Monday, 31 December 2007

Fishing Collectables

Here is something I found on the web while searching for Salmon fly patterns. Back in 1998 the Canadian post office, Canada Post issued a series of stamps featuring salmon flies. They were sold in packets of twelve stamps with two of each of the six patterns: the Coquihalla Orange a steelhead fly, the Cosseboom a great Atlantic salmon favourite, the Steelhead Bee, the Dark Montreal a brook trout pattern that is also good for fall salmon, the Lady Amherst an Atlantic salmon fly and the Coho Blue a West Coast salmon pattern. The designs featured the fly and the target fish. What a great collectable for those of you who still have any room left in the garage or basement. If you are anything like me your hunting and fishing gear is filling every nook and cranny.

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Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Minutiae of Fly Fishing

What’s wrong with me? I’m as interested in the minutiae of fly fishing as the next fellow. Somehow though, I just can’t get too carried away discussing the entomology of a particular part of the county versus ours or the physics of casting.

Don’t get me wrong. I am curious about these things but in an internal, contemplative way. I might be struck by the subtle differences between a mayfly on one river and another, encountered only a few miles away. I may even do some research, tie a few flies and seek to understand what if any significance an extra wing spot or slightly different body colour has by way of eliciting a rise from an unusually wary trout.
I enjoy seeking answers and even more the finding of new questions. As an experimenter I’ll try anything that has even an outside chance of working. Usually though, a spectacular failure is more enlightening and certainly holds much better prospects for a good laugh.
Sometimes when I listen to the boys in my local tackle shop I’m reminded of a fellow called Stan Hudac.
I met Stan in British Columbia. He is an amazingly talented pianist who escaped the 1956 Soviet assault on Budapest, Hungary because he was in Rome studying at the conservatorium. When he was in town he would sometimes get me to play guitar in a jazz trio he’d put together for one or two dates.
One night, about an hour before the show, Stan, the bassist, and I were sitting in the Sandman Inn Lounge looking over some charts. A couple of young fellows came over and started to talk with us. It was all very civil and low key but there were a lot of references by them to obscure composers, elite instruments and high-end gear. When the time came we took the stage and kicked off with Duke Ellington’s, “Take the A Train”. As usual Stan improvised an amazing, beautifully tasteful solo. While the audience applauded, the bass player leaned across, nodded appreciatively towards Stan then whispered to me, “and that’s the difference between talking about music and playing it”

I don’t know why but sometimes when I hear one Ephemeroptera too many I think of Stan and his exquisite playing.

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Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Best Thing I Learned This Year

So there I was trailing behind my wife, being introduced around and then abandoned to my own resources in a back eddy of the main party. There were several others like me, rising sporadically to feed as a tray of canapés drifted by but mostly staying still, doing our best to blend inconspicuously with the background.

Occasionally a gregarious woman in full plumage would waft through with arm pats and smiles. At one point she looked at me and said,”Oh you poor thing, has she abandoned you?”

What I thought was best not revealed but what I said was,” No, not at all. These canapés are certainly delicious.” And then jokingly as I scanned the others in the alcove I said,” I guess we are not really at our best with small talk. What I should do is just make an announcement: Who likes to fish? I’ll meet you down stream from the punch bowl.” She laughed minimally, but extremely politely, and then drifted away.

The big guy perched awkwardly on the edge of the settee put up his hand. “I like to fish” he said. And so began a very pleasant hour.

Lots of fishing writers can write lots of words telling you in every detail how to place a #18 Baetis tied to the end of an impossibly fine, sixteen foot leader right on the nose of a brute, monster, hog, lunker, or for our friends from the UK, a rather decent Brown Trout.

Not me! I’m offering some practical advice to get you through those awkward seasonal festivities. You see, we few, we happy few, we damp-footed band of brothers, we’ll stick together. So the next time you are in a room full of strangers, try just saying,” Who likes to Fish?”

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Thursday, 27 December 2007

Australian Fishing Shows on the World Fishing Network

I see from my web site stats that I have a few visitors from Australia. Drop me a line and say G’day and maybe give me the low-down on those Barramundi. Now that’s a fish!

Australian Fishing Shows

Thanks to the World Fishing Network, I’ve been watching a lot of Australian fishing shows lately. Some are really great. All are certainly interesting. There is a guy called Rex Hunt who was a sports star in his younger days I think. He is all about personality, right down to kissing the fish before he releases it. One of the good ones is Escape with ET. Another Australian sports star but likeable and he fishes in interesting spots for fish that would scare us back here in Canada. The Australian Fishing Championship is a hoot as these guys go after Bream and Australian Bass. Each team is made up of one Bass specialist and one Bream specialist. The four teams go head to head each week. Fish’n 4 Wheels is interesting in that you see a lot of the amazing country as well as the fishing but my hands down favourite is Hooked on Adventure with Steve and Bushy. Bushy’s web site. These guys are the kind of people you would enjoy fishing with any time, any where. The shows sure make me want to visit Australia.

From the United Kingdom

The only show from England I get to see is Fish’O Mania. It’s billed as the United Kingdom’s largest fishing tournament. Sixteen competitors spaced around this smallish lake fishing for Carp and the like, under a time limit. The catches are weighed in regularly through out the day. Very different from any fishing I’ve ever done or seen. Slow paced but captivating.

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Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Joyeux Noel and Merry Christmas!

A long time ago when I lived in Kelowna, British Columbia I got up early one Christmas morning and drove up into the foothills to take a few casts for winter trout. It was pre-children so my wife and I had only one obligation that day, Christmas dinner at the Teel’s. They were wonderful people, the parents of my fishing buddy and friend, Paul. The morning was glorious. As I drove the winding road to the higher elevations, patches of snow showed here and there along the creek becoming thicker and more persistent. My plan was to spend an hour or two and be home before my wife woke up and got started on the Christmas day bustle. It is hard to describe the beauty of a mountain creek on a still day. It is even harder to describe the pleasure of being able to enjoy it on a whim.
At one point I looked down and noticed a small black stone-fly crawling over the snow, then another. There was a hatch coming off of what my friend called ice-flies. Quickly changing flies to match the hatch I flicked a cast into a foamy pocket behind a dead-fall. The response was instantaneous as a silver missile erupted from the water. It was incredible fishing. The kind we all dream about. A glacier fed creek, a curtain of snow capped mountains as a back drop and those wonderful Kamloops Rainbows. How could a Christmas morning be better? And then I looked at my watch. Trust me when I tell you that there may be excuses for being late to Christmas dinner that will earn you forgiveness and tolerance. “But there was a hatch coming off” is not one of them. Even now, when I hear people speak of the Christmas Miracle I wonder if they are referring to the fact that I’m still married to the same girl.
Joyeux Noel and Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, 22 December 2007

Jonathan Harris: The Web's secret stories

Something so interesting that I just have to share it.

My friend Geoff Johnston sent me these links to an amazing visual artist/web developer/visionary. I was delighted with the Universe Story Telling Project link. Here is Geoff's note:

Hi Steve,

Thought you might find this interesting as art meets storytelling meets blogging meets computer science.

Jonathan Harris: The Web's secret stories

An example of his work:

An interactive example from the “Universe” storytelling project at end of the talk ...


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The Green Boat

My earliest memory of trout fishing is sitting in a boat my Father built watching a red and white bobber.

The image of the place has blended with so many other perfect trout fishing pools over the years that I suspect my memory is really the best of many spots rather than an actual place.

It is an impression of dark, almost black water with startlingly white gobs of foam drifting by to pile up against any obstruction. The white foam yellowing as it compressed and speckled with black flies that have landed and stuck marked the spots to cast to.

The boat itself was built from a plan Dad probably got from Popular Mechanics Magazine. For some reason I think the design was called a “topper” but memory is a funny thing and I may have pulled that out thin air. What I am sure of is that the boat was painted a deep marine green, almost the colour of the background on this web page.

I still enjoy seeing that colour on a boat. It inspires me with confidence in its seaworthiness.

Thinking back, I am still able to picture the bobber and its slow, slow drift. An intensity of concentration filled me that day as I studied its motion for clues as to what might be happening under the surface. I still get that razor sharp focus when trying to place a fly to a difficult rise or having seen a salmon stir in the depths of a pool. Time stops and every detail leaps into vivid clarity.

You know what is funny? The other thing that has stuck with me is that even now, after all of these years, I can still barely contain my impatience to get on the water at the end of the trip to a fishing spot. And I still delay until the last possible moment the decision to reel in and leave.

Ah, what the heck...just one more cast.

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Thursday, 20 December 2007

I am a firm believer in the adage that knowledge is power.

All else being equal, the fisherman that has the most, practical knowledge about the life and habits of his quarry will in the long run catch more fish or have more fun – usually both.

Nova Scotia has long been famous for its Brook Trout fishing. A great old book called “The Tent Dwellers” tells the story of affluent Americans making the journey to the backwoods of this province for a guided trout fishing trip in the early 1900’s. The book was written by Albert Bigelow Paine and published in 1908.

If you haven’t read it, let me recommend it.
My point though is that even if a hundred years have passed since this wonderful yarn was first spun, with a bit of knowledge and effort you can still find fishing here almost as they experienced it.

The Brook Trout - What you might not have known.

The Brook Trout is a native North American species but it is not really a trout. It is a Char.
Char is the common name for members of the genus Salvelinus. So, if we look at the proper name for Brook Trout which is Salvelinus Fontinalis, we get some clues to the lifestyle of the Brook Trout. Salvelinus tells us that it is a Char and the Fontinalis part means “of springs” or “living in springs”.

That is an important bit of information when it comes to figuring out where you might find trout.
Brook Trout prefer to spawn in places where springs well up. This is more important to them than almost any other consideration such as what the gravel is like on the bottom. If there are no springs then Brook Trout will spawn in riffles or runs out of pools but these spots must meet very select criteria. The water must flow at a certain speed; the gravel bottom must be within a certain size and so on.

Interesting information or not so much but here is the bit that may help you to locate fish when a field. Because they are so well adapted to this environment and able to spawn successfully in brooks, rivers, ponds and lakes, Brook Trout might be found in any –even the smallest –spring fed water.

To locate trout in tiny brooks look for cover. That is where the trout will be.

In a stream trout prefer a bottom of gravel and smallish rocks. The cover only needs to be near by. They will establish a territory and feeding lane and stay there. If you locate one of these spots the same trout is likely to be there all season. They will usually chase other trout out of their chosen territory but funnily enough are quite happy to share a bit of cover when needed.

In a lake things are very different. Trout in a lake are not territorial and cover is not important to them. It is of interest to the fisherman however because cover might be where bait fish and insects congregate. Where there is food there are probably trout.

The most important thing to know about Brook Trout is that they don’t need much more than 2 feet of water to be comfortable. Rarely will a Brook Trout be found much deeper than 15 feet. It is not uncommon in the summer, as water temperatures rise, to find trout in very shallow water clustered around a spring even though there is deeper water of almost the same temperature within easy reach.

The important key to beginning to understand Brook Trout and consequently becoming a more effective fisherman is in their name, Salvelinus Fontinalis –Char that lives in springs.

In this case knowledge really is power, taxonomically speaking.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Herters Catalogue

Something I used to really enjoy was browsing the Herters Catalogue. Anybody else remember Herters?

The closest thing we have now is probably the Cabela’s Master Catalogue.

Seems the Internet has almost done away with the need for paper catalogues but I still enjoy browsing through a thick one full of gear and daydreams.

Herters was educational, inspiring and for the most part, hopelessly out of reach to a kid.

One of my brothers did once order some very tiny hooks for fishing perch in a little pond we haunted. When they came not only were these hooks impossibly small but I swear; they were gold-plated. No kidding.

 Growing up in a place where most fishing was done off the town wharf for Pollock and Tommy Cod using big Red Devil (Devel) lures, the site of these gold-plated #18 hooks in their white cardboard box –complete with the Herters logo-
was astounding. What a treasure and man, were they ever deadly.

I learned the first real lesson about the difference between fishing and catching with these little beauties.

The fish we were targeting were not really Perch but rather some large strain of Golden Shiner.

We only tried for them because they were so hard to catch. The tiny, gold, Herters hooks meant we couldn’t just use the 12 pound mono we relied on for wharf fishing. It wouldn’t even go through the eye of the hook. We had to use a leader of much finer mono.

What had been almost impossible suddenly became so easy that we soon lost interest and turned our minds to other challenges. That’s how I became a Trout fisherman.

That simple lesson stuck with me though. Whenever I’m in a situation where I know there are fish around but I just can’t connect, I’ll try all sorts of variations of “fine and far-off”.

Sometimes just lengthening the leader will do it. Sometimes changing the fly to a smaller version of the same pattern is the ticket.

For feeding fish like Trout or Bass I’ll start with the leader. For Salmon, I’ll start with the fly. It is a strategy that keeps evolving.

Even now after all of these years there are still variations I haven’t had time to try yet. Next time though…

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A Real Fly Fisherman's Christmas Card

Edwin at Fly Fishing and More sent me this card today. Perfect for a fly fisherman to give and receive.

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Sunday, 16 December 2007

Hand Tied Leaders

 If I were to challenge myself to seriously improve my skill as a fly-fisherman, you know where I’d start?
I’d improve my knowledge of leaders.

Here is the thing, I usually use a straight run of six or eight pound Maxima brown about a foot longer than my rod.

To that I’ll add a few feet of tippet - two pounds lighter than my straight run. As the day goes on this will get progressively shorter with each fly change until I extend it with tippet or tie on a whole new section.

This isn’t because it’s the best way to do it.

It’s because a while ago I broke a tapered leader. Not having a spare to hand I tied a length of leader directly to my fly-line and it worked fine.

It works under most conditions pretty well, under some conditions exceptionally well and under a few conditions so poorly that I tend to not bother and just go somewhere else.

Here is where it works best, wet flies in moving water. It works where the presentation of the fly upon landing is less important than the presentation through the swing and the dangle at the end of the drift.

You can control the depth of the fly by shortening or lengthening the leader. It is quick to change or renew, cheap and effective.

Shortened up to about six feet and fished with lead-headed flies it is deadly for Shad and sea-run trout in brackish or salt water.

Here is where it doesn’t work.

Anywhere the presentation of the fly upon landing is critical. whether wet or dry.
You can see from this a couple of things. First, that most of my fishing is done wet and second, that I’m basically kind of cheap.

Ian and Steve
Ian Gall
On my last trip to Newfoundland, Ian Gall who is a Master Guide, fine fly fisherman and superb raconteur gave me a hand-tied leader.
It tapered in nine feet through a beautiful series of blood knots from around 12 pound test to about 4 pound test. An additional 3 feet of tippet made for a 12 foot leader that cast so amazingly that the dry fly I was using would make one perfect circular ripple when it landed.

The first time I used it was on an evening’s still-water fishing. Trout were rising all around me but ignored everything I tried, both wet and dry.

I thought about that leader tucked in my vest pocket and figured that maybe crashing the fly into the rings of a rise was not subtle enough.

Trout this size didn’t get that way by being stupid. I finally bit the bullet and spent some precious evening fishing time tying on the new leader and tippet.

I was struck again by the craftsmanship of the fine, symmetrical blood knots so evenly spaced.

Tying on a #12 elk hair caddis and stripping about twenty feet of fly line I waited for a fish to show within reach, the line coiled in my hand and the fly flicking out in a slow false cast.

I could feel the difference in control and the slightly changed timing but the adjustment was automatic when a slow roll revealed a fish in range.

The caddis looped out and straightened about a foot above the rise form.

The green bodied fly landed within the rings, barely a ripple betraying its artificial origin.

The fly had hardly settled when the water erupted as a big Brook Trout swung around and smacked one of the knots in my leader.

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Saturday, 15 December 2007

Fish Farming, Young Salmon, and Sea Lice

West River
Wow, things change.
When I first heard of Aqua-culture I thought it would be the salvation of wild Atlantic salmon here in the east and the Pacific salmon in the west too.

 If it was cheaper to farm them than harvest them from the wild well, it would soon not make sense to send a fleet of boats out to sea for a fish that wasn’t worth much in the market place.

 Everything seemed aligned to favour the wild fish.

 Economic studies had established that a rod-caught fish was adding about $1000.00 or more to the local economies where the sports traveled. A net caught fish was what, a couple of dollars a pound? There was some protest to large scale fish farming but I really thought it was because of the employment displacement and to be expected. It turns out I might have been wrong in my initial enthusiasm.

 I received this link in an email today.

It is a report from the BBC's site that says bluntly that fish farms are wreaking havoc on wild stocks and could actually be the final straw that breaks the back of wild runs. I hope it isn’t true but check out the article and let me know what you think.
Here is a quote,
"In the natural system, the youngest salmon are not exposed to sea lice because the adult salmon that carry the parasite are offshore. But fish farms cause a deadly collision between the vulnerable young salmon and sea lice. They are not equipped to survive this, and they don't." - Alexandra Morton, director of the Salmon Coast Field Station, located in the Broughton Archipelago.

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

Do Human Activities Contribute to Global Warming?

I posted some thoughts on Global Warming a while back. I think they were a bit unpopular or maybe just unconventional.

 Anyway, today I received an email that brought this article to my attention. Its from Fox's website at

Unconventional Wisdom

Climate scientists from three American universities have published peer-reviewed research indicating global warming cannot be affected or modified by controlling the emission of greenhouse gases - and that current greenhouse computer models saying otherwise are wrong.

The report in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society was written by professors from the universities of Rochester, Alabama and Virginia.

Lead author David Douglass of Rochester writes - "The inescapable conclusion is that the human contribution is not significant and that observed increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases make only a negligible contribution to climate warming."

The report says satellite data indicates greenhouse computer models ignore the mitigating effects of clouds and water vapor on the warming properties of carbon dioxide.

It says climate change is most likely caused by variations in solar winds and associated magnetic fields.

A senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress tells Cybercast News the study is "radically out of step with the complete scientific consensus".

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New Picture Added to the Web Album

Geoff Jamieson sent a great fishing picture for the web album today.

He says,"The attached pic is a salmon my buddy Shawn landed this October on the West River (Antigonish) despite the dreadfully low water all the whole month of October.

 It was 30" long, maybe 10-12 lbs."
You can see the rest of the fishing pictures here. Send some if you have them. Nothing I enjoy more than a picture and a good fishing story.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A Simple Water System for a Riverside Cottage

Here is an interesting wildlife related problem for you all to mull over.

I have a cottage on the wonderful Medway River. I carry in my drinking water but for showers, toilet and sinks I draw water from the river.

The system is simple: a pump and pressure tank up at the cabin and a long run of plastic pipe to the water.

 To prime the pump I use a “shop vac”, one of those wet/dry workshop vacuum cleaners, to suck water into the intake pipe. It doesn’t quite have the power to finish the job so a bucket of water is still required to completely fill the pipe and prime the pump.

 Before my Dad had the brainstorm to try the vacuum it would take many buckets painstakingly poured into the prime inlet on the pump. Anyway, once it is primed and working it just ticks along, adding an element of luxury and convenience that makes the cottage very comfortable.

 The thing I like about the system is that it is non-intrusive. When I shut the place down for the winter I just roll the pipe up and put it in the garage ready for next year. There is no trace that it was ever there.

Sounds great so far, right? Well, here is the thing. Beavers!

They must figure my water pipe is a root or tree branch that is in their way and set out to chew a path through it.

When primed, there is a fair amount of water in the pipe. The beavers gnaw away and as soon as they break through, a stream of water jets out like a geyser. The pressure switch kicks in and runs the pump which makes a wonderful fountain-like effect as a pulsing jet of water comes shooting up out of the Button Bushes that line the river bank.

It must scare the dickens out of the beavers because when I repair the leak they won’t touch it again for weeks. Inevitably though, they will try and clear it out of the way once more.

And I used to laugh at the effort people go through trying to outsmart the squirrels that rob their bird feeders.

Here is a tip for you if you can trust a man that is not as smart as a beaver.

I use the shop vacuum again in the autumn to suck out all the water from the camp plumbing. No water gets left in the pipes so no leaks from poorly drained fixtures or low spots freezing come spring . Well, in theory anyway.

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Is a Baby Skunk Called a Kitten?

I had a nice email recently from Cindy over at My World's a Zoo.

She had some interesting thoughts on the moose pictures I was ranting about recently.

Her blog features some great photographs of wildlife in unusual circumstances.

 My favourite is a picture and story about a mother cat that adopted some orphaned skunk kittens. Is kitten the right term for a baby skunk? Anyway, it is an interesting place to visit. Guaranteed a smile or your money cheerfully refunded.

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Saturday, 8 December 2007

Compass or GPS ?

I got this note from Larry Shortt the other day. Larry is one of the fellows who along with Walter Regan and other volunteers works hard at The Sackville Rivers Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Sackville River Watershed :

"Hi Guys,
If any of you are into Topo Maps this is a great program for your pc. I have the Maritimes version that I bought about 5 years ago for $100.00 which has the topo maps of NS, NB, PEI and the Gros Morin area of NL on it..

If you go to:

Handy for finding secret fishing spots..


That got me thinking about: Compass or GPS?

When I was younger I once got lost in the woods. I didn’t do anything particularly stupid to find myself in the situation, ordinary stupidity is usually sufficient for that sort of thing but nonetheless; there I was.

Ever since then I’ve followed some simple rules whenever travelling in the back country.

First, I always look at a map of the area to gain some familiarization with the lay of the land.
 Topographic maps used to be my preferred choice but now I use Google Maps or Google Earth as often as not.

I always have a compass and two fire sources with me. I keep the fire sources each in different pockets. Usually I have a disposable lighter in one pocket of my fishing vest and some waterproofed matches in another piece of clothing, my pants pocket or jacket.

I also have a good pocketknife with a lanyard that I carry with me. With that basic kit I have no problem lighting out with just a compass bearing and the promise of good fishing at the far end of a long walk. Recently though I’ve been thinking about getting a GPS unit.

For interest’s sake here is how a GPS works: The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense.

 Some time in the 1980’s these were made available for civilian use.

The GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is.

A GPS receiver must have a clear lock on at least three of the 24 satellites to plot its longitude and latitude position. With 4 satellites locked, it can also plot altitude. Having that data, the GPS unit can then calculate and extrapolate other information such as speed of travel, bearing, and distance to destination, sunrise or sunset time and more.

The way a compass works is like this.

Picture the earth’s magnetic field, its like a giant bar-magnet run through the centre of the globe. This bar has a north end and a south end. A compass is just a magnetized needle balanced on a pin that allows the needle to move freely.

With magnets the rule is, "opposites attract" so the south end of the needle swings to point toward the North Pole. This end of the needle is usually coloured and marked with an “N”.

It’s almost impossible for a compass to be wrong. It can be a little bit out because of a thing called declination – the slow movement of true magnetic north - but for just taking a bearing to get you through the brush and back it’s hard to beat.

A GPS on the other hand can memorize way points such as where you left your car or where the honey-hole is on the featureless surface of a lake.

Have you ever emerged from the bush onto the road where you’ve left your car and not been sure whether you should walk left or right to get to it? Never happens with a GPS if you’ve set your vehicle as a way point. So the advantages of the GPS are pretty obvious.

What are the negatives? I don’t have a GPS yet so I’m speculating here but I think the size of the unit is a pretty important consideration. Weight aside, the harder it is to stow, access and re-stow, the more likely one is to lose it, drop it or leave it home altogether.

The basic ruggedness of the unit is pretty important. I don’t know about you but when hiking through the bush I’m always banging off trees, slipping on logs and generally beating my gear and myself up pretty badly.

That’s when I’m not falling into the water I’m trying to fish.

Then there is the question of batteries. I guess you need to carry a spare set of fresh ones as well as put new ones in the unit before a day afield. I also wonder about how clear the canopy above has to be to get a good reading. That is a lot of stuff to think about before even looking at prices.

 I paid about $15 bucks for the compass that over the last twenty years has gotten me into and back out of more adventures than I’d dare to tell. It fits comfortably in my pocket with no weight, no fuss and no batteries. Wet or dry it works without fail.

I’d really like to hear from anyone who has had experience with these GPS things. I’m almost convinced that I should get one but I suspect I’ll still carry my old compass anyway. It just gives me a sense of security.

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Fly Tying Bench Therapy

 Well its dark and cold and time to start the struggle against my usual winter blues.

 I’ve been thinking a lot about salmon flies lately, so will get set-up to tie a handful of Blue charms. This is one of my favorite flies to tie, probably because it is one of my favorites to fish.

In the last couple of years I’ve been tying it in all sizes from # 16 to # 4 but the one that works best for me on any given day is a sparse #12 with a couple of strands of crystal flash in the wing.

I first saw the flash added to conventional flies during a trip Gander a few years ago.

 It changed our trip from average to outstanding. Since then, if I’m tying up a handful of whatever pattern I’ll always add a bit of flash to two or three of them.

I did some research on the Blue Charm out of curiosity, to see where it came from and who originated it but so far am no wiser.

 It is one of those patterns that just seems to have always been around in one form or another.

 I did an experiment last year where I tied a couple of Blue Charms in every colour of floss I had in my kit. I followed the recipe exactly but changed the body colour.

Another variation is tying the classic pattern but with different coloured tags. The resultant flies are very pretty but I have not used them enough to announce a new killer Salmon pattern.

I can say with confidence that a Blue Charm tied with a red body and two strands of crystal flash in the wing is a phenomenal trout fly for fast water. That aside, the idea behind changing the body colour was simple.

 I was fishing not long ago on a local river when a fellow hollered across the stream to his buddy, who was fast into a grilse, “ What are they taking?” The reply was, “Anything yellow”.

I could digress into a great fishing story here but I’ll stick to the point. Part of the lore of salmon fishing is the colour preference different runs on different rivers have. It is part of the precious local knowledge that strangers usually have to learn the hard way.

They don’t call salmon, “ The Fish of a Thousand Casts” for nothing.

I have in the back of my mind the rivers and their colours and can rhyme off an ever-increasing list: The Medway - orange, the St Mary’s – green, the Phillip –yellow and so on. The colours sometimes change from spring to fall, from year to year and even from grilse to salmon. Heck, it may not even be true but I try to match the preferred colour for the river, run and season when putting my first fly through a pool.

 Now, with that in mind, another thing I think is that certain fly patterns work better than others just because of the way they are designed and built. The Blue Charm is one of these.

Putting these separate trains of thought together, it makes sense to me that a fly design that is proven but tied in the particular, preferred colours of the run you are fishing should have a pretty good chance.

In my mind there will come a day when a fresh run of fish has just hit the pool. Nothing seems to work until one of us remembers that the fish on this river prefer a particular shade of chartreuse that I just happen to have because of this wacky experiment. Well, one can dream.

The reality is, I’ll have to tie a few more this winter because even though I have not had the chance to try many over salmon, salmon fishermen really seem to go for them.

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Sunday, 2 December 2007

Fooled again!

Well, it turns out the post below is BS or I guess MS to be exact...
 It's a prank that for some reason is being passed around.

I found at least four other places with the same, cute, baby moose pictures and some version of the same story.

The example below even has the same e-mail content with the people's names and location changed. If I hadn't scanned the pictures with my virus checker I'd suspect something nefarious was going on.

The pictures are certainly interesting but I'll confess, I'm just mystified. If anyone can give me some insight into why someone would pretend to be the one who took the pictures I'd be obliged. People are certainly odd.

My World’s a Zoo
September 4, 2007
mommy and baby moose
Filed under: Alaska, Animals, Awww posts, Moose — Cindy @ 10:45 pm
A friend sent me this, sent to him from a friend who lives in Alaska. What a sweet baby. I would love to live in an area that had such animal nature so close to me. I see rabbit, squirrels, chipmunks, various birds, occasionally an opposum or raccoon, but no big animals. When I lived farther out in the country I would see deer and pheasants too.
In my 33 years in Alaska I have never seen a new born baby moose. This one was not even a half a mile from our house. The mother picked a small quiet neighbor and had her baby in the front yard at 5:30 am. Allen and I were out bike riding when we came upon the pair. The lady across the street from this house told us she saw it being born. We saw them at 5:30 pm. So the little one was 12 hours old. What an awesome place we live in to see such a site.

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Saturday, 1 December 2007

A few more reasons to love Newfoundland

Baby Moose 12 Hours Old - Born in the middle of downtown Flatrock, NF.

Where else on earth could this email and these pictures come from without CNN having a news crew on site?

My Dad sent this to me. It’s a note from some of his friends.

“In my whole life in Flatrock, I have never seen a new born baby moose. This one was not even a half a mile from my house. The mother picked a small quiet neighborhood in Flatrock and had her baby in the front yard just off Deer Marsh Road, at 5:30 am. Debbie and I (Jim) were out bike riding when we came upon the pair. The lady across the street from this house told us she saw it being born. We saw them at 5:30 PM. So the little one was 12 hours old.

What an awesome place we live in, to see such a site.”

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