Is it warm enough to wet wade?
Do you think it's going to rain or not?
Where's the trail?
No seriously, where the hell is the trail?
Hey Wild Water, nice to see you again, it's been too long!
This week I had several rod socks head out of my shop and into the world.
They were all different sizes, color variations, and styles.
I continue to be amazed by how many rod builders there are out there and how different their ideas of a perfect rod sock are!
It's really great to play a small part in the building process.
These are just a selection of some!
Here's an update of what I'm offering and the pricing:
Standard six - ounce cotton twill sock - $25.00
Standard six - ounce cotton twill sock with flannel lining - $35.00
Shown below are a few of my most popular fabric color options.
Standard six - ounce cotton twill sock with ferrule plug pocket - $25.00 PLUS $5.00 per pocket
With my pocket, there's no buttons, clasps, or velcro, which could be potentially damaging to the rod. Instead, I'm utilizing the cuff which runs around the sock, keeping the plug secure while rod is in use.
Thanks so much to all those who've ordered socks!
It's really been a phenomenal experience and I look forward to "meeting" more builders and making many more custom rod socks!
If you're interested in a sock or would like more information, please fill out the form below or feel free to e mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
That's right, folks, my countdown is officially over! Spring has sprung!
To welcome in the season Jacob and I hit our favorite stretch of water, proudly sporting t-shirts, and tossing the flannels away. The water was cold and clear, and bugs of all shapes and sizes flew all around us. It was truly a perfect spring day.
And, best of all, the curse of the rainbow has also ended!
Bring on the Browns!!
This river trip, as all river trips, was much needed. I've spent a considerable amount of time emailing and calling my state representatives. I work from home, so in a sense, it's consumed my days and honestly caused me to become a bit slack in my duties.
Full disclosure, this is probably not healthy.
Spending my time on the water was healing, as always, but especially more so yesterday.
As always, the river showed me what I needed to see.
While the majority of the country is arguing about "Russia" and "wiretapping," I've been concerned with my rivers. Overturning the Stream Protection Rule and rescinding the Clean Water Rule are harmful acts, ultimately resulting in devastation. Damage, which will happen rapidly and take far longer to repair.
We've had problems with companies in North Carolina dumping chemicals into our water systems even when it was illegal; it scares me to think what's going to happen when the regulations are lifted.
Will the French Broad still house smallmouth for me to catch in the summer?
How many miles of trout water will become extinct?
Will I still have clean water to drink?
Does the next generation even have a shot at living a life like I do?
We have a curious little creature here in Western North Carolina that is said to determine the "healthiness" of a river system, the hellbender.
It's a peculiar river being, and their very existence has been in decline for quite some time. You see, a hellbender cannot survive in a polluted, damed, or even over harvested river systems. Basically, they don't play well with irresponsible humans.
Finding this guy reminded me that all my worry may just be legitimate. That cold, clean water is something worth fighting for, it's something that needs protecting, something that deserves a voice.
Because I'd like to spend the rest of my life looking forward to spring fishing.
This past weekend I lucked out and got to go fishing when I didn't think I'd be able to. This week, was another story.
I've been confined to the house thanks to Winter apocalypse storm Stella. Not that we received any horrific snow down in these here parts, but we did get frigid temperatures and extreme wind.
So, I spent my days dreaming and looking through photos of warmer days.
Believe it or not, this wet wading, after work, fishing expedition was exactly one year ago to the week.
I'm over waders and multiple layers.
My fingers are over being cold and fumbling when tying on a fly.
I'm ready for spring.
Fishing was out of the question this weekend. There was too much to do. Jacob had a guide trip. Winter had finally hit Western North Carolina after months of being in the 60s. There was no point and no time anyway. I had geared myself for being stir crazy and bored. This is life, and you don't always get to go fishing, unfortunately.
I got the call at 10:30 to pack on the layers, we were going fishing.
Jacob's clients were unable to get out of the B&B where they were staying. There was snow on the ground, a whopping 2 inches, but in the south, those are grounds to stay in and out of the blizzard.
We arrived to find no one else in sight, despite the fact that it was nearly 12:30 by the time we found our way to the river and most of the snow was already history.
The gin clear water called for long leaders and short casts, but the trout were stacked up everywhere and on fire.
My weekend of "great un-expectations" turned into an unforgettable one.
Like fishing, you never know what life is going to throw your way. Whether it's good or bad, and so you take it in stride because you know right upstream something great is waiting for you.
It's been a long time since I've dabbled in the world of making videos. Not that I was ever an accomplished videographer by any means, but I always enjoyed the process. To be honest, I love anything that involves being behind a camera.
Recently I was offered an opportunity to help a friend out with a presentation he's doing for a local bamboo gathering we're having in the area.
I figured it might be time to brush up on my skills.
So, I decided to spend the day hovering over Jacob's shoulder while he was wrapping a rod.
I'm still nowhere near being an accomplished film maker, and maybe I won't every be, but here's to always pushing yourself and learning new things!
What's something you're learning?
I first heard the term "Boo Widow" on our blog just about a year ago. I had no idea what it meant, and so I decided to google the phrase. I was left even more confused and slightly offended.
Don't google it.
Later on that night I shared it with Jacob, and he explained that it was a term for wives/girlfriends who have been left by the wayside for the love of bamboo. He tried to convince me that I was not one of these women, but I knew better.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am a Boo Widow.
But, that's ok. I'm even a little bit proud of the term.
You see, Jacob is not going out and having adventures without me, I get to tag along on every one.
He hasn't "traded me in" for anything better, he's simply found an art form that he loves and his fondness shows.
I'm privileged enough to be able to watch a stick of bamboo become a fly rod. Get to see the horrific vintage rods come home and leave a couple of months later restored to their original beauty.
I know what a ferrule wrap is, the difference in guides, what goes into making a reel seat or grip. I now understand the differences in hardware's and tapers and how to scarf a tip. I've acquired quite the education and a pretty impressive vocabulary to boot, which makes me appear a whole lot more intelligent than I am.
I've even been able to find my little corner of the rod building world through my rod socks. I've had the privilege of meeting and working with some incredibly talented builders that I would never have had the opportunity to.
Jacob just recently finished restoring a South Bend rod. Right now he's rewrapping a few guides on a vintage fiberglass, and I'm preparing to sew up some socks, all because I get to be a Boo Widow.
I've got this little metal plaque hanging overly desk where I write and edit my photos. I got it this past Christmas from my mom. It just reads:
"Your mountain is waiting so get on your way."
Thanks, Dr. Suess and Mom.
I look at it as a daily reminder to get at it, get going, nothing is impossible, and also the San Juan Mountains are waiting for me to get back.
It's hard in life not to get discouraged when you don't accomplish as much as you'd like in the time frame you determined was acceptable. You start to get down on yourself and doubt your abilities. It's a basic human reaction, a flaw if you will. Thankfully there's a group of people out there that help remind me daily that A) my situation is nowhere near dire and B) absolutely nothing is impossible.
We've all seen those really cool Rod Vaults driving down road a time or two. If you're on social media, I'm sure you've noticed #FlyGalFriday, and if you're really lucky you've witnessed a Roof Top Tent parked next to your favorite river. So, who are these guys behind all this really cool fishy stuff?
If you haven't read the story behind the folks at Denver Outfitters, it's one of the most amazing stories about overcoming unthinkable odds.
Photo Credit: Denver Outfitters - Our Story
In their own words, it is the "story of seven young men & women who took a business worth less than nothing …And in less than two years turned it into a company valued in the millions!"
I'd sit here and paraphrase and type out their story, but I truly wouldn't do it justice. Instead, you should just watch this video:
I have so many great memories in my short five years spent fly fishing; each one is special and unique in its way, places and fish that I day dream about daily. Sure, I've haven't fished in any "exotic" locations. I've never caught any record breaking fish. Hell, I've never even fished in anything but a mountain river, but that doesn't matter.
Recently I had one of those memorable days; I met one of those unforgettable fish.
I've often made jokes about my love of Brown trout, how the other species of trout don't count, how bored I get in the winter with the influx of rainbows. They're truly just jokes, but brown trout do hold a special place in my heart. I'm even slightly infamous in these here mountains for my "brown trout dance." It's silly, I know, but I just can't help myself.
Jacob and I found ourselves right in the middle of an explosive hatch on the Davidson. The "D" is a river that you're not supposed to be able to fish drys, let alone get a fish to take it. It's Midge water, 14-foot leaders, 6, 7, sometimes even 8 and 9x tippet. Crazy-picky fish. After an hour of fishing in the "acceptable" fashion and landing an average number of pretty good fish, Jacob and I decided to take a chance and see if we could coax a few of these trouts in eating a dry. A quick fly exchange (still size 26), a healthy dosage of frogs fanny and we were in business. First cast, up one came, following closely but never taking it, this was hopeful. A few casts later, BAM! Gotcha!
The day continued like this, healthy browns and rainbows, rising to the fly, eating and making it to the net.
The whole day we had both had our eye one this one brown. He kept chasing other smaller fish that we hooked, stirring the common fish out of his way, taunting us for hours. We'd cast to him, and he'd just move aside, not abnormal behavior for a trout this size in this body of water. I'm convinced that the larger browns also have much larger brains, causing them to outsmart us regularly. Eventually, we got over this guy, deeming him as uncatchable and a straight up tease and no one likes a tease.
"GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!!"
I heard those words echo across the river. "Is that him?" I asked Jacob, and sure enough, it was. I grabbed the camera and waiting for the fight to end and this guy to end up in the net. But, he didn't end up in the net, he ended up breaking off the tiny fly and swimming away. The only thought that entered our minds was, Oh well, that's why we come back, right?
The day was far from over; the fish were still feeding, the bugs were still hatching, the sun was still shining.
Then it happened, I saw my fly slowly being slurped under the water. Hook, set. It was him, again. I'd observed what happened before, I saw how strong he was, and I was going to land this brute. Downstream we all went, trout, me and Jacob following close behind with the net. We went down and around, up and back down. It was more like fighting with a giant log that kept floating around than a trout until he spits up what was slowing him down. Up came a 10-inch rainbow, tail first, along with a few mushed up bugs. That's when this guy came to life. Jumping, throwing his head, swimming around rocks, trying every trick in the trout playbook to get off, but eventually, I got him.
He wasn't a large fish, definitely didn't set any records, people catch fish of this size fairly regularly on the Davidson, but it was the first time I'd landed one this big.
There was a lot of dancing.
When we decided to call it a day Jacob asked if I thought it had been a 30. It's an odd terminology we use to describe the day. It may be about the number of fish landed or the size of a fish. Quirky, yes, but we know what it means.
It was definitely a 30 day.