Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Ghetto Streamer Box's the deal. Streamers are really valuable and they can get royally screwed up if you don't care for them properly. Case in point...the box that I've been using for a while now which is in horrible shape. In its defense, it's really old. This is how it typically looks when I open it streamside. A clusterfuck. Streamers get tangled like they're mating. They get ruffled and don't present like they should. Just bad all around. The other issue is that I haven't started my new job yet and, even if I had, I'd have a hard time throwing down 40 bones for a decent fly box. So...I visited the crafts store with all the blue hairs to see what I could dig up. 

I eventually found these clear boxes. They are for holding pictures I guess but who the hell has glossy pics anymore? They come in a variety of sizes so pick one that ya dig.

It took a lot of searching to find a suitable foam material to line the box with but Heather finally hit pay dirt. These are like 10" pieces of cork and they are supposed to be mini bulletin boards.

The foam is on the uhhhh backside. It's 1/4" thick. Perfect. With box and foam I'm in like 7 bones.

Back in the lab I flipped the opened box onto the foam and traced the pattern.

This spot was a beyotch so I pushed down real hard and left an indentation in the foam and cut this first.

This is the foam and cork after it's been cut. By the way you can also get sheets of just the foam but I liked the cork for a reason which I'll explain in a bit.

Then I determined how I wanted to hold the flies. I think a lot of this will depend on how big your streamers are. I took some measurements and then decided that I wanted the flies spaced out every half inch. I laid all my marks with the aforementioned pen and a straight edge.

I sprung for a nice sharp exacto knife. I made the cuts that will hold the flies right at 3/16" deep all the way down.

Here I am done with the cuts. So each vertical cut (when placed in the box) is 3/16" deep and there's 1/2" on the top and bottom where I stopped the cuts. This is the reason I dig the cork backing. You don't cut all the way through the foam. I left about 1/16" of foam and all of the cork. So the hooks will just sit real tightly down in that crack.

The foam fits pretty tightly in the box but I used some spray adhesive to make sure it stayed snug. The flies fit pretty nicely.

Before too long...fall will be here in the Rockies. The Browns will be getting aggressive and it's gonna be gam on. I sent my 8 weight back to Temple Fork today so they could repair it. This year may be the year that I land that truly massive brown on a streamer. I know the one that broke off last year was it. It'll be there still.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Cafe Stuff

Not really cafe at all. In fact, I don't even know what you call this design. I think it resembles the type of bikes that were used in WWII with the side cars. I titled this cafe because it will make it easier for me to find when I start getting serious 

This is an example of the kind of Frankenbike build I have also become very interested in. As I'm getting older, I don't even know that I could ride a cafe kind of bike. I think something like this would be really unusual and comfortable. Kinda looks like a fat bike but those tires are not really all that wide even though they look like it here. The bar would be lower than what comes on most bikes from the factory but they would also sweep back more. The more I look, the more I am drawn towards the 550 because of the spoked wheels (although I am sure I could find some and swap them onto a 650). This seat is different and I actually like the stock seat on a lot of CB's that is just flat. I would want to retain a front fender and probably have the rear fender just a tad longer. I wouldn't have to relocate the foot controls. The trickiest part is that I would actually want to run rear hard cases. To my knowledge, there are none made that are bolt on for the CB's so it would mean sourcing something (I have seen an older set that were made for Yamaha's that looked an awful lot like these that are commonly used on HD's). The devil would be in coming up with a way to weld on some type of attachment points that would be solid enough to handle the washboard fire roads that we have out here but also not look like hell. I think something like this would be able to comfortably carry my bivy or 1 man tent, a bag, waders, boots, and fly rod (broken down of course), along with some decent food and beer (creature comforts) and make a run to the Taylor River or to Buena Vista for long weekend of exploring and fishing. I've also seen aluminum cases for the KLR's but I really think the parallelogram shape of the HD cases looks nicer. It's probably not a build that would get me there at light speed but that's not really what I'm interested in. Hmmmm...the gears continue to turn.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cafe Stuff

This is one of the bikes that I keep going back to. This is either a CB450 or 550. What really sets this bike apart from the rest is the tank and seat. They were made (the tank by hand) by a company called Benjies Cafe Racers. I do not like it when the bike simply ends after the seat. Kinda seems like the last chapter from a book is ripped out. This is very subtle and tasteful. I have no idea how much that tank costs but I'm sure it's at least a grand. It's called the Armadillo. I'm not sure if my neck would be happy with the bars shown here but that's gonna be something I explore. I don't envision this bike being something that I would ride for 8 hours straight but more to goof off on.  

I Need a Project.

Well...I still have about 3 weeks of vacation time before I start my new job (which I am totally psyched for). The POS Honda Civic that I was working on was finished (at least enough that I felt it was safe for the lad to drive). It actually still needs more work but I'm not really sure I want to do it. That car is degraded. Nothing like having to fix 3 things on your way to get to 1. Sadly...the Honda CB650 is gone. I made the owner an offer to trade it for my Orbea carbon bike and he almost went for it. Almost. In the end he decided he wanted to keep it. This really bums me out because I got to know that bike and, in doing so, found some things that it needs but they were things that he didn't want to do. They were also things that could really have a negative effect on the bike (like cleaning the carbs or adjusting the valves). They are also things that are really pretty easy to do but he didn't wanna spend any more money. So I loaded it up on Sunday and watched it leave. This leaves my garage extremely empty. It also leaves me looking for a project. I think I have decided to get another motorcycle.

A friend of mine wants me to buy his KTM 640 and, although I know it's meticulously maintained, I'm not sure it's quite what I'm looking for at this time. I've had single cylinders in the past and do not think I want another one. I do think that with not being able to ride mountain bikes like I want to be able to do, that off road touring is something that I will ultimately get into with something like a BMW F650 or F800 GS but I cannot afford to make that kind of investment until I'm sure I things will be ok. The last motorcycle experiment ended poorly. So this time I'm doing it the right way. I plan on taking the safety class and actually getting my endorsement. I keep getting drawn to the older imports from the late 70's era like the Honda's and Yamahas and would prefer a Honda. I really want a CB550 because they had the spoked wheels instead of the mags. Sadly, I do not think I want it to remain stock. I think I want to put some cafe racer flair into it. For the time being I would likely just ride it as is and maybe focus my efforts on making sure it's mechanically sound while also cleaning it up a bit and removing bulky items and exchanging them for more streamlined things such as lights and blinkers. Ultimately, I would at least explore different handlebars and possibly a tank. In my head, I pretty much see what I like but I also see a lot of people that are relatively new to bikes get one and immediately tear it down and start in on a conversion. These are the ones that, when "complete" look anything but and end up being categorized into the cafe/bobber/chopper category which, in my opinion, might possibly mean that the owner couldn't settle on one style and just wanted to get it done. I want to ride it for a while and get to know it before I ruin (in many peoples' minds) what is really getting to be a classic and increasingly more difficult to find motorcycle. I'll keep searching Craigslist through the fall and winter and hope to have something for next summer. Until then, I'll start to put some pictures on here of what I like, mostly so that they are easier for me to find when the time comes.

Buggin' Out!!!

I don't know if tonight was the full moon but it had to be damn close so I decided to go fish. I made it to the river at about 7:15 and slowly made my way into the waders while drinking a beer. I happened to notice these ants as I was doing so. They were ganging up on a larger bug and it was a free for all. Nature can be a real bitch sometimes. For a bit I felt sorry for the critter until I remembered why I was there. I was hoping that maybe some larger browns would be out looking for meat. 

On the walk in I was blown away by all the bug activity. The mosquitoes were unreal. I was wearing a short sleeve t shirt and when I slapped my arm, I'd kill 5 of those little vampires. I was really wishing I had my bug spray. I walked all the way up to the fence in the upper most portion of Beat 1 and started slinging a leech pattern streamer and just praying for a tug. I had a leader clipped down to 0X and was ready for "The One". I was getting destroyed by mosquitoes. Pitching really big streamers and using beefed up leaders usually means you're looking for quality and not necessarily quantity. I missed 2 in the first hour but I think they were really too small to get their mouths around it. I glanced over and saw the moon coming up.

This is one of my favorite spots to fish. This exact run. It's deeper to the left and gets shallow on the inside bend (you're looking downstream here). Just a bit up from here is where I literally get weak in the knees when I twitch a fat ass streamer. Just this past fall I wasn't ready and had my rod pointed downstream and had a monster (what I believe was a brown) break a 0X leader with one quick tug that damn near yanked the rod out of my hand. So every time I work that area now I am ready. I know that fish is still in there. Fish that big don't wander around. They're smart. That fish lays low all damn day and then comes out at night for bigger ticket items. It just has not wanted what I have been throwing. I worked that area hard with a leech, a Meat Whistle, and a mouse. Nothing. When I swung the mouse to the shallows I did have a large wake move in behind it quickly but whatever it was, it wasn't digging it. Not sure why cuz that shit was sexy.

The moon was amazing tonight. It was one of those nights where you don't even need the headlamp. You can see the line unfold in front of you and the wind was non-existant. I ran into 2 guys that had the same idea as me but also weren't able to fool anything. I have never seen as much bug activity up there. The Caddis were huge and they were everywhere. But...there wasn't much activity from the fish.

I tried to take about 10 pictures that captured the Caddis and this is the best I came up with. It sucks but just to the left of the grass...those are all Caddis. They were 14's and they were getting freaky. I stayed until about midnight and then started missing my pups (I miss Heather too but she's out of town so rushing home would not make her appear). Frustrated, I finally decided to hoof it back to the car. The flows are up and I needed to get across the river and waited too long to do so. So...I had to go back into Beat 1 (which is technically illegal to fish if it's more than an hour after sunset). But I didn't fish it. I just needed to cross. Once I got across, I noticed 2 headlamps way up in Beat 1. It was the two guys I met earlier. Like most nights I fish after dark, I checked the sunset time and tonight it went down at 8:18 which means I have until about 9:18 to fish. Every time I am up there, that white pickup comes screaming across the dam and down to the lot to check on me. I stood there and watched the keepers house for about 15 minutes while these guys fished with their headlamps on. Nothing. Not that I want them to get in trouble. I was just surprised. I got eaten alive tonight. When I got back to the car, the bug spray was in my pack the whole time. They even bit my bald head.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


After we got back from Mexico, I started having this desire to catch different fish. Now...there's absolutely nothing wrong with trout but catching Bones and Tarpon really expanded my horizon's and I wanted a way to do that here in Colorado because I know that it will make me a better fly fisherman both here and the next time we go anywhere there's salt water. Years ago when I first started fly fishing, I always wondered if Carp could be caught on a fly but I was so new to the sport that I was in way over my head. So when I started thinking about "different" fish, Carp were the first thing that came to mind. 

Carp are an interesting fish. A lot of people think they are trash fish and bottom feeders but this isn't necessarily true. Carp eat anything. I've seen them sip off the surface, eat things while suspended, and dig around in the mud looking for leeches or crustaceans. The other intriguing thing about Carp is that they are constantly mixing things up in terms of what they eat or where they are at. They are extremely hard to figure out and incredibly challenging to land on a fly. So...this seemed like a good idea at the time. 

I started fishing a smaller lake in Colorado Springs about a week ago but I came home frustrated (really I was pissed off) almost every day. The bank was really not a good fit for me and the wind wasn't helping me either. I would always see groups of 15 or so Carp cruising around, some would suspend, some would break the surface with their mouths, and some were digging. No matter what I threw at them, they spooked. I also spent an enormous amount of time retrieving snagged flies from bushes and trees after my back cast. This alone is maddening. 

My friend Scott kept telling me about a pond at his work that was packed with Carp so I decided to drive up and check it out on Monday. Sure enough, there was no shortage of big Carp. The issue for me, again, was that the trees and layout was just killing me and the fish were just out of reach every time. I fished that pond for several hours in the heat before I got fed up and decided to try to find fish on the South Platte. After looking at a map, I made it to a spot and got ready. I was a little hesitant to wet wade in the river because of concerns with pollution so I put on my waders. I walked quite a ways in that heat in those waders. I was suffering. Finally, I started to see fish. Big fish. But the water was really slow at that point and I kept spooking the fish and I was so uncomfortable. I was very dehydrated when I decided to call it and get back to the car. Stupidly, I had not drank any water all day and seriously thought I was going to pass out while walking back to the car. When I took off my waders, my shorts were soaked from sweat. I told Scott that I would give him a ride home and once we got to his house and I sat in the AC, I started feeling better but I was still incredibly upset that I couldn't figure out these Carp. 

I crashed at Scott's place and was feeling better in the morning. I drank a bunch of water before leaving the house and made sure to bring several bottles with me as it was supposed to be another hot day. I looked over the maps and decided to go to another location (still on the Platte though). I immediately spotted fish from a bridge and found a way to get down to the bank. I decided not to wear waders today and just figured I would try to work form the shore. That didn't last long and, ultimately, I ended up in the river but I was significantly cooler.

Straight away I could see some large fish and I was really liking the water in this stretch. It had a lot of riffles instead of deeper and slower moving pools. Water clarity left a lot to be desired but this was in a very urban setting so it's probably as good as it gets. Within 45 minutes, I had a hook up but it only lasted 15 seconds and the line went slack and I growled. Within another 30 minutes, I had another take but it also didn't last long. The fish were significantly less skittish and if I led things far enough out, I could easily make multiple drifts with a double nymph rig before they got spooked and drifted off. I found another fish and hooked up on the second drift and it felt solid. Immediately, the drag started screaming and it made a huge run upstream and to the far side of the river. We yo-yo'ed back and forth for about 15 minutes and I was really starting to think that I would not get this fish to the net. I honestly thought the 5 weight rod might break. Eventually I was able to finesse the fish to the bank and I got the net ready. I went to scoop it up and it ran again. We did this three more times and finally I was able to get it in the net. I screamed. Then I realized I had an audience. It was a couple of guys that appeared pretty rough and dirty. I suspect they were homeless because they had quite a bit of stuff with them. They gave me 2 thumbs up and I screamed again and threw a hand in the air.

I snapped this picture and then thought I took about 10 more from different angles. I had one where I was holding the fish with one hand and several underwater shots. None turned out but this one. I was so bummed after checking the photos after reviving it. This fish was probably a bit under 10 pounds and taped at about 24 inches. I was soaked when I got done.

Afterwards, I walked up under the bridge to find one of the homeless fellas. I kinda startled him and apologized and then realized that he was firing up a big bowl. He asked me if I wanted a hit but I declined. Then he was curious about what I caught. We talked for a few minutes while he got high. It was then that I started to put together all of the things from the last 2 days. It was super tough. The water can be a bit dirty and stinky. I got a lot of weird looks but I also got a few props and one guy rode by on a bike and yelled, "Stick em!" I learned a ton. I love fishing for trout but I will for sure do this again. Hopefully soon.