Sunday, May 7, 2017

Trip Planning

At left, British Map from 1776 surveying part of New York from 101st to 118th street with information on the rebel disposition and location.

Rebels. Heh, heh.

I've got a big outing to the Wisconsin Driftless coming here shortly and I'm beginning to gather my stuff.

It is a camping outing so the camp gear is ready, warmed-up, and can be loaded from the "ready pile" in the corner of my library into the new trout car in fifteen minutes. More problematic is the food prep and staging ... and the always treacherous "state of the flybox."

Is anyone ever exactly ready for an excursion?

John Gierach writes about this topic _Trout Bum_ or _Fly Fishing Small Streams_ or _All Fisherman Are Liars_ or ...

What the hell, just read 'em all. He's covered enough for most a decade of long winters.

I'm pretty sure I'm recalling a passage from _Small Streams_ where he discusses at length the evolution of his fly box and the travel set-up he embraced at least in this mid-to-early career phase of his writing when he did a great deal of road time to various spots with various fly-fishing luminaries. All the fishing partners who made it into his writing are renown for catching trout out of a mud-puddle.

I like a limited fly box like a lot of anglers but I'm also afflicted with a taste for the shiny, the new, the exotic.

I have about as much control over my fly box discipline as I do over my impulse to buy fly rods. I lived for fifteen years with a very serviceable (though slightly heavy)  fiberglass 6wt in an unusual 8'8" configuration. My dry flies during this time were often large and bushy (summer fishing, and usually late summer fishing). My wets were heavy leaden beasts to dredge the bottom of fast waters ticking over boulders (I remember thinking once that there had to be rivers somewhere that had stones on the bottom smaller than basketballs). My streamers were all-purpose black or olive beasts in #4 or #6.

It was however years before I knew one could "strip" streamers instead of just hovering them on the drift. That tells you there was a grave deficiency in steelhead exposure in my early angling experiences.

I used "the rod" on every sort of fishing I encountered. I did use it to cast #18's on the White River and it would work. I've put 3/8 oz. jigs on 20' of 2x tippet and caught walleye for dinner in holes of a river the outfitter said held big trout. I put the "big trout" story down in the books as credited to cheap Canadian moonshine spiked with vanilla extract to try and mask the essence of kerosene.

You think guides are broke, try talking to an outfitter.

I eventually killed the rod -- with a little help -- when the tip completely de-laminated about the third time it had been shut in a pick-up door.  No, I don't leave my rods anywhere near a hinged automotive appliance but sometimes you might say something across the camp like "bring my rod from that birch over there" as you drown the coals and your buddy is obliged to remember something out of the truck after picking up your rod and ...

He did loan me his new Scott rod all rigged up as a consolation for ruining my "only" rod -- an act simultaneously conveyed with the scolding that I out to know better than to bring only one rod and the pained expression of giving the keys to your new Ferrari to your son on prom night.

I resisted the urge to slam the Scott wand in the tailgate. My 6 wt. rod had undue sentimental valuation.

Fly fishing opportunities dried up significantly after that trip anyway as I too became "poorer than an outfitter with an aviation fuel bill due." For the record, I can't afford another ex-wife.

Somewhere in here is a confession that while I have tied all winter long to fill my soft-hackle and flymph collection, I've waited until now to seriously address small nymphs and scud. I have to tie a couple nights this week and increase my load of "hackled scud" in chartreuse and the olive-threaded variant of a no-hackle "pink squirrel."

I've got enough hare's mask and possum to do the job.

I could use some more partridge-and-yellow in #15 just to be comfortable.  

Couldn't we all?  


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