Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trout Opener, opened up a can on me.

Trout Opener was today!  Since most everything on the east side of the valley is going to be blown out, I decided to try a new stretch of creek I haven't fished before...While I didn't run into a whole lot of people fishing, I failed to avoid the hordes of briars and blackberry bushes effectively blockading the creek.  I did manage to leave my wading sandals at home, so I had to dig around the back of my truck for a substitute.  Lo and behold I find a pair of sketchers moccasins and some bright yellow converse look alikes...Sketchers it is! Of course, now the half-dozen blisters around my swollen ankles are making me rethink my earlier decision. 

Let's talk about cold water. Now, I left my old pair of wading boots for dead on the last Steelhead trip I made out here in January of 2011.  Who needs wading boots in Texas, right?  I then proceeded to procrastinate on securing that pair of korkers I've been eyeballing, so I says, "okay, I'll just wet-wade the summer and get a new pair before the fall.  I won't need waders!"   Wwwwwwwwwwwrong!!!!!
This water was so cold, my feet are still tingling. No joke, and I have been out of the water for at least 4 hours.  Numbing, bone-aching cold! Bottom of a snow melt filled lake cold! So cold, that....well, you get the idea.  If it ain't 70 degrees or better, I ain't used to it.  It's a good thing it numbed my feet and legs down, though because I'm sure it would have been a lot more painful crashing through that brush.

Anyway, I will most likely not willingly make a trip back to this particular section if I have other options.  I did however, NOT get skunked on the opener, thanks to Marc's suggestion to keep fishing the water we were on.  Picked up a little 10 incher under the bridge.  I also lost a bruiser.  A fairly gentle deep riffle gave way to a deep side pocket of still water behind a submerged tree.  On about my third drift over the tree, my mend got away from me and my fly skated, RIGHT out of the way of a porpoising trout!  Whew, thank GOD he didn't get my fly, that was too close for comfort! the bastard!  So one more drift to the inside, one more a little closer....and he's not there.  I was just dinking around with the dry flies, I hadn't seen anything rising, Marc and I did see some yellow sallys sputtering up.  I figured one more drift and this spot is toast.  I'm just gonna move upstream and *GOLP* HOLY*&%$ raise and set! She ripped across into the still water, realized how bad of an idea that was and came back to me.  I knew she had a little size, but she was coming in across the riffle easy.  One sight of my legs about 20 feet away, I see her roll (she's at least 18) and she is into "OH F&*% NO" mode. Before I could even react, she is bolting for a stump across the stream, and I'm running down and hauling her back. She had been caught before for sure.  She successfully hung me on the stump! I waded over, mumbling over and over "please still be there", and sure enough, I reach down and free the line and downstream she goes, right into the trees. So now, I'm bulldogging these trees in waist deep water, trying desperately to knock my fly line and leader out of the submeged branches, and I feel the *tick* of my tippet breaking. Lost a good fly, and a Great fish. No hard feelings sweetheart, I tried to get that hook out of your lip.

On second thought, I might head back that way sometime in the future.  That was a damn fine Stimulator, and I kinda want my fly back.

Here's the original California Trip. Full of entertainment. I apologize for the filler vids, but I need to get some better editing software.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Californy Bound

Here it is, the much anticipated road trip video.  I apologize for the lack of excitement, but was the smoothest roadtrip I've ever had with the most amazing road warrior I know.  Thanks Shauna!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goin' to California with an achin' in my heart.

I know you’ve all been waiting for it.  Well, here it is. I have finally fallen victim to the blogging world.  For those of you who are interested in reading a good blog…I apologize.  For those of you who take offense to anything that might be conjured up in these ramblings…You can talk to my attorney, Mr. Gonzo.

Capn’s log. Day……  ‘Twas a morning like any other.  Only, I knew that 2100 miles lay between me and a restful night’s sleep in a strange bed in a familiar place.  We were nowhere going somewhere.  Ready to hit the road, but still packing. We were ready….mostly.  Billie and Shauna and their trusty companion, me, awoke at the crack of 7:30 a.m.  I’d had my tearful goodbyes, bid my adieus, so-longs, farewells, and aufwiedersehens.  The freight train was runnin’ and I knew it was time to go. Bags packed, trailer hitched up tight, tires full and spirits fuller, we prepped the last prep and the backup preps, shook hands with the always delightful, the great, Don Alcala and started the old ford north on I-37.  We gassed up and gassed down and made pretty good time through the Hill Country and the West Texas plains.  Never again on this trip would time seem to melt away as it did through such beautiful country as that northwest of San Antone.  It kinda wore on my homesick side a bit. 
I really had one helluva time in the last weeks I was in Texas.  I really felt the love, guys, thanks. I hope you all know how terribly I am going to miss ya.  Ted, had a great time geocaching, and doing what we do best. Just being good ol’ boys.  CK, Blake and Chris, awesome shiddy night of bowfishing.  Grand way to stretch those East Texas roots. Dandy  D and Mr. Jeff Mac…having you guys put on such a great show for us and enjoying that good ol’ down home brisket was a real treat.  The only thing to top off that Greatest Catsquirrel performance at the Old Quarter would have been if Jeff’s guitar had caught on fire and Mr. Townes Van Zandt had stepped right out of the wall and applauded with tears in his eyes.  Phenomenal, dudes. Dad, helluva party.  Mom, Love ya, come and see me.  What an honor and a privilege to have you all as my rock; my head to stand on….But, I digest.

On into Las Cruces I pushed, no thanks to the BBC Wildlife channel on NPR.  Christ, half the time, the only thing keeping me awake was trying to translate the gibberish on the Ipod via Rosetta Stone and figure out when we went from talking about butterflies to friggen Pine Martens. With the help of Daniel Driver’s poetic voice and Jeff Mac’s seduction of the strings, we did arrive safe and sleepy.  Seriously, anybody who hasn’t gotten a copy of their music, let me know.  ‘Round  2:30 in the a.m., we roll into the Fina ( after getting 19 MPG in the ford, mind you) and instantly hit it off with Las Cruces’ finest and most dedicated.  At 2:30 in the morning in that Fina, 5 hours into the shift knowing I STILL had 3 to go…I don’t think I could still be coherent, and all of the little airplane bottles of liquor and 5-hour energy would be dead, and Witchy Woman would be rocking over the P.A.

4 hours of snoozing, fitfully I might add, and we were On The Road Again.  A few hillbilly wrong turns, cutting across the wal mart parking lot, and we were out.  Aside from a little traffic north of Tucson, we maintained a steady pace, arriving in Phoenix to meet Shauna’s mom.   Delightful company, and a lovely host. After our brief stay, we cruised on north to I-40 via some long and winding back highways.  What a LOOOOOOOOng night.  We kept rolling all the way up the mountains, down the mountains, and through Needles.  First sketchy looking gas station in the middle of the hilly open desert we see, and it’s time for a luxurious nap in the back of the truck.  Man, that platform sleeps nice.  Awoke the next morning to gas at $5.39 a gallon…Me thinks I’d rather push the damn truck to Barstow.  Kinda funny how if you own a gas station in the middle of nowhere and you are right on the California side of the Arizona border, you can unwillingly sodomize anyone who stops by.  We pressed onward, braving the prospect of running out of gas in the middle of the Mojave, to Barstow, where, after a few moments of consideration and a quick 2 mile turn around detour, we replenished our fuel supply.  Friends, I wish I could say it was a more enthralling ride from there to Red Bluff, but it wasn’t.  We did make a stop in Tehachapi (home of one of the largest wind power producers) to sample the wares of the Apple Shed.  Not a drop of apple wine in the place.  Our next point of interest would be the HORRIFIC Sacramento rush hour traffic.  Lots of fun when you are dragging a uhaul.  Finally, around 8 p.m. we wearily arrived at our destination, Camp Sasquatch.    It was a great ride, to say the least.  Very glad to see that the third time across country really is a charm.  Still settling in, so the posts might be coming a little slowly, but they will pick up.  For now, I bid you all a fond farewell and I extend an invitation to any of you who are so bold as to break the mold of your confining drudgery to come out and see me.  I guarantee you will not leave un-awed and enamored with the beauty that is Northern California, my new home. 
I'll post the video of the trip soon.

Stay Shiddy!