02 September 2013

Well, that was fun...

After a few days of drinking microwaved coffee that I'd forget for hours at a time prior to drinking it, I've gotten my new website launched. I've pretty worn out the Command & V buttons on my laptop, and my eyes are bloodshot to hell. But it was fun.

And it's almost done - I've some formatting and updating on the blogroll left to do, and a few older posts to transfer - but close enough to 'done' allow me to press the launch button, and I'm sorta proud of how it turned out - especially the mobile version on iPhone.

The Saltwater Fly Journal is dead.

Long live the Saltwater Journal.

Simpler URLs make good sense.


I'd be honoured if y'all went over & checked it out - or even subscribed via email or RSS - I stand by my recommendation for using Feedly for reading RSS feeds.

That URL again is http://saltwaterjournal.com...or .ca, .net, .org, .info, or even saltwater-journal.com - no matter, they all work.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all had a great long weekend.

- MT

30 August 2013

Friday Music Post

It's grey, wet and gloomy.

Stuck indoors - I'm working on something cool, but would rather be elsewhere.

This track comes on.

I dig it. It fits the mood.

Enjoy, and have a great long weekend.

- MT


(Can't see the embedded music track above? Click here)

28 August 2013

Happy Hump Day


I realized a moment ago today is the third anniversary of 411#3.

Send out the clowns.

Or, enjoy this track instead. Either way is fine with me.


(Can't see the embedded video? Click here)

Big things are going to happen over at the other site this weekend. 

Trust me. 

Details will be here on Tuesday, after the long weekend.

You've been warned - I'm aiming to amaze with this change.

Keep it real.

-MT

23 August 2013

Friday Music Post

This one screams summertime - enjoy!


*          *          *

In other random news, having found myself now sharing a pretty friggin' large apartment with only my fishing gear and Awesome the Dog, I'm in downsize mode. And also in saving for #VanFund mode. Details to come...eventually...but here's a sneak peak

The goal of #VanFund

09 August 2013

Friday Music Post

I first heard this track on a replay of the Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2 on a long, lonely nighttime drive back home a couple weeks ago.

The drums and guitar are goddamned powerful.

Some hints and tones of Explosions in the Sky (a personal favourite) in this tune, me thinks...

Enjoy.


(Can't see the embedded video? Click here)

29 July 2013

Gear Review: Columbia's Powerdrain Cool water shoes

After three months of extensive testing in the day-to-day exertion of my life, I've (finally) come to a conclusion about Columbia Sportswear's Powerdrain Cool water shoes.

They're good.

Read the full review over at my other site here (or click the image below).

20 July 2013

Evernote + Fishing

That whole Evernote + Fishing post I eluded to a while back is now complete...

...but it's over on my other website. It's the first of two (possibly three) posts on the subject; I'll update this post when other posts are written.

Click here or the image below to view it.




17 July 2013

The Great Fishing Book Library Downsizing Event!

I have a stack o' fishy books requiring a good home.

This is partially due to my new geographic location but mostly because, once in a while, I feel it's totally possible to suffer from an anxiety attack when I see too much "stuff" around me. That's why I love this so-called 'ebook revolution:' I can have lots of books within reach, but not have to see them. Brilliant.

(EDIT, 21-Aug-13: I've another, newer reason to downsize - I'm giving up my apartment and buyin' a friggin' van so I can travel around, chasing fish. Proceeds from selling these books will go directly into my #VanFund.)

So it's time to downsize a little bit. Some of these books have been extremely helpful in my (ongoing) development of an angler. And most, if not all, of these books have entertained me during various fishless stretches due to work or winter.

I hope they all find a good home where they can provide knowledge and entertainment to their next readers.

Note: Prices INCLUDE shipping. If you live outside of Canada & the USA, expect shipping charges to be higher, however. Use the contact page to order or for more information; I can accept PayPal or Interac Email Transfer.

Warmwater Books
  • Fly Fishing for Smallmouth by Bob Clouser. Hardcover. $35. - SOLD
  • Bass on the Fly by A.D. Livingstone. Paperback. $15. - SOLD
  • Smallmouth Fly Fishing by Tim Holschlag. Paperback. $25. - SOLD
Trout (& Chrome) Books
  • Trout Bum by John Gierach. Paperback. $15.
  • Still Life With Brook Trout by John Gierach. Paperback. $15.
  • No Shortage of Good Days by John Gierach. Hardcover, signed by John Gierach and Bob White. $25. - SOLD
  • Mist on the River by Michael Checchio. Hardcover. $22.
  • Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying by Charlie Craven (duh!). Hardcover. $37.
Books for the Salt!
  • The Orvis Guide to Saltwater Fly Fishing by Nick Curcione. Paperback. $18.
  • Fly Rodding the Coast by Ed Mitchell. Paperback. $20.
  • Fly Fishing the Saltwater Shoreline by Ed Mitchell. Hardcover. $25.
  • Striper Moon by J. Kenney Abrames. Paperback. $15.
  • Saltwater Fly Patterns By Lefty Kreh. Paperback. $18.
  • Of Wind and Tides by Stu Apte. Paperback, signed by author. $25.
  • Redfish on the Fly by John Kumiski. Paperback. $18.
Fiction Titles
  • Ninety-two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane. Paperback. $12. - SOLD
  • Saltwater Summer by Roderick Haig-Brown. Paperback. $12. - SOLD

23 June 2013

The Summer Reading List

I find myself with a lot of content suitable for my other website but also fitting 411#3. Reggae music can certainly be equated with saltwater, and blue lobsters would fit in well with whatever the hell it is I do on this site. I think it's called crossover.

Books are definitely a big crossover item between the two sites; I like books a lot, fishing or not, and a lot of them are salt-related. Even if they're not salt-related, name a better place to read a book than beside saltwater. So with that, I present my recommendations for your summer reading list...located on the other website here.

So check it out. You might like it.

That link again is right here.

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In other news, I think I'm an introvert now. Maybe I've always been and just hid it really well, and, if so, that task was most likely completed with a lot of help from dark rum from 1994 to 2001, and premium vodka from 2001 to 2010.

But those are stories for another time. I'm off to hide away in a lonely hotel room with one of the books on that reading list.

05 June 2013

Hawg


The first fish (& only fish, so far) in my new Jackson Kayaks Cuda 14 was a personal-best smallmouth bass.

It measured a shade under 23", putting it in the 7lb range.

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I was casting into extremely heavy cover - a lot of fallen trees & such; for an extremely pregnant pause of 3-4 seconds, I thought I was hung up on a branch. Then the line moved.

For what seemed like eternity, the bass stayed deep. I didn't see it but the bend in the 6wt told me it was big. Finally seeing it gave confirmation; the bass jumped once then dove deep again, running for cover of the downed trees. I couldn't afford to give it any line, so the bass was towing the kayak and the rod was bent almost double. Once the line pointed vertically below the kayak into the mess of branches, I thought all was for nought.

I switched the rod to my left hand and, keeping the rod pressured, I paddled one-handed to horse the bass out from under the branches, hoping all the while the #8 fluoro tippet would hold up.

The tippet did its job: the bass was free of trees and soon at the side of my kayak. Having lost a ~5lb smallie (which would have been a personal-best at the time) boat-side a few weeks back, I didn't f**k around: I lipped the fish, bringing it aboard & dislodging the fly almost simultaneously. I then snapped some quick pics with my Camera+ app, took a fast measurement of its length, and sent the bass on its way.

I drifted aimlessly in the 'yak for the next half-hour, mumbling prayers of thanks to both the bass and Bob Clouser, shaking too much from excitement to make another cast.

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Gear:

  • #4 chartreuse & white Clouser minnow
  • Redington Predator 6wt rod 
  • Redington Rise 5/6 reel 
  • RIO Smallmouth taper line
  • Blue Sky furled leader with Maxima #8 fluorocarbon tippet

Location, time & date:

  • Name Redacted Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • ~1545h, 04 June, 2013

30 May 2013

Beyond 'Legend'

Five Reggae Artists You Might Like (That Aren't Bob Marley)


You find yourself at a party, discussing music with a few people, and you let it slip that you like reggae music. The host's girlfriend happens to overhear.

"You like reggae?! I LOVE reggae," she exclaims, and off to the sound system she skips.

You wait for it. You know it's going to happen. Sure enough, Bob Marley's Legend is switched on, most likely track 3 ("Could You Be Loved") or track 4 ("Three Little Birds").

You smile and nod, realizing at least it's better than the Katy Perry, Psy, or whatever else that was just on the speakers.

*          *          *

This isn't a knock against Bob Marley & The Wailers or Legend; I happen to have Legend as well as a few other Marley albums. I think he was an amazing talent, an amazing individual, and I thoroughly enjoy listening to Marley. I particularly like listening to Live!, Catch a Fire, and Uprising over Legend, but hey, that's just me.

Saying you love reggae music but only having select tracks of Legend in your music library is like saying you love sushi, but only order the chicken teriyaki roll. 

You're missing a whole bunch o' awesome doing that. In both cases.

So I'll help you out a bit; below are my five reggae artists (and a few of their albums) to ease you off of Legend and into a new realm of groovy beats.

1. Peter Tosh
Legalize It is his most popular album, followed by Equal Rights. Another option is Live & Dangerous, or you can get a taste of almost everything from The Best of Peter Tosh.

2. Black Uhuru
Their Red album has been one of my most frequently listened to albums in the past few months, but I haven't dived into any of their other albums...yet. Bear with me.

3. Aswad
London-based Aswad have busted out over 20 albums since the mid-seventies. Albums to pick from are their self-titled Aswad or Live & Direct; personally I went with Aswad's The Complete BBC Sessions double album set; I couldn't resist a good deal.

4. Gregory Isaacs
More "make out" reggae than "party reggae," Gregory Isaacs pioneered the lovers rock sub-genre of reggae. Unbelievably, he has over 500 albums released in his name. So where to start? Try Night Nurse or one of the many compilations, such as Best of Gregory Isaacs or The Millennium Collection.

5. Burning Spear
Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear, first arrived on the roots reggae scene in 1969 and continues to perform and release albums to this day. With over 30 albums released, there's lots to pick from. Get started with the Marcus Garvey / Garvey's Ghost double album, Jah Kingdom or Resistance, or dive in with a compilation album such as Burning Spear: Gold.

BONUS ALBUM
King Tubby & Soul Syndicate
I debated including, and decided not to include, King Tubby & Soul Syndicate in the list of five. For one, they cross the boundary from roots reggae to dub. Secondly, this was (to my knowledge) their only collaboration. King Tubby was a pioneering sound engineer with his name on, in my estimates, three million reggae albums; if you like what King Tubby does with Soul Syndicate in Freedom Sounds In Dub, it won't be hard to find more of his work. I really like Freedom Sounds in Dub, and you might, too.

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Disclosure #1a: I am not a reggae guru, nor do I claim to be. I like listening to reggae music, but I have never desired to dive into the history or the backstories and connections that exist within the genre.

Disclosure #1b: Nowhere in this list do I say "Top 5" or "the five best" or anything of that sort; it is simply "five," as in "Five Artists That Aren't Bob Marley That You Could Possibly Listen To And Like Instead Of Listening to Bob Marley." Also, as I said above, this is not to shit on Bob Marley or to say these artists are better than Bob Marley. They're just different.

Disclosure #2: I prefer roots reggae to the other sub-genres of reggae, as this list will demonstrate. Perhaps exposing Legend-only reggae listeners to other roots reggae artists might make it a little easier to broaden their music libraries.

Disclosure #3: I will state again, for the record: I am a non-pot-smoking reggae fan. It's true: we do exist. Also, for the record: I don't give a rat's ass if you smoke pot or not...just don't do it on my damn job site.

Disclosure #4: All of the album links go to Amazon.com, of which I am an affiliate. In plain words: you click on the Album link, go to Amazon.com, and if you buy the album, I get a commission of 4% (I think...).

08 May 2013

I dig the new Headstones tune

Canadian rockers The Headstones are back with a new album, their first since reforming for a mini-tour in 2011 after an eight-year hiatus.

The first single off from Love & Fury is titled "Long Way to Neverland." I dig it. Check it out below.


Viewing this in an email? Can't see the video above? Then click here.

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06 May 2013

Bass and boats and beats and other good stuff


It hasn't been intentional neglect of this website over the past few months. It's just there's so much to do & to see here.

It doesn't seem proper to hide away with a laptop, indoors, for the 2-4 hours it takes to research/write/edit a post. Especially since enjoying the climate of Vancouver Island was the main reason for us claiming Winter Refugee Status here.

That being said, it's been six weeks of living in our new apartment. It's time to develop an iota of self-discipline and a sensible personal schedule to ensure content is posted here in something resembling a semi-regular manner.

At least I haven't been idle: I've been planning, scheming, and taking notes for all sorts of topics and actually fishing a few times. 

Here's a preview of what's to come:
  • Addicted to SMB - see photo at right.
  • Must-have add-ons for the Diablo Paddlesports Chupacabra
  • Paddling my new Jackson Kayak Cuda 14
  • Trying (& failing) to develop a great smallmouth fly - Working title: save time/money, tie a Clouser Minnow
  • (Slowly) becoming a fishing pier rat - more relaxing than you think
  • Product reviews for some cool new stuff from Columbia Sportswear - emphasis on 'cool.'
  • Evernote + Fly Fishing - it's a thing. Seriously.
  • Music - expect a return of music at the bottom of most articles and posts.
  • Essays - some of which will be posted after they've been rejected from magazines.
  • Book reviews - and possibly not all fish-related. Oh, the horror, right?
  • More music - get your speakers/headphones ready.
  • Recipes - why the f**k not, right? A man's gotta eat...
  • Fun and adventure - photos may be included.
In addition, be sure to check out my racket over at The Saltwater Fly Journal; there's a bit of a new look along with a new 'About' page, updated Links and the all-new SWFJ Bookstore.

And, as always, thanks for reading. Y'all are alright in my books.

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Ross Neilsen & company are getting ready to release their new album, Resurrection, later this month. Leading up to the launch date, Ross has been releasing one track from the new album each week.

This track is called Need You More, and I think it's pretty damn good. Check 'er out.


Unable to see the video in your email? Click here to view the full post

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25 April 2013

Settling into island life, part two

I wake up each morning, make some coffee, and watch the sun rise over Coast Mountains, Quadra Island and Discovery Passage.

I like it here. A lot.

Last week I found out there's a public fishing pier ten minutes' walk away; that it's 600' long & I'd missed it for over three weeks is not lost on me: there's lots left to explore here.

So now I'm the proud owner of a couple Ugly Stiks, in both spinning & casting forms, and a box of heavier-than-most-trout metal jigs. Fun times.

I'm still in "Island Fishing Overload:" there's so many species and so many places, it's tough to nail down exactly what to fish for, and where. 

I'm still in (what I consider) a shoulder season of fishing, as in, tossing size 18 chironomids for 10" stocked cutthroat is all well & good, but there's 4lb smallmouth kicking around somewhere in this same lake and I aim to catch it...if only the bloody water temperatures would come up a bit... Oh well. All in good time, my bronze-backed friends.

Until the water warms, I can idle my days..evening...tides...away, chucking gear from the pier for rockfish...

Or casting small Rolled Muddlers from the beach for cutthroat.

Or swinging streamers for the ever-elusive steelhead.

Or slowly stripping #18 chironomids from the lacustrine depths while seated (or standing) in my Chupacabra.

Or...

Yeah, so you see what I mean: it's pretty awesome here.

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01 April 2013

Settling Into Island Life

Our apartment is just a bit further north.
We're just about five weeks in since our arrival.

We moved into our permanent residence and turned in the keys to our kick-ass little seaside cottage at Alders Beach Resort last week. I can't say enough about how much I liked being at the cottage (I highly recommend it) but our new pad in Campbell River is arguably the nicest apartment I've ever lived in, and in a great location.

Now I just have to finish furnishing the apartment so I can get to that whole 'fishing' thing, considering it was a main, underlying reason for the move. I've only been out twice, with nothing to show for it other than a little more intel than what I had prior to arrival.

On the plus side, we've successfully avoided the remainder of winter on the East Coast, missing such fun as ~18 separate snowstorms with roughly 43' of snow accumulating (those, of course, are my estimates).

Sunny and 20°C here over the past few days, suckers...

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Though I haven't been fishing in water much, I have been fishing for intel by visiting lots of different fly shops & tackle shops in our wanderings in our new land.

Courtney at Nile Creek Fly Shop is a transplanted New Brunswicker as well, albeit he transplanted a lot longer than five weeks ago. He runs a great little shop in Bowser and was very welcoming & helpful. Nile Creek is also the go-to spot for stocking up on Clear Cure Goo for the central & northern parts of Van Isle...in case you're wondering...

The folks at Tyee Marine in Courtenay gave me a massive intel dump when I first arrived, and also saved me some money by explaining the inner workings of the provincial freshwater and federal saltwater licenses with their various stamps for salmon & steelhead.

If it weren't for them, I would've dropped a not-so insignificant pile o' cash on an annual, non-resident freshwater license and steelhead/salmon stamps that expired in three weeks. Instead, I held off with just the federal saltwater license for $22 until April 1st.

(shiiiiiiiittttt......that's today!?! I should be fishing!!)

Tyee Marine carries all sorts of fishing, boating, hunting product in addition to fly gear & tying materials. There's also a location in Campbell River, and the staff seem helpful and friendly. They're a stone's throw from our new apartment, so I'll be frequenting it once my tying 'office' has been furnished.

Campbell River is also home to River Sportsman, located on the banks of the river. It's big, with a decent tying material section. I've been in twice, but still haven't gotten a chance to chat with the fellas working, nor have I explored what's in stock. I'll remedy this in the near-future, I'm sure.

My lovely girlfriend and I did a day-trip to Victoria in our first week on the Island, where I rekindled my love of Fatburger, the Noodle Box, and CaffĂ© Artigiano. These were some of my previous life's staples whilst living in Vancouver in '06-08. It was awesome, though I should note the Singapore Cashew Curry from the Noodle Box came back to the cottage for later meals, as I had stuffed my gourd with a delightful calorie-bomb from Fatburger shortly before. I don't want y'all thinking I'm a complete glutton.

We visited Robinson's Outdoors, located in downtown Victoria, which has a massive fly fishing section on their second floor. I'd argue this shop had the biggest tying material selection of all the shops I've visited, too. Robinson's also carries the Goo, stocked on a cool DIY rack one of the guys made from an unused sunglass rack.

On our way out of Victoria, I popped into Island Outfitters (weblink broken, FB page here), another general tackle-hunting-fly fishing shop (there's a few of those here on the Island). They had a decent tying material section, and seemed to have most of the well-known fly brands in stock.

I had a great chat with one of the guys working about the local fishing scene (including the seemingly epic smallmouth fishery), he commended me on my preference of Campbell River over Courtenay/Comox, and I left with a good impression of the shop.

We also took a day trip to VanCity, where we stopped into Pacific Angler. I had stopped in previously, in the summer of 2011 while passing through my old haunts on a work trip, but they had since moved to a new location further down to East Broadway. The new digs look pretty sweet, and seem a bit bigger than their previous location. As was the case in my first visit, the staff were friendly & helpful, and I left with a handful of cutthroat flies (my typical M.O. in most of the shops I visited).

Pacific Angler publishes a weekly fishing report, which is worth signing up for or checking out their FB page for if you're in the Lower Mainland & vicinity.

Though we didn't get a chance to pop in on this visit, I'll mention the Michael & Young Fly Shop, located on West Broadway anyway, as I had visited the shop previously, too. They had a great selection of product and a friendly staff manning the shop when I was in before.

And yes, while in Vancouver, we ate at Fatburger and had coffee from Caffé Artigiano. But I couldn't squeeze in a trip to the Noodle Box for takeout.

As you can see, all the tackle & fly shops I've visited so far on Van Isle (& VanCity) have left a pretty good first impressions on me. I've already narrowed it down to preferring a couple over some others, but that's not to say the others are by any means worse than the ones I'd rather visit on any given day. And, as always:

12 March 2013

Tim Geist's CCG Deceiver


I try not to regurgitate too much content between this site and the Saltwater Fly Journal with my writing & editing duties over at the Clear Cure Goo blog, but this is too good not to share.

New Jersey-based CCG and Regal Vise pro staffer Tim Geist runs an awesome website called The Flybrary; you'll be hard-pressed to find better photography of flies anywhere else on the internet.

While I was working in West Africa, we discussed getting a step-by-step tying tutorial on the CCG blog. It turned out to be quite detailed and picture-heavy - too much for West African internet - so into a  DropBox shared folder it went until I was away from a slow, goat-powered internet connection.

Now I've landed on the west/left/wet coast, and I had time last week to finalize the editing and formatting of the post. 

It. Is. Awesome (if I do say so myself).

Tim went above & beyond online fly tying tutorials for this one, with FORTY-NINE high-quality pictures in the tutorial.

Check it out here. You will not be disappointed.

08 March 2013

A driver never sleeps


A: Fredericton, NB - Thursday, 21-Feb

The plan, as it was conceived, seemed simple enough: wake up, load up the truck, tidy up the apartment, say last goodbyes, and start driving. I assumed we'd be on the road by 1400h.

At  2030h (Atlantic Time), we finally pulled out of town. It would have been logical to wait until morning, but there comes a time when you just have to go. We were delayed by a day already due to bad weather, and more bad weather was on the way.

The drive from Fredericton to the Quebec border was slow; heavy wind gusts with the kayak on top and occasional snow & ice-covered highways resulted in top speeds of 80km/h (~50mph, 'merican friends).

But we were on our way.

B: North Bay, ON - Friday/Saturday, 22/23-Feb

We pulled into North Bay at 1430h (Eastern Time) on Friday afternoon and quickly found a near-deserted Comfort Inn to rest our weary bones and order a pizza.

The front desk staff were friendly, helpful and courteous. They made sure we had a drive-up room so we could easily take the dog out as well as keep an eye on all of our worldly possessions in & on the truck. Sleep came easy that night.

Total travel time, Fredericton - North Bay: 18 hours. I made the same trip in the same truck (with a different dog & a lot less stuff) solo back in '06; it took me 14 hours...and a lot less gas. I did have an hour-long nap at a highway rest stop on this trip, however; thus making the title of this post an outright lie.

C: Thunder Bay, ON - Saturday/Sunday, 23/24-Feb

We set out on the big portion of the never-ending trek through Northern Ontario, or Nontario, as I like to call it. It doesn't seem like the Ontario of Toronto & vicinity, who give the rest of Ontario a bad name.

Nontario seemed a lot more inhabited than in Ought-Six; I distinctly remember thinking if I were to become stranded I'd have to eat my former project manager's black lab back then. I didn't have that feeling this time.

In fact, there was a lot of traffic, which sucked at times: there were not many places to pass transport trucks, and it meant using a lot of windshield wiper fluid.

We checked into another Comfort Inn at ~2200h. The free wifi & continental breakfasts are solid, though this particular one charged for Awesome staying in the room. Front desk staff was also friendly & helpful here, too.

Before bedtime, we decided it'd be most appropriate to stop at the Terry Fox Memorial in the morning. I'm glad we did.

Non-Canadians: click here for more on Terry Fox.

Canadians not knowing who Terry Fox is: Leave now. Get on an ice floe, push off and float away in a slow, southerly route. Far from shore. I don't want you here.

Total travel time, North Bay to Thunder Bay: 13 hours and change. This is where the comparisons between 2006 & 2013 should stop; in '06 Thunder Bay was a gas/coffee/bathroom stop, and I kept going...right through to Saskatoon...


D: Regina, SK - Sunday/Monday, 24/25-Feb

After paying respects to the Terry Fox Memorial east of Thunder Bay, we once again pointed west and were off.

Today was to be a wildcard day of driving: if we made it past Winnipeg, I'd be happy. Any further than that would be a bonus. We just wanted to be out of Ontario and eventually, we were: we made it into Manitoba.

High-level negotiations between driver & passenger carried on throughout the day to determine how far and how long we would go into the night. The driver (me) was feeling pretty good: alert, not stiff and well-rested. The passenger, unfortunately, was not.

Compromises were made, and a (rough) plan hatched: stop for the night in Brandon, MB; then take a short driving day the next day to rest our weary souls and bones. The passenger dozed off, and I pushed through to Regina, Saskatchewan. Bam.

We stayed at (another) Comfort Inn in Regina. The bag o' douche at the front desk gave me the "we have a room available" routine, as if to imply there was one and only one room available, and it was going to be expensive...in terms of the Comfort Inn. I didn't give a rat's ass whether it was $89 or $129, I just wanted a bed.

Then I almost broke my neck in the icy parking lot while outside with the dog, which endeared all-things-Saskatchewan to me even further.

Total travel time, Thunder Bay to Regina: Seventeen-ish hours. We stopped for a 'fancy' lunch in Dryden, ON, the birthplace of Chris Pronger...if anyone cares...

Fun fact: once crossing the border into Manitoba, I set my cruise control for ~105km/h (65mph) and didn't accelerate or decelerate from that speed for about an hour and forty minutes. Love the Prairie Provinces.

PS - Comfort Inn, Regina: eat a dick.

E: Medicine Hat, AB - Monday/Tuesday, 25/26-Feb

As agreed to during high-level negotiations of the previous day, this was our short day. A half-day...or more like a third-day, by the rate we had been travelling.

After a lazy start to the day, we made it into Alberta and checked into a nice Best Western in Medicine Hat by mid-afternoon.

Pizza was ordered, sleep was had.

Which is good, because the mountains were coming at us fast...

Total travel time, Regina to Medicine Hat: Five hours. If only all the days were like that.

F. Chilliwack, BC - Tuesday/Wednesday, 26/27-Feb

The day started ominously: at the first intersection of the morning, I needed to pop the truck into four wheel drive in order to move at the green light.

As y'all can imagine, I had been paying attention to the weather for days leading up to and throughout the trip. Our drive from Fredericton and through Quebec was a precision-timed masterpiece, avoiding storms by mere hours ahead of us and behind us.

I knew weather would be touch-and-go for the first two hours out of Medicine Hat but with minimal snow accumulation and no chance of freezing rain. And once we were past Calgary, it would be clear skies for much of the day through the mountains...but I also knew it wouldn't last for long: bad weather was a-brewin'.

I'll tell this part of the journey through Twitter:


Alas, it wasn't all rainbows & unicorns on this last big day of driving: I had a solid forty minutes of white-knuckled, butt-puckering, scary-ass driving on the Coquihalla Pass1.

This was the worse part of the entire trip. I hated it, while my lovely passenger slept soundly through it all. I'm sure she still doesn't believe there were snowbanks towering over the truck (there were) with three feet of snow on the road at the summit (more like three inches).

But two lengthy Matthew Good songs2 later, we were out of the mountains and into a light, mild3 rain.

We stayed at another Comfort Inn. Not as good as the Comfort Inns of Ontario, but a zillion times better than that shithead Comfort Inn of Regina.

I didn't sleep well as I was constantly checking on the truck. When I first moved to Vancouver in '06, some dick smashed my driver's side door window, probably to see if the newly-landed New Brunswicker left anything of value in the truck. He got thirty-seven cents; I got a $345 repair bill.

As we say back east, the bastards would steal Christ from the cross and go back for the nails. Fuckers.

1 - just pronounce it Coca Cola Pass and you'll be fine.

2 - like this one and this one (they're worth a listen. Right now. Go ahead).

3 - mild by Canadian standards, as in, it was 6°C (43°F). Goddamned tropical by eastern Canadian in February standards.

Total travel time, Medicine Hat to Chilliwack: Fifteen hours or so. We stopped in Canmore for lunch and in Kamloops for an extended dog-walk. Plus the whole snowpocalypse on the Coca Cola Highway slowed things down...

G: Comox Valley, BC - Wednesday, 27-Feb.

Nothing much to report on this part of the journey, except we finished it. Anticlimactic, isn't it?

We were on the road by 0800h (Pacific Time) with a quick Starbucks Coffee from beside the motel, and efficient use of the carpool lane through the Lower Mainland to North Vancouver to make it onto the 1030h ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo.

I had a huge breakfast on the ferry for not that much money and we chilled out for the ride; happy to be out of the truck while making forward progress.

Once on Vancouver Island, the goal line was in sight. We pulled into the Safeway in Courtenay around 1330h to grab a few groceries, and we were off to check into our seaside cottage hideaway.

We were asleep for the night by 1630h. Pacific time.

Total travel time, Chilliwack to Comox Valley: about five hours, with 70 minutes spent waiting to load on the ferry and almost two hours on the ferry.

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Be sure to follow along with my Instagram feed for pics chronicling my adventure in a new land (and pics of Awesome the Dog, too).

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23 February 2013

Westward


Coming to a Western Province near you.

Just don't ask me how the gas mileage is.




09 February 2013

The Promised Land

I've yet to load the Diable Paddlesports Chupacabra on the truck
Much like the Clampetts, we'll be soon taking our lives west. But not to Beverly Hills.

Ignoring the minor details of not yet knowing where we'll call home (Vancouver Island landlords aren't very good at responding to emails), we'll be arriving in less than three weeks.

Preparing both physically and mentally for a move from one side to the other of the world's second-largest country whilst in West Africa should be a breeze in this current age of technology...but it isn't.

A typical email to a prospective landlord would go as such:

Hi,
I came across your ad on Craigslist; is your house still available to rent? 
If so, could you tell me if there is carpeting or not, and if the bathroom has a bathtub?   
Also, our dog is approximately 35lbs (Brittany Spaniel mix); is that too large for you? 
We are moving to Vancouver Island in late February but would have no issues renting for Feb. 15th if it works out.  
Thanks in advance & have a great weekend!

This response to those four fairly precise questions was returned:

"im showing it tmr at noon, 250-898-****"

So I guess the house is still available to rent.

*          *         *

On the bright side of things, I've almost forgotten about one significant (and awesome) detail about fishing on Vancouver Island...besides steelhead, cutthroat, pink salmon, coho salmon, chinook salmon, ling cod, dungeness crab and oysters:
Whether it is the infinite number of Bass that proliferate its waters, or the fact that these fish attain weights of up to 4 kg.
For my metric-deficient American cousins:


I can deal with less-than helpful potential landlords for 8lb smallies.

Heck, I'd sleep in my truck for 4lb smallies (my lovely girlfriend is another matter altogether, though).

Vancouver Island is the promised land.

06 February 2013

Book Review - Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat

Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat
by Chester Allen

Published December, 2011
Stackpole Books

Amazon price: $17.50 (Hardcover)
Kindle price: $13.72
Kobo price: $15.49

Pros:
  • Well-written and entertaining, matching good storytelling with solid how-to.
  • In-depth tips on equipment, flies, how to recognize favourable environments to locate fish.
  • Available in e-book editions.
Cons:
  • Dealt almost exclusively with the Puget Sound. I'm left wondering if the tips & techniques are applicable elsewhere. EDIT: The author clarified the techniques ARE applicable for sea-run cutthroat throughout their range. See comments for more info.
Overall Rating: 3.75 / 5


*          *          *

This book showed up in my Kobo Reader app's 'recommended for you' and I bit on it. I don't regret it; the book was an enjoyable read as well as informative.

The main reason I purchased it was to gain a base of knowledge for cutthroat fishing once I arrive on Vancouver Island (and I wanted something 'fishy' to read here in Africa). Though I'm slightly disappointed Mr. Allen did not discuss any locations other than Puget Sound in Washington, his storytelling made the purchase and time commitment worthwhile.

If the author had titled the book Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat in Puget Sound, I'd probably have given him 4.5 / 5...but then I might not have bought the book in the first place.

I will be returning to the chapter containing fly recipes in the future, however. And I do feel pretty good about myself if I ever find myself in the vicinity of Puget Sound.

Kudos to Stackpole Books for making the book available for e-readers.

27 January 2013

Counting down


Much like a child awaiting the arrival of Christmas morning, I'm counting down the days.

There's slightly more than two weeks left to go for me on this project; once I arrive home, I'll be taking a break from work for six to eight weeks. Note I've omitted placing the words 'much needed' prior to 'break.' This past week is the first I've worked since leaving here on December 18th; I won't try to convince you I have it that rough...though the chaps in the picture above (part of my security detail) might suggest otherwise.

After arriving home in February, my lovely girlfriend and I will spend the next week sorting our belongings and packing what won't be sold, donated or tossed. Frantically, I might add.

I'll be attempting to replicate the packing abilities of minibus drivers seen here in West Africa, with assorted baggage, bicycle and fishing kayak towering several feet over the height of my truck's roof.

I'll admit I'm looking forward to this.

A lot, I might add, because it's just another step closer to us getting on the road to our new adventures on Vancouver Island.

And that's what I'm really looking forward to.

*          *          *

Here are a few Vancouver Island beach flies I've tied for coho & pink salmon.

All are variants on fairly well-known (locally, at least) Pacific NW salt patterns. Changes to the original fly recipes were made not to add in a 'creative touch' but due to lack of availability of the originally-listed tying materials.

Ferguson Green and Silver

Pink and blue Handlebars

Cathy's Coat (or Kathy's Koat) variant

Bead-head Handlebars
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12 January 2013

East, then west.

If things had gone to plan, I'd be sitting in an airport right now, bound for a return trip to Africa.

But for various reasons, most of which weren't confirmed until yesterday afternoon, I'm tapping away at my desk instead. This, in my mind, is not a bad thing.

I like my work all fine & good, but an extra week at home is appreciated. Even if it means a 33°C temperature difference.

Note: It's an unseasonably mild day here in New Brunswick. Had I written this earlier this week or last week, that temperature difference would be more like 48°C. For my 'merican cousins, that's the difference between 81°F and -5°F.

So if things go to plan (version 2.0), I'll be sitting in an airport or on a plane next Saturday, bound for a return trip to Africa.

*          *          *

If any of you follow along with my dribble on Twitter and Instagram, you're probably all aware of our plans of relocating. But in case you missed it, here it is: after I escape the clutches of work in Africa, we're moving to Vancouver Island.

We'll be doing our best Beverley Hillbillies impersonation with our moving truck, which may be familiar to car manufacturers, dealers and me as my 2003 Ford Sport Trac.

Valuables that can't be left behind & must be loaded on the truck include my Chupacabra kayak, fishing & tying gear, my bike, my lovely girlfriend's ever-growing book collection, as well as numerous personal & kitchen effects, including my various coffee snob paraphernalia.

And we mustn't forget Awesome the Dog and his crate, too.

After we pile a small U-Haul truck's worth of gear in and on a small truck, we'll then drive from the eastern side to the western side of the world's second largest country in February, known to some as 'winter.'

We're making the move for a number of reasons, but is best summarized by these two reasons:
  • I'm on a mission to bridge the divide between the East Coast and West Coast rap scenes, and to prevent any escalating violence while promoting a confluence of the ideals and creativity of hip hop and rap from both coasts*. 
  • My lovely girlfriend, Awesome the Dog, and I all absolutely hate winter. And both my lovely girlfriend and I would like a change in scenery, at least temporarily. Awesome is unable to communicate whether he wants a change in scenery as well, though. 
Note: The twelve months of fishing Vancouver Island provides, as opposed to six months of fishing here, has absolutely nothing* to with the decision.

* - Denotes a blatant lies, also known as a 'fibs.'

Follow along on this farcical adventure, complete with tweets of frustration and photographs of triumph and/or disaster on the aforementioned Twitter and Instagram, as well as here on mattrevors.com, in February, 2013.

*          *          *

Enjoy a tune:


Don't see a video above this? Click here to view the full post.

07 January 2013

UPG Fly Box Winner!

Twenty-four entrants.

Actually 26 comments; two people made two comments each but without any malice.

One winner.
First comment on the post was left by............

JUSTIN KEENE!

Justin writes over at stream2stream.net; y'all should definitely pop over to read his stuff while you're at it.

Congrats, Justin!

And thanks, Umpqua!

04 January 2013

So what's up?


UPG! FTW!

I've written here before about how much I like the UPG fly boxes from Umpqua Feather Merchants.

They're lightweight, rugged, and large capacity without being obnoxiously large.

And now I can say Umpqua backs them with legendary customer care, too. But you don't have to trust me on this. I'll prove it to you.

A CASE STUDY IN LEGENDARY CUSTOMER CARE

The Issue
For the last year or so, I had two UPG boxes: the Double-Wide for bass bugs or redfish flies, and the Streamer box, for, ummm, streamers (duh!).

Both UPG boxes were repurposed for my trip to Belize in September. Bonefish flies & general patterns went in the Streamer box, and tarpon flies & beefy crab patterns inhabited the Double Wide.

On our last full day of fishing, the boxes slid out of my backpack while we were motoring between flats. They proceeded to soak up the sun for a few hours while temperatures hovered near 454°F. I may be exaggerating the temperature just a little, but not by much. It was hot. 

As Umpqua presumably does not do product testing at the second inner gate of Hell, the foam on the sides of the two boxes exposed to the sun became warped, and the adhesive melted.

Long story short, I killed both boxes through neglect.


When I discovered my mistake that night, I was disappointed. The UPG boxes are my favourite by a long shot, but they're not cheap enough for someone like me to say, "Oh well!" as I toss them in the trash. Like a rugby player on a blood sub, the boxes would remain in the game as long as possible.

Adhering to my sometimes-frequent principles of reduce, reuse, recycle and repair, I wrote Umpqua a message explaining my stupidity and asked if I could buy replacement foam for the two boxes.

Note: I bought the UPG Flats box shortly after returning from Belize, bring my UPG box collection to three. That's how much I like these boxes.

The Response
Due to a technical glitch, they didn't receive my original message right away...or ever. BUT...once I finally spoke to someone at Umpqua (Luke...and he contacted me on his day off), they didn't waste any time to answer.

Luke said they'll take care of things after New Year's Day and apologized profusely for my original message getting misplaced. By midday on Wednesday, David from Umpqua's customer care responded:
In answer to your original question, no, we do not have replacement foam for the UPG boxes.  However, if you give me your mailing address I’ll put some new boxes in the mail for you today. 
Sweet! Two new UPG boxes! 

That was more than I ever expected: it was my own damn fault the foam warped & lifted, and I was fully prepared to buy the replacement foam inserts (or make my own).

Two new UPG fly boxes was awesome.

Needless to say, when UPS arrived THIS MORNING (Friday, as in less than 48 hours from the first message on Wednesday), I was taken aback with the size & weight of the box the delivery driver handed me.

WTF?!?

I ripped off the packing tape, tossed aside the paper wrapping and peered into the box...

Holy shit!!


Six fly boxes and a hat.

The replacement boxes for the Streamer & Double-Wide, plus a Magnum Dry, a Magnum Midge, a Weekender, and another Flats. And a hat.

Holy. Eff.

Umpqua Feather Merchants, you have completely outdone yourself. I'd almost let you get away with dognapping Awesome the Dog or eating all of my mom's meat pie after this display (almost...but I would at least share the pie with you).

Merry F**king Christmas to me.

Thanks, Umpqua!

Luke & David, you guys rock.

*          *          *

UPG FLY BOX CONTEST

Since I now have two UPG Flats boxes, I'll give one away through a random draw. 

I try to be a bit of a minimalist when it comes to accumulating things, plus I'm moving & trying to downsize...and it feels good to give awesome stuff away once in a while!!!

So here it is:

Comment on this post by 0800 EST on Monday, January 7th to be entered to win the fly box.

While you're at it, pop on over to Umpqua's Facebook page and give 'em a 'like,' too. This part isn't necessary to win, but it'd improve your chances through karma. Trust me on this.

In summary:
  • The Prize: One (1) UPG Flats Fly Box.
  • To Enter: Leave a comment on this very post you're reading now by 8AM EST on Monday, January 7th. 
  • To Enter, part deux: For karmic reasons, go 'like' Umpqua's Facebook page. It's not necessary to win, but it's karma, dude. Karma.
  • The Rules: One entry per person. Winner will  be selected through random number generator and announced Monday, after 8AM EST...at some point...
Good luck to all!

01 January 2013

Traveling Angler Tuesday: 10 DIY Tips from Cod

Mista Cod, he of the Chronicles of Cod fame, takes being a Traveling Angler to a whole new level.

Last winter he undertook this epic adventure: 
  • drove from Calgary to Houston, flew to Belize & fished permit; 
  • flew back to Houston and camped on the Gulf Coast to chase reds; 
  • drove from Texas to San Diego and then down the Baja to camp and fish for roosterfish;
  • drove back to Calgary, but stopped along the way to pop over to Cuba for a week-long liveaboard  trip.
Needless to say, when he offers up some advice on fly fishing travel, it might be good to pay attention.

*          *          *

COD'S 10 TIPS FOR DIY FLY FISHING TRIPS 
(not necessarily in order)

10. Use all available resources
Use Google Earth, fly shops, maps, tourist information kiosks - Lonely Planet books are bad ass - every bit of info you collect is good. Sometimes you have to filter through a lot of it to get good stuff but keeping your ear to the ground and at least humour every lead; it can sometimes help you.

9. Observe 
Watch what others are doing. This is a great source of information that's so easy to obtain. If others are catching and you are not, watch what they are doing. It's there for the taking. 

8. Don't beat yourself up 
If the conditions are screwed, if there are no fish around, if you're getting frustrated: take a day off or an afternoon or whatever. If you have time, take a break or a nap. It gives you a chance to mentally recharge. It allows you to add some depth to your trip, learn some new shit, or just generally relax.  

Don't beat yourself up, it's fishing and you are supposed to be enjoying yourself.

7. Follow your gut 
This can save you a lot of grief. Whether it's a road, path, area, or tingling spidey sense, if shit don't seem right...it likely isn't!!  Sometimes you get shit info. If you don't think fish are there, don't like where you are, or just aren't feeling it: make changes! 

I am a firm believer in fishing with confidence; when you do this everything leans a little in your favour.

6. Patience
Super important. "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it." We have all heard this statement before. Achieving hard shit is cool. 

Spin fishing, on a whole, is way more productive than fly fishing; why don't I just huck bait? Not gonna happen. You have taken it upon yourself to "DO IT YOURSELF." Expect a learning curve and be patient. Don't focus on what you're not doing, rather make note of the things you are learning and getting better at.

5. Network 
Hang out in fly shops, at boat launches and places where fisherman congregate. Talk to people, tell them what you're there doing. You'd be surprised of the number of people you can meet and the great info you can find out just by chatting with other fishermen.

4. Know your enemy
Going into the unknown is an often daunting task. If it's a new fish you're targeting, try to get some background info on them; e.g., flies, tides, diet, size or techniques. 

Bring tying material if possible; sometimes you show up with the wrong stuff. It's nice to have the option of spinning up some new bugs. It's a good confidence builder and it adds depth to your trip.

3. Set realistic goals 
The chances of you showing up and shit-canning the fish that you're after are slim to none. Set realistic goals ("I hope I get an eat" or "I hope I can catch a decent one.") 

Don't be disappointed if you don't achieve your goals. Look for the positive: maybe you thought your vision got a bit better or you figured out something that made you cast a little better in the wind. 

If you've never been there or done it before, what makes you think you're gonna whack 'em??

2. Be flexible
When you do things on your own, you need to be a little more flexible than on a guided trip. Expect to fish less, explore more, have more down time, make mistakes, and fumble the ball more generally speaking.  

You might have a few wild goose chases, expect them. That's all part of DIY fishing: embrace it. Thats what makes it awesome and rewarding. You figured it out. Not your guide. Not your local buddy. It's then truly your fish.

1. Time or money
Many people have one of these. Very few have both. Make an honest decision which one you have.

If you only have a few days, or a week, then maybe a guided trip makes more sense. 

If you've got no dough but spare time, do it on the cheap: go longer and expect your pitfalls due to inexperience. 

I justify extended trips by telling myself, "It cost so much to get here, I might as well stay longer." I prefer to have time on my side as opposed to money when it comes to DIY. 

For example, weather can shut you down. If you go on the week with crap weather, your fishing will likely be the shits. If you're there for three weeks instead, you'll likely encounter good conditions at some point. 

Sometimes shit just takes awhile to figure out, too.

*          *          *

Thanks for taking the time to write this up, AC! 

Be sure to follow Cod's next adventure over at Chronicles of Cod

He can be hit up via Twitter at @chroniclesofcod

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Traveling Angler Tuesdays launched June 26th, 2012 on mattrevors.com. My 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. To see past articles & tips from the Traveling Angler Tuesdays series, click here.