Thursday, December 30, 2010

A little break from reality II

Whether  you own a dog or not, you must  appreciate the efforts of this owner to sell her dog.    Read  the sales pitch  below!  

Free to good home. Excellent guard dog. Owner  cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more drug pushers, thieves, murderers, or molesters left in the  neighborhood for him to eat.  Most  of them knew Jethro only by his Oriental street name, Ho Lee Schitt. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Day Out on the Water...

Well, the weather in Colorado today is so-so.  But, I decided that since it is in the 50s, that I would go out and fish in my new ride.  It was blustery and not nearly as warm as I would like it to be, but like many of my blogger friends who regularly fish in cold, snowy weather, I piled on the layers of clothing, grabbed my gear and hit the road.  The fishing was fair considering the lake was partially frozen.

Oh, I guess I haven't told you about my excellent Christmas gift given to me by my lovely wife.  Let me give you some hints.  It's got oars, it's named "cofisher", you can sit in it.  Give up?  Sorry, not yet.  When I arrived at my destination I had to stop and the local Bait & Tackle Shop to pick up a few things.  The owner was a nice guy and offered some tips.

As this was the maiden voyage...oops, I made sure that my wife was around to record the event.  I hope you guys are as excited as I was.

As you can probably tell from the photos, I had a difficult time maneuvering around in the wind. Once I caught on to things, I was able to fish for a while.  If you click on the pictures, you can see a couple that I decided to keep for dinner tonight.  But I actually caught one rainbow so large that I couldn't get into the boat.

Okay, I hope by now you've realized that I didn't actually "go outside" to go fishing.  This was my imaginary fishing trip that I had been planning for a little while.  You see, I'm a warm weather, cold water fly fisherman.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions

Okay, I'm not a New Year's resolution kind of person...I mean, how do you improve on perfection?  But, since the OBN has called, I will respond obediently.   Drum roll Please:

10. Buy a tweed sportcoat and knickers to fish in.  I'm all about retro.

9.   Stop making fun of friends who fish graphite.  Who am I to tell people they're foolish for spending so much money to catch bluegill?

8. Adopt Owl Jones.  He can't possibly eat more than my step-son and at least he has a sense of humor and fishes!

7. Buy a really nice fillet knife...I like to eat fish!

6. Go to the Fly Fishing Show and don't buy anything.  Well except if that one girl is there in the bikini and waders selling posters of herself.

5. Next time I see someone catching and keeping fish in a catch and release area, I will call the game warden...I don't care if you are my mother.

4. No more buying any fishing tackle until I get my tummy tuck paid for.

3. No more cursing when I miss a strike.  The fish just laugh at you.

2. The next time someone shows up on the stream with a cellphone, resist the urge to grab it out of their hand and smash it against a rock.

1.  Continue to spend time teaching folks with developmental disabilities how to fish.

Raising Cane -

Although I fish fiberglass, I have a soft spot in my heart for bamboo.  The story of my first bamboo rod still amuses me.  I was in my mid 20's and had bought my first home.  Nearly every day for around 4 years, I walked past a 2 x 4 lying on the floor in a corner of the basement.  Since the basement was only used for storage and our freezer, there was no hurry to do much of anything down there.  One day I decided to straighten things up and throw out that useless 2 x 4.  When I bent down to pick it up, I found it was a wooden box about the size of a box you might use to ship a 3 piece 9' fly rod.  I opened the box and there was a bamboo fly rod.  Unfortunately it wasn't a Payne, Garrison or even a was a post World War II Japanese model.  It was missing a guide, which a friend of mine faithfully re-wrapped.  I never fished it, but I did lawn cast the daylights out of it.

My next bamboo rod and the only one I currently own was purchased about five years ago.  I saw on eBay that a man in Wisconsin would build you a banty 6' rod where you could pick the reel seat/spacer and the color of the wraps and trim.  The rod was made from the mid and tips of an unknown 3 piece rod.  The price was right and despite the fact that it was not a high end rod, it casts a 5DT beautifully.  Egocentric as I am, I only fish it on two particular rivers, where for me it wouldn't seem right to fish anything else.  My reel of choice is a vintage Hardy-made Orvis Battenkill Flyweight.  Sort of old timey.

The other bamboo I had is another story.  I found the Wright & Mcgill 9' Granger Special in a pawn shop.  They had it marked to sell for $265.  I told the manager that I was a collector and that the rod had two broken tips, both which were also delaminated and weren't worth half the amount he was asking.  I walked out of the store.  The following week I went back in and the manager offered the rod to me for $75.  The rod was beautiful and in excellent condition except the tips.  I contacted a friend who builds rods and he offered to bring it back to life, repairing one tip and building a second, putting on a replacement Granger reel seat and re-varnishing the rod.  When I got it back, it was a work of art.  I lawn casted it to see which reel and line I needed to use and then put it away only to bring it out every once in awhile to gaze at it.  I finally sold it because I knew deep in my heart that I wouldn't use it and it was a rod made to be used.  Now, three years later I crave another.

1951 Wright & Mcgill catalog

Anyone else raising cane out there?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Mile High about T.L. Johnson fly rods

I'm just discovering the joy of owning and fishing custom fly rods.  Of course my material of choice is fiberglass with bamboo a distant second and graphite not even in the running any more.  I'm not a technical type person, so I'm not a good person to ask for a rod review.  That being said, I have tried many different rods and I do know what I like and what works for me.  Hence, fiberglass with a touch of cane.

I ranted a bit the other day about my new T.L. Johnson rod.  Today I had the opportunity to do a little lawn casting with it.  All I can say is if you haven't tried "new" glass rods, you don't know what you are missing.  Big fish or small, short casts or long, delicate flies or bombing streamers, T.L.'s rods can handle it all...and with that slow but powerful feeling that I love.  Take a look at T.L. Johnson rod company's latest video.  Here

After you are done viewing the video, check out Terry's web site and see what's been and what's coming down the road for TL Johnson rod Co.  While I am touting my new 7' 4Wt.Synergy SG, check out another great web site called,, home to one of my favorite people, Joe Cornwall. Once there, you will find a couple of great reviews for TLJ glass rods.

If you are interested in learning more about what Terry offers, contact two other great friends of mine, Pioneer Anglers and ask for Mike or and ask for Larry. For those of you who can't live without your graphite, check them out as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Windknots Profile-Cameron Mortenson

I was going to debut a new feature of Windknots & Tangled Lines after the first of the year, but honestly I didn't think that I could keep it secret for that long.  Once a month I am going to feature a post dedicated to fly fishing, fly tying and anything fly fishing related personalities.  I've got a few great ideas that I hope everyone likes.

My choice for the first Windknots Profile is Cameron Morenson; co-administrator of Fiberglass Flyrodders, author of The Fiberglass Manifesto blog and co-founder of Fishykid

Cameron is a busy man.  So busy, that you wonder how he manages to work a regular job in law enforcement in South Carolina, raise two children (Hadley and Finn) with his wife Melissa, manage various ongoing projects for The Manifesto and Fishykid and still have time (not enough) to fish.

I met Cam several years ago after joining the Fiberglass Flyrodders and was immediately impressed with his knowledge of fiberglass rods and his willingness to share information.  As time went on we became fast friends, exchanging emails, talking on the phone and finally actually meeting face to face at the Colorado Clave this past summer.

Cam hails from South Carolina, via Colorado, via Michigan.  And, as you can imagine he has made friends from coast to coast and several continents and is also a  Pro Staff Member for William Joseph. I expect to hear one day that he is off to Belize or South America to fish with friends or test out new tackle.

If you have kids and want to interest them or they are interested in fly fishing, hook them up with Fishykid,  A place where kids can enter contests to win prizes, post photos and get good information for kids.  If you are interested in a place to learn or discuss fiberglass fly rod fishing in a civil, friendly atmosphere, check out Fiberglass Flyrodders and of course, The Fiberglass Manifesto.

To prove that Cam does actually fish, here is a photo he sent me of a nice rainbow caught today on the Saluda River, his home waters.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who is Owl Jones and why can't I find him?

Okay, I'm mad as hell and I don't know what to do about it.  For those of you who are living in a cave somewhere or don't normally follow fishing blogs, Owl Jones, master of many domains and Fly Fishing the Southern Blue Ridge is missing.  Owl decided to flip from .blog to .com and somewhere along the way...well he lost his way.  I suspect he's out there somewhere, but I don't know where to look.  If you happen to see Owl, tell him to get in touch with me, I need a fix bad.  Oh and if you click on his link, it may or may not go anywhere, but if it does give it read.  He's the reel deal.

One word of warning, don't try to take his cookies!

I've got some rather sad news to report.  My lovely wife kicked me out of bed last night...but she wouldn't let me take my new TL Johnson fly rod with me.  Bummer.

As you can probably tell, I'm sort of rambling.  It's been a long hard week and it's not even over with yet.  I've got a Christmas party at work tomorrow and then it's OFF for a week.  If the weather holds, (supposed to be 60 this weekend.) I might try to get out.  Shhhhh...

Speaking of parties, I hope you won't mind my telling you about a party I went to today.  As I mentioned in my profile, I retired from law enforcement 11 years ago.  I went back to the old stomping grounds today (no pun intended) for the Chief's Christmas luncheon.  Very nostalgic day, so bear with me and I'll get it out of my system.

1970's every boy wanted to be Dirty Harry!  Go ahead, make my day...

In the top two photos I'm 22 years old.  In the bottom photo I'm 24.  You can see that police work really takes it out of you.

So, I'm going to wrap things up now and try to get my fly rod back while the kids have my wife distracted.

One more thing before I forget.  This is a fishing blog and I promised my therapist that I would always a least mention something fishing so...

This is a 22" rainbow my step-son caught a few years ago at a nearby private lake.  He promised to take me out and show me how to catch fish this big someday, but no such luck yet.  Oh, I forgot something else.  I wanted to post a photo that my buddy Tim Wheat took the other night of the eclipse.  It's spectacular and I'm outta here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas came early this year...

Christmas came early to my house this year and I was totally surprised.  No, Santa didn't come and make good on my OBN  wish list...we're still waiting on that one.  Today, Santa was played by my buddy Mike Carlson, aka Mountainshark at the Fiberglass Flyrodders.  Among his various activities,  Mike is a terrific rod builder and owner of Pioneer Anglers in Afton, Wyoming.

Folks, don't let your kids see what Santa really looks like.

This past summer at the Fiberglass Flyrodders clave here in Colorado, Mike brought a Terry Johnson fly rod to look over and cast.  It was an awesome rod and I wanted it.  No problem, we were going to have a drawing for one.  Long story short, I didn't win it, but I did win a really nice Recycled Waders Nook Sack. (Man purse for you purists) I'm not complaining because I love the Nook Sack and will use it on my small stream trips.  But man, a really nice fiberglass fly rod!  If I haven't bored you to death, or you haven't guessed, Mike sent me a beautiful TJ Fly Rod and tube!!  The pictures that I'm going to show you don't really do it justice.

Beautiful rod huh?  7'  4wt.  And folks, it's fiberglass and doesn't cost you your first born to purchase.  Oh and I almost forgot the best part.  Are you ready?  The rod is inscribed, Howard "The Dancer" Cluck, Cluck.
Yes, there is a story there, but I'm not going into that now.  If you would, check out Pioneer Anglers web site. 

* Note to Mike:  Dear Mike, I hope I have embarrassed you just a little bit.  Thank you so much for the gift.  I'll be using it is Starr Valley next summer.

* Note to Derrol: Didn't mean to leave you out since it seems that you were the #1 instigator. It took a while for my detective skills to kick in and learn that you were responsible for this.  Thank you my friend, I look forward to fishing with you next summer in Wyoming.  Merry Christmas to you both.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Brothers and sisters of the angle and more...

Two blogs I read this morning motivated me to write this piece this morning.  The first was reading The Drag Free Drift by Nick and Trev Silwkanich two brothers out of Canada.  Nick wrote a nice little bit about the differences between fishing-related words and phraseology in British and the U.S.  A non-fishing related example of my own is to "go potty."  We all know what that means in the States and please clean up after yourself.
Let's go potty!
To someone who speaks the Queen's English, go potty means go crazy.  See what I mean?  So, if you were invited to Buckingham Palace for a party and the Queen said, "Go Potty", I'm guessing you wouldn't be invited back anytime soon if you didn't know the difference.

The other blog was Floatantmania out of Japan and I assume written by Hitoshi who is a follower here and into fly fishing big time.  By the looks of it, it is a nice blog.  When I go there, a translator pops up and translates the blog to English.  But, as I'm sure you are aware, it loses a lot in the translation.  One thing that blog has in common with this one is that it's about fly fishing.  I know for sure from some of the people I've met on-line that fly fishing is huge in Japan and Malaysia.  So, I'm going to spend some time today checking out some fly fishing blogs that I can't read.  Hopefully they have lots of pictures.  My point is this; we are all brothers and sisters of the angle, check some out yourself.  And If I sound like I've gone a little potty, you'd be right.

...and now a little weekend entertainment:

The largest trout I have ever caught in my life.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hey, I'm a winner!

So the winners of the notes to Santa contest are:
Russell Ritchie
Chad Chorney
Tom Andersson
Kustom Rods
...Howard Levett

Thanks to everyone for participating. Enjoy your weekend!

And, here is my winner for my choice of fly line.
Dear Santa,
I beg you dear fellow.
I lost my fly line
it was yellow.
I need one for trout nice and stout
I'll leave you a drink and some jello.

I'm so excited...never won anything before.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's okay to be square...Part II

I received the Wright & Mcgill rod today.  It is a 6' 6" Tru-Cast spinning rod and looks like it had been used hard.  The cork is a bit chewed up and it has several guides that were wrapped with non-matching thread. Other than that and needing a little TLC and soap and water. It works fine.  I'm anxious to clean it up, polish it and cast it. Then I will decide if I want to replace the cork or just sand it down a little and get the guides wrapped properly.

The reel seat is a bit unusual in that it moves up and down the cork.  I don't know if that is normal or whether it will need to be fastened somehow.  The blank is a greyish-greenish-clearish fiberglass that looks able to withstand a large trout and ferocious run. The wraps look like they were originally brown with copper colored trim.

The ferrule is interesting.  The female is round and as you can see, the male is round at the top and square at the bottom.  I haven't tried to figure out the age yet, but would guess mid 1950s.

I'm not a rod builder, but I think this may be a good place to start and who knows, maybe I'll start spin-fishing a little again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's okay to be square...

From it's earliest days of manufacturing fiberglass rods, Wright & Mcgill has produced an unusual looking series of rods, both spinning and casting.  I mention this not only because a lot of people don't know, but also because I'm expecting one in the mail soon so I wanted to know more about them.

Sold under a variety of names since 1952, they were called Toughy, Master Glass, Nyla Glass and Tru-Cast. They were generally 5' to 6 1/2' long, one piece or two and were quadrate shaped. In other words, they were square, they were white and they had various colored wraps.

Throughout their years of production, names were added, like Pan-fish, Daisy, Huck Finn, Favorite and Chieftan, depending on whether you had a spinning rod or a casting rod.  And, not surprisingly, they were popular if the number that show up on eBay is any indication.  I suspect they were primarily a beginner's rod because of their low price.  They were unique and from friends that have them, pleasant to cast. In later years they eventually changed from longitudinal glass to tubular glass (round).  No doubt losing a little of their uniqueness and collectibility.

I don't know if I'm getting a spinning rod or a casting rod and I haven't used either in many years, but I'm looking forward to giving a test drive to a little bit of history.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The judge has spoken

Without further ado, the winner of the caption contest is...

Nick Sliwkanich said...

When I told my wife that fishing was my other mistress, she thought I was kidding.

Congratulations Nick...who said Canadians are normal?  Send me an email with your address so I can get your DVD sent.  Thanks to everyone for participating.  We'll being doing a lot more of this contest stuff.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Best day at Rocky Mountain Anglers

I posted a few days ago that I was going to go to Rocky Mt. Anglers in Boulder to watch A.K. Best tie some flies.  Well, my buddy Tim and I actually made it.  Tim with  his camera and me with my book, A.K.'s Fly Box.  When I tie flies, it's utilitarian. In other words, they're not necessarily pretty, but they work.  When A.K. ties flies, it's a work of art by a master. We watched him tie a hopper, Royal Wolff, red quill and a black version of the St.Vrain Caddis.   It was amazing to watch.

I'd like to make a few observations.  A.K. is a professional fly tier.  That being said, his sense of humor is at it's  best when he makes the same mistakes us mortals do; Breaking thread, catching hackle in his whip finish. A.K. made me feel like no disaster couldn't be fixed and he proved it.

A.K.'s red quill

Of course, besides the great fly tying exhibition one of A.K.'s signature qualities is his story telling ability and he didn't disappoint.  I asked A.K. to tell us what his buddy John Gierach has been up to.  He leaned back in his chair and said, " I haven't fished much with John the past few years.  I think he's afraid that if something happens to him that I won't be able to carry him out."  Priceless!

At break time I was able to get my book autographed.

This was a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday.  If you haven't read any of A.K.'s books and really enjoy tying, it would be worth the price to pick up one or two.  They're all great.  If you are located in or near Boulder, stop by Rocky Mountain Anglers, 1904 Arapahoe Ave.,  a top notch fly shop with knowledgeable staff and great customer service.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Denver area small stream

A few years ago my wife had a two-day class she needed to attend for work.  As luck would have it, the class was located in Evergreen.  Evergreen is a small town located in the foothills of Jefferson County roughly 18 miles from downtown Denver.  Also, as luck would have it, she was spending the two days at Bear Creek Cabins just outside of town and literally steps away from Bear Creek.  I had never fished Bear Creek, but thought, well since she's already up there and has a place to stay, why not? 

Bear Creek is a great little creek that can be a joy to fish. There are some beautiful stretches that include pocket water to great riffles and pools. There is quite a bit of public water from Morrison all the way up to Evergreen, but you should be aware that there is a lot of private areas as well.  The stretch that runs through Bear Creek Cabins property is private and catch and release only.  The owner at the time, a very helpful fellow fly fisherman and tyer, took me to the water by the office and pointed out a pool with a large boulder against the bank.  There he said, resides a very large trout.  The trout, stocked several years before was in the 20+ inch range.  The owner reminded me that this is catch and release.

Fishing along this stretch of the creek can be somewhat challenging due to brush and trees close to the bank.  That coupled with low flows means stealth is the strategy. Bear Creek has a good population of small browns in the 8" to 10" range.  Some slightly larger can be had.  There is also a small population of rainbows.

For this trip, I brought along a 6 1/2' bamboo 4weight.  The fly of choice according to the owner was a Buckskin nymph.  For two days I followed a path alongside the creek pulling beautiful small browns from the water.  When I wanted to, I added a small caddis dry to the mix and continued to catch fish. (Sorry, no photos)

By all accounts a very successful trip.  Oh yeah.  On the second day while laying my rod down to take a break, I broke the tip at the ferrule. Lucky for me it was easily repairable.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don't forget...

Don't forget to send in your caption for the contest and your chance to win Fly Fishing Still waters DVD...ends Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

And here for your enjoyment is a video of fish pedicures.  Let's see if this registers on your oddball meter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Okay, let's get back to fishing...

How many of you reading this post have heard of or read John Gierach?  Raise your hand.  Okay, you don't really need to raise your hand, I'll take your word for it.  If I mention Gierach, I suppose most fly fisher-persons automatically think of his fly fishing/tying sidekick A.K. Best, renowned fly tyer, fly fisherman and author  Their exploits together are legion.  I mention this because I'm looking forward to watching  A.K. tie some flies and hopefully hear more tales this Saturday morning, December 11.  A.K., a Boulder resident will be at Rocky Mt. Anglers in Boulder from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 

My plans include trying to get A.K.'s autograph on my copy of  A.K.'s Fly Box, a wonderfully informative tying book, get a few photos of THE MAN and perhaps get a quote or two to share with you.  Wish me luck.

A. K. Best is the author of Production Fly TyingA. K.'s Fly Box, and Advanced Fly Tying. He's written articles for Fly Rod & ReelFly FishermanFly Tyer, and The Bamboo Fly Rod. He's lectured and taught about fly fishing and fly tying all across the U.S. A professional tier, he lives in Boulder, Colorado. 

A form letter!! Santa sent me a form letter!!

Talk about feeling cheated...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My outrageous Christmas wish list...

As you probably know, the Outdoor Blogger Network has issued a "writing prompt", asking for our Christmas "wish lists."  The best thing is anything goes.  Santa is an outdoorsman and no wish is unreasonable.

Dear Santa,

How are you?  I heard you ate some some bad fruitcake and got sick last year.  I hope you're feeling better. I'm leaving you some Pepto Bismol this year just in case.  Also, please say hello to Mrs. Claus for me.  I hope she didn't have any problems getting the soot and bird stuff off your suit.  I also wanted to tell you that I'm not upset with you any more about not getting that B-B gun when I was 10.  Mom was probably right...I would have shot my brother's eye out.

I've been really good this year mostly, so I thought I would see if you could bring me some special things this year.  Please don't bring me any more underwear, I have plenty.  So Santa, here is my list.

1.  I would like a lodge in Canada with lots of great fishing and let's throw in a float plane while we're at it.

2.  I would also like a warm weather lodge (fully staffed) in the Caribbean.

3.  A big screen TV would also be nice with round-the-clock fly fishing shows.

4.  I would like a job where I make a lot of money and go on vacation at least 6 months of the year.

5.  It would be great to have a really nice fishing boat to take my friends fishing.   Please use your best judgement here.

6. Okay, I really, really want a pontoon also.  Sometimes I like to fish alone.  I know you understand that otherwise you'd bring Mrs. Claus with you on Christmas Eve.

7.  I guess a new 4-wheel drive vehicle would be nice as well.  I'd kind of like another Blazer again.  Oh, and will you fill up the tank please?

8.  I'm sitting pretty good with fly rods and reels, but would really like another Granger bamboo rod, 7 1/2,  5 weight.  (Do you like to fish?)

9.  Please get my wife some new waders and boots.  I'd prefer Simms waders and Korker boots.  She really needs new ones.

10.  Please pick up a little something for yourself and Mrs. Claus and the reindeer and send the bill to Owl

Have a safe and Merry Christmas, Santa!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another hike down memory lane

Once upon a time in a world far, far away I was living another life.  Like a cat, I have lived a couple and hope for a few more.  In this particular life I had the opportunity to go on a dream horse-pack, fishing and camping trip of a lifetime to the Wind River Range in Wyoming.  Unfortunately, most of my photos are not accessible right now, but I managed to find a few. You'll have to use your imagination when I tell you the water was as clear as a piece of crystal and the fish were huge and plentiful.

The Majestic Wind River Range

We started our trip at 4:00 a.m. and rode most of the day before we stopped to set up camp.  We built a pine bough lean-to, slept on our horse blankets and in sleeping bags and cooked over a campfire.   It was a fourth of July weekend and when we reached our destination, the snow was up to the horses bellies. I saw some of the largest trout I've ever seen lying in still waters...curious at our offerings, but not taking anything thrown at them.

Here's yours truly taking a break. Notice the pistol on my hip.

On of my favorite pictures of all time. My father-in-law standing by the campfire, saddles hanging in the trees in the background.