper line. Doin' the extended drift thing with bobbercators means a lot of stripping, and when you have a set of mitts that lose feeling when they get cold, there is potential for some pretty gnarly lineburn...

At any rate, we are now on the clock. We have writing deadlines to meet, beads to paint, super-secret rituals to perform, and mad superpowers to wish for...all in just 6 days.

144 hours until the next road trip.

We can't wait for the plane.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gone Fishin'

This time tomorrow, we will be knee-deep and sideways in one of the greatest 'bow flows in the world, throwin' dirty, dirty beads and probably trying with little success to keep an idiotic, drooling grin off of our picturesque mug.

Not suprisingly, we are about 3/4 of an inch away from bouncing off the walls. Waiting to go is a bitch sometimes, but it wouldn't be epic without the build and release, would it?

Fact is, we probably won't sleep tonight. We'll probably putter and futz with gear, tie leaders, check and re-check setups, and hopefully sometime in the wee hours we'll get a catnap in the truck. First light will find us in the river, amped and ready to rumble...

4 days, people.

Can't wait for the plane.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On your mark, get set...

Indigenous Summer lasted all of 7 1/2 hours yesterday, and now the weather is back to being standard fall poo.

We used the last day of sun wisely, throwin' down a mini-picnic with the wife out on the front porch. Slaw dog, chips, beer...a good way to send off the summer. By the way, if you haven't had a Slaw dog with Bleu cheese-Bacon Slaw, you haven't had a Slaw dog.

Things have been busy around the sprawling Neil Creek Complex as of late. Gear is being checked, rechecked, inventoried, stacked, packed, and generally abused, which can only mean one thing...

Road Trip.

That's right, the Neil Creek Traveling Roadshow and Beer Fountain is making an appearance somewhere south and west of Anchorage next week, riding shotgun with the Narwhal for 4 days of rainbow fishin'. This is the warm-up trip, the pre-game stretch, the shakedown cruise before the big one on the 18th, when we will be back up there to red-line it with Northern D and the boys for 3 days of full-on fish madness.

We're tryin' our level best to be cool and calm about this whole thing, but inside we're runnin' around like an 8-year-old on a sugar-high. We don't get a lot of rainbow fishing in here in the rainforest (and no, Steelhead are NOT just big, sea-run rainbow trout), so this whole thing is gonna be a wild ride.

Leaving tomorrow on the evening jet, touchin' down after sunset. We're dizzy with anticipation, but that could just be the nail polish fumes...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Officially Fall

The Neil Creek Estate's Über-trained, programmed-to-attack-and-kill hellhound.

We probably should have just turned the damn alarm off, pulled the covers back up, and stayed in bed like him, but we didn't. Being that it is now officially fall, we have come to the point where we can number our home-game days on a pretty short list, so we have to make the most of the time that we have. If we didn't have that job thingy or that woman who insists that we're married, we would be free and clear to fish for the remaining month-and-a-half of the season - and we would probably be lonely and poor, too. Also, we know fall doesn't "officially" start until the 21st, but 41° with rain and a healthy 20kt Southeaster it sure as hell feel like fall.

But we digress.

Out the door, no particular agenda, just us and the Fanz and a pile of gear, waiting to see which flow would call to us. A few flows, a few holes, a few fly changes, a few fish...the only constant being the wind and rain.

Clocked out at 5pm, another good day behind us. Home, shower, food, beer, sleep.

One day down, and we don't ever know how many are left.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Radio Silence

Sorry 'bout that, folks.

It's been a long week, and we didn't particularly feel like sharing. Not that anything bad happened, but we just didn't feel writerly, and we think we have finally reached a point that we can talk about it.

A few high points in the "missing week"-

We turned one year older. Yup, the B-day was on the same day it has been since the late 60's, and damn if we didn't get some good loot this year. If y'all feel the need to give us stuff in honor of our day of birth, give the guys at Juneau Flyfishing Goods a call - they sell gift certificates, and they take credit cards.

We got ahold of one of the bigger char we have ever caught. And turned it free to swim another day, even though bonking and mounting one of those beasty critters has been on the list for awhile.

Coho fishing went from pretty damn good to downright silly, and is showing all signs of continuing for the next few weeks at a furious pace.


Back to the whole "writerly" thing.

Not long ago, we were getting itchy about rekindling a creative fire that had burned out about 15 years ago. Maybe it was the onset of middle age, maybe it was just ennui...whatever the cause, we decided that it would be a good thing to start writing again, maybe wake up a few synapses that had gone to sleep in the post-college years. Problem: what to write about. Bad writing is intolerable, but bad writing on crappy subjects should be a punishable crime, or at least bring about civil litigation. Solution? Attepting to capture our long-standing hobby obsession with fish and fishing, just not in that dorky, Outdoor Life-ish "There I was" sorta style. We would like to think that we succeeded at this, at least for a little while, and that this blog is evidence of that. The ability to write came back, and the pleasure of writing was once again visited upon our home.

Then we got paid for it.

When you lose your amateur status in a particular discipline, there is a tendency to feel two things. One of these is the elation of knowing that you provide a service that is apparently good enough to provide financial remuneration for, proof that you have risen above the masses of humanity to shine just slightly brighter than your counterparts back in the amateur trenches. The other is that nagging feeling in the back of your skull, the little voice that says, "Dumbass. Now you HAVE to do this."

Lately, we have been feeling a lot more of the latter than the former.

It took a little time to fully grasp, but we're pretty sure that was the thing. Something that we HAD to do, and it became tedious and repetitive.

So we took a week off.

But we're happy to report that things are looking up. We did a little mid-life crisis therapy with malted beverages last week, which was very helpful, and we caught a whole pile of fish in the last 3 days of the week and didn't stop once for a picture. No photos, no stoppage time, just us and the fish. We can't think of any better form of healing than cold beer and willing fish, but if you do, let us know about it.

This weekend, however, we actually took a few pics. Most of them were of scenery, which we should interpret as proof positive that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will try to be better at this, and not go so long without calling or writing, but we make no promises.

We are at the mercy of the fish.