How Traditions Happen…

Fly Fishing: Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized
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Overnights make late evening and early morning water a realistic endeavor…

 

 

If you mix up the following ingredients:

  1. Waves
  2. Boats
  3. Beers
  4. Fly fishing
  5. Favorite people
  6. Dehydrated junk foods
  7. Weather
  8. Silly tent noises
  9. Hot coffee
  10. Camp Fire plus lantern

….expect a tradition to be born. Year 2, and the Andro float is growing in willing campers.

 

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A Pheonix on the Andro

Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

Well it’s another early winter morning…wait, no. It’s not. It’s 39 degrees at 9:30 am, but it’s Late June?  With gusty winds and no sun, my day on the water requires full winter dressing  including hot hands in the wool lined hand warmer pockets of my waders.  As I pull into my launch area I find one other vehicle. Doors swung open resembling a majestic Phoenix with wings spread, its presence seems a foreshadowing of something epic.  The Phoenix, with its symbolism of renewal, cyclical rebirth, and strength is a relevant symbol for all of us who long for the outcome of a vibrant, self sustaining trout fishery.  But until then, at least in the New England, we have “the truck”.

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Phoenix

Of course, only fisherfolk have such a metaphorical/emotional response to a NH Fish and Game stocking truck.  To the average person, it might be mistaken for a septic truck with its ample tank.  We know better.  As I ready my boat and gear, I listen to the officers chatter as they dump nets of trout into the river.  Now, this is not the first time I have been in this scenario. The time previous, I was already in the lake when the trout truck pulled right up to the bank and commenced shooting fish out of a water cannon in a trajectory that seemed to be ridiculously close to my boat. It was like a feverish dream, or perhaps a nightmare.  I was literally sitting on top of hundreds of fish. I could see them, smell them, hear them. And do you know, I couldn’t catch a single trout!  I did, somehow, manage to catch a bass in all that trouty mess. Needless to say, I left that lake dejected and having a serious feeling that I should hang up the rod. I mean, who can’t get a trout to bite in those conditions?  So, long and short, while a was marveled by the perfection of timing this morning, I prepared myself for a potential total devastation of confidence.

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Pinky

Once on the water, I could see fish snacking in the slow current. An 88 revealed a couple of stocker sized rainbows within the first 15 minutes.  As the nibbles slowed, I moved downstream to a more shallow narrowing section of river with quicker currents and subtle elevation variation. Here is where the rodeo in earnest begins. Just about every cast, these newly re-homed fish are spunky and consistent taking a swinging 88 just about every other cast.

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Standard Fare

I’m simple.  The catching never bores me. No matter the size or variety.  However, I will admit that my focus heightened after hooking a larger rainbow who gave me lots of smile worthy trouble on his way to my net.

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Feisty Sprinter

The 88 doing all of the work today is one of the first I tied. My friend Art has provided me with a generous supply in the past, but he is a real fly tier and needs to focus on tying other inventories that, well, are too challenging to be fun in my opinion. So, I made a commitment to learn the 88 as a production tier for our season. This scene is essentially a quality control laboratory for my first production line and, to my disappointment, he loses his wing at around fish #30.  Don’t tell Art!  His 88’s last years.

An interesting aside, as these rainbows are feeding on my 88, there are 3 fishermen across the river cranking spinners. Only one trout is interested in their metal. I think this is the first time that I have been the “catching” fisherman in this equation.  I’m usually the fisherman trying to manage my rising frustration as I work my tail off to get some interest as smiling folks with spinning gear pull up handfuls of fish all around me.  I think that these gentlemen today might suspect that they are on Candid Camera. I mean it’s so ridiculous. Every time they glance over, there’s another fish on my line. Of course, they also don’t know the stocking truck came 2 hours earlier!  After an hour an a half, they retreated to their truck to have beers and conversation about “what the hell that lady is using”, I imagine.  Luck, gentlemen. She’s using the classic and under-recognized pattern of good fortune.  I, Phoenix-like, have risen from the ashes and will leave the river today with my fisherwoman self-esteem intact.

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Androscoggin Gauge

Because of the wintery feel, I decided to stay upriver of the quick water and wade/paddle back up to the launch. After all, I had the gift of certainty that there were fish here.  The rest of the lower river has been strangely quiet so far this season. I missed the sounds and motion of the float, but greatly enjoyed not walking the 2 miles back to the car when I finally came out of the water at 4:30.  After removal of my 2 insulating layers, winter hat, wool socks, and jacket, I reached over to escalate heat to full throttle as I settle into the seat.  I barely have the energy to raise my arm to wave to the Fish and Game officer who is turning in as I am turning onto the highway. Perhaps he is coming to see how his school is adjusting to their new habitat. They are safe and sound, Sir. Doing just fine.  I will return home to the warmth of the inside until summer returns.  It will give me time to address the poorly tied lot of 88’s that came off of my production line and, for god’s sake,  avoid supplying my teacher with a fly of marginal longevity!

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Does this look like Summer Fishing Apparel?

 

 

 

 

Jazzy Little Raft has Ph.D in Hypnosis: VIDEO

New Hampshire Fly Fishing Multimedia, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, The Good Goods

CLICK HERE TO LOAD VIDEO IF NOT APPEARING

I’m loving getting to new and complicated lines to fish in my Kodiak.  The entire undertaking feels so effortless and non-lethal, I find myself nearly hypnotized when riding the river.  Trouble is, it’s hard to be prepped for the hit in such a state of relaxation. And when some one does come knocking, it feels a little like being “pants-ed” in gym class: a BIG emergency.  But,as the video demonstrates, even fisherwomen who are half asleep can catch a fish if allowed 3 shots at it!

River Guides: Fishing’s “Ultra-Runner” Equivalent

Uncategorized

The Urban Dictionary’s definition of an ultrarunner:

A runner who runs ultramarathons – distances greater than a marathon (26.2 miles). Ultramarathon distances are most commonly 50k, 50 mile, 100k, and 100 mile. Runs can be both road and trail, but usually trail. Ultrarunners are extremely dedicated to their sport and have been found to be some of the most laid-back folks around. They tend to eat like horses, too. Most find them a wee bit eccentric.

This week, I was invited to drift the Androscoggin River by one of my dear friends.  This individual is unique in his combination of inherent technical aptitude and an equally robust capacity for emotional intelligence. That being so, he is the kind of person that has amassed an large inventory of interesting and loyal associates.  You are a fool to turn down an opportunity to be introduced to someone by Art.

This spring Art informed me that he had booked a trip with his friend (and veteran fishing guide), Rick Estes owner of Owl’s Roost Outfitters, LLC, an experience that he had been touting for almost 2 years as a “must do”.  Last year, Art was able to demonstrate briefly from shore the incredible potential for fly fishing elation represented by the Alder Fly.  While scouting spots along the thirteen mile stretch, Art found Alder flies working in the current right off shore.  He pulled out his box of recently tied Alder Flies (in all stages) and immediately fish rose to his floating fly, over and over again.  It was magical.  Needless to say, I have been interested in fishing the Alder Fly hatch on the Andro ever since.

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Art’s Alder Flies in all stages…

Rick and Art attempted to forecast the Alder hatch based on whatever semi-scientfic and gut projections they could muster.  Rick has been fishing the Androscoggin Alders since 1998, so he’s an authority when it comes to best guesses on these matters.  And, boy, they nailed it.  What an amazing combo of top water and sub surface trout fishing.  When I fish, I am usually relegated to getting bites from above or below the water resulting in a sort of spoiler effect…you know what the bite will feel like and where it will come from.  The opportunity to see and feel both kinds of takes intermittently throughout the trip was uniquely absorbing and engaging, comparable to a well executed psychological thriller.  This is the kind of fishing you could do all day and never feel finished. It’s the movie you could watch over and over again and find subtle morsels previously passed over.

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Lunch prep on the Andro

Of course, as is the case with pristine cinematography, a portion of your attention is captured and held by the environment that the fish have summoned you into.  The Androscoggin is dark.  When I think of wading it, I feel a haunting twinge which keeps me from entering it unaccompanied.  It feels like walking blindfolded in a room full of obstacles that represent the potential for bone cracking.  But unfettered by the risk of being swallowed by it, the blackness of the Androscoggin against a thunderstorm threatening sky is all-consuming of your senses.  The drift for willing fish has the ultimate effect of total sensory immersion by day’s end.  I could have been 1000 miles away…could have been gone for days.
So, what does ultra running have to do with this little hobby of fly fishing?  Well, see, it seems amazing to me that in less than 12 hours my experience of the world could be totally transformed.  It feels sort of unbelievable, even suspect.  I have come to realize that when I have these kind of experiences, it is usually being facilitated by one or more outside forces.  And when it is almost impossible to perceive the planning, intervention, and instruction of those forces enabling the experience, you know that you are in the presence of a professional.  So, I started to think about what behind the scenes effort goes into creating an experience like the one Art and I had on the river last Tuesday.  It was about 15 minutes into this thought process that I realized I would NOT like to be a river guide.  I realized this with clarity at the brain busting moment in which I could not trouble shoot when Rick would logistically be able to find time to feed and bath himself before heading out to meet his next clients the following morning.  Keep in mind, it isn’t just the mental capacity involved for staying organized enough to obtain the paperwork, arrange for supplies, move and clean boats and tackle…no.  He rowed continuously for 10 hours.  Additionally, he has the very same routine responsibilities (maintain relationships with family and friends, attend doctors appointment, mow…) as us non river guides have.

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I have signed up to complete my first marathon in September, the weekend of my 43 rd birthday.  My goal is to complete it.  It won’t be simple and anyone along for the ride will be fully aware my pain, my stress, and my potential frustration.  It will NOT be pretty.  I can only arrive at one conclusion.  If Rick was so inclined to join the running community, he would be an ULTRARUNNER, achieving amazing things with almost no noticeable effort.  And most importantly, he would have that wonderful attitude that this group of folk is known and revered for; 1)a willingness to help others learn how to participate in their sport at whatever level they are comfortable with and 2) an uncanny ability to make people around them feel at ease.
Luckily the fishing world has these people too. It’s a great convenience to be able to have a wonderful memory with friends on the river without putting in 8 months of prerequisite training.  Thank you, gentlemen, for a gem of a fishing outing!

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Art and  me after lunch…

To Book a trip with Rick Estes at Owls Roost Outfitters, L.L.C. go to
http://owlsroostoutfitters.com
Or call 603-539-7354

Artful Alder Acquaintance on the Androscoggin

Uncategorized

In less then 5 minutes and 4 “simple” steps, my friend Art gracefully demonstrates the magical delight of the Alder Fly (or zebra caddis) on the Androscoggin on the hottest day of the summer to date. The steps…?

1. Expertly tie a stash of alder flies in many variations

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2. Rig up real quick

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3. Sneak up on fish rising to feed on the alder hatch…

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4. Have a chuckle at how easy it is to impress someone with only a fraction of your experience behind the reel. Beautiful, Art!

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