Monday, February 24, 2014

Returning what's lost

Fly rods and reels to the angler are instruments to the musician, or hammers to the carpenter (except that anglers might get a little geekier about the nuance of their tools). Fishers like to note how the apparatuses feels in hand, their weights, how they cast (both smooth-wise and distance-wise), accuracy, drag, and how they handle fighting fish. And how they look, smell, taste, and sound.

I've lost a couple of my beloveds in my day - the same day, actually. One was my first nice rod - a Sage VT2 inscribed with my name - and the other was a Winston Passport on its maiden outing, both with Orvis reels. I was at Anderson Lane on the Beaverhead River and apparently just plumb forgot to put the rods/reels in the car. When I got home and noticed they were absent, I called around and an extremely nice fellow/employee at Frontier Anglers offered to drive out to check after work for me. He called back to report that nothing was there...

Note the inscription, "Joshua B Bergan".
If you see this rod,
know that it changed hands slightly unscrupulously. 
So I know that it's a huge drag to lose expensive and personal gear. So when Liz spied a rod and reel on the lower Madison last weekend, we knew how to handle it. I keep it, because the world owes me. But Liz wasn't having that, so I posted an ad on craigslist, called all the fly shops in Bozeman, and eventually called the reel manufacturer to see if the markings on the reel foot meant anything.

They did.

Kind of a bummer since it was a very nice reel I'd have been happy to smell and feel. But I guess it feels good to get it where it belongs, and we did score a cool t-shirt and a little story.

The owner (a local guide), turns out, wasn't even missing it. It had been sitting where we found it since November, and he had no idea it wasn't in his possession. Bahhhh.

Karma - if you're listening - I'd like a two-foot, big-eyed, kyped dry-fly eater (I realize Liz is probably more in line to recoup the karma, but please give it to me anyway). Though the satisfaction of doing the right thing is a good reward, too. But I'd prefer the two-footer.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The zine-ery

The e-zine has fully infiltrated the fly-fishing world. So many have come and gone already, it's kind of amazing (more have probably been born and died since you've started reading this). Some are online versions of print magazines, some are online only.  The barrier to entry is relatively low investment-wise (lots of work, to be clear), and since there's so much to see and discuss about fly fishing, it's no wonder. I don't believe too much money is changing hands at any point of the production, but that doesn't mean they're low quality. Some are excellent, some are ├╝ber-hip, some lack a little something, and most are free to read. To illustrate the point, below is a list of all the fly-fishing ezines I could come up with (please comment with any I missed).

And the departed:
Will the boom slow down anytime soon? Has it already? Is there a market for them? Is this the future, or will print reign for the foreseeable future? We'll see...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Conservation can be boring, but bear with me. If we each do a tiny little bit to stand up for fish and fish habitat today, we'll likely be glad tomorrow.

Fish and their habitat are a finite resource, despite what it seems like some good-fishing days. Whether it's due to Pebble Mine (or other mines), global climate change (no matter its cause), access issues, runoff due to logging, over-fishing, hatchery fish imparting inferior genes, genetic modification, fish farms and their diseases, gill-netting of endangered species, limited habitat due to dams, or any other threat against fish and their habitat, we have to face the idea that today is the yesterday of tomorrow. And the fishing was always better yesterday.

Today's fishing.

Imagine yesterday's.

Let's keep it for tomorrow.
So, with that in mind, a tiny little bit you could do today is simply to watch the movie Rivers of a Lost Coast, available to stream for free. It's well done, informational, and a great reminder that the it's possible to lose what we have. The film profiles the monumental fishing and fish runs for which northern California got famous, and its decimation. Old-angler rivalries and octogenarian's tales tell the stories of these fisheries like only fishy old-timers can - this is not fish porn.

Let's try not to have a similar story to tell the next generation.

Good fishing is constantly fleeting...