Before I start this post in earnest I want to say that Kyle (NC River Angler) did everything he could to put me on the fish yesterday. Also he warned me about my kayak, which is a wonderful kayak when used for its intended purpose of fishing flats and still waters, last time I went fishing with him and said that I could use one of his if I wanted next time I came up to fish. I didn’t listen…
Last time I took my kayak (just to reiterate, a boat I absolutely adore and is perfect (for its intended use)) to the Dan River to fish with Kyle for smallmouth I had some trouble with it as far as maneuvering and getting it to do what I wanted it to do in general but it was the first time I ever had it in a river that had riffles and small rapids and I assumed that it was mainly operator error. It wasn’t.
Simply put, it’s not a river ‘yak.
So I’m constantly working to get my kayak to do what I need it to do so I can fish. This in turn affects my ability to cast, present the fly properly and set the hook. This is only in the relatively calm water.
In riffles and rapids there’s a lot of getting hung up on rocks and dragging bottom which leads me to spend more time than I want out of my boat pulling it behind me. This causes frustration and fatigue.
By now y’all should all know where this is going.
Frustration and fatigue causes more sloppy casting and missed fish, which causes more frustration, which causes the thinking to get a bit more muddled, which causes a lack of concentration, which causes flies to land in trees and over logs and get stuck in the back of your shirt and you end up losing three flies in three consecutive cast on top of catching no smallmouth bass and then sticking a hook barb deep (luckily it was actually debarbed) into your finger and announcing at that point “Fuck this shit, I’m ready to go home!” and trying to float peacefully down to the takeout where you get hung on the bottom again and have to drag that fucking boat that you’re going to put up for sale as soon as you get back home the rest of the way to the takeout where you stumble upon two methed-out looking hillbillies pre-coitus…
All this because of choosing the wrong tool for the job.
And finally caught some of these thanks to NC River Angler taking me out on the beautiful Dan River in North Carolina:
On top of this I also now have all of my social media synced up which, due to my lack of tech knowhow, was probably the most difficult and frustrating thing I’ve done lately that doesn’t include my children, but now y’all can all follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Actually scratch twitter, I’m still working the bugs out on that, but the other two are good to go.
I’m also planing to try my hand at posting a few step-by-step tying instructions for some of my cooler new flies, so keep an eye out for that.
So, to close like I do during any public speaking engagement, uh, that’s about it I guess…
Two of my three children are in school now. The remaining one still takes long naps in the middle of the day. This is going to give me two or more hours a day of actual, uninterrupted free time to do what I want. Last time I had that kind of free time I didn’t have kids.
What will I be doing in this free time I suddenly now have?
I’m going to get serious.
No more playing around.
Shit is about to get real… Yo!
How, you may be asking yourself?
Well… Um… Yeah, I’m… I’m not really sure. But it will be fly fishing related.
I’m just not sure how yet exactly.
Rest assured though, posting on here more often is one thing I definitely will be doing, so you’ll get to hear all about how I got serious, if you want to or not.
Lets say, hypothetically, that you belong to a nonprofit organization. Maybe it’s a group that wants to raise money to help kids avoid the dangers that come from listening to gangster rap or an organization that wants to make sure that a specific species of animal is properly protected within a specific environment. Lets go with the last one. We’ll say they want to protect, oh I don’t know… maybe trout. And specifically this hypothetical organization wants to protect these trout and their habitat on a particular river. We’ll call this river the “Baluda River” and the organization “Trout Limitless”.
So say you belong to the Baluda Chapter of Trout Limitless and there’s an event that includes fishing and BBQ for members and guests of members to help boost involvement. You, as a member, come rolling up to the parking spot for this event in your white jeep looking like the illicit love child of John Gierach and Count Dooku (from the Star Wars prequels) and wearing your stupid fucking “look at me and how old school fly fisherman I am” hat and see two individuals you don’t recognize. Do you:
A. Give these two the third degree about who the hell they are, what they’re doing there and once those two things are established start making fun of ones waders and speaking to the other as if he is completely ignorant of all things fly fishing causing both of these individuals to feel so unwelcomed that they just leave. Or do you:
B: Politely introduce yourself, ask in a nonchalant way if they’re here for the event and make friendly small talk about fishing, the weather and other non confrontational subjects.
Well, if you belong to a nonprofit organization that relies on donations and volunteers to get things accomplished the correct answer is B.
You can’t slather on enough sunscreen to keep from burning at least some - I tried. I applied. Then I reapplied. Then I put on some more. I still burned. So I found a new appreciation for technical fishing clothes and yes, though it pains me to say it, even the Buff.
Fish don’t like the smell of sunscreen
Just because I can hit a child with a fly while he’s running full-bore across a field at 80 ft and with a 20 knot wind blowing doesn’t mean that I can successfully cast to a feeding permit 30 ft away when the breeze is barely rippling the water - Buck fever is a horrible affliction.
I may be too easily distracted - “Oh look a baby lobster.” “That’s a neat looking sponge.” “What is that, Stag-horn coral?” “What a cool looking bird!” “Fuck! I can’t believe I poled right over that fish! I shouldn’t have been looking at that goddamn lobster/sponge/coral/bird!” And yes I do talk to myself like that when I’m alone.
Being ready for the proper fish is hard - I learned long ago that having more than one fly rod rigged and ready to go in my kayak is a recipe for tangles, unending frustration and sometimes broken rods. On this last trip I learned that I’ll see permit and redfish if I have my shark rig ready to go and I’ll see nothing but sharks and ‘cuda if I have my other rod ready to go.
Bonefish don’t exist - They are a fiction created by “big fly fishing” to sell rods and flies so fat cats in the industry can continue to rake in the millions. All photos you may have seen are CGI. If you claim to have seen or caught a bonefish personally you are obviously in the pocket of the “Man”.
A shark the length of my kayak can swim in 2 ft of water without making the slightest bit of disturbance on the surface - What the hell is that about!?!?
And the only possible way to truly become proficient fly fishing in the Keys is to spend a lot of time fishing there - So I’m going to have to start going down there at least once or twice a year. I’m sure my wife won’t mind…
In less than a week I’m floating the Saluda River in Columbia, SC with a good buddy of mine to target some tailwater trout.
Supposedly these particular trout are big fans of streamers and big flashy nymphs, which I currently have very few to none of. So I’ve been trying to tie some up.
I have a problem though.
I’ll be leaving for the Keys in a little more than a month and have literally been dreaming about bonefish, tarpon and permit most nights for the last couple of weeks. So every time I sit in front of my vice (see I spelled “vise” wrong on purpose as a form of subtle word play or a “pun” if you will) to tie up some streamers or nymphs I end up tying Gotchas or Merkins or some other form of flats fly.
These most likely won’t work on the 12″ stocked rainbows I’ll be fishing for in less than a week…
Hmmm? I’m guessing this is what people refer to as a “first world problem”.