Thursday, June 30, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter twelve - number four (five six and seven too)

as a wisconsin born and bred kid number four means one thing to me
and I ain't talking about that traitor

I went to a lie and tie event in tempe
ate some damn fine brisket and mighta demo'd a copper john

met a buncha good guys learning to tie flies and few who knew how
it was fun
anyways I brought chueco the rod along with me and showed it off
as I was rightly proud (did this again at another event in the catskills)

the next day I got an email or pm or something
from a guy who said he couldn't get that rod out of his head and asked me to build him a rod
a two weight of all things

so I did

I didn't really like how that rod cast so I beefed it up a bit and built a three weight
also was working on another three weight
both of which were my first blonde rods
one a leonard catskill fairy the other a winston 6032

somehow or another while cooking the pcs I got the rods mixed up
so the tint of the cooked cane was a mite different

I picked up some brown toner chemical from jeff fultz
did my best to match the sections and proceeded as planned

the leonard cast like a fuggin dream
the winston gave me fits
I had to make four tips for that rod before i got it right (right?  I never got it right)

I decided to give the leonard to a fishing buddy
he broke it up in colorado
I fixed it and he broke it again on canyon creek

the cursed wee winnie is as shay calls it a true parabolic as one pc is set one way the other the opposite
it also has an awkward goofy grip as a result of my inexperience turning them - rod casts nicely though 
it is much more whippy than I'd prefer

the night I showed off that rod at the lie and tie a guy commissioned me for a rod as well
it was the next one on the bench

same taper as chueco - I named it sun devil

I'd never really even considered building rods for other people yet here I was doing just that

I think I'm done now typing about those early rods...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter eleven - see where we're going yet?

I will speak briefly about rods three, six and seven
a little more extensively about four and maybe eight
after that we're done talking about rods

I'm tired of it but there are things that need to be explained
I'm working toward something here
I know what it is kinda

I'm a bit at a loss here

number three was an eight foot five weight dickerson 8013
everything came together nicely
except I turned the ugliest grip you've ever seen
I was turning my grips w/ rod chucked into a drill
duct taped to the bed of my truck
certainly less than ideal but fuck it I made it work

this one looked like a dwarf's misshapen penis giant sized
it was hideous
rod cast wonderfully finish was nice
tip section had an unwieldy set
I couldn't get rid of it
tried for a couple years
finally snapped the damn thing across my knee

it didn't hurt one little bit

oops I did it again

dig this
afa is considering renaming as bamboo angling dynamics
so we can be B.A.D.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter ten - chueco

I'd mentioned earlier that this rod remains my favorite
and my first string go-to rod
I also mentioned that it may have something to do w/ how well (effortlessly) it casts and fishes
it also looks damn sweet if I do say so myself

regarding the name (and naming rods in general)
chueco means crooked in spanish
it is also spanglish slang for jrunk

the rod itself is straight as an arrow
but I'll have to admit to have spent a good time making it in a jrunken state
(the predecessor chile colorado as well)

I kinda named that first rod after wrapping it
the red and black reminded me of roasted red chile peppers
so chile colorado it was

there is a ohsoslight dip to the tip
mike said I should name it chueco
nope sez I it's already got a name but the next one will be chueco

on naming rods in general...
I like to do it - don't think it's necessary
and never really start a rod w/ a name in mind for it
something may happen during the course of building it that lends itself to a name
or if I'm making one for someone, I'll ask them what they'd like to name it
last one I built for myself I ended up calling "sound attack and tone"
cuz I liked the sound, rod was three pieces, somehow it fit
I'd used the words in a post about music describing mark knopfler's guitar sound
and it stuck w/ me

more on chueco the rod...

an old fly tying buddy in georgia sent me a reel seat
and custom built birchbark grip
I decided to use it on this rod
the birchbark grip broke I fixed it and it broke again
(I still have the pieces and may end up using them on something)
fearful of the grip breaking on the rod I replaced w/ cork rings
(1/2" not my current standard 1/4")
nose and butt are maple to match the reel seat spacer
hardware is struble/winston
both the grip and seat are very special to me 
thanks to mike popick in georgia

also making the rod special is the custom engraving of the tube cap
done by my fishing buddy steve rath (aka jeepster)
thanks again buddy
steve has engraved several tube caps for my rods and I appreciate the hell out of it

I should also take this opportunity to offer my thanks and gratitude to mike shay and matt schliske
without their help generosity and kindness none of this would have happened

soon we'll be getting chueco out on the water again
not to mention stick a nice handful or ten of trout w/ sound attack and tone
I think I'll bring a 5wt too for nymphing
did I just say that dirty word?

I will speak a brief bit about rods three four five and six
but beyond that will spare you the details of all the rest
(much of which can be found here on the blog  - really though don't bother it ain't worth it)

I'll spend some time talking about the evolution of the shop and the name
maybe a fishing trip or two again though lots of that's been covered in the blog
it'll still take me longer than it should to wrap this all up

"the skinny" - chapter nine - by means of arson

foolishly I didn't put a date on chile colorado my first bamboo rod
I do know that I picked it up the day before I drove up to the rio grande by way of the san juan river
the day after that I blooded the rod in no time flat
drifting through the texas hole w/ steve and chris
that date was july 9 2006

I'm also fairly sure I flamed and split a culm up at mike's shop for rod number two
I seem to remember mike flaming it though I may be wrong
I took the strips home bought a heat gun and vise
and started working the nodes

as I was doing so I noticed some bad news charlie brown...

at least half the strips had a soft spot like shown above and were kaput
not for the last time I was forced to start over

so in all likelihood I flamed and split again up at mike's 
I know for a fact that I did it this time
not wanting to repeat the fiasco

I know it may sound as though I'm blaming mike
but I'm not - he'd done this xxx amount of times
while I had done most of one culm so it would be far more likely that I was the guilty party
death to bamboo by means of arson

eventually I got this one done
rod is dated 10-18-07

somewhere around about this time adam had started again to build a rod
having given up the first time perhaps because he found the work too hard
or he couldn't find the time
but he stuck to it and I found myself traveling often to congress w/ him

I started to accumulate some tools
I still needed plenty
first and foremost planing forms
I couldn't afford them - well I suppose I could have...who knows
matt shliske generously offered me his old set - I jumped on it
ordered a lie-nielson plane and scraper

sometime shortly later down the road my father bought me a depth gauge and binder
at which point you could say we were off and running...
actually it was more like learning to crawl

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"the skinny" - segue - part two

I'm gonna have to do some research
not too difficult just takes a little time and a little digging
to find out how long it was between rod number one and number two

number two remains to this day my favorite rod
something about how easily it casts and fishes

there was a catalyst though
and again I'm grateful to another rodmaker for providing the opportunity
to move on and grow

we'll get around to the next part of the story soon...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

an itch in need of scratching

I stumbled upon this in my colorado delorme topo book
on the right page

I blocked out those phone numbers though I know one's likely inactive
and schliske's is up on his site

chris is a buddy who lives (lived?) across the mountain from the san juan
and dick (who sent the pm)  has a family place on the rio g in bristolhead
and no I'm not giving up the goods

timebomb is ticking
it's almost time to head back up there
and I should give chris a call
a float down the san juan is in order

"the skinny" - chapter eight - dipsticks at work

part one is winding up here
took the rod up to congress to be dipped
mike uses some fancy pants european varnish
epiphanies or something like that
I call it epiphanies anyways
crazy expensive stuff

I've come around to using it myowndamnself
just ordered over a gallon of the stuff

lotsa guys hook they retrieval device to a rotisserie motor
for a slow and consistent withdrawal of the rod from the varnish
mike had an old pflueger reel hooked up to do so

we dipped the rod
I cranked the reel s - l - o - w - l - y
eyes wide as this rod I'd crafted from crooked burnt sticks emerged
as a thing of absolute beauty
we hung it in the drying cabinet

I went home feeling pretty pleased w/ myself
another dip was in order
I wasn't in a hurry
speed kills remember?

except I had a trip coming up to the mighty san juan 
I wanted to fish my brand new bamboo
on the way up there anita and I stopped by congress and picked up the rod
encased in a rod sock and tube provided courtesy of senor shay

I'd have to come back later 
for the second dip
that was neither here nor there

we met steve on the san juan the next day
our buddy chris martinez drove over the mountain and met us with his drift boat
we had a nice float

shortly after we started I blooded that got am rod 
somewhere around the texas hole

I had done it
the journey was underway

Monday, June 20, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter seven - fuggin' ferrules and wrot wram wrapping - continued

so we're at home w/ the blank and wrapping
I'd wrapped three plastic rods w/ gudebrod "A" thread
once I got the hang of that it was pretty easy

if you've been reading a while you've seen plenty of pics of my wrapping stands
hand made out of alder
the rod rest notches are lined w/ adhesive backed foam
pieces are held in place by a rubber band stretched across the top of the rod 
and doubled back 
I don't use any thread tensioning device
I wrap w/ fly tying bobbin holder
which I allow to hang over the edge of the table and this works for me
I've made a couple little tensioner devices
but they never really worked as well for me

first rod I built I wrapped using a cardboard box
I still have it

I used a telephone book for tension
didn't like it
stumbled upon the bobbin
and have stuck w/ it ever since

when I told perry (local maker currently busting his ass fighting wildfire) about it
he said he was using one as well
makes thread management easier for me

wrapping w/ pearsall's gossamer is nothing like "A" thread
furtermore I used to mark off the beginning and end of each wrap w/ a slip of masking tape
ensuring they were all the same size
mike showed me how to start three wraps before you ramp up onto the guide
I've been doing it like that ever since

anyways it was a pain in the ass
I had to finish five wraps on the butt plus tipping each one
I have no idea how many times I had to do each one
before I found it acceptable
nor did I have nice tidy three turn tips either
oh well I'm learning and it looks okay

on to the tip
aye yi yi what a pain in the ass
the tip is very fine and delicate and it moves
nothing at all like wrapping the rigid butt
so I labor away and labor away at it until I think I've got it
I do have it - I'm done

all the guides are wrapped one flat over from where they should be

I bust out all the wraps and do it again

I think we had varnished the initial wraps on the butt up at mike's shop
and he sent me home w/ a vial of varnish
I'm pretty sure I varnished the remaining wraps at home 
four coats

anyways, now it really was looking like a fishing pole
I could even test cast it
and I'm sure I did

time to dip the rod
I'm stoked
time to go back to congress

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter seven - fuggin' ferrules and wrot wram wrapping

this one's quite fuzzy in my memory
mostly because it wasn't much of a hands-on lesson
more a demo I guess...

I think we may have corked up the rod as well
though we also had to wait on this to set as well
so this chapter may well have occured of the course of a couple visits to congress

and mike mighta shown me how to turn a grip
again I likely had little to do with this
I do remember he kept having me check it for hand feel

mike chucked up the rod pieces into the lathe 
showed me how to cut ferrule stations
whizhittt whizhitt
it was done
a far cry faster and simpler than fitting them by hand w/ sandpaper
the type of thing that could take most of the afternoon

then he crowned the ferrule tabs
again I don't much remember much of this
cleaned the ferrules inside and out and glued them to the rod
down time waiting for glue to set was likely spent jrinking and shooting the shit
after which mike dressed the male to fit the female
and likely glued on the tip top

the next step remains fairly vivid
mike showed me how he wrapped
he wrapped above the grip - black red black red black
put a sig wrap at fourteen inches - red black red
I asked for another at sixteen inches as that was the bottom end of the slot limit at lees ferry
and my fishing buddy always wanted to keep a couple fish the last day to take home
and because of his ineptitude catching fish it was left up to me to catch them

it's now occurred to me I've missed a thing or two
at some point mike must have explained sizing the pieces and cutting them to size
which we did - surely before setting the ferrules I think
I also think the ferrules were blued

I think mike may have wrapped the stripper guide
and made the guide spacing reference marks
which remain on the rod to this day if you look closely enough

so anyways, I took the rod pieces home to finish wrapping
"whatever you do don't put those pieces together and wiggle or pretend cast that"
okay sez I  - I won't

Thursday, June 16, 2011

free wheeling

or as the psychos say it free association
y'all know right idiot gang banger cholos spell psycho s-i-k-o

that has nothing to do with what we're about this evening
we are about one great song
and how we got there

I started listening to ec sing hello old friend and sign language 
I youtubed hello old friend and watched
I clicked on a certain girl 
by the yardbirds and ec solos

from there warren zevon's kickfuckinass version

then I stumbled upon this...

I'll get it up here momentarily for sure or pehaps or maybe not
it's for dr ej mostly
hope he watches

I'm looking for the whole got am show

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

something I vowed I'd never do

yeah I've violated this unspoken law before and posted fucking youtube videos
(lame desperate lurch for content)

but this one rings so gotam true to me
and I do it from time to time
I've got pics of me sticking fish wearing a bright yellow fishing shirt

I was nymphing shhh don't tell anyone

which I love it has a cherry burn near the right pocket damn

usually I wear earthier colors but I love that yellow shirt 
I haven't noticed any difference

read this it's interesting 
if you fish

"the skinny" - chapter six - this is gonna take forever...

if you've been reading here for a while
you know that both mike and I like to jrink

I'd show up around eight thirty am and mike would hand me a beer
"yer four behind" he'd say
 Iusually spent the night in the ranch house on the couch
work a few hours sat morning and drive home

I think I finished planing all the butt strips
threw the tip strips onto the forms 
planed them to butt numbers
flipped the forms over and set for tips

and yer back for more
fuck my right arm was tired
fingertips on my left hand were marked by razor thin slices
taken by the edges of the bamboo
it was like handling glass only worse cuz you get cut

I'm not sure I finished planing those strips that trip or not
eventually they were done
if you have never seen a tip strip before it's glued up
you would not believe how fucking tiny that thing is
tiny as it is it carries the cross section of an equilateral triangle 
whippier than shit
it still kinda boggles my mind

could it be that we're ready to glue?
we are we're ready to glue!
make or break moment number one

wow - I've neglected to mention node staggering
I go I - IV II - V III = VI
get it?  got it?  good
some will some won't and that's neither here nor there

I also didn't speak to mike's constant encouragement and necessary guidance
there kept me going as I was ready to quit
my right shoulder bicep forearm wrist and palm were trashed
I hated planing
fortunately things get easier and easier as you go along
now i think nothing of it and can plane a butt to numbers in a morning
tips take an afternoon
no physical wear and tear and (hopefully) no snags

glue day is simple and my goodness nothing else to do until tomorrow
may as well get jrunk so we do

wanna read about it?  
put the strips in order I II II IV V VI both strips
tape them into place
set the plane to red cunt hair depth and take off the apexes
mix glue - well that's what I go now
we use different glues mike and I so I don't remember if we mixed
smear w/ glue up down and back up the sections
jrink smoke
fold six pcs to hex shape both pcs
run through binder both directions
hang in cabinet
jrink smoke
the rest of the day was filled with waiting jrinking and smoking
I think that a chunk of hash appeared at some point
of course I sampled that

I'm asleep when mike gets up at two am as he does most every day
he strips the string and heat sets the glue
this glue is some kinda fancy expensive shit 
designed to glue the lining into aircraft windshields

I get up in the morning drink a couple cups of coffee and sand until my arms are ready to fall out
then I sand some more

holy crap this thing is finally starting to look like a fishing pole
I take it home w/ considerable pride to show my wife

things are coming together and I'm about half way done

Monday, June 13, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter five - fuck this is tough stuff

so the next saturday I'm up again
and those crooked burnt sticks are ready for planing

"I've got a machine but it's not likely that you will
maybe you should rough by hand"
I'll try and I did
half the day later with a light head and heavy arms
I say "we'll zip the rest"

so we zip them and we're done in far less time than it took me
to do that one - in the end it was well worthwhile

mike delivers a block of instruction for setting forms
my mind is kinda swimming now
we're marking forms (every five inches if ya din't know)
marking each mark w/ a spot of tape and a number
that looks like this

0 0.70

no wonder my head spins or was it swims
I used to teach decimals to kids and told them
"don't really worry about things past the hundredths round up or down and go with it
we don't really use the deeper decimals"
and we don't or didn't we are now
having them and reading a screwy gauge and adjusting to reach the desired decimal

*I know I've got a picture of this bassackwards gauge bear w/ me*

tis second nature now but a true pain in the ass 
the first time I tried it out on my own w/out guidance

as with anything else worth doing
everything is difficult before it becomes easy
this shit was very difficult

I started planing
ohmyfuggingoldengildedass it was difficult
my scrawny arms were accustomed to swinging golf clubs
not making curls

imagine the repetitiveness and mindlessness of the nodework
add toil and measuring multiply by an exponent and yer almost there

consider the fact that the plane is bucking skipping and bouncing in my hand
mike advising me "easy easy"
my aching ass it's easy
we got it done

I was whooped and jrunk wasted really
I stayed the night to continue planing the next day

I had to get this done
I wasn't looking forward to it

as time went on - I think this was back in like 2006?  - I spent a lotta hours up there

this was a coupla months ago

continued II

things proceed very slowly
escpecially when you don't know what yer doing

it's always fun when yer splitting a new culm
learning to do it with two left hands w/ ten little toes is tricky
eventually after a half dozen (culms) or so 
yer steering yer splits and getting consistency
without even thinking about it

that was a short and easy afternoon's work
feeling each other out
mike didn't know it at the time and he would find out eventually
I was a serious and dedicated student
I was not going to squander this opportunity

showed up around seven thirty the next saturday morning
for a long hard daze work
we heated and crushed nodes
all fucking day - this is incredibly tedious work
(as readers of my blog have read more than once)
say you've got three nodes per section
six strips per section means eighteen nodes to crush
times two for a two piece times three for a three
each node gets heated and crushed twice
you could fall asleep

(note - both mike and I have streamlined this process a bit 
mike uses the sweet nodemaster 500 or 5000 I don't remember
while I employ a timer to keep heating [relatively] consistent)

mike quickly showed me the key to enduring such drudgery
and handed me an icy cold bottle of budweiser from the keginator
still wearisome but made a bit more pleasant 
as the heating and crushing continue

must be crushing nodes

I don't know how we could have gotten anything else that day
all I've got to show for it is a dozen burnt crooked sticks

chances are pretty good I drove home w/ a pretty good buzz
really not a good call ever
it won't be the last time...

"the skinny" - chapter four - feelers

once I got it my mind to do this
I started putting out feelers on-line

rodmakers chat on thursday evenings put me in touch w/ guys like...
ron kusse john channer and others
who readily offered advice and tips
they were a truly invaluable resource

I put forth my idea
learn to build bamboo rods 
so I could stay busy during retirement

I got an invite from an az rodmaker to visit his shoppe
I drove an hour and fifteen minutes northwest to congress, az
where I was greeted by a countless number of giant white (deaf) great danes
a handful or two chow chows yapping to beat the band

a hippie looking guy w/ long gray ponytail and full gray beard
wandered out of the shoppe shook my hand and said
"I'm mike shay - let's build you a bamboo rod"

we toured the shoppe
mike selected a culm and we flamed and split that sumbitch
and my education was underway...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter three - flashforward continued...

fished that schliske four weight pretty much exclusively over the course of two years
it became an extension of my arm my mind and even my heart
casting was effortless thoughtless
visual landing the fly and go
the rod simply did whatever I asked it to do
and to feel it come alive after sticking a hot fish
my word there was nothing like it
the thing had a life of its own

I started to try to figure out how I could get a bamboo five weight
and a three weight
that would be enough
I could not afford or justify either

could I build one?
not immediately of course 
I'd have to learn how to do it
ideally have someone show me how to do it right
shorten the learning curve
how can we make this happen?

set a reasonable timeline
how about learn to do it before I retire
so I have something to keep idle hands working
I envisioned myself an old fart puttering around in a garage shoppe

I just didn't see it happening so quickly

some time around then
a bamboo rod maker packed up his shop in southern california
and headed to a small ranch near wickenburg
where he set up in an outbuilding and took care of the numerous pets and stock
and continued practicing his craft

I knew nothing at the time of this profound development

Friday, June 10, 2011

wallow fire satellite image...

you can see this thing creeping toward pacheta
fascinating tragic picture

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter three - flashforward

not much background left

I met matt at river hill campground on the rio g
we fished a bit and talked some shit
it was fun

I'd been trying for years to get a nice bent rod shot of myself
difficult to do when you usually fish alone
anita sucks at taking pictures

was out on the water w/ schliske for ten minutes
bingo it's done
and it's classic

this pic has been seen by who knows how many people
it remains a favorite 
and is the model/whatever for my logo...
as well as part of an abra ad

we had been sitting on the bank
enjoying a cool smoke

matt flipped his fly out into the water and bingo got hit immediately
this seemed like a pretty good indication
that we should be fishing
moments later I was bent to the cork
by a fourteen inch brookie

earlier in the day I'd been out w/ my wife
and I stuck her in the cheek w/ a stimi
fortunately it was barbless
and she took it like a trooper

honestly she should have known better than to be standing back there
it certainly wasn't her first rodeo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter two - my first fly rod

so this rod I had been fishing
and old school orvis graphite model
9ft 3in 5wt

I continued practicing casting in the alley
and on some az small streams
again luckying out from time to time and sticking a fish or two

phildo asked me if I wanted to buy it
he had a handful of his father's bamboo rods
and didn't need this one
I said you betcha
he said find out what it's worth and make an offer

I couldn't find anything about the rod
still haven't 
I offered $125 he took it
the leather covered aluminum rod tube is worth twice that

I've still got that rod and probably always will have it
I use it up at lee's ferry where long extended drifts are the ticket

what does any of this nonsense have to do w/ bamboo?
nothing but we're working our way around to that

I wanted a little smaller rod
wanted this and that and next thing you know I've gotta quiver 
I'm fishing my ass off 
all over the southwest and four corners area

I start tying flies
they suck out loud - ugly as sin
I practice and practice and things finally turn
the flies are now beautiful

we move to a house on a pond
among over a dozen ponds
right out my back door

by now, we've traveled all over the west from california to washington 
to montana and back home
fishing has become more than a hobby or pastime
it's a lifestyle

at his point I've built a couple rods
well assembled is the more proper term
they're serviceable
I especially like the gatti

you know it really is ridiculous all the tackle we think we need...

a public service annoncement

it's barbecue weather


memories grow hazy
I'd tired of the frustration I'd experienced w/ the long rod

so I decided to spend a leisurely day
jrinking beer in the shade and fishing a spinning rod
corn and salmon eggs

there was a guy there w/ the same idea
I polished off my six pack
strolled back to campsite and loaded up a twelve pack
headed back to the shady spot
where the guy pulled out a bottle of crown royal and passed it my way
this continued throughout the course of the day
with nary a nibble to show for it
we didn't care we were lit

I was struck by extreme urgency
I had to shit like now
I started a ridiculous butt clenched quick walk to the outhouse 
a couple hundred yards
I thought I would make it
I did not

I cleaned myself up tossed my drawers and resumed fishing and jrinking

the sun went down
I was plastered
walked back to camp where phildo was preparing some baby back ribs on the grill
shit was spinning I was seeing double
figured I had better sit down
sat in a campchair beside the campfire
and pitched face first into the fire

I got the hell outta there right quick
crawled into my tent and sleeping bag

I awoke the next morning feeling and looking like death warmed over
I have a pic - you will not see it

we drove to wal mart in farmington
purchased necessary salves ointments and bandages
phildo ministered to my numerous wounds
I looked like shit but felt all right

I would be back

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"the skinny" - chapter one - making a short story long

so we start at the beginning
a (former) friend and I took a road trip to farmington, new mexico, of all places
to play a five star golf course, of all things, in a highly unlikely place

we enjoyed camping and rather than stay in a motel
we pitched a tent in cottonwood campground
in navajo dam
on the bank of "holy shit, it's the mighty san juan!" phildo exclaimed...
"we need to do this again w/ fly rods"
I shrugged my shoulders and thinking about more golf, "sure"

next time around 
I was armed w/ some spinning rods packed in with my golf clubs
we'd fish in the morning and golf in the afternoon
and eat like kings at night
(think ribs shrimp carnitas etc)

phildo started to show me some fly casting ropes
it was a struggle
I donned his father's old (read shitty) waders
ridiculous outsized rubberized nylon size thirteen boot foot models
you could have fit four of me inside these things
I knew mase and he was kinda big but not this damn big
I didn't bother w/ any socks (big mistake) and wondered how to piss...

I wandered around most clumsily and aimlessly
futilely thrashing the air w/ an awkward long pole
occasionally dropping a ridiculous fly on the water to no avail
usually resulting in a hopeless bird's nest
that I'd have to sit down on the bank and untangle or cut off
I didn't know shit
neither did phildo

I fell of course filled my waders and kept it right the fuck up
now cold and damp my feet being abraded in those stoo-pit oversized boots
I loved it despite being infinitely frustrated and as uncomfortable as I've ever been in warm weather

phildo let me borrow the rod
and religiously I practiced every day in the alley behind my house
until I could move some line
I could cast but I still sucked

nevertheless I was determined to improve
I bought a few books and studied my ass off
I'm a very good student but this shit remained mostly frustrating
I kept at it in the alley
ventured out on my own 
eventually even sticking a few fish

by no means would I call myself proficient
but I could deliver a fly to the water
and somehow or another occasionally stick a trout

it was time to head back to the san juan...
round two it's gonna get ugly

this time I arrived w/ heightened anticipation
I had seen those huge fucking rainbows cruising about
and my mind raced w/ visions of sticking them
them mind you not simply one
I was gonna eat a fat trout filet cooked over my own campfire

I'd come armed w/ a 9ft 3in 5wt orvis pole
I bought spinning gear too just in case
I had knowledge
a little experience I could move line a bit
I understood the concept of dragfree drift

phildo didn't have a clue
he was armed w/ a custom built (by al ellis for his father, mase) bamboo rod
cast beautifully
false casting and dropping his fly everywhere but where it should be
he had a bookcase full of his late father's flyfishing library
and hadn't cracked one of them
he knew nothing but threw a tight loop

I got skunked
and it gets worse...

Monday, June 6, 2011

"the skinny" - part one


I had been fly fishing about ten years before being bitten by the bamboo bug
and had acquired a fairly substantial quiver of graphite rods
all of course essential for the variety of situations I may have encountered
in my journeys throughout the great american west

one would think that this is plenty

I read a post on an internet flyfishing board about a brand spanking new bamboo rod
built by a friend for another friend and I liked what I'd read 
especially what I saw

after a moment's hesitation I contacted matt schliske and commissioned a rod
seven foot six inch four weight
cattanach sir d

(photo by matt schliske)

this was a game changing decision

Sunday, June 5, 2011

coming soon - "the skinny" or the evolution of a rod maker

over the years this thing has taken on a life of its own
what was going to be a showcase for rod building fly tying and fishing
has evolved into whatever the hell it is right now
a reflection (albeit shallow) of my life 

and I realize that I may have lost some readers/followers
as I share such inanities as golf, cooking, music, books and other random nonsense

I'd apologize but hey there's more to life than building bamboo rods
and I won't apologize for any liberties or indulgences I take here
it's my blog and I'll do what I want

since 2007 I've built over thirty bamboo (and one graphite) fly rods
each one a tedious process addressed a step at a time
this year saw a slowdown of sorts
a couple struggles  in need of solving
resulted in a paltry four rods this current season
I can live w/ that
I've learned patience over the years
and speed kills in this game

I'm going to go ahead and tell my stoop-it little story
just how it came to be that I entered into this arcane little world
from the seed sparking the interest to the opportunity to get my hands dirty 
actually building a bamboo fly rod
and finally establishing a shoppe of my own
humble as it may be

we hope you follow this story (it could be quite long - as in book length)
and enjoy it perhaps picking up a thing or two about a thing or two
that's my hope anyways...

stay tuned

sunday morning photo dump

these only got out to play once this week

so yesterday I wandered around w/ camera around my neck 
snapping pictures of any stoop-it thing I thought of...

blincas in the backyard

more blincas

b&w iced dr. pepper

front door
really just an example of painting color scheme
ben said it reminded him of butterscotch
I like that

I was uploading photos to the pooter
looked at the view screen saw this and snapped
odd subject interesting lines
or something

finally a fly
soft hackled simi seal leech

Saturday, June 4, 2011

la cocina

something's burning

so the white mountains are burning again
two communities have been evacuated and another anxious
rumor has it that one of my favorite areas is soon going up in flames

wildfires are part of nature and should occur periodically
for any number of reasons
none of which are malevolent

nevertheless it is saddening
for any number of personal reasons

her are some pics from the front lines and the back...

stunning shots by seldom seen and flashback
ganked from AZFAT

the current skinny on the fire...