Friday, August 29, 2008

Alaska Week: Check this out on Sunday

Alaska week is coming to a close - Check out this webcam from downtown Anchorage and I might just wave to you. Any readers in the Anchorage area feel free to look me up in the bar of the Hilton Hotel.

Hopefully we will have plenty of tall tales and fish porn as the result of this trip to the North country. The plan for the next few weeks is to sort through the photos and video and prepare for the Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alaska week interrupted...

This story via takes us into Mexican waters but is so amazing that I simply had to interrupt Alaska week to point you to it. Five men aboard an offshore angling boat struck somehow end up inside a giant tuna pen in Mexican waters with no easy way out. Now they have to contend with a Mexican gun ship set on boarding them, some ticked off fish farmers, and need a big time assist from the US Coast Guard. What do they do? Fish of course...
It didn't sound like Mexico was standing down behind the scenes. Nichols said the Coast Guard reminded the anglers to keep Mexican officials from boarding "under any circumstances." If the sailors attempted to seize the SeƱor Hefe, they would be in violation of international law.
Everyone fished calmly, but Saputo and the others wondered what would happen. Once the pen was open, the rules would change.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alaska Week: Just how close to Russia are we?

We thought things would be safer the further we got from Atlanta but then we find out that Russian Bombers are making runs along the Alaska coast in what Condoleezza Rice calls a "dangerous game" in a recent Kansas Article.
"We've had Russian strategic aviation challenging in ways they haven't, even along our borders with the United States, which I might note is a very dangerous game and perhaps one that I suggest the Russians want to reconsider. This is not one that is cost-free," Rice said.
And we thought our trip would only involve fish and wildlife. Now we have to be prepared to go all Swayze at a moment's notice. The Editorial Trophy Wife would certainly make a hotter (post rhino) Jennifer Grey.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Alaska Week: Poor Poor Mickey

You can be we have a few of these Orvis Mouse Flies in our box. We consider this weeks Alaska Trip to be an all out field test.

Big browns feed at night and big Alaskan rainbows love to whack a lemming or two when they get in the water. The Mouse Fly is the ticket for both. Great realism as you swim it across a river. Fish it near banks where the high grass grows when the wind is blowing or at night. Make sure it plops on the water and then swim it across. Just don't freak out when the hit comes. Color, Natural. Size: 4.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Bluff Hole

My brother in law just got back from a trip to Rockbridge, Mo. and I thought I would see what's new at The Trout and Game Ranch. (

The fine folks at Rockbridge have recently opened another 1/4 mile stretch which includes two new dams. There is now a catch and release section where you can fish for rainbow trout that average two pounds. I have gone every year since my first fly fishing experience, but I have not had the oportunity to fish the new section or participate in the catch and release program. If you have not had a chance to visit Rockbridge, I reccomend it as a great place to learn how to fly fish. There are plenty of large fish and they don't know that they are not wild trout. I took my oldest daughter last year and she landed about twenty fish on her first fly fishing experience. Most of the trout were at least two pounds and one was close to four pounds. We both can't wait to go back.

They have a fly shop, resturant, The Grist Mill Bar, motel type rooms, as well as houses to rent. If you are looking for a great place to take your family where you can hunt fish and just relax; you might want to try The Rockbridge Trout and Game Ranch in Southern Mo.


It's Alaska Week at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bristol Bay: Checking it out First Hand...

I'll be heading for Alaska this weekend to spend a few days at the Rainbow Point Lodge where I plan to do just as much fishing for Rainbow trout as the Editorial Trophy Wife will allow. One part of the trip I am excited about is getting a first hand look at the fishery that stands to suffer most at the hands of the forces behind the Pebble Gold Mine. If things go against those who are trying to protect the fishery such as the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska, this may turn out to be a true "once in a lifetime" trip. I am bring along a few gigs of digicam memory and an ample supply of Mini DV tapes in hopes of documenting what I find.
Don't expect much in the way of blogging while I am in the area. The laptop will be left behind in Carolina (my 70lb float plane allotment being taken up with more important things) and the crackberry should be well out of its operational range. I asked the proprietor about Internet access and he mentioned that they might be able to make something work with the satellite phone. I wisely told him not to worry about it.
By fortuitous coincidence we might even run into's Western Correspondent, Ali Hassan as he has rescheduled his "work" trip so that our paths might cross on Sunday night. He will be refining processes and trying to get his allotment of Silver Salmon. Me, I am looking for big bow's on mouse flies (however, eggs are more likely this time of year). The trophy wife wants to see glaciers, Moose, Elk, and Grizzly Bears. Hopefully all will be successful.
With all that said, Here is a dispatch we received from the American Fly Fishing Retailers Association that calls for action by Alaskans and concerned fly anglers.

AFFTA and the fly fishing industry are adamantly opposed to the development of The Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. All Alaska residents need to stop this potential environmental boondoggle next week by voting YES on Ballot Measure #4. If you are not a resident of Alaska but you know someone who is, urge him or her to vote YES on Ballot Measure #4 on August 26.

Robert Kaplan with Alaskans for Clean Water asked AFFTA to forward the following information to all fly fishing enthusiasts

The mining industry has just dropped another $3.5 million into the campaign to defeat Ballot Measure #4. They have pulled out all the stops and are saying and doing whatever they can to defeat us. The result of this unprecedented onslaught of lies is that voter support for Ballot Measure #4 has started to slip.
If we are to stop the slide, and undertake additional efforts in the face of this unprecedented onslaught, then we now must raise money NOW to ensure we are competitive with our media and mail, and to turn out our voters on election day. Because our message is stronger, we still don't need to match the mining industry dollar-for dollar, we just need to remain competitive with our message. If we cannot do that, then we will lose the election. There are no limits on how much anyone can contribute and corporate contributions are acceptable. Contributions of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 or more are urgently needed and would be greatly appreciated. Checks can be payable to "Alaskans For Clean Water" and sent via overnight mail to 1503 W. 31st Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99503. Contributions can also be made online at
The website also has updated information on the campaign, including several of our recent television commercials. Without a change of law by a vote of the people, change is slow... if it ever comes. In the fight to stop Pebble Mine, time is not on our side. Passage of Ballot Measure #4, creates the change we all

State Record Caught on Barbie Rod

The Charlotte Observer is reporting a new North Carolina state record 21 lb Channel Catfish has been caught in a Wilkes county private pond. This record comes with a twist as the behemoth was landed on the Barbie rod pictured in the above photo (Courtesy of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission).

David Hayes landed the fish, which weighed 21 pounds, one ounce, on Aug. 5 in a private pond in the northwestern North Carolina county. He was fishing with his granddaughter Alyssa, 3, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said.

So how did a grown man end up with a Barbie rod in his hand? Was it the typical "here, let me show you how to do it" that my own offspring has to deal with when fishing with dad?

"After catching two or three bluegill, Alyssa turns to me and says 'Papa, I've got to go to the bathroom. Hold my fishing rod,'" Hayes recalled

Isn't that how it always happens? The new record holder indicates that he is waiting for the sponsorship offers to start rolling in. Rumor is that the first reward will be new car (a bit on the small side) or perhaps even a Dreamhouse.

Head nod to the Editorial Trophy wife for finding this one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jay Moore: Tenn. Tailwater Slam

While we were out carping Middle Tennessee Editor, Jay Moore was busy catching.

Saturday Aug. 16th I had the opportunity to fish the Caney Fork river in Middle Tn. The Caney has become even more popular since the introduction of brook trout to the river this year. People are coming from all over for the chance to catch a brown, a rainbow, and a brookie all in the same day. Saturday was the first time since February that I could fish my favorite spot before generation.
When I got to the river it was still dark, so I tied on a size twelve thin mint by the light of the cargo lamp on my truck and carefully made my way out to a fallen tree that has always produced fish. Before it was light enough to change flies, I had hooked and landed 15 fish. The first three were a brown, brook, and a rainbow in that order. I would like to think I planned it that way, but it was just dumb luck. The brook trout are growing rapidly and are a blast to catch. If you have never caught a brookie, you can expect a lot of jumps and tail walking and in general, a good fight despite their size.
I ended up with 43 fish landed in a little over three hours of fishing. All were caught on a thin mint or a size 16 zebra midge in black or blue. That's the most I have ever hauled in in one day. By 9:30 the water was coming up and it was time for me to go. In middle Tn. we are truly fortunate to have access to some beautiful rivers and some great fishing. If you ever come this way, look me up and we'll give it a try.

J. H. Moore

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dems not buying fly rods?

One shop owner worries about his sales during the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado. Via
Not everyone is so sure. Around the corner at Tewksbury & Company, manager Bryan Klein worries security and traffic concerns will keep regulars away, and scheduled convention events may cut down the number of visitors dropping by. His store sells Colorado wines, tobacco and fly fishing supplies, and it books guided trout fishing trips.

"We've heard a lot of businesses are going to be closed," Klein says, citing traffic worries. "I know I'm going to have to find a new route into town."
Don't worry though the real movers and shakers in the fly fishing world will be in Denver during September. However they might not be buying much outside of the convention center either.
Middle Tennessee Editor Jay Moore and I will be providing full coverage of the Fly Fishing Retailer show as well as sneaking in a bit of Colorado fishing. Be sure to check in for our coverage. If you are out there be sure to look us up at Dick Cheney's Sunglasses booth.

Carp on the fly - Carp 32 Murdock 1

Capt. Paul Rose of Carolina

Until recently if you wanted to get some weird looks from your fishing buddies all you had to do was tell them that you had decided to target carp on the fly. Comments would run the gamut from "what do you use? Pellet flies" to a simply "Why?" It didn't take long (and a bit of $4 per gallon gas) for folks to realize that an abundant supply of large, very wary, very hard fighting fish in our local lakes might just deserve a look from the long rodders.

Many of you may have noted that I have been reading up on and tossing a few flies to carp from the banks of some of our area lakes. Out of three short trips I had managed only one short lived hook up with Mr. Rubberlips. My luck changed when I realized that one of the experts in the field, Captain Paul Rose, lived just down the road from the corporate compound. This past weekend Captain Rose and I spent a day on a little known area body of water stalking mud flats for carp in his Hell's Bay skiff.

The following is a sample of how the day went:

Captain Rose: Ok 10 O'clock about 30 feet out.
Me: Where? I don't see him.
CR: Look for the orange tail, he just flashed at you.
Me: I still don't see him.
CR: Think brown trout.
Me: Oh Ok I've got him.
CR: Cast quick he's moving.
Me: (casting)
CR: You're behind him. Quick throw again. Slow down your backcast.
Me: Dang it...

Then later the same day (after shots at many many fish).

CR: Two fish 12 O'clock, throw at the front one.
Me: Where, I don't see them...Oh wait there it is...
CR: Hurry they are coming towards us now. They'll see the boat soon.
Me: (casting)more like flailing wildly.
CR: You're short - leave it though, he's looking at it. He ate it...
Me: (raising my rod as though setting the hook on a six inch long brook trout)Dang it, missed him...
CR: Well, at least he ate... That's an eat! I think we've had two more eat but I wouldn't swear to it.

You could tell that the good Captain was thinking an "eat" might be the best his angler could do that day. Let's just say that the skill set of your average small stream trout angler, namely me, did not translate well to a world that required pin point casts to moving targets that spook at the first sign of seizure induced casting mechanics. As the day continued Captain Rose put me in front of countless fish with only two short hookups and many many goof ups that were the result of me attempting to spot the fish, hit the target at the right time, detect the strike and then remember to strip strike instead of raising my rod. I could sense that Paul was getting worried for me when he almost took me seriously as I asked what kind of strike indicators did he use for carp?

Passing a bass boat with two angler's:

Bass guys: Catchin' any?
CR: Seeing lots of fish!
Bass guys: There's a brush pile just ahead of you.
CR: We don't target trash fish.
Bass guys: (looking befuddled and scratching their heads) Whatever.

The day was just about to come to an end when Captain Rose decided we would try one last spot. As we pulled into the cove I nervously took my spot on the casting deck and checked off a list in my head.

Line ready, I'm not standing on it, am I?
Fly in hand. That sure is a pretty fly. Wonder if he ties them himself?
Remember, roll cast, water haul, Is that stick moving?
Keep the backcast slow...

Then my daydream is interrupted as Captain Rose points out a fish at 12:00. My cast is slightly long but the fish does not spook and continues to come towards the boat. I strip in line and bring the fly past the fish and in front of him where I let it fall towards the bottom. Orange lips open and the fly is inhaled. Miraculously I don't raise my rod and instead set the hook with a short, sharp, strip of line. The fish is on and pulling line from the stripping basket. After a celebratory hoot I realize I have to land this thing and ask Captain Rose for advice. He responds that I am "on my own now, just don't break him off!" I didn't and after a five minute fight to keep him out of the brush piles I managed to get the golden fish into the boat.

Photo Credit: The Editor's Father (Rev. Murdock)

Carp in the shallows is about as close as a Carolina angler can come to stalking bonefish without purchasing an airline ticket. The fish are smart, have great vision, and will not often tolerate a flubbed cast. It was very exciting to think that I could work on the same skills that it takes to go after salt water gamefish in my own backyard.

Captain Paul Rose is the man behind and has been featured in several area publications. Watch for future articles from Paul about tips and tricks for seeking the golden ghosts of the mud flats with a fly rod.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Youth Fly Fishing Team USA 4th in Portugal

Reports from the world of competitive fly fishing bring news of a strong showing for Youth Fly Fishing Team USA as they place 4th at the World Youth Fly Fishing Championships. North Carolina's own Caleb Boyle was among the strong individual finishers placing 15th overall.
Visit Caleb's website or the Team USA site for more info.
Congratulations Caleb.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Patagonia Supports Stripers Forever

Via Patagonia fly fishing gear guru Straq and his Way Upstream blog comes news of an inititive by Patagonia to fund the activities of conservation group Stripers Forever. The funding will come from a portion of the proceeds from the sale of snazzy looking tee shirts.
From the Way Upstream post:
Stripers Forever is an organization working to have striped bass designated as a gamefish. This designation will stop commercial exploitation across the Eastern Seaboard. Patagonia will make a five-dollar donation to the group for every purchase of the Striper T-Shirt. Renowned artist and angler, Alan James Robinson created the original artwork (back graphic) displayed on this soft, 100% organic cotton tee. The neck rib contains a touch of spandex to help retain its shape. Check with a Patagonia dealer or retail store near you or click on the striper t-shirt link above to make a purchase.
You may remember that Stripers Forever was one of the groups highlighted in the 2007 annual charitable giving guide.

Best Natural Disaster to Ruin A Fishing Trip..'s Western correspondent and resident Sultan of Slabs, Ali Hassan, wins this week's award for best natural disaster to cancel a fishing trip. Ali was scheduled to fly to one of our day job's Alaska locations for a "work trip." In addition to the grueling work related functions on his plate, he had managed to sneak in a recuperative salmon fishing excursion. However, the fates were against him as his flight was canceled due to no less than a volcanic eruption in the Aleutian Islands.
Alaska Airlines said it canceled 44 flights between the most northern U.S. state and domestic and Canadian destinations after ash from the Kasatochi Volcano in the western Aleutians drifted over the southeast Alaska panhandle and parts of western Canada.
Apparently volcanic ash is heck on jet engines. Ali's adventure unseats the previous record for largest natural disaster to disrupt a fishing trip which occurred when the crew had to flee Arkansas' White River just hours ahead of Hurricane Katrina.
Our own (non company funded) Alaska trip is set to leave the tarmac in 10 days. We are relieved to see the calamity getting out of the way early this time.
Photo via

No one ever accused us of being timely...

Monday, August 11, 2008

DVD Review: The Search Tahiti

Ask any dedicated angler and they will most likely tell you that no matter how good the fishing is where they live, they have spent some time pouring over maps looking for new water to try. The Search Tahiti from Gin Clear Media tells this same sort of tale as it chronicles the story of a group of fly anglers who set off from their home waters in trout rich New Zealand on a search for big bonefish on virgin salt flats.

Most fly fishers would take a map or a rumor and venture to drive a few hours in search of promising fishing. However, how many would hop a freighter to French Polynesia's 120 remote islands in search of a new fishery? (if our wives would let us and money wasn't and issue maybe a few more of us.) Throw in razor sharp coral heads, the fact that food and water are almost non-existent, and sharks that have seen so few people that they simply think of them as more food and you begin to get an idea what they are up against.

The scenery is beautiful and the film does a great job of giving you a sense of both the area and the culture of the islands. It also does not pull any punches or allow any illusions that this kind of exploratory fishing does not come with the very real risk that you could travel a great distance only to come up empty in the bonefish department. I like the part where the angler who planned the trip worries what his buddies might do to him if they go all that way only to find no bonefish. I can only think what my fishing com padres might consider.

I won't spoil it for you but they do find the bones and when all the moving parts come together they end up in a pristine lagoon that lends itself to the feeling that these might just be the first anglers to ever cast a line in its waters.

Other highlights not to be missed include fly fishing off of the back of a coconut boat and an excellent look at ongoing research into bonefish genetics. Be sure not to miss the "trout strike" short in the special features. It will ring true with any trout fisher who has tried their hand in the salt.

"The Search Tahiti" from Gin Clear Media runs 63 minutes and is available via their web store for NZ 49.90 (that's around $35 US) including a 28 page photo booklet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Orange County Snakehead

I didn't notice this until I was already on my way out of Middletown, NY last week but it seems I wasn't the only invasive specie in the area.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Gear: Dissolving Shaving Paper

The TSA's rules limiting the carrying on of liquids and gels have been "front of jet lagged mind" lately as I have been traveling quite a bit on business. I, like many travelers, prefer not to check my luggage if at all possible. I have no issue trading off the lugging of a bag through the terminal for the satisfaction of getting off the plane and to my destination as quickly as possible.
One issue when packing for carry on, has always been getting a small shaving cream into that quart sandwich bag allowed by the TSA. Recently I came across these dissolving shaving papers in a travel store and have used them on recent trips.
Simply add a small amount of water to 1-2 sheets of shaving soap and work up lather in your palm with your fingertips. Massage onto your skin and enjoy your usual shave.
While you won't get the amount of lather you Barbasol users are accustomed to, a couple of sheets (be sure to pull them from the box with your dry hand) will generate enough soapy goodness to get the job done.
If you are a hiker or backwoods angler for whom both grooming and weight are an issue, these sheets which come in shampoo, body wash, and shaving varieties might just come in handy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jobs that probably do not suck

This guy has one. Patagonia fly fishing gear guy. New dad. Moldy Chum founder. Need I say more?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rodless in New York

The next few days finds me near Middletown, NY and not far from places on the map with names like Willowemoc and Neversink. A full schedule of meetings and no travel rod means I'm at the mercy of the day job.

The Salmon news from Alaska isn't good as the Anchorage Daily News is reporting that state fish and game officials are tightening limits on red salmon.

The sockeye salmon management goal for the Kenai is 750,000 to 950,000 reds past the sonar by the time the run starts to end in mid-August. As of Sunday, less than 500,000 had made it past the sonar, even with Fish and Game's reduction in commercial fishing.

While you are there check out the pro-mining ad that is running in their sidebar.

Also in the news via The Great Falls Tribune is an 11 year old boy from Montana who ties flies and sells them at his local farmer's market. We applaud his industriousness however, if my own offspring were to spend a lot of time at the vise I might turn into the male equivalent of a "stage-mother".

My mom encourages me to tie five flies a day if I sell a lot," said Bernhardt, who's been selling about 30 flies a week during the summer. "Some take a long time, some take just a little bit."
Bernhardt has had to work hard to stay stocked up these days, since he's been selling his creations each week at the Farmers Market

New Tennessee state records for Gizzard Shad hit the books as reports two friends who take turns being the record holder.

"I hated to beat his record, so I let him file his paperwork so he could get his state record certificate," Hawk said. "That way he can always say he had the state record."

The fly fishing Illuminati (currently about 70 miles to our South) are finally taking a stand against men over the age of six wearing Crocs.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Road Trip: Myrtle Beach, SC

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No fishing on this trip as this is the trophy wife's birthday getaway. I did manage to drag her into the fairly new company owned Orvis store located in the Market Common here in Myrtle Beach, SC. The Market Common shopping / condo complex was developed on the site of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and it has come a long way from the rows and rows of base housing that I remember from my elementary school days.

The staff was great and the store has a huge selection including a full featured fly shop. It has to be the largest Orvis store I have been in to date. One of the employees told me that they had been open since April but the Market Common area was just now starting to catch on.