Friday, March 29, 2013

Fish Slime

I got out again today and decided to just head back down to Deckers since I can make it there in about 25 minutes from the house. After coffee was downed and waders were dawned, I made my way to the river. Just like the other day, I was seeing a lot of fish right away and it didn't take long before I was hooked up with a Rainbow. Most of the fish landed today were in the 12-14 range but they were actively feeding. Things are starting to happen but we need water or it will be an ugly summer. 

This is one of the leanest fish I've seen in a while. I don't think this thing ever knew it was hooked even when I was holding it. Hardly fought at all. 

This was during a break.

This section is pretty skinny with a few deeper holes here and there. A lot of fish were set up in the shallow riffles and midges were very productive.

I couldn't help but take a peek under the bridge on my way out again today. I can't seem to pass up the chance to throw streamers. I rigged up and looked under again. This bridge is really tight. Even in the water, you would have to duck down quite a bit to get under it so getting a cast in is tough. As I was looking in, I could see a fish busting the surface while feeding. I got giddy and started casting. The only way to make it work is to use a crazy side arm cast and it's gotta be super fast each way to keep the fly off the water and to keep it form hitting the side of the bridge too. I can almost cast it all the way in but need to feed in some line. After one twitch I was hooked up. This one wasn't quite as nice as the one from the other day but I'll take it. I know there are bigger fish hiding there.

Spring Break is almost over now and then it's back to work. On Monday I have an interview with another district. I'm excited and hope it goes well. I need to iron my Garanimals.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I had a dream...

Yes...the other night I had a dream. Sometimes you wake up and barely recall a dream you had and then bits and pieces start coming back to you during the day. This was not like that. It was all so vivid and real. I was fishing. Doin' my thang. It just so happened that the person I was fishing with in my dream was none other than Conway Bowman. For those that don't know, Conway is the host of Fly Fishing the World. While I'm sure he's a nice enough guy I secretly hate him because he gets to fish in all these kick ass locations. He probably gets all kinds of gear too and crazy amounts of ass. Boy band ass too. I mean...that's what chicks want. Dudes that smell like fish. I know Heather digs it. 

Anyway...there I was. Bombing the bank with big ass streamers. I was killin it. I kept seeing one fat brown after another to the net. Conway, on the other hand, was not doing so well. In my dream, he let me use his rod. No...despite the jokes that my wife made, this is/was not a sexual innuendo. He seriously let me use his fly rod. I figured it had to be a ploy to be able to say, "Well...I couldn't catch fish because I had to let this hack use my fly rod." Touche Bowman. I landed just as many fish with his shit as I did with mine. Suck it. 

I couldn't help but think of that dream when I got to the river today. Now...I loves me some streamer fishing. Also loves me some streamer fishing at night. This was not the situation today. The flows were shitty. In fact, I don't know that I've ever seen the water this low. The sun was out. I had a double nymph rig on when I left my car. I damn near cut my finger off at the car. Totally my fault for keeping such sharp knives. The gal at the General Store was nice enough to not make me buy a whole box of Band Aids and I was on my way across the street with a little spring in my step. Right away I started spotting big fish. I don't fish this area much because it sees so much pressure but the Dream Stream is iced out and the flows in the canyon aren't worth the hike in. And...I'm on vacation. I stood there watching these fish feed for a few minutes before carefully slipping down to the bank. After a few casts they spooked. They slid right downstream and under a bridge. I had an egg pattern leading (kind of an attention getter) and then a Top Secret midge. I have a real problem walking away from larger fish that are obviously smart. 

It was like they were communicating with me. I said to myself, "Self...big fish are big for a reason. Why did they slide down and just to where I can't get a nymph to them?" I looked up at the sky in a bit of frustration. I looked back downstream and under the bridge. Then it hit me. "It's ALWAYS overcast under a bridge. Perfect streamer conditions." Without hesitation, I bit line and started putting flies away. Removed weight and balloon. Shortened a perfectly good leader and grabbed a Barr's Meat Whistle and tied it on. I worked the front portion of the bridge for a few minutes and then let things swing back into the dark shadows. The further back I wanted to get, the harder it was. Finally, I was side arm casting to get as much distance as possible. BOOM!! The surface broke and I could see the head. I couldn't believe it. Here I was on a non-streamer day below a bridge with a 18" fish on.

I muscled it right out the way I went in (when a nymph rig would have had me going spelunking through the shadows). The hook set was perfect. I revived her and she slid back into the shadows. Seemingly, no worse for the wear. I've had much bigger fish on during the fall run but this was cool today. I'm in a bit of a state of transition and questioning right now, career wise, so I was thrilled to see that my instincts were good.

I got back to my beat up car and found that I still had half a cup of coffee. It was cold now but still good. God I love fly fishing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kitchen Remodel

Today I was able to get the kitchen all back together so the cabinet renovation is now complete. When I started this project my plan was to have it all done by the time our friend came in for a visit and he gets here next week so I timed it pretty right. I had several people asking if I would post a timeline of sorts for the project so this is it. 

The kitchen started off looking like this. I painted it red a few years ago and now hate it which really sucks because the ceiling on one side is probably 16 foot and a real pain in the ass to do. Our house is not big but we like it that way. It's easier to clean and we figured we could really make it look nice for less money. Heather and I both hate oak but we didn't necessarily wanna do new cabinets entirely so we started looking at our options. We found a cabinet transformation kit from Rustoleum and decided to go that route.

This is a huge job but you can do this to pretty much any furniture. We previously did this to a nightstand, dresser and our bathroom vanity and really liked how it came out. The first step involves removing everything. I threw out all the hardware and set up some saw horses and plywood in the garage so I'd have a place to work on the doors and drawers. Once everything is apart you do the first step which involves using a chemical and Scotchbrite pads to de-gloss the surfaces. It basically removes all dirt, oil and just enough of the finish to rough things up. This step is hard only because it hurts the finger tips to scrub that hard for that long.

Next you take the bonding coat and start putting it on. We went with espresso for the color but there are quite a few options to choose from. This is a pretty quick process but you need to be careful to really follow the grain and not apply too much or it will look sloppy in the corners. The hardest part was the actual cabinet doors (mainly the corners where this coat can pool up). You also need to be careful that the coat doesn't run.

Originally I used small finishing nails to elevate the cabinet doors but I didn't like it. I ended up painting each piece on a stool before putting it back on the plywood to dry. After one coat you wait 12 hours and do this step again.

Next up is a the glazing. This is actually an optional step. It's almost like a stain. Very runny. You just quickly brush it on (again being careful to follow the grain) and then immediately wipe it off with the provided lint free rags. This step gives the furniture a bit more depth and character. This dries for 6-8 hours. Then you get to the last step which is the top coat. The top coat is probably the most difficult step of the whole process. It's a clear substance that truly looks like glaze from a donut. I constantly referred to this step as glaze. It's almost like painting light glue all over the furniture. It is very important to not cover the same area twice as this mucks up the finish. It's also very important to cover everything though as this is what really protects the furniture and makes cleaning easier. A lot of people really complain about this step but it's not THAT bad.

Here are some finished shots from one side of the kitchen after I had installed new hinges and handles.

Here it is today after putting it all back together. The section under the sink is the last section I did. I was dreading it because of the Lazy Susan's but they weren't too bad.

Next up is counter tops (still trying to decide between granite, stainless, concrete, etc.), sink and faucet, and new paint. Also on the list is a new stainless dishwasher after this ugly white one gives up the ghost. I just have a real hard time replacing an appliance like this when it works fine.