By , April 26, 2010 6:00 am

Alright, go ahead and laugh but when I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was the secret agent satire “Get Smart” starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

Now, what I probably really recall were the endlessly syndicated re-runs which aired about the time I was old enough to start understanding the point of the jokes and running gags that peppered the series but in any event, I can still remember abandoning the math homework and racing to the living room whenever I heard that distinctive “da dum da da…da” theme song.

Admittedly, Agent 86 (aka Maxwell Smart) was not on par with the suave, sophisticated James Bond of the big screen and his gadgets never worked the way the ones Q made but he was definitely more accessible via broadcast television and he did manage to foil the evil plans of the bad guys and win the affections of the stunning agent 99 in the end.

Besides, Max was definitely more in keeping with what might be attained by an awkward kid who lacked the fluid grace and animal charm of Agent 007 but who still had aspirations of saving the world and getting the girl.

Whatever the case, some forty years later, I will still catch myself uttering one or another of the trademark phrases from the show… much to the embarrassment of my bride and the befuddlement of anyone under thirty years of age to whom I happen to be speaking.

This past week, for example, had me muttering the phrase, “Missed it by that much” — one of Maxwell Smart’s pat exclamations, rather frequently.

On Saturday, My fishin’ buddies Sean & Ray and I took some folks down to the beach for some saltwater casting. Long story short, the action was slow. When I did finally manage to hook onto a fish it turned out to be a halibut – but it was a short one – so back it went. Missed it by that much.

On Sunday, my wife and I had to make an unscheduled maintenance trip up to the getaway house in Big Bear to address damage left in the wake of several winter storms.

As we pulled into the driveway late in the afternoon, about an hour before sunset, our neighbor and his daughter came strolling across the street with a stringer full of fat Rainbows, none smaller than two pounds. Turns out he and his little girl had just gotten home a few minutes before us after a smokin’ hot bite suddenly turned off. Missed it by that much.

On Monday, after a full day of hard labor we snuck off for a couple of hours of fishing at the lake but once we got set up and ready to roll, the wind kicked up and the bite turned off again. Missed it by that much.

On Tuesday, the weather took an even bigger turn for the worse so instead of a morning of fishin’, we high-tailed it off the mountain, arriving at the lower elevations just as the first flakes of a mid-Spring storm began to fall back at the cabin. Missed it by that much.

On Wednesday, I got a call from my Mom. My Dad had undergone a series of tests and while the doctors were concerned, he was gonna be alright… Whew, missed it by that much.

Someone once told me that baseball’s great “Sultan of Swat”, Babe Ruth, actually had a record number of strikeouts as well as his record number of home runs yet he is remembered for the later rather than the former. Both records required, however, that he swing away with all that was in him. The difference between fame and failure for him was only a matter of “missing it (or not) by that much”.

So it was that the events of the week got me to thinking and I resolved to keep gettin’ out there as much as possible and keep fishin’ whenever I can and keep lookin’ for those moments that take my breath away wherever I am so come the end of my days, I won’t be saying I missed the fullness of life by just “that much”.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’


By , April 22, 2010 11:01 pm

Sometimes Fly Fishing can lead to having an amazing experience. Watching a sunrise, a sunset, birds fly, dolphins roam, just enjoying this beautiful creation called life. Something that just feels right when you see it.

I had such an experience fishing at Seal Beach one Saturday evening. I got down to the sand,and right away I knew it was going to be slim pickings in the Surf. Guys were fishing the Jetty, people were playing in the waves, and kite boarders were ripping up the surf. All that equates to no fish, but still just some practice casting in the waves is an enticing offer to a “Dedicated Urban Fly Fisherman”.

About 20 minutes into my little trip I noticed a big fin riding a wave only about 35 feet out from me, and my first instinct was to yell out shark and to turn tail back to the lifeguard stand. When all of the sudden I could feel something hit my leg one after another not a bite just a hard tap. I looked down and I could see a huge school of fish boiling on the surface heading straight for the Jetty on the right side of me. That’s when I realized that I was in between a pod of Dolphins and their next meal. I slowly started backing up out of the water, while fumbling around trying to find my camera.

Now it’s not everyday that you get to see Dolphins up close a personal, and with that many fish in the water my stomach was in knots. The Dolphins stayed there feeding on the Mullet(I knew they were mullet from the one that washed up on the shore with it’s head still barely hanging on) for about 30 minutes, while I stayed on the rocks trying to get a decent picture. 

After a while  I found myself drawn to the sun setting in the west over the Peninsula. All the shades of red, blue, orange, and purple left me awestruck. I knew that this experience was going to be one of those stories that I tell my children one day, and at that moment I just felt calm and peace.

You never know what you are going to see out on the water, so get out your fly rod the next time your have an hour or two and hit up that little pond we call the Pacific Ocean!


By , April 18, 2010 9:25 pm

DIE FISCHE has become one of my favorite blogs to read. Made up of some great Panfish and Bass material sprinkled with the occasional Trout or two, this easy reading graphically awesome site has caught my attention and definitely deserves a spot on the blogroll. If you are a fly fisherman in Texas or just a fly fishing fanatic like me, you need to check this site out!


By , April 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Seeing Carp in a Feeding Frenzy for the first time, was like witnessing the 8th wonder of the world. It’s amazing to see fish jumping out the the water thrashing about, tails up and their mouths in the dirt.

Last Saturday I just so happened to witness this very event, and to make things even better I had my fly rod in my hand.

The morning started out foggy and cold, and the weather had me thinking that a skunk was lurking right around the corner. Little did I know that I would have one of the best fishing experiences of my life.

I drove up to the water, and I could not believe my eyes. Splashing, Tailing, Bubbling, Carp everywhere my hands were shaking on the stearing wheel. I jumped out of the car almost forgetting to put in park, and pulled out the 8 weight.

First cast and boom a 8 to 10 pounder nails the fly and my drag goes screaming off the reel. After about 5 minutes the fish tired out and 1 carp in the net. Cast number 2, and the same result Carp on, could this really be happening! All in all I caught 8 Carp and had more bites than I could count, and this all happened within an hour.

As quick as the action was on it turned off, and I decided to call it a day. I just couldn’t let it be ruined if I was not able to hook another fish. So, I pack up the rod and reel, jumped in the truck and rode off into the sunset. Well, not into the sunset more like to McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin.


By , April 10, 2010 6:00 am

Just received this photo from Heal the Bay as part of their membership campaign.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this pretty much sums up the tension we SoCal urban fisher-folk face throughout the winter months.

On the one hand, the rougher, colder weather and conditions draw far fewer people to this world famous stretch of sandy beach – That’s a good thing, especially when you’re flinging a # 6 Clouser imitation some sixty feet behind you for hours on end.

On the other hand, the need for needle resistant wading boots and the fact that simple contact with the water during this time can leave you with a rash and an annoying case of the trots… well, that’s not such a good thing. It definitely complicate the decision to wear those new Simms G4 waders despite the 56 degree F water temp.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t not fish under these conditions – I am an urban angler, I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this gig. It’s just that it does detract from the joy of the sport.

All that to say, let’s make a difference and let’s pledge to be part of the solution.

I, for one, am going to make a trash bag part of my standard gear. Even snagging a few pieces of trash from along the shore – any shore that you happen to be fishing – can make a difference.

I’ll climb down off my soapbox now, mostly because I…have… to…get …out of…these waders…rather quickly…butI’llBeRightBack…

I love this addiction, called urban flyfishin’.



By , April 6, 2010 6:26 pm

You know how things line up every once in a while so that your schedule is completely, insanely crammed so full that no matter how bad you want to, you just ain’t goin’ fishing?

Well, around this part of the ‘hood, last week was one of those weeks.

Toss in Spring Break and Easter Sunday and there was just no way we were realistically getting near any of our usual SoCal fly fishin’ venues.

THEN today, just about the time we were finishing up a late lunch/early dinner after a very long but very pleasant morning at church, and half-heartedly contemplating sneaking off to a local pond, we were literally jolted out of the idea by an earthquake – yeah, we felt the shock waves of the magnitude 7.2 Mexacali quake.

So, long story short, we didn’t get to do any fishing this past week.

However, in honor of Easter, please enjoy this 2001 story from the BBC about fish (small ones, but fish nonetheless) that we literally brought back from near death.

Hope you all had a happy Easter.


Fish in ‘suspended animation’

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

Scientists have induced a state of so-called suspended animation in zebrafish embryos by starving them of oxygen. They say the technique could one day be used in medical treatment.

During the experiment all observable metabolic activity, including heartbeat, ceased in the zebrafish embryos. Afterwards, they returned to normal with no harmful effects on their health or growth.

This discovery promises to open novel paths of research into suspended animation. It could also lead to new ways to treat cancer and prevent injury caused by insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues.

In addition, the studies may shed light on a problem that perplexes cancer biologists: how oxygen deprivation affects the growth of tumours.

‘Normal offspring’

The researchers compared the growth of zebrafish embryos that had been exposed to normal atmospheric conditions with those grown in oxygen-free chambers.

The absence of oxygen caused all observable metabolic activity in the embryos to stop – including a shutdown of the heart, which normally beats 100 times per minute.

The researchers found that 25-hour-old embryos could survive without oxygen for 24 hours and still resume normal development when given oxygen again.

“We can’t detect any abnormalities in these fish after they recover,” says Dr Mark Roth of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, US. “They have grown to adulthood, mated and produced normal offspring.”

The research may have profound implications for the understanding of cancer.

Anti-cancer drugs

“We typically think of cancer cells as growing out of control,” says Dr Roth. “But actually the vast majority of cells in a tumour are in a state of low oxygen tension and are non-proliferating – which is the reason that some tumours don’t respond to certain forms of radiation and chemotherapy.”

Most anti-cancer drugs work by selectively killing actively dividing cells, meaning that non-dividing tumour cells are immune to treatment.

This new work may help in the understanding of why some cancer cells are in a form of hibernation, and how they may be attacked.

Suspended animation also has a role in the growth of normal cells, Dr Roth says.

“Stem cells – like those that give rise to your skin – are self-renewing and have the capacity to reproduce at certain times in your life,” he says.

“Some of those cells might be dividing right now, while others withhold their proliferation potential until a later time. Lots of scientists are interested in how cells maintain this state of quiescence and then resume cell division.”

Metabolic shutdown

Zebrafish in the wild have not yet been seen to undergo suspended animation, but the metabolic shutdown induced in the laboratory resembles the reversible state of limbo that has been observed in other organisms.

The next goal is to figure out the molecular pathways that permit this recovery, and why some animals can survive a lack of oxygen while others


By , April 1, 2010 10:00 am

My Fly Fishing experience on my trip to Hawaii came in a two part series. Part one as already described in my first post was Freshwater Fly Fishing and the second was my Saltwater Experience.

I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked on the flats, but the couple of hours during a windy morning had to do, and as an Urban Fly Fisherman I have learned to take what I can get.

First off, I am not a very experienced Salt Water Fly Fishermen as I only started testing the waters last year. Second off, I have even less experience fishing Saltwater Flats. With the entire island of Oahu surround by Flats, I had to get familiar with it quick and Chris really helped teach me alot.

It was amazing to be about 200-300 feet from shore and still standing in knee deep waters. The water was crystal clear, which was refreshing since in southern California sight fishing in salt isn’t generally an option. The chop from the wind made it a little harder than normal (per Chris) to spot fish, but between the two of us we spotted a few Bone fish, Yellow Spotted Trevally, and Mullet. The scenery and taking pictures seemed to get the best of me , and after about an hour and a half it was time to head back.

I had a chance to do a little scoping around on my own the next morning. I was able to get two hookups one of which slipped out of the fishes mouth and the other broke me off on the coral. It was an extremely frustrating, but rewarding experience. After about 30 minutes, I decided to give up and hit an little canal that emptied into Hawaii Kai just couple of blocks away.

The spot produced a colorful fish, which a local advised me was called a Wrasse (since I did not say the Hawaiian word for the fish) and a puffer fish. Now I have never caught a puffer and the teeth on that thing looked super mean, so after about 5 minutes of trying to get the fish off the line and not wanting to go near it’s mouth (with a bunch of local bait fishermen laughing their heads off) my experience had come to an end.

I can’t wait to get back to the islands and I am itching to get out on the flats again. Hopefully we will find time to get back next year.

“In the meantime Aloha and Mahalo to the Island of Oahu!”


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