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Michael Gracie

Let’s close this trip out on a good note

INTREPID PHOTOG (WITH THREE CAMERAS, FOUR RIGGED RODS, FIVE LENSES, AND A SIX PACK OF MODELO IN TOW): This looks like a good spot for closing out this trip. I need a really good shot, so don’t splash up the pool when you step in. You’ve been fishing that same fly all weekend … sure you don’t want to change it up? How ’bout a dropper?

YOURS TRULY (WITH ONE PARACHUTE ADAMS, TWO FEET OF 6X TIPPET, AND A THREE WEIGHT RADIAN IN HAND): I’m good.

INTREPID PHOTOG: If there is anything here, it’s gonna be sitting on the right edge. Deeper over there. Sun’s at your back, so watch your shadow. Be careful of that big log behind you. Wanna cast this rod?

YOURS TRULY: Got it. Nope.

Thirty seconds later …

INTREPID PHOTOG: Dude, where’s your fly?

YOURS TRULY: (Sigh)

Another minute goes by …

YOURS TRULY: Satisfied?

MG signing off (because it felt like work, but business was good)

Photo credit: James “You Really Need A Dropper” Snyder

Angler credit: Michael ” No I Don’t” Gracie

Very Average Naknek River Rainbow Trout

Could be considered trophies most anywhere else, but quite average as Naknek River, Alaska rainbow trout are concerned. The fact they are taken sight casting into smolt feeding frenzies puts them in a class all by themselves.

Piggy …

averagenaknekrainbow1

After piggy …

averagenaknekrainbow2

Busted with these …

naknekrainbowflies

MG signing off (a true believer in the power of smolt busts)

The Little Scott Radian 753/4 That Could

gear bagIn early 2013 I received a package. The note within said “play casually with the contents, and if you find the time drop us a few words summarizing your thoughts”. So yours truly delivered back some long-winded blather a dissertation, finely detailed results of functionality testing across a myriad of conditions. The subject of the study was a generic nine-foot five that would later become the infamous Scott Radian. Breaking the non-disclosure agreement was an afterthought.

Then the inquiries began. “What if you built this same rod in a three-weight, say sub-eight feet?” “Hey, any thoughts on a 3-weight Radian?” “Don’t you think a Radian Three would be the coolest?”

YOURS TRULY: Man, a fast-action rod with this kind of sensitivity, this tippet-protection, seems perfectly suited for a light-line … uh um … three-weight rod, eh?

ANYONE WITH THE FACTORY’S NUMBER IN THEIR PHONE: Jeezus, will you shut the hell up about that already?!

I will now.

Now will you? Please?

What should a three-weight be able to do? First off, keep 6x-8x tippet intact. Add covering ten to twenty feet with minimal effort. Plus, make do with small flies on standard leaders. But what if it the angler wielding it could also stretch to twice that distance, entice the bite with fluffy terrestrial patterns, and tangle with fish bigger than a six-inch Colorado River cuttie?

“We thought you would leave us alone.”

Fat chance.

(more…)

Featherweight

When someone dockside hands you a five-weight, you smile and give thanks. Then turn and hand it to the guide, while rolling your eyes.

But the wind hovered under 8 kts, and the initial gesture was followed by a convincing “don’t fear it, just try it.”

Will do, Mr. Cook

Will do, Mr. Cook

Walking a flat with tools better suited for trout feels kinda bad ass. Especially when there are surprises.

MG signing off (to rethink the whole eight-weight thing)

Tight Quarters

Plenty of places to hide, but nowhere to run …

Bonefish (and snappers) were caught here

Bonefish (and snappers) were caught here

20 pound tippet, drag cranked down hard, and quick reflexes. With six-weights.

MG signing off (because shits and giggles were the order of the day)

Eggs and Bunnies

Another Easter, another wascally wabbit …

easterbonesagaincrop

MG signing off (until the next religious holiday)

Brunch Plans

Our plan was …

Walk through a particular state wildlife area chock full of unharvested (i.e. now splitting) corn. Collect an ample supply of dove meat, which when combined with fresh hot pepper and other fixins would provide for a fine taco brunch. Brush off possible heat – but keep ambulatory service on speed dial – and have a few laughs.

Ten trillion scovilles of tasty fun.

Ten trillion scovilles of tasty fun.

The birds had a different plan …

“These jokers are the only goose that’s gonna get cooked. Let’s eat, then digest, all that corn over there. The resulting sugar alcohols coursing through our bloodstreams will allow us to attain the speed and cornering capability of Ferraris direct from the F1 circuit. They won’t piss through shells, heck they’ll barely get a shot off.”

Just one bird missed the pow-wow.

Just one bird missed the pow-wow.

MG signing off (after a trip to the grocery store)

60 Degrees of Separation

The funny thing about the ultimate head game golf is you will never admit the source of failure lies within. And if you are even an alternate on Team Thick Wallet you will occasionally infer always claim your equipment is the impetus for your woe.

OIL PATCH: Dang, usually your short game is spot on.

YOURS TRULY: Yea every shot is running off. I think I need a lob wedge, maybe a sixty-degree.

OIL PATCH: No you don’t, you just need to practice. You know, like you did with the driver. Look how you’re splitting fairways now.

YOURS TRULY: Maybe you’re right.

Two hours and a half-dozen flubbed pitches later …

YOURS TRULY: Jeezus your short play was otherworldly today. Mine blew.

OIL PATCH: Practice makes perfect!

YOURS TRULY: You must have picked up eight strokes on me just around the greens. What’s that club you were using?

OIL PATCH: Dunno … but clubs don’t make the man.

YOURS TRULY: No seriously, what’s the loft on that magic wedge of yours?

OIL PATCH: [SMIRKING] … 60 degrees.

YOURS TRULY: [THINKING TO HIMSELF] … Jackass.

sixty degree wedge

Spiteful Purchase … meet SeƱor Golf Bag

MG signing off (assured that spending is the key to victory, bar tab notwithstanding)

Tread Lightly Redux

First there was cramming a week’s worth of gear into 2,600 cubic inches. It worked for a while (even on a six-weight).

Later the goal became staying safe and sound; the load increased by roughly 30 liters and [at least] five pounds, dirtbag style. There was big payoff (with moments wishing for a nine).

But alas reversion to the mean is the natural order. Further, if you know that in route to your final destination you’re going to spend a night in an airport, the last thing you want to do is to check a pile of baggage; either it’ll disappear, or you’ll wind up on the wrong side of security when the man heads home for the evening.

The solution this latest go ’round came in the form of fifty featherlight liters of Osprey Atmos backpack, packed to barely 3/4 capacity. Along with a couple of epoxy-reinforced cardboard tubes.

traveling light

That’s all folks

Rolled 22″ X 14″ X 9″, and nary a gate attendant disagreed. And while forgetfulness can rear its ugly head during packing, the only thing left behind on this latest trip was the A-game. In the moments following a popped leader that will haunt for many years to come, the temptation to throw an eight-weight overboard did the wink and nod; then I remembered that everyone blow shots. Still, I’ll suppress the nightmares by counting sheep rainbows.

rainbow over the flats

MG signing off (because a wise man said less is more, but yours truly just needed room for souvenir snow globes)

Easter

Went on an Easter egg hunt today …

eastereggbonefish

Found plenty, though they were all the same color (and different sizes).

MG signing off (taking bonefish over bunnies for holidays and 100-meter dashes)