Hey let’s look at a bunch of fish pics, shall we? What is it with us anyway? This baby reads like a dysfunctional issue of Playboy. Don’t hesitate to bask in this voyeuristic medley of pint-sized aquatic pin ups. Regular folks must wonder why someone would be drawn to such banter. After a recent Brookie outing, I completed the task by uploading the trip photos onto my mainframe for review. It’s at that point that I usually determine if the results warrant a full blog entry. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t put all of my fishing exploits on the world wide web. If it’s just another garden variety session of cast, jerk, caress, rinse and repeat, it may not make the cut. I’m typically looking for a yarn to spin, and if there’s no yarn, there’s no spin.
Let’s just set the record straight. If I find out who originally coined the phrase “from zero to hero” I might punch them in the face. Historically speaking, I’m not not prone to violent outbreaks (outside of a few alcohol-fueled skirmishes in my disillusioned youth). Really I’m as tame as an innocent little pussy cat, it’s just my lengthy attempt to show my disdain for this blog title. But there’s a method to my madness. It’s time to get this season back on track. My comedy of errors must come to an end, and one way to right the ship is a solid round of easy fishin’. Pounding out a session filled with eager Brook Trout is just what the doctor ordered.
Let’s just say things didn’t start off quite as well as I’d planned. I’m not sure why, but I chose to fish a cheap little 7-foot 4-weight fly rod that seems to collect dust in my garage. A number of years ago I picked up the rod as part of a combo package from Cabela’s. I had no interest in the rod per se, but Cabela’s always does an admirable job with the upsell. Somehow I walked out with a cheap flyline and rod to match the reel I was purchasing. If memory serves, my reasoning was that it would be a good rod for the kids to destroy or serve as a backup. As it turns out it rarely has seen the light of day. For no particular reason I threw it in the truck and vowed to put it through it’s paces.
As one might imagine, a rod of this caliber is somewhat of an throwback soft-flexing noodle rod. I managed a few feisty fish while I worked my way through the casting motion “adjustment period.” Much to my chagrin, a soft roll cast caused my reel to plummet into the creek. Initially I thought that I hadn’t cinched down the reel tight enough, but quickly realized that the reel seat hardware had come unglued. The rod, like the corresponding Cabela’s flyline turned out to be a real piece of shit. I fished the flyline once right after I purchased it, and hated every minute of it. Thankfully these subpar products didn’t break the bank. I’m sort of a mixed bag when it comes to product loyalty. I’ve got a healthy dose of skepticism stemming from my experience doing design and branding work for a wide range of manufacturers. Mix that with a practicality learned at an early age from my engineering father, and a lot of time hanging out on a friend’s used car lot. Where does that leave me? I believe in some brands, but never blindly buy the marketing BS behind the latest and greatest claims of many. I’m willing to dole out the cash for some high end items, while others times I’m looking for reasonable quality at a good price. On this morning I was treated to the old adage, you get what you pay for. Fortunately I slipped my workhorse small stream Sage into the car as a backup.
Speaking of product loyalty and easy fishin’. I had my sights set on some dry fly action to test drive an upstart Iowa-based floatant that I did the design, naming and branding work for. Finally, a fly dressing for the most discriminating of anglers. The floatant category is inundated with a brand attitude and product assortment on par with wart removers. HighHorse Fly is a client of mine but I haven’t had the pleasure of using their products yet. They offer a few ideas in floatant that are new to the industry. HighHorse is available in Naked/Original, UV/Infused and Scent/Infused. This ain’t your grandpa’s fly dressing, and I had a hankering to try out these new “flavors.” While this stream isn’t blessed with a killer “Mother’s Day” caddis hatch, I had reason to believe that the fish might be looking up. I loaded up a fat PMX with some UV/Infused HighHorse with a dropper nymph and began to dissect the patient. The rig, along with the floatant performed well. It’s a little to early in my scientific method to conclusively report my findings on the merits of UV or scent infused floatant, but from a risk/reward standpoint I’d fully endorse test driving a bottle or two of HighHorse. A few bucks will get you a bottle, and why not support an upstart local supplier as opposed to sending your dollars out into the stratospheric Ginks of the world? So step on up to the HighHorse and earn your “elitist” merit badge!
This stream generally puts out average-sized Brookies, but occasionally will produce a reasonable specimen. The concept of readily duping trout with ease seemed somewhat foreign to my fragile angling psyche. The the icing on the cake was nabbing them on the surface. Every little fish served as baby steps towards redemption. It’s as if I was relearning the mastery of our aquatic friends. Everyone is prone to a slump, and Mrs. Adrift™ will be the first to tell you that it affects my mood. She can tell before asking, whether or not I had a good day on the water. To be honest with you, she doesn’t even ask that often, she just knows. If something is worth mentioning I’ll give her a play by play, but for the most part it remains unspoken. Keep in mind while she’s not wise in the angling arts, she worked for a fishing magazine when I met her, so she’s wise in the ways of our kind.
Give me an inch and I’ll take a mile. After declaring victory via the dry/dropper rig, I couldn’t help turn my attention to more R&D with a Shirley Temple micro streamer. I’m a staunch believer in tying with whatever you have on hand. The latest batch of Shirley Temples were tied on blue Gamakatsu hooks because I had some. Did it matter? Nope. Fly fishermen tend to be obsessively anal about details, but the pursuit can also be as simple as you choose to make it. Many focus their angling efforts on the finicky fish that reject your latest offering, but for every selective sonuvabitch trout there’s three willing to submit to an attractor. I’m eager to dole out the opinions with the slightest inkling of success on this easy track I suppose. Even the smallest of Brookies chased down these things with reckless abandon, just like my last outing throwing a Shirley Temple. Upstream, downstream, strip, dead drift, it didn’t matter.
It felt damn good to be fishing devoid of snow and cold, a strange statement indeed for mid-May. You gotta appreciate this brand of fishing, it’s like a stroll in the park. Tall weeds, ticks, mosquitos and fly eating trees are at a minimum. Casually hopping from hole to hole in ultimate golf course fashion. I’m not a big fan of man-made golf course fishing, but I enjoy a nice round of spring angling on a more natural section before the weeds take over. No particularly big fish were brought to hand, but that isn’t the point anyway. This nice looking fella greeted me with his presence before my time was up. A fitting end to the day.
I’ve been rocking a pair of “antique” Hodgman wading boots the last few weeks since my Korkers Metalheads are in for warranty replacement. I have a soft spot for these wading boots since they’re over 15 years old. I don’t wear them often, but everytime I do I appreciate the advancements in boot design even more. Upon departure one of the felt soles finally came off. A solid run by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps this is the ying to the Cabela’s fly rod yang? It matters little since I’ve already Shoe Goo’d the sole back on and am looking forward to another 15 years of faithful service. I’ll put them back on the shelf tomorrow when my new Korkers KGB’s arrive and will be next up on the Adrift™ wading boot throwdown. Can any footwear really stand the test of time?
I have a nasty habit of occasionally torturing myself on some questionable water choices. I just get a little uneasy with the same old same old. When I have a run of bad luck and worse fishing conditions, I need a little shot of redemption. A healthy cache of Brook trouting provides me a false sense of accomplishment and is a one way ticket to go from zero to hero.