Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tomorrow Might Be Too Late

Today I found out that a very good friend and one of my children's God parents, not to mention a wonderful fishing partner, passed away at 48. He was a great husband, father, friend, and devoted son to his parents......sad doesn't begin to describe how I feel.

So if there is nothing else you do today, make sure you let those that you care about and love, know that you feel that way about them.

There is no better time than today.

Peace and love.

It Ain't Fishing, But It Is Important

First off, did you see our esteemed President's press conference today? Talk about seriously delusional........he says we are not headed for a recession. Can someone tell this guy that we are already in a recession? And then there's this one from the same news conference, “Why don’t we let stimulus package 1, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?” A good idea AT THE TIME? Is it not a good idea any more? Wake this guy up, please.

A reader sent me this little ditty about our friend Obama lama-ding-dong today. I couldn't agree more......all talk, no walk. Of course, that's my opinion. Yours may differ - both are subject to change.

Catch you later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where are we going?

Blogs are random, right? They're supposed to be, so here goes, more random thoughts....

Hillary is toast. If she stays in the race long enough she'll be burnt toast. Bill's legacy, whatever it is, will remain in tact just as he wants it.

Obama lama-ding-dong, he's on a roll and headed for the rudest awakening anyone has ever had. The Republicans are just warming up, letting him play the delightful one to Hillary's I dare you game. He's calm, thoughtful, contrite, mildly arrogant, and sometimes condescending, but not so much that anyone really notices. The agent of change. Big ideas, no road map. He is also incredibly naive. Once Hillary is out of the way, the real battle will begin. The conservative right is going to rip him to shreds and that will be the true test of his charactor. Don't think for a second that once he gets the Democratic nod, he is home free, because the big guns have yet to fire at him. They will toss all kinds of heavy artillery at him - personal stuff, political stuff, his past, his present, and everything in between. The calm before the storm................unfortunately, this is going to get ugly before the dust settles.

I really wish this wasn't the case and we could have a couple of normal debates on the issues and then make an informed decision, but the media and society seems to demand drama.

And that bring us to fly fishing. No drama, no bullshit, just a man or woman in a cool, clear stream, and the fish. A soft breeze, singing birds, and the whisper of water over rocks. The smell of pine, moss, and a wood burning stove in the distance. The only tension is that of your line as you lift your rod to make another cast. Your thoughts are yours, undisturbed and in concert with the natural world. If you are lucky enough to forget all your cares, you become one with your surroundings. It's really quite easy. And once you get there, you will have captured in your soul the things that really matter in this too short life we are given on this beautiful blue orb.

Life is good. Just do it with your eyes open.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Step back, I think my head is going to explode!

Are you watching the debate? Is your head swelling from the strong odors emanating from your telly? So this is what our country and those wishing to run it have come to. American Idol for senators.....

Well, it's over. Hillary was peevish, and Barak was his alka-seltzer self. Bickering, hindsight, and hollow rhetoric ruled and none of it highly thought provoking. I'm too bored and too tired to even bother picking the low-lights, so let's just call this one a draw.

Hillary made no headway, and Obama lama-ding-dong did nothing to convince me that he has the balls to run this country, let alone deal with the foreign policy issues that will confront the next President. Sometimes I think he thinks that dealing with congress is something akin to running a nursery school...."Okay, let's have a snack now, then we'll take a nap, and then we'll get out our crayons and color pictures of how we want healthcare to look. After recess, we'll vote on who has the best picture, and we'll go with that." He does not seem to be able to fathom the difficulties he might have with such a dysfunctional group of egotists whose pockets are bulging with the I.O.U.'s of their constituents.

The sun will come up tomorrow, the birds will sing, and hopefully, we'll be one day closer to figuring this thing out. We will figure it out, too. We have to, our children's future depends on it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

We have a hatch.............

Walked down to the creek near my office today and low and behold, there were lots of Little-black Stoneflies crawling around on the bankside snow. Can spring be far behind? On the opposite bank I watched and listened to a bright red, male cardinal as he made short flights from branch to branch. He was easy to follow as he contrasted well with the white background in the warm sunlight.

Now that beats the heck out of politics, doesn't it? But we do need to get back to that since there's so much juice to squeeze from the election. And now, we have Mr. Nader, the crazy green candidate. What the hell is he thinking? He just can't stand not joining the circus when it comes to town, can he? Talk about a freak show, this one just keeps getting wackier by the day. You just know something or someone has to break..............let's watch and see, tomorrow night's debates may just change the face of things dramatically. I can hear Hillary's fangs growing as I write this............

Saturday, February 23, 2008

As I was saying....

Hope you all enjoyed your beverage(s).

So, where was I? My dog.......sailing......that's right, we were talking about the state of affairs in the race for the Big House. First off, lest anyone think I have an allegiance to any one of the candidates, it couldn't be further from the truth right now. I think each of them leaves much to be desired, and it hurts when I try to make sense of what each of them is getting at. It appears it hurts them, too. Just look at the pained facial expressions they have when they are addressing a crowd or moderator. No I couldn't do a better job, I wouldn't even begin to think that I could, but I can think of many others who could. But even that doesn't matter - the table has been set.

Hillary is lost. Not as in "lost in space" but as in "where the hell am I?" Talk about someone that has lost all sense of direction. Just picture a player that has left third base too early and is caught between the bag and home plate and the pitcher is running straight at him with the ball. It's the bottom of the ninth, and her team is down by a run with two outs.

That's Hillary right now - do I go back to third? Do I just put my head down and plow toward home plate and hope I make it? Or should I stand here and try to deke the pitcher into making a throw before he gets to me? Her head is going back and forth between home plate and third base, her arms are stretched out in an attempt to maintain her balance, and her feet are twitching like she is in bare feet on hot coals. Of course, anything can happen, but the odds are heavily stacked against her. Home plate must seem like it's a million miles away, and third base is quickly becoming a distant memory. Her third base coach, Bill, was rendered deaf, dumb, and blind back in the fifth inning, so he's just standing in the coach's box listening to his Ipod and dreaming of his playing days.

McCain meanwhile is in the stands watching and waiting as he will be playing the winner of this one. He still hasn't decided on a name for his team yet. Ummm, the Conservatives? The middle-of-the-road Republicans? Or maybe the Quasi Republicans? Yeah, that's it, that even sounds like it might appeal to Native Americans. Talk about a chameleon. Never trust a chameleon, anyone that thinks they can change who they are depending on who they are with, doesn't truly know who they are.

And then we have Obama-lama-ding-dong. He has a big, white sailboat and he's telling everyone to get on because they are going to be sailing to a bright future. He has all kinds of ideas and wants to go from port to port creating jobs, educating people, and putting an end to gang wars both here and abroad. He's ambitious and bright, and represents a change like no one else has in many years.

So when is someone going to ask him if he knows how to sail? The seas can be rough and unforgiving, currents change, and tides rise and fall. One day there's a shallow sand bar where just a few days earlier the channel was open and deep.

Funny how just the other day one of Obama's mates, a congressman from Texas, was asked about why he is such a staunch supporter of him. The mate was almost bubbly in his excitement about going sailing with him. Then the newsman asked him to talk about the Captain's accomplishments......he was speachless. The newsman asked again, "What has the Captain done that has you so sure he can sail into a glorious future?" The mate could not answer, nada, nothing. When pressed, he just sat and looked much like the cat that has swallowed a canary.

Can anyone, including the candidate himself, tell me what the hell he has done that indicates he can sail this damn boat? And why are so many people assuming he can without checking his log? Are Americans that jaded by the last 7 years?

I think I need to go fishing. Anyone seen my dog?

Oh, that's right, I don't have a dog but I bet you thought I did just because I said I did................

Friday, February 22, 2008

Maybe my dog should run for President

Given the slate of candidates from which we will have to choose the next leader of our country, this just may be our only hope. "Woof-woof!"

I'll get to this later...........but that's today's topic - that and sailing - so talk amongst yourselves and enjoy a beverage or two until I get back .

Monday, February 18, 2008

Equal Time.....

So what's the deal with Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife? Her political life is hanging from a thread with most pundits getting their shovels ready to fill her in.

So what does she do? She accuses her rival of plagarism! Now that's an issue that really sits high in the minds of the American public. I can hear the whispers around the kitchen tables of middle America now, "Holy shit, Hillary really has her campaign thumb on the pulse of what matters most to us! Obama is using words that someone else has used before!"

Get real, lady. It really makes you wonder what kind of advisement she is getting, or if she gets it at all.

And not to forget John Sidney......endorsed by George Sr. today. Yeah, like even the republicans are hoping for a repeat performance.

So here's the latest:

The casting contest continues.......

At the moment, Obama is catching the most fish. Not only is he the most liberal, he is the most unlike anything we have had running this county for many years, and that appeals to the masses - even fence straddling republicans.

Hillary has a dull hook, and for some reason she is pretending it will hook enough fish to put a meal on the table. Will she sharpen the hook in time? Will it matter if she does?

John Sidney, he's using the same fly that has been used for the last 7 years, and most of the fish are way too familiar with it. Even so, he manages to hook one once in a while because some fish just won't bite on anything else but an artificial republican.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Isonychia Redux - The Zug Bug and the Prince

After my post the other day about the Isonychia nymph, I got a bunch of emails from readers who fish the Zug Bug and the Prince nymph regularly. The common wisdom is that these two fine patterns are good representations of the Isonychia nymph. These two patterns incorporate peacock herl as the primary body material, and as all fly fishers know, peacock herl is a tried and true trout fly material.

So the choice is yours - Vinnie's Isonychia Nymph, Zug Bug, or Prince Nymph. I'll stick to Vinnie's version, but go with the one that you have the most confidence in, and fish it regularly.

Vinnie's Isonychia Nymph

Prince Nymph

Zug Bug

Fishing tomorrow? It's supposed to get into the 60's.........rivers may be too high though. We'll check the H2O levels in the AM....possible fishing report tomorrow night.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Flies as Art.....Do you think the fish care?

Who knows? And what really does matter when it comes to politics?

Fly fishing and politics are a lot alike when you get down to the brass tacks of it all. Think about it....we create flies that will attract trout to them. Then we go to a river and seek out the areas where there are likely to be decent numbers of fish. Then we tie a fly on the end of our line and cast it to where the trout are holding. If after some effort the trout ignore, or worse yet, get frightened by our offering, we bring it in and change to another fly pattern in hopes that they will find this new one appealing.

Once we have found the right fly, the one that the trout like on that particular day, we begin to catch fish. Yes, they take it in their mouth and we gently set the hook in their jaw. We then reel them in and within minutes they are in our grasp. We have landed another trout because we have found the right fly to spark the trout's interest in order that we can hook them and reel them in.

Now isn't that what Mr. Obama lama-ding-dong, Hillary dillary-dock, and J. S. McCain (you can't even find a rhyme with this guy) are doing?

Yup, the three fly fishers of election year 2008. They have their advisors tie them some different flies in the way of sound-bites, issue ideas, and other bullshit, and then they go out and cast these flies to the general voting public. Sometimes some of the fish take their offering, other times a lot of fish take their offering, and other times they have to keep changing flies because they just don't seem to have the right one that day - they have frightened their quarry. What's interesting is that while the fly fisherman has to cast their fly upon the water and deal with varied currents and depths, the politico has the media, who just like the water can sometimes sink them.

Which brings us to the title of this post. Without belaboring the issue, trout don't give a rat's ass whether a fly is artistic or not. Period, the only aesthetic they care about is whether they can blend in with their surroundings, and even that's a thoughtless proccess for them.

If you ask our esteemed candidates whether they feel there is an art to their form of angling for votes, they would most likely have to think about it. They would have to ponder if there is an art to catching votes and whether it can be presented in a positive light. Afterall, how often do you hear about the art of bullshit?

After some conferring with their fly tyers (advisors), I would guess they would eventually conclude that there is an art to presenting their side of the argument. Their egos would not have it any other way. They must assess the general attitude of the school of fish in their midst, and attempt to figure out what they may be feeding on that day. Then choose the fly that they believe will satiate that hunger and satisfy the fickle palates of their constituents. Then with a big, false smile, and earnest conviction cast their ideas with utmost care and passion so as to make them seem as real as the fly must seem to the trout, in order that they will take the bait.

Is it an art form though?

I always thought of art as something that came from the soul. A stream of conciousness from the depths of one's inner being. It can't forced or coerced, it must flow from within, and whether it takes the form of paint on canvas, pencil on paper, chisel to stone, or even feathers and fur on steel, the result is an expression one's spirit.

So, I guess that's the answer. When one of these candidates can present that which truly comes from within them, we'll know who to vote for. Until then, it's just a casting contest.

Life is good, just do it with your eyes open.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spread the Love

In honor of Valentine's Day we'll leave the politicians alone today. Besides, the big story of the day is Jane Fonda using the "C" word on the Today Show this morning........I wonder who she's endorsing for Prez? Not really.......the only thing I wonder about her is when she'll go away for good. I know, I know, she claims to be an avid fly fisherwoman............poser.

We're not going fishing anytime soon either. We had a heck of a lot of rain yesterday and the rivers and streams are showing it. Many got near or just above flood stage late yesterday afternoon. The creek down the road from my office was flooded big time, with about two feet of water in the pasture it flows through. This morning it was again within its banks, but still quite high and turbid.

Maybe more later, but I have class tonight, so it may have to wait until tomorrow......

Life is good, just do it with your eyes open.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I think they are both lying through their syringes...........they'll both go to hell, and then they can fight about who lied less when they get there. I'm sure a couple of the congressmen who are interviewing them now will also be there to join them. "I went to a garden party, and everyone was there....."

And then there's this........I just have to comment on the latest from Mr. Obama -lama-ding-dong.....

WASHINGTON - Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters.
Obama's investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called "green collar" jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.
Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that's been hit by the housing crisis.

Obama explained that the money for his spending proposals will come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing carbon pollution and raising taxes on high income earners.

Oh, yeah, this sounds great on the face of it, but it speaks directly to my point that he does not have the experience to govern our country. I know he means well, but he's clueless. Absolutely clueless -

End the war in Iraq? That's a fantasy, it isn't going to happen no matter how much you say it. What does he think he's going to get into the White House, stand on its hallowed, marble steps and then tap his heels together three times, and its over. As much as I would love to see the war (if you want to call it that - its more like a hostile gangland feud) end, it isn't. It's kind of like expecting my ex mother-in-law to invite me over for tea and crumpets. AND even if the war does end, we will still be pumping money into the country to try and rebuild it and maintain its stability.

Cutting tax breaks for corporations? One word - LOBBYISTS. There isn't a congressman alive that doesn't have some allegiance to at least one or two major corporations. And if you think they will put that loyalty aside for any President, you may have just been born yesterday.

Taxing carbon pollution? Possible, but see #2 above for road blocks.

Raising taxes on high income earners? Sort of like trying to cut tax breaks for corporations. Besides, where the hell does he think all the money he has been raising is coming from?

So, while I have expressed my cynicism above, I do think he is right that whomever gets into the Big House is going to have to find a way to create many jobs in new sectors as existing sectors change and dry up. I just think the money will have to come from other areas than those stated isn't going to be easy given the massive debt "W" has bestowed on us as part of his legacy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Super Delegates Explained

Everyone who votes should be required to watch this video, and they should VOTE come November.

Oh, and one more those of you who are busting my balls about my political satire, it's just that, satire. Lighten up, and laugh a little, because we may all be crying after the election if we don't give some careful thought to what is at stake. I don't hate, let alone dislike, any of the candidates. I DO dislike some of their ideas and feel that none of them have yet to convince me that they can change the domestic and international nightmare our current administration has created. It isn't going to be easy for whomever gets elected.

Life is good, just do it with your eyes open.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who is driving this bus anyway?

This is great, it's cold as hell outside and every one that comments (or emails me) on this random strand of thoughts wants me to expand on the political theme......

I'd quote some of the "W" comments I received, but they are not anything above an "R", has he seriously pissed people off. "Uh, we had a round-table discussion about the Middle-East this morning....Yes, a round-table discussion that was not really a round table, but a normal table that we had a talk around." (I'm not making this up, folks. Was he trying to be funny? Not what I would expect from the leader of my country.) In the words of Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!"

Hillary, well she gets either the "I hate her" or "she's the only one that can set us straight" response. There is no gray area in people's minds when it comes to this manwoman. And Bill, I think I'll leave that one to your gut keeps saying, "Don't go there!"

And then there's Sidney, you know John Sidney McCain. The only one I know who is named Sidney is a 7-year old girl with Irish and Egyptian parents.....go figure. I can't figure out whether he wants the sympathy vote for being a POW, or the "WOW, what a great guy" vote. Stop smiling like a Dentu-Cream advert and tell us something thought provoking Sidney.

And finally, we have Mr. Obama-lama-ding-dong, the man of change. I'm sure he's very intelligent, but how the hell is he going to change anything when he is less experienced than a mother having her first child?

Yup, I have no idea right now who might be the wise choice. Talk is cheap, and there's more than enough of that to make many of us choke when we watch the evening news. I'm going to reserve judgement until just before the election in hopes that one of these clowns gets the BIG picture......

More on the important aspects of life (fly fishing) later.

Okay, it's later. I'm having dinner, so the "I'm grouchy, my stomach's empty" part of this is over and I'm on to more worldy topics.

What common Eastern mayfly gets no respect? One that the trout see, and know, and feed on throughout the year in all its forms? And if you do know, do you take it seriously? And by this I mean, do you fish both subsurface and surface imitations of it? No, I don't think you are an idiot if you answer no, I just think that some aquatic bugs get no respect from the so-called experts. Who is an expert anyway? That's one for another day, but from my perspective, in the end we're all the same....learning something about something we love. Turn up the music......

We're talking about the Isonychia (Eye-son-ick-ee-ah). That burgundy tinted, dark-brown, slender-bodied mayfly nymph with three feathery tails, that inhabits the fast-water sections of most of our trout streams. Most anglers know of it, and many even fish imitations of the adults, but I rarely see anyone fishing the nymph, let alone have one or two in their fly boxes.

Enter "Vinnie's Isonychia Nymph"

What's really funny about this is that just about every angler that fishes regularly will tell you they have seen the dried-out, empty nymphal shucks of this very mayfly clinging to the rocks of their favorite stream. But they don't seem to fish them.

While the Isonychia will hatch in the more mayfly-traditional manner of drifting in the menicus, many swim to large rocks that have portions above the water line to do so. They swim to a preferred rock, creep up the side, and once they are a few inches above the water, they split their carapace at the thorax, and wiggle out as fully-formed adults. Once they have pumped enough life fluids into their wings to fill them out, they fly away.

So, anyway, knowing all this and seeing all this, you would think more anglers would fish the nymph of this handsome bug. While I recommend you fish whatever Isonychia nymph imitation you like, fish it often and know it will take its share of trout. The fly above is my choice, and was developed by one of my fishing pals, Vincent C. "Vinnie". Without burdening you all anymore with stuff, here's the recipe:

Hook: Size 10-12, 2x long

Thread: Black

Weight: Wire - lead or substitute

Tails: Three peacock herls clipped short

Body: Mixed claret, black, brown - 2:1:1 ratio

Rib: Copper wire

Thorax: Same as body

Wingcase: Dark turkey tail

Legs: Dark speckled partridge or hen

Go get 'em!

Friday, February 8, 2008

KLTU Meeting 2/12 and other random stuff

On Tuesday February 12, 2008, I'll be presenting a program on Fly Fishing Streams in NJ, at the Ken Lockwood Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The meeting is at 7:30PM and is at the American Legion Hall in Whitehouse Station. I'll be bringing copies of my book, so if you wanted to get one and have it signed at the FF show but didn't since they didn't last long, you can. For more info and directions:

It's been a cRaZy week, school two nights and work meetings the others. School is a trip.....never thought I'd be sitting in a college classroom for 6 hours a week nearing my 50th year of life on this planet. It's a good thing though, you never can learn too much or at least try to tweak more of your gray matter. My girlfriend thinks I'm CrAzY because I can't even keep track of all the shit I have going on, let alone anyone Did she say she wants to go fishing?........I didn't think so......

Work calls, more later........possible topics?

* Fly fishing, fly tying, bugs, fish, and other miscalculations.....

* Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife - she wants to be President!?

* Barak Obama-lama-ding-dong

* George W - "W", I think it stands for "What the hell am I doing?"

* McCain, nah, too boring, and besides he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. Come to think of it, Bush may be too boring as well since there's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said, and that he still doesn't get.

Oh, and one other thing............who ever the jerk is that creamed my car in the parking lot at school and didn't find me or leave a note, just remember, you have some bad karma now.......the car can be fixed, but some where, time, and place in the future things will balance out........

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Back to Bugs and .......trout candy

So my son was trash talking me last night about having strayed from fly fishing in my last post. Seems he thinks I should limit my scope of topics to fly fishing, because that's why I started this blog. Well, that is true, but to me fly fishing is an extension of myself and who and what I am. So, how and what I think about life is as relevant to this site as fly fishing is. And besides, this blog and my life would be pretty damn boring if fly fishing was the only thing that defined me. Fortunately, there are many things I am passionate about, and I use what I learn from them and apply it to my fishing related side, and visa versa. Everything is connected, everything.

I snuck off to a local stream for a while and managed to sample a few areas of the riverbed for insects near the shoreline today. There was lots of really good stuff, too, in the way of life forms. Scuds, nymphs, caddis larvae, little aquatic worms, few tiny snails, and a beautiful, big, ugly dragonfly nymph.

The scuds, nymphs, worms, and other stuff are great, the stream is rich with life, but the caddis larvae is what excites me this time of the year. Yes, when they show up in late January, early February, it means they are actively feeding - grazing - on the microplankton growing on and among the rocks and other organic stream bottom matter. What this means is that these caddis larva are moving about, drifting, and getting swept into the water column where the trout can easily feed on them. The trout this time of the year become quite accustomed to this "candy", and will take them readily from now through March.

The larvae are small, bright orangy-yellow or olive-green in color. The orangy ones are the larvae of the very common genus Chimarra - the Little-black Caddis. The olive-green ones are primarily of the genus Rhyacophila, which may be the most important caddis larva to the fish. Keep in mind, the olive-green coloration can vary widely from a dull gray green to a bright green, and even a pure olive. The naturals are mostly #16-18's with some being a #20, and therefore their imitations should be tied in these sizes.

The best way I have found to fish these imitations this time of the year is to fish them as a dropper off a larger nymph. Fishing them singularly does work, but this time of the year, its best to maximize your opportunities.

Here's one of my imiations of the Chimarra larva. Just substitute olive-green for the others and you're ready to go. You can use floss, dubbing, or any other material that will retain its color when wet and give you the straightforward silhouette of a simple caddis larva. Legs, gills, that kind of stuff is not necessary, but if it gets it done for you and your confidence when fishing the fly, by all means, add them. For this particular fly I used bright orange thread, yellow Uni-Flexx, and then tie off the fly with tobacco brown thread. The naturals have a very distinct head, but that's about it. The head on the olive-green larva should be black. (Yes, they have teeny, tiny legs, gills, and claspers, but the fish are looking for basic food forms, not anatomically correct bugs - they don't have time, every food opportunity is drifting by them on a watery conveyor belt.)

Have a ball! This is some fun fishing - matching the hatch below the surface!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

For Too Many, It's All About the Cup......

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. ~Epictetus

I recently got the following story via email from a friend and it got me to thinking. My conclusion, you must follow your heart to be happy.
Because your heart is all yours. It is always right - it provides you with gut instincts and direction that are guided by who and what you are, and after all, you must first and foremost be yourself. To do otherwise, is to be untrue to oneself, and to everyone you come in contact with.
If you follow your mind, you are following years of external input and influence, which requires constant effort in order to keep up with the beats of all those other stressful is that?

A group of graduates, well established in their
careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go
visit their old university professor, now retired.
During their visit, the conversation turned to
complaints about stress in their work and lives.
Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went
into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot
chocolate and an assortment of cups-porcelain, glass,
crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some
exquisite -- telling them to help themselves to the
hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the
professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking;
expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain
and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want
only the best for yourselves, that is the source of
your problems and stress.

The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the
quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just
more expensive and in some cases even hides what we
drink. What all of you really wanted was hot
chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for
the best cups...And then you began eyeing each others

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your
job, money and position in society are the cups. They
are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you
have does not define, nor change the quality of life
you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup,
we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate we have.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak
kindly. Be thankful. And enjoy your hot chocolate!

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. ~Margaret Young

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Scoop on the Poopah

As promised, we're here today to talk about Fox's Poopah - a deep caddis pupa imitation. After being grilled for many hours yesterday by no less than 5 attorney's, all complete with suits, ties, shiny shoes, and yellow legal pads.......and armed with lots of stupid, repetitive questions, I'm well-rested and taking a break from reviewing my testimony. Stupid questions you ask? Heres one that was also repetitive, ad nauseum -

The attorney in this case has a deep resemblance to Woogie - remember Woogie? Who can forget the hive covered Woogie in "There's Someting About Mary"? Yes, him, respendent with red blotches on his face......holding up the last page of my report, he says, "Mr. Grobert, is this your signature?" "Yes, it is." More questions....... then 5 minutes later - "Mr. Grobert is it true you signed this report?" (holds up report) "Yes, in blue ink." (got to keep them guessing) A while later...."Mr. Grobert, did you sign this report?" (holding up report) "Yes, I believe we have established that already"......."Mr. Grobert, is that a Yes or a No?" Sigh..........poor Woogie, didn't understand my report so he hammers away at my signature......"Step into my office, YOU'RE FIRED!" I have to go back for more in two weeks, that was only my testimony for the stone facades. I still have to be there for the roofs, siding, drainage and vents. It's actually fun, sort of like a chess match without the pieces. Oh, and if that's enough, I start classes next week.....back in college, again. Will I have time to fish? Time will tell, but I do feel a road trip coming up is good.

Now for the super duper, caddis poopah................Fox's Poopah.

I first heard of this creation last summer on my fishing junket to Northern California. Actually, I had heard of it a couple of months before when researching what fly patterns I should tie for the rivers we would be fishing. Once there, this fly produced fish after fish on the Lower Sacramento, and also worked quite well on the Upper Sac.

The haze you see in the photo is because the air temperature was 103-105 that day. Apparently, digital cameras don't like the heat - even when its a "dry" heat. My camera was in the boat. We were fine though, standing over the boat and the 52 degree water was like air conditioning. SUNCREEN? Gobbed on!

The fly I fished had a tannish amber color chenille body and a dark brown thorax - it imitated the masses of Hydropsyche caddis that hatched and oviposited daily in the early mornings and evenings. It is also be tied in an olive- green, and I'm sure you could adapt others colors to match other species of caddis.

This pattern is a dead ringer for the Hydropsyche caddis (commonly known as a Cinnamon Caddis or Speckled Sedge). In the mornings on the Lower Sacramento these caddis would hatch en masse along the banks of this huge river out in front of the lodge from sun up until about 9AM. I'd fish my tan caribou caddis (#16) with a 5X tippet and take several nice rainbows before the hatch would sudddenly cease, as if someone flipped a switch, and the trout would stop rising.

On two of the days, we drifted the big river (175-225 yards across/13,000 cfs) and fished Poopah's, Bird's Nest nymphs, and Rubber-legged stonefly nymphs. We had a different guide from The Fly Shop each day, both of whom were great and not only managed the boat well, they were great company. On both days we floated, I must have hooked around 100 trout, landing maybe half of that due to their sheer strength and size and that fact that once hooked they had a ton of water to manuever in. Fun stuff, for sure!

In the evening, I'd fish the river's edge out in front of the lodge and the caddis would be at it again, this time hatching and ovipositing. (You should have seen the size of the spiders in the riverside reeds!) A well presented caribou caddis or Lawson's spent caddis would take a few fish before dark, with my stomach crying out for dinner. Oh yeah, dinner. If you ever go out to Redding, ask me about the Thai place and the steak joint...........nothing like good fishing and good food. The wines weren't bad either....Napa Valley, that's another story.

Once back in the wonderful state of New Jersey, I fished the Poopah with good results both here and in the Catskills. I haven't tried the olive-green pattern, but I will this year and I'm guessing it will work well, too.

The recipe:

Hook: Tiemco 2302 or 3769
Thread: Black
Underbody: Gold flat tinsel over hook shank
Rib: Fine gold wire
Body: Tan ultra chenille
Thorax: Brown ostrich herl or dubbing
Legs: Dark mottled hen
Antennae: Woodduck flank fibers