ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

By , December 28, 2011 6:04 am

After the last few fishing trips I’ve had, let’s just say that I’ve been reluctant to get out. Let’s do a quick little recap.

The first trip out dealt me nothing more than my 3 Piece Okuma 3 Weight Guide Select Fly Rod, wait I mean 4 piece Rod after I slammed it in my truck door. Luckily it came with a warranty.

You all know how my Second trip out looked from Dan’s post CARDIO-FLY. Let’s just say that I have a high tolerance for pain, but getting stung by a scorpion is no joking matter.

My Third Trip left me with the worst case of Poison Oak that I’ve ever had, and I’m now starting to wear shorts again.

But everything (Yes even my bad luck) has a season, and I think that this season is finally behind me.

I found myself just a little more hesitant to get up in the morning. I was looking for any reason not to get in the car and start driving. But I found all my gear just where it was supposed to be, and yes I have a backup 3 weight Fly Rod.

So there I was driving up in to Mount Baldy, with all kinds of thoughts going around in my head of what could possibly go wrong this time. Maybe I’d get eaten by a Mountain Lion, bitten by a Rattle Snake, a car accident, something. But as the miles counted down I soon found myself standing at the creeks edge, taking long deep breathes.

I thought to myself “Here we Go”, now please understand that I am not a pessimistic person. My wife has even at times accused me of being a little too optimistic in light of some of the situations life has thrown at us.

But come on I was on a roll. I’m a history buff, and let’s just say that my recent history was telling me to be really, really careful.

As I hit the water, my old careless self started to creep back up, and I found myself making dangerous jumps from boulder to boulder, stepping all over Poison Oak, and even fishing freezing cold water and 40 degree air temperature  in my good ol’ Wrangler Cargo shorts.

After just a couple of casts I was back to myself, and pulling in decent size rainbows on almost every cast. After fishing about a 1 3/4 mile section of the stream, I found myself satisfied for the day. Okay I’ll be honest I didn’t want to push my luck. A couple of hours on the water and no accidents.

Call it what you will, Lucky, Blessed, all I know is I’m back.

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2011

By , December 24, 2011 8:29 pm

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the UrbanFlyVentures Family to yours!

 

CARDIO-FLY

By , December 7, 2011 10:07 pm

Fly fishing will probably never be seen as an aerobic sport as far as the health and fitness crowd are concerned.

But, that is only because they have never been urban flyfishin’.

I can personally attest to the pulse-raising benefits of out-running a pair of junkyard Rottweillers – while not breaking your beloved 5-weight.

I can also confirm the cardio workout that occurs when one must traverse a drainage ditch, scale a couple of fences, swing from a pliable but sturdy willow branch then scramble down a 100-foot gravel embankment– all while not breaking your beloved 5-weight.

I can further attest to the sweat-inducing, full-range of motion that occurs each time you must pull yourself from a waist deep mud hole you just stepped in or from boosting yourself or your fishing buddy over eight-foot high retaining walls or lowering yourself and/or your fishin buddy down a crumbling undercut – all while not breaking your beloved 5-weight.

There is a reason virtually no fly fishin’ gear is made out of spandex or lycra.

Add to all the above, the heart-thumpin’-body-as-tense-as-a-watch-spring workout that occurs each and every time you breathlessly wait for that two-foot long Carp to finally hit the Wooly Bugger he has been trailing for the last forty-five feet and I’d say that urban fly fishin’ ought to rank right up there as an Olympic event.

It’s a least as hard as…curling.

But, I digress.

Sometimes, fly-fishing can give you a cardio workout when you ain’t even near the water.

Consider, the following conversation that occurred just a couple of weekends ago:

(Cell phone rings)

“Hey Sean, what’s up?”

“Hey Dan, what are the symptoms of snake bite?”

“Where you at?”

“Drivin’ home from West Fork. I think I may have been snake bit.”

(Pulse starting to rise)

“What happened?”

“Stepped over a rock instead of on it and felt something jab my calf. I thought I heard something scurry away but didn’t actually see a snake.”

“Any breaks in the skin?”

“One small one plus it’s pretty red and hard around the area. It hurts a lot too. I washed it off in the river and I used my bite kit right away.”

(Pulse continuing to rise.)

“You feeling nauseous or dizzy?”

“Not really. A little stressed and I have a funny taste in my mouth.”

(A couple of beads of sweat begin to form on my brow, heart rate continues to rise)

“All right. How far are you from home? Do you have any Benedryl?”

“Only about five miles now. Yeah, I took two Benedryl as soon as I got back to the car. Maybe it’s just poison oak. It really hurts though.”

“You sure your not nauseous or dizzy (Because your… driving!). Poison oak doesn’t usually hurt that bad.  How many times have we run through poison oak?”

“Yeah, I know. Maybe it was just a bug bite…”

“Or a snake bite or a scorpion sting. You say you have a funny taste in your mouth?

 

“Yeah. Kinda metallic-like.”

“Well, a snake bites would typically look worse than what you described and the metal taste makes me think you got stung by a scorpion instead but this is what we’re gonna do. Since you’re almost home, drive straight to the hospital and we’ll meet you there.”

“Yeah, all right. Can you call Sarah for me. She didn’t pick up and when I called her. You don’t think it’s poison oak then, huh?”

(heart rate now at about 80% calculated age-adjusted maximum)

“Doesn’t matter what I think. Let’ get it checked out by a doctor. If nothing else they can give you something for the pain and to counteract any allergic reaction you might be having.”

“Just got off the freeway. It’s probably nothing. You really think I should go to the ER?”

“Yeah, I really think you should. Be sure to tell them you suspect a snake bite even though you didn’t see a snake.”

“Yeah, it does hurt. “

 (pulse pounding though trying to keep my voice calm)

 “Hey Sean. I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. But before we hang up, you didn’t break your new 5-weight or anything when you got stung, did you?”

 I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

Epilogue: Sean did go to the ER and it was determined that he was most likely stung by a scorpion. He also picked up poison oak on his other leg. He received treatment for both, and he and I, along with our wives and his sister-in-law ended up having lunch together.  My heart rate did return to normal fairly quickly. Sean did not break his new 5-weight.

CLEARLY THANKFUL

By , December 2, 2011 9:10 pm

I like Thanksgiving. I like everything that it represents and I like the “vibe” about the day.

I even like the crazy, post-Thanksgiving “pizza” my wife makes using all the left-overs.

Thanksgiving day is, in my mind, still the official kickoff of the Holiday season despite what the Big Box retailers try to pass off on us as they set up their fake Christmas trees in the same aisle as the halloween decorations… in mid-September.

Weather-wise, Thanksgiving is all over the map in SoCal. It has been cold, and rainy, cloudy and gray, and Sunny and mild from year-to-year.

A couple of years ago, my fishin’ buddy, Sean and I were stymied by thin, nearly invisible sheets of ice on one of the mountain streams we tried fish on Thanksgiving morning. This year, we fished in tee-shirts as we snuck away from the home hearths early Thursday morning before the rest of our respective households rolled out of bed.

We only had a very narrow time slot in which to fish so we planned on hitting one local park where Cal Fish & Game was supposed to have planted Trout a few days prior. When we got there, the place was nearly empty. As we paused at the top of a small rise to finish tying on our chosen flies, we both noticed that the water was a sickly, very artificial, blue-green color.

That’s usually not a good sign for productive fishing.

Now, lots of urban lakes and ponds get the dye treatment to help cut down on algal growth and aquatic weeds especially when the days have been sunny and the temps mild to warm. However, over the years, we have noticed a pattern associate with these dye treatments and developed an unofficial color scale to determine our potential success rate.

The color of the water we were looking at ranked about a “2”.

Nevertheless, we headed down the slope, ducked a couple of errant Frisbees from an early morning Frisbee Golf foursome who clearly weren’t warmed up yet and started fishing.

Our efforts were rewarded without so much as a half-hearted nibble.

Sean engaged an early morning walker/fellow angler in conversation and learned that the lake probably had not been planted and that nobody had caught much of anything over the last few days, which explained why the gentleman was walking and not fishing.

That was enough for us to switch to plan “B” and within a few minutes we were on our way to another local park about fifteen minutes away.

In contrast to the last lake, the water at our next stop was crystal clear. So much so that is was like looking through glass. With our polarized sunglasses, we could see every detail of the bottom and, unfortunately every Bass within twenty-five feet of the shoreline.

As always, we fished hard, crept along as stealthily as possible, switched tactics and flies frequently and covered the entire lake.

The long and short of it though was that every Bass we could see, could also see us. Urban fish don’t get to be the size these Bass were by being stupid. Sean did manage to get one fish to follow a wooly bugger twitched over a weed bed but the subsequent strike was half-hearted at best and didn’t result in a hook set. I too could only muster one weak lunge at my streamer but it too did not result in a solid bite. We were in essentially the same dilemma that Flats fisherman face all the time.

Now, a lot of guys would just shake their head and consider the day a failure. Despite the disappointing fishing, I felt like we had been given a unique Thanksgiving Day gift. You see, there were only two other anglers at this park and one of them was a stationary bait fisherman. Sean and I got to cover the entire perimeter of the lake and, due to the unusual clarity of the water, we got to map out every inch of underwater structure to about twenty-five feet out. We now have the knowledge of where there are weed bed edges, where there are rock piles, where there are trenches and potholes, where somebody tossed in an old Christmas tree and where aerator pipelines run. We also got to map out the spawning beds from earlier in the year and we got to note underwater corridors that the spooked Bass were using to flee when our shadows fell on the water. Come the Spring we will know exactly where to concentrate our efforts.

Besides that, we were outside, in shirtsleeves, in late November, enjoying the fresh air, the quietness, the beauty of the changing leaves, the chance to fish and the opportunity to learn a whole lot of useful things for another day. I even snagged a soft plastic salamander imitation once hidden amongst the thick lily pads but now clearly visible.

It was a morning to be thankful indeed.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

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