31 July 2011

Sunday Country Drive (A non-fishing post)

Time/Date: 1755 AST, 31-Jul-11
Location: A good chunk of western NB

Being a long weekend, I intentionally avoided the water (& associated crowds) for the past couple days save for a nocturnal predator patrol for muskie & stripers on Friday night.

To kill some time today, my lovely gf & I took a leisurely country drive to some of the roadside touristy things one might stumble upon while driving New Brunswick's secondary highways.

Here are some pics; try not to all rush here at once. There's plenty of room for everyone.

That's exciting...
Every year or two, some yokel gets looped up & tries to burn this down
Yup. Somebody answered the call & built an Ark. Brilliant.
It's fairly large...
And, of course, as every Ark needs, it has satellite TV.
They've started collecting the animals, two by two; with bunnies...
...and alpacas...
...and goats...
...who really enjoy carrots.
We also stopped by the Miramichi Headwaters Salmon Federation's trout & salmon rearing station, where my gf adopted/sponsored a trout.

All in all, a fun day (for not fishing).

Here's some music.

29 July 2011


Time/Date: 1005 AST, 29-Jul-11
Location: The Shop

James, AKA The Phenom, he of the mad skilz in deerhair popper-awesomeness, also has some mad skilz in the fine art of video shooting & editing.

Definitely worth a few minutes of your day to check out.

For all you folks heading to Moncton for the U2 concert, here's a tune for y'all. And it's not U2.

26 July 2011

City Limits Smallie, S01E02

Time/Date: 1815 AST, 26-Jul-11
Location: Back home in ol' Freddy Beach

Dear Redington, Rio Products, and Chris Buckingham,

A quick note to say your fly rod, fly line, and bead-head wooly bugger all work splendidly. Much appreciated.



Below are 3 of the 8 smallies caught & released in probably the most epic 75 minutes of fishing I've ever experienced. I probably had close to two dozen takes. Gettin' all book-smart on bass fishin' paid off. Now just to improve my hook-sets :-/

ALSO: these were all caught within a 3 minute drive of the fly shop, in (what I proclaim to be) the best angling city EVER!!

22 July 2011

Graduate-level Packing

Time/Date: 0825 PST, 22-Jul-11
Location: Smithers...en route to Vancouver

17 days in the field, a day of fly fishing + 36 hours of (semi-) civilized fun in Vancouver.

It equals a lot of stuff: waders, fly rods & misc fishing gear; field gear/safety equipment, clothes for work & play...plus a sleeping bag liner & a fly tying kit and books...

This is honestly the most I've packed for any trip anywhere...except moving to & from Vancouver, but even that was close to this.

Fortunately I have some mad skilz:

I'm off to spend a day's wages on lattes & sushi.

See you all on the east (a.k.a., right) coast.



Time/Date: 0640, 22-Jul-11
Location: Smithers, BC


That's all I can say about my day chasing Chinook salmon on the fly rod with Derek Botchford of Frontier Farwest (Twitter: @epicflyfishing; Facebook page here).

Conditions were tough: water was high, fast & cloudy, but Derek raced us up & down the river in the jetboat to various pools & holes, pointing out locally famous fall steelhead runs along the way.

It paid off.

There is an asterisk on this catch, however.

I had handed the rod to Derek so I could have a sip of coffee & take a leak. As I was standing on shore, coffee in hand (not the other thing in hand), I saw a fish roll to Derek's right.

Mustering up my best guide voice, I calmly spoke (squealed?): "Three o'clock, 30 feet."

Derek cast, hooked up & offered me the rod. I hesitated; not wanting to be 'that guy,' but...

It was a good fight.

These things are friggin' strong. They're not big leapers, and this one didn't run too much. It just said, "F**K you. Try to move me."

And it didn't budge. For a while.

After 10-15 minutes, the above picture was the end result, and we happily sent the Chinook back on its way upriver.


I also caught a bull trout, which was totally cool!

On a 5- or 6-weight, the bull trout would have been a battle and a half.


On the way back to Smithers, Derek invited me to stop in to see the new lodge Frontier Farwest is building on the Bulkley River.

It's spectacular.

I instantly offered my services as a bartender, logistics manager, guide, dishwasher or resident half-wit to Derek.

Unfortunately for me (and the lodge, too...mark my words!!), Derek politely declined my services.


I will be back someday soon, for I also have steelhead dreams.

Interested in fishing with Derek and the gang at Frontier Farwest? Click here for their contact information. Trust me, it's worth the price of admission. And then some.

New music. I dig it. Some might not.

But that's the beauty of music; there's something for everyone.


Project Site Tying Bench

I got a little creative one night during some downtime on the drill rig.

Definitely one of the more random places I had ever tied a fly. Quite...rustic...?

'Twas productive, though; it was the first time I had ever sat down & tied 5 flies in a row without interruption.

Enjoy the tune...

20 July 2011

Random BC Post v4.0

Time/Date: 0820 PST, 20-Jul-11
Location: BC

Another project is just about in the books. Some last-minute laundry & packing remains.

My reputation (career?) as a semi-retired country gentleman (that said semi-retired, not semi-retarded, btw) is can definitely be challenged; I've spent almost 16 weeks on project sites so far in 2011.

Oh well, student loans don't pay themselves (unless you finished university after I did; then the government seemingly throws money at you with all their looney 'Come/Stay the F**K Home' grants).

NBD*, however.

It all plays into the master plan...

Looks easy enough...

Fishing note:
Derek from Frontier FarWest emailed me to say river conditions were probably going to be tough for my trip for Chinook tomorrow.

Another NBD...

I'm well-versed in The Skunkening.

I've had many. Probably will have many more (especially if I keep chasing muskie).

As the saying goes, a bad day of fishin' is better than the best day of workin'.

We'll see how it all plays out tomorrow.

'*' - No Big Deal

16 July 2011

Random BC Post v3.0 (More pics)

(Note: This post may end up looking rough due to this whole Google-account-transition thing; I lost all of my previous settings & text templates. As I have very limited (& poor quality) internet access, this might not get fixed until I return home, so bear with me)

Time/Date: 0735 PST, 16-Jul-11
Location: still in BC

Four more nights.

That's it.

Four more nights of work before 3-4 weeks off.

Note: After this I'm working 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off for a couple months. Then I can resume my semi-retired country gentleman lifestyle.

And, to top it off, I have a day fishing booked with Frontier FarWest (Twitter: @epicflyfishing) on the way outta here. Chinook salmon on the fly (guess I didn't need to bring that 5-weight with me...).

Then it's on to Vancouver to see some friends. I'm not sure if I include Akira Sushi, The Noodle Box and Fatburger as friends, but I'm visiting them as well.

And, of course, Caffè Artigiano. The place that started my full-on (mental & physical) addiction to good coffee (& subsequent coffee snobbery, mainly directed towards that shit they serve at Tim Horton's).

I can guarantee I'll be in Artigiano seven times in 34 hours. At least.

How's that for a latte factor?

A nice little internet gold nugget I recently came across is Smallmouth Fly Box. Some great fly patterns & some gear reviews on there. Definitely worth a visit if you're into chasing smallies on the long stick.

Here are a few pics from the project site, with a great (early) Pearl Jam tune.

The last pic is for Tommy (Twitter: @ghost1066). It's not the close-up of the glacier I promised (yet), but considering it was taken through the window as I was zipping by in the A-Star, I like how it came out.

Tommy has some mad skill making hand-crafted lures, check them out here.

10 July 2011

Random BC Post v2.0 (Pics)

Time/Date: 0800 PST, 10-Jul-11
Location: BC...in case you missed that in the title

A couple of pics...

PS- Happy anniversary, mom & dad :)

09 July 2011

West Coast gear meets East Coast tunes

Time/Date: 0135 PST, 09-Jul-11
Location: Somewhere in northern BC, next to a bunch of glaciers

My roommate did me a solid & picked up a package for me at the courier yesterday.

This might not seem like a big deal to most folks, but this particular courier allows parcel pickup for approximately 17 minutes, split into uneven intervals, each day between the hours of 5PM-5:45PM.

I'm sure it wasn't convenient for him.

But this post isn't about foolish parcel pickup counter hours.

It's about the package waiting for my inglorious return to the right coast (as opposed to the left coast. I'm not implying which coast is correct).

The package, shipped from Bainbridge Island, Washington, is...

...my new Redington Predator rod & Rise reel.

Matched with Rio's smallmouth taper fly line (6wt), this will be seven feet & ten inches of popper-, diver- & Clouser-chucking, bass-fighting goodness.

Why does this particular rod belong in the quiver?

After catching a decent number of smallies on both my 9' 5wt (TFO TiCr) and 9' 8wt (Redington CPX), I came to the following conclusions:
  • The 5-weight is a blast once smallies are hooked, but casting big deerhair poppers & weighted flies with it are a challenge.
  • The 8-weight definitely handles casting those bigger flies, but overpowers the fish (which wouldn't be an issue if I was a tournament angler but...I'm not).
  • Nine feet of fly rod is tough to deal with on overgrown banks of rivers & streams in town.
Combining a fast action tip in a 7'10", 6-weight rod with the aggressive taper of Rio's smallmouth line, the Predator rod should be the ticket for casting those bigger flies in confined spaces.

Of course, with this setup being more for city than country, I decided to forego the typical gunmetal grey & smoke finishes of my Lamson & Redington reels. This called for some flash. A little bling-bling. I wanted a reel that shouted, "Here I am, fishy, and damn, I look fly! Now get on my hook!"

Enter the Rise reel. Can you say P-I-M-P?

I can't wait to get home & try it out...once I come down from this mountain...

Here's a fun summertime song for y'all. I'm sure my singing of it last night kept our curious grizzly bear a little further away from the project site than he's normally been.

(Don't forget, Joel Plaskett will be playing FredRock 2011 later this summer. Ticket info here.)

07 July 2011

Random BC Post v1.0

Time/Date: 0900 PST, 07-Jul-11

As a chronic rule-breaker, I couldn't help but snap & share a pre-sunrise pic of the view from my work site. Who knows, maybe this illicit sharing of photos on social media will get me a Nobel Peace Prize (and hopefully not charged for indecent acts in Sweden).

It almost makes night shifts worthwhile. Almost.

For the fly fishing types, new issues of Catch and BloodKnot magazines dropped onto the intertubes recently. Definitely worth it to kill some time to click through them.

06 July 2011

The Gulag

Time/Date: 0635 PST, 06-Jul-11
Location: A Top-Secret Alpine Facility, British Columbia (near the Alaskan border)

I'd like to tell you where I am, but I'm not really sure. Things got confusing after leaving Smithers, BC.

I landed on a gravel runway and this scary woman started going through our bags for drugs, alcohol, weapons...

...and apparently fly fishing gear, as well.

That's right. My stuff was confiscated.

I went along with it, but now, seeing I'm probably closer to the moon than I am fishable water...it's a little ridiculous.

I'm totally surrounded by snow-capped mountains & glaciers. It's actually quite scenic and I'd love to show you a picture, but we're not permitted to take photos of the project site to post on social media sites such as "Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Hi-5..." (when the hell did they write that policy? And what the f**k is Hi-5?)

So this black-ops fly fishing trip they assume I'd go on if I had retained possession of my 3 rods & reels is pretty much out of the question, unless I commandeered a helicopter as well.

But it's policy.

I will get my gear back, of course, when I leave. That is, if it doesn't go missing. If it does, that's my problem, as they're "not responsible for any and all lost or stolen property." How do you think that possible scenario would play out for them?

Potential CBC headline: "Numerous People Kicked in Groin By NB Geologist Over Fly Fishing Gear"

For those unawares, I took on this project pretty much just to get a flight to northern BC to fish once the project is over & to visit friends in Vancouver on the way back home. The irony of potentially losing my gear before I got to fish is not lost on me. Not one little bit.

I will someday soon declare war on these legal-beagle types that draft up all these ridiculous rules, regulations, bylaws, laws, policies and any other name they go by. Kidney punches for all!

By governing to the lowest common denominator, the people who draft these policies breed out common sense, independent thought & creativity.

Then again, maybe that's what 'they' want...

I'd rather embed some new music...but we're not allowed to stream music or video here, either.

The quality of this one, if I remember correctly, is pretty good: