Tag: olive the woolly bugger

The Fly Fishing Show wants YOU

It’s no coincidence the Fly Fishing Show makes the rounds this time of year: a time of year when most anglers are going absolutely stir-crazy from a lack of fishing. In all but a few temperate zones, all but winter steelhead  fishermen are suffering from a bad case of the shack nasties. In that regard one might think that the Fly Fishing Show is a good will endeavor; a therapeutic offering for thousands of folks suffering from cabin fever.

Not so fast.

The people that plan the Fly Fishing Show are no dummies—they know exactly what they’re doing. And what they’re doing is preying on the angling public. Pasty-skinned folks from all across the country gather in droves, lining up like lemmings to gain entry into a large facility filled with fly fishing goodness. These poor innocent folks are seeking to substitute a lack of vitamin D and actual time on the water with a fly fishing feeding frenzy.  The vast assembly of  gear manufacturers, guide services and fly tying-exhibitors know the bite is on, and they’re there to match the hatch. It’s easy pickin’s this time of year: the public isn’t thinking with a clear head.

In the past, the Fly Fishing Show came to Bellevue, WA, just a couple miles east of Seattle. I paid too much for parking one year and managed to get out of there having spent less than $100 on gear and doo-dads I didn’t realize I needed until I saw them. Like a prescription drug, I felt immediately better after making the purchase. And then the Show was gone for a few years. Must’ve had to do with the recession. Whether the recession is over or not the Show is back, although no longer in Bellevue. This year the Show makes its appearance at the Convention Center in Lynnwood, 17 miles to the north of Seattle. Traditionally the land of furniture stores, 90’s era Camaro’s and big hair, now Lynnwood is also home to the Fly Fishing Show.

Like years before, this year I’ll be attending the show as a winter-weary spectator eager to kick tires and test cast a new rod. Lately I’ve been thinking I need a 3 weight since mostly all I ever catch are sub-ten-inch trouts. But I’ll also be at the Author’s Booth signing Olive the Woolly Bugger books. Stop on by if you’re at the show; bring your kids and their own copies of books, or purchase books at the show. I’ll be there at 11:oo AM on Saturday and 12:30 PM on Sunday: here’s the full schedule. If children’s fly fishing books aren’t your thing, there are some other authors who may interest you, including these folks:

11:00 Kirk Werner
12:00 Ed Engle, Rick Hafele
1:00   Gary Borger, Jason Randall
2:00   Philip Rowley
3:00   Simon Gawesworth, Tim Lockhart
4:00   Cecilia “Pudge” Kleinkauf

11:30 Chris Santella, Cecilia “Pudge” Kleinkauf
12:30 Ed Engle, Kirk Werner
1:30   Simon Gawesworth, Philip Rowley
2:30   Rick Hafele, Jason Randall
3:30   Gary Borger, Tim Lockhart

If you miss the show in Lynnwood, you have one last chance to attend in Lancaster, PA on March 2 and 3rd.  

See you at the show—bring your credit card.

Olive needs a kick start

The Unaccomplished Angler would be remiss if he didn’t use the vast reach and powerful influence of this blog to help his alter ego during a time of need. After all, Olive the Woolly Bugger is kinder, gentler, more likable character, and she catches more fish.

She’s trying to gain funding to develop an app for the iPad, and well, she needs your help. Please check out her Kickstarter project; consider pledging your support and spreading the word.

Olive, and the Unaccomplished Angler, thank you.

A conversation with: Olive the Woolly Bugger

It seems as though interviews with other bloggers and fly fishing industry personalities are all the rage lately in the fly fishing blogasphere. Look no further than Eat More Brook Trout‘s “20 Questions” series of great interviews (seek each and every one of them out and read them, they are excellent). And then there’s the Outdoor Blogger Network‘s foray into the internet Q&A forum with it’s “Quick Fire Interviews” (the first of which features Fontinalis Rising and just aired recently). These interviews are good for the host blog and they’re good for the individuals being interviewed. And they’re good for the viewer. So naturally I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon with this exclusive, never-been-interviewed-before icon of the fly fishing world.

Olive the woolly bugger vice

The first thing you’ll notice when you meet today’s guest is her diminutive stature (she appears to be about a size 10 or so). She’s olive greenish-colored with a fluffy tail made of cartoon marabou and what appear to be ping-pong balls for eyes. What she lacks in physical size she more than makes up for in enthusiasm, and she’s got a memory like a steel trap. She stars in her own series of children’s books and we’re very honored to have her in the studios today. Please make welcome Olive, the Woolly Booger.

Olive: Hello. Actually, it’s Woolly Bugger. Not Booger.

UA: Right. Anyway…welcome.

Olive: Thanks for having me. How are you?

UA: I’ll be the one asking questions here.

Olive: Sorry, I was just–––

UA: Moving on. I’m a very busy man and don’t have a lot of time so let’s get to it. Tell us a little bit about your books. There are 3, yes? And they’re children’s books about fly fishing, correct?

Olive: Yes, there are 3 books in the series: Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. And as you noted they are children’s books. But they’re not just about fly fishing, really.

UA: Are you calling me a liar?

Olive: Oh no, sir. They certainly use fly fishing as a backdrop to tell stories but there are important life lessons to be taught that go beyond the water’s edge…lessons about discovering personal talents, perseverance, treating others kindly, and that being different is good.

UA: That’s all fine and dandy, but what if we just want to learn about fly fishing?

Olive: Well, there’s definitely quite a bit about that, especially in the first book where I go to Camp Tightloops to learn how to become a fishing fly. In the second book readers find out what it’s like to catch a trout. It captures the thrill that comes with catching one’s first fish or their 100th fish.

UA: Do you bonk the fish?

Olive: I’m sorry?

UA: You know, do you give the fish the old “stone shampoo”…smack it over the head and toss it in the wicker creel?

Olive: Oh no, I practice catch and release and impart a message of conservation-minded angling.

UA: OK, that’s fine. But what’s your position on hatchery steelhead?

Olive: They’re excellent smoked.

UA: Now we’re talkin’. So the first book is heavier on the fly fishing thing, and the second book is about catching and releasing your first trout. Tell us about the third book, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. Sounds like you visit an amusement park or something.

Olive: (laughs) No, not quite, although it’s a lot of fun. In the third book I find myself at the end of a broken tippet and snagged on a submerged branch at the bottom of the river. I get rescued by a small fry named Clark. He’s really nice – you’d like him a lot. He’s a steelhead!

UA: Pond Monkey?

Olive: Excuse me?

UA: Hatchery brat.

Olive: Oh no, he’s not a brat at all. And he’s got an adipose fin. Anyway, Clark and I venture downstream on a wild journey of discovery. We learn about the lifecycle of salmon, insects hatches and find out that a cold, clean water is necessary to sustain all sorts of wildlife besides fish.

UA: Sounds like an interesting story. Are these books any good?

Olive: I’m not real comfortable answering that question. I think the reviews speak for themselves.

UA: Oh come on.  Humility is so overrated! In addition to those reviews you so shamelessly linked to, you’ve also earned some 5 Star reviews by official Amazon Reviewers.

Olive: Well, yes. Thank you.

UA: So, are these books for little tiny kids? You know, toddlers that like to look at the pictures, and drool and chew on the corners of the pages?

Olive: The books have a reading level of about 6 years-old and up. Littler kids who can’t read will enjoy looking at the illustrations and having the stories read to them, but the books may be a little bit long for a quick bedtime story.

UA: So would it be safe to say that they’re fully written narratives, and not typical picture books?

Olive: Yes, that would be a fair assessment. The books are between 45 and 50 pages each, approximately.

UA: Where were your books when my kids were younger? I still have nightmares of sitting through countless repeats of Good Night Moon and The Velveteen Rabbit.

Olive: That’s not a very nice thing to say. Those are wonderful story books.

UA: Whatever. Just answer the question.

Olive: If you don’t mind my saying so, you seem tense.

UA: (furrows brow) I am NOT. Now answer the question: Where were your books when my kids were younger?

Olive: My books were only published only about 4 years ago. Your kids are almost 18 and 20, right?

UA: How’d you know that?

Olive: You told me when we were talking before the interview started, remember?

UA: Next question. So, besides your books, what’s going on with Olive these days?

Olive: Well, I’m very excited about an exclusive deal with Montana Fly Company to produce fly boxes featuring art from my books. They’re also offering  some nippers with my picture on them.

UA: Cool. I actually have one of the fly boxes. It’s very nice quality and pretty sweet looking.

Olive: Thank you. Yes, I sent that fly box to you, remember?

UA: We’re almost out of time. What else would you like to let all 8 readers of this blog know about Olive?

Olive: Would it be OK to mention my big screen project?

UA: Uh, did you say big screen? You’re going to be on the big screen?

Olive: Well, I hope so. I mean, it’s just a dream right now but I’ve definitely got my sights on Hollywood.

UA: Jumping on the reality show bandwagon, eh? Real Woolly Boogers of Madison County? HA-HA! But seriously, don’t you think there are enough of those worthless programs already?

Olive: Oh, I’m not looking to do anything like that. I actually want to star in my own animated feature film.

UA: You mean like Shrek, or Cars, or Finding Nemo?

Olive: Well, sorta like that. Those are all great films. I especially liked Finding Nemo.

UA: What is it with you and Owl Jones and your quests for world domination?

Olive: I’m not trying to do any such thing. I just want to share my story with everyone. And I hope that Mr. Jones hooks up with Larry the Cable Guy. That would be a hoot.

UA: Larry the Cable Guy?  Wasn’t he the voice for “Tow-Mater” in Cars?

Olive: Yes he was. And that was also a great animated film. I’m looking forward to seeing Cars 2.

UA: Do you really think a producer or animation studio is going to make an animated film about fly fishing?

Olive: Well, see, therein lies the misperception. It won’t be a film about fly fishing any more than A River Runs Through It was.

UA: WhatchootalkinaboutWillis? A River Runs Through It was absolutely about fly fishing. Are you insane?

Olive: Hey, there’s no need to get nasty. If you read the book and watch the movie, A River Runs Through It simply uses fly fishing as a vehicle to tell a much bigger story.

UA: So now you’re comparing yourself to the great literary work of Norman MacLean?

Olive: Oh no, not at all. My point is that the movie I want to make isn’t a story about fly fishing. It’s much more than that.

UA: You mean to suggest that there’s more to fishing than just catching fish?

Olive: Absolutely. You’re very clever–did you just make that up? (giggles)

UA: Watch yourself. OK, for sake of argument let’s assume I agree with what you’re saying. So, who’s going to make this film and when can we see it?

Olive: I wish I could answer those questions, but I’m nowhere near that point. In fact I’m just trying to figure this whole thing out. I’m reaching out to as many different people who understand the film industry and talking to them, gathering information, following possible leads, and hoping someone nibbles.

UA: Sounds an awful lot like fishing, to me.

Olive: It’s exactly like fishing in many ways. I know there’s a big fish out there. Down deep, under a cut bank. I know if I can just find them they’ll take an interest and strike. Then it’s a matter of setting the hook and keeping my line tight.

UA: You know, the Woolly Bugger is one of the best all around patterns in the world of fly fishing. If any fly can get it done, you can.

Olive: Thank you, that’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me.

UA: Don’t let it go to your head. Continue.

Olive: I’m confident that my idea will make for a great film, but it’s going to be a long, upstream swim against a strong current.

UA: Another fishing metaphor. Very clever. You mentioned perseverance as being one of the lessons taught in your books. Just tap into that and you’ll make it. How can we help?

Olive: Well, see that little graphic in the sidebar of your blog?

UA: The one that says, “Help Send Olive to Hollywood?” Wait a minute – how did that get there?

Olive: I asked you to put it there a few months ago, remember? Anyway, it’s a widget. If readers have a blog or website and would like to copy and paste the code, flying the badge will help spread the word.

UA: You don’t really think that a few of those widgets floating around the internet will actually land you a film deal with Pixar, do you?

Olive: Oh, no.  In fact, Pixar isn’t even on my radar–I wish! (giggles) But posting the widget can’t hurt to get the word out. I doubt the big fish is reading this blog but maybe they’ll read one of the other, better blogs that carry the badge. You never know.

UA: I think you just took a jab at me, but I’m going to let that go. Sounds like this grass roots approach is a long shot.

Olive: For sure. But why not? Some studio looking for a totally new film concept will take notice. I’m sure of it. And my film will be different than any other animated film made.

UA: How so?

Olive: It’ll be a film with an important message of conservation. We need to teach kids to become stewards of our natural resources. Mine will be a film with a conscience.

UA: Come on, Olive. Let’s be realistic. People go to the movies to be entertained. They don’t want to sit there and be preached to.

Olive: Oh, I would never preach. And besides, it’ll be a great story, with great characters. Characters like Roderick Hawg-Brown, Zane Grayling, Lefty Crayfish, Elwood and Elwha the bickering beavers and whole cast of others.

UA: Ha Ha!  You said “cast”. Another clever fishing pun.

Olive: (smiles politely) Anyway, it’ll be an awesome film. People will be entertained. And a brilliant screenwriter will make sure the audience isn’t even be aware that they’re learning important lessons.

UA: Very catchy character names, by the way. I read about fly fishing and conservation matters so I caught the subtle humor. But what about people seeing the film who don’t pick up on those inside antics?

Olive: They’ll be great characters regardless of whether people know who these characters are named after. Not every subtle reference in every film is picked up upon by every audience member.

UA: Fair enough. Now back to the widget things. Not everyone has a blog or a website, and even if they did, not everyone is going to post that widget on their site. What else can people do to help?

Olive: Well, I’m hoping that people will just pass the word around. If folks like the idea for a film like this, talk about it at the watercooler. Tweet it (@olivewoollybugr). Please join my Facebook page.  If readers know someone who I should talk to I’d love to hear from them. My philosophy is to leave no stone left unturned.

UA: Like when you’re looking for streamside insect larva…

Olive: (silence)

UA: You know, turning rocks over to look underneath for bugs…get it?

Olive: Yes, I get it.

UA: Wow, tough crowd. So, besides Twitter and Facebook, how can people get a hold of you?

Olive: I have my own blog/website: olivethewoollybugger.com

UA: It’s a nice looking site. I fancy myself a bit of an artist and feel slightly threatened.

Olive: There’s no reason to be threatened. You designed my site, remember?

UA: Of course I remember, silly. OK, before we go where can people find your books?

Olive: They’re widely available online and most fly shops should carry them. If they don’t, they can order them.

UA: Great, well thanks for stopping by, Olive.

Olive: Wait, before we go may I ask you a question?

UA: Sure, but make it quick. We’re almost out of time and I’m a very busy man.

Olive: When was the last time you caught a fish?

UA: And we’re all out of time.


Olive the Woolly Bugger in 3D CGI



My 10 minutes of fame.

One of the best things that has happened to me as the author of a series of children’s books is that almost exactly a year ago today I had the opportunity to visit a grade school in Kansas City, MO. I was invited to give a series of presentations by Mr. Bob Dever, the PE teacher and a fly fisherman who had come to find out about my books the year before. Actually it was I who first contacted Bob after reading about a program he was teaching with grant money received as part of the Physh Ed program offered by The Future Fisherman Foundation. With this funding he had taught basic elements of spin and fly fishing as an after school activity at Gracemor Elementary. Kids who participated in the program also learned basic fly tying, and I thought my books might be something Bob would be interested in. Luckily I was right, and after sharing regular email correspondence over the months, we worked out an arrangement to have me come to his school. Airline reservations were booked and Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler began prepping me for the trip: Buying me new clothes and reminding me of proper social etiquette. For some strange reason she seemed to have little confidence in my abilities, and reminded me to say “please” and “thank you”, and not to run in the halls.

In advance of my visit, the kids had read the stories of Olive the Woolly Bugger, and some of the younger students had even gracemor4“tied” their own versions of the woolly bugger using clothes pins and feathers. The weekend prior to my arrival marked the school’s trip to Bennett Spring State Park, which gave these budding young anglers an opportunity to put their recent training to use. With all this fishing-related excitement still fresh in their minds, it’s safe to say that these kids were eager for my visit, and their enthusiasm was surpassed only by my own. I’d never done anything like this, so getting on a plane and flying halfway across the country, masquerading as some sort of hot-shot author was a big deal to me. Admittedly I was also a bit nervous, and as I sat on the plane sandwiched between two red-headed, cornfed brothers returning home to Wichita, I worried about the normal things anyone in my position would worry about: Would my PowerPoint work? What if I woke up in the morning with a case of laryngitis?  What if the kids are mean to me? I wonder what’s on the school lunch menu? Maybe pigs in a blanket–those were my favorite when I was in elementary school. And chocolate milk.

I was relieved when my plane touched down safely, and I was greeted at the security gate by Bob. I would be staying with he and his wife at their home, so I didn’t have to deal with English-challenged cab drivers, bad directions, or non-smoking hotel rooms that weren’t quite what they were advertised to be. It was a nice relief to know that all I had to do was be ready to leave for school at 7 o-clock the next morning, and after a decent night’s sleep I managed to do just that. And so began my big day.

gracemore1During the course of the day I talked to over 700 students (Kindergarten through 5th grade) about being an author and illustrator. Most of my young audience seemed more interested in the drawing aspect of my endeavors, which seems appropriate since writing is something kids are forced to do, while coloring is fun. I shared information about the adventures to be had while fly-fishing, being careful to point out that there’s more to fishing than catching fish (which was met with blank stares). I showed slides of beautiful mountain lakes and streams, broad rivers lined with magnificent fall colors, and a wide array of wildlife. These were inner-city kids and most, if any, had never seen anything like the images in my presentation. Kids that age rarely appreciate scenic photographs, no matter how stunning, and while they enjoyed seeing photos of deer, moose, beavers and bears, their eyes really lit up when I started showing slides of fish: Big and small, salmonids and rough fish, warmwater species and Arctic char. Hands shot up in the air and I was peppered with questions about the many different fish:

“Did you catch that huge fish?” Uh, no.

“How much did that fish weigh?” Don’t know. I didn’t catch that one, either.

“Do you catch lots of fish?” Next question…

But my favorite question was asked by a cute little girl who was about 7 or 8 years old: “How long have you been famous?” I smiled, looked at my watch, and replied, “About ten minutes.”

gracemor05Their curiosity and enthusiasm was infectious (as were the germs they sent me home with which resulted in the worst sinus infection I’ve ever had). Most every one of the kids seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and except for when the lunch bell rang I had a captive audience (and they truly were captive, because they couldn’t go anywhere). To these kids, I was something special: A real live author and seemingly accomplished fisherman that lived in a far-away place called Washington (no, not where the President lives), where there were high mountains and lots of evergreen trees and water and fish called salmon and steelhead that swim from the rivers to the ocean and back again. Luckily for me my visit was brief. Had I spent much more time with these kids they’d have figured out that I’m just a regular guy who just happens to have written a couple books about a woolly bugger named Olive. And I don’t catch many fish.