Sunday, November 23, 2008

On The Road Again

Thank dog for free bloody marys in first class.

After a windy takeoff on a semi-turbulent flight, we are on the road again. No great plans, more of a holidaze walkabout to visit relations we ain't seen in awhile.

Tomorrow's eve we hope to have a jrink or two with Thee Originoo and Wallace, if things go right. Waiting for confirmation on the location of the nearest PBR tap, you understand.

Monday will find us on the way to a long-forgotten flow with The Fanz and Ratbone, and we hope to hold court with the fall friends for a day or two before the siren song of familial responsibilities lure us back to civilization.

Sunday finds us off to the 3rd biggest state in the union...wait, we still haven't cut AK in half yet. We will grace the Greater Austin area with our presence for a week or so, soaking up sunshine, Shiner, and BBQ. Overtures have been made to the Fly Fish Chick to show us where to find the best taco and margarita combo in town...hopefully we can make a go of it.

Newsflashes as they happen. Full disclosure when we return to the compound in a few weeks.

Happy turksgivin', folks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost like Christmas.

We got a package today from the Rajeff Compound.

Those kind and thoughtful fisherfolk are now in the biz of switchrods, with 4 new sizes available (we're told) shortly. Somehow, we rate enough that by phoning up J and begging for 10 minutes, we got a demo 7wt and a few lines sent our way. Beers on us at the Bellevue show, gentlemen.

At first glance, the color scheme is gonna take a while to get used to. It kinda reminds us of the Winston Vapor blank, except without the pastel overtone to the baby-poo green.

The cream wraps offset the color a little and the distinctive grip is nicely done in regular and burl cork, so at least it's got THAT going for it. After putting it together and giving it a "fly shop wiggle", we grabbed some reels, bundled up, and headed for the dock to put this twig through the paces.

First impressions with the Airflo Compact ("Skagito") 360 were not good. As we have stated many times before, we ain't the smoothest 2-hand dude around, but the rod felt a little overloaded with this line and a 120gr tip. Then again, Skagit-style isn't supposed to be the prettiest way to get things done, so maybe our expectations were a little high...ok, we admit that we were hoping Tim had actually touched this rod at some point, so maybe some of his casting awesomenality would rub off on our sweaty mitts.

No awesomnality, but with a line switch to a Beaulah 335gr Elixir tipped with a 14' 55gr polyleader, things got significantly better. The rod had more snap with the lighter weight, and it definitely unloaded much faster and smoother. We were positively giddy at the end of the session, wingin' happy 80's with very little effort and some pretty sexy loops to boot.


Pretty damn cool. We're not sure where the Echo folks are gonna price these at, but if they are under $350 they are gonna be a steal. The way they cast, you won't care if your friends laugh at your "Avorado".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lazy November.

Inside the compound.

Tough to get motivated when it gets dark around 3PM. Hell, we aren't even on our second cup o' joe and the damn sun is going down...wait, what sun? It is foggy and snowy and rainy so there is no sun, the light just sorta fades and the night leaks in.

As winter rolls around, we find ourselves displaying the atavistic traits shared by many of the Boreal rainforest mammals. Constant foraging, conservation of energy, extra fur growth, frequent torpor and a marked gain in adipose tissue are all signs that we are getting set for winter in a manner quite befitting of the endemic fauna.

By the middle of next week we will have either successfully devolved, gone barking mad, or we will be in the transition phase to "Outside Manners" - the relearning of common social mores and manners that all Alaskans have to undergo before leaving the state. It is a new requirement, post-election, to prevent homespun dumbassery from reaching out of its particular trailerpark and reflecting badly upon the rest of us up here.

At any rate, we're blowin' this popsicle stand next week for RoadTrip 08 v5, and this one we're gonna get to fish AND eat barbecue. Not at the same time, mind you, but within close enough temporal proximity to really make the rest of the winter suck out loud.

7 days, people.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Scenes from the Bench

Now that the hubbub has died down we can get back to business.

Lately we have been voluntarily chained to the bench, weeding out the chaff and getting on with the craft.

Quite a bit of fly tying is mental. Not in the "wear your shorts on your head and fling poo" type of mental - although there are days when a fella flings all kinds of poo-associated words after repeatedly breaking delicate quills - but more of an exercise in ideation, the taking of a basic concept and stripping away all of the unfishiness about it, then building it back up with just the right touches. After mentally tying a pattern thousands of times, the cussin' and sweatin' begins as you labor to reproduce your cerebal imagery with bits of animal and bird.

Our time at the bench seems to be inversely proportional to the time spent fishing in the concurrent frame. Spring and Summer are times of hasty replication of tried-and-true patterns, just enough to make it through the week, with a few of last Winter's crazy thoughts thrown in for giggles. Fall sees less fishing and a little more reflecting on what worked and what didn't, and Winter is the time of refinement...with a little crazy on the side.