February2012

Whiskey, Prozac and La Niña

Before winter even began, those that get paid to predict the weather were telling us that another La Niña event was imminent. Great—just what I wanted to hear. La Niña is a cold-hearted bitch. Last winter, she imposed her will upon us (those that inhabit the western US). She took us into her icy grip, applied a choke hold, and refused to let go. Winter turned into Spring without changing much at all. It seemed to go on forever, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d been able to get out and chase fish. But another biproduct of the winter was an extended Spring runoff that pushed well into summer. Good for fish, bad for fishing. So, yes, when they told me we were in for another La Niña winter, I made sure I had an adequate supply of medicine on hand.

Lo and behold, winter got off to a lazy start, unlike last year when we had a cold snap and snow before Thanksgiving. This year appeared to be a piece of cake as we breezed through December with mild temps and modoerate precipitation. Even into the New Year, things were mild and manageable. From my office I often gazed outside and thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad. I can do this.” Sometimes I even went outside. “Pleasant” comes to mind, particularly one week that seems so long ago.

And then she arrived. The Bitch herself. She dumped snow, then more. She forced me to buy new tires for Mrs. UA’s Exploder. She blew out rivers. She flooded roads. She convinced a ground hog to declare 6 more weeks of winter. Damn her. Fortunately I was distracted by work. But after a while of that, well—you know.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s going to be a while before she’s gone. I need to go fishing, clearly.

 

A contest: win a FREE Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack

Water bottles not included.

The headline is perhaps a bit misleading so I feel as though I should clarify: Yes, you can win a Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack, but it’s not free.

Not exactly.

If you read my review of the pack, you will see that an UA sticker is required in order to enter the contest. The stickers cost $3.50 and you can get them right HERE.

Required.

CONTEST RULES & DETAILS

  • Place your UA sticker on your vehicle or vessel: car, truck, SUV, rock-crawler, soccer mom van, boat, bicycle, motorcycle, Radio Flyer wagon or other mode of terrestrial or aquatic transportation.
  • Snap a photo that shows the sticker in place (remember, creativity can influence the vote)
  • “Like” and then post the photo to the Unaccomplished Angler Facebook page
  • If you have yet to order your sticker you best act fast because the deadline for entries is March 1st.
  • On March 1st I will place all photo entries into an album and open the contest for likes/comments. Because I lack the integrity to fairly judge, the people will decide: the photo with the most “likes” wins.
  • On March 6th I will declare the winner.
  • On March 7th I will ship the Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack to the winner
  • Upon receiving the  pack, winner will be on Cloud Nine.

Hurry!

Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack: a Review

The ink had barely dried on the new line of 2012 packs from Fishpond when I had the opportunity to choose one and offer a review. I felt like I was on cloud nine as I selected the Nimbus Guide Pack. The reason for my choice is that first and foremost, I like fanny lumbar packs for carrying my fishing gear. I was also  curious about the origins of the name and wanted to see what it was all about.

Armchair  meteorologists in the crowd will not be surprised , but many of you may not know that a nimbus cloud is a cloud that produces precipitation. The fact that the pack is waterproof (though not submersible) makes the choice of a name appropriate. However, the folks at Fishpond could have just as well named it the Cumulus Guide Pack. Cumulus clouds are those big puffy, vertical clouds that we often describe as looking like cotton candy.  I should clarify that the pack in question looks nothing like cotton candy. By definition Cumulus means “heap” or “pile”, and you could pile a heap of gear into this pack.

The pack measures 12.5″ (wide) x 11″ (high) x 4″ (deep) and boasts a volume of 579 cubic inches. The 4 inch depth may sound small, but it expands considerably. The interior is vast, with a main compartment that will hold many fly boxes and a sack lunch. An internal pouch is in place to keep smaller items within easy reach. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also an interior zipper pocket for securing other items as necessary. An exterior features a front zipper pocket for storing things you need quick access to.

Years ago I gave up wearing a vest. The elimination of weight on the shoulders reduces fatigue over the course of a long day, and also cuts down on additional material that can be unwanted during hot weather. It’s much easier to carry the weight on the hips, and I also benefit from using the belt as a lower back support.  There’s something about being middle-aged and walking the uneven banks of a river all day that causes low back stiffness. A support belt really helps with this. To that end, this Fishpond lumbar pack is very comfortable. The waist strap/belt is wide and vented, so you won’t overheat on a hot day. The pack also features two adjustable bottle holsters so you can carry ample water and remain well-hydrated when the hot summer sun, unobscured by clouds, beats down on you.

Just because the afternoon sun is hot doesn’t mean you started the day in a t-shirt. In fact, chances are the morning was a tad chilly. If you’re out on the water all day, it’s nice to be able to shed some clothing as the day warms up, and thanks to buckled cargo straps on the bottom of the pack, you can secure a jacket or other item of clothing rolled up (you can also carry an extra rod tube using these straps). There are several attachment points at various locations on the pack for attaching things such as tippet spools, hemostats and such. It’s quite a versatile pack that will accommodate your needs nicely.

Some folks may prefer to wear the pack across their body like a sling, which can be done thanks to a shoulder strap that is easily removed. To demonstrate just how easy it is to remove the shoulder strap, I’ve included a time-lapse action sequence showing the shoulder strap on and 5 seconds later the shoulder strap off. It’s that easy.

I don’t carry a landing net with me unless I’m floating, but there have been times, when helping Marck land big fish, that I’d wished for a net. Problem is, with the waist packs I’ve owned previously, there was no way to feasibly carry a net. On that note, perhaps the best feature of the Nimbus Guide Pack is the integrated net slot. Very cool.

In my experience, all Fishpond products are exceptionally well-made and nicely designed.  I’ve always considered their products to be high-end, and a bit pricey, but I also adhere to the philosophy that you get what you pay for. At $109.95 MSRP, you get a lot with the Nimbus Guide Pack.

And some lucky member of the Unaccomplished Angler nation is going to be on cloud nine when they get this pack for free by participating in forthcoming contest. If you don’t have your UA sticker yet, get one. You’ll need it to enter.

Separated at Birth, 2?

 

A while back I was struck by a certain resemblance between pop music fad Justin Bieber and a much younger Brad Pitt. I posted about it in an entry titled, Separated at Birth. My thought was to turn the idea into a series, whereby I would discover uncanny resemblances between fly fishing personalities and their more famous Hollywood counterparts (you’ll have to give me a little leeway with the whole Brad Pitt thing—he’s not exactly a fly fishing personality, although he did star in A River Runs Through It).

Recently I was reading the latest “20 Questions” over at Eat More Brook Trout, in which Chris Hunt interviews Trout Underground founding father, Tom Chandler. Before I’d read further than:

“Tom Chandler is, if nothing else…”

It hit me, like a brick upside the head:

Tom Chandler is, if nothing else, Robin William’s much younger identical brother. And word has it they’re both fly fishermen.

One of these is Tom Chandler.

 

Fly Fishing Still Needs Dirty Harry

Last year I dropped a subtle hint for the fly fishing industry to rally around Clint Eastwood, to lobby him to make a film that would unite and revitalize the industry. The industry was down in numbers of participants, which translates to lost revenue for those who make a living in one aspect of fly fishing or another. Fewer people fishing means fewer licenses being sold and less money for conservation programs. And we’re no better off today than we were at this same time a year ago. The blog entry in question, Fly Fishing Needs Dirty Harry, put the UA on the map, and subsequently put me into retirement. But after giving it some thought I refused to be a quitter and climbed back on the horse. Be that good or bad, here I am. But this isn’t about me.

It’s about fly fishing. It’s about America.

You don’t need the Unaccomplished Angler to tell you that Clint Eastwood moves people. Just look at his recent Superbowl commercial (can we even say that word–Superbowl? I think it’s trademarked, or something). Admittedly, I watch the Superbowl for the ads, and in most years the ads are pretty darn entertaining. This year they seemed rather lackluster, save for Chrysler’s spot which featured a gravelly-voiced Eastwood declaring, “It’s halftime in America.” Essentially Clint told us to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and kick some ass. He growled at us to set aside differences, do what’s right and act as one. In 30 seconds, he united America and solved our economic woes.

The Great Uniter.

This ad just proves what I suggested last year: Eastwood is the perfect choice to bring fly fishing together, to unite us for the better of all. If he can solve the economic problems facing America, he can sure as hell fix what ails fly fishing. I hate to say I told you so, but if industry leaders had listened to me, it might well have been a different ad that aired during halftime of the Superbowl: instead of Chrysler, it could easily have been a fly fishing industry conglomerate speaking as one voice through Eastwood. While that didn’t happen, all is not lost–there’s still something that can be done to insure that fly fishing makes a comeback. My call to action last year may have fallen on deaf ears, but the industry can still listen to Clint. And you can listen to Clint HERE.

America needs Dirty Harry. And so still does fly fishing. Once again I am stating my plea to industry leaders: call everyone together for a round table. Get everyone in the same room, sit down, and unite as one voice. And let that voice tell Clint Eastwood that he is needed. Just one movie–to move us–to bring us toward salvation.

(Thanks to Sean Sanders over at Up The Poudre, for providing the title for this “movie”)