Red’s Rendezvous VI

Simon with Method Switch Rod

Last Saturday, I attended Red’s Fly Shop Rendezvous VI. The Rendezvous is an annual event sponsored by Red’s at its fly shop and the Canyon River Ranch on the Yakima River. I’ve attended all but one of these events and every year it seems to get bigger and better.

The day was filled with riverside seminars, classroom presentations, beginner casting instruction, casting competition, vendor booths, and great food.

The highlight for me was attending seminars taught by Simon Gawesworth (RIO Spey line development guru and, author of several well-regarded books on Spey casting, and an internationally known instructor).

I attended his beginning Spey seminar. He provided an easy to way to understand the elements of the Spey cast. He called it A-B-C: A-starting position of the cast; B-forward movement of the rod and arm; and C-the rotation of the rod. A simple but eloquent way of understanding a casting stroke can be overwhelming when making the transition from single-hand to two-handed casting.

The other thing he pointed out is learning the line length/rod length ratio that works for an individual caster (e.g., 2.65, 3.0,). He said that ratio would then work with any length of rod. So if a caster learned on one length rod and switched to another rod, maintaining that same ratio would allow the caster to quickly become comfortable with the new rod. As for line length, it includes the shooting head and the leader or sink tip.

After a lunch of Crusted Line Caught Rockfish and Chip in the Canyon River Grill, I attended his Single Handed Spey Casting seminar. Simon pointed out at the outset that using a weigh-forward line for single-hand Spey can be done, but it’s not optimal as the weight is forward and away from the rod tip during the roll casts. He recommended the use of a double-taper line for someone interested in focusing on single-handed Spey. He was using a line for the seminar that will be available in August; beyond that he just smiled.

Also providing Spey Casting instruction was Charles St. Pierre of Northwest Speycasting who was available all day for on-the-water instruction. Charles is widely known and regarded in the Northwest as a Spey-casting instructor and having both him and Simon on the same river at the same time was a real treat.

Every year the International Federation of Fly Fishers are on hand to help with lawn-casting instruction and beginner’s classes. I had one give me a tip when I was casting the Winston Nexus 6 weight; good tip from him, but I wasn’t impressed with the rod.

A change this year was a woman-only beginner class taught by Molly Semenik (Tie the Knot Fly Fishing) from Livingston, Montana. The class had 18 students, including my wife Terri. I think a seminar like this was long-overdue as it provided women an easy introduction to fly fishing with no pressure from husbands or significant others.

Terri came away excited and after casting a few demo days bought a Sage SALT (6 weight) from Red’s. Good choice! Great rod.

We also stopped to talk with Joe Rotter, the Guide Service Manager at Red’s. Joe’s just a great guy that we’ve talked with before, and after we thanked him for another great rendezvous, he said it was becoming what they wanted it to be: a celebration of fly-fishing. He said they’ve had some of their competitors show up without any feelings of awkward or resentment and that was he wanted.

As I’ve noted in other posts, in a small industry like fly-fishing cooperation and friendly respectful competition will help the sport grow and is good for everyone.

It was a great rendezvous. I look forward to next year’s!

The Lucky Molecules

Earthrise

Yesterday was Earth Day 2015.

It passed, with the expected of flurry of speeches by politicians “demanding action” on climate change – who will now do absolutely nothing to push such action.

I expect little from self-serving political cynics such as Obama (co-conspirator with the one percent) and Kerry (member of the one percent) who talk about climate change, then work to push through the Trans Pacific Partnership.

ABC News, in keeping with the primary duty of the “major news networks”, to serve business, ran a story on the Earth Day “freebies” and deals available to consumers. FOX News continued its role as propaganda ministry for the lunatic right-wing of this country by reporting everything is just dandy and there’s no need to worry about anything related to the environment – so let’s just go bomb another country.

Contrast all of that to an essay written by Robert Parry (Consortium News). Robert Parry is an independent investigative reporter; the type of journalist so desperately needed in a world self-promoting court jesters passing themselves off as reporters and anchors.

He writes of the vast reaches of space and the unknown numbers of molecules that result from the novemdecillion (10^80) atoms in the observable universe. And in all of those untold numbers of molecules – a relatively few came together as life on Planet Earth.

It is the Pale Blue Dot that Carl Sagan spoke so poetically of so many years ago. And now, only in the last 25 years of the Hubble telescope, we do know how much larger the universe is and how unique our Dot seems to be.

I recall from Cosmos when Sagan reflected on whether other civilizations in other star systems or other galaxies had come to their own existential crisis point and failed to pass through successfully – whether due to loss of control of their technologies or failings of what we might call their value systems. We have time left – only barely I think – to avoid that same failure.

Near the end of his essay, Parry recalls a speech John F. Kennedy gave on June 10, 1963: “For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” Enough said.

You can read Parry’s essay here.

Fish Fundamentals and Responsible Angling

This spring has been slow in the South Puget Sound for finding Sea-Run Cutthroat (SRC) Trout. Even my nearby beach, which tends to be prolific on an outgoing tide, has been barren this year. The last three times I was there I caught nothing, with not even a hit.

I was discussing that with the guys down at the Gig Harbor Fly Shop – and one of the guides mentioned that he’s noticed in the relatively few years he’s been around here that the SRC population appears to be much less than it used to be.

There may be many reasons for that; my opinion is that the fish are sensitive to the growing pressures on them from the urban and industrial pollution and runoff that surround Puget Sound. That is only going to get worse as the impacts of climate change bear down upon them – and us humans.

One may argue cause and effect, but one thing that seems inarguable is that anytime we come in contact with fish in our sport activities we should do whatever we can to protect them so we, and others, can continue to enjoy our sport.

Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line has an article by Andy J. Danylchuk, PhD on how to properly handle fish – whatever the species.

He recommends the usual practices: matching rod and line to the species; using a barbless hook; and keeping the fish in the water as much as possible.

Other recommendations may come as a surprise to those who have sought “hero shots” in the past. He recommends not lipping a fish (holding it by its lips) as that can put undo torsion on the head and vertebrae. Even holding a fish in a net (in the water) is to be avoided, as it’s a risk to the fish; much better to keep the fish totally submerged and use a forceps to reduce the hook.

Underwater cameras, as Andy points out, are becoming mainstream. One hopes the new ethic for fish handling and the “hero shot” is that of the fish kept totally submerged, underwater held only briefly until the shot is taken and the hook removed by a forceps.

The “new normal” may mean treating sport fisheries as the precious resource they are.

You can read the article here.

Two Reminders for Stopping Tailing Loops

Tailing loops plague most casters at times – generally when dealing with longer casts. Gink and Gasoline have a brief post that reviews the two most common causes of tailing loops: jack-hammer starts and creep.

These are two simple things to check when on the water – particularly by stepping back for a few minutes and thinking about what’s working (or not) and why.

You can read the article here.