Month: February 2011

Lady and gentleman, we have a winner!

The Unaccomplished Angler is pleased to announce the winner of the giveaway contest iPhone 3 trout skin case by Montana Fly Company, and the winner is…Joe.
Joe’s entry, which was randomly selected by the accounting firm of Werner & Werner, clearly indicated a man who needed this iPhone cover:
I have an iPhone 3g. My wife and kids used to think I am crazy because of the fly reel ring tones I have installed. They are getting over that so I need something else to help maintain my reputation.
After I informed Joe that he was the winner, he wrote back:
I never win anything so this is exciting.

Yes it is, Joe. I know what it’s like to never win anything, so when one does happen upon a little luck, it feels good.

Joe probably thought all he had to do was provide me with his mailing address and he’d be done.  Well, not so fast Mr. Freeloader! First, he had to engage me in a bit of informational conversation as I posed a couple of questions to him.

I asked Joe how he came to discover the Unaccomplished Angler. I’m always curious about how people find this place:

I found the Unaccomplished Angler through a link on another fishing blog (I can’t remember which one).  I look at some and never go back, others I go back to for the perspective on fishing, life, and humor.  UA is one I go back to.  Keep up the great work.

Flattery will get you everywhere, Joe. I appreciate the good word, and thanks for coming back to this blog.
Next I asked Joe a little bit about himself as a fly angling person. It’s nice to get to know readers of the blog, in a virtual sort of way anyhow:
I am a middle-aged fly angler (at least I used to be).  My experience is far less than the sum of my years.  I come in and out of the sport as other commitments and interests compete for my time.  My favorite fishing is in small mountain streams.  We have those and tailwater streams in North Georgia.  I stubbornly start each day fishing with dry flies until I decide it is time to catch fish.  Mostly I enjoy being on the stream; catching trout is a bonus.
Sounds like we may be kindred spirits, Joe, except that I’m still middle-aged. Or at least I think I am.
I’ve also been fortunate to have had a couple of chances to fish for bonefish in Abaco, Bahamas.  I’d like to do more of that.
Careful, Joe. Nobody likes a braggart.
Now that the kids are grown I hope to have more time for vacations focused on fishing rather than trying to sneak in a day.  I’m looking at something out west this summer.
Go west, young man. Just don’t go too far west. I recommend you stop before you get as far as Washington. Idaho has some nice waters for trouts, and of course there’s that place called Montana which I’ve heard is OK, too.
Thanks again,
Thank YOU, Joe

Jumping the gun.

When Large Albacore rang me up and asked if I was free to fish the Yakima on President’s Day, I felt something was amiss– something didn’t feel quite right about going trout fishing. It’s February, and it has been cold: fishing isn’t usually real productive this time of year to begin with, and frankly neither Albacore nor I feel much love from this river even when it’s in prime season. But I’d fished the Yakima twice by this same time last year, so maybe I was making too much of a hunch. Besides, when a buddy whom you don’t get to see as often as you like calls you up to go fishing, you gladly answer that call. Even if a little voice inside your head is telling you that  fishing probably won’t be very good. Clarification: fishing is always good; catching not always so much. Especially on the Yakima River. For me.

The weather had been clear and cold all week. A system was set to move in from the coast during the day but the incoming weather was moving slowly, and clear skies followed me east to Ellensburg where I met up with Albacore. Because his raft was still in winter storage we would be on foot, which is not usually how I fish the Yakima. However, being a sunny optimist and one who always sees the glass as being half full, I acknowledged that the exercise would be good for the atrophied leg muscles of winter.

We stopped at our first location to explore some water that neither of us had fished on foot before. The river was running much higher than it normally does for this time of year, which was odd.  After all, there had been no precipitation in over a week, and it had been very cold so there was no meltoff.  So why the high flows?  More interestingly, the water was quite clear, and tinged an odd color of green.  Odd for this river, that is.  The water was colored the hue of typical west side rivers: steelhead green, as it were. I’d have preferred to have been fishing for steelhead in these green-tinted rivers if it weren’t for the fact that these green tinted rivers had been closed early due to low returns of wild steelhead. I didn’t then nor do I at this time understand why the Yakima was so high, yet so clear at the same time. And why it was so green is a mystery to me. Oh well, it was green. And it was high and fast.  We all know what that does to a fly that must get down deep to where the semi-comatose trouts are hiding in the dead of winter: it makes things difficult.

Albacore strung up his rod with a Pat’s Stone and a San Juan Worm dropper, fishing dirty under an indicator. I opted to start the day by swinging a size 18 bead-headed soft hackle nymph. This has been a reliable somewhat effective pattern and method of fishing for me on this river so I thought, “Why not start out the year right?” I hadn’t been on the Yakima since October: long enough ago for the self esteem wounds of the last few outings to heal over with emotional scar tissue. I was starting fresh, with a renewed sense of confidence. That confidence didn’t last long.

We fished a couple of distinctly different areas during the day: far enough apart to resemble entirely different rivers. But the vastly different waters of the same river had something in common: a lack of fish.  Neither of us had a bump. Not even so much as a tug from the tiny lips of a whitefish, which is remarkable given Albacore’s prowess at hooking those native dandies. We walked, waded, and explored. We paused for lunch on the tail gait of Albacore’s truck, providing me an opportunity to properly admire his new tires, which he readily admitted were long overdue. His truck really should have been re-shod before winter formally set in, which was made evident on our last trip into a raging snowstorm several months earlier. We bitched about the state of the economy, groused about the Pebble Mine, and agreed on what was wrong with young people today. Just to make sure that we aren’t perceived as a couple of middle-aged curmudgeons, it should be noted that we also took ample time to laugh about the simpler things in life. On more than a couple occasions we brought up the matter of the green water.

All in all the day was rather pleasant: 45 degrees under sunny skies and only a few minutes of wind that would be considered a bit annoying. The collective mood was relaxed as we reminded ourselves on several occasions that it  just felt good to get out, do a little casting and a bit of catching up. And frankly, a skunk always tastes better when shared with others. As we returned to the truck I observed a little angler who reminded me what it’s all about.

We parted ways at the end of the day, vowing to return in a month or so when things warmed up a bit, Albacore’s raft was removed from storage and the fish began actively feeding. As I drove west the sky grew ominously darker. Before I’d ascended the east slope of the Cascades I encountered snow and was reminded that winter wasn’t quite ready to free us from its grip just yet. And the Yakima wasn’t quite ready for me.

Or perhaps it was the other way around.

Stop Eating Wild Steelhead

This may appear to be a West coast issue, but actually it’s important to everyone  so I’m sharing it with all readers of the Unaccomplished Angler in hopes that you’ll pass the word, post it on your blogs, etc.  This is a grassroots movement to educate the general public about the plight of wild steelhead on the left coast, which are a non-sustainable resource and widely listed under the Endangered Species Act. And yet, on a few rivers where they have not yet made the ESA list, they continue to be harvested and sold to markets and restaurants, even though they are not a self-sustaining population.

In the Northwest there are watchful individuals and groups who are keeping an eye out for markets and restaurants that feature wild steelhead on their menus and in their seafood sections. Recently a couple Seattle area restaurants have been informed and educated on the matter of these fish not being sustainable, as they’ve been marketed to be.  We need to be the voice for these fish since they can’t speak for themselves. We need to educate the retailers and consumers. In doing so hopefully we can put a stop to the harvest by taking away their market.

If you’re inclined toward the Facebook thing, please give this group a “like”. As stated on the Facebook page:

This long overdue Facebook group aims to help educate the public on wild steelhead harvest. Even with rivers not meeting their escapement goals, the tribes of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula continue to harvest these depressed stocks of fish.

With the generous funding of Allen Fly Company, stickers are being made available for purchase. Proceeds go to wild steelhead conservation efforts.

Order a set of 5 stickers for $6.  Fly the colors on your rig, drift boat, etc.  Give a couple to your friends.  The more who understand the situation the better our chances of saving these wild fish.

Here is the direct link:

Order your stickers, and like the title says: Stop Eating Wild Steelhead

Feelin’ lucky, again. Now it’s your turn…

Yes, I feel lucky. Again.

A while back I gloated mentioned that I’d seen some good fortune come my way when I won a couple of giveaway contests. Well, my luck continues to be good because recently I was randomly chosen as the winner of another contest offered by Montana Fly Company.  What I won this time was something I had already been planning to buy: a Trout Camo fly box, rainbow flavor. It’s cool looking, of solid plastic construction with a secure locking lever, and I like the slitted foam fly keepers: that’ll be an improvement over my current fly boxes that do not have the slit foam. The only problem is that this box will not house all my flies, so I’m going to have to order another one, maybe a brown trout version so I can tell them apart. Thanks to Montana Fly Company for randomly selecting me as the winner.

And now I would like to share some Montana Fly Company love with my readers and give someone else a chance to feel lucky.

I recently crawled out of my technological hole and became the owner of an iPhone 4. Admittedly the sole reason for wanting an iPhone was so I could get a River Camo iPhone cover. There was some confusion (on my part) as to what phone this cover would fit: The cover was said to fit an iPhone 3G. Conveniently, my iPhone is an iPhone 3G, in a sense–it’s an iPhone 4, but has 3G service. The matter was a clear as a river running high with Spring meltoff. Well, I took a gamble and lost: the cover fits an iPhone 3 (as in 3rd generation), not an iPhone 4. Apparently the 3G in this case is not referring to the service network. Oh well, luck can only last so long.

Rather than return the cover, I’m offering it up to the person with an iPhone 3 who leaves a comment explaining why they should have it. Play the pity card. Tug at the heart strings.  I’ll randomly choose the winner and announce it February 26th.

In case your iPhone looks like this, it’s an iPhone 3. The cover will fit your phone.  But not mine.

Guest Blog: Is it Really Better in the Bahamas?

This is the first ever Guest Blog on the Unaccomplished Angler. The point of this entry is to share with my reading audience the details of an exotic trip— to travel vicariously through someone else (if you wait around for the Unaccomplished Angler to take a trip to the Bahamas you’ll grow old waiting).  The following entry comes from my friend Sir Lancelot, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of fishing and also the privilege of cleaning his BBQ grill. Aside from being the first, this may be last guest entry to grace these pages.  Please note that I have not edited this story for content or tone. My intent was to make only corrections with regard to the countless errors in spelling and punctuation but grew weary of that, so you may find some errors. Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are not my own, nor does the Unaccomplished Angler accept responsibility should you experience certain side effects such as nausea, vomiting, bloat, indigestion, dizziness, ringworm and memory loss.

Is it Really Better in the Bahamas?

By Sir Lancelot

Is it really better in the Bahamas?  That is a hard question to answer as the frequency from “Mrs. Better in the Bahamas” didn’t seem to suggest that it was, but that is another part of the story all together.  We took a fine family vacation to a little community called Spanish Wells (think North end of Eluthera) over Christmas.  We rented a little house right on the beach and had fun, fun, fun.  Our partners in crime were the Helpin family (I changed the name to protect their identity).  The Helpins have children similar ages to our own, the father likes to fish and our wives get along, so it was a good match.

The day that I nearly got my arse kicked by The Unaccomplished Angler.

When I got home I sent an email to my friend, Mr. Unaccomplished Angler, to see if he would like a write up of my trip.  He responded with something along the lines of “F___ you for going to the Bahamas.”  I was expecting something a little more cordial and appreciative of my efforts but no, all I got was a  “F___ you” for it.  I shouldn’t be surprised and I kind of had it coming.  Last summer while sitting on the side of the Yakima River he (UA) floated by about six inches away from my own boat.  The guys I was fishing with didn’t know that I knew Kirk The UA.  So, when I looked up and said, “Get the F___ out of my hole,” with a straight face they were worried that I was picking a fist fight.  Needless to say no fight broke out and we all managed to catch a few small fish that day.

Spanish Wells is little community of about 1500 people on an island called St. Georges Cay in the Bahamas.  It is the quintessential quaint little fishing village.  The people there are all lobster fishermen.  The fish processor has the supply contract with Red Lobster and we can attest that it is very good eating.  Usually when I have traveled to the tropics in the past the people have been in one of three categories:  The first one is desperately poor.  Although I feel for these people, and do some things for them, it is often hard to see and be around when I’m maxing out my credit cards on a vacation.  The second category is incredibly rich.  Although these people often feel for me, they don’t do anything about it.  The third category is your average Joe like me who are trying to look incredibly rich for one week.  The people of Spanish Wells didn’t fit into any of these categories.  They were average Joe’s of the middle class:  Nice people, not pretentious and just going about their lives.  It was a lot of fun being around a bunch of schmucks like me.  The North side of the island faced the reef and had sugar-fine sandy beaches.  There were also some nice bonefish flats there as well.  The south side of the island contained the harbor.

We stayed in a house on the beach (Ocean Dream Beach Cottage).  Mrs. Better in the Bahamas would have none of me staying by the boat.  Prices were reasonable:  $1,800 rented a 3 bed 2 ½ bath house during high season and it was right on the beach.  $250 rented a 14’ Boston Whaler for the week and another $250 rented a golf cart.  It’s really cool to drive the golf cart everywhere and you drive it on the left hand side of the road.  Mrs. BITB is still yelling at me every time I pull out of the driveway to be careful and drive on the right.  The owners and hosts of the house are Jody and Tara Pinder.  They are wonderful! Catered to our every need, were there to help, not too close and just genuine, caring, fun people.  Their children didn’t fall far from the tree and when we arrived home and got a new puppy she received the name Kali, after the Pinder’s youngest daughter Kaliston.

Spanish Wells is a dry island but don’t let that be of too much concern to you casual drunks.  The liquor store is at the dock on Eluthera, only a 200 yard boat ride away.  Kahik beer was the local favorite and we consumed it by the barrel.  The rest of your favorite brands of hard alcohol were available there as well.  The best deal (as you can tell I’m a frugal basta__)  was the duty-free shop in the Nassau airport.  $18 bought a 1000 ml bottle of Crown Royal.  That was a great deal.


Now that the house keeping is done it’s onto the important part: fishing. We fished for bottom fish most days.  It’s easy, was close-by and our kids loved it.  We caught the local favorites such as Porgys, Grunts, Groupers, Triggers and other bottom fish.  No one worried about Ciguatera and no one got sick so I guess it was OK.  On a side note there are lots of Lion fish in the Bahamas.  They don’t belong there as they originated in the Pacific Ocean.  We didn’t catch any while fishing but saw them frequently while snorkeling.  I speared one, we ate it and it was delicious.  It seems weird to me that a fish I used to pay $50 for in an aquarium store sat on my plate and was gobbled up.

My good friend Mr. FFred Helpin was in house one day.  I was sitting down on the beach with our wives and the kids.  We were just sitting there relaxing and taking in the sun, sand and water.  All of a sudden we hear the word, “F___ ” (don’t think FFred) come screaming out of the house.  The girls looked at me like I would know what to do.  I thought it was them who would know what to do with that word, but nonetheless I had to go and deal with it.  I trudged up the beach and back to the house expecting to see something horrendously wrong.  Well, I was right.  Here is my friend FFred up on a chair, his face is beet red and he’s so pissed off he’s just about ready to explode.  You see FFred had just had a little incident with his fly rod and the ceiling fan.  There was about 50 yards of fly line draped in several large loops hanging down between the blades.  In addition the last 4 inches of FFred’s fly rod hung as limply as the last 4 inches of himself.  It really was horrendous, fly line tangled in the ceiling fan and a busted rod to boot.  As his good friend, I put on an Oscar-class performance by not laughing myself into an early heart attack.  I calmly helped him unravel and then we headed to the tackle shop for some epoxy and thread.  A few hours and a large portion of our Kalik beer later FFred and his fly rod seemed to be on the mend. (Editorial comment: Had the UA been present, there would have been photographic documentation of this debacle)

The wind blew while were there quite a bit.  Between our schedule, the wind and the guide’s schedule, we didn’t get out Bonefishing until one of the last days.  There are good numbers of Bonefish on the flats of Spanish Wells and Eluthera and they don’t get much pressure, either.  None of us had ever fished for them before, so I’m told my ineptitude at catching them is typical.  I’ll keep telling myself that story anyway.  We did see a fair number of them.  We waded across the flats, had them follow our flies and the kids of course managed to catch a few.  John Roberts was our guide (242.557.7794).  He is a nice man, a good guide, and very knowledgeable about the sea and the animals we saw in and around it.  He also had fun and worked well with our kids.  Our day on the flats also sent us away with a good number of conch, which are excellent table fare.

Over all we had an excellent vacation, met some very nice people, caught some fish, had a lot of fun and oh, by the way, it is Better in the Bahamas.

Thanks to Sir Lancelot for experiencing such a lavish vacation, and for taking the time to write up your account of your adventures.  I assume by “it” you mean “fishing.” You suck.

Sir Lancelot of Hackbury

Sage: Saving America one rod at a time

A recent article about Sage Manufacturing in the Kitsap Sun newspaper gave me cause to ponder publicly something that I’ve pondered privately before…taking my love affair for Sage fly rods to the next level by getting a job at Sage. I make no effort to hide the fact that I like Sage fly rods. Nobody pays me to say that. In fact, nobody pays me to say anything else for that matter. I just like their rods and what they stand for: excellent products, with excellent warranty service, made locally. After reading the article, it sounds like a place I’d love to work. They’re a company that stands for something and sees the value in not letting their growth get the better of them. American made, by real people, in America.

“We want to be a case of American manufacturing that works,” he said. “We want to buck the trend both nationally and locally.”

Read more:

When I got my first Sage rod, my decision was based on favorable reviews of their many rod offerings, but also on the fact that they’re a local company.  I like to support local anything whenever possible. But I didn’t let the reviews be the conclusive factor, so I went to a local fly shop and test casted a few others in addition to the Sage model I as interested in. I told myself to not fall head over heals for the Sage just because it was locally made.  I demanded personal objectivity.  And I did not disappoint myself. And after testing several rods I walked out with my first Sage and eventually began adding other Sage sticks to my quiver. I won’t say exactly how many I have because Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler may read this, and it’s best if she remains ignorant on the matter. In my defense a couple of the rods were purchased used so I didn’t spend money that would otherwise have gone to cloth and feed my children.

Back to the matter of getting a job at Sage. The company is located on Bainbridge Island, which is a short ferry ride from Seattle, and Seattle is about 25 miles from where I live. That doesn’t sound too far, and to the person not from this area it might seem like a reasonable distance to commute for a job, with a short ferry ride that would be an enjoyable part of the commute (who doesn’t like going for a boat ride, right?).

I’d love to work for a company that I believe in, and working for Sage would be a dream. Waking up each day, passionate about the company one works for, is not something that comes along very often.  I’d be happy working as an Office Boy if Sage were my employer.

Without any traffic whatsoever, and assuming I caught the scheduled ferry I desired, I could be on the island in just a little over an hour after leaving my home.  Unfortunately, the greater Seattle area is home to some of the worst traffic in the country (9th worst according to this ranking by the Chicago Tribune), and if I were leaving on workday mornings it would take me well over an hour to get to Seattle on a good day. Add to that significantly more time if when the rural roads are closed due to seasonal flooding.

I probably wouldn’t make the boat I wanted, so I’d have to wait for the next one.  If all went well I’d be on the island 2 hours after leaving home.  Then there’s the return commute which would probably be even worse.

No job would be worth the 4 hours a day I’d spend in transit getting to and from the office. So, until Sage moves their operation to Duvall, WA (shall we start a rumor?) I guess I’ll just have to continue to be a huge fan of their rods and other gear. Sorry, Sage, but that lucrative Office Boy position will have to go to someone who doesn’t live out here in the sticks.  If When the company decides to move to Duvall, rest assured I’ll make the best Office Boy Sage has ever known.

Thanks for doing what you do, the way you do it.

I am a gear chucking fly angling person

I recently returned from a steelhead fishing trip to the Clearwater River in Idaho. There was not a fly rod to be found amongst the selection of fishing sticks on board the boat. Of course I knew that this would be the case well in advance of the trip, and yet willingly I went along. Rather than a fishing trip on which I would exercise my preferred method of angling, this was a gathering of college fraternity brothers who had not all been together in the same place in some 24 years. This was to be more about a gathering of old friends from the past than it was about fishing, even though it centered around fishing. Just not fly fishing. This was no time to get all uppity about the how the fish would be tempted into swallowing a hook.

The trip very nearly did not materialize due to incessant rains across the region that caused all rivers, including the Clearwater, to bulge their banks. I waited anxiously for the call from my buddy Jawn, the orchestrator of the trip, declaring whether or not it was on or off. I’d been watching the flows, and I was nervous. Then the call came in. According to our guide, Jim McCarthy of Hells Canyon Sport Fishing, the Clearwater was running at about 27,000 CFS. Normal flows for this time of year are between 5,000-7,000 CFS. Gulp. But fish were being caught, and we were set for launch. Sigh. The plan was for myself, Bryan, Micro, and Red Pig to converge upon Jawn’s home in Lewiston the night before. (It should be noted that the names of those in attendance have been changed to protect their reputations – all except for Red Pig, his real name). After I hung up the phone with Jawn I clicked my heels and chortled like a schoolgirl. It was going to be great to see everyone after all these years.

Of the 5 of us on board, excluding our guide, only three of us are what one might call regular fishermen, and of those three only two are decent fishermen. The other is merely a catch-challenged, unaccomplished angler.  What we may lack in a commonality as far as fishing experience we make up for with a bond that goes much deeper. We’re brothers in a way that is perhaps even stronger than blood:  our fraternal bond forged in college, at a time when our social skills were still a bit rough around the edges. On other words, we’d seen each other at our collective and individual worst. That’s a strong foundation for friendship for sure, but 24 years is a long time to be apart.

Fond memories of yesteryear are highly cherished and certainly invaluable, but one really doesn’t know what to expect when reconnecting after such a long hiatus. How much had everyone changed?  Could there be any substance to the friendships of yore or would it get awkward after we ran out of old stories to tell?  Face it, when a person is in their early 20’s, their outlook on life is a bit simpler than when they’re pushing 50. Raising a family (or not), ascending the career ladder (or not), and facing trials and tribulations associated with life as a middle-aged adult can alter a person over time (or not).  Most people grow up and mature, but I’m happy to report that we were all able to enjoy the trip as if no time had passed between us. Everyone was pretty much the same person they were back in the day, and thankfully another thing that hadn’t evolved over time was our taste in beer. Well, at least for me.

Ode to the idle Spey rod.

Good judgment dictated that we would stay up into the wee hours drinking micro brews (begrudgingly, in my case) and a few other assorted bottled beverages (the Speyburn Scotch served as a reminder that my Spey rod would not be used in the morning). We reminisced and solved world problems until 2:30AM, awaking a few short hours later. I was lucky to have gotten any sleep at all thanks to Bryan’s ability to saw logs at a volume that rivaled The Goosemaster.  Amazingly we were mostly bright-eyed and coherent when we met up with Jim McCarthy at the Pink House launch at 7 AM. Under heavy fog and chilly temperatures we boarded the jet sled that would take us up and down the river in pursuit of the infamous B Run Clearwater steelhead: fish that spend at least two years gorging themselves and bulking up in the salt before returning to the rivers. Jim gave us a quick run-down on how to fish the high flows.

Foggy, but at least not raining.

Fly fishing?

Popular pattern: Egg Sucking Moss

I determined that even if I could not be angling with a fly, I would do my best to stay as pure as possible and represent “my people”. To that end Jawn and I designated ourselves “Team Synthetic”, electing to fish with the yarn egg as opposed to the yarn egg with a gob or roe looped in. A chunk of lead attached a couple feet or so above the hook got the tackle down in the slow seams that weren’t really all that slow given the high water. As the lead bounced along the bottom it provided a rhythmic feedback that could best be described as a “thunk-thunk-thunk”.  Occasionally that rhythm was interrupted by a fish, more often by a snag.  When Jim wasn’t maneuvering the sled alongside the best holding water, he was busy replacing leaders and netting fish. And occasionally ducking.  With a line of 5 guys standing shoulder to shoulder and systematically firing out casts, it was amazing that nobody suffered a flossing or other injury. Given this display of on-boat combat casting, the potential for friendly fire incident was high. However, we maintained proper rank and file and not once did Jim have to impose a time-out on anyone.

Heated debate: synthetic egg patterns vs. synthetic egg patterns with bait

It wasn’t long into the day that I had a sense of deja-vu settle over me and I harkened back to a trip to the upper Beaverhead in Montana the year before. On that trip I had employed a very similar method of  fishing with heavily weighted tackle that bounced rhythmically along the bottom of a river. The main difference was that when I was on the Beaverhead it was much more difficult to cast sling shot the heavy junk with a fly rod. The line between chucking gear and fly fishing began to blur as I pondered a distinct overlap in fishing methods. Also reminiscent of the Beaverhead was that my buddies were catching more fish than I was.

Best fish of the day.

Runner-Up (in more ways than one).

Throughout the course of the day we laughed, pitched each other a healthy ration of crap, drank cheap beer that thankfully Jawn had brought along instead of that fancy micro stuff, and generally had a great time. There was also a particular beverage supplied by Red Pig known as Fireball which was effective in keeping the chill at bay. Catching fish was secondary to the largely juvenile antics comradery of the day, and while perhaps the catching was not red-hot, 9 fish were landed, not including Red Pig’s 2 white fish or Bryan’s belly-hooked sucker.

A Red Pig and a Whitefish.

A very nice Clearwater B Run Sucker.

There were a couple of cute little 25″ fish caught, but most were of a respectable size, with the largest being 34+ inches. These were not the dime-bright coastal fish of western Washington rivers that I always catch on a swung fly, but they were impressive fish that had run several hundred miles inland from the salt. I marveled at the size of the tails on these fish: they were well suited for their long commutes. Adding to our good fortunes of the day, every fish hooked was landed. All were fin-clipped hatchery brats (or as my friend Joe Willauer so eloquently describes them: pond monkeys). On other words, at the end of the day we had a generous amount of fish in the cooler and a few empty beer cans to unload from the boat.

Nice fish. The coat, not so much.

Another nice fish, a better coat, and a great hat.

True to form, at the end of the day I was out-fished by everyone, even the hacks Micro and Red Pig, who aren’t regular fishermen.  My four fishing compadres each landed two fish while I brought up the rear with one.  But mine was the biggest, almost. Only two others taped out longer.

My fish had the biggest scars.

We all agreed that this needs to become an annual event, so plans are already being laid for next year’s adventure. Between now and then I’ll fish with a fly, drink cheap beer, and remind myself that fishing is all about the experience and the memories created. When the second annual trip rolls around, I’ll set aside my fly rod and take on the role of a gear chucker– it’s good to see how the other half lives. From what I saw on this first trip, it ain’t so different from fly fishing.

Great friends.

Great day.

I want to publicly thank Jawn for putting this trip together: he’s a wonderful guy and a generous host.  In fact he’s generous nearly to a fault, insisting on picking up the tip for our guide and the cost of our out of state licenses. He also put us up up with us for two nights in his home, and kept us well fed and hydrated. Jawn is the type of guy that will do anything for a friend, so I’m going to submit a reimbursement request for the cost of my gas to drive the 656.1 mile round trip (yes, I have receipts).

The Best of SPAM

For the past few days the Unaccomplished Angler blog has been flooded by a sudden torrent of SPAMMERS. I always get an occasional SPAM message in my comments queue, but this past week the volume has skyrocketed (I probably need to change the filter in my SPAM filter). Apparently the SPAM nation heard that I had been called back to active blog duty and wanted to throw me an unretirement party, complete with discounted Viagra, Topsy Turvy Tomato Plants and Pajama Jeans.

Not to worry, I can sniff out a rat so there’s no threat of these lowlife miscreants running amok in the comments section. I’ve often pondered the reasoning behind the mind of a SPAMMER and concluded long ago that their sole intent is to make life difficult by wasting our time. Well, if their intent was to annoy me, they failed miserably. I actually find these quite amusing, and in fact, worthy of sharing.

Just want to say your article is striking. The clearness in your post is simply spectacular and i can take for granted you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. ???????????? ??????????? ??????

Note to SPAMMER: Your command of the English language is almost pretty good, but not quite.  And 29 question marks is a bit excessive, don’t you think???????????? ??????????? ?????? I am, however, glad you enjoyed my effective work.

Hello everyone. I was just surfing the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Terrific post. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! It is good to know that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I’ll be sure to check back from time to time.

Note to SPAMMER: Who is everyone? It’s just me, here– the Unaccomplished Angler.

Thank you for this blog.  Thats all I can say.  You most definitely have made this blog into something thats eye opening and important.  You clearly know so much about the subject, youve covered so many bases.  Great stuff from this part of the internet.  Again, thank you for this blog.

Note to SPAMMER: First you said, “Thank you for this blog. Thats all I can say”. But then you went on to say more than that.Just sayin’.

I assumed it was likely being some unexciting old report, nevertheless it definitely compensated for my time. I most unquestionably will post a link to this article on my web page. I am convinced my visitors are planning to find that realistically helpful.

Note to SPAMMER: I am glad to have provided compensation for your time, which must be very valuable to you. By the way, nobody here talks the way you do.

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. Thanks for this great resource!

Note to SPAMMER: You’re welcome!  It’s actually better than free because you also get USD $8.5M. All you have to do is provide your mailing address and I will send you a cashier’s check from my offices here in Nigeria.

Im happy I located this blog page, I couldnt obtain any knowledge on this subject before. I also operate a site and in case you are ever serious in doing some guest writing for me please feel free to let me know, im always look for people to check out my site. Please stop by and leave a comment sometime!

Note to SPAMMER: Your not the only won whose happy you located this blog page- Im happy two! Ill be shure too stop by your blog page and leave a comment sometime!

Hey there, was just surfing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the info that you have on this page. It shows how well you get this subject. Bookmarked this blog, will come back for more. You are awesome. Mucho love from arbeitsrecht wiesbaden

Note to SPAMMER: Thank you for acknowledging that I get this subject. Me, awesome?  You’re awesomer! Mucho love back atcha, Spülungssack from Wiesbaden.

Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done

Note to SPAMMER: You had me at “Aw”. And for what it’s worth, you’re the first procrastinating SPAMMER I’ve ever met.

Terrific piece of content, this is very similar to a site that I have. Please check it out sometime and feel free to leave me a comenet on it and tell me what you think. Im always looking for feedback.

Note to SPAMMER: Are you also an Unaccomplished Angler?  Kindred spirits! I shall soon to be leaving you a comenet on a very similiar site that you have.

Hi. I just noticed that your site looks like it has a few code errors at the very top of your website’s page. I’m not sure if everybody is getting this same problem when browsing your site? I am employing a totally different browser than most people, referred to as Opera, so that is what might be causing it? I just wanted to make sure you know. Thanks for posting some great postings and I’ll try to return back with a completely different browser to check things out!

Note to SPAMMER: Hi back at you and thanks for finding code errors at the very top of my website’s page. I looked but didn’t see any. I’m guessing that your Opera browser sucks.

hello it is my first post on this website and to start with I would like to thank for the great quality information, which I were able to find in this and all previous posts , it really helped me a lot. I will definitely add this blog on my google reader ;) Also, I would like to ask – don’t you mind if I will quate some information from your website since I am writing articles for the Associated Content, Ezine and other articles directories (this is my part time job)? It would really help me with some of mine articles. Of course, I will mention your blog name or URL (not all articles directories allows URL’s , so I can’t 100% promise that you will get a direct link to your blog).

Note to SPAMMER:  I don’t mind if you will quate some information from my website. Quate away.

Not quite ready for the AARP

Well, that didn’t last long. Retirement, that is.

During 2 weeks of liberating freedom that included a steelhead trip to Idaho’s Clearwater River with a group of college buddies, I had a chance to clear my head and do a bit of soul searching. What I found was that I need this blog (more than this blog needs me). Before the inception of the Unaccomplished Angler I used to just go fishing, and in doing so have some laughs, maybe take a few snapshots, etc. But after I went public with my blog every trip became something to enjoy just a bit more (for me anyway). I began looking for a story when a story didn’t seem obvious, and therein lie the essence of fishing: it became about much more than catching fish (overused cliche). Yeah, my fishing buddies began looking over their backs, worried that their every move was being closely monitored (true). But luckily for them it is nearly always my own unaccomplished angling antics that keeps them safe from public ridicule. This realization, or re-awakening, may have been a key factor in my decision to unretire. Some people suggested that perhaps it was just a clever ploy, and that maybe I was just trying to shake off the doldrums of a long winter with some sort of shameless publicity stunt.

Another factor in my decision to renounce my retirement might be blamed on the Association for the Advancement of Retired People. Just this week Mrs. UA received a snail mail membership solicitation with her card included. Hell hath no fury like the premature recipient of a membership offer from the AARP, and I have never seen a piece of mail get torn up and tossed into the recycle bin so fast. I thought folks didn’t start getting harassed by the AARP until they were 50? She’s got another year before they’re supposed to come a-callin’ and I’m even younger, so the AARP can bite me. Besides, my IRA isn’t worth squat any more.

There was also a modest outpouring of well wishes and even a couple pathetic requests for me not to cash in my chips just yet. I feel bad for those people, but who am I to judge? (Surely, I jest—your support is not taken lightly). I want to personally thank Sipping Emergers for the public vote of confidence. An email from a stalker “Greg” in Belgrade, Montana also gave me cause to reconsider my retirement. Greg recently discovered the UA and alleges to have actually spent a couple of days reading it (winters are long in Montana). Greg had some nice things to say about my Weekly Drivel, and we have some things in common (including best friends with drift boats). He even invited me and my band of hooligans to hook up with his group sometime.  Thanks for the generous offer and good words, Greg, and congrats on having the “Greg Sucks Hole” named in your honor. Maybe we’ll meet up in Yellowstone this year.

Then there was the weighty matter of a bounty having been placed on my head–well, sort of. Over at the Outdoor Blogger Network, “missing posters” were distributed and there was a $50 Cabela’s Gift Card issued for the person who guessed where I was and what I was up to.

One bounty hunter in particular posted a rather engaging bit of speculation as to my whereabouts and what-upness.  Jump on over to The Naturalist’s Angle and take a look around (Jay, thanks for taking the time to poke around on my Olive the woolly bugger website).

Another seeking fortune was Pat Konoske. With a  penchant for Photoshoppery he likened me to the Terminator, as evidenced over at his Fishing For Words site.

Then there was the matter of the fine gentleman Jason, keeper of the Fontinalis Rising blog, who went so far as to suggest that I am tucked away in a remote valley writing Judy Blume-esque novels for adolescents. If that accusation isn’t enough to make a man crawl out of his cave to defend his honor, I don’t know what is.

Next we have a very forthright man named Fred man who admitted publicly that my absence was “good riddance” and that he actually needs $50 to justify his blogging over at Mystic Waters Alaska Fly Fishing. Cajones, sir. You must be an Alaskan fishing guide. 

Actually nobody guessed correctly, which is not to say that anyone was right or wrong—it was a random drawing. And the winner was Jay, over at The Naturalist’s Angle. Kinda pitiful that I was only worth fifty bucks, but whatcha gonna do? If you have an issue with the drawing, please take it up with Rebecca over at the Outdoor Blogger Network (she loves hearing from irate readers of this blog).

To Josh Mills over at Chucking Line and Chasing Tail, thanks  for your inspiration. Some day I want to be as tall as you.

The George Foreman Grill

There’s a chance that my decision to come out of retirement was also influenced by the dream of having a small kitchen appliance named in my honor. George Foreman came out of a retirement after 20 years and surprised everyone by becoming, at age 45, the oldest boxer in history to win a championship belt. After that he got a grill named after him. I’m thinking “The Werner Burner” has a nice ring to it (thanks to Elizabeth Walker for the idea).

And lastly, my return to the ring may be due to the fact that, like Sly Stallone’s character in Rocky Balboa said, “I still got some junk in the basement.” (For clarification, that is not the same thing as junk in the trunk).

So it’s back to the grind for the Unaccomplished Angler.  I may have a lot of quit in me–just not quite enough. Yet.

Stay tuned, and thanks for the support, I think.

P.S.- Mr. Eastwood, since I’m not done, I expect the same from you. Give us that one last great Dirty Harry fly fishing movie before you retire. Please.