Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fly Rods and Old Friends

I knew back in the summer exactly what I wanted to buy at the Denver Fly Fishing Show in January.

A 2-weight rod.

I've enjoyed hiking into Colorado’s back country in search of the beautiful... secluded mountain creeks and brook trout. A 2-weight rod would be perfect for such endeavors.  I actually went into a local fly shop this fall to buy one I had spotted. But it was gone.  No worries. At the fly show I set out to find all the vendors with 2-weights. I spent a lot a time at the casting ponds.

Mystic, Allen, Orvis, TFO, Hardy, Scott, Sage, Greys and others were placed in my waving hand. The only hindrance was my price range. I even got cash before I left the mountains for the big city so I wouldn’t go over budget. Oh, I eyed several that were beyond the cash in my pocket. You can feel the quality difference in your fingers as the line is laid out on the water. But I couldn’t justify spending that much money on a new fly rod that I will probably only use a few times a year.

My favorites were the Mystic and the Scott fiberglass. But both were out of my price range. My thoughts were on a seven and half foot, 3 or 4-piece rod. But after casting a 6 foot, I opened up to that option.  I almost went with a 6 foot, 3 weight fiberglass Hardy. But I was persistent on a 2 weight.

I narrowed it down to the Allen and an Orvis (the Clearwater, not the Superfine). I went back and casted each twice. Short casts. Long casts. Roll Casts. It was the last day of the show and deals were in the making. The guys from Breckenridge Outfitters would take 15% off the rod. The Allen boys still had a better price, but it was a two piece. Time to think about that feel of the rod. How it pulled on the back cast, how it loaded and released the energy to stretch line over the water.

I pulled out the cash and handed it the guys from Breck. With a new rod I needed other gear…reel and line. I have a small Hardy reel I think will work, so just needed some line. Was about to go to the Rio booth, but the boys from Breck didn’t want to let me go or for them to carry too much stuff back up the mountain. They made me a great deal on a new 2-weigth fly line. I also got an as great a deal on a new Brodin Ghost net to replace the one I broke into three pieces on my recent trip to Wyoming’s Miracle Mile.
With rod and net in hand, I finished my shopping. Not only did I get what I wanted, I was surprisingly able to buy it all with the cash I had. Those late Sunday afternoon deals can really work out at the Denver Fly Show.

Thoughts of a summer visit to Lost Creek Wilderness is already taking my mind to beautiful places.

But there is more.

I was able to hang out with two friends I hadn’t seen in years. Among the vendors was Natural Retreats, who now owns South Fork Outfitters.  I spent two summers guiding and working at the fly shop many years ago. Jonathan L., a fellow guide, was in the booth for Natural Retreats. He’s working on the business side instead of in a drift boat these days. Then I saw Shawn L. who used to be my boss at South Fork. He’s with Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures now. Both are excellent fisherman and I learned a great deal from both of them. Greetings and old stories. Questions of who’s doing what these days and how are the kids? Great to catch up with these guys. And now thoughts are forming of a fishing trip up north to the South Fork and to flowing waters in Montana. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Level Ground

There’s an old saying…

The ground at the foot of the cross is level.

Meaning we are all equal when it comes to God’s love and forgiveness. We as humans have a tendency to forget that when it comes to the treatment of others, and as important, our thoughts about others… other co-workers, other parents, other families, other people in our community, other races, other cultures, other…

I work in a building that houses one of the local DMV offices. I walk through there occasionally and think about the diversity of the people sitting, waiting.

If you ever want to get a good look at how level that ground really is, spend some time at the DMV. Every one passes through this office, in their Sunday best or their three-day old work shirt.

The Loud
The Obnoxious
The Poor
The Rich
The Classy
The Classless
The Old
The Young
The Lost
The Saved
The Confused
The Dark skinned
The Light skinned
The Educated
The Illiterate
The Haves
The Have nots
The Inked
The Stained
The Hurt
The Wounded
The people you would never speak to, not even to ask what time it was.

And they might even be thinking the same about you.

But through grace, and that cross, we all get a chance to be a loved individual, just as loved as the guy you and I won’t sit next to.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Jessie Jackson once read "Green Eggs and Ham" on SNL. That's a unique voice for such a well known story. Watch on YouTube.

So imagine....
Jessie Jackson , Sean Connery, Iced-T and George W. Bush all telling you the same story.

word choices
voice inflections
thought process
...on what they would tell you would all be different, even though the main points of the story would be the same.

That's voice.

We all have a natural voice and probably a writing voice.

But at times we need to be in the head of our characters, so the reader can feel the difference between the author, the main character, the bad guy and the secondary characters, just by reading the words.

Let’s look at this through a movie context. Spiderman has been played by Tobey Maguire and more recently by Andrew Garfield. Batman has been played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale (and don’t forget Adam West). Granted the directors, writing and scripts were different, but each actor brought uniqueness to the character.

Two other examples are Parker and Jack Ryan. Parker/Porter has been played by Mel Gibson in “Payback” and now Jason Statham takes on the role. Ryan has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine. Again, the same characters with a slight difference.

Now take a look at the opposite, Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves. For most of their roles, they play almost the same stoic character despite the different movies.  Such bad acting.

As we write, we must know our characters enough to use the appropriate words, inflections and mannerisms to make them different and real to the reader.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have some work to do before Spring. There are more than 200 empty slots waiting for me to tie some flies. Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs, Hair's Ear Nymphs and others need to be created for this before I add it to my fly box.