Deer hunting

I don’t hunt, but would like to. Here is a short interview with a hunter, Tom. It is a series of text messages. Mine are in italics, Tom’s are not.

Tom, any luck with the deer this season?

In NY no so far but season is not closed yet. PA opens tomorrow.

How long do you stay in the deer stand?

Do you stay up there for the day and go home for the night? Or do you stay in the stand until you bag a buck? Perhaps 4 days?

I can usually sit all day. I have learned to dress right.

You ever stalk deer?

I use a stand location several times a year but not every day.

So sometimes you stalk the deer?

Well whitetails are hard to spot then sneak up on.

With snow it will be easier.

And other times you cuddle with your hunting buddy in the stand?

Ok.

Should I go to the next question, or will you answer about the cuddling?

Only room for one in my stand.

So you stay in the stand all day, and sleep at home?

Yes.

With your wife?

Yes.

That’s good.

Do you wear an adult diaper, like Eric Frein?

No but you got to hand it to him. That was a good idea.

Wont the deer stay away if you take a leak off the stand?

No it does not bother them.

Are you considering a diaper?

It would keep me warmer on cold days when I fill it.

Haha.

Ok.

You mind if I publish this discussion to GB mag?

No feel free.

Will do.

Do you tie flies with deer hair and buck tails?

The first fly I learned how to tie was a buck tail streamer.

So you use the deer hair for tying still?

Yes.

Nice.

Do you have a picture with a nice buck?

Let me see.

I am guessing you don’t, but I have to ask.

Thank you for being polite.

It would be cool for the article.

Most mags wouldnt publish a hunting article with a guy who bagged no NY bucks this year, and has no pictures.

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Wow. Nice.

Ty.

Just awesome.

Good luck in Pa.

If I get one this year I will get some steaks to you and you can write about eating venison.

That would be great.

Is it better than regular steak?

Better for you with no hormones added.

Healthy.

Yes.

Also more humane. Free range, so to speak.

I get it.

Thanks, Tom.

If I get something tommorow I’ll text a pic.

Thanks.

A good comment on the winter flies

John,

It makes me so happy that these thoughts and words are no longer only clogging up email inboxes amongst a few, and that they are being collected by GB mag to take a more prominent place.  I mentioned some year or more ago that you needed to write a book of your muses and dammit, you are on your way.  These are more brilliant works of art, which is merely to say that you take the universal ethereal and render it conscious for all.  Thank you and well done.  

Nice flies Jon, they have just a hint of depression in them, which any trout always appreciates. 

Max

Winter tying

Got a surprise text last night from a distressed fly tier.

I generally don’t like fly tiers. I dont know of any other hobby that lays claim to art, where most of the artwork looks like an ancient, tribal animal sacrifice. The tier’s table looks like the aftermath of a bird kristallnacht. And the tier is an avian Dr. Frankenstein, decorating hooks with a menagerie of colorful dead animals.

Animal rights activists should go to tying shows and do some in your face protesting, and rattle the tiers…

But some tiers get it.

That flies are like tobacco and beer, meant to be shared and enjoyed communally. When a fly is tied as an offer, I accept it. When a friend tied a streamer to commemorate the birth of my son, I accepted it.

I tie occasionally, and I tie usually for the water I’ll be fishing the next day.

But in late November, there is no tomorrow! No next day of fishing, for about 5 months.

So the confusion about what to tie is understandable.

What do you tie when there’s no fishing to be done?

Really, the question of what to tie, from a friend, is an effort to plan a trip for the following spring. It is an offer, once the winter is over, to get together on the water and fish.

A pattern request is simply a question, “Where we gonna fish?”

Something to look forward to.

And so I suggested a Delaware River dry fly.

Obviously that fly ain’t traveling 300 miles from Cape Cod to the Catskills just for a handover.

Nor is it going in the mail.

It will be handed over in person, on the water.

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Passaic Pikes with Joe and Charlie

Spent Monday on the Passaic casting giant streamers for the pikes with Joe Demalderis and Charlie Moos. Joe provided me with a Helios 2 in a 7 weight, and my casts were laser perfect perfection the whole day. I really never missed a spot, and put these heavy ass flies on dime sized targets from 70, 80 feet away consistently and without difficulty.

I was fishing awesome.

And not too long into the trip, I managed to land this monster pike.

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At that point, I focused my attention on Charlie, who, unlike me, didn’t catch a fish in the first 15 minutes. So I started criticizing his every cast, and explaining why, after 15 minutes on the water, the skunk was still on for Charlie.

But none of my advice helped Charlie catch a fish. In fact, when we breaked for lunch, he seemed agitated when I told him that he was putting the mustard on to his sandwich wrong, which he was. I think he was ready to snap in the face of my helpful, constructive criticism about the mustard, that – had he listened – would have made for a more tasty sandwich…

For Charlie.

But Charlie is the kind of guy who is too prideful to think he might need advice putting mustard on to a sandwich, or with his fly casting to the pikes.

So when we started casting again after our break, I decided to keep my mouth shut, and quietly help him any way I could to get in to a fish.

For the whole day, I fished from the front of the boat, and I requested the front so I would get first shot at any good water that might hold a monster pike.

I always reserve the frontseat of the boat when I fish with friends, and say I need it to avoid boat sickness. But today – especially after lunch – I felt like Charlie might actually get skunked and stop writing articles for GB mag, after I had criticized his casting technique all morning, and his mustard application technique during lunch.

So I started casting far up from the boat to give him room to operate, without my fly getting there first…

I wish I hadn’t done that.

Because Charlie managed to pull this near State record pike out of a spot that I passed on, and rightly should have been mine had he not been skunked up to that point, causing me to take sympathy casts way out of the strike zone.

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So after the trip was over, Joe, Charlie and I exchanged a few texts. In it, they both proclaimed that we had had a “perfect day.”

Oh no, this was definitely not a perfect day.

It would have been better, had I caught the bigger fish.

Captain’s log: Nov 26, 2014

Well Gentlemen, 

With the coming holiday, we can bid farewell to most of the fishing opportunities, at least in New England.  There are reports of some Striper and large Slime Dart action still in the New Jersey area, and god knows the obscene numbers of game fish still being enjoyed out west, however, here is mainly a time to reflect. It was not a good season in the North East and many have written about this including this grumpy captain, so no more words.  I will leave you with some wisdom from Giudice over this Thanksgiving weekend spoken best by from the late, great, Curtis Mayfield…

Be Thankful for what you got…even if you may not drive a great big Cadillac…

Keep your tines tight and your rod up

Ghettofly

Saltwater fish extinction

Is this real?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/salt-water-fish-extinction-seen-by-2048/

-John

I hope it lasts that long…that would make us 78 years old about….How can the ocean sustain? Its impossible, as we are parasites on this earth, and will eat our host right to our own demise…why?  Because the drive for self-preservation is a closed system and cannot be fought, not even by love, or beauty.  We have no eyes for the beauty of water when we are thirsty, and no love for the grace of the animal when we are hungry…that combined with our intellect is a dangerous recipe for disaster…Johnny, go get yer guns…

-MC

Donahe Split Cane Rods

At the International Fly Tying Symposium last year, I spent a little time discussing rod making with Jerry Kustich. Jerry is a fine builder, and a humble guy. He is one of the Boo Boys, formerly of the Winston Rod Company, and now with Sweetwater Rods.

“Splitting Cane,” by Ed Engle is my kind of book.

It has 10 chapters, and each chapter discusses a great builder. The Boo Boys are well deserving of chapter 8.

(I wanted to write Chapter 1, and believe they deserved Chapter 1.)

Sweetgrass is one of the finest, and most colorful of the older generation of classic builders. Still on top, but perhaps soon they’ll be ready to pass the torch to a new generation, because there are many young American builders that have already taken their place alongside Sweetgrass and among the best in the world. One of these builders is Larry Donahe.

There are actually 16 builders interviewed in “Splitting Cane,” which lessens the sting of being Chapter 8, but I’d still like to ask Engle about the order of the chapters. Anyway, only a few are still making rods. (Mike Clark, Walt Carpenter, John Bradford, Jim Hidy, Homer Jennings, Glenn Brackett, Jeff Wagner, Ted Knott, George Mauer, Robert Gorman, Bernard Ramanauskas, Dwight Lyons, Don Schroeder and Carl-Johan Anderberg are featured.)

I met Larry at the Somerset show about 7 years ago, and cast a few of his rods. Today I own 5 Donahe rods, the most of any builder I’ve purchased from. I’ll publish a short discussion with Larry later this week.

Until then, enjoy the photos.

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Winter haikus, part 2

Existential doubt
Am I a wuss if I like
Vanilla porter?

-JK

Was counting the syllables to be sure….  It is clearly a good haiku, and conforms to haiku standards.  No controversial words like “orange,” that could count as either 1 or 2 syllables.

I dont know what vanilla porter is, but everyone has something gay in their lifestyle, even if they’re not gay.

I, for example, spend a few days a week at a gay rodeo bar in New York City…

And I’m not gay.

I’m so confident of my manhood that the next time the guys are gonna pierce my nipples, and I’m cool with that.  They say that a prostate massage calms the nerves during the piercing, and I’m ok with that too.

So I’d say its not gay to drink vanilla porter.

-John

My question wasn’t if I were gay. But hey, thanks for sharing, stu.