Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shhhh - Don't Tell My Wife

With the Helios 2 out in circulation already, I got a great deal on one of the best flyrods out there - the original Helios! As you can see on the tube cover - it's a 4 piece 9'0" 5 weight Tip Flex. With a 25 year warranty, I am looking forward to pushing this thing to the limit! Stay tuned for exploits with this new rod! Oh - La knows about this... now she knows how much she can spend on that Coach bag and Athleta clothes ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Thawing Out

So how to thaw one's self out after surfing cold waves? A steaming hot bowl of ramen from Kyushu. Not the island (although if I were to go that far, I'd go to Sapporo instead), but the restaurant in Virginia Beach (400 Newtown Road). The "gyotaku-ish" art on the wall was nice, but if I may say so myself, I think my prints are way better. We finished off the day picking up some cool books at Barnes and Nobles on Virginia Beach Blvd - Virginia Beach is and has always been a really cool place to hang out - some things never change. Thanks La, Marlon and Noe for a wonderful day!!!

Anointment of the Kickboard

It got wet, but by the time I brought it out, the heat was being sucked out of me by the cold Labrador Current and I called it. Hopefully next time the water will be more amenable to full immersion and a proper surfing session.

And of course - SUP Surfing!!!!

Surfed even though it was 40 degrees (colder with the wind blowing - nice and offshore) and the water was probably just as cold. Smashing ice cream headaches, getting caught inside with more ice cream headaches, a couple of neckline flushes BUT it was all worth it! I caught it on the right tide (upcoming high), with some swell from the previous couple of days from the onshore blow. I'll take what I can get, but this did stoke the stoke flame!

Making a SUP Paddle

Next we stopped by to check up on a friend - Charlie Bisgard. Turns out he had just finished gluing up a SUP paddle blank. I showed him my new kickboard. His joints between slats were way nicer than the way I finished off that old alaia (which is now the paipo/kickboard/handplane). Looking at the paddle kinda got me thinking about making a few myself... maybe one that can double as a flats/stakeout pole - yeah right - with all my spare time.... you have to pick your battles and right now it would be faster to buy one rather than glue one up properly and carve it out nicely.

Cold, Wet, Fun Weekend Activities

We made the run down to Virginia Beach this weekend. We started by dropping off La at the Hampton Convention Center where she went to the Quilting Convention - for the entire day (7-8 hours). Talk about endurance - I only went for four hours to the Somerset Fly Fishing Show (with 4 hours driving on either end). The rest of the Velasco tribe went on our own itinerary. We started by checking out Appomattox River Company on the other side of I-64 (still in Hampton). They had the new JK SUPerFishal fishing SUP (heavy, but tricked out with a lot of nice features and connection points for accessories), the new JK Cuda 12 and tons of other fishing vessels. Good crew - stop by if you need outfitting stuff.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sweet Spot

By my research on the better places to focus your cast on, this guy is on the sweet spot. I didn't hang around long enough to see if he had a bite though.

Wading 4 Mile Run

So here I am wading in at 4 Mile Run. I saw one fish - some kind of bottom dwelling goby - and didn't get one tug. There were a few other guys out casting lines, but I didn't see anyone getting hits. The waders kept me dry. The boots were really nice. And the rod hanging down from my chest pack is a Nissin Fine 3.9 to 4.4 m Zoom Seiryu (ultralight weight tenkara) - nice touches on the rod itself, but this one will take a little getting used to in order to cast the line correctly. I did read an article today about guys heading out real early to this spot and nailing it - maybe I should get up early... Or maybe I should wait for Spring to get here.

Mexican Stand Off Under UV

Glowing like a neon torch!!! Too bad UV light doesn't penetrate the water... this thing would call in fish (I would hope carp - that what this fly was designed to look appealing to). This was the second fly I tied with dubbing - and it was about 5 minutes after I tied the other one.

Cold Saturday Fly Tying

My rendition of a variant of a Egan's Headstand fly called the "Mexican Stand Off" - I didn't come up with the name, I just saw it on a website for carp flies and I thought I'd tie it up. This was actually the first time I used dubbing (and it was easy!!! I'm not sure why I haven't tried it before this...). The other pink flies are more shad dart variants - since I haven't actually fished for shad before, I'm making random size and color patterns and I'll see what works. Noe also helped out - she tied up (mostly by herself with only a little help from me) another sabiki fly. I've been using Clear Cure Goo Tack Free Brushable on nearly all my flies now. On this Mexican Stand Off, I ended up using it today and the CCG bead on the weight/wraps makes a huge difference in quality and durability of the fly. Anyhow - as I referenced above, I did go wading today - more on that shortly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

TPFR Beer Tie

We went to check out the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders Monthly Beer Tie event last night. They just moved the venue to Whitlow's on Wilson in downtown Arlington, VA. This was just a reconnaissance trip - I didn't bring my vise or tying materials. We did eat (thanks La for your patience - I do owe you - I enjoyed the burger!) and I saw a few faces I recognize from the area fly shops. Google these guys and try to make one of the Beer Ties if you're in the DMV area. Whitlow's is a hop skip and a jump away from the Clarendon Metro stop on the Orange line (which will make it easier for me to get to the Beer Ties once the Silver line opens later this year).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kickboard Over 90%

I used a hole saw bit to open up the bottom of the screw holes. After a little cleanup with a chisel, the main work is finished on the kickboard. The handles are an old pair of windsurfing footstraps - real old - check out the 'Naish' logo - I feel good that those things will get a new lease on life and to actively generate stoke again!!! I'll place some epoxy in the bottom holes to ensure the T bolts stay put and are watertight. I'll also run the sander over the back of the board to smooth out the grain (I did that to the hand plane and it is a much nicer finish). After that, I'll recoat the board with poly and it's done!!! This board feels really well balanced and as expected, I can't wait to get some sloppy waves on it!!! Between this and the paipo, I should never complain about crappy surf again!!!

OMG!!! My Mouth was Broke!!!

We hunted down a ramen shop for tonight's dinner. Sakura Ramen on 18th St in North West DC. This ramen was great!!! In the top five bowls I've eaten. It helps I haven't had a fresh bowl in a few years, but it truly is good. I had the Miso. Oh and the bulgogi manapua...... DAMN!!! I could eat those all day long!!!! If you are wondering, ramen is amphibious and can be written about on this blog because historically it comes from an island (Japan). My tummy is happy! We also stopped by a used bookstore a couple of doors down - I picked up some cool items - a book on restoring ancient Hawaiian fishponds, and a couple of multipurpose thank you cards with sea monsters on them - they are so cool and amphibious that I'll post on them separately, but after I take a picture of them. Maybe tomorrow because my tummy is too happy!

Run to 4 Mile Run

I went back to check on the action at 4 Mile Run this afternoon. It was an incoming tide and an offshore (and blustery) wind. The water was clear, but I didn't see a single piscine lifeform - not even small gobies (like I had seen last time). There were a couple of guys fishing with spinning gear down by the Route 1 bridges, but I didn't see them catching anything. I did see copious amounts of plastic garbage strewn about the high water line. This stuff will be around long after were gone. We're awesome!!!! Do your grandkid's grandkids a favor and reduce-reuse-recycle. And while I'm at it, make sure you don't throw your cigarette butts out the window when you're done smoking - really - how hard is it to put them where they will do a minimized amount of damage (with the rest of our non-biodegradable trash - did I say we are AWESOME????

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Measure Three Times, Cut Twice

Besides the flies, I did make some time to further the surfcraft production. The two cuts - drilling into each side of a hole before connecting - are to make the exit (entrance) holes nicer. I did make the bolt holes for the kick board. The T nuts are going to take a tad bit more effort to put in correctly (bore out the bottom to accommodate the base of the nut, widen the bolt hole to accommodate the nut shaft - okay get your head out of the gutter - these are real terms). Again - with the weather being what it is - I have nothing but time!

Cold Sunday Tying Frenzy

Besides the mini frog poppers, I did tie up a bunch of Shad Darts in four different color schemes. I really dig tying - makes you think about what material goes on when. If you want to crank out a bunch, it pays to plan out the order of build. I've only been doing this for a little over a year - if you've ever thought about it but were apprehensive, just do it - and when you catch fish on the flies you've tied, you'll be hooked for life! Anyhow - when the water warms up and the Sakura come into bloom (Japanese Cherry Trees), the Shad come in to the Potomac to breed. I haven't experienced this month long event (American and Hickory Shad renewing the circle of life - with the intermittent interruptions from two legged creatures armed with sticks and string doing a lot of pulling on the mouth and handling), but I am well into the preparations. Fully armed amphibious assault craft - check. 8wt flyrod and reel with intermediate sinking line - check. Lots of different colored shad dart flies to entice the pickiest of fish - working on it. I've got a lot of space in the box for more flies and a bunch of number 4, 6 and 8 hooks and there are a couple of months left before the run starts - should be a good time fishing (I can't wait...)

Mini Frog Poppers

It was still cold and flurrying outside today. Despite what Pax Phil (the Groundhog) is predicting, Winter is still here. So no skateboarding for us today. I settled in at the tying table and knocked out coloring these sunfish poppers. I tied the legs on to one of them - I've got a whole week ahead of me with more of the same for weather - a couple of evenings after work and these guys will be ready for the bluegills out back.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Final Steps towards the New Surfcraft

The weather is getting colder...
So there is more time to get these two new mini sleds dialed in. I'll be cutting the strap slots and drilling out the T nut holes tomorrow. After that, a little epoxy, some curing time and I'll be waiting for the Spring thaw.