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Michael Gracie

Not a drop of whiskey was spilled during the production of this fishing report

Cap-Lures - The Future of Fly-Fishing

The Future of Fly-Fishing (click)

Winds in excess of 35 mph battered the motel room window – we woke having consumed barely an hour’s sleep each as a result. The weatherman declared the speed of the moving air would subside instantly after 9am. The optimistic one reminded the crew that the suffering would soon end. Swung weighted flies across from a slate wall barrier until 10:15, and while marching to open ground thereafter the breeze hit a solid fifty and stayed that way. Worse, it was now coming from all directions, simultaneously. Draw a circle? Lay down a “D”? Lob a poke? It didn’t matter – by lunch countless flies had hit the back of the head. The tally was one grab.

Moving upstream didn’t help matters – the banks were crowded under the same guise – and before the sun had even shown intentions of setting we were charging towards less stressful circumstances. Still wadered up from the ride, we picked up a meager supply of fish before dark, thoughts of pizza, booze, and bedding consuming us (and soon visa versa) thereafter. A dessert is discovered, bellies are filled, and whiskey (which is purchased in quantity because of county tax differentials) is taken down in moderation pending concoction of some arbitrage play. Still, couldn’t stop thinking about the potential efficacy of swinging Cap-Lures.

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Packing for Never Never Land

Packing is so part of the fun. Particularly when traveling with folks who you know are nothing but value par excellence.

Waders, boots, jacket and layering, a couple of switch rods and reels, a few Skagit heads, enough Maxima to lasso a herd of wild horses…

Packing for fly fishing

…a streamer supply good for a dozen anglers (for an entire season), and one change of underwear. Priorities are straight. Oops…a bottle of whiskey? Ok, a trip to the liquor store and priorities will definitely be straight.

MG signing off (as you can choose to watch, or choose to do; I prefer the latter)

TVT3: Teton Valley Trip Tunes Two

Trademark “TVT3” as another outdoor sports media acronym? Uh…maybe not.

Back to Idaho, sans pressed collared shirt (overdressed last go-round), deck (someone else did it this time) and/or pile of fly rods (I can indicator nymph my heart out at home). But, holding 5-hour Energies (a road trip must have) and another full CD changer (handpicked instead of “dart-boarded”). The playlist, dubbed the Plethora of Mix Redux2, was produced over a breakfast burrito, after significant analysis as to what meshed with a half case of field loads.

The Beastie Boys get top billing on each and every disk, and a true masterpiece of jazz flute and piano wraps it all up. One hundred percent scientifically designed.

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The Road to the Teton Valley is Paved With Six Discs

Drove to Idaho, with a collared shirt and deck, a pile of fly rods, a few 5-hour Energies, and a full CD changer to keep things interesting. In last regard, below is the playlist, dubbed the Plethora of Mix for a previous road trip, recreated (and enhanced) over a few fingers of Small Batch Bulleit Rye. Some oldies, some goodies, but mostly just darts on a board…

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What happens when multiple fat guys converge at a single point?

Alex Landeen (a.k.a. Fat Guy Alex) is coming into town, supposedly to fly fish. He’s depicted the first few moments after stepping into my abode in cartoon:

alexandmichael

Fat Guy Kyle is right down the street (like an hour’s drive, but who’s counting steps), meaning 2/3rds of the Fat Guy Fly Fishing contingent, plus about 3/4ths of a fat guy (me) will be in the same place at the same time.

Will those rods Landeen is toting in get tested, or broken? Will he drink all my beer? Will we team up to give Kyle a wedgie? Will it be an idyllic fly fishing experience, or extraordinary mayhem?

Stay tuned.

Fly fishing hacks: Hauling your rods

rodsnrollWhether it’s a road trip for big water Montana trout or a jaunt across town for carp, hauling rods can be a hassle. If you have a truck, problem solved – you drop them in the bed – but if you’re in a car or SUV it’s a hassle. And if you live near the water or can otherwise afford to fish eight days a week, you might even keep several rigs in your vehicle ready to go. You’ve seen the occasional glam shot of Alaskan guides with a dozen rods on a homemade, hood mounted rack – they’ll work fine as long as you’re an Alaskan guide. Another choice is to spend a hundred dollars or more for interior rod racks from a named brand.

Not keen on whipping out the benjamins, for a while I had large bungee cords strung between between the factory coat hanger hooks. They worked fairly well in the front, but in the rear where the reels were located they sagged, and otherwise bounced around on rough roads. It wasn’t until I found myself doing double time down a gravel washboard while running from a tornado did I realize I needed another solution – during that wild ride the bungees came loose and a pile of rigs went flying.

Soon after that run I found myself in AutoZone, picking up windshield wiper fluid, and that’s when I found the Ultra Clothes Bar from Bell Automotive.

bellultraclothesbar

These are the the type of bars you see loaded with pressed shirts inside the cars of traveling salemen’s Ford Tauruses. When I saw them in the store, I immediately thought if they can hold two weeks worth of business attire, there’s no doubt they could hold a half-dozen or more rods and reels. And my roughly $36 bet turned out correct.

For an SUV-based redeployment, two of these clothes bars (that’s correct…$18 a piece, plus tax of course) are needed – one in the rear and one in the passenger compartment. They are adjustable for vehicle width, and have hooks on the ends that are designed to work with both standard automotive coat hooks and interior “oh shit” handles. They are made of sturdy metal (exact composition unknown) – at least strong enough to hang hands on (which many of my passengers do now that the “oh shit” handles are in use). The perforated rubber wrapping on the bars, included to keep clothes from sliding back and forth, are a bonus – they protect rod finishes, and I’ve found it makes for a pretty good streamer drying rack too (just slip the hooks into the perforations for the drive home).

For the nine-foot crowd the system works perfectly. Rods are aligned from rear driver’s side to front passenger side, and by wrapped the loose line once around the rod and guides the line won’t hassle anyone but NBA players. I use a very short bungee cord to keep reel end snug, and I’ve carried as many as seven rods this way with ease. And probably saved seventy bucks in the process.

Happy hauling.