Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Casts

2012 went out with a bang. 

My last day on the water for this calendar year turned out to be one of the best, simply put.  Big browns were chomping streamers. 

Yes Sir.
Don't tell the fish but it's supposed to be winter.  I guess it was one of those cases of being in the right place at the right time and by happens stance, picking the right fly. 

And Another.
It was darn cold today.  Though when you are catching fish, chipping ice out of the guides every 10 or so casts, and losing feeling in your fingers suddenly doesn't bother you as much.

That's why it's hard to shoot line.
A Face Only A Mother Could Love.  Which one you ask?  I don't want to know.
In a year where big browns were noticeably hard to come by, at least for me, courtesy of botched casts, missed hook-ups, break-offs, etc.  I was lucky enough to land several such fish just today.  The stars must have been aligned or something like that.  Maybe it has to do with the whole Mayan calendar, who knows.  At any rate, I'll take it

Silver and Gold.  Is it too late for Christmas analogies?

Turns out my last casts of 2012 were some of the best ones.  Here's to 2013!   
Wishing everyone a safe and happy new year.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Day In the Life

I love where I live.

Santa was nice and delivered a telephoto lens for my SLR, I had to get out and give it a test drive.

Pictures from today.  Hiking, bird watching, and a little fishing.  What's not to like about winter in the Rockies? 

If I don't post again before 2013.  Happy New Year!  Thanks for reading.

Blodgett Canyon

Blue Jay

Bitterroot Mountain Peak

Downy Woodpecker

Gold Crowned Kinglet

Looking Down Blodgett Canyon

Eagle Taking Flight
Friendly Face

One For the Road


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jungle Fish on F3t Theatre

For a limited time only.

From today until 2013, you can watch Jungle Fish, yes the entire film over at the Fly Fishing Film Tour website.  Check it out, you won't regret it, awesome film. 

Here's the trailer.  Follow the link to watch the film.   

Watch Jungle Fish

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cape Solstice

Looks like we all made it through the end of the world once again, and have lived to experience one more winter solstice (I know this is coming a day late!).  The solstice is a great day to reflect on your place in the world, and the magic of the seasons.  Living in Montana we are fortunate to get to experience all four seasons at their best.  Sping is full of life, rebirth, rain, hunting morels, and chasing the big hatches.  Summer days are long, beautiful, full of long hikes, beautiful fish and dry flies.  Fall is all about golden leaves, hunting, throwing streamers, and those fantastically crisp mornings.  Winter is snow, skiing, and catching up on everything you should have done when you were fishing the rest of the year! 

The winter solstice is always a much anticipated event, the start of the long journey towards spring.  In My Story as Told by Water, fly fisherman and author David James Duncan points out how sedentary things, mountains, forests, people, are truly the ones who migrate, travelling along with the equinoctial tilt of our planet.  It is in fact the creatures we consider migratory, that actually don't move at all.  The following is taken from Duncan's book.  
In the fly-fishing classic The Habit of Rivers, Ted Leeson glimpses this journey when he looks up from his home river at departing Canada geese.  He writes,
As the recognition of autumn comes suddenly, in a moment, so one day you first hear the geese....Bound for the south, these birds seem to me a strange point of fixity...for in a sense they don't move at all.  They take to altitudes to stay in one place, not migrating, but hovering, while the equinoctial tilting of the earth rocks the poles back and forth beneath them.  The geese remain, an index of what used to be where, and of what will return again.  Their seasonal appearance denotes your passing, not their own.
Duncan writes the next passage after noting the sudden change after the first cold snap of the year.  If you live in the Rockies you know the one I'm talking about.  The days when fall gives way to winter, when that stream you were fishing days or weeks before suddenly now has the appearance of an immovable solid.  It is on these kinds of days that you realize that you are indeed the one migrating.
Returning home from these surroundings, I found that our house, too sat differently upon the land.  The log walls were no longer anchored to solid ground: they cut through the axial stream like a ship's prow. I'd step indoors with a sense of climbing aboard, make tea, sit at the window, watch the mountain world plunge, shiplike, through the slow equinoctial flow.  Winter solstice became not a date on the calendar but a destination: something to sail toward, then around, the way schooners used to round Capes Horn and Good Hope.  When my daughters climbed in my lap, I couldn't contain my wonder.
"We're moving!" I told them. "The house, the mountains, the whole world is sailing. Can you feel it?"
 They gazed gravely at the mountains, then nodded with such serenity is seemed they'd always known.  And on we glided, deep into winter, out around Cape Solstice, then straight on back toward spring.
Sailing Onwards, Towards Spring.
Duncan, David James (2001). Tilt. My Story As Told By Water: Confessions, Druidic Rants, Reflections,    Bird-Watchings, Fish-Stalkings, Visions, Songs and Prayers Reflacting Light, From Living Rivers, In the Age of the Industrial Dark. (pp. 57-60).  New York, NY. Sierra Club Books.         

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Films - Mighty Mo' Edition

The Missouri river is a special place as anyone who has fished it will tell you.  We all know there are lots of fish, and big ones to boot, but part of the Mo's allure to me at least has to be the people.  Craig, MT has to be one of the few places on earth that smelly, unshaven, dirt poor trout bums can truly feel at home.  Whenever I spend a few days in Craig I always come away with a few new friends, and a couple good stories.  You can't beat the culture, especially in the winter, when the only people in town are either locals, hardcore trout bums, or both. 

Whether you're standing around a good fire at the Craig campground, swapping stories with a bunch of likeminded fly fishermen, sampling the fine cuisine and nightlife at Joe's, or pounding coffee during the morning's ritualistic visit to Headhunters, you always run into lots of friendly, interesting, and sometimes straight up crazy folks.

An impending trip to the Mo' got me in the mood to dig up some of my favorite videos on the river.  First up, Spring Training by the crew at Headhunters Fly Shop.  Besides  serving as the cultural and spiritual hub of Craig, these guys put out more than a few good articles, videos, and tips on how to fish the Missouri.  They tell it like it is, and are eager to help you catch fish, I appreciate that.

Spring Training from scumliner media on Vimeo.

Next up we have the trailer from Shartail Media's fantastic film Sipping Dry.  This video highlights the big reasons why we love the Mo.

Last but not least we have a film by 406 Productions.  Plenty of big fish footage for all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gear Review - Simms Freestone 2012 Wading Boots

All Bum Trout gear reviews are unbiased, honest, and nobody pays me to say anything.  I wish somebody would though...

The dog had nothing to do with this, promise.

You might say I'm kinda tough on my wading boots.  These were my old Simms Freestone boots at the end of their life this spring.  They were workhorses for several seasons, but when my feet started showing through the hole in the toe, and the felt was all but a memory, I figured it was time us to part ways.

The new model.

Now before I get to the gear review part, I just thought I should mention that most of my fishing time is spent wading.  Not just short jaunts either, I routinely walk several miles each time I am on the water.  I also spend a ton of time fishing small, high gradient mountain streams.  This kind of fishing consists of a lot of boulder hopping, which can really destroy boots (and ankles) rather quickly.  Needless to say, I look for a pair of boots that grip well, hold up to a lot of abuse, have solid ankle support, and are comfortable enough to spend a solid 12 hours in.

Figuring my old freestones worked so well, I invested in the 2012 model.  After an entire summer and fall of banging them around the rivers, here's the break down:

       - I must say these boots are comfy!  After a long day of hard hiking and wading, my feet feel really good.  The fit is great all around.  The footbeds are nice and cushy, there's great padding, and these boots deliver solid ankle support.  So far so good.

       - I have been using the felt-soled version (a note on this later, I know felt is controversial) because of the kind of fishing I do, and the fact that 90% of my time is spent in the same watershed, felt works for me.  When I go on road trips, the felt stays at home!  The grip is what you expect for felted soles, they grip really well most of the time, just beware of the mud! 

       - After 6 months the boots look almost new.  The stitching is rock solid.  Toe guard rubber is holding up nicely.  Felt is in good shape.  I only have two concerns: 1. The laces are already showing some significant signs of wear, it won't be long before they will need replacing. 2. The eyelets are made of plastic which leaves me wondering about their long-term durability, I guess time will tell.

Not quite Ansel Adams.  Workin' on it.
The Verdict
       - Overall I am very impressed by what Simms has put together in what is their basic, consumer level boots.  I think for the price ($129.00ish) you get what you pay for.  Simms has really upgraded this model from previous generations and I love the addition of the hard rubber toe guards (smack into a few boulders and you will to!).  I think you could do a lot worse, just remember to buy an extra pair of laces.  You can check out the boots and spend your hard earned money if you wish at Simms Fishing Products.   

         - Important notes on felt.  When Wearing Felt, Clean, Inspect, and Dry when moving from stream to stream!  This is really important, in fact it is critical to prevent the spread of invasive species!  It's really simple to make sure your felt soles are clean and safe to wear at your next fishing destination.  First and foremost however, consider making your felt boots a home watershed only boot.  If you spend the majority of your life in one watershed and fish a lot of high gradient streams with large boulders, felt is probably a good choice.  If you are always on the road, felt should not be your first option

The following link is definitely worth a read and everyone should take this information to heart, please help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.  Stop Aquatic Invasive Species.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Frozen Fingers and Feeding Fish

It's mid December.  Layer up, pound the coffee, hope it get's above freezing, try not to slip when you cross the river.  Ice in the guides, "where's my gloves?"

Love those spots.

Time to bobber up put on that strike indicator, add a few split shot, and throw on a Pat's Rubberlegs.  It's winter time, and finally it feels like it.  Winter fishing ain't all bad, actually it can be quite good at times.  If you don't mind a few numb fingers here and there.

Vermont Trout Bum turned Montana Trout Bum - Chris working a good looking run.

For the folks that can't go more than a couple weeks without hitting the water, winter fishing is a necessity.  First, it helps to alleviate the "shack nasty's," "cabin fever," or whatever else you want to call it.  Second, winter fishing is strangely fun in it's own right.  The pace of it is slow, you can chat with your buddies, enjoy the day, watch the storms roll over the mountains.  The river is almost eerily quiet, and you won't have to fight anyone for your favorite riffle.

Whitefish, we'll be seeing a lot of each other.

At any rate it's going to be here for a while, might as well embrace it.  Besides, I can think of a lot of worse ways to spend a day off.  Enjoy it, after all do you really have a choice?    

How cold?  This cold.
Another one falls for the rubberlegs.
Until next time.  Stay warm, and stay classy San Diego.
 Went out today with Chris of the blog Vermont Trout Bum.  Check out the site, you will like what you see.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Films

Here's a look at some films that caught my eye this week.

It seems like the entire fly fishing world has been talking about the film Low and Clear from Finback Films.  But in case you haven't got a chance to check out the trailer, here it is.  Looks awesome.

Next up comes a short piece from our friends at Simms about summertime hopper fishing in Montana.  For some reason I just can't get enough of watching big trout crushing hoppers.  How many months until August?  It can never get here fast enough.

Last but certainly not least we have some great footage from Carp whisperer Barry Reynolds.  Those who know me, also know I have a soft spot for carp.  Reynolds wrote the book on fly fishing for carp (literally, it's called Carp on the Fly) and knows a thing or two about catching the golden bonefish.  The music certainly helps the awesomeness of this film, you'll see what I mean.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strip'n Fly Wear - Video

Some sick footage here from the fella's at Strip'n Fly Wear.  Besides making great Fly Fishing apparel, these guys also happen to catch fish once in a while. This video includes some big browns and bows from a few of Montana's lesser known, yet stellar rivers.  Where are they fishing you ask?

 I'm not giving anything away here.

Oh, and there happens to be some great contests circulating around on the inter-web at the moment.  Some good gear to be had over at Dub the Thorax and the Fiberglass Manifesto to name a few.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Films

So this is an attempt at a weekly post series. We'll see how long that lasts.  In the middle of a 14 day streak of not fishing, my longest of the year.  One has to fill the gap somehow.

Every Friday during these wintry months I will be bringing you a few (mostly) fly fishing related videos that have captured my attention lately.  So relax, grab a pint or two of eggnog, settle up next to the space heater fire, and enjoy.

First up is a little tongue-in-cheek video by our friends across the pond, Jazz and Fly Fishing.  These fellas have somehow managed to successfully marry my two greatest passions in life (Jazz and Fly Fishing if you couldn't guess), into one seemingly viable economic venture.  Besides being stellar Jazz artists, this crew can straight up fish, and they have plenty of footage to prove it.

This is their hilarious Shadow Casting video.  Love it.  Now if only they ever need a saxophonists...

 Next on the docket is a little piece from the local boys over at Big Sky Trouting.  They've been at it for a couple years now and their videos don't disappoint.  They definitely know where a lot of big fish reside, and certainly manage to catch their share. 

Finally we have for you a piece by the guys of Montana Wild.  I am a big fan of what they have been putting out as of late.  Great quality.  This video makes me yearn for those long summer days, and hours spent fishing small water.