Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lefty Will Be Missed

Fly fishing doesn't really have a bunch of huge celebrities. One of the few was Lefty Kreh and people may never know just how many fishermen he influenced. I met Lefty once at a fly show. He was demonstrating casting. He asked if anyone in the crowd wanted to come forward for some pointers. I was nervous because I had only read books by this man up until this point. I raised my hand with many others and was picked out of the crowd. I did a few short casts and quietly just so I could hear he told me I was a good caster. It was probably the best compliment anyone has ever given me.  Lefty was always very approachable and at every fly show I ever saw him he was gracious and welcoming to fans. I treasure the books I have that he signed and I hope people appreciate how much he gave to the sport. He will be missed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Fly Fishing Tournament Preparation

The tournament is this weekend and my preparation has been null. I bought some things to tie flies and I looked and made sure I had some of the materials I needed but the vise has yet to see the light of day. The weather forecast for the tournament is less than ideal. At least for this SoCal warm blooded native. Fifty is the high with a chance of wintry mix in the morning. I'm guessing the wind will pick up while the cold front comes in making casting interesting.

I'm still struggling with what flies to actually use. I can only use 25 and at first I was thinking well that's easy I mainly only use the same 5-6 flies every time I trout fish. Then I started to think about what if I have the right fly but the fish want a certain size. Should I use the same 6 flies and have different sizes of each? Maybe just 5 flies with 2 of the same size and maybe one other a different color. Should I have some with beads and some without? You can see how the combinations can become over whelming after while. I'm still trying to figure it out. I know some definite flies I will have in my box. I don't think I'm going to stress about what size they are. I know sizes that have worked in the past and that's what I'll go with. What I'm going to try which will probably hurt me is throwing in some strange flies I'm hoping not many others will use. My theory is these may be the flies to use if fish are acting weird and not biting the normal common flies that work in the area. Sometimes throwing something strange that peaks the trout's curiosity can exhibit a strike. These flies could very well be the difference makers.

I'm trying not to take it all too seriously. The tournament isn't super serious and the entry fees go towards a good cause. The interesting factor in this tournament different from others is the public aspect. The waters will not be closed off to the public. Anyone could be fishing the stretches we are given. That's part of the fun of the tournament. How will people fish in pressured waters and possibly conditions several fisherman have just beat up? The anticipation has me excited about what's to come but the weather, self doubt make me think about staying home where it's warm and familiar.

It will be a learning experience for what a tournament is like and how I handle the situation. Stay tuned....

Friday, March 2, 2018

Puppy Love

I wanted a lab my wife wanted a small dog. Meet Echo a rescue dachsund/jack russell mix.
The dog came with potty training issues, possible heart worms, and a undiagnosed or undisclosed mild case of separation anxiety. She was supposedly crate trained but after a few days we questioned that. Echo had several accidents in the house and seemed to have issues listening. She pulled too hard on the leash and takes a lot of work to keep her attention.
I started to worry this decision was a bad idea. Days were spent thinking about ways we could return the dog mixed with me overdosing on dog training YouTube videos and shopping for toys and treats. What I've learned over the past few days is the accidents weren't Echo's fault they were ours and many of her issues could be corrected with proper training. What I've also learned in the week we've had her is this dog is SMART.
It's the intelligence that I'm falling in love with and last night watching things click in her head as I taught her to lay down was making me smitten. Now when I'm teaching her things there's a combination of so many factors and I realized why being a dog owner is such a great thing. Echo is now doing things on command without treats because it pleases us and she wants to make us happy. It's incredible to teach a dog and actually watch the learning take place. It's a very rewarding experience, you'll learn things about yourself in the process. Even though I've just had Echo a week I feel like she's making me a better father and person in general. I know I have just scratched the surface of what Echo is capable of. I'm happy she's part of the family and I'm looking forward to working with her further.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Needed That

One good thing about getting older is you gain experience. I used my lunch break to chase crappie at a local lake. I figured they had to be going shallow to spawn. While I was making my way to the water I saw one other guy releasing a fish he had just caught. "Hey, I know you!" he said. This guy didn't look familiar at all and my blog has been stale for so long I was wondering how this person could possibly know me. Then he told me his name and I realized he is someone I had emailed several times to fish with but things never worked out. I asked if I could fish across the river from him. He acknowledged it was fine and just said "clousers...." I pretty much figured that having already one tied on. A few moments later I had a decent crappie on.

I tried to nonchalantly bring it in but internally I was filled with glee. I hadn't fished in a such a long time and feeling the tug of a fish was like a rekindling of a lost love. We spent the next 20min pulling in quite a few crappie and bluegill. Then like what happens so often the feeding switch was turned off and the fish stopped biting. Out of all the times, places and days to fish, it was kind of funny that we randomly ran into each other. It was like it was meant to be.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fly Fishing Tournament

If you could count the number of times you fished on one hand in the last year would you enter a fly fishing tournament? Well that's what I just did. Might not have been the best decision but I'm hoping it will give me some motivation to dust off the rods and wet a fly line. Heck, maybe I'll even tie a few flies while I'm at it. The money goes towards a good cause and I like the shop Due South Outfitters that's hosting the tournament. The river where the tournament is being held is one of my all time favorites. It was one of the places I fished most often when I lived in Boone and it will always have a fondness in my heart.

It will be my first tournament experience. I'm looking forward to see how everything goes down and how it's organized. I'm also eager to see how other fishermen attack the water and their results.

I'm sure a lot of fun will be had. What's the worst that can happen? I could have a good day of getting skunked on one of my favorite rivers. Doesn't sound so bad.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Trash That Never Leaves

How often do you think about the trash after it's picked up and hauled away by your local sanitation crew? Many people know trash goes to a landfill and figure it's buried to biodegrade or it's incinerated. What if there was trash that couldn't be destroyed at all? Not only that what if this trash was in your water? Seems like a nightmare scenario right?

GenX is a bi-product of other chemicals that come into contact with water. The chemicals that create this bi-product have been used for over 20yrs to create products that resist water and oil. Recently scientists have found traces of GenX and other chemicals in the Cape Fear River. This river is a drinking supply for many counties in North Carolina. Scientists have found that GenX is not biodegradable. It loves water and remains stables no matter what the temperature.

There are no natural enzymes that can break down this chemical. Long story short. Once it's in your water it stays there forever.

Small amounts have been linked to other chemicals that produce cancer. Water sampled in Wilmington a city near the Cape Fear River have been higher than allowed but nothing that is causing wide spread alarm yet. The source of this problem has been traced back to a DuPont Chemours Plant. The dumping of GenX has been going on for decades, the company last summer decided to stop dumping GenX in June 2017. This bi-product is not regulated so there are no regulations on how much can be dumped where.

What can be done?

The only known way to clean the water from GenX is to purify it through reverse osmosis. You can buy a purifying system for your home but it's not very practical and takes expertise to setup properly and maintain that it's working right.

The sad part is folks this isn't the only place stuff like this happens. You might be getting a chemical dumped where you live that's contaminating the food you eat or the water you drink. Nothing stops the companies from doing it if the contaminant is unregulated. Scary to say the least. I'll try to keep you updated on where this story goes.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Milburnie Dam Removal

Only one dam remains to stop the run of striped bass and American shad to Falls Lake near Raleigh, NC. The previous dam was called Milburnie and it had been controversial for years. The dam was built around 1900 to power a paper mill. The dam has barely been used for decades. It never worked well and over the years it became less serviceable. The dam was a scenic landmark and a decent fishing spot but created several negative environmental impacts as well as safety issues. Many people died trying to swim near the dam. 
 A decision was made to tear the dam down and the deconstruction started last December. The site is doing historical documentation of the deconstruction. They have drone footage and tons of photos. Watching the progress of the project is very interesting.

A primary problem with the dam was the sediment building behind it. The development around Raleigh has polluted the river and made sandy beaches where there shouldn't be any.
This is a view from behind the dam after it was turned off. you can see the island of sediment that was building up. 
It's strange to not see water coming over the dam.
You rarely could ever get this close to it.
You can see how the bottom of the river should be. Instead of sand it should be rocky like the features in front of the dam.
Hopefully years of the river running fast will redistribute sediment. I think the removal of the dam is a good thing but part of me has a hard time watching it be destroyed. 
Part of it is I appreciate the work it must of took to create this mass to hold back a river. This feature is truly a landmark and I'm sure people have lived a lifetime fishing, picnicking and swimming at the base of it. The next generation will never even know it existed. 
It's amazing how different the view looks every time a feature is removed.
You can see what actually starts to look like a fully connected river in the picture above.
It's really neat to see the progression. The dam is gone but development continues around Raleigh and personally I think that's a greater threat to the river than the dam ever was. It will be interesting to see the effect the dam removal has on wildlife and the fishery. There are native species that reside in this river and nowhere else in the world. I'm hoping the shad and striped bass return in greater numbers and the river heals itself. Only time will tell. 

You can learn more about the history of the dam and view all of the photos shared here plus more at