Monday, March 3, 2014

Tying Trout, Thinking Steelhead, and Dreaming Carp

Day 87 of the Snowpocalypse...

Three days ago we exhausted our stores of craft beer and ate what was left of Charlie. Vodka is running low; we've been forced to cut it with orange Tang and grape Shasta. Only one bottle of scotch remains ... One bottle. Yesterday morning, Ana washed down two Xanax and an Ambien with half a bottle of Nyquil. Thirty minutes later she wandered off into the drifts singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman. We haven't seen her since; she was our only hope for re-population. God help us all.

It's that time of year when Jack Frost does his very best to remind us he's a badass. This year especially, winter is making it a point to keep its frigid little rat claws dug firmly into the northeast and Great Lakes regions. As of February 13th, ice covered 88.4% of all five of the Great Lakes. For the mathematically impaired, 88.4% is pretty damn close to 100%. In most high schools and junior colleges, 88.4% gets you on the honor roll. This is the year Frosty gives the valedictory address.

Wonder what it is that keeps that last 12% from freezing? ... warm springs? warm air? nuke plants?
And with an especially harsh winter comes a correspondingly bad case of the shack nasties. Cruise the Facebook fly fishing circles, and you'll see what I mean. Bug chuckers are everyday killing other bug chuckers. Steelhead usually help to assuage such senseless slaughter, but conditions have been poor for fishing and prime for nonsense. Let's hope spring comes soon. Fly guys sometimes thumb their noses at dropbacks, but this year a little dropback fishing might just save a life. Some people - myself among them - need desperately to get out of the house. 

As it does for many bug chuckers, tying flies helps me to assuage all the temperature induced craziness, and lately I've been a bug wrapping machine. My bugger barns are full to the point of being overfull. I gave dozens of last year's marabou monstrosities to a friend in order to make room for this year's batch, and still there are feathers sticking out past the seal of the waterproof boxes. In addition to all the usual suspects - buggers, zonkers, etc. - articulated behemoths will have a place in this year's stash. I first fished articulated flies some years ago, but I figure it's time I jump on the bandwagon in earnest.

The nymph boxes are also full. Just this morning I finished up the last few cased caddis, and tonight I'll start filling in the gaps amongst the dries. Of course, I'll have to see what remains from last season, but I already know I'm in need of hennies, olives, and green drakes. Maybe a week's work, which means that in only seven days I'll be back to daydreaming.

Winter dreams are warm dreams, aren't they? Steelhead have only just begun their spawning dance, trout season is not yet open, and already I've carp on the brain. I've plans, big plans. If even a few come to fruition then I should have plenty of blog fodder come August. This year, my flies and my tippets will be lighter. Time spent stalking the flats has taught me that lead eyes and beads spook fish. This year, the weight is gone and most of my carp bugs will be little more than chemically sharpened steel wire and blended fur. I'll get to tying them just as soon as I've wrapped up those drakes.

And so goes day 87 of the Snowpocalypse. I think it's colder now than when I began this post, and tomorrow is likely to be colder still. I suppose I'll survive; I suppose we'll all survive, but I don't see any way we make it out of the season completely unscathed. It's too damn nasty out there.


Jimmy said...


JoMo said...

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