Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stop It!

Fishing can become a bit of an addiction. So can online shopping. And when the two meet bad things happen. Or maybe it's good things; I'm not quite sure. For some people it manifests as a boatload of old reels they never use. For others it's dozens of unnecessary rods. For many it's a whole slew of unnecessary gadgets and trinkets. For me it's a little less bad. I have 1 reel for each rod, and each rod serves a purpose (and there are only 5 of them, not dozens). I have had the same vest for nearly 6 years. I also don't have a ton gadgetry, just the basics. Or at least what I consider to be the basics.

What I did do, though, is buy yet another fly box online last week and received it earlier this week. Why would I do this? Well, I started fishing in two newish modes this year and so I obviously needed 2 new boxes. Obviously. I got one for my birthday and that held me over for a while. Then I spent some time in CO fishing, not for trout, but for pike. They're a ton of fun and fishing for them increased my need for streamers ten-fold. I had always just kept a small tin full of loose streamers and a couple in my nymph box but I never really used them. With this new box I had a nicely set up and organized box for all my new monstrosities.

Then I started fishing for carp a lot more this year than I ever had previously. Before this year I had just reserved a row in my nymph box for carp flies, but I now have way too many for just a row. Thus yet another need for yet another box. It's beginning to look like a mental illness or obsession. So I bought a cheap fly box online and have begun to fill it up. 

I would go see help so that I could stop the spread of this disease, but I sort of like it.

Now I'd better head downstairs.  Fight club is about to begin and Tyler Durden is calling my name.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I was looking through some pictures of my recent trip back to Colorado and one of them struck me. Yes, I have flood pictures, but that's not what caught my attention. The pictures I was looking through were from the first weekend, before all the floods. The picture isn't anything great. It's a little out of focus, not real colorful. Then again I'm in it so there's that.

What I find myself focusing on is the river. This is my kind of water. Every angler gets to a point in their angling "career" where they realize what sort of fishing is like breathing for them. I can go catch try to catch carp, bass, pike where available, and I can usually catch trout in most any water big or small. But small pocket water I breath. I know where to position myself, I know how to make the short cast under that limb with the overhanging trees above me, and I know that there will be a fish in that dinner plate sized pocket. Oh, and I know that I'll catch it. I did not consciously study these things and I don't usually think about them on the water. I just know them.

While fishing with my dad and a friend Rich, my dad snapped this picture of me fishing. And I feel like it sort of sums up my natural fishing instincts. Unfortunately for my dad and Rich, when you don't think about the details of what you're doing, you make for a lousy teacher and your pupils don't catch a ton of fish. But I sure had a great time and just a brief week later I find myself longing for those waters. I'm afraid they may be the love of my life.

My heaven will be an infinite stretch of river, just like this, full of big trout. I will fish pocket to pocket to pocket, only stopping occasionally to look around at the canyon walls and take a quick sip from the crystal clear blackness. The river never widens and never peters out, just goes on forever carving its way through the canyon creating a million little pockets waiting to be picked. There's something big hiding in each one.

And I know I'll catch a nice fish on the next cast.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We Can't All Be Heros

The carp on the fly movement within the fly fishing industry--is it truly a movement or is it just me?--is alluring trout anglers away because of the potential for catching big fish. In a recent carp outing I was thinking how to compare carp and trout, and I think you can basically replace pounds and inches. I would hereby like to institute a fish exchange rate. The trout to carp exchange out here in Oregon is on order of 1inch : 1.2pound, meaning the likelihood of catching a 10 inch trout is about the same as catching a 12 pound carp.

Of course that doesn't account for the total numbers of fish you are likely to catch, but that's too many things to consider at once. I can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Sorry.

So in looking through some older photos on my camera's SD I came to a dilemma. It's not a carp, but a catfish, but let's ignore that for a second. What would be the trout equivalent for this one??

I suppose it would be a trout egg at best. Or maybe the exchange is not linear and asymptotically increases infinity as the carp (catfish) size goes to zero. I don't know. I just report. You decide.

All I know is <see post title>.

PS - I wonder what other exchange rates should be instituted.  Steelhead? Salmon? Bass? Pike? etc...?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cashing in the Rewards Card

For most of the summer I have been religiously pounding the shorelines out here in Oregon. Well, maybe "religiously" is a bit of an overstatement, but I've been out quite a few times now. I'm brand new to carping in the rivers, and pretty new to the Portland area so specific information on locations has been a bit lacking. And the frustration mounted early in the year when I was trying to find places that were fishable. It seemed like everywhere I went the waters were shoulder high at the edge of the shoreline trees, and thus pretty much unfishable without scuba gear.

After a couple outings involving more driving than fishing and a few outings of wandering some flats with very low visibility and cloudy skies, the frustration became insurmountable. So I headed out to some still waters I had fished a bit the year before, where the frustration became intolerable. Cows were everywhere and the water visibility was less than one inch. There were carp rummaging around so I could at least target casts, but once the line was cast I was totally blind. I ended up hooking and losing a couple and catching one, but it felt like more luck than skill.

Then came some travels and other commitments so that I couldn't fish for a few weeks, and thus caught no fish. Finally I had some time, plenty of time, over Labor Day weekend. I headed out to the water Sunday after completing all my chores on Saturday, and I chose to go back to one of the first spots I had checked out early in the year in much much higher water. I was greeted by a shoreline packed with salmon anglers. I guess it's that time of year again. It was a bit irksome, but they were all stacked up along a steeper section of water I wouldn't have wanted to fish anyways, so I headed downstream and it wasn't long before I was seeing fish.

The first few (or more than a few) I spooked or otherwise screwed up, then came a bit of success. I saw one cruising fish and made a cast out ahead of him and got lucky to intersect his pseudo-random path. When he reached where my flies should be he stopped and pointed his head down. I was a bit flustered since it was my first obvious eat on the Columbia, but I set the hook and we were off! And then the fish was off. I don't know what happened by he came unbuttoned just as quickly as the take.

But not to be discouraged, this was a large improvement over past outings so I continued on along the river. It wasn't long before I found more fish to spook. One group in particular didn't seem to be doing much, but one carp was hanging off the back of the pod so I figured I may as well give him a go and see if I can spook him off. So I cast out in front of him just enough for the flies to sink in front of his face. A few seconds later I saw him jerk to the left, and I immediately thought, "great, spooked him by draping my leader across him." But I know that hooksets are free so I set the hook anyways. There was something solid on the other end of the line and my next automatic thought was, "great, and I snagged the bottom. Spooked fish and lost flies." Then the fish shot out toward the center of the river and my line went with him and pulled a smile up onto my face. Finally. All those days on the river this year are beginning to pay me back, just like that pile of 18 partially stamped rewards cards in my wallet will also someday.

My drag was pretty low so I cranked it up and the fish kept on going. And going. And going. I sat there watching the line peel off my reel waiting to see the bright orange backing go shooting through the guides for the first time. Then the fish slowed, and with 2 wraps of fly line on the reel he stopped gaining ground and I was able to start reeling him back in. I never fully got to the backing, but he took a couple more runs before I was able to get him in the shallows and grab his tail (after realizing my big net is still way too small for carp).

I snapped a few pictures, one of which somehow came out completely white, one is way out of focus, one has a big water spot on it, and the only good one is just the fish by my rod, but I'll take it. I took a quick weight with an old rusty scale I found on a river bank a while back and revived him in the water and watched him swim away. Weight guesses welcome. Make sure to account for an old rusty scale.

Not much else happened that day. The fish seemed to turn off as afternoon progressed.

Friday, September 6, 2013


So I did a bit of research last night.  I had noticed that since moving to Google comments on this blog only a couple people have been leaving snide and snarky any comments.

And sure enough, I find out that in order to leave comments in this mode you have to have a Google+ profile. Since no one actually uses Google+ this is obviously a bad idea, so I unchecked that box. What was the result of that? All the past comments have disappeared.

Ugh. Oh well. At least going forward it should be (hopefully) easier and more open for everyone to comment here.

It's a bit depressing now to look at my list of posts all with 0 comments now...  :(

Monday, September 2, 2013

False Memories

The human brain is a fascinating bit of organic machinery. The amazing self-organized complexity is way beyond anything current science can replicate, but at the same time it falls way short in terms of error correction and in actually getting things right. For instance there have been recent studies with mice which have shown that by stimulating certain parts of the brain researchers can actually induce false memories, making the mice remember things that didn't happen. Yes, it sounds a bit like Clockwork Orange or some other Hollywood dystopian storyline, and in the wrong hands (NSA??) is super frightening, but still very cool.

Along these lines I have been working very hard to trick my brain into creating some false memories of carp fishing.  I took a picture a while ago and that's where it all started. Here's the picture, and my desire is to try and remember this as a fish I fished for and caught out in the wild. But I may have to break into the Chinese Gardens to assist in creating the false memory. It's either that or drill into my skull, poke in some electrodes and apply the right current while staring at the still image. I'm not sure which option would be safer. 

Maybe I should just hone my ninja skills.

BTW, it may not be clear from the picture, but that koi is tailing.