I am so excited when I was informed that I will be the "Uncle Mark" in the coming spring! Now, that is a good excuse to celebrate and eat some good food. A good home style pork stew, steaming fresh cod and a glass of best french wine (under my budget)! Congratulations to S-Y and L&S! I am so proud of you!! : )
been pretty busy in the lab and dealing with some field research, and... paper works... I really think I should squeeze some fishing time between sleep and research,.. A moon light strikes my head ,when I was drinking a cup of tea in my front porch, The moon says, "Mark, you should stay home to finish up the overdued paper works, but you might sneak out for a couple hours to do a stretch." Hmmm... Brilliant!... OK, the stage is set, just a short visit of a sweet spot and test some rod and line combination... Not really serious about fishing, but serious about testing some new lines...
A fenwick 909, 9 feet 9 weight fiberglass rod, paired with a 10 weight fenwick fighting handle... the fiberglass switch! I was using 240 grain 10' belly + 130 grain 14' intermediate tip. This thing really rock! It feel a bit light, but cast small pinky fly nicely! I think this would be a killer combination for the south fork, Snake! The other rod I was testing is a Heddon Pal fly/spin fiberglass rod #130 / 7'. Man, this rod feel really really "ancient" and the blank is flat out beautiful! I really love the old design! Sha-Pa desu(i.e. elegant)! It is a true lovely rod with sweet fiberglass action! I was using 8 weight sinktip line... it load well, shoot well and it catch fish! What a little surprise to me... I think this would be a wonderful kayak rod, fly or spin... life is COZY! : ) Heddon pal and a old Pfluger it get some tug... bend to the butt and exerting the fiberpower!
black and white, just like piano keys... the other day I was fishing the LeCie 8/9 and a Loop HD reel, it made me feel this almost is a unfair game to fish those sealed drag reel... just too easy in control the run... i guess I am an old school... ha... I admit I really enjoy the rig though... the LeCie rod is just an amazing casting machine... Scandi head is the ticket for her... (to be continued)
Due to several thunder storms we had last week, the river is raging now. It is colored and the strong current add a bit difficulty to the fly anglers. To my fishing style, more so. Most of my fishing are involved in small nymphs and flies... I hate casting big flies... it is not because it can't be done or I don't know how to tie those big nasty flies... It is just because I found myself not enjoy doing it... So I always try to avoid the big flies as much as possible. I like to see how big of a fish I can get from a small fly (i.e. 1 inch pinky). However, there is times, and there is exceptions. When the river is raging, I have to go big and heavy... This is the day I have to put up my bigger bunny flies with heavy dumb bell eyes... It remind me the spirit of lure fishing which I think it could be fun sometime... I arrived the woods earlier this time, the sound of the river remind me, it is time to put up those big dirty bunny flies... Sure enough, the water level are more higher than it should be. Fine, I busted my 16 feet Scott G 10/11 weight and put a biggest bunny fly I can find... cast, cast and more cast... I know it would be a another casting practice day... Well, this is striper fishing, if they are not eating, "THEY ARE NOT GOING TO EAT". I can feel the current tossing the silly little fly around...that is how I feel the 16 foot rod is a small stick, and the fly is "silly"... Well... casting practice in real river is not too bad either... few casts later I felt a quick jerking, head shake few times... I had a hookup... the current plus big madness shake equal - blow it! The leader snapped in few seconds... I don't even have a chance to put the line on reel... my heart is pumping hard for another few minutes until the other angler come... This MR. is THE old timer. I have met him and learned quite a lot from him. I love to chat with local people, the culture and conventional wisdom really the whole outing experience shine. Ice on the cake to me... He take my spot and I make a excuse to take a rest. It is fun to see him manipulate his lure, he is a very good lure fisherman, no doubt! Suddenly he make a light whistle "feee...". He is onto something... quite big I can tell from the big ugly stick bend right over... and his position just like a olympic athlete, big time! I shut out like no brainer "Hey! It is my fish" ... How silly... because he is standing on my spot and drifting my current... HA... well... suppose to be... but... not really... Good on him! I quickly pick up the camera and snap some photos... Great chance to take some fishing photos! It turns out pretty great! I really enjoy doing it, as much as fishing itself! : ) Few runs later, the fish is in, HOLY CR#@P! GOOD LORD.... I yelled out loud, this is a mothership, not a small fighter I regular get! I am glad it is on his big lure, it would break my rod in a split second... It make me think about how big is the fish I just lost... still wondering... HA... He told me, "the leader is 30 lb test"... another Wow from me. "OK, then I will just grab the leader for you..." I am scared about the two giant triple hooks... He managed to remove it and it is a giant mama... cool! I really enjoy our conversation, I opened up my coke for celebration! a great day indeed! It's Debussy in my mind!
while driving is essentially just is "the process" lead to a fishing destination, I found myself quite enjoy the drive by itself. My mind in the drive often become unusually peaceful... It settle in the groove between two exciting brain processes, "preparing fishing" and "fishing". Ears are listening music, eyes are focusing on the road, but mind... is somewhere within past 30 years... mountains, forest and rivers... it is quite peaceful and quite nice to have those wonderful database in the memories... BTW, no, I did not get any fish lately...
after 3 weeks of continuous skunks... hardly, I can feel the innate confidence and the faith of the good ol river. but what should I do on the weekend? there is no better excuse to visit the wilderness than fishing and photo shooting...
The flow seems right and there should be a lot of wild flower blooming now... I love walk in the woods at this time of the year, it's a multi-dimensional experience, not only the freshness of the early Summer air is well mixed with a lot of bird songs, but also the smell of all kinds of wild flowers and trees. No exception of this very morning... the river is steaming with fog, it's one of the days that you think the fish should be happy and should be biting... ha... it's my imagination and sometimes the imagination will overpower the bad fishing juju I have been carrying in last 3 weeks... the heron was already there on the rock... "good sign!" I told myself. because it means they are there hunting for bait fish (the shed)... the freshwater shed here is very abundant and can grow into a very scary size (to me). I caught two last month, and they are 15 inches long... no wonder I have seen some fisherman here use 12 inches lure...
I have two thing in mind in this very morning, if the fish are not there or not biting... at least I can try some new lines (sinktips), so I brought two rods and two reels with me... one is smaller floating spey line with Hardy Zenith, the other is heavy sinktip. Two different lines cover two different zone, and the casting styles will be also different longline spey and skagit.
Few casts later, a very nice fish took the little bunny...I thought I was hook on the bottom again, and next thing I noticed is the swift jerking of the rod and the reel scream like it was powered by a engine... I was a bit shocked because this is the first time I hook a nice fish with this new reel... I quickly pinch my index finger on the quickly vanished line... NOT A GOOD IDEA! the line burns! that is how fast this beast run... I know this might be a good size striper...because when they get hooked they never hesitate like other smaller hybrid, they run right downstream heading to the ocean immediately... I have to act quickly, because there are several big rock downstream, if she passed the rock, there is almost no chance to land her... Instead control the line, I inserted more pressure in the running spool with my mid finger, next thing I knew was I am putting pressure directly on the spinning backings inside the spool... this is the trick I learned from the SkagitMaster DVD. Ed Ward demonstrate how to control the line by using the reel spool which doesn't have open palming frame, in my case, the Zenith reel. 15 lb tippet really received a lot of pressures... so does the rod... it already bend to the butt section and the cork is still jerking because of the madness from the distant beast! HeeeeBa! all the doubts from the previous skunks are gone, and now the game is on! I really don't care about if I can land this fish at the moment... my soul is enriched by the air, the river sounds and the smell of the forest...and of course the electric shock from the fish...
the swing, the unite, the harmony and the rhythm...
The green mode, the green mood!
Hookup! Gear 0 versus Fly 2. You gonna believe feather is better than plastic! Ha!lol small fly and strong tippet... will do! "COZY" swing and sweet...life is so wonderful! : )
It's a hot summer day, my mind was hovering with the songs of summer birds... cardinal, indigo bunting, blue grosbeak and Carolina wren... the heat really slow everything down...and make those bird's images blury... even the postman's square car seems looks melting in the distant air... I came home in search of some cool air, lucky me! There is one fresh package stuffed in my mail box. A package full of fresh memories from Japan! Thank you! Brother! There are several books and one good fishing lucky charm in there!! WOw... I am so excited to see those books! : )
a calendar with all amazing fishing photos from Sato Seiji (LINK)
I don't think this is a good idea to put up this calendar though...(get no work done, but.. fishing, ha : )
a perfect guide of PATAGONIA - what a wonderful book to introduce the company Patagonia! THE company, not just a company that make outdoors clothing, but selling/promoting a spiritual life style, a attitude and the environmental awareness. There are so many "eco-thinking" were originated from this company...
Oh... Patagonia cooking section... can not live without this... This is the first section I dig in... ha : )
Of course we can not talk about this company without mentioned the legendary outdoorsman Yvon Chouinard!
Another magazine with a great article written by Masao坂口正夫 （aka real NICE husband!） I am so fortune to meeting him in person in Tokyo and had a great honor to have him show me around all the great shops in Tokyo! The story will come later... I promise...
This article is just awesome! remind me how serious we really are! getting serious about aquatic insects, and how much fun in learning freshwater ecology and practice the "catching"! The men! Masao (night fisher!) and Hitoshi
The men! Hitoshi, me and Kouei (Last Samuri!) ... Thank you! Hitoshi (LINK)! : )
Kouei san is the editor of the patagonia magazine and another famous outdoors writer in Japan, see the editorial photo that he (white shirt on the right) hang out with Yvon (brown shirt)! Wow... @@ how lucky am I to meet with those people!
beer meeting... By the way... the real trip article will come... very... soooon!@@
Skagit double spey casting probably is the most interesting cast I have ever seen and learned. It is such a wonderful cast to pull out the heavy sink tip and heavy fly. Just thought it might be a good idea to provide some thoughts here and illustrate what I think about Skagit casting style and sustain anchor concept. (I don’t want to bore anyone here with physics… I will avoid scientific terms and try to use more interesting videos to illustrate my thoughts) (I apologize if some of you not like seeing physics)
First off, not to be confused by the Traditional Double Spey (TDS). The video provide here demonstrate the casting movement of Skagit Double Spey (SDS) Video LINK As Ed showing in his video and this clip (start from 0:18 sec). There are several distinct characters of SDS compare to the TDS.
1. More circular movement : In the video clip (start from 0:18 sec) you can see a distinct and exaggerated circular movement of SDS casting (almost a full circle - 360 degree). Ed has describe this like “Olympic hammer thrower”, the circular movement of the line not only grab the water tension liner but also circular to maximize the rod load. Indeed, by placing the anchor “so close to center of casting”, the line actually “spin and pull outward” that centered on the heavy tip and heavy fly. In the video, Ed has described the heavier the sink tip and fly, the more horizontally you position the rod. This will increase the sweep radius thus maximized the angular momentum to begin with (see below for detail). Like all the figure skiers, start with the open arms then close the arms to increase the spinning speed without adding any other forces (the conservative law of angular momentum: see Video LINK) Video2. At the end of the sweep, the 45 degree thrust naturally close up the sweep radius and increase the line speed dramatically, thus load the rod even more in the casting fire position.
2. Take an advantage of heavy tip and heavy fly: The cool thing about the SDS movement is actually SDS “embrace” a heavy tip and heavy fly as friends and work with them. They are no longer a hazard factor in spey casting, but essentially become a helper (sustain anchor) in the SDS casting. The heavier the tip, the more power move you can do to on hold “the load” into the rod sweep without blow the anchor. For this point of view, I think SDS casting really set itself apart from other spey casting styles (touch and go).
3. Use circular plane to control the power: slowly and more controllable way to cast. TDS use speed to control the power, but in SDS casting, you actually can use "the circle plane" to control the power. You can use all casts with the same sweep speed to cast different tip (include floaters) by position the rod tip in different plane of height (as demonstrated in the Skagit Master video). This is the use of angular momentum law again. Under the same sweep speed, the wider the radius in the sweep the more energy will be released in the final casting stroke. Smaller radius for dry tip, bigger(more horizontally) radius for the heavy tips.
For the reasons listed above, in my humble opinion, Skgit casting in not just a special line configuration to deliver a heavy tip and fly, but also has it distinct casting style (at least in SDS casting) to uses and take advantage of the sustain anchor.
I am a biologist grew up with a fishing rod in my hands. I have been fortunate enough to embrace my love of art and science in my career. Most of my free time were well spent in the nature, either studying bird behavior or chasing variety of fish with fly rods. My favorite art medium is watercolors, I love the natural and spontaneous feel created by watercolor pigments. I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Welcome to my website. Mark