Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Too Much Time on My Hands...

Wow, winter is here in the Kootenays and in full progress and as snow accumlutates on the ground I keep wondering if it's time to just put my boat away and forget about angling until 012.  My last venture on the water was on the Elk River and it was less than pleasant in terms of temp. and when the sun tucked in behind the clouds the moderate fishing went to poor.

The guiding season seems to be a long way away and now that I finally have some time to myself I've had a chance to catch up on emails and send photos etc. to a lot of my guests and friends.  Not sure if anybody has checked their emails lately but I haven't got one reply which is odd.  I thought this was the time of year to reflect on the past angling season and start making plans for next year but haven't heard anything back yet....from no one....nope not a thing.  HELLO  OUT THERE!!!

So in the meantime I'm tying flies, streamers mostly but some prototypes to bring over to Thailand in the next month.  Looking forward to getting there and visitng the flood receding Kingdom and enjoy a lot of what it has to offer which is great food, good people, warm climate, ambient restaurants, Buddhist values and high level of service.  The Thai's know that as a foreigner you'll never totally feel at home in their country, it's culturally too different, but as a tourist you'll experience a level of hospitality in all facets of service that will make you feel as welcome as you possibly.  I've also got a few cool new patterns to pass on to my tiers for production for next year's fly bin.

I'm feeling that next year will be a good year for us at Freestone, we've had some early interest on some big trips and our fly shop in the Stanford Inn will be re-opening again along with the Indian kitchen next door which was closed this summer due to the illness of chef Cashews wife.  As far as I know her health has returned to normal and the restaurant will feature it's full menu.  Beers and curries on the patio outside the shop and the restaurant overlooking the Elk River has been a favourite of our guide staff and guests over the years.  Our guide staff and customers are colourful to say the least and some of the alcohol fueled banter flying around that table in the evening is priceless.

I organized my fly boxes yesterday and it was an interesting venture.  For those of you who have seen my boat box, you would probably understand what kind of undertaking this would be.  I have an undetermined number of flies in there and as the season progressed more patterns were introduced as some were taken out and in the end I had a melting pot of patterns intermingled throughout the box's various compartments.  It was a total shit show.  The mess really progresses when I'm hunting for that right pattern.  The one that seems to be the one and only of that day.  During one such hunt for a Mahogony Dun, I pretty much upturned my box to salvage the last few and managed to scrape by on the remnants of that pattern.  Then about two weeks later I actually upturned the box entirely in the middle of my boat and certainly lost a few but manage to 'stuff' most of them back in randomly.

As I sorted through the entire contents of this box I realized that it must have been a good mayfly year as I had few of my favourites left.  There were a lot of has beens that I uncovered; shit that I thought was the bomb a few years ago because it had a couple of banner days before it's productivity vanished into the ethers.  I also realized that when it comes right down to it, I use about a dozen flies on the Elk about 99% of the times and that the arsenal contained within this box could likely be halved.  Hard to explain why a certain pattern may only have a short time to shine within a hatch period, I mean a dun is a dun you would think.  After years of playing this game, it has become apparent to myself and my guides that there are certain characteristics of a fly that make it a consistent pattern.  Wing position, body material, legs, colour, size all have to do with it and when I'm searching for or tying new patterns, I will incorporate a bit of all that into the fly. 

I could post the top 10 patterns of all our guides and it all likelihood about 7 of the 10 would be shared amongst the 5 or 6 of us with the other 3 being made up the 5 of that favourite dozen.   As I add patterns to my fly catalogue I am generally staying within the formula of that top dozen, changing things like hackle wraps for better buoyancy or wing colour for better visiblity.  It always seems that when I bring in the 'new' stuff the patterns that the guides and fish eat up the most are the ones that are only slight variances of that top 12.

I would love to list them for all of you to see but that would be like Belichick posting the Pats playbook on  Not a great idea.  But if you come into the shop in the Stanford next year we could sell you a couple of them ;). 

Off to Thailand at the end of the month for some tying and some eating in sweet Old Siam!!