Thursday, July 29, 2010

Confession: A bad day of happens

The saying goes, "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day doing anything else." Hmmmm. I think this is true only 99.5% of the time, as proven by a recent experience on my beloved North Fork of the Flathead in Northwest Montana. It wasn't THAT bad...only half-a-percentage bad. But that half-percentage will be hard to forget.

I started the day excited to shoot an episode of Trout TV with Glacier Raft Company on my home river. The North Fork is the western boundary to my stomping grounds, Glacier National Park. I know how to fish this river. Well, it's an easy river to fish. It's beautiful, clear and full of native Westslope Cutthroat trout that aren't too picky or spooky. I generally know which bugs to use and how to present them, since I guided fishing trips at GRC many years ago on the North Fork, and I still fish there often. I felt confident that we'd come away with an amazing episode. Plus, my friend and GRC veteran Marc Evans was our guide. He's among the very best in the biz, and is the most requested guide at the Company. So I knew he'd get us into fish and help me iron out the many crimps in my angling ability along the way.

That's what getting cocky gets ya.
A half-mile into our day, I boated a gorgeous 17" cutbow--the nicest fish I've caught on that stretch in awhile. I don't have any still pictures, because the biggest beauties are reserved strictly for video. Shortly afterward, Marc got me into a fat 15" cutty. Great start.
Then I missed a lunker.
Then I missed a LUNKER.
Then I caught no fewer than 45 8" cutbows.
Then I ate nine Nutter Butters and drank a Miller Lite.
Then I caught a bunch of whitefish--considered trashfish in our area.
Then I set the hook on what I thought was a fatty and ended up yanking a four-inch cutty up out of the water, over the boat and onto the other bank. I rescued the wee flying fish, jumped back into the boat and proceeded to whack a Batman Nymph on the rod in a frenzied back cast.
Then I BROKE one of Marc's shiny Winston rods in what can only be classified as a terrible quagmire of ego-shredding errors.

Then it got windy. Not tourist-fisherman windy, but legit windy. 30-mile-per-hour steady winds and even harder gusts made it impossible to get any good sound out of our microphones.
I kept casting. And despite the beefiest doublehaul I could muster, I tangled droppers. I over-mended. I under-mended. I sucked.

At one point Marc said, "Um, Hil, what can I do to get that look off your face?" I said, "Um, tell Trout TV to hire a host who can fish."

I'm definitely not the meltdown type. I've always felt privileged and grateful just to be on the water and fish. I swear I'm not a negative person, a whiner or fit-thrower. And I don't' think I'm a river diva... But that day, for just a moment, with my arm twitching as I threw as hard as I could through the angry wind, I remember pouting, a bad day doing anything else would be better than this day of fishing.

We rescheduled the shoot. We're going back to the North Fork later this month.
It will be another day. A super day. A day that will hopefully cancel out the stinkin' half-a-percentage that briefly ruined the old adage.
But I'm going to bring extra Nutter Butters and Miller Lite just in case.

Gear: Ross Reels Ltd. Edition Fly Reels

We are pleased to announce the upcoming availability of an exclusive, limited edition series of Momentum LT fly reels with a Tarpon photographic finish. All reels will be custom engraved with a special edition number. The finish of these reels is like nothing you have seen before! Once the reels have been anodized, a photographic image is then applied to each reel with a proprietary process. The photograph is actually absorbed into the anodized aluminum, providing incredible graphics and a finish that is more durable than anodize alone. It really is quite amazing! The special series is being produced in limited numbers and will be available in early August. Contact your local Ross dealer to place your order today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Orvis Podcast: Still Water Fly Fishing and Iphone Apps

Check out Orvis' Podcast page. In their latest offering Tom Rosenbauer talks about fly fishing still waters. I'll be listing through the headphones while fishing the corporate swamp. Also check out the pod from July 9th where they announce an upcoming Iphone app. No word as to if the button marked "Call Tom to ask which fly to use" actually works...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flounder coming back in a big way. Can you guess why?

There are more flounder in the shallow inside waters of NC than there has been in years. This happens to coincide with the reduction in both the amount of time and the amount of gear that gill netters can use... finally. Even though we did not get our gill net ban, at least we got something, and the fishing for both anglers and commercials can only get better from here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gear: Switch Vision's Magnetic Interchangeable Lens System

The first thing that I will say about Switch Vision's new sunglasses with their "Magnetic Interchangeable Lens System" is that they do not, under any circumstances float. More about that later. The second thing is that they most certainly do solve a problem faced by fly fishers who need to be able to spot fish in varying light conditions.

When I go fishing I generally start early and end late in the day. This means fishing in light conditions that run the gamut from morning fog, bright mid-day sun, to the low light conditions of dusk, all the while still trying to spot fish and appreciating the help and protection that good quality polarized lenses provide. I have found dark gray lenses to be an excellent choice for bright days casting in the tropics or even bright days on a small stream but in my opinion amber lenses which allow more light into the eye are much better for spotting trout on small blue line streams winding their way through dense forest canopy. Since most of us don't want to lug around two or three different pairs of sunglasses, interchangeable lenses that are easy to switch out on the water make sense.

Switch Vision has come up with a unique answer to this problem by creating a lens changing system that uses tiny yet powerful magnets to secure the lenses to their frames. The magnets hold the lenses firmly in place but also allow for a very quick change. The replacement lens literally jumps into the frame when you get it close. A lens change to a new color takes less that 5 seconds to complete.

In our sample set, the polarized lenses provided excellent clarity and vision was comparable other premium sunglasses I have worn. Weight was slightly heavier than other glasses with polycarbonate lenses. However they were still lighter than their counterparts equipped with glass lenses. I found the frames to be comfortable and the wrap around style did a great job of keeping light from seeping in at the sides of the frames.

The standard Switch product offering which retails for $249, comes with no less than three pairs of lenses. However only one pair in the set is polarized. Fishermen will want to create their own package with their choice of lenses. Two sets of polarized lenses in your choice of colors along with a low light amber non-polarized pair will run you $334, still comparable to the price of other premium brands with only one color option. The lens options come in their own individual "pods" which protect them and easily fit into the pocket of a fishing vest for quick access. One item we found odd was the lack of a hard case for the glasses themselves. Most brands at this price point come with a case but Switch includes a bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth. We wouldn't let this keep us from purchasing a set though as it is easy enough to pick one up at your local drug store.

Back to the part about them not floating, I discovered that fact when I inadvertently flung our sample set into a local black water lake while swatting at a large wasp with my hat. No amount of dredging the bottom brought them back to the surface. Switch Vision sunglasses with their innovative magnetic lens interchange system are available in a variety of styles from various retailers or via Prescription lenses are also available. If your vision needs include the ability to adapt different lenses to different lighting conditions these innovative glasses are an excellent option.

Sunday, July 04, 2010