I was urged to watch this movie by my Uncle and a fellow fishermen who is a life long ocean conservationist. I was asked not to mention names in this post, but you know who you are and thank you both for opening up my eyes to this travesty that is taking place.
The Cove is a film about a handful of activists included the infamous Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry, trying to open the world’s eyes to a massive Dolphin killing fest that goes on every year in Taiji, Japan.
As Fishermen I believe hat we have an obligation to protect and fight for the waters that we fish, and what body of water is more important than the ocean. This ecosystem is the livelihood of our planet, and we must make sure that it is not taken for granted.
So please go to The Cove website and rent, buy, watch clips of the movie, and then sign up to help this cause. Not only will you be saving the live of countless Dolphins and Whales, but also of the many people that suffer from Mercury poisoning from consuming these creatures.
Saturday started out as a beautiful day. I woke up early in the morning to head up to the San Gabriel River, the birds were singing and the coffee was calling my name.
The Reservoir was filling up the OHV area and will be fishable soon, and the water levels were running fast and high. I hit the corner to the entrance of West Fork and utter shock came over me, I knew since we had all of the recent rain the fork would be a little blow out but this was insane.
The water was running Dark Brown with sediment and all of the stream lining shrubbery was wiped out. I made my way back to were Bear creek dumps in and the difference in water color was shocking, it was like photos from National Geographic of the Amazon River trying to force it’s way into the ocean. I am extremely worried about how many fish will survive, and how many if any fish spawning will produce this year.
I had to get my mind of this, so I strolled over to the East Fork to fish one of my favorite holes and breathed a sign of relief when I seen the water running high and clear. What a load off my mind, a large amount of sediment run off on both major forks would be devastating to the Wild Rainbow Population.
East Fork yielded a few tiny fish and a couple of half hearted looks from some larger ones. Water Flows were high and the fish tend not to bite as well when you can’t get your fly to stay in the strike zone very long.
“I want to urge anyone that goes fishing on the San Gabriel River to practice catch and Release Only. The river is already not being stocked, so the fish you are catching are all wild and a decrease in the number of fish this year seem to be inevitable. So please do not take any of the fish on any of the forks, or in a few years there might not be any fish left!”
As if it needed confirming, I just confirmed a quirk in my personality that didn’t need confirming – I hate sitting still.
This revelation came about because I injured my back pretty seriously the other day and the chiropractor who worked miracles on it in the past insisted that I give it three days of near total rest interspersed with grueling stretch routines in order to get things back in alignment. So, all day Friday, I lay there with the heating pad on high, grimacing and staring at the ceiling until a little timer would go off indicating that it was time for me to roll carefully off the bed and force myself into these awkward positions that eventually got everything back into the proper alignment and proved to the neighbors that I have an almost unlimited repertoire of “colorful metaphors” at my disposal.
Now lying in bed all day might be a dream come true to some, but it is torture to me. It is even more torturous if the sun is out. Despite the current popularity of vampires and werewolves and other so-called night people, daytime always has and always will be the right time for me.
Nevertheless, I followed the docs orders and heeded my wife’s threats and stayed put.
However, by day two, I figured out a way to position my computer so that I could check e-mail, work on some articles and even surf the net while maintaining the ever important flat back position.
It was one of my little “surfin’ safaris” that led me to discover a highly entertaining series of fishing videos on YouTube. I had typed in some different phrases centering on the word “fishing” and eventually stumbled upon Matt Hayes, Mick Brown and the Great Rod Race.
The clips appeared to be segments from a British series in which these two affable English blokes raced along the length and breadth of the UK, in a van reminiscent of the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, in an effort to catch (and release) some thirty-five different species of fish in under thirty days. The target species ranged from the diminutive Stickleback to massive Salmon to Eels to Carp. They employed cane poles, baitcasting rigs, spinning rods, sling shots, pounds of dog food, tons of tackle, some funky things called bivies and, of course, fly rods.
Along the way, we were introduced to the oddly charming, somewhat eccentric but thoroughly British way of angling.
All in all, I could think of a thousand different, less educational ways I could have squandered my down time. So, aside from distracting me from the annoying throb in the small of my back, these sort videos taught me a ton of technique and tricks to use on those difficult days and… helped my stay still.
Perhaps the biggest lesson though was the fact that the Brits are total “gearheads” when it comes to angling. I thought I had too much stuff! My equipment inventory looks like the bargain bin at a second-hand store compared to the plethora of gear employed by our angling brethren across the pond. Wow!
It’s been twenty years since I last went to England. At that time I was more interested in wandering the halls of the Natural History Museum, climbing the steps of St Pauls Cathedral and sampling Guinness from the tap than perusing the aisles of the local Bait and Tackle but priorities change and it now appears that some lengthy conversations with the Secretary of the District Angling Society while leaning on the counter of a village Tackle Shoppe might be a great way to really connect with the heart and soul of the Island.
Next time you are down for the count…or just snowed in and wishin’ you were fishin’, check out Matt & Mick and then be sure to bookmark a segment so that when the Visa statement arrives and the Sweetie complains about the amount of hard-earned spent on “silly fishin’ stuff” you’ll have something to use in your defense.
So, my wife and I were barreling down the westbound 91 freeway today in our 27-foot long mobile animal hospital, gulping down foil wrapped food-like substances as we used our theoretical lunch hour to make up time between appointments when I saw the zig-zag dance of flashing blue and red lights about ¾ of a mile ahead of us.
In SoCal that usually means that the Highway Patrol is running a traffic break.
In case you are unfamiliar with such things, a traffic break is a technique that allows the CHP to create a temporary safe space in the endless flow of traffic so that the dauntless CalTrans workers can retrieve some object or cover some substance that presents a hazard to the motoring public.
The CHP car roars onto the freeway and then with full lights and sirens, begins to sashay back and forth across all eight lanes of traffic, daring anyone to pass them. Eventually everyone falls into place and then it is simply a matter of waiting to see if we will all come to a complete stop or just creep along at five miles per hour until whatever needs to be removed is removed.
Typically, the offending object is a wayward extension ladder from a work truck, or a mattress that someone was certain would stay on the roof of their car with a tie-down made from a pair of granny-knotted boot laces and a hank of the protective plastic overwrap held firmly in the driver’s left hand. Occasionally, the objects are much more unusual and offer some relief – in a perverse sort of way — to the frustration of coming to a complete stand still on a major highway. I have personally seen a 26-foot Boston Whaler complete with dual outboards, a stack of wooden pallets, numerous orange Big Wheel tricycles, the blade for a bulldozer and a kitchen table sitting where they ought not be.
Whatever the object, it is usually retrieved, pushed, pulled, scooped, scraped or sanded down in mere moments and then traffic roars back to life the way stock cars do when the yellow flag gets lifted at a Nascar event.
In any event, as soon as I saw the flashing lights today, I knew we were gonna be late.
Not that I minded so much. The precious seconds at a standstill gave me enough time to finish my meal without accidentally ingesting bits of foil and to glance over to the right side of the road to study and daydream about the section of the Santa Ana River that runs parallel to the highway at that point.
You see, there is about a three-mile section of river there that has the potential to be a fly casters dream. Were it anywhere else, there would be a mom & pop fly shop somewhere on the bank with guys in waders lunching on the front porch, savoring coffee and homemade apple pie and swapping stories of the one that broke off just before it got to net. Were it anywhere else, local clubs would be diligently and lovingly tending the banks and removing invasives. Were it anywhere else, magazines would have ads recommending guide services to it. Were it anywhere else, I wouldn’t have been sitting in traffic, staring at it and wishing I were fishing…
But circumstances being what they were, I sat there and opted to practice a little river reading over pontificating to my long-suffering wife on the bumper sticker slogan plastered on the SMART car in front of us. So, in the few moments that we were stopped I noticed a fast main channel with an excellent drift past sand bars and over gravel beds. I noticed pockets of slower water and undercuts. I saw numerous boulders offering shelter and opportunity from within the main flow. I noted that the brush was beat down from recent storms and there were a couple of snags where fish might sit. I noticed the foam lines and how bits of debris moved as they rode the current and lastly, I noticed the posted sign warning that it is an area that is off limits to fishing.
That last thing, the no fishing sign bugged me. I don’t know why it is there. Believe me, there are far worse spots that ought to be off limits but where we regularly “fling some string”. This section of the Santa Ana appears to be a picture perfect place to practice a little urban fly fishing – not picture perfect as in those stunning shots you see in magazines — get real, this is SoCal: A major freeway runs parallel just yards from it and concrete and chain link line the banks. I mean picture perfect in the sense that it has many, if not most, of the elements that make it the kind of place where fish are found and where anglers want to fish but it is closed.
It seems like a waste of good water to not be able to fish that section of river.
…Predictably, the flashing lights edged over to the right shoulder and traffic began inching then lurching then speeding forward. The cause for the delay this time, turned out to be a solo spin-out who, despite the scattered bits of plastic fender still littering the roadway appeared to be shaken but healthy.
Through careful and judicious use of lane changes, speed limits and knowledge that the CHP officer on duty was parked a few miles back lecturing a twenty-something about driving and cell phone use, we were not late to our next appointment.
In fact, I arrived somewhat refreshed, having taken a little three-minute mental fly-fishing vacation on the way to our destination.
I am going to have to do a little investigative snooping though – I’ll keep you posted.
The other day I just needed to get in some time on the water, and the closest Park Lake had to do. I hopped in the truck and there I was in less than 10 minutes with Fly Rod in hand and a readiness to fish.
Sometimes fishing doesn’t go the way you want it to and the catching becomes more like searching and coming up empty. So after a while and only 2 fish caught I decided to take a few pictures of the beautiful sunset.
I hear from so many people things like “Why would you want to fish at a Park Lake?” or “You Fly Fish around the corner from your house, that can’t be very pretty?”
Well take a look at these pictures and tell me that a Park Lake can’t be as beautiful as a stream in the hills of Montana. Beauty is in the perspective and my mine says that fishing in the city holds a mystique all it’s own. Try it sometime and see if it doesn’t get into your blood.
Since I started “Brownlining“, I don’t remember looking at a body of water without thinking “I know I could pull a fish out of there“.