Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Not as good as the first - but still fun! I love this inflatable SUP board - dropping into crashing beach break was an act to be avoided at all costs on hard boards - snapping fins off, dinging the rails and giving birth to hidden deck cracks were certain maladies that awaited you if you dared to go. Now I throw caution to wind and look forward to completing heroic deeds worthy of epic blog posts.Don't knock the blowup toy until you try it - you just might end up selling all your conventional boards and turn to dredging the high water mark for lasting smiles!!! Stay tuned for more from tomorrow's surf session!!! Happy New Year!
We beat feet to make it down to our favorite surf spot in southern Virginia Beach - caught the last bit of the rising tide. Managed to squeeze some juice out of the minimal surf - a barrel is a barrel is a barrel (although this was one of the better ones I've had in a while). It's been another good year and I couldn't have thought of a better way to close it out! Yes the water was cold. But it kinda makes the surfing that much better ;) Stay stoked in 2014!!!
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I also brought out the Barclay Glass 3wt so I could switch back and forth between it and the Lewis Performance 3/4wt. The Barclay feels like a much lighter rod in hand despite the longer length. Casting wise I felt like the 3wt WF line I was casting was a hair light - I'm going to have to switch lines to see if I can optimize it's performance. Before I cast the Lewis, this was my favorite casting rod - I am sure I'll find the sweet spot soon enough. It might also be that the beadhead killer bug I had tied on to the Lewis was heavier and worked better with that setup. I had used a micro popper and a micro gurgler on the Barclay - much lighter flies. I am going to have a blast experimenting with line/rod/leader length/fly type combinations to fine tune casting performance!
At what point does a person find that they have an innate understanding of an activity - where second nature establishes itself and conscious thought doesn't contribute? As an example, lately Marlon has been asking me "how do you turn a surfboard?" - I answered that 'you lean into it, but recenter your weight once you are heading in the direction you want to head in'. I stopped thinking about turning surfcraft decades ago and just started feeling my way through the moves - with shortboards, longboards, kiteboards, SUPs, boogieboards, inflatable surfmats and paipos - lean, engage the rail and straighten out when you need to. I feel like I know what I'm doing when it comes to surfing, but flycasting has been the activity that I have been immersing myself in lately because I have so much to learn - sucking everything in sponge-like, from rods, reels, tying flies, casting techniques, line types and more - tons of information is out there and I feel like I have just scratched the surface. I haven't felt this way about surfing in a while maybe because I've absorbed a lot already??? That last 25% out there is exponentially harder to find and assimilate. It is most likely also a product of where we currently live - 3.5 hour drive to surf, verses a 35 minute drive in the winter months to local sight-casting fishing. Sizing equipment to the fish in the fishing holes is something I have expanded into - specifically going lighter. The tenkara/seiryu rods are tons of fun, but I felt that my conventional fly line casting skills were not progressing. Now having a few lighter lines - RIO Gold WF3 and a Scientific Angler WF4, I spent some time casting the Performance Fly Rod 6'6" S-Glass, 3/4wt that I recently procured. I spooled up the Scientific Angler WF4F line and then it happened - I cast the rod and I 'felt' the rod load, felt the pressure max out and began my forward cast - I saw the tighter loop fly forward and the tippet unfurl with out so much as a 'plop' - just smooth, linear layout. I felt no issues or frustrations casting this rod - I adjusted my cadence (slowed) to get the rod to load and the funny thing was the 'catching' part actually got in the way of my casting practice. There is one area where I can tell the difference between graphite and fiberglass - the sensitivity of detecting strikes on the fly is less using fiberglass. A small price to pay if you are sight casting and can see the takes, but definitely a disadvantage if you are blind casting. I ended up catching pumpkin seeds (first fish caught with this rod is in the picture), greens and bluegills. The rod tip vibrates like it is alive with a fish on. I can say that this rod/line combo is the closest to perfection as I've ever sensed in equipment, and I am looking forward to using this tool when the conditions are right for it (no or very light wind, relatively narrow water). Casting it just feels right - like that bottom turn on a nice Pupukea right... This won't replace the Japanese Fixed line rods (tenkara/keiryu/seiryu) I have - they have their own niche areas/benefits - but OH WHAT FUN THIS ROD IS!!!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
We slept in late and hung out at the house for a while - nice and relaxing. But after knocking out the errands, walking around the neighborhood and eating leftovers, the thought of casting the new flyline (RIO Gold WF3) and anointing the Barclay Glass 3wt and Abel Creek 1 Large Arbor that La and the kids got me (allowed me to procure) for Christmas entered my head. We were going to hit the bookstore anyways, so I got the crew to load the van and off we went to the one sure fire place I can go in winter to catch fish. I must say - casting fiberglass is a truly wonderful feeling. Sure - if it's windy out, or you are trying to hit a dinner plate 75' away, graphite would be your choice. Heck, if you are casting bigger chunky pieces of feathery simulated meat, grab that graphite rod. And if you just want to go with the flow, cast away o' graphite laser pointer... But if you want your casting to have soul, if you want to be able to feel the line loops as you cast them, and if you want to have the ability to make a small green sunfish feel like leviathan trying to drag you to the bottom of Davey Jone's locker, trust me that a fiberglass 3wt can delivery in spades. The tide was more than a little too high - but I did manage to avoid the skunk and get the rod/reel/line combo properly anointed by winning the tug-o-war match with this leviathan, I mean green sunfish. Another great Christmas!!!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Happy Birthday Noe!!! We took her to the paint your ceramics place and P.F. Chang's per her request. We had tons of fun painting. I made two new ramen bowls in the Hawaiian Cowrie theme. La made a new cooking spoon holder. And Noe made a new monster piggy bank and soup/crackers bowl. Marlon was patient and drew creatively all over the blank spots on the table. What an awesome day!
With the temperatures dropping and the fish and surf slowing down in the Northern Hemisphere, I've been FORCED to seek new alternatives. And in determining where to channel my pent up energy, I sought the most noble of pursuits - a quest of epic proportions and one that will enrich my repertoire. Nevermind kitesurfing. Forget windsurfing or conquering wind driven waves. No - mano e piscine wrestling doesn't hold a candle to this. I consulted with the great oracle (You Tube) and taught myself to knit. YES I SAID KNIT. In reality, I have aspirations to knit rod "tube socks" for the fly rod tubes I have - a small way to protect the tubes that protect the rods. But as in all of the supreme endeavors worth pursuing, the journey begins with a single step. Here are the first steps I've taken in a new and exciting world - scarves. One for Marlon and one for Noe. Now I know what you're think - "Oh how the mighty have fallen!!!???!!! What is this world coming to? Is there no hope for the generation of new and most powerful stoke?". Well, I will admit - I don't get the same adrenaline hit that I do stalking fish with self-tied flies, or paddling into a head high waves - but for those times when I can't be outside, or when the soul requires rest and solace, I believe I have now found the gap filler. Think about the benefits of practicing this new skill - now those long flights will seem shorter. The days of endless, pounding rain will no longer be spent sulking. And when drydocked from surfing due to orders or force protection measures, I can still contribute to my surfing or fishing by making rod tube socks, fishing mittens, scarves, fisherman/surfer sweaters, Steve Zissou watch caps, and other nautical fare worthy of developing a briny patina. Don't knock it til you try it...
Monday, December 23, 2013
The world's most pitiful plee. At least from me.About every six months or so, I end up telling (asking) La that I'm about to get something new that I haven't saved up for. In the past this has included a prone paddleboard, a kitesurfing kite, and various other items to produce stoke. I usually start the plea with "I have found the end all be all (put appropriate piece of equipment/toy here), and it will be the last one I ever get". That last part is just pitiful - but it comes out every time. As you can probably tell from the flavor of the blog posts I've been making since I have been involuntarily dry docked (i.e., the Navy stationed me away from surf again), my latest diversion has been flyfishing. Well - I told La again that a rare opportunity came up in the form of a Performance Fly Rods Small Stream Trout Rod by Dave Lewis. A 6'6" 3 piece 3/4 weight highly acclaimed fiberglass casting device that is nearing perfection. Dave passed a few years back, but the fiberglass fly rodders fondly remember his exquisite work. I pulled out the credit card and this will be in my hands in a few days....I can tell I have reached a state of lunacy and irrational behavior when I break out the "last time" plea... I need help (or at least the patience of a loving/forgiving wife), or at the very least a much better "I'm about to use the credit card" line.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
What a way to welcome the Winter Solstice - fishing in 75 degree, clear sky weather. I caught tons of sunfish and one large mouth - so I got another 4MR slam (or a Foursome). I used my St Croix UL Triumph (reeled with a Shimano Sahara 1000) for most of the time. I was hoping to hook the big channel cat I've seen the past couple of times, but as luck would have it, when I am prepared with Gulp and the spinning rig - the fish aren't around. I also used the Nissin Fine Mode Nagare rod - I had fixed the flies I used last time (a squirmy wormy that got torn up and a stripped foam popper) and they killed it! I saw tons of gizzard shad - they could care less I was pitching flies to them. But alas, no big channel cats - maybe next time. Sight fishing in winter - you can beat it if you can travel south or have a boat, but I'll take what I can get. Another fun fishing outing (but I can't wait for spring to settle in - the Solstice today is a good marker that we are halfway there!).