30 June 2012

Have a great long weekend...

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians.

And to my American friends, enjoy that little thing you guys do on & around July 4th.

I'll be back Tuesday for another edition of Traveling Angler Tuesdays.


27 June 2012

Style at Home Edition

After some delays caused by spending 8 or so weeks in Nunavut & Alaska, I finally have my redfish gyotaku print framed & hung above my work/tying bench.

It's pretty awesome just to zone out & look at the scale pattern and the artist's work on the edges of the fins & tails.

But it does nothing to stem my desires to load up girl, dog, rods & flies and point the truck south.

The talented Catherine Karnes-Munn looked after the framing for me & she did an awesome job.

Thanks, Cathy!!

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26 June 2012

Traveling Angler Tuesdays Tip #1: Get a passport

There are lots of steps to planning out a fly fishing trip abroad. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but I'll make it really clear: if you wish to go fishing in another country, you require a passport.

Note #1: Canadians - The USA is another country. You need a passport.
Note #2: Americans - Canada is another country. You need a passport.

Getting your passport can be a time-consuming bore, but once you have it, it's yours. And if you're the procrastinating type, getting your passport can be an important first step.

Passports are valid for five years in Canada and ten years in the United States. American applicants can expect to pay roughly $165 in passport fees, while Canadians it will cost $87 for the passport. Don't forget to budget in passport photos, which can cost an additional twenty dollars or so.

However, the application and processing time can take anywhere between 4-12 weeks. Unless you wish to pay a fee for rush service, it's good to plan ahead. So, again, getting your passport is a great way to get started in becoming a Traveling Angler.

Applications in Canada can be picked up at any CanadaPost office or online; American residents can get application forms by clicking here.

For more information on Canadian Passports, click over to Passport Canada.

For more information on American passports, click over to the US Department of State.

Happy trails.

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Traveling Angler Tuesdays is a new feature for mattrevors.com, launched June 26th, 2012. It's mission is to prove the concept of fly fishing travel abroad is not just the realm of old rich dudes and magazine writers & photographers. Keep checking back regularly as I share tips & tricks to get you to fly fishing locales you dream of going to. - Mat

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The Dylan Rose Interview

A week or so prior to conceiving Traveling Angler Tuesdays, I asked Dylan Rose of Fly Water Travel LLC if he'd be interested in interviewing on 411#3 as part of the lead-up to our upcoming trip to Belize. Dylan, myself and two more anglers are spending a week aboard the Meca, a 45' cruiser with two skiffs towed along for good measure.

I'm really excited about this trip for a number of reasons, but especially for having the chance to meet and fish with a good internet buddy in real life finally!

Once insomnia and toxic fumes from too many mosquito coils took hold in Alaska, Traveling Angler Tuesdays came to me in a vision.

Lo and behold, I already lined up the perfect person to kick off the proceedings: a guy who travels to, and books travel for, fly fishing destinations around the world. Aces, I tells ya. Aces.

The interview took place over a bunch of emails back & forth. Here's the outcome.

Thanks again, Dylan! I can't think of a better dude to start off Traveling Angler Tuesdays!

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Mr. Dylan Rose, of Fly Water Travel LLC.
Hey Dylan! Let's start by telling us a little about yourself, where you're from, where you live, and how you got started in fly fishing.

I grew up in a sleepy Seattle suburb north of the city known as Lake Forest Park, WA. The same neighbourhood as Rainn Wilson from The Office actually! Before a total mind, body and spirit fly fishing addiction unleashed its fury on me in the mid-nineties my life was fully focused on playing Jazz and mastering the saxophone. As you can imagine a fly fishing saxophone player made me a real hit with the ladies in high school!

After high school I followed through on the musical side of my life and scored a partial scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. During the summers home from Boston I started working at the Avid Angler fly shop, which led me to guiding for Emerald Water Anglers, repping, my own online retail store called Skate the Fly, and now amazingly enough a 15 year career that has led me to Fly Water Travel in beautiful Ashland, Oregon. Through it all my amazing wife Chrysta (the “ladies in high school” I spoke of earlier was actually just her…) has been there through the thick and thin of it. Let’s just say I married above my grade….

What rivers did you guide on for Emerald Waters? How long did you guide for?

I guided on and off for the better part of 10 years. Sometimes between jobs, sometimes full time, sometimes part time. Guiding out of Seattle is a tough, tough business. It means dealing with the masses on a daily basis, long drives and constantly trying to out-duel a populous of 3+ million. So we would guide literally anything if it meant we had a chance to get our clients into fish. That meant days on the Skagit, Sauk, Yakima, Cowlitz, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Cedar or anything!

I really got into the sea-run cutthroat and salmon scene on Puget Sound which is a blast by the way. That was probably my favourite fishery along with the plethora of the little secret westslope cutthroat streams that dot the Cascades within a day’s drive of town. I would routinely take 0-2wts to those streams, fish bushy dries all day and have a blast hiking and catching 6”- 12” long cutties in pure solitude. Most of the Seattle public refuses to walk further than 15 minutes from their car, so as a rule guidable water started after a 20 minute walk.

What was your first reaction when you discovered you were guiding John Gierach? Did you know you were making a cameo appearance in his recent book (No Shortage of Good Days)?

Honestly, my first reaction was… CRAP, now I need to clean my truck and fix my broken grill! Then the realization that I’d get to spend the day with one of my heroes set in and immediately got to work rereading the 5 books I had of his. Spending the day with John was just awesome. I think when you meet him, the basic feeling is that he is everything you hoped he would be. Completely hilarious, down to earth, intensely smart and one badass angler through and through. I definitely now think of him as an angler first and a writer second. If only I could have put him or his good buddy Vince into a steelhead!

I had no clue about the book though. It’s interesting now that you bring it up because John mentions a brief conversation I had with him about Harry Lemire, who we saw fishing the Sauk River that day. Harry has passed away in the last week and it brings back many memories I had of encountering him on the Sauk and Skagit and talking with him when he would come in to the fly shop. He was truly a steelheading pioneer, a gentlemen and one hell of a good angler and fly tier.

Were you pulling the jazz star at night, fly guide by day routine? Do you still play the sax often?

For several years I had a regular Tuesday night gig at Fado Irish Pub in downtown Seattle. In those days smoking was legal in the bars so I would play my brains out sucking in a mountain of second hand smoke for 5 hours, and drink my nights pay in beer until 2:00AM, crash out for a few hours and meet my clients at a downtown hotel at 7AM. I would now officially like to apologize to all my clients that ever fished with me on a Wednesday during that time… Ouch…

I don’t play much anymore, unfortunately. I hope to get back to it here in Ashland. I truly miss it and it was such a huge part of my life that it kills me that I don’t play anymore. I routinely look over at my saxophones in the closet and can hear them screaming at me, “Why are you doing this to us!?” I really find the opportunities for intense creativity to exhibit themselves in both fly fishing and jazz. Whether it’s tying flies or creative casts, rigs, presentations or water reading, I find the parallels striking at times (no pun intended).

How did working at Fly Water Travel come about? Simms-clad hired goons showing up at your door, requesting a 'sit down?'

I actually received a call from Ken Morrish wondering what I was up to one day. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as my eCommerce site I had been working so hard on was shut down and I was seriously in need of a gig. These jobs don’t come along that often so I was very flattered to be considered for a job that would allow me to work for an extremely successful company with such a talented crew and have the opportunity to travel the world chasing fish. It truly is a family here at Fly Water and quickly you learn that it’s really ALL about our clients and doing our best for them every day.

How has the move to Oregon been? More importantly, how's the fishing? Much different than Washington's fishing scene?

Oregon is awesome. The beauty of living in Ashland is the ease of access to brilliant wilderness. I really feel that living in Seattle was beginning to suck the life right out of me. Once the big city has you in its grasp, it’s like it never wants to let you go. Getting out of town and on a river can sometimes take hours as the traffic is just intensely horrific. You don’t even really fully realize how much it affects you until you move to a small town where everything is just easier to get around. I’ve got wild steelhead running up the Rogue River 25 minutes from my front door. There’s great trout fishing locally and in northern Cali. Skiing 20 minutes away and wild Morel mushrooms are popping in the hills. Good stuff…

There were rumours of a neighbour with a 'gardening habit;' care to elaborate?

Yeah, when I began looking for a rental house in Ashland the very first one I checked out had a crop of 20 – 30 ganja plants soaking up the southern Oregon sunshine. What can I say, it’s a way of life in Ashland!

What's a typical day at the Fly Water Travel office like for Dylan Rose?

All of us are travelling very regularly but when we’re home it’s pretty much like any other office job really, except exchange most of the boring parts with fly fishing, world traveling, tackle, fly tying and fish! Basically, I chat with clients about sending them to the right destination, with the right expectations, with the right gear all day. So give me a call! I just got back from two weeks in Mexico and experienced what I think is the absolute world’s best juvenile tarpon fishery. GIVE ME A CALL!

With renowned fly designer Ken Morrish under the same roof at FWT, how excited do you get when you find out he's at his tying bench and he might soon be throwing some flies your way for 'field testing?'

Kenny is a fly tying mad scientist! He both executes his patterns and innovates on a level I can only dream of. Basically, you know someone is a bad ass tier when they don’t just have a tying room but a full on dedicated tying cabin in their back yard! Years before I came to fly water and well before I ever met Kenny I began using his Anato-May series on guide trips. That nymph pattern really changed my life as trout everywhere I guided were powerless against it. It’s been fun getting to know him and work with him every day.

So about all this travel you've been doing recently...do you have any trip highlights (or shenanigans) you'd like to share?

Almost getting eaten by a 500lb 10ft – 12ft long Bull Shark is right up there. Note to self: When taking a picture of a noisy squawking Jack Crevalle and the guide calmly says, “Hey guys, you MIGHT want to get back in the boat.” It really means, “GET BACK IN THE BOAT GRINGO, OR YOU MIGHT GET CHEWED ON!” While taking pictures of the Jack I looked up to see a massive grey shape in the water 10ft away from me. As it got within strike range, it made this huge swirl in the water right in front of us pushing a massive wake in our direction and then swam off. I think I’m still puckered up as I write this from that one…

What has been the best location, lodge and species (so far)?

Recently I spent time at a new operation north of Campeche about 50km for juvenile tarpon called Isla Del Sabalo. The place absolutely blew my mind! Unlike Campeche this operation is the only one around and essentially has what may be the most prolific baby tarpon fishery found anywhere in the world, right in its backyard. We were the first ones in for the season. It was absolute insanity fishing for 20lb – 50lb juvies on 8ft – 10ft deep turtle grass flats with surface flies! I’m not sure what hurt worse, my stomach from all the giddy laughter or my arms from the near constant tarpon warfare over two days.
"Juvenile" Tarpon, Isla Del Sabalo, Mexico

Also, Christmas Island was completely incredible last January. I got hooked literally and figuratively on GT’s. They are at once the most awe-striking, hard fighting, eerily intelligent and thuggishly brutal fish I have ever encountered…

I have to ask because people want to know this: are these trips a work expense or comped? And if so, does Fly Water need an angler with a Canadian passport and specialties & experience in international travel, logistics, bartending and other talents? I think I'd be good at traveling to fish (more than I do now)...and I tie mean Clouser Minnows...

It’s all work Mr. Trevors and alas, someone has got do it! Luckily, you will be getting your shot with me in September. Belize mothership bonanza here we come man! I’ll be at the very least looking forward the bartending portion of your skill set…

Ah, yes! Belize. September can't come fast enough! I'll concoct a delightful tropical beverage for it!

It’s going to be a WAY cool trip! The mothership route is a unique and way cool method to experience Belize. It’s really going to maximize fishing time, flexibility, and offer short runs to the fishing grounds.

Is there any chance whatsoever of a resurrection of Skate The Fly? Or a STF-TV series...complete with Coach Duff's swearing?

Ha! Unfortunately, Skate the Fly is long dead my man, never to be seen again. It was a fun ride while it lasted!

Thanks so much for doing this, Dylan. Any last words for those considering traveling the world in pursuit of fish?

It was fun! Thanks very much for thinking of me. I would just offer to everyone to not wait to plan that big fishing trip of a lifetime because in the words of the great Warren Miller, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.”

Everyday is like Christmas for anglers visiting Christmas Island.
Oh...and I usually post a tune at the end of my posts. What's on Dylan Rose's iPod right now that you would like to hear?

The only tunes playing on my iPod right now are sad and depressing as I just lost my fishing partner. He was a 9 year old Australian Shepherd named Fisher. He was a fantastic boy. I’ll miss him forever.

How about Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), "Just Breathe."

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Note: I was terribly bummed to hear about Dylan's pup, Fisher, while we were emailing back & forth. Of course, being in Alaska & away from my dog at that point for three weeks didn't help me. 

But I took Dylan's advice as soon as I got home: I gave Awesome a big hug and a lengthy scratch behind the ear. I recommend that process to anyone with a dog.

If you're interested in chatting with Dylan and the staff at Fly Water Travel about a possible fly fishing adventure, or wish to browse their catalogue, give them a call at 1.800.552.2729 or visit their website by clicking here.

Thanks again, Dylan. See you in Belize City soon!

24 June 2012

Announcement: Launch of Traveling Angler Tuesdays

I am very excited to announce the launch of Traveling Angler Tuesdays here at 411#3, starting this Tuesday (June 26th)

If you caught the Out of Alaska post yesterday, you might recall seeing mention of a new path (or, more accurately, a widening of an existing path) for the site. Well, this is it.

I travel a lot. I fish a lot. I carry gear with me when I travel. I know I can share a few tips, tricks and gear reviews to help out both beginner and experienced traveling anglers alike.

So starting this Tuesday, and every Tuesday after it, there will be a new post to inform, entertain and enlighten you, the Traveling Angler.

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To kick off Traveling Angler Tuesdays, I enlisted the help of Dylan Rose of Fly Water Travel LLC and proceeded to pester him with lots of questions about fishing, traveling, working at Fly Water Travel, guiding Gierach and playing jazz.

So click over on Tuesday, June 26th to read my interview with Dylan!

To find out more about this tarpon & the guy holding it, check out the interview with Dylan on Tuesday!
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23 June 2012

Out of Alaska

After numerous attempts, I discovered proper form for redeye flights last night: I fell asleep before we backed away from the gate in Fairbanks and was out cold until the descent into Minneapolis. Brilliant.

Thus closing this Alaskan chapter of my life.

It was a good trip, but the lack of sleep from working night shifts did me in, and yesterday's hunt for pike on my 7wt ended up being more of a snipe hunt.

But there were highlights...

Highlight #5:
  • Working night shift that far north was cool and it made for some pretty combination sunsets/sunrises.

Highlight #4:
  • Catching my first grayling on the fly. It isn't a technical fishery by any stretch, but they were fun for a diversion. Small flies, light leaders, etc. Pretty fish, too; though I didn't take any pictures save one. I needed the pic for the Species Journal, after all...

Highlight #3:
  • This is more a personal thing than an Alaskan thing: I decided on new path for this site. Maybe not a new path; perhaps widening the path is more apt. More on this in a very-near-future post.
Highlight #2b:
  • Finding this cabin in the middle of nowhere down a random dirt road while looking for a fishy spot. Something about it brought a smile to the cockles of my heart.

Highlight #2a:
  • Seconds after finding the cabin, the realization that I sometimes can't believe I get paid for this.
  • This also ties in with Highlight #3...but hours later, while being chewed alive by bugs and being busy as hell, this upbeat attitude diminished slightly. I was still excited about Highlight #3 and the cabin, however.
Highlight #1:
  • Being present in the precise moment in space and time to be able to see this:

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So that was Alaska. 

Quick shout-outs to:

Matt H - may he have good fortune with his new Sage Largemouth rod & not have anymore minor incidents with company rental trucks.

JR at Big Ray's fly shop - thanks for the help. My inability to roll-cast that robin-sized diver on my 7wt in no way diminished the appreciation I have for time spent giving me directions for the pike hunt.

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Here's a tune.

Appropriate title, considering I'm on the verge of wandering over to the complimentary bar to fix one for myself. Aeroplan Elite status has its perks.

15 June 2012

A day of work

Like everyone nowadays, I often get asked, "What do you do?" If the person doesn't seem the sort to comprehend my typical 'semi-retired country gentleman' response, I answer truthfully: I say geology, or more specifically, geotechnical data collection. 

At this point, the person's eyes will glaze over, or they respond along the lines of, "So, like, do you like rocks or something?"

Ummm. No. No great love affair with rocks. I do, however, dislike the idea of working every week, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, for 50 weeks of the year, stuck in a grey or off-white coloured box.

Here's a typical day in the life of me working. Even some of my closest friends haven't got an inside look in this sort of detail...mostly because they'd find it boring as hell...

Sorry, but there's no sort of industry secrets or proprietary/confidential information. And the numbers are the 24-hour clock. Google it if you don't understand it.

Happy Gilmore as a geologist (from back in Ought-Six)
1643 - I wake up with a gasp. A feeling of panic. I grab my phone to check the time, thinking I overslept. Then I feel ripped off for having missed out on the twenty-two minutes of sleep I could have had before the alarm was scheduled to go off. I hear the damn helicopter, which was what probably woke me up. Sounds like the Hughes 500; its rotor noise is a bit higher pitch than the A-Star. I curse the helicopter and lay my head back down on the pillow.

1650 - Off to the bathroom. I brush my teeth & contemplate the bags under my eyes. I contemplate the two-week beard that has accumulated. It's itchy, but laziness outweighs the desire to be itch-free. This project hasn't been bad enough to warrant drastic measures such as shaving my face and/or head. I'm certain Britney Spears stole the head-shaving idea from a geologist pushed over the edge. I know several who've done it. Including myself.

1655 - Back to the room. Open my laptop to check email. Gmail first to see if anything fun or useful has come down the pipe. Perhaps something from Capital O to say the Aluminum Bastard was stolen from the yard, or to say my cheque from an invoice submitted on April 27th has arrived. No such luck. I browse through emails, deleting, responding or archiving as I go. I'm a believer in the OHIO Method: Only Handle It Once. It keeps my inbox empty, which I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from.

I check Facebook to see if my lovely girlfriend has written to say hi. Six notifications pop up, but I don't check them. Not high enough on the priority list just yet. I write a quick message to Becky to say I miss her. Hopefully she writes back before I have to head to the project site.

Next is the work account. This I click open with a feeling of impending doom: if there's no new messages, I'm either doing something right, or they haven't looked over the data yet. Either way is good. Perhaps there's a message about an upcoming project assignment. This would be good, as long as it isn't in July or early September. There aren't any messages. I close the browser tab, slightly relieved.

I finish up on the laptop with a quick look at the Facebook notifications and new mentions on Tweetdeck, responding as necessary. I see a picture of a nice redfish someone posted. I post the following on twitter:

This is a tongue-in-cheek shout out to the late Billy Pate. I hope people get the joke. I know my life isn't  too rough. I'm surly due to lack of sleep but otherwise in good spirits.

I wish it was me holding that redfish, though.

I check the charge on my iPod & Kobo e-reader. Satisfied with both, I disconnect them and close the laptop.

1735 - I stroll over to the kitchen, enjoying the sun and apparent lack of mosquitoes. I pack my lunch: turkey on whole wheat for the thirteenth night in a row. It's the easiest and fastest to make. I grab some beef jerky, a fruit cup and two packages of Welch's Fruit Snacks. They're awesome: like ju-jubes but with more vitamin C. Brilliant, Welch family. Brilliant. 

Lunch is supplemented with two bottles of water and a can of Red Bull. Sometimes I take a can of sweet tea, but not tonight. Too much sugar in that shit.

I don't eat supper. The idea of meatloaf, chicken pot pie, hot roast beef, or whatever variation of salty gravy they're serving doesn't appeal to me for my first meal of the day. I'm sure the food is extremely good, but I'm not a regular eater of the hearty 'meat and potatoes' fare typically served on project sites. Nothing personal, it's just not my thing...especially for breakfast.

I pour myself warm cup of coffee-like liquid and wander back outside carrying my lunch bag. I'm enjoying the sun.

1750 - I use the bathroom. I'm blessed with amazing regularity, which is a good thing in this business. I'm not a huge fan of having mosquitoes bombing my ass & riggin' like Japanese Zeros at Pearl Harbour while I lean against a tree. I developed a wariness of doing number two outside twelve years ago, when, after a booze- and chicken wing-fueled night of debauchery led to an extremely close call with a wasp nest the next day while collecting groundwater samples near the local landfill. It's amazing how fast a person can shuffle and hop away with their pants around their ankles.

1800 -  Quick check of Facebook again to see if Becky wrote me. She did. This makes me happy. I tell her I'm off to work and I love her with all my heart. I tell her to have a good sleep. I close the laptop.

1810 - Into the still-damp boots and the muddy coveralls that could stand on their own. This is for the fifteenth night in a row. I could (and should) wash the coveralls, but, like putting the razor to my face, laziness wins out.

1815 - I pop into the field office to say hi. Ask the summer student how the water levels are on the creek running behind the camp. Ask if he's caught anything. I grumble about fishing only 25 minutes since I arrived. He chuckles at my quip about my Alaskan fishing license costing me about $435 an hour. We say "see ya later" and I hop in to the truck. I wince when I glance at my fishing gear at the back seat. "Tomorrow," I say to myself.

1825 - Following the camp's posted 10mph speed limit, I slowly roll over to the staging area and load up a couple dozen empty core boxes, double-checking to make sure they don't fly out once I get moving on the highway.

1830 - I pull up to the security checkpoint at the entrance. A head pops out the door. After giving my name, company & destination, I drive off. The first two security guards were cheerful & talkative. This dude, while pleasant, seems like a good candidate for the TFSA: formal and to the point.

Once away from camp, I can tune into the radio station from Fairbanks, 104.7 The Edge. Alt-rock stuff. Lots of Pearl Jam and other early 90s Seattle stuff. No Nickelback. No Rush. I did hear a Tragically Hip tune once a few nights earlier. I am completely OK with this. The fact they played the Hip gives me hope for at least a small segment of Alaska. My mind wanders, though my eyes are alert for moose along the road. This is for both self-preservation and Instagram reasons.

I wonder what kind of day they had on the site. I wonder what kind of night I will have.

It's a Catch-22: a big night means we'll finish faster, and I'll get home to my girlfriend, dog, friends and the Aluminum Bastard sooner. A big night also means eating my turkey on whole wheat on the fly and barely having time to shake off after having a piss. There are a significant amount of data fields to measure and enter, and when the core is coming at a fast rate, it's hectic.

A slowish night means ample time to process the core before the next run is brought to you. It means being able to take time to make a double-shot with the Aeropress. It means sitting down to eat the turkey on whole wheat. It means being able to read (or, heaven forbid, write) for a few minutes at a time.

But a slow night also means more time to finish, and therefore more time until I get home to my girlfriend, dog, friends and the Aluminum Bastard.

By the time the radio station cuts out behind the hill, I settle on hoping for a medium night. I switch to four-wheel drive and start up the hill, enjoying the view along the way.

1850 - Onsite. I chat with the day shift geologist and ask how his shift went. We discuss our health & safety topic for the day ("Use proper lifting techniques.") My drill crew does the same with their day shift. The day shift shuffle off to their trucks for the drive back to camp. I ask the driller what's shaking. We both concur to some variation of "git 'er done" and the drill fires up.

1900 - For the next 12 hours I alternate between being busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest to being able to sit in solitude for 20 minutes to contemplate life. I bang out the 270-odd pages of The Cellist of Sarajevo, the majority one paragraph at a time while standing. I make a few rounds of double-shots with the Aeropress to help get me through the night. I have my turkey on whole wheat, eating the last two bites while measuring core.

I'm not diving into the technical aspects of my shift. For one, because I'm probably not allowed, but mostly because they will bore people to death (unless you're a structure dork). I'll say this: at the end of 95% of my shifts, I feel the client has received good value for the money ( the 5% I attribute to drill breakdowns & other downtime; these things are out of my control but I still gotta get paid).

The shift was medium-big. I'm ok with this.

0700 - Morning chat with the day shift completed and I'm in the truck heading down the hill. I'm bagged. It was chilly throughout the night with periodic rain. My coveralls are covered in a fresh layer of mud and grime. My feet are soaked and cold.

I think of the hot breakfast waiting for me and command myself to limit the bacon intake. I think about how much closer I am to getting home to my girlfriend, dog, friends...and the Aluminum Bastard. I think about what might be awaiting on the work email account. I curse the Alaskan time zone that gives people a couple hours to conceive emails prior to me finishing the shift. I look at the view while driving, but still my eyes stay alert for moose on the side of the road. For self-preservation and Instagram reasons.

"Shit. I'm tired," I mumble to myself.

It's past 0730 when I approach the driveway to the camp. Just down the road is access to the creek. I have my fishing gear in the truck. It's easy wading. There are grayling longing for my #16 Elk Hair Caddis to drift by on the current., I just know it.

The lure of hot food, dry socks and sleep is too much.

"Tomorrow," I say.

0930 - Breakfast is in my belly, messages are read and responded to, teeth are brushed, dry socks procured. I know I should sit down and write something, but the bed is calling my name. Laziness wins again. As I lay my head down on the pillow, I miss the comfortable bed at our apartment. I miss my girlfriend. I miss my dog. I mentally calculate the number of days it will take to finish this last hole. Satisfied with the number, I start drifting off to sleep.

1007 - I open my eyes. Heavy equipment is apparently playing twirling fartknockers. In reverse gear. The incessant beeps bore into my brain. I wish something painful but not too serious to befall the operators and their managers. Stubbed toes or hornet stings would suffice. Eventually they move to another part of camp. In reverse. I fall back asleep.

1041 - The sound of the helicopter wakes me up. It's the A-Star this time, I'm sure of it. By the sound of the rotors and the length of time it's been hovering, I'm guessing they're slinging something. It moves away after a few minutes

1118 -  I wake up again. Some tool is clunking down the hallway in boots and whistling. Times like this I wish I was not a (polite) visiting consultant. My Canadian-ness doesn't prevent me from telling him to shut the fuck up, but my quasi-professional demeanour does. Fucker.

1312 - The helicopter again. I'm too drowsy to distinguish whether it's the 500 or the A-Star. I start hating my life.

1418 - Voices. One of them is loud; it's female and has an echo to it. Cleaning staff in the bathroom. I put the pillow over my head and mumble about something or someone "having mercy on me."

1648 - I wake up with a gasp. A feeling of panic. I grab my phone to check the time, thinking I overslept. Then I feel ripped off for having missed out on the seven minutes of sleep I could have had before the alarm went off.

Fifteen hours later, I'm standing knee-deep in the creek. The flow is up and the water is brown. I don't care. I'm fishing. The off-chance a fish might take my fly is what made me drive past the camp's driveway at 0730.

But that's not what keeps me staying well past my bedtime. It's the realization I'm going to be kept awake by the damn helicopters anyway, so I might as well fish.

10 June 2012


That whole sunset-sunrise thing that happens in the span of 35 minutes here in Alaska confuses the hell out of me: I know not whether to take warning, or feel delight.

Meh, last time I checked, I'm no sailor...especially with the dry-docked-in-my-friend's-driveway Aluminum Bastard as my vessel of choice.

Still no fishing to be had. The joys of night shifts.

05 June 2012

A rut in the Last Frontier

"Just go behind the kitchen, walk along the fence until you reach a gate. The river is right there."

It's true. The river is right there. About 2 minutes' walk from where I type this.

"The river was there." Ernest Hemingway, Big Two-Hearted River

I'm willing to trade sleep for fishing. I've done it before. Loads of times. When I was bartending, it was a fact of life: finish counts & cash out, grab gear, grab coffee and go. Fish most of the day, and repeat.

But not this time. I'm gonna sit this one out.

Sleep deprivation and high, fast, chocolate-coloured water aren't my thing just yet.

Give me another three or four days to reach a sufficient level of desperation and depression.

West Fork of the Tolovana River, near Livengood, AK

Video streaming websites are blocked on this project. I blame drillers and their porn sites. It's always the drillers' fault. Unfortunately this means no tunes appended to posts. If you need a music recommendation, go listen to Matthew Good's Lights of Endangered Species. It's good. Trust me.