Here is a little Video Clip on The Glendale Narrows Stretch of the Los Angeles River taken from LA Creek Freak. Urban Fly Fishing on this river has been a great tool in the battle to protect this precious resource and UrbanFlyVentures is glad to have been a part of getting the EPA to recognize it (Wall Street Journal and LA Weekly)! Check out other sites like FOLAR to see how you can get involved
There was a time, not so long ago, when I would laugh and roll my eyes at my parents and assorted relatives during family gatherings and such because the conversations would invariably turn to health issues.
I could recite the medical history for my dad and my uncles at least as well as their respective physicians (much to my dismay and occasional revulsion) and I had a pretty firm grasp of what they each had in their medicine cabinets — all from just sitting down amongst them at the holiday luncheon.
Recently, though, I’ve caught myself more than once making small talk with our clients by discussing health related topics with them.
I’ve found myself excitedly scribbling down the address for some health related website or the name of a joint supplement or digestive formula that they discovered when I’m supposed to be settling up their bill or filling a prescription for their cat or dog.
It’s rather frightening.
I am close to becoming the very thing I used to mock — Who said God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
So… I won’t be describing assorted and sundry aches and pains to y’all nor will I be whining and griping about failing body parts. I don’t want to be one of “those guys.” — You know who I mean; the guy with the tackle kit so crammed with potions, lotions, concoctions and pills that it looks more like a paramedic’s bag than a fishing tackle box … The guy who grunts, groans, moans and creaks so loudly that he scares away even battled-hardened urban Carp … the guy nobody wants to bunk with on fishing trips because the night stand next to his bed is so loaded with meds that he looks like he’s a drug dealer and he takes forty minutes to swallow all his meds before turning the lights out…the guy who both pitches flies and pees with the intensity of a flashlight left on overnight…you know …one of “those guys”.
So, I started researching and looking for better ways to take care of myself and keep my competitive edge in the “no-holds barred world of man vs. fish” and I’ve come across some very interesting tactics.
Take my latest acquisition, for example: Indian Clubs.
Indian what? Indian clubs. They look like skinny bowling pins or those juggling clubs the guys down on Venice Beach toss around to entertain the crowds (and make money). They are definitely low tech but don’t let that fool you. Fitness gurus say these simple clubs have a two or three thousand-year pedigree behind them. In the United States, they were THE fitness tools of choice from about the 1880’s until the 1930’s. They seem to have fallen out of vogue after the introduction of various (and complicated) weight machines and such.
Most people today are not familiar with them except perhaps from seeing them in old movies or portrayed in old ink drawings. You might have dismissed them as a throwback to the classic days of physical fitness but let me tell you, boy, do they work!
I started researching them after I saw them in a fitness catalog. I google-searched and I you-tubed and I checked out a few websites and I became more and more intrigued, so I went ahead and ordered a set along with an introductory dvd.
I watched the video and read all the stuff I could and started slowly – about ten minutes a day. It’s been about three weeks now and I can honestly say that there is a noticeable difference in how my shoulders feel and how much looser my neck and upper back are after a day on the water. I also feel like the movements have strengthened my wrists while adding flexibility.
If you take the time to learn the various patterns correctly, you will begin to notice the “flaws” in your movement and you will begin to see how consistent work will iron those out. After all, we may fish in the ghetto but that doesn’t mean we want to cast “ghetto” (as the kids are fond of saying).
Anyway, I am amazed at how simple and enjoyable using these clubs has been. I am amazed at how much better my shoulders and back feel and I am amazed at the improvement in my casting technique – “who’d have thunk”.
So convinced am I in the value of these simple yet elegant fitness tools as effective aids in improving strength and developing smooth shoulder movement (and thus our ability to fish better) that I was able to talk my fishin’ buddy, Sean into linking this website to the site that offers these clubs, Dragon Door.com. If you do decide to invest in a set of Indian clubs, go slow, have fun and recognize that you will be well on your way to NOT becoming one of “those guys”. You’ll also be well on the way to making sure that you too can practice this addiction called urban fly fishin’ for a long, long time.
Many years ago I worked at a public aquarium that was just a short walk from a public fishing pier. About three years before I left that position, I started noticing this guy walking down the road toward the pier at about the same time I was arriving for work each morning.
The thing that made me notice this guy, aside from the half-dozen rods slung over his shoulder, was the fact that he always wore a navy blue sport coat and always looked like he was singing.
I never spoke to him directly but I always thought he also looked pretty happy. Now, maybe he was happy because he had retired from some dull office job and got to spend the rest of his days fishing or maybe he was happy because he had just had a really great breakfast – We’ll never know. But the one thing I do know, is that he always reminded me of a rather famous fishing photograph that still manages to catch my attention even though I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times. It is a picture of Leigh Perkins holding up a small tarpon while wearing one of Orvis’s trademark hopsack sports coats.
And the reason that picture catches my attention is not because I fish in a sports coat – get real – but rather because it exemplifies the idea of what urban fly fishing is really all about — being able to squeeze in a few minutes of fly fishin’ whenever and wherever the opportunity presents.
So, while I haven’t fished in a sports coat, I have stopped to fish an urban lake after a job interview, on the way home from work, before college classes, during lunch, between appointments, after church and while on the way to the hardware store.
I’ve fished in jeans and tee shirt, slacks and dress shirt, shorts, leather dress shoes, flip flops, Hawaiian shirts, turtlenecks, polo shirts, khakis, coveralls, boots and sneakers.
I’ve been asked if I was modeling for a new line of clothes (seriously and hilariously), if I was working a police case, if I was undercover, if I was a tourist, if I worked for the mayor’s office or if I was filming a television show.
The truth of the matter is I’m just a guy who likes to fish and doesn’t have a whole lotta free time to do it and as such, I tend to put substance (read that as, catching fish) over style- if you know what I mean.
Anyway, I sometimes suspect that all the push on specialized clothes that are only suitable for specific tasks and all is as much marketing and advertisement driven as it is practical reality.
Consider, for example, what the history books say on…oh…the American West and cowboys and you will learn that nearly as many “cowboys” simply wore Bowler hats as they did ten gallon Stetsons. Real cowpokes just made due with the gear at hand.
I’m guessing that like so many other things though that the image can tell the story and “the-man-with-no-name” would not have appeared nearly so macho in all those spaghetti westerns had he been decked out in East Coast city duds as opposed to weathered serape and a “real” cowboy hat.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not against practical functionality – waders are a blessings as are many of the fabrics and clothes that wick away sweat and dry quickly and repel insect and so on and so. I’m just sayin’ that when opportunity knocks, I’m answering the door even if I’m wearing Brooks Bros. and a silk tie.
And that’s my point, urban fishin is all about striking when the time allows.
As if to be a subtle reminder that my line of reasoning is not so far-fetched, I flipped open a fishing catalog the other night and there was a picture of Tom Skerritt portraying the Reverend MacLean from the movie version of “ A River Runs Through It”. Lo and behold, his character was wearing a three piece suit (sans jacket) while flyfishing. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Though the image was taken from a movie, it was based on reality and, frankly, it was a reality that we ought to get used to if we deem ourselves urban fly guys (and gals).
So all that to say, the next time your out on the water and you see a guy decked out in brilliant blue, flowery Hawaiian shirt casting his 5-weight merrily away, don’t assume he is some newbie or poser. Just tip your hat and smile and recognize that he is probably a guy who, like you and me, loves this addiction called urban fly-fishin’.
I picked up my Okuma SLV 2/3 Fly Reel for fishing our local mountain streams. Small, Lightweight, Good drag, and Durable are the qualities that I most value in a reel for these situations. The SLV 2/3 delivers all that and more. This little guy requires little to no maintainance; just pull it out, attached it to the reel seat, and you’re ready to fish. Fits great with my Okuma 7′ 6″ Guide Select Fly rod, and holds just enough fly line and backing for that rare 14-20″ fish. The Large Arbour Disk Drag is strong enough to keep a big fish where you want him, and the one way bearing allows for quick line retrieves (great when hopping from one hole to another). I have already dropped my reel a few times and it’s none the worse for it (something that I have come to expect from Okuma). I was a little sceptical over the rubber grip reel handle, but I found myself very satisfied with the quality and it does keep your soaking wet fingers on the reel. Overall, a great reel at a great price. It’s extremely hard to find a reel of this quality, staying within this price range. All you need is one of these reels and a back up spool for your sinking tip line and your ready for anything these little native fish have to throw your way. Okuma just keeps making quality gear at great prices, and that’s what Urban Fly fishing is all about.
Sitting in hospital waiting rooms and doctors offices has to be one of the least pleasurable ways to spend ones time. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, that is exactly where we have been for much of the last few weeks.
So, as I sit in these places, I am left to ponder some of the great mysteries of modern health care and am left to conclude that it all just doesn’t make much sense.
How is it that I can perch my backside on a pointed piece of granite jutting out from a muddy river bank which plummets at a forty-five degree angle into icy water but I can’t find a waiting room in all of SoCal that has reasonably comfortable chairs?
How is it that I can hold an algae covered size sixteen Pheasant tail between my teeth and never even trigger a gag reflex but feel the immediate urge to hurl as soon as some sugar-hyped, whimpering, green-nosed toddler wipes his face on the chair next to me?
How is it that I can follow detailed tying instructions and produce a reasonably good imitation of a carp fly, or follow questionable directions to a new fishing spot scribbled on the back of an In-N-Out receipt, or manage to figure out increasingly convoluted state fishing regulations but can’t seem to fill out one of those stinkin’ hospital forms in a meaningful way?
How is it that a cafeteria that employs scores of highly educated and well-trained professional nutritionists can’t produce a palatable meal for someone who’s not that picky — someone who willing and regularly chooses to dine on jerky, cheese sticks and canteen water without complaint?
How is it that navigating the hallways, red tape and front desks of our health care system is more vexing then the worst wind knot or bird’s nest ever encountered?
Yeah, how is all that.
Needless to say, the modern healthcare system can be an exasperating experience, however, I would like to think that I’m a silver lining kind of guy (after all, my chosen passion is “brown-lining”) so apart from ranting against healthcare I’d like to “prescribe” a far more effective therapy that doesn’t involve paper gowns, IV’s, hypodermic needles or insurance forms. Yeah, you guessed it — urban flyfishing.
You see, after far too many hours spent trapped inside medical offices, I fairly screamed to my beautiful and long-suffering bride that we needed some outside time – yeah, outside where the temperature was not regulated and the lighting was not fluorescent and where you might get dirty and where – if you chose carefully—the sound of rushing water drowned out most other noises and… well, you get the picture.
And much to my delight, my lovely wife agreed with me. So within short order we found ourselves at a local park with fly rods in hand, casting black and olive wooly buggers toward likely looking cover as the sun slipped low on the horizon.
And, as anticipated, my chosen form of “self-medication” began to help the clenched jaw and gritted teeth to relax and the shoulders to unknot and the furrowed brow to unwrinkle and the rhythm of my breathing to slow down and things to slowly, gently return to the form of normalcy that had left for a while.
So all that to say, if it wasn’t clear before:I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’.