29 June 2011

Musical Interlude... (v2.0)

Time/Date: 0645, 29-Jun-11
Location: Timmins, ON

A quick post to show I'm still (barely) alive. This project has been a little intense. In fact, one could say I've been busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

I brought trout + bass flies & my 5wt set-up. I brought my vice & a bit of tying material. I even bought a new 2011 Ontario fishing license.

Haven't used any of them yet. Not sure if I will get a chance, either.

Countdown is on, however; I'll be home tomorrow night at midnight.

Now if I will only be able to sleep before then...

Here's some music:

25 June 2011

Bass Bugs

Time/Date: 1525 AST, 25-Jun-11
Location: A rain & lightning-filled Fredericton

Heavy rain and intermittent thunder & lightning for the past 6 hours has scuttled any plans for getting a quick hour of fishing in before departing for Northern Ontario tomorrow, but I was able to reallocate my time to organizing my still-evolving collection of flies for smallmouth bass

A few of the Clousers I tied for my saltwater misadventures have migrated their way into this box, in size 1 & 2; however, I've been having the most luck on a size 8 black Clouser on a freshwater streamer hook.

Last night I tied up a few more of the #8 black Clousers using bear hair. It should have a little more seductive action in the water than bucktail. I'll keep you posted on that.

The big coloured deer hair poppers & divers were tied up by the fly shop's resident whiz kid, James (Twitter: @JRWishart). Behind his back, I call him the Phenom...but I don't want him to be getting all egotistical and such, so don't tell him.

James tied up the orange & chartreuse poppers in a solid colour, then I added the eyes & stripes myself. I'm keeping two of them unaltered, i.e., a control group or something like that...

James gave the orange & white diver to me on a trade. It's sick looking & I can't wait to toss that out there to see what's hungry and/or angry.

The Phenom's creations
This should be my last post for a few days. I'm still trying to determine if I should bring a fly rod to Ontario with me, but I might go light this trip, seeing it's only for four days.

Stay tuned...

Here's some weather-appropriate music:

23 June 2011

City Limits Smallie

Time/Date: 1640 AST, 23-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton

Well, it's no muskie...

But for 15 minutes invested (in extremely difficult casting conditions), it was a great way to get a quick fix on a 5wt fly rod.

Hooked, photographed, released. That's how my friends & I roll...

I tied that #8 black-on-black Clouser with chartreuse flash less than a week ago. It's taken about 10 smallies already. Can you say go-to fly??

Here's some more music:

City Limits Muskie

Time/Date: 0950 AST, 23-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton

Well, I didn't catch it, but I was there to help net it & photograph it.

Congrats to my buddy Pat on his first muskie of 2011!!

After the quick pic, it was safely returned to chomp another lure in the future!

My muskie trip was cut short right after that, but I got my fix later on with a couple (small) smallies on my 5wt. As I've been saying for the past week: They. Are. FUN!

But I would've rather a muskie...

Here's some music:

21 June 2011

Location, location, location

Time/Date: 1000AST, 21-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton, NB

Imagine a town with:
You could be fishing & living here...
  • smallmouth bass fishing within walking distance.
  • muskie fishing within walking distance.
  • river-run striped bass fishing within walking distance.
  • sea-run brook trout within biking distance and/or 25 minutes' drive.
  • pickerel fishing within 20 minutes' drive
  • world-class Atlantic salmon fishing within an hours' drive.
  • striped bass in the salt in an hours' drive.
  • brown trout in an hours' drive
  • even more epic salmon & striped bass fishing within 4 hours' drive.
Add in decent (and growing) local music scene, a couple decent coffee shops, a few good pubs & clubs, reasonable rent & real estate...

And a pretty kick-ass local fly shop...

Where is this place?

I'm not telling. 

But if you can figure it out, you're more than welcome to visit.

(This is a basic IQ test: if you can't figure out what town this is, you're too dumb to be here. This is to prevent you getting elected to the provincial government.)

Here's some of that (sort of) local music I speak of. I say 'sort of' because, while not necessarily from here, he visits. Often. In fact, this summer, at FredRock.

20 June 2011

Any fish, anywhere, any time...

Time/Date: 1010 AST, 20-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton, NB

(Can't see the pics or video in the post? Click here to see the full post)

Side note #1: I had to look up the date and the day of the week. No clue. I consider this a positive aspect of my life.

Side note #2: This is my first post in 6 days, which pushes the limit on how far I go between posts. But when it comes down to fishing or writing about fishing, well, you now know that outcome.

Tuesday, 14-Jun-11

 3-day fishing result
I left for the coast just after supper, timing my arrival coincide with slack tide on the low. The moon was full on the 15th, so the already-intense Fundy tides were more intense for a few days last week.

With weather & water becoming a little warmer, I figured this was a good time to (try to) land my first striper from the salt.

Or not. I didn't see anything: no stripers, no baitfish, no birds. Nothing.

And anyone who says fly fishing the coast at night is easy is full of shit. I can't wait to try it again really soon.

Wednesday, 15-Jun-11

Bucky with a nice one
Back to my freshwater roots for sea-run brook trout & the possibility of early Atlantic salmon on the Miramichi.

We hit a couple pools, finding them high, fast, and tea-coloured.

Bucky got into a nice one; however, I had another date with that black & white bastard.

This skunkening was more my fault than the previous night: a strip-set on what would have been a nice trout was a little...over-aggressive...to say the least.

Later I rolled a nice-sized grilse (or huge sea-run trout) on a shrimp pattern but received no love on successive casts.

Side note #3: This was three skunkenings in a row. At no point did I feel like torching police cars or smashing windows of stores & looting.

Side note #3.1: The term 'skunkening' is my own. It is derived from skunked. I got the idea from the movie Your Highness, which used the expression 'the f**kening.'

Thursday, 16-Jun-11

A last-minute invite for a downtown fish for stripers/muskie/smallies resulted in the end of the skunkening.

I wasn't messing around; this is what I rigged up for an afternoon on Pat's vessel:
  • 5wt TFO with WF-5F + small cork-bodied popper
  • 8wt Redington CPX with WF-8I clear sink tip + size 2 Clouser
  • 10wt Redington CPX with sinking-tip Striper line + big, eff-off muskie fly
The Clouser did it for me: nice smallie. Skunkening over. Video evidence exists, too.

Side note #4: As a highly experienced smallie-on-the-fly person, I can confidently state smallmouth bass take Clouser minnows 100% of the time. And if you take the previous sentence seriously, you are a complete jack ass.

Side note #5: Smallmouth bass on the fly rod have been my best surprise fish of 2011. It's a good time! I mean, they can hit hard or they can take subtle, they fight, they jump. Fun as hell.

Side note #6: I really, really need a 6wt fly rod, reel & line now...

Friday, 17-Jun-11

Back in April, Bucky & I bid on a trout-fishing trip for two at the Miramichi Headwaters Salmon Federation silent auction. We won.

It was at Rocky Brook Lodge, more famous for its swanky digs & salmon pools, but they also offer trout fishing on their (what I would assume to be stocked) lakes.

Side note #7: This place is really swanky. The manager, Manley Price, is a great guy, and it's staffed with some really friendly guys that probably know more about fly fishing than I will ever learn. Thing is, they don't act like it, which is even more awesome. But I couldn't find a website, so if you ever want to go there, leave a comment & I will get you the contact info.

It was strongly suggested by a few people to use spinning gear. I chose to ignore that suggestion.

Luckily, it was a prudent decision: when we arrived, all the loaner spinning gear we had been promised had gone missing through various means. So fly gear it was.

We weren't disappointed with the decision.

The first two fish were taken on a small black & white Clouser. Then I switched up to a #16 mayfly dry, which brought a lot to the boat. Once that got too soaked with fish slime to float, I changed to a #12 Stimulator.

And then it was on.

We boated a couple dozen. Each. In under four hours. 

We released them all, but lost one to the psychopathic loon swimming around (& underneath) our row boat.

Side note #8: Those friggin' things are fast as hell under water. And a little scary.

Good times. Except for the loon.

A typical-sized offering
It's not a small trout; I just have GIANT HANDS!!!
Psychopathic stalker-loon
My weekend was spent relaxing with my beautiful girlfriend (she doesn't fish a lot). We went to see Super 8, which was pretty damn good (and fortunately not a two-hour ad for the motel chain).

I'm hoping to be chasing some St. John River fish within the next couple hours.

I'll try to not wait six days to write a report.

Side note #9: I remember saying I would try to keep my posts to 250 words when I started this. Yeah. Might try to do that again.

Music time: when living a hero's life, you require a hero soundtrack. I think Explosions In The Sky provides that soundtrack. Even if you're just cleaning your bedroom (which, in some cultures, might be seen as heroic).

14 June 2011

Predator Patrol

Time/Date: 1100 AST, 14-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton

The muskie hunt on Saturday morning was really fun.

I got to learn a few things about muskie and their habitat & prey, and also (finally) got to try out my Redington CPX 10-weight rod.


There's something perversely enjoyable about fly fishing from a boat in downtown.

The only way it could've been better would be if it was a week day and all the sorry saps stuck in traffic on the Westmorland Street Bridge were on their way to work while I was casting away all the worries in my little world.

In fact, if it were a week day, I would've tweeted the mayor to look out his office window. I probably would have invited him. There's a good chance he'd accept, too. That's what it's like having a cool mayor (looking at you, Toronto...that's what you get for electing an ass).

As for fishing for muskie, I'll let this photo speak for itself:

Regardless of the outcome, it was a good time, and there's plenty of season left to land this so-called fish of ten thousand casts.

Only about 9500 more casts to go.

Thanks for the guided trip, Andrew!!

Tonight, it's striper-hunting time on the Fundy Coast.

Tomorrow's a full-moon, i.e., higher than normal tides (aka "spring tides"). It's mid-June. Migratory stripers may be here.

Where I'm heading, low-tide is ~1730, high tide is ~2330. Sunset is about 2130-ish. This could work out in my favour.

It'll be a late one; I plan on fishing until 2AM or so.

But I am ready.

We'll see how it all unfolds tonight.

An army of Clousers await marching orders for tonight
It will be about an hour and a half drive each way. I'll probably a little tired on the way home. That's why I have this tune well-situated on several road trip playlists to sing along to. It gets the synapses firing.

Gear Review: Costa Sunglasses

Time/Date: 0950 AST, 14-Jun-11
Location: Fredericton, NB

As mentioned previously (a few times), I found myself with two new pairs of polarized sunglasses from Costa Del Mar.

The first pair I bought online. The second pair I won from SoCal Salty's #Salty500 contest on twitter.

Would I have bought sunglasses if I had won the contest first?

Probably not. But now I have two kick-ass pairs of sunglasses to cover both freshwater & saltwater misadventures. And I'm not complaining one bit.

(apparently my occasional minimalist/anti-clutter principles can be bought)

I bought the Zane with the silver frame and blue mirror glass lenses. The frame fits snug on my face, but not uncomfortably. The arms and nose have rubber to help keep the glasses from slipping. They do have some heft to them, but that is due to the glass lenses as opposed to the other options.

On the water, all I can say is they work. The polarized lenses are extremely clear, cut glare and definitely assist in seeing into the water. On top of that, they friggin' look cool. So what more can you ask for from a pair of sunglasses?

The ultimate cool thing about the pair I won: Joe from SoCal Salty emailed me a coupon for the Costa pro staff site and I could select whatever pair I wanted. So that was awesome.

I chose the Brine with gunmetal frame & copper polycarbonate lenses (Joe recommended the polycarbonate...I'm glad he did). I like the looks of them, and they fit well (perhaps just a little too small for my fat face but whatev).

The amazing thing about these glasses: if they were any lighter, they would defy gravity. You don't even notice wearing them.

They have been my go-to for the past week for around town, and the lenses colour is appropriate for overcast conditions as well.

On the water, the copper lenses were a definite plus in our high & semi-cloudy water conditions. If there would have been any muskie present on Saturday morning, I would have seen them. Honestly.

Both pairs came with a protective zipper case (as shown in the pic above).

Overall, for the two pairs, I would say:

Pros: comfortable, clear vision, polarized as advertised, affordable (Brine: free, Zane: <$200), stylish (to me, and that's what matters), gravity-defying weight (Brine), Costas are involved in several conservation groups.

Cons: No micro-fibre cleaning cloth/bag, no stickers for the Tailgate of Fame on my truck, Kenny Chesney has a signature line of frames (ok, I kid, I kid).

Anyway...I'm a Costa guy now, through & through. Check 'em out.

I'd just rather trade Kenny Chesney for this guy:

10 June 2011


Time/Date: 1050, 10-Jun-11
Location: HOME!!!

I made it home on Wednesday afternoon...it was a long four weeks, but all is good (even better once my invoice gets paid).

In addition to my adorable dog & my beautiful girlfriend, I had a couple packages waiting for my arrival as well.

One was my new pair of Costa sunglasses I won from SoCal Salty's #Salty500 contest. They are pretty sweet. I'll have a review & pics of them posted soon (like, Sunday-soon).

The other was this gem:

Yeah. That's right. The new John Gierach book, No Shortage of Good Days, autographed by the man himself. And Bob White, too. One of Bob's paintings was used as the cover illustration.

I'm a pretty big fan of Gierach's writing; in fact, one of my earliest posts featured some of his quotes. You can read that post here.

The Trout Underground has an epic review of the book (I'm still reading it); Tom also has an interview with Gierach that he's working on as well.

On top of all this goodness, I went fishing yesterday, too. I slept through an epic rain & thunderstorm that happened the night before last; unfortunately, water conditions on the Nashwaak were high, swift & cloudy.

I still caught an above-average sized fish, though: a 10" creek chub.

Tomorrow will bring a 5AM wake-up for another fly fishing adventure: muskie on the fly rod.

I will be hitting the vise this afternoon for a few more big "eff-off" flies like this:

Being back in the land of reliable & fast interhorn connections, I was also able to finally download Matthew Good's new album, Lights of Endangered Species. It will be on while I clean...and tie big "eff-off" flies for the muskie (mis)adventures tomorrow.

Here's some Friday music goodness:

06 June 2011

Making your own fun on the graveyard shift

Step 1: Arrive onsite, have coworkers tell you about wolves in the area.
Step 2: Have coworkers see a big-ass wolf on the second night you're there.
Step 3: Switch over to night shifts, go to the drill site.
Step 4: At 2:30AM, read an internal health & safety document about a fatal wolf attack in Saskatchewan (link to news article here).
Step 5: Immediately after reading the document, you hear wolves howling not too far off in the distance.
Step 6: Realize you have to go outside to take a leak, 45 seconds after hearing the wolves howl.
Step 7: See how long you can hold it for...

Enjoy the tune...

05 June 2011

Hurry up & wait...

Time/Date: 0105 CST, 05-June-11
Location: Saskatchewan...still...

I'm making the transition to night shifts for my last few days onsite here. The new drill hole is taking some time to get started due to technical difficulties. I say technical difficulties as I don't want to dive into any more details than that for fear of losing my readers to boredom.

So there's a whole bunch of hurry up & wait going on in my life. All I want is to hurry up & get home, but that's coming soon enough.

Of course, there are a couple pluses to this: time at the tying vise as well as playing around with new apps for my iPod.

First new addition is DropBox. It's kinda cool, if you're interested in that whole 'cloud computing' thing. I have it installed on both my laptop and iPod. A free account nets you 2GB of online storage, with paid subscriptions available for many more gigabytes if you need them.

You should check it out, and, if you use this link to sign up, both you & I will receive an extra 256mb of storage for free as part of their referral program. Lifehacker has a few more methods to increase free storage amounts here.

Next up is Instagram, which is a photo sharing app. It shoots pics, modifies them with different finishing effects, and posts them to various social media accounts a person might have. I shot a couple pics this evening & I like what I see of the app so far.

Here's a screenshot of what it looks like when someone clicks the link:

Here are the two pics I snapped using Instagram (conveniently transferred from my iPod to my laptop via DropBox):

As for fly tying, the top pic is a black & white Clouser, aka a "Bow River Cop Car Clouser." Nothing fancy, but apparently it works. It brings the official count of Clousers tied here to 15.

The monstrosity below it is a chartreuse & white yak hair streamer, with striping on the chartreuse hair artistically done up with a black sharpie. It will (hopefully) feed a muskie on an upcoming adventure...if I can cast the bastard.

This will be my first time muskie fishing, and I'm fairly certain there aren't a lot of guys in New Brunswick chasing them with a fly rod. The muskie fishery in New Brunswick is relatively new, but it's catching on quick. I know I'm looking forward to giving it a shot!

This will also be my first time fishing with my new Redington CPX 10-weight, though I hope to get some casting practice in beforehand.

(If you have noticed an increase in mentions of Redington (Twitter: @RedingtonGear) lately, well, it's because I received their guide deal through my association with Fredericton Outfitters. And also because they make awesome stuff. Hence me choosing Redington over any other brand carried at FOA.)

Here's some music:

(I have really been pushing the Canadian content lately, huh?)

03 June 2011

Random Saskatchewan Post

Time/Date: 1605 CST, 03-Jun-11
Location: Northern Saskatchewan

It's been three weeks plus a day since I left for this project.

I'm headed home on Wednesday, and I can't wait.

I want to see my girlfriend. I want to see my dog. I want to see my friends. And I need to go fishing.

Exploration camps are usually pretty enjoyable for me; I like the 'smallness' of them & the camaraderie among the people there.

Mine sites are (apparently) a different story: the dregs of modern day society permeate this place (way too many MMA shirts & wannabes for a project site here, btw...).

I travel to work to get away from that shit (and to make some money to finance my fishing 'career').

Unfortunately I'm surrounded by it here.

As I tweeted the other day, perhaps reading too much Edward Abbey and Carl Hiaasen at an impressionable age is coming back to bite me in the ass.

At least I'm tying flies:
Building an army of Clousers to pass the time...
Music-wise, the new Matthew Good album, Lights of Endangered Species, was released this past Tuesday. I am really looking forward to getting home to a reliable web connection to buy it (my fine Yankee friends: if you're unfamiliar, you should really get familiar. One of our greatest musicians).

Here's one of his tracks from a few years back.