Monday, November 28

Combat fishing: Drainage ditches run in funny places.

Allentown's urban streams require speciality equipment.
And not neccessarily "ha ha" funny, either.

One might surmise I had to augment the usual equipment for this (extended!) weekend's jaunts, and you're right. I took in two new places I'd been thinking about in the past, and since one was in a not-so-good area (or so I'm told), I figured I'd have to add something with a little more punch than the usual 5wt.

With all the rain and my distinct distaste of high water, when I got my chance to go out this weekend I decided to take in a new place I"d driven over many times, but never bothered to look at. A friend told me a new park had opened in Catasauqua, and I figured since I tried something new on the first chance I got, I'd try something different on the second chance: A look at Trout Creek in the middle of Allentown's most upscale neighbourhood.

Sunday, November 20

November?! Waaagh.

New activities for winter.
Damn, there she goes, too. Fuckin eh,  WH40K: Space Marine seems to have consumed my nights, and any free weekend time when I was able to go fishing, but it was just slightly too cold to want to go out when I could stay home and exterminate asshole 13 year old kids in online games.
Twilight ruined vampires.
I mean, sparkly vampires?
Fuck that noise. Fuck your
Mormon vampires. Anne
Rice sucks, too, btw.

Yep, shit's reached that point. However, if you haven't shouted and some jackhole kid who stabs you in the face repeatedly in some lame ass online game, I suggest giving it  go just once. Its oddly invigorating.

So, what's the deal? Monocacy Trout Unlimited is back in action for their winter sessions, and some new and invigorated participation leaves me hope that they'll start to pick up steam and go back to full time and pursing a complete agenda. Thousand miles, one step, zen bullshit. Et. Cetera. November 22nd is an open meeting and fly tying night, come out and don't be an asshole.

Hit and run topic: Online petions suck, but sign it anyways. Pennsylvania House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100 to supercede local enviromental regs for lesser state regs on Marcellus shale drilling. Read more.

Fly of the whatever, because I meant to do it weeks ago but, y'know, lazy and shit. Lafontaine Emergent Sparkle Pupa. Y'know, read more and all that. You've done this, you understand. Read more is go!

Tuesday, November 1


Left the Valley. The goal was to fish Penn's Creek, of course it rained like a motherfucker up to that weekend resulting in a severely blown Penn's Creek.

A shame, really. It was a parting trip for a friend who was moving to Montana, and he has a special place for Penn's. Me? I don't leave home, so I've never been there. I spent a week prepping up my shit. I tied flies, first time since spring, really.

Didn't use any of them. Stupid October Caddis. WTF am I supposed to fucking do with a dozen size 10 sparkle caddis? Fortunately, I'm ill prepared for shit that's not in the Valley, so I couldn't tie bigger than 10, else I'd be lamenting a dozen size 8 2XL fuckin ESPs.

So, what else do I got? Nothing useful. Fuck it. October is over. Hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, October 3

Does it ever stop raining? Why I'm fishing in drainage ditches and reviewing 3wt rods that I keep buying even though I can't figure out what the hell I'm going to do with them and was perfectly happy with the first one i had. two. ok, ok, first two. still.

The mist hides dirt.
Clever cropping.
Seriously, man. I'd actually planned on commenting on my ability to be all timely and cash in on the fiberglass thing that seems to be reaching a point of pre-cool, but, no...later this week, maybe. For now? Rain, man. Rain.

Biblical rain level it seems. Maybe not, but it feels like it. It seems that whenever I have the chance to fish, some jackass is either breaking into my car or its raining.

Its constant. I was able to get out one day, and since then, its raining or blown out. As a man who won't drive 10 miles from the front door, the 45 minutes to the local tailwater is like travelling to Uranus. Ergo, I'm stuck for ideas in places to fish. My summer of exploration continues to be stymied by nature.  But, like everything else, you make due. Its tiny, its encased by filth (I think the trash holds the walls in), but there are fishable, wild, trout waters to be found. Its also forced me to use all the damned 3wt rods I seem to accumulate.

I mean, I know why I keep buying them, but I should frankly just say no. I think I finally have. I've been on the search for The One, as it were, and I think up next is a 4/5wt. Anyways, I'm up to four 3 weight rods, two this summer (y'know, the one I couldn't fish) alone.

Actually, five. I sent one back. At least that one was long, every other one is under 8', three 7' or shorter. I babbled about the Cabela's CGR 5'9" rod awhile ago, today its the Hardy 7' 3wt Classic Lightweight. I suppose the rain is fortunate, then, because its forced me to try something different: drainage ditch fishing.

Fish porn: a LVstoner novelty!
Don't get me wrong, its interesting. Its different. At its widest, its maybe 7' across, usually 4' and hemmed in and over by dirt, trash, and trees. Even though I've never seen anyone fish this, and these fish are unpressured, they bolt as soon as I lumber my ass in, but its still fun, especially as I missed the low and clear late summer fishing, which I like. Its nice knowing I can find it, and fish willing to eat dry flies, no matter how much rain. I'm thankful for that, really.

I just wish the average fish was bigger than 5" though. There's a few that one could eat if one were into eating them, but generally speaking, I think they'd qualify for PFBC fingerling programs.

More to the point, though, it provides me a reason to talk about 3 weight rods, and use them as intended. They're more practical than 1 weights, less utilitarian than 4 weights, and in my case all short little affairs.

Did I mention the one is a 7' Hardy? I know I didn't, coz that's what this is about. Its pointless gear, and a pointless review. You know how this works...

Friday, September 30

Why Bethlehem Township Hates Mrs Housenick and the Monocacy Creek, oh and other non watery shit.

Nerd fight!
Fluff piece first, eh? I engage in an entire spectrum of dumb nerdy shit. Oh, and don't kid yourselves, people, tying little flies out of dead animal bits then obsessively chuckin' em to fish so you can put the fish back is pretty fucking nerdy. Amongst other shit I do, I play role playing games. The real kind, with paper and dice and shit, not that lame computer based shit. My friend, he writes them, which is either more nerdy or more creative, don't give a fuck... He blogs that shit up, and has once asked me to write up a review for a minis game. I did that right here. Am I rad, or what?

However, there's more stuff afoot. Dare I say actual, important stuff for once. The Bethlehem Township commissioners evidently hate open spaces, joy, and life. They do love money, though. So, that pits Bethlehem Township directly against the Archibald Johnson Housenick Estate.

There's a little tract of land that's set aside as a nature preserve or some shit in what's now Bethlehem Township. Seems some lady named Housenick died and left huge tracts of land to the County, the Township, and her church. Seems that there's a movement afoot to take part of that land, build some shitty apartments, and wreck the lovely little patch of unspoilt land by filthing it up.

Thursday, September 22

Three hundred sixty five. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And then?

This post is gratuitous  and pointless. Deal. Its my shit, I can make these whenever I feel like it.

The thing is, I can't be assed to take fish pictures. Oh, sure, I tried today. I figured I'd go out and make this momentous sort of gesture in a return to proper fishing, since I'm tired of life kicking my ass around for the last six months.

So, the plan was to do this big presentation all sorts of wonderful visuals of stream life, still life, grab a picture of my first post-cancer troot and be all awesome.

Nope. Never bothered. Honestly, I don't fucking care.

Not that I catch many giant fish, lots of pretty wild ones, sure, but not giant. Still, its not a size thing, lack of them thing, or inability thing, its well... Somehow, I feel that its proper to put them back in the water as quickly as possible after I've jammed a steel hook through their face, drug them through the water, hoisted them out to drown in air as I rip the hook out..a picture, well, it just seems gratituous, no?

So no fish pictures. Fuck, no pictures of anything except a tired one of the shit I dropped on the hood of my trucklet when I was done.

But, whatever. I had a good time. I fished a ninety-six year old Hardy 8' Fairy rod (Hemingway's preferred tool, from what I'm lead to understand) and a seventy-six year old Pflueger 1496 reel swinging leadwing coachmen across-and-down.  One hundred sixty-nine years of accumulated fishing mojo in my hand, and a one hundred ninety-six year old fly pattern still worked well enough to take enough fish to keep me amused for the first time I went proper trout fishing since Father's Day.

What's old is new again.

It was nice to be back.

Alas, my waders leak. Goddamnit.

Wednesday, September 21

Trout Unlimited, back in action-ish; Return of the LVLS Book Club: Bush Pilot Angler.

-Ish.  That's the key here. The Monocacy Chapter of Trout Unlimited resumes their meetings for fall through spring this month. Next week, to be exact. Tuesday, to be exacter. The fourth one of each month, even. 7pm. Be there or, well, have something better to do, I guess.

But don't be a  douche. Isn't it time you do something for the local waterways? Not that I think many locals (or anyone, fwiw) reads this crap, but whatever, that was my design theory, and I'm running with it. This meeting isn't going to be entertaining, but its chance to help set the tone and course for the coming season.

Now, onto something more interesting....

You know, there's something about Lee Wulff that I find compelling. The guy's legend is just cool, and God himself handed him the secret to the greatest fly, evar (although I'm willing to concede Fran Betters' was on the receiving end of the most killing fly, evar).

So, anyways, Lee Wulff. The man's got a legitimate legend about him, and I really enjoy reading his exploits. I figured an extended hospital stay was an idea time to start reading his memoir, as I'd been putting off buying a copy for some time now.

Of course, with my winning streak in full effect, it didn't come in until about 3 or 4 days until after I'd left the hospital. Whatever. I've been slowly working through it since then, and its inspired me...

Friday, September 16

Pointless gear reviews: Cabela's Custom Glass Rod 5'9" 3 weight. (insignificantly updated 9/18)

Hi there!
Well, I was pretty enticed by the other end of the the CGR line, the 5'9" 3wt. I didn't have a very practical use for it, but fuck it, I truly do expect them to be limited availability, so I pulled the trigger a couple weeks ago. Not that I had a chance to use it, nor do I know when I will, but sometimes I do dumb shit.

So, with that said, even though I've only taken it out for some lawn casting and about 15 minutes in a very limited test on the water, I've got opinions (fuck yeah, do I ever!) on the baby of the CGR line.

Sunday, September 11

Why this blog sucks so badly.

Thursday morning I received full nephrectomy of my right kidney.

It was growing an approximate 2" tumor across the top of it. They found it as a byproduct of MRI scans during my bout with bi-lateral Bell's Palsy, itself because of Lyme Disease. They assumed it was a cancerous, Stage 1B Renal Cell Carcinoma because it had the outward appearances of such and because that's the cause of my mother's death, which is evidently considered by some to be a hereditary problem. However, official results won't be back until sometime next week from Pathology.

The good news is that they're confident the whole thing has been removed, and no further treatment will be needed for this incident. My light reading says its a 90% Five Year Survival Rate, and while I'm not exactly a gamblin' man, I'd say 9 outta 10 is almost a sure thing, so I'm not sweating it.  The bad news is they told me to expect pain, discomfort and to "take it easy" until sometime well into the second month after removal.

You can expect an almost useless blog devoid of useful the past amount of even moderately useful information to continue into the future. Sorry 'bout that.

Update, 9/14: Renal Cell Carcinoma was confirmed to the tune of a ~5.5cm tumor. It has been excised completely, with no signs of spreading outside the margin of the kidney, and no sign of spread via the blood. That's it, boys and girls, I'm clean. Fuck you, love me.

Tuesday, September 6

An introduction to the casual vacation shore fly fisher: Part Final, Where to cast.

So, you've been told by one opinionated jackhole on the Internet what you need to casually enjoy fly fishing your summer beach trip, what you need to gear up with, what you need to tie on, and now, finally, where you need to fish it.

Water. Shit, that was easy. No? Fine, fine. Moar words. I can do that. Ask my wife, you can't shut me up, and yet it took me awhile to sit down and write this because its hard to not sound like some sort of grandiose jerk who knows all, and I don't. I do, however, understand the concept of keeping it simple and just going out there to give it a go, and sometimes you don't need to study books, build a home astrolab, or sacrifice virgins to Cthulhu. Sometimes, well, you just need someone to kick start your brain....

So, the thing is that ocean's a big fuckin stream, and, unlike the trouts, the fish are transient. This means you need to find a place where the fish will likely be, at a time they'll likely be there. The other thing is, as a once-a-year sort of guy, you don't have the advantage of learning the ins and outs of what you're doing because for the other 358ish days of the year you're knowhere near the surf, and thus you look at this all from the wrong angle, and you're gonna need to tilt the odds as best you can in your favour.

Monday, August 29

An introduction to the casual vacation shore fly fisher: Part 3, flies. Well, streamers, mostly.

Yes, there's weird shit in there. Never used 'em. A weeks
worth of snook fishing was done with the simple Clouser.
So, you've got a clue as to what to take on your trip, how about what to throw on your trip? Guess what. Its even easier to get bit straight. Frankly, I could make due with one pattern and feel well armed, although generally speaking my hired gun tends to suggest two patterns for subsurface, and everyone loves top water, so let's make it a total of three.

I know, I know, you look at books that have page after page of really awesome looking flies, but when it comes down to it, sometimes you just make shit needlessly complex for yourself. This is something that I continually rail against, even if I often skip my own advise. Rather than getting lost in the mess, just keep it simple and concentrate on a few simple patterns that work. Simple, effective streamers. Sure, sure, some times you'll want shrimp, crabs, or who the fuck cares what else. That's your problem to figure out. I'm just dealing with simple shit, and all fish eat baitfish.

So, three simple patterns. Beyond that, fuck it, you're just gonna vary size and colour. And weird shit you saw on the Innernets that you really, really want to try. That's cool. What the fuck, we're fly fishers and possibly tiers and dumb shit's what we do, just ask our spouses/children/non-fishing cohorts/stoner-kid-who-witnesses-us-flailing-at-surf-at-3am.

Anyways, three simple patterns, right? Right!

Sunday, August 28

The Eurythmics: Whatever ever happened to the dude from that act?

...And so ends another hurricane, with only a little bit of trailing rain and wind left to swing through, but the worst is over.

Y'know, I expected much, much worse. I lose power in my house constantly, as we're a little part of Bedlam who's underground wiring was evidently completed with left over speakerwire from Radioshack. Imagine my surprise when I woke up in the morning to...power!

All that, and nothing ripped off my house. Even my shitty gutters stayed up!

No feeshing today, of course. Not that I expected shit, why should this weekend be any different than any other fucking day this summer?

All the local creeks are blown out, as suspected. Monocacy flooded the piss out of the Historic District again, should've pulled Johnson Dam out like TU's been riding you assholes to do.. pfft! I was also counting on massive rainfall to blow out the step dam in Illick's Mill, but with a mere 2000CFS at crest, it probably won't smash it out like Ivan or Bob or Mufasa or whatever the fuck that last big one was.

At least I can throw out the multiple old soda two liter bottles filled with water and frozen, now. In hindsight, it seems silly except, again, I always loose power. I needed ice, dig? What the fuck, did PPL actually fix this shit, finally? Fuck, I'm bored and my kids are monsters.

Today would be a good day to fly my kite. Yes, I'm aware of how fucking lame that sounds, but seriously, its fun. Fuck you.

Oh, and the lame saltwater posts will resume shortly. Like anyone cares. Hell, I don't even care.

Wednesday, August 24

An introduction to the casual vacation shore fly fisher: Part 2, stupid exercises in tackle excess.

Many failures, some successes.
I remember the year after I picked up spin fishing the surf, I decided I'd pick up a fly rod and give it a go. Shit, I was practically swimming in croaker, and the thought of blues or stripers was pretty intense. Furthermore, I'd chartered a guide for a four hour jaunt into the back bays of Cape May, and I wanted to go with my own gear.

So, I went to our local Cabela's, walked into the Fly Cave, or whatever the fuck its called, and said, "I'm gonna fly fish for stripers on the Jersey Shore."

They handed me a 10wt Cabela's branded broomstick called an XST and their big shiny XSS reel to go with. WTF did I know about this, all I knew is it was all on sale  and seemed like a no brainer. They also sold me on a mighty costly intermediate sinking striper taper line and out the door I went.

This was about as far from the moderate action 4wt and WFF lines I'd been used to. In fact, I had no fucking clue what I was doing. A good friend and awesome caster came down and helped me out a bit, and with practice I was able to consistently hit about 60'.

I went out, proud and prepared to do battle with the mighty striped bass of late August.

Those of you with my then-level of experience don't realize why everyone else is laughing at us.

Sunday, August 21

Hi Honey, I'm home...An introduction to the casual vacation shore fly fisher.

Its cliche, so what? Fuck off.
Well, the yearly family vacation to the great wilds of South New Jersey has come and gone, again. Its a nice time, every year we rent some dude's house in Ocean City and relax for a week. The kids have grown up with it, and enjoy it, and I've begun to make an attempt to fish it every year.

Not very successfully, mind you, but whatever. Its the thought that counts or some sort of bullshit, right?

A few years back, right when I started to fly fish, I was sitting on the beach thinking about how fucking boring it is to sit on a beach and looking at the crashing surf. I decided next year, I'd buy one of those massive spinning rods and fish the family vacation away. It was mildly successful, if you're into little fish. I was awash in croaker like you couldn't believe and all I could think of was, "man, I bet these'd be a blast on a fly rod."

And that was the start of my surf fly fishing adventure.

Sunday, August 7

Goddamned tricos.

Who cares if its pretty, I'm tired.
There are few things that make me get up at the asscrack of dawn, and one of them is tricos, the tricorythodes genus of mayfly. For what its worth, they're so annoyingly stupid, they only get me to do it about once or twice a year.

Oh, sure, its a big deal hatch 'round here, coz we got the blighted little fucks in spades. Shit, the Little Lehigh is well known for its big spinner falls of the things, and I am a big fan of ultralight rods and dry fly action, so you'd think that being able to have a legit use for a 1wt rod in the form of tossing size stupid fucking stupid (26?! Fuck. You!) flies to happily feeding trouts up top would be like a wet dream for me.

You're wrong. I loathe it. I don't know why, probably because it means I'm supposed to be up on stream at 7am and shit.

However, I'm willing to acknowledge its The Thing To Do in the Lehigh Valley, so, well, I do it. Once. Maybe twice. OK, definatly twice, but highly doubtful as to do it three times.

Thursday, August 4

Gifts that aren't payola, The Summer of Shit becomes the Fall of For Fuck's Sake, and the Further Adventures of a Medalist Junky (ie, actual fishin' crap!)

See that video o'er there? That's the first thing I ever got for this nonsense I've been writing.

Well, sort of. It wasn't like in the payola sense (I'm looking your way, Thinkfish!), but, needless to say, it was sent to me and in a turn-about-is-fairplay way, I feel compelled to tell you about it.

You know, does that spring get together, and this year, while observing the greybeards under the pavillion, I was next to a well bearded young lad. And he and I were talking, and it turns out he reads this nonsense, and went on to talk about Minor Threat (IIRC) because I made a random post about Ian Mackaye, and we started talking music. So, this gentle mannered, well bearded lad, he sez to me, "I'm in a band, if you want I'll send you some CDs" and I just sort of figured he was being nice, so I said, yeah and... that was that. He gets my address and then one day in the mail, bam! Free records! Not only that, but free good records! Fuckin' eh, I won't argue with that one bit. Turns out the soft spoken guy with the massive beard and an affection for slow rods and brookie fishing also happens to be the guitarist for a really tight metal hardcore metalcore (is that what the kids call it?) act. So you know what,  I'm gonna turn around and offer up the littlest thing I can, which is web traffic back to Hero Destroyed's FB page and Myspace page, respectively. Now, go buy Throes or the self-titled album. Or both. They'd like that, I bet.

Seriously, though. If you like the metal hardcore metalcore thing, try it out. Would I lie to you? No, the proof is in the damned video up there. Its hard, and incase that lingo no longer applies, that's good, not bad. Kind of like bad was good, or sick was even better than bad, I guess, and now, now the kids say "savvy." Which seems highly stupid when some teenager walks up to and says, "you're the savviest looking dude" (I think he said dude, who the fuck knows?) "I've seen." All because you're wearin' an eyepatch and smoking a pipe. No, seriously. Explain that shit. You can't! Just like you can't explain your sudden desire to listen to more Hero Destroyed. Go ahead, asshole, make with the click.

Now then, shall we continue to actual fishing things?  'Bout time, eh?

(I apologize for shitty photos ahead of time, i wanted to just actually make a post about the topic of note, and not my whining for once, not that I didn't whine like a bitch at the end, anyways.. its what I do)

Thursday, July 21

Even more whiney bullshit.

Look ma, no track marks!
See that thing over there to the right?

Its called a PICC line. That's a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter if you want to be through about it. Its so the medical folks can give you IV medications without constantly jamming a needle into your arm.

You may not recognize the pale, flabby flesh of that arm but I can assure you, it is mine.

So, no doubt if you've read any of the sad saga of my summer, you know what this means... My love affair with Lyme Borreliosis, that's Lyme Diesease to those of you who haven't been intimate with a deer tick, is deepening.

Sunday, July 10

Practical advice for those of you with Bell's Palsy or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Search Engine

Let's take a break for something a little different, eh?

Actual, usuable advice for the intrepid Interwebs browsers who wander to this blog looking for something entirely off the usual (for what its worth) topic via the Google, or whatever.

Look, weird shit appears in my logs, guys looking for information on Ian MacKaye, information on the Lehigh Valley's best doughnuts (fwiw, El Greco's rocks the best pizza, doughnuts are doughnuts), and the repeated (!!!) searches for alligator dicks.

I'm still baffled 'bout that.

So, God knows I searched lots of junk when I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, and well, I'm sure someone will here, too. Let me give that guy, or girl, some useful practical advice.

Oh, and a teaser: There's a better alternative than that bullshit about taping your eye closed. We'll get to that, though...

Tuesday, July 5

Holy shit, its July already.

Superfine 1wt, clicker CFO, and size tiny tricos. Whee?
I'm a bit of a niche angler, I guess. I've always liked the lightest of gear, because I'm happy to fish for little fish. When I was a kid, I enjoyed panfish on my ultralight Daiwa with 4# test, and when I started fly fishing I liked the small-to-medium fish on a moderate flex 4wt instead of the industry standard 5wt, and wanted to keep going lighter.

Through a series of unfortunate incidents, I ended up with an Orvis Superfine Trout Bum 7'6" 1wt at the tail end of last summer. I was sold on it big time.

I spent the entire summer, and part of the fall, walking my local stream, low and clear, and casting dry flies to likely lies. Without being my usual arrogant self, I'd like to say I got good at it. I couldn't wait 'til summer came around again. Hell, I even thought I'd consider getting up for tricos in the morning a time or two. I know our local board is having a get together July 9th for trico fishing on the Little Lehigh, which is a fine way to really announce winky little flies on superlight rods have returned to my life.

Yep, its summer time, except the train has gone off the rails.

Tuesday, June 14

Sprotsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation, 6/22/11


Straight from the super secret desk to Trout Unlimited leadership, to your eyes only...Well, your eyes and anyone who reads this crap, or was on the mailing list, or...well, whatever. Shut up and read:

Please join the Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation for a day of meetings (gfen: woo, fun, meetings!) in Harrisburg to tell your legislators about the importance of preserving the Commonwealth's sporting heritage - and fish, wildlife and water - as Marcellus Shale gas is developed. The Sportsmen Alliance is an affiliation of sportsmen and women and conservation organizations working together across northern Appalachia to identify and mitigate the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on hunting, fishing,trapping and other outdoor sporting activities.

As a Pennsylvanian, you know that Marcellus Shale gas is being developed at a rapid scale and pace across the Commonwealth. It is imperative that our decision-makers understand what is at stke and take action to protect important sporting traditions and fish, wildlife and water resources as Marcellus Shale development occurs.

The day will kick off at 9:00am with a brief update of current legislative items and Marcelus Shale related issues of concern to sportsmen and women. THen join your fellow hunters, anglers, trappers ad outdoorsmen and women to voice your support to legislators for protection of your sporting interests and the natural resources you enjoy.

Please RSVP to (gfen removed this part, just show up, k?)  by June 17th, go join the Sportsmen Alliance in a day of action and make sure that you have an opportunity to tell legilsators to protect your interests.

Wednesday, June 8

Dear Cheeky Fly Fishing Company:

Piss off.

Look, I know, I'm basing my entire hateful opinion of you on one small throwaway fluffer article in a local (to you) rag and your website, but work with me here. Its all you've given me.

At best, you appear to be four guys with too much free money and time who decided you could cash in on the current hipster revolution in fly fishing by creating overpriced reels in the line of Abel or Willow, but seemed to miss that one of them offered 25 years of high quality workmanship and the other one...shit, I'm not sure what Willow's got going other than pure, unadulterated beauty.

Evidently, you think that fly fishing should become a young, trendy urban sport, like skiiing (I didn't realize skiing was in fact young, trendy, or urban, but still).

So, this article, it says you're bringing some style to the sport?

Monday, June 6

A vomiting forth of random ideas.

Its bad when even the desk girl who encodes
this remarks on just how much shit they're
gonna take out of you.
"Fever of unknown origins." That's doctor speak for throat swabs, piss tests, and twenty plus vials of blood, plus x-rays. Its what happens when you carry a fever for 4 days with no sign of it breaking. I'm convinced this shit isn't no unknown origin, though. Its a known known, not an unknown known or an unknown unknown. Its what happens when you leave home and go fishing elsewhere.

I am never leaving the Lehigh Valley again, goddamnit. This is how I get repaid. Sulphurs were coming along nicely, I had ths sweet wet fly swing down for caddis during said sulphurs, and this, this is what I get. I haven't seen water in a week, and I don't think I'm going to for another week or two at most. I'm convinced I have Lyme Disesease. Or Anthrax. More likely the former, but Anthrax was a pretty rad '80s thrash band and its more fun to say... I'm only basing it on the fact that the Cipro they proscribed me was issued for said malady.

OK, so I'm overreacting, but then again, doctor says its possibly lyme. I guess the gallon of blood will tell them answers for that.

So, my words of advise for you: Watch out for ticks, and open wounds if you wet wade. Whatever its origin, this shit blows. I'm worried it might be lyme diesease, but even if its not, its pretty intense knowing you can get fully shut down not actually doing  a damned thing wrong.

Well, fuck it. Now I've done my public service announcement, I'm feverish and I'm tired but I can't sleep, so I'm gonna just talk about loud about stuff. Wanna come along for the ride?

Thursday, June 2

The Eagle Claw Featherlight Fly Rod: Double sawbuck awesomeisity.

Budget does not always mean cheap.
Man, I love cheap shit. I think I've said that before here, God knows its a personal credo. Maybe I should get CHEP BSTD across the old knuckles, eh?


Fine, I'll just publically celebrate my thriftitude by proudly using my Eagle Claw Featherlight fly rod, all of $19.59 at Or, you know, your local Sprawlmart, but buy it through that link. C'mon, let me profit off this blog, dude.

Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus. He can fish though. 
The FL-300-7, this thing has been around for years, and has gone through many generations going way back. Some are well loved, and some are well loathed. We'll talk about the 2010 model, when it was revamped (but not repriced) to become the most awesome $20 you can spend on fly fishing equipment. No shit.  It also comes in a 6'6" 5/6 and 8' 5/6 versions, but generally you'll see the 7' 5/6 all over the place. I'm convinced this rod could drive the fiberglass revolution to new heights, and help peck away at the notion that rods must be faster and stiffer for every day use, instead of just specific needs.

If anything, the 7' model might just be a bit too short for ultimate use, so imagine my excitement when I found the 8' in a local store. I bought it and immediately proceded to go try it out.

Monday, May 30

Alligators in the fucking park. C'mon, dicks.

Alligator swims in Lehigh Valley Creek.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem police say they captured a 3-foot-long alligator after a resident spotted it going over a waterfall.
Police say it took several rounds of hide-and-seek before they could remove the reptile Sunday from the Monocacy Creek.
They say the alligator hid in deep water beneath the falls several times before Officer Eric Yeakel captured it.
A local reptile expert confirmed it was an alligator and took it to a reptile store for treatment.
Bethlehem Police are seeking the public's help in determining how it ended up in the creek.
Someone's a fucking douchebag for this bullshit. Clearly, this is the fuckin step falls in the Illick's Mill Park, a regulr fishing spot for me as well as my recent destination for  my night fishing sojourns because its well lit, easy to wade, and I generally don't fucking expect any fucking crocofuckingdiles.

Sunday, May 29

The Modified Pflueger Medalist.

Seemed like a good idea at the
time, which was rather late.
Sulphur time is upon us. but I still can barely catch a fish, thank Jebus I don't fish for food or I'd starve.

Probably lose more weight, though. I suppose you find the good side of things when you can. That's probably why, when fishing through the park this evening and having my fly brutally ignored by every riser I put in front of, I didn't mind. Seems a nice group of churchies decided to spontaneously erupt into gospel for me, and provided a lovely serenade to my failure.

S'OK, though. Still had one of the nicest evenings I'd ever had. Beats the bad amateur rock bands I've fished through listening to, which was different but annoying. Its not that I'm a gospel fan, but really, its a great way to really accent the pleasure. I made sure to thank them, and they were kind enough to give me another song.

Being brutally skunked in the middle of an awesome hatch is pretty humiliating, though. So, I decided to get crafty, tie up a hair mouse and then go fishing in the same park (willfully breakin' the law!) at 2am. It was stupid, and fruitless, but what the hell, gotta try it once. Guess the music was the only blessing I was gonna receive that day, eh?

Less mouse, more Medalist. Go!
So, if its not obvious to anyone who's read this, I like to stand out. I also like to do things Ye Olde Way, with a real interest in proving to people that yesterday's junk is still good enough, and you don't need titanium alloy mega arbor reels with ceramic water cooled inline offset caliper 23 surface drags on rods constructed from boron-kevlar fiber that are as light as a gnat and propel triangular ribbed tactical strategic combat-ready line at light speeds. That meant  embracing the humble Pflueger Medalist.

 So, a throw away line in a Lefty Kreh book and some spare time was all the inspiration I needed to make a statement.

Tuesday, May 24

Meeting people is easy, and the Usual bullshit (that's a fly tying pun, eh).

PAFF epic spotburn in full effect! Eat it!
You can probably figure out from the banner, I broke the 15 minute barrier. Shit, I not only broke it, but I crushed it in what one could consider to be (anti)heroic proportions. Bitches, I drove my ass 157 miles beyond home to the State College area to partake in the Jamboree and potentially ride out the coming Rapture in a nest of damned heathen fly fishers.

Stupid flies done stupid cheap. The
Usual tutorial after the jump.
These guys have been doing this for many years now, and I finally got around to getting out there. It was dicey in the end, with my natural hatred of human interaction, twin three year olds crushing my wife's sanity, and fear of pariahship (you might be surprised to know, but I'm a bit of a thorn in the side of many) kept me away.

But, a quick switch up on work oncall rotation and a generous offer from one of the fellow forumites, and I was enroute. So, what's the verdict?

Thursday, May 5

Gulf coast idiocy, a photoessay; CGR redux, gearwhoreage in paradise.

I like long walks on the beach and sunsets, ladies.
Hi honey, I'm home.

My father and step mother offered to fly myself, my wife, and the kids to Naples, FL for a week. Now, due to a mix of stress and associated bullshit, I never felt the urge to even look into this, so I went in blind knowing only there was a beach to walk, mangroves that would need a boat, and "a pond out back with little bluegills in it, but [your humble narrator] wasn't going to be interested in those little fish," or so thought my father.

Yep. Lies, BTW. Just about everything I read was lies, except for the guy who said "take a spinning rod." He was right, I think, although I ignored his advise. Also,  the airlines said "nothing over 28 inches," which is also a lie.

Until they kill Osama and your return flight features extra anal security. But, that's not germain to the story. Its not, really, except to say I had my gear shipped back to me. Thats what everyone suggests, and that's what I did.

But look, this isn't about any of that. Its about presenting a story of more-or-less leaving for South West Florida on a lark (coz again, I did zero research in the months leading up to this), with 48 hours to gear and go. Its also about appending the tale of the Cabela's CGR rod, and determining its good and its bad side. I won't lie, the first part of this is ego, that crunchy bit people might care about, well that comes last.

Sunday, April 24

Trout Unlimited, still not just coffee and doughnuts; also Cabela's CGR review.

People are slobs.
I think we've exhausted the not just TU thing? No? Good. Because there was official TU coffee and doughnuts provided yesterday.

Well, munchkins, at least. Although I'm pro-munchkin, I'd have clubbed baby seals for a boston cream, dig?

Anyways. Monocacy Chapter sponsered their stream clean up yesterday, and the weather was rather uncooperative starting our day with torrential downpour... didn't stop multiple TU members from stepping up, along with a host of community service minded folks. We split up into sub groups, then were dispatched out by our fearless leader to various portions from rt512 down to, I think, Union Boulevard. Once the rain broke, it wasn't bad. I had one of the community services guys fall into place beside me, and we had a nice time walking, talking, and cleaning up.

George, if you should ever read this, I'm up to take you out for your intro to fly fishing, duder.

Pointless gear reviews!
So then, it ended up being a pretty nice day, with a fresh burst of rain to the stream to bring it up, only so it could fall back again. The rain broke, the sky was gently overcast and I bet fishin'' would've kicked ass.

So I went shopping, instead.

I'm being forced to visit FL in a few days, and my luggage won't accomodate my chosen lighter rod, and I needed a new one. Enter the Cabela's CGR, the Custom Glass Rod, a nice, and weird, thing to show up in a big box store. I like glass, I don't like Cabela's branded gear, but fuck it, sometimes you make your choices and pay your money.

But, is it really a custom rod if its off an assembly line like everyone else's?

Wednesday, April 20

Tying. You can't afford endangered shit unless you want to buy endangered shit.

Single step, thousand miles, all zen and shit.
Tie flies. Save money. Loose alot,  all that.

You ask around, and everyone tells you to buy the tools, exert financial discipline, and only what you need. A select few tell tales of woe, and others go cheap.

They're all right.

You can get going as cheap as you want tying flies, or you can go crazy. I went the latter, and it was all pointless, but fun. Really you only need a few basic tools, then the materials for the flies you want. Or, go crazy. Or, jump start, buy a crappy kit and then go back and spend too much the next month or two, anyways.

Monday, April 18


Summing things up, nicely.
Kid B gone to the doctor to get the cast off his arm; Kid A is at home watching Youtube crap on the AppleTV with me.

I put some Fugazi on, its about as child friendly as I get. I try to talk loudly during the bad words, though, coz I exhibit good and neccessary parenting skills. He's not so into it, but I can get him to shout out the chorus to Song #1 with me, that's good. He's not generally into hardcore, but he's down with Bolt Thrower, and thats pretty awesome.

Anyways, there's bad fan videos, y'know, a string of Innerweb sourced photo montages, and there's Ian.... and, well shit, he's old. I mean, I wasn't cognizent of Minor Threat during their actual activity, but I was a bonafide fringe member of the hardcore scene for the debut of Fugazi. However, I get to laugh at brash young  skinheaded Ian MacKaye next to old, bald and pudgy Ian MacKaye. The more things change, eh?

What's this got to do with anything, at all, in regards to the general subject matter of this blog?

Sunday, April 3

Welcome to Open Season, SEPA!

Collateral damage.
Well, the trout season is upon us. Not that qualified anglers haven't been able to fish pretty much all year, but it generally announces the arrival of Those Guys at the streamside.

You know who I mean. Boat rods spooled with what appears to be 20# test, throwing enough hardware to equipment a Sports Authority. Swivels to snelled line, monster size 8 hook with globs of PowerBait and a couple of size 3/0 Watergremlins an inch above the hook. If you're really lucky, there'll be a giant red and white strike indicator bobber there to bring it all together.

Its not that I belittle them for the insane ways in which they angle (well, I do, but still, work with me), its about the absolutely barbaric way in which they destroy every living thing they come across. 

I dunno, but I find it inherently displeasing to see fish gasping their last with a wire clamp out their gill, or worse yet, the ones in a plastic bag.

Nor will I belittle the guy's who was 'pinning the Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem... OK, yes, yes I will. I mean, sure, he and his buddy were putting them back, which is nice and all, but really... you broke out the centerpin...for....that?! Talk about bringing a knife flamethrower to a gun fight.

Friday, April 1

Knotted, tapered leaders. An excercise in minuetae.

Amazingly, not all from Stackpole.
When I first started, I used the extruded mono leaders. I mostly made a mess of things, and didn't have a clue. Someone, somewhere, talked about furled leaders and I bought a Blue Sky furled leader.

It was awesome. I was sold. I rocked the piss out of those for quite some time, last year learning how to handfurl my own in a much simpler method. Someday I'll explain that.

However, I wanted to perfect them, and to perfect them I wanted to understand leader design better. To do that, you have to delve into the world of hand tied leaders.

So, after a trip to the store, I was ready to start.

Saturday, March 26

trout unlimited, not just coffee and doughnuts.

In case of emergency, break glass.

The three seperate TUs left in the Lehigh Valley (Monocacy, Forks, and Hokey) had their combined event today. Money was raised. There were doughnuts, and coffee. Money was spent on raffle tickets.

Raffle was fun. Surprised, actually. Won a box of flies.

Classy, like. I've always wanted to make that sort of thing, but I'm lazy, so I won't. Its a whole set of wet flies. I like wet flies. Its got a Tup's Indispensable in it. I like that name. Its got character.

So this was the combined Lehigh Valley Trout Unlimited 9th Annual Spring Event. I admit, I went in skeptical because I'm a jaded prick, but I'm very glad I took it in. Money was raised. There were doughnuts. That's a good time. See people you know. Raffles. That's a good time. 

What confuses me is how is it I know all these guys? Small world, etc. Was nice to see so many people get together, money goes towards something useful, you get coffee and doughnuts, and watch a guy put on a presentation.

Oh, and if you're into free coffee and doughnuts, the Monocacy guys are doing theit stream cleanup on April 23rd, 8:30am at the Illick's Mill parking lot. I'll bet you could go fishing afterwards, too. What a day!

Anyways, was good. Some dude who liked the Misfits was the presenter. How do I know this? Because he named his flies after Misfits songs. I'm fine with that, but like, what if the fly has nothing to do with like, the name?

Thursday, March 24

Hatches, matches, and the introduction of the LVLS Book Club.

Flies, yes. Fish, no.
So, there's life in the air, and maybe something on the water, but now that you've got a box full of stupid little hooks bedazzled in the most expensive feathers you could buy, what the hell do you do now?

If you read a book or hang out like one of the wallflowers in the fly shop, you know that Serious Flyfishers seem to experience glossolalia at these sort of junctures. They stand around, speaking in tongues, and getting quite animated over intricacies that most people shouldn't give a shit about. Why not? Because it doesn't have to be that hard.

The phrase match the hatch is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the most trite and over used in our sport. Its valid, sure, and its helpful, but its such a stumbling block that people think having a degree in entomology is an important part of this sport.

Its not. Just having a pair of working eyes and a few neurons that still fire is.


Tuesday, March 22

Beginning fly fishing, buying the fiddly bits.

You've got the combo. Everyone starts with a combo. Well, lots of people. Some people go to the fly shop and do it by just waving a hand and letting the sales person get on with the salesing. Not an option for everyone, certainly not if you're a budget kind of guy. That guy can skip this post. That guy probably never would've put the words in the google to get here to read this post, either.

So, you got the combo from the box store, or as a gift from someone who thought you'd like it. Remember this moment, because when you're eyeball deep in jungle cock someday, you'll want to recall this time when you were naieve and innocent and didn't wonder if you needed to re-buy all your equipment because you bought the silver finish instead of the titanium.

Because, yeah, the combo while exceedingly important, that's only the first part.  Your typical fisherman with a vest packed solid with gear, this is not an accident, dude, that's by purpose.

Didn't say it was neccessary, though. You'd be surprised how little is neccessary.

Sunday, March 20

Pointless gear reviews: Vivarelli Semi-Automatic reel.

Why'd I buy this? Coz you don't have one.
Man, I love dumb shit. I don't mean dumb as in not smart, but as in... Dumb shit. OK. Not smart. 


Not only that, but I'm into reels. They're just cool. Machined steel, assorted clicky bits, gears and all sorts of fancy stuff.

Man, I eat that up. 

So, when I stumbled on a pair of Franco Vivarelli automatic reels for sale by the Feathered Hook, I knew I needed to own one. These are exceedingly uncommon in the US, and unusual as Hell. So, I bought the Newstar.

There aren't many reviews on this thing out there, and after giving it some serious use, I think I'm ready to opine.

Friday, March 11

The Royal Family.

The Royal Coachman, tied for dry use.
The Royal Coachman, tied for wet use.

From rags to riches: The humble beginnings of the Royal Line of trout flies.

No fly better represents this freewheeling era [late 19th century] in fly tying than the Royal Coachman, which among the general public may be the world's best-known fly. Its name has the right combination of romance and class to appeal even to people who don't fish, and the fly has such a commanding appearance that few fly fisherman can resist having some permutation of the pattern in their fly boxes, even if they never use it. Most of them don't know it, but the Royal Coachman is the first great American fly pattern. - Paul Schullery, Lore and Legends of Fly Fishing.
Is there any more iconic fly in the fly fishers' arsenal than the aptly named Royal Coachman? It would seem anytime a casual display of fly fishing is mentioned, one can often find the tell tale scarlet band of the Royal Coachman in evidence. Wether it be displayed, or its classic lines drawn in any number of impressionistic displays, the Royal Coachman stands tall, a symbol and ambassador of the sport of fly fishing to the masses seemingly since its inception in 1878.

As one of the crown jewels of fly fishing patterns, the Royal Coachman's beginnings are even more interesting. The story of the pattern can be traced to its originator, Tom Bosworth, thanks to the writing of David Foster in his 1815 text, Scientific Angler: