Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Review: The River Why

The River Why

by David James Duncan

This was my second reading of The River Why and now I remember why I didn't read it for so long. The first half of this book took about a month for me to labor through, and the second half about a week. Funny how this works, because most of the fishing takes place in the first half. 

This is the story of Gus, his fishing obsessed family, him growing up, realizing that there are more important things than fishing and, ultimately, finding happiness. Tons of philosophical topics are discussed, but the main idea seems to be whether or not God exists. Different wouldn't begin to describe the approach on the topic of divinity, what with the garden world, dreefees and invisible twins. But in the end the conclusion appeases Gus (the main character) and seems good enough to the reader. I think it's a good enough book to read once, not sure about twice, but stay away from the movie I thought it was horrible.

"Nobody ever discovers truth by barfing up Sunday-school answers to questions" Titus pg. 181

"I like the implication that even though I'm hopelessly stupid compared to my soul or Essence, I'm damned useful: I have a profound purpose!" Gus pg. 182

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Great Day

Great Day
Getting out the door bright and early is a bit more of a challenge when the whole family is going on the trip, but we managed it last Sunday to get out fishing. We even loaded up the little row boat and all the extra equipment that goes with it to improve our odds. The nice weather made for a great time out on the water.

It's always a good time with this kid
Pretty much as soon as we were in the boat Del hooked into a leaping rainbow that spit her hook, but that was the only fish we saw for a bit. Once we anchored in a likely looking spot Atley worked his bait to perfection to bring a couple of small 'bows to the boat. I'm not really into bait fishing, but when the family's involved I'm down for whatever it takes to get them into fish. 

Eye to eye
With the breeze coming up and our stomachs telling us it was time for lunch we decided to troll some lures back to where the truck was parked for lunch. Luckily Cado was there to help Del reel in a nice 18" bow that hadn't skipped too many meals and another bow that came calling soon afterward.

Good lookin! And the fish ain't bad either.
After lunch the kids were more interested in searching for crawdads then fishing. So I got to fish from shore while they turned over rocks and gathered up enough of the mudbugs to have a side-dish of them with our dinner. As nasty as they look, they really do taste pretty good.

Extra gross looking when they've got eggs on 'em

Crawdads weren't the only things to try and catch. This little lizard was caught for a closer look and then released.
With evening coming on we decided to start heading home. Unknown to the rest of my family was my plan to follow up on a stream that I had checked out a few weeks ago that was running high and muddy. Lucky me, it was a lot lower and clearer this time and I found a few willing browns to prove that life did exist. This could be a really fun little stream a little later in the year for some terrestrial fishing.

Just something about moving water

This could be fun
Got home in time to cook up some crawdads to go with our dinner and get everything cleaned up and ready for the week of work and school. Great way to spend a weekend. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.
- Kidder

Thats a pot full of ew.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fisherman's Tale

As a group we fishermen have quite the reputation. We don't even get the benefit of doubt. Saying we stretch the truth isn't enough, no, no, we've been pegged as liars. In an attempt to bring some small amount of credibility we've taken to photographing our catch.

So, yeah. I don't expect you to believe me. I didn't have my camera or even my phone when I stopped by a local stream to see if any fish were rising. First off, I didn't expect to catch anything and even if I did the average fish here usually doesn't break the 10" mark. So no big deal, just an excuse to test the waters. 

The water was low and clear with a sputtering midge hatch when I arrived. I worked my way down to my usual starting spot and stopped to watch the water for a few minutes before casting. With the fish not showing their cards I figured I might be able to pick on up on a nymph. I worked over the first hole pretty methodically, keeping my flies as close to the bottom as I could. Stopping only to clean off the green muck that grows in this stream now and covers your flies completely. Nothing. No hits, flashes, follows, anything. So I threw on an olive Woolly Bugger figuring I'd quickly cover the water on the way back to the car and head home. A deeper hole behind a small log jam caught my eye and I tried a few casts but couldn't get a drift without wading to the other side of the stream. Since I didn't bring my waders either, I decided to mount the jam and drop my fly just on the other side. A little jigging action and a slash of gold engulfed my fly. I hardly had to set the hook and the fight was on. Keeping the brute out of the tangles at my feet was no small task, but I managed to work him downstream and into my net (yes, I did grab a net for some reason).

Never thought I'd see a fish over 20" come from this little stream. Let alone this beauty with orange flanked sides and a hooked jaw that was now resting in my net. But who would believe me? I was pretty sure that a few people I know would believe. I also knew that a few people most definitely wouldn't. Do I care? Should I keep the fish to avoid the doubt? Or, should I release the fish and have the chance to catch him again? Aren't I past this? I've released bigger fish. I've also kept some for the table...

The dilemma flashed before my consciousness even as I lowered the front of my net out of his way and his tail slipped from my hand. He brooded for a moment in the shallow pool in front of me before taking off for the shadow of an undercut bank. Hopefully I'll get to meet him again someday, or, better yet, one of my boys. 

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

More like what I'm used to from this stream

Sunday, April 5, 2015

While it lasted

I'm always a bit skeptical about stories of fantastic fishing. Especially when the fish are reported to be big, easy and plentiful. But when you hear it from several sources, including family members, then you start to believe and try to figure out how you can get there. For me, this time of year is about as crazy as it gets with work. So when I saw the possibility of taking a personal day to get some fishing in and still making it back for Easter Sunday I jumped at the chance. To make it even better, my two boys wanted to come with me!

First we packed up our stuff and made the drive up to my Dad's where we were to spend the night, load up, and head out in the morning with Dad and two of my brothers. The brothers didn't seem too hep on the idea of a crowded truck, so they ended up both backing out at the last minute. Oh well, at least my boys would be able to spend some time with their Grandpa.

The morning came quick and cold as we set out on drive. We were surprised to have the roads iced over and somewhat treacherous. When we made a stop to change drivers I was making my way around the truck and almost slipped and fell on my butt. Made it to camp a little later than we had planned, but we made it safely. While getting camp squared away we were shocked to find that a 5 gallon jug of water we'd brought had frozen solid. What happened to Spring? 

Finally, we were fishing! The fish didn't seem to notice though. Early on it was slim pickin's for us as we struggled to find a few willing fish. Picked up a couple of good rainbows on a Wooley Bugger fished deep and slow.

It was too cold for him to hold the fish, but he knows how to catch 'em!

Altey knows how to work it
Just as I was starting to wonder if they had been pulling my leg (maybe that's why my brothers backed out...) we changed locations and found some fish. Lots of fish. With some really nice ones mixed in. Glad to say that the reports weren't wrong and the boys were able to haul in some great fish. We were still using bugger patterns with some success, but a white Slumpbuster pattern seemed to work even better. 

Notice my Dad reaching down to land a fish too

Safety net
Even though the fishing was good, we decided it was time to head back to camp for some food. After eating, Dad and I started on an unplanned nap. After only a few minutes I snapped awake after having a dream that the boys were playing in the cold water. I did find them down on the shoreline, but they weren't playing in the water, Atley had started fishing again! He hadn't had much luck but it was the effort that I loved to see. 

Dad was up after a good nap and we set out to try and find a new spot just to mix things up. When we were getting close to where Dad had in mind I received a text from one of my brothers, "Where are you?" Turns out that both of my brothers that had backed out, and one of their boys, had decided to join us after all. We kept with the plan to try a couple of new spots before heading back to the hot spot where we'd meet them. One of the new spots produced some decent fish (with Atley landing a couple of good ones) but the close company of strangers kept us from fishing here long.

Hold on Cado!

That kid caught a lot of nice fish!
Soon we were back in the hot spot to fish with uncles and cousin. A few months ago Jeff had to have back surgery which has put him out of commision for a while. To help pass the time he took up tying his own flies, so it was pretty cool to watch him catching fish on a red Zebra Midge that he had tied. As evening came on the fish began eating near the surface on midges and were moret than willing to eat a Parachute Zebra or a red Snowcone that I put on a short dropper. Nothing is more fun than casting to rising fish, in my opinion. But other flies still produced until the lights when out. All the fish were rainbows, but I did bring one to hand that had a crimson jaw (cutbow!?!) that for some reason I didn't take a picture of (idiot!). The boys all had fun splitting time between fishing and playing. 

Good one

Uncle Weston with a beauty
Jeff and his boy with a good one
The next morning we had some time to fish before heading home. We seemed to pick up right where we'd left off with streamers early on. Made the switch to nymphs once it started to warm up a bit without skipping a beat. Jeff was having lots of success on a Brassie while I tried out as many patterns as I could and found that most were pretty successful. I caughts fish on Zebra Midges (red and black), Olive Softhackles, Copper and Hen Softhackles, Mod. Hares Ear, and red Snow Cones among others. We had lots of doubles, triples and even managed a couple of quadruple hook-ups. 

Pretty fish
With no end in sight, we decided it was probably as good of a time as any to pack up and head for home. With the promise of an Easter Bunny visit the next day, the boys were ready to go, but we sure had a good time while it lasted. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder