Month: January 2012

Dangerous Wading with The Bachelor

I don’t watch “The Bachelor” on TV so I would not have known about this if not for some impressive internet sleuthing on the part of Montana Fly Company’s Facebook page. Apparently Ben Flajnik (the guy who is The Bachelor) grew up in a fishing family so he took his harem to a lake near Park City, Utah for a group date and they did a bit of angling. You can read the riveting story here if so inclined.

I suppose there are worse places The Bachelor could have taken his gaggle of gals. But as much as I approve of fly fishing as a wholesome activity for anyone, there’s something wrong with this picture: Where are their wading belts?! Not only is it unsafe to be wading perilous waters without their belts, but wading belts offer a slimming effect.

And I believe PBR in cans would have been more appropriate than whatever they’re drinking out of their fancy glasses, not to mention that glass is to be discouraged when fishing. Glassware, that is- not glass fly rods. I don’t want to get in trouble with Cameron Mortenson over at the Fiberglass Manifesto.


Lefty Kreh declares “Tenkara is cool!”

Forgive the headline–it was a shameful act intended for no other reason than to get your attention. Ahem. Lefty Kreh actually said that Tenkara is a fad.

I personally don’t have any strong feelings about Tenkara, period. Fad or not, it is what is is. However, there’s been a great deal of buzz throughout the fly fishing world this past week with regard to what the legendary Lefty Kreh said about Tenkara. Anyone with a website that doesn’t feature the words, “Lefty Kreh Tenkara fad” is missing out on some great Google Analytics opportunities. All the kids are doing it:

Windknots & Tangled Lines
Field and Stream
Fontinalis Rising
Roderick Hawg-Brown
Eat More Brook Trout
Owl Jones
Mystic Waters
 (a shamefully late entry, posted even after the UA went to press, for no other reason than to get some Google love)

So, count me in.  While perhaps a bit late, I’ll jump on that bandwagon. And I’ve even got some pictures, of Lefty Kreh, Tenkara, and “only a fad”! I want some of those hits, if there are any leftovers 😉

lefty kreh tenkara is a fad


DVD Review: No Sports Allowed

No Sports Allowed, Volumes 1 and 2

When Volume 1 of No Sports Allowed hit the market 3 years ago, I was in line early for my copy of the dvd. Actually that’s lie, because I didn’t really stand in a line. Truth be told, I avoid lines and crowds whenever possible. But I did order an advance copy because I was eager to see what it was all about.

I am not what I would consider a connoisseur or collector of fly fishing videos, but I do enjoy good footage of fly fishing set to the sounds of good music, and to that end I was not disappointed with No Sports Allowed, Vol 1. In fact, I was rather pleasantly surprised by the contents. It was better than I expected, even though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the first place. Having seen a few fly fishing films with music soundtracks, I can tell you that they all have a couple things in common: fly fishing and music. And there’s nothing wrong with that (duh!). But after you’ve seen one, you may feel like you’ve seen them all. No Sports Allowed (NSA) Volume 1 was different from anything I’d seen previously, and what I particularly enjoyed about it was the approach the crew took when capturing the footage: those in front of and behind the camera are good, solid fishermen, but they’re obviously having a huge amount of fun and not taking themselves too seriously. It’s almost as if what you’re witnessing is just a bunch of unpretentious guys out doing what they love.

Actually, that’s exactly what it is.

So when the second dvd arrived in the mail recently I was expecting more of the same, and again I was not disappointed. Volume 2 is more of the same, with emphasis on more because No Sports Allowed, Vol. 2 is considerably longer. It’s also better than the first, in my subjective opinion. As I said, I liked Volume 1. But in the time since it was produced, the crew has honed their cinematography skills such that it’s even better this time around.

Like Volume 1, the second dvd is broken into chapters of sorts and each chapter is as different as its accompanying soundtrack. Footage spans everything from guys roping a raft through some water that is obviously best not floated, to 3 young boys exhibiting what fishing, when stripped down to the basics, is all about: having fun. There’s fast, furious fishing through harrowing waters where only an experienced oarsman would dare go, to a lazy bend in a small river that appears to be no more than 10 feet across. Some of the music is hard-pounding, edgy rock while other songs dial it back several notches and feature toe-tapping acoustic guitars. Chapters 5 and 6 feature my favorite tunes, respectively: Fly of my Dreams by Joe Rood and Robby Mason; and No More Time to Lose by Joe Rood. Your opinions may vary, but that’s the beauty of the dvd–there’s something for everybody.

Like the music and fishing footage, the fish caught are themselves widely varied.  Some of the trout caught are not large even by my standards, while others are real brutes. All are beautiful, as trouts tend to be, and fish of every size are featured, from diminutive brookies to respectable browns. For the “wow factor”, some absolute slab rainbows are caught in what appears to be a giant spring creek. The smorgasbord of fish porn is certain to entertain all, but you’ll be left with the feeling that this is all within grasp of the average fisherman.

What an unaccomplished angler like me enjoys about a dvd like this is that it’s real, not make-believe. In other words I can actually imagine myself fishing for those fish, on those waters. Videos shot in far off and exotic locales such as Mongolia, New Zealand or Patagonia are fun to watch, but face it–how many of us Joe Average anglers are ever going to experience something like that?  Conversely, fishing for believable fish in Eastern Idaho doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination. That being said, actually landing some of those fish may not be as easy as the guys in the dvd make it look.

If there’s one thing missing that I’d like to see included with the dvd’s it would be a detailed booklet complete with GPS coordinates for the waters featured in the film. Something makes me think that’s not likely to happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

If you want to treat yourself to some great music, lively fishing (and other) footage laced with a solid dose of humor and plenty of great fish, look no further than No Sports Allowed, Volumes 1 and 2.  Oh, and the teaser footage of Volume 3 looks to provide yet more of the same, plus a LOT more.  I’ll be first in line for it.

Get some at


The Emotional Fishing Hangover

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a great weekend fishing trip will know what I’m talking about with the title of this entry. You’ve returned home from a weekend that was months in the planning and thus filled with extreme anticipation. Expectations were handily exceeded, and everything about the trip was an adventure. But now it’s over and you’re emotionally spent, because it was that great of a trip.

In this instance, the trip was the second annual Clearwater River trip with a group of college buddies. The trip this year was expanded to include additional characters and the result was something that I never thought possible after last year, when the bar was set pretty high: it was even better this year.  Not only was the day of fishing exceptional, there was more to the trip that made it extra special. It was a trip that very well might not have happened.

In the days leading up to the departure date, Mother Nature dealt a blow that attempted to alter my plans. The Pacific Northwest became the recipient of a winter storm beat down that, while arriving later than usual, came with a near knockout punch. A few inches of snow fell, then more. Schools were closed for 4 days. The snow shovel became a familiar daily tool. The Honda Rancher with the plow blade saw active duty for several days in a row, ensuring that we and our neighbors could escape the grips of a fairly steep road that was entrenched in snow; snow that has a certain high-level of water content that resembles concrete when it accumulates on the ground. One neighbor was so appreciative after I cleared their driveway for the second time that they brought me $20 for gas and a bottle of wine.  I’d have preferred an 18 pack of PBR, but I appreciated the thoughtful gesture all the same.

The insurance policy I love to have and love to use.

Over the course of the week, tree branches and whole trees came down. Across power lines. Just not our power lines. Hundreds of thousands of homes in the region were without power, but somehow we dodged a bullet of sorts (knock on wood). With the fishing trip weighing heavily on my mind, I watched the weather forecast with great interest. Depending on the news source the worst was either behind us or it wasn’t. Being a man who is not one to shirk my responsibilities, I informed Mrs. UA that I would not go on the Clearwater trip if the power was out. No man worth his salt would  leave behind to those he loves just to venture off on a fishing trip. There are things more important than fishing. On the day before our scheduled departure, with the worst of the storm hopefully behind us, I was confident that we would not lose power. Then came the sucker punch: freezing rain which added to the weight of 8-10 inches of already heavy snow. And so at midnight on Thursday, the house went dark. When we awoke on Friday morning (the day of departure for the Clearwater) the house was chillier than normal. There were no telltale flashing digital clocks to indicate that the power was back on. I immediately went into survival mode: the first order of business was to get  the generator hooked up and running, followed by the coffee maker.

The insurance policy I love to have and hate to use.

In the next few hours, our emergency heat source slowly took the chill off the house, bringing the inside temperature up to a cozy 67 degrees (fahrenheit). There were two, 5 gallon containers of gas to keep the generator in business for at least a couple days, but later that day I would send my son, Schpanky, to the neighboring town to secure another several gallons of fuel for good measure. The refrigerator would run to insure that food was not spoiled. The well would continue to pump water so that nobody would fall victim to dehydration. The septic system would remain functional so that toilets could continue to be used. If the power were to remain out of service for a few more days we they would be all right.

And so I loaded my gear into the back of Lenrod’s Suburban and off we went on our long, adventurous drive to Idaho. We would encounter considerably more snow and freezing rain as we made the 370 mile trip across the state. We would arrive 2 hours later than intended, but we would arrive safely. There would be much rejoicing and celebration as old friends were reunited and glasses were raised in many toasts. There would be stories told, behavior unbecoming middle-aged men engaged in, and many fish caught. There would be serious fun had, and there would be a perilous return journey over a mountain pass still gripped in a winter storm. I would return to a home that was back on the power grid, with a cooler full of meat to feed my family during the remaining months of winter that lie ahead. After all, I am not one to take my responsibilities lightly.

All that remains of a once beautiful snowfall.

Upon waking to this particular Monday, I feel physically fine but emotionally I am drained. A week of invigorating weather, during which I felt very much alive, has given way to a bland feeling that accompanies the calm after the storm. School is back in session and Mrs. UA is back at work. The ATV is tucked away in the garage and the snow shovel has been traded for the poop scooper. A memorable fishing trip is now but a memory. It feels too calm, and as I reflect on the drama of the past week that peaked with a great fishing trip, it could be easy to be left feeling a bit gloomy, as if there’s nothing left to look forward to. But a quick glance in the mirror reminds me otherwise: I still have the continuing progress of the beard to keep me going.

Depending on who you are, it just keeps getting better.

Real fishermen have beards

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait until the day I could shave. Let me rephrase that: I couldn’t wait until the day I had to shave. Shaving has always been a sign of manhood, and every boy looks forward to the day that he becomes a man. For me, that day (shaving, mind you) came decades ago, and after a few years of having to shave, I realized that it’s just another pain in the day-to-day arse, like mowing the lawn (although admittedly I’ve gotten some of my best ideas while mowing the lawn).

P.E. Werner circa 1870's

The simple presence of the “Y” chromosome does not guarantee that one will develop a thick beard, and exceptionally dense whiskers do not run in my family (although I believe my grandmother had some impressive chin hairs that she did her best to manage). Some of my German ancestors had some impressive mustaches, but I’ve never seen a full beard in any of the old photos. My dad grew a beard back in the 70’s, and if I recall it wasn’t a bad looking beard but it was never allowed to manifest into a thick beard; a real beard. My brother, Hal, has sported a neatly-trimmed beard for years, but he prunes it regularly so I’m not sure what potential lies within his chin follicles. I think he ought to show what he’s capable of by letting that thing go fallow…

Round about the time I was 14 or 15–if the lighting was just right–a faint trace of dark peach fuzz was visible on my upper lip. By the time I was in college, I was capable of growing a very poor mustache, and in fact I did just that. I reckon it made me feel like more of a man: a rugged, manly, virile man. What it really amounted to was a pathetic patch of immature whiskers attempting to be cultivated on a youthful baby-faced college boy. No amount of ridicule could convince me of that, although eventually I would come to see things objectively and hence the growth was removed.

That wasn’t the end of my dabbling in less-than-impressive facial hair experiments, however. There would be other times over the years, and each time I would eventually come to my senses and acknowledge that some guys look good with facial hair, while others do not. Those that can grow a thick beard are the ones that look good with a beard. Those that cannot grow a thick beard, like me, shouldn’t try. Particularly if they have any self-respect, which apparently I do not.

My first, and last beard.

Bobby Ayala circa 1993

UA circa 1993

The first, and last time I attempted a full beard was a little more than 20 years ago. It didn’t go particularly well, although my dog never rarely judged me. After deciding that the beard wasn’t working out quite as I’d hoped, it was reduced to a goatee of sorts.  At the time, every major league basbeball player was sporting this particular look, so why not me? That actually lasted for a period of nearly a year. When my daughter was born, one of the first things she saw was her father with a bad goatee, and there ensued much crying. Not wanting her to grow up with a false impression of what real facial hair should be, the goatee gave way to a clean-shaven face, and in the nearly 20 years since then that’s how I’ve remained. Yes, I’ve gone several days at a time without shaving, but it has always been with the intent of taking a razor to the whiskers sooner than later.

Now, at age 49, I’m coming to grips with the fact  that I may never be able to grow the beard of my fancy– certainly not The Beard, which is an enviable display of testosterone adorning the face of a man by the name of Marc Crapo. The Beard lives and breaths in Ashton, Idaho, where trout live in fear of such facial hair. I passed through that general area last summer and caught a few trout, but the trout did not fear me, nor did I stay long. Had I a proper beard, and the confidence that would surely have accompanied it, who’s to say how long I might have stuck around and how many more trout–trout that feared me–I might have caught?

THE Beard

Some things in life just weren’t mean to be, and being incapable of ever playing the guitar the way I want to is not the only thing preventing me from being more like The Reverend Billy Gibbons. One would think that I could accept this and ease into a clean-shaven middle age, complete with Dockers and sweater vests. One would think I’d have learned by now. But the fact of the matter is that Mrs. UA loves facial hair and lately has been urging me to grow a beard, which is something I’ve resisted. Until 7 days ago.

The beginnings of an unaccomplished beard.

I realize that the growth of hair which is currently spreading slowly across my jawline does not yet constitue a beard–I’ve a good long ways to go before it can be called that. I also realize that real men, with real beards, can probably grow more than this in a 24-hour period. But I have to give this thing time. In fact, patience is key in growing a thick beard, as pointed out in these instructions:  How To Grow a Thick Beard. According to these helpful guidelines, in 5 more weeks I should have a thick beard.

I remain skeptical of those lofty claims, but only time will tell. Maybe this time will be different, because I never before had guidelines.  As I sit here watching paint dry facial hair grow, my head is filled with both wonder and self doubt: Will a beard make me a better fisherman?  Will a shoddy beard make me an even worse fisherman? With all the white hairs sprouting in my beard, will I resemble a skunk?

There is so much yet unanswered, including whether or not this “thing” will last more than another week before I’m reminded that I cannot grow The Beard. Until then, damn does this thing itch…


Book Review–Shin Deep: A Fly Fisher’s Love for Living Water

Shin Deep: A Fly Fisher’s Love for Living Water by Chris Hunt

I received a copy of Chris Hunt’s book for Christmas, which wasn’t entirely a surprise given that I sent the specific link to my kids with very clear instructions that if they wished to appease their father, they would see to it that this book ended up under the tree. My kids rarely listen to me, but this time they did and for that I am grateful. FYI, here is the link I sent them which produced results: Get the Book.

Before we dive into all that I liked about Shin Deep, I feel I should divulge a little background about me, as a reader of books. I’ve always enjoyed a good book, and I really enjoy a good book when it has something to do with fly fishing. And it used to be that I was a rather compulsive reader. By that I mean that reading would throw my life out of balance: when I started a good book, most everything else in life would be neglected until I’d finished the last word (that neglect included things such as personal hygeine and basic nutrition). However, time changes a person and I have discovered that in recent years I’ve mellowed a bit when it comes to my voraciousness as a reader of books. Actually, I find that I’ve become more easily distracted by myriad other things in life, and thus am not good at taking time to sit down and finish books that I’ve started. As an example, I have 5 4 fishing-related books in a stack that I have every intention of finishing, some day. And I will get to them, eventually. Hey look–a squirrel!

"Who, me? I'd like to speak to an attorney."

Such was not the case with Shin Deep. While I did not compulsively tear through the book in one sitting, I did set aside time to read at least a couple of chapters each night and I got through the book in short order. My dog, Eddie, also gave his early approval of Shin Deep. I fact, he literally drooled over it. You see, Eddie has a certain affinity for eating kleenex and toilet paper. He must like the soft texture, or the fact that when he passes it there’s no need to wipe.  At any rate, I had just recently begun wading into Shin Deep and was using a square of TP as a book mark (what–doesn’t everyone?). One evening while Mrs. UA and I were out to dinner, Eddie decided that my bookmark would make for a nice snack. Upon returning home that evening, Shin Deep lay on the floor next to the coffee table. The cover appeared to be slightly water-damaged (from canine saliva) and the edges of the pages bore the gentle teeth marks of a particular chocolate Lab. To his credit, Eddie is very soft-mouthed and was therefore remarkably gentle as he extracted the bookmark. Luckily I had dog-eared the page where I’d left off in my last session and was able to easily resume reading.

The author takes us on an intimate journey to a wide variety of destinations that span Connecticut to Montana; from West Virginia’s Potomac River to Henry’s Fork in Idaho, Hunt writes in an easy manner that makes one feel as though they’re sitting down over a frosty beverage around a campfire, listening to him tell stories. Each chapter is a personal reflection of a particular outing delivered without a hint of bravado. Hunt is not attempting to impress with awe-inspiring tales of catching trophy-sized fish in far off and exotic locales, but rather he shares his thoughts and appreciations for all that makes fly fishing so enjoyable, in places the average angler can imagine themselves fishing. From catching 7-inch brook trout in Appalachia to admittedly posting up on a pod of rising whitefish during a snow storm on the Snake River, Hunt reveals something about himself: he’s just an average Joe. In Hunt’s defense with regard to the whitefish, he proclaims, “some of them were respectable fish.”

I was particularly able to identify with Chapter 6: Prince of Wales, in which the author confesses to doing something I’ve never done we all have nightmares about. While on a trip to Whale Pass in Alaska (which is apparently a long way from any fly shop) Hunt leaves his fly box behind and must go on a quest for replacements. His recount of having to scrounge for the only available flies in town is worth the price of admission ($14.95, with a 20% off code if you hurry); the sense of desperation to find any fishing flies emanates vividly from the pages and I felt as though I were right there with him (laughing). After snapping-off every fly he was able to scrounge up, Hunt ends up fishing a rusty orange Rapala lure that he finds only after nearly sitting on it. Good stuff.

What becomes apparent in the book is that Hunt absolutely loves fish and fly fishing. At the beginning of Chapter 3 the author recalls an exchange between he and his wife as he is preparing to leave on a trip in the nation’s capitol. While the trip for was business purposes, Hunt was keenly aware that he would be only 90 minutes from Shenandoah National Park and it’s native brook trout waters:

“You’re traveling to the cradle of the Republic, and you’re going fishing?” my wife asked, as I tucked a four-piece three-weight into my suitcase. “You’re pathetic.”

Amen to that.

In addition to being an author, Chris Hunt is an award-winning journalist and keeper of the Eat More Brook Trout blog. When he’s not doing all of this, or fishing, Hunt is the National Communications Director for Trout Unlimited.

Bring on the skunk

Strikeout. Goose eggs. Whatever you choose to call it, a skunk by any other name still stinks. And I’m no stranger to defeat, especially when visiting the evil and cold-hearted temptress known as the Yakima River. Because of that I’m always looking for something to increase my odds of success reduce my odds of failure. Shy of power bait, I’ve not come up with many solutions.

However, I recently stumbled upon (not using, mind you, but rather just surfing the old-fashioned way) something I felt compelled to share with the ten of you.

Something about this pattern stinks.

The image comes from a website titled, Now, I’m not a pike fisherman. Never even seen one of those toothy critters, although I did fish the lower Bitterroot River this summer, where Pike are known to be found. I did not find one. But to say I got skunked while pike fishing would not be accurate, either. We were fishing for trout, in water that just happened to also have pike. I did not get skunked while trout fishing, fyi.

One look at the “Feathered BW Streamer” tells me two things:  First, while descriptive, it was misnamed; and secondly, it looks like a pattern that would catch fish. Big fish.  After all, it takes a big fish to munch on an animal the size of a skunk. Even a baby skunk would be a mouthful for all but the nastiest of carnivorous trouts, like, say, a Hawg Brown.

I realize that using artificial scent on an artificial fly is either illegal (depending on regulations) or at the very least frowned heavily upon, but a little dab of something from the south end of a skunk would really be icing on the cake when fishing with the Skunk Express “Feathered BW Streamer”. Luckily you won’t have to go out and harvest the stuff yourself–you can buy it in a bottle. I imagine you wouldn’t want to spill this stuff in your waders, so be careful when you use it.

The best way to fight fire is with fire. The same should work for fending off a skunk, right?

And so it begins…

2012 started with a bang, and a sneeze and a cough.  Yes, I awoke on the first day of the New Year with a head cold, and I didn’t even punish my body the night before. Upon cracking one eye open and acknowledging a sore throat, my first thought was, “No freaking way.” I usually get sick once a year, and almost like clockwork this happens each fall.  2011 did not disappoint in that regard because you see, I had a nasty case of of the head/chest flu back in November. So, apparently sick again, I questioned how could I be not only soccumb twice in one year, but within a mere month and a half of my last bout with less than perfect health? Then someone reminded me that this is a new year, and thus I did not catch a bug twice in the same year. AND, since I only get sick once a year, I’ve got 11 months of cold-free existence to enjoy. Life is good, or rather it will be after I get rid of this annoying cold.

The Skykomish War Horse

Not one to whine be deterred by a little cold, I accepted an invitation to go fishing on January 2nd. Steelhead fishing, to be sure. On the Skykomish river with my friend Brian Page, who, until he recently got a job at Boeing, was a full-time fishing guide (Steelhead Fly Anglers). He hasn’t abandoned that, but putting rivets into 777’s has dramatically cut into his time to be on the water. Knowing that time on the water is a precious commodity, I felt pretty honored to be invited along. After I realized that he really just needed me to be a shuttle driver, we put in at the town of Sultan and floated downstream in The Skykomish War Horse (Brian’s boat). The boat isn’t really named that– I just added War Horse to pick up a few Google hits based on the popular movie currently out in theaters: War Horse). But Skykomish War Horse has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say? War Horse.

Brian was the one to teach me Spey casting a few years ago, and each time we fish together I’m sure he’s rather proud of his student he rolls his eyes and wonders how he could have failed so miserably. I get the fly on the water, mind you, but it’s not pretty.  At one point  during our recent trip, Brian was fishing the tail of a run, some 30 yards below me.  On a particularly bad cast I blew my anchor and there resulted a collision between my backside and the fly. Goretex makes for superb accoustics and the impact resonated downstream, yielding a snicker and, “I heard that one!” from Brian. To my credit, it was the only time I hit myself with a fly all day long.

There is an eagle in this photo.

As we floated from run to run, where we plied the waters for fish that weren’t apparently there, we observed numerous bald eagles perched lazily in trees. The magnificent scavengers didn’t appear to be actively searching for their next meal, and I’m always amazed that these birds find enough food to sustain themselves since the last salmon carcasses have long since washed away and the nearest land fill is nowhere near. As evidenced by the photo above, it was a cool, gray day. Typical of Pacific Northwest winters. Typical winter steelhead fishing weather, if not a little bit warmer than normal. The air temperature wasn’t terribly unpleasant as the day topped out in the mid to upper 40’s. It rained on us, but not until the last hour of the day and even then it wasn’t much to note. The water temperature hovered right at 40 degrees, which isn’t terribly cold until you’ve stood in it for an hour, taking only a couple of short steps every other cast, which isn’t enough movement to keep the toes from turning numb. The good thing about cold feet is that it takes your mind off how cold your fingers have grown. Luckily, hand warmers in the pockets of your jacket are a welcome treat, until the dampness of one’s fingers renders the hand warmers useless. Oh well, there’s still the full thermos of hot coffee to look forward to, until you’re reminded that caffeine is a diuretic. Thank God (or Dan Bailey) for zippered waders.

My fly box, minus a few deductions.

Being a holiday for apparently the entire state of Washington, the river was not devoid of other anglers. Still we were able to fish all but one run we wanted to. This particular run–the one I wanted to fish–has been good to me, or at least it was on one occasion a couple of years ago when, on Superbowl Sunday, I landed a bright 28″ hen within minutes of my buddy yarding a 39″ chrome buck out of the same run.  I’d liked to have fished that run, but Brian and I set up on the opposite bank and fished another run that is known to hold fish. This particular run is named after a government agency tasked with collecting taxes, and from what I can tell it’s aptly named because it will collect your money, or at least your flies. To that end I was audited and effortlessly signed over a handful of my flies in very short order. At least the guy fishing the other run, on the opposite side of the river, where I wanted to fish, wasn’t having any luck either.

A taxing hole.

A such went the remainder of the day:  cast, swing, strip, step, and repeat. Catching fish isn’t part of the steelhead angler’s expectations, so when it does happen–if it happens–it’s pretty special.  I’ll hold out for another time. The year is young, and I’ve already got my annual cold behind me.

By the way, I think I may need one of these to stave off the cold weather and keep me healthy as winter trudges on. I may not be able to grow The Beard I want, but now I can have the next best thing.