Monday, September 27, 2010
Arthur Grumiaux play for the Monday! What a wonderful piece. I think no one can play better than him regard to "precision and subtlety"! This is especially true (in my opinion, of course) when he played Bach violin concerto 1041-1043 (unfortunately I can not find any clip on the youtube). see more description here...The natural freshness of his playing is an experience. He never tries to add sweetness to the beautiful slow movements. His bow is always full and glorious. His playing comprises a classical sunlit quality which is particular suitable for the music of Bach and of course Mozart.
BTW, His music remind me a precise executed casting loop to a rising trout! : )
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
not exactly 20/20 club, but 24/16 club is not bad either. If I only can fish one fly in my life, that would be blue wing olive emerger.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
10 years ago, one of my good friend (F) sent me a watch as a graduation gift and said to me. this will be good for the field work, it's a watch I treasured so much and also helped me so much in the field research. It accurate display the altitude and temperature (left side of the photo). Now, this past month, another good friend (N) and his family gave me another watch and said "we felt the watch is a bit old and thought you might need another one" This new watch (right of the photo) has altitude, temperature and compass... 3 sensors and it use solar energy! It's a amazing machine, I have used it every day in Boston. Especially the compass function that really helped me when I got lost in this new city! @@
While those two watches are totally functioning well, I will have to take turns to wear them! They are not only great tools, but, most importantly, it remind me the wonderful friendships and memories we have, in every minutes! Thank you! my friends..
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
finally settle in Harvard today. what a beautiful city, amazing campus and people! I will be doing my post doctoral research in Harvard for one year, all for the little red birds - the finches. The lab and the professor are the academic giants. It is so exciting to chat with them and discussed the future plan, it really make my blood pumping when seeing the passion in their eyes : ) How fortunate am I to be able to do research with them! Well... It is actually a bit mixed feelings of exciting and nervous. Not sure if I can handle this important project... a lot of expectations and encouragements...>< I have jumped right in to the ocean, so i guess the only option is swimming forward, and no looking back. For this reason, I will have to reduce my fishing time and spend more time dancing with the DNAs...and noted, my future post will be sporadic and more science related... wish me luck in this chance of a life time. maybe more food reports in Boston, I hope! : )
There are many changes in the current life, fishing is not the only one... Boston life is totally a different way than the peaceful country style in Alabama. The people is such a interesting element in this city, and be honest with you, I quite enjoy sitting in the subway and watching all the different people come and go, old or young, rich or poor,energetic or lethargic, all kinds of interesting characters. Although a 45 minutes one way in the subway sounds a bit too long. The nearby great restaurants can really soothe my miss of Auburn football season... I miss the game day BBQ and Beers!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
one of the cool thing about the yellowstone national park is it's road system and design. Along the road there are so many accesses to the river, creek and meadow. You like it, you pull over and fish it! So many beautiful spots to fish! It is especially good for new angler like me. You even can check if fish are rising when you drive (though, this is NOT recommended for safety's sake!)
One evening, I was on my way back to west yellowstone. I saw a samll meadow
I took my time to enjoy the scenery. What a peaceful meadow. I know the caddis fly will be out soon. This river has a lot of volcanic rock along the bottom, so there are so deep pool and eddies, also a lot of aquatic vegetation. It is a call for wetfly swing... I observe and wait patiently. Soak every peaceful moment that the river has to offer. Sure enough, a gradually gathering caddis fly dancing along the river surface. I also saw some unknown moth along the creek. (it was spruce moth, later someone told me). I put a light colored elk hair caddis as my indicator fly, trailing with a caddis pupa to imitation the hatching situation. Surprising the fishing was tough... the fish were rising frequently and I know they should after the pupa, because of the incresing caddis activities... I try to make a precise presentation combined with down stream caddis dance and swing... maybe the size is a bit off or the color isn't right. I did not get a hook up until the light start to vanishing.. and the moonlight start to set in... wow... a monlight meadow... so beautiful. Exciting can not describe my appreciation! I switch to smaller pupa... finally i got an answer from a rainbow trout... quickly I took a stomach sample, just to fill my curiosity about what insect they are eating... nothing come out... this is a hungry guy, haven't eat anything yet...so I did not get anything from the stomach pump. After few swings, I got another brown trout... again, nothing in his stomach... JEEESE... I still don't know what kind of caddis fly they are eating... well... I guess I am a bit green on this river. But for a beautiful scenery like this, I think catching isn't really matter... I am fishing under the moonlight! how cool is that! : )
If all goes as expected, genetically modified salmon will soon arrive on our dinner plates.
Armed with a gene from the ocean pout -- another kind of fish -- the new salmon, which originally hails from the Atlantic, grows twice as fast as its less endowed peers out at sea.
The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the new salmon is safe to eat and safe for the environment, suggesting that approval is likely at a hearing planned for later this month. The decision would make the fish the first genetically modified animal allowed for human consumption...
All species of wild Atlantic salmon are listed as endangered. Adding any type of new threat could throw them over the edge. Often, Hutchings added, genes that are inserted for one purpose have other unintended and unpredictable effects.
"It's fairly difficult to make precise predictions about what would happen if interbreeding took place between GMO and wild salmon," Hutchings said. "But almost certainly the consequences would not be positive for the wild salmon, particularly given their poor conservation status."
When Sea lice problem are still hanging in the air. Someone try to throw in another risky factor... sigh... : (
No farmed salmon please! Eat wild salmon!
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
During my visit in trout hunter, most of time I got to fish with this super guide BG, share some thoughts and show each other stuff that “we think” we know the subject better than the other HA… Mind you, I have learned a ton from this super fishy guy.
Because it is still on the peak season in the fly shop, occasionally, BG has to work, this mean I have get some opportunities to explore the waters by myself which is good to me to switch the mode. BG is kind enough to lend his Pathfinder to me that make my exploration territory expanded to several states nearby. My top choice: Yellowstone national park, just 35 minutes away from trout hunter. Cool. I finished a lazy and yet super luxury breakfast then set off for chasing those illusive huge lake run brown trout in early season. Reliable source has it that there are few of them in the lower Madison!
I stopby the Blue Ribbon River Flies fly shop just to confirm the news is solid and also get a chance to see what is the hot fly for those lake run brown trout… I absolutely love this shop! Small, cozy and has everything you need! The famous flies are all well organized in the little cells… I quickly identified the Iris Caddies emerger which I have ordered from the mail in the past (I love Craig Matthews’ book, so his special tie become “the must” to collect). Jennifer , a super friendly shop member and another softhackle enthusiast, quickly understand my mission today and pointed me to the right direction! Softhackle, medium and big size. You know softhackle always has a soft spot in my heart… the topics seem endless when you meet another softhackle lover… we had a wonderful chat… while time is vanishing fast… I grab some simple, but super fishy flies (more like a bluemoon pattern) and off I goes to the lower Madison as Jennifer pointed to me step by step on the map earlier.
It was a bluebird sky with some breeze when I arrive the lower Madison, a typical late summer day in the mountains - dry, cool and colorful, I can’t ask any better weather! Only two other cars were there… and they are fishing rather close to the parking lot…there are some good looking waters there too. The good thing about fishing alone is you get a chance to fish every kind of water in your own pace and take all the time to prepare yourself to test all different kind of techniques. I have the whole day exploration in my mind and I have decided to make a long hike down the river… I packed some beef jerky and a bottle of water. The river are pretty shallow, most of the sections are featureless kind of shallow runs, on the lower part when it get closer to the lake, it become more braided waterways. Fish could be holding anywhere or nowhere to be found, the water is asking softhackle downstream swing! Seriously, softhackle fishing is so relaxing that I don’t really mind I catch a fish or not… plus, the smell of sage bushes and the extraordinary scenic view are just so wonderful to explore this area! Of course I have a bear spray just few inches away from my finger tip… it would be cool to take some wild photos!
Compare to other small mountain creeks, my first impression was there are fewer fish in this section, maybe it is in the middle of the day. I did not get a single bite on the swing… After few bends down the river, the scenic view wider open and turning into the amazing scenic tour, so it is fine to have no hook up. The beautiful landscape keep me fishing pace rather fast, hands and feet were both busy, mind is overwhelmed with this dream land. I was always curious what is the water behind next bend… just before noon, I found a nice cliff bank with some fish rising tight against the bank… the river is fast and wide…so, few bad presentations finally put down those fishes… no luck. Fine! I should be able to get back from the other side of river and get a better presentation in this evening. Few river bends later, I have arrived a very nice eddie pool under a big tree. Great looking water… “maybe there is some fish holding here?” as I speak to myself, concentrate my eyes on the deep bottom, I saw some nice flash… “This is great, some life down there”. Quickly pinched some weights and I switched to high sticking technique, a nice medium rainbow trout was on on the first drift… cool… quick long distance release him and off I did the second pass… this time a big pull zipping my line “loudly” through the surface… I can see the flash tumbling underwater though my polarizer glasses. Well… I did not land it but it was such a great fight… until later on I finally landed a small white fish… I realized “the one” might be a giant white fish I just unhookded. Ha… great native species! There is no lie, I love whitefish! They are such a good fighter and their “native” identity just make the whole game more spiritual!
Saying goodbye to the nice pool… the fishless search continues… I never has this experience before in the Rockies… it is rather sterile water, maybe it is because the water is big and featureless so the fish are relative difficult to locate. Finally I met another good deep run again… few swing through the head drop-off… hit and miss… then I switch to super heavy rubber legs and tailing with a small soft hackle… down deep swing for the bottom sleeper! Yes, white fish answered! Cool… love it! It is surprisingly that the depth charge could change the result dramatically… That been said”” if you are not hooking the bottom once of awhile, you are not deep enough”. After I took another two whities. A old timer approach from the down stream… yelling from the other bank ”any luck?” “Yeah, just some white fish though…” I answered with less enthusiasm, figured no one will praise those overlooked natives… “Oh, whities, they will hit anything shinny” the old timer give me a good ol comment. “Whatever” I pretend I understand what he is saying and keep my swinging motion going… He continued to say “when the season is peaking up, it would be 7 or 8 guides in this run, each with their client – swing and step”. They are all after the giant lake run brown trout. Although I like to fish with other people, a dozen of anglers in the same run? No no… definitely not my cup of tea… I would rather just catch those giant whities and spend my day dreaming while swing in this spectacular wild west scenery.
When my watch finally pointed to 5:00 PM I arrived a super giant “coffee pot”…a huge back eddie caused by two merged confluence from the braided channels (I realized this is called “coffee pot” by talking to a guide in trout hunter after, he also mentioned there are some big “A” double”S” whities which approaching state records live there). It was a huge deep pool… “if I am a migrant trout, this would be a Super 8 motel on the highway” I told myself… it is just too sexy to the mission (catch a early migratory trout), I stopped, enjoy the beauty of this giant pot for few minutes and regret that I did not bring my striper streamer box with me (what a shame!) well… before I leave Auburn I told myself, I will try my best NOT to fish streamers… because all my hot summer days were already wasted in the striper fishing, there is no point to spend more time in this fabulous western trout river – repeat the stripping motion again… absolutely no point!! However, when the giant brown image kicked in my head… the dirty thought aroused! “Should have my 7 inches heavy bunny here @@” Few swing later, quiet… and I feel helpless. Well… there is nothing I can do… so I decided to cross the pool from the down stream… take a break and enjoy the awesome scenery… ready for my way to return… there are still plenty of 4 hours day light for the way back… so I am not really in a hurry. When I careful cross the pool, on the other bank I saw those interesting flowing pattern on top of the water. Sometimes the patterns will segregate by itself and reveal what is underneath in the pool… “Wow… are those fish lying on the bottom one by one? “ When I train my eyes to see thought those windows, my mind is just like return to when I was age 6 first realizing the all dark berries in a tree are all edible! Cool… “I see them, I get them” as jimmy teeny mentioned in his film. I quickly switched to the high sticking rig… the 40 minutes I probably hooked more than 20 whities… Thank God I did not break the G2! it was a blast trip!
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Masa has multiple identities. Photographer, FF industry man, Hackle examiner and a trout hunter (of course)... I have been following his awesome blog for years and never got a chance to see him in person. There are just so many interesting things in his blog just like his very "natural" personality. When BG told me he will be visting TH in the same week I visit, you can imagine how exciting I am... yes, "just like a kid get a chance to visit a candy shop!"
It was so great to meet Masa, talk about photography and fishing. I remember the second sentence he said to me is "if you have chance to fish Japan, give me a call!" this really sum up his personality. Masa is also a good friend of Ken Tsurusaki, if you have read this issue FF journal, the cover shot is from Ken and the Angler IN the photo is Masa... feel familiar? He told us he was holding his breath for 3 minutes for the long exposure photo... Ha... it is always great to know the story behind the scene. I am lucky enough the BG did not tell me to hold my breath with taking some early morning photos...@@ Masa also get some mad photography skills and Gigs...if my memory serve me well, he use 2 Nikon D3s bodies and the famous 12-24mm/2.8 room plus 400/2.8 tel lens... it is jaw dropping when he mentioned he is a pro staff in Nikon and Canon... he pretty much just pick up whatever he want in the shop... and it is pro service! How cool is that... wish my brother will get there one day... and I will have a chance to borrow it : )
In addition to his photography career, Masa is probably the biggest distributor/dealer in Japan, as far as I know, from Simms, Scott rod, Hatch reel to Whiting farm hackle... you name it... he told me he is the one of the 3 people (himself, Tom and x) in the world to grade the hackle... he hand selected every hackles that will use in Japan's market... how many dealers under his wing... "138 probably"... he told me this in the airport. no wonder he need to fight with jetlag as his blog title stated. Great work Masa! hard working man is The Man! if you are interesting in some inside news in those great FF brand... check out Masa's blog... he will tell you some insider news that can't be seen elsewhere... (sometimes) ha..Maverick LINK
One of the interesting elements about the annual trip is that I got a chance to review what I have done and learned in the past year, as well as, what my brothers has done in the past. Years came by, we have this unique chance that not only exchange and compare thoughts that have evolved over time, but also see each other grow into different skills or “attitudes”. What really fascinating me in this 5th annual trip is that I have found a true classic character is shaping up in my dear brother BG. His open minded nature and “sponge like” learning attitude and creativity has made my jaw dropped more than one time. Although we got to exchange emails and packages very often, the really neat thing is to see how he interact with other people… For instance during the stay in Trout Hunter, no surprisingly we always had a difficult time “to wade out” from the restaurant and the front porch every morning! The reports and greetings just come like fresh stream air, from everywhere! What a nice group around him. I believe this has something to do with his kind and thoughtful mind as well. I am so proud of you! Brother!
I have a unique chance to fish with Mr. Rene Harrop and the chat was so wonderful that I got a quick glimpse of this flyfishing giant. I am still thrilled about this gathering… the topics were from CDC feathers to aboriginal cultures, and you can tell his passions about fish, land, culture and people. He mentioned to me that “It is great to have Bryan in the shop, we are lucky to have him!” I did not feel much special as he mentioned this statement like a normal conversation sentence. But, later BG was dancing like a little girl when I mentioned this conversation to him, (ha….), BG told me that Rene’s talk has a lot of weight to him and Rene is always serious about what he said about other people. Cool, congratulations about the great work and hard earned reputation! Brother.
Another thing has stroked me is the madness photography ability that BG has developing. I remember 5 years ago on the streamside “I” was the photographer and asking “him” to be my photo subjects… well… now the situation is totally reversed! I have to listen to him where to stand and where to cast… obviously “He” is the photographer and “I” am the subject! Ha… what a cool reverse. Needless to say… I enjoy it so much and got some chances to show myself in some famous FF media… is that cool!! : ) Keep up the great work brother! I am so proud of you!
Friday, September 03, 2010
articles will come later...just few outlines and photos first... @@
Henry's Fork: another PhD degree
Henry's Fork Millionaire's pool: Hopper cheating
Lower Madison river: Maverick trip in a western paradise
Yellowstone river: steelheading in the yellowstone park?
YNP Slough Creek: fishing with bear spray and beetles
Upper Madison river: romance in a moonlight meadow
Warm river ID: fiberglass and yellow matches
Fiberglass, graphite or bamboo?
Just want to share some thoughts related to “materials”. I have to confess I am a “material boy” I love something looks good, whether it is a fishing gear or a delicacy food. All need to be perfect. Ha..
Several years ago , I set out a ultimate quest in pursuing a ultimate fishing machine … a growing fishing gear cabinet is a obvious evidence that I have a relatively big ambition in accomplishing this task. Just like other silly fisherman, am I?! One of the fantastic factor of flyfishing, to me, is actually about the combination of Science and Art, just like my the other love in photography, it is also a combination form of science and art. Whether it is film developing chemicals, time exposure or lens optic physics. There are some hardware knowledge and some belong to soft art forms which is the manner of “feelings”… the combination resulting a elevated joy of a accomplished work. (a beautiful trout or a well exposed photo). I believe fly fishing doing the same, a well executed casting from the knowledge of blank flex, energy transfer and the flyline balance to the perfect landing of a fly to knowing the flowing current, the line mending technique and manipulating the fly. It is a lot of physics in there as well as rooms for different presentations by using different techniques in art’s sake.
I have fished relative broad spectrum of materials, fiberglass, graphite or even a nice bamboo two handed rod. The conclusion might be a bit disappointing to you? It’s ALL GOOD. Why? Well... Material is material, a high end stiff rod or a high quality fiberglass material all has it’s place in fly presentations. Rods won’t catch fish by itself unless the hand tell it what to do. Duh… I am stating the obvious… well… “obviously thing trap people” – Newton : Eenergizing a Fly casting . That is the BLING lesson I have learned in this trip… To me, it cost about few thousand dollars of money to learn this lesson and I am giving it away to you here FREE. : )
Material is material: knowing the strength and weakness
I love fighting fish with a soft rod, fiberglass is a great material to fight a fish, especially big fish. They are soft, durable and they are always has an attractive translucent blank coloration. If you can catch a trout on a fiberglass rod, you will realize the addictive feeling of the “vivid fight”. I have to agree that most of my big trout on glass memories are so vivid that I still clearly remember every move and the atmosphere in taking a fish while on the other side the graphite flights seems a bit “murky” to my old brain. Ha… well... when blind cast to a potential holding spot, I love to use fiberglass rod, wet fly swing, blind dry etc...
However, graphite rod is a stronger material that made for presentation and accuracy, (here we comes my opinion again). I have to agree I fish more graphite rod than fiberglass in this western trip. Big river plus spooky trout and pinpoint presentation… there is no room for errors. I spent 95% of the time with graphite rod in this trip. The reason for that is the constant afternoon wind and required long cast… also the accuracy in the spooky water play a big role in my choice. A well balanced graphite rod will boom out a laser sharp cast and deliver a fly quietly just right in front of a nervous trout. This is based on my experience, of course. The most common misconception is that "stiff rod can not make a soft presentation", this is totally wrong statement! by using proper stop move, stiff rod can produce a feather soft free fall landing and yet, with pinpoint accuracy. I have witness Rene zing out a laser loop with a soft landing with his Scott s4 in this trip. A fiberglass actually is more difficult to cast (sloppier) under those conditions, usually it require more close approach, more careful timing to avoid the wind. This inherent weakness of softer rods make fishing fiberglass rods become sort of religion rather than realistic. For me, I have my hats off to those people that insist choice of fishing fiberglass rod, and I know the rewards for them are going to be big. As I state before, fighting a big trout on softer rod is addictive! You will have to adjust the fighting point on the rod constantly and it make the whole thing become a wonderful “feeling” game.
On the other side, the fun of fishing graphite rod is the feel of “sharp”. As sharp as a samuri execute a kill… as sharp as a chess gamer make a final attack. I have witness a sharp cast well placed by Mr. Harrop. It is such a joy and honor to see he placed a #18 ants right in front of trout’s nose in 60 feet distance, and the landing of the fly is so subtle that trout are constant in her rising mode until she fell into the trap. This is the joy of sharp, accurate and clean presentation that fiberglass can’t achieve.
What to choose? graphite for big river, fiberglass for small creek
I have bring along several rods with me,
Sage XP 590-2. 5 weight 9 feet 2 piece rod.
Sage Z-Axis 490-2. 4 weight, 9 feet 2 piece rod.
Scott G2 884. 4 weight, 8’8” 4 piece rod.
G-Loomis Czach Nymph 4 weight 10 feet 4 piece rod
Yellow Fenwick “Little Yellow” 3 weight 7 feet 5 piece rod
Cortland pro crest 6 weight 8 feet 2 piece rod
All of them are designed to fit several different styles that “I think”I might need. The scott G2 are exceptional joyful rod to cast, medium action and has a lot of power if you dare to sling it… which I did a lot in the lower Madison when the wind is howling like no one’s business… I hooked several fat white fish on this rod and all I had in my mind is “what the heck if I can break this rod on a fish…” it stand it’s ground, what a great rod!
The Z-Axis 4 weight 2 piece, OMG, the best rod ever made that have cast in my hand! Period. This rod bearing a lot of good reputations that I usually will give this kind of rods more snob treat than respect… “ how good you could be”… am I wrong this time? This rod tolerant “nervous jelly arm” when facing a 2 feet long trout that just feeding actively 30 feet in front of me. A accurate laser beam cast allowed me to reach a vary distance and also able to place a fly accurate enough to solicited a trout eat. I absolutely love this rod, if I only can use one rod for western trout, this is the one! Period. As a side note, two piece rod is a whole different animal than 4 piece rod. If you ever heard the rod company tell you there is no difference between 2 piece rod and 4 piece rod… DON’T listen to them… two piece rod are way more sensitive and “clean” in feel than 4 piece rod. It is definitely worth the hassle to ship them in advance. Of course, this is based on my personal experience… but you know what… some of the best casters I know has the same opinion. (to be continued to fiberglass talk)