Thursday, February 28, 2013

The HF, She Be Good To Me

"Honey, after class I think I'm gonna go stretch my arms a bit."  "So that's what they're calling it these days huh?"  My wife is so good to me.  She is not the only one though, the HF, she be good to me too.

I told myself I wasn't going fishing Monday.  I was going to run some errands and focus on homework.  Then I got a text from Shane.  Three words. "Wanna fish today?"

Classes were done for the day around 12:30.  We wadered up at his apartment and headed out.  The sky was overcast and threatening to snow when we pulled up to the river.  The destination was a section of river with a slough and required a decent walk through a foot of snow.  Winded and sweating a bit we finally made it to the spot.  Shane immediately picked up a healthy (though deformed) fish on a streamer.  Then I picked up a good bow nymphing.  Nymphing was generally more productive throughout the day, but streamers still produced here and there.

What a fighter! The photo doesn't do the size of this one justice.  It was slippery and only stayed around for a couple shots. It was a shame because it had some some spectacular coloring. 

Buttery Bow

The next two shots are our ode to the straight-arm!  The face I was making can't be seen because of the buff, forgot that little detail.

Good times.  As we trudged back to my car through the deep snow we talked about how many miles we put in for good fishing.  Pay the dues and the river, she be good to you too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birthday Gifts And Bows

We all know that the significance of birthdays changes once we enter adulthood.  The older we get, the less we notice them.  And the OLDER we get, the less we probably want to notice them.  There are, however, perks that come with that one little day we claim to have come into this world.  On occasion they give us a free pass.  An excuse.  A reason, however contrived, to do something we enjoy.  When those little multicolored candles went out earlier in the week I had wished for a gift.  This gift would hopefully be covered in big shiny bows.

The birthday and fish gods smiled down upon me.  I received the gift I wished for.  It was a day spent doing one of the things I enjoy most in this world.  And it was all covered with (read "filled with") big multicolored shiny bows.

The color of some fish blows me away, and leaves me grinning.

The day was spent with three other awesome gentlemen who share my love of fishing.  Gilbert, Jared, and Shane.  Gilbert runs two blogs.  One is called Fly Tying 123, and the other is Gil Fly Fishing, both of which are awesome sites.  Jared maintains another called The Pursuit, and is an excellent writer.  Shane, as most people who read this already know, is a common fishing buddy and runs The Fish Hunter Chronicles.  All are great sites and worth checking out.  These guys are top quality company, and excellent companions to have on ones birthday.

Ready.  Set.  Go!

Hasta La Vista, Bowie.

Can't beat the colors of a wild fish.

Steelhead, in Idaho?  Heck yeah we have em'.  But is a fish that doesn't go to the ocean a steelhead?  Ha ha, that one is for you Jared.

Baby for the day.

Even messed up fish need some love.

It was one of those perfect days.  We were on the water early.  The fish made us work, just a little, in the beginning.  Eventually things were on fire.  We left just as the sun was nearing the hills.  Then the evening was spent on a date with my beautiful wife.  It was the best birthday I have had for some time.  Thanks to everyone who was a part of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Night Fishing Does Not Suck (nor does chocolate pudding)

Maybe the thought that fishing "just isn't good right now" is a good thing to think during the winter.  Maybe having times when the fishing is not good anywhere would be healthy.  Maybe it would keep me off the water.


And besides, the fishing IS always good...  somewhere (to my wife's chagrin).  This is where self control is necessary.  Sometimes I feel like a fat kid with a giant bowl of chocolate pudding sitting right in front of my face.  It stares me down.  It calls to me.  The sweet creamy chocolatey goodness beckons.  Take away the spoon and there will still be trouble. Oh the turmoil of living in southeastern Idaho.  It is a trial, but alas, it can be survived.

If the pudding sits there long enough, there will be aftermath.  You know what follows.  Pudding is everywhere in one great and glorious mess!  All over like a baby with a birthday cake.  And so it goes, just another day (or night) spent smearing that chocolate pudding all over my face.

As the sun sank into what seemed like the belly of the earth, Shane and I stood for a moment to drink in the view.  The fishing had already been pretty good.  We were headed back to the truck to grab a bite to eat, warm up, and let dark settle in a bit. Who knew the fires of Mordor could be so pretty. 

After our break the plan was to go in search of nocturnal footballs with fins.  Having afternoon classes makes it difficult to get much time on the water during the short daylight hours of winter.  I suppose that is part of the reason for exploring night-fishing possibilities, even though snow is on the ground.  Truth be told, the weather has been warming and we probably would not go out if it were much colder.  De-icing the guides every cast is no bueno. 

We did quite a bit of searching before we did any catching.  The wind was howling, which makes sharp streamers hurtling through the air seem all the more ominous.  It's always a rush to hear a "whoosh" and feel a puff of air right by your ear.  The wind was pushing into the bank, which must have been the ticket.  Bring on the food-conveyor belt.  We would cast parallel to the bank, let it sink, strip strip, let it sink, strip strip, and POW!  Sometimes we had to practically land the flies on the bank, but it was worth it because more often than not it would result in a take.  When we kicked our lights on, injured minnows could be seen floating around, trying to swim.  No wonder the fish were stacked against the bank.  They were playing sloppy seconds.  Things started slowing down a bit around 12:30am and we decided to call it a night. 

A belated ode to the Superbowl.  Football fish.

Black and white, or straight black streamers were the go-to flies.  Floating lines made it easier to slow down the retrieve, though we still caught fish on the sinking lines.  Night fishing during February in Idaho still blows my mind.  It makes me all the more excited to explore new night locations throughout the summer.  If you haven't tried it yet you are missing out.  It is work, and can be a bit awkward until you find your groove, but it pays high dividends.  Get out and look for your bowl of chocolate pudding.  It can be messy, but I can tell you this, it does not suck... no, not one bit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gear Review: Native Eyewear (Andes Polarized Glasses)

"Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya and you killed my father, prepare to die...  Or you could go fishing, that's cool too."
She is a fickle creature, winter light.  All in one day it can go from blinding white beneath a bluebird sky, to an overcast light-diffusing ambiance, and then on to thick wet clouds that cause a perpetual dusk/dawn feeling. If you have ever spent much time outside when the white stuff blankets the earth you know how much it can hurt the eyes, even on cloudy days.  Also, anglers know how much more difficult it is to see into the water with the diffused light and reflected clouds.  Winter lighting certainly tends to the extremes and can be harsh, or not really all that present during the season.  It creates a bit of a predicament for anglers (or anyone) who still wants to enjoy the out of doors throughout the chilly months.  Most polarized sunglasses are too dark to wear in the morning and late afternoons.

So what is the solution?

Native Eyewear started things up in 1997 and they have been producing awesome sunglasses and goggle patents since.  Native appears to be a young brand in the world of anglers, but with their quality and options they are becoming more common in fishing circles.  They are already a popular brand among such things as Nascar, snowboarding and skiing, BMX and mountain biking, rockclimbing, surfing, and other similar arenas.  They are putting out some fantastic gear for the hipster, sport, and angler alike.

Native has quite an array of frames, colors, and lenses to choose from.  This review is specifically for the Andes (Copper Lens).  They could not be more perfect for the winter outdoorsman.

The kit comes with a zipping hard nylon case, a separate set of protective tinted lenses (non-polarized), a small decal, and explanation of their lifetime warranty. First impressions are powerful and the first thing I noticed was how light-weight the glasses are.  This was a pleasant surprise for a picky wearer like myself.  After prolonged use, heavy glasses have a tendency to press down on my temples and ears, resulting in a headache.  Secondly I noticed the look.  I don't really care much what the fish think I look like when out on the water, but polarized glasses have become an essential in my day to day travels.  That being said, the sleek look of these shades was another win.

Native utilizes a highly durable thermoplastic material (Rhyno-Tuff® Air Frames) that is lightweight.  They claim it is "durable enough to withstand high-velocity collisions and temperature extremes."  After smacking my head on the edge of a car door (don't ask) and whacking the glasses with a heavy streamer, there is no sign of wear or breakage.  I should also add that in both circumstances I was spared pain because I was wearing them.

The glasses are form fitting, but not too tight, and block out extraneous light.  The eargrips are comfy.  I thought they would be too bulky and get in the way, but they actually keep the glasses from sliding and moving when I lean over to release a fish or tie my shoe.  The vents are another plus, especially in the winter when fogging can be an issue.  They don't entirely eliminate fogging, but they allow it to go away much quicker when it does occur.

Will and I were modeling for each other.  He was manning the camera here.
The lens selection for winter and low light was perfect.  The Copper Lens set has an 18% VLT (Visual Light Transmittance), which is more than any of their other polarized lenses.  They are a polycarbonate material, which also adds to their light weight.

These lenses dominate in low light and the copper/rose hue is killer when snow is all over.  I can put these on just before the sun comes up over the hills, and don't take them off till it's almost too dark to see with the naked eye.  There are some serious advantages to this when waiting till dusk to wade back across the river.  I sometimes wear them inside for a bit before I realize I still have them on.  They are that good with low light scenarios, and they still block glare and the sun like a boss.

Another sign of well made lenses is the lack of nausea when wearing them for any length of time.  Cheap glasses can start to make you sick real quick if you are looking anywhere but straight forward through them.  Good shades should not affect your vision, and be easily forgotten when being worn.  These meet that standard quite nicely.

The frames are made to allow interchangeable lenses, and though I don't see myself ever utilizing the feature, it is still nice to know I can if I wanted to.  That being said, the lenses are not loose or ill-fitted to the lens.  If someone did not know they are interchangeable beforehand, there are no obvious signs of it, meaning the lenses are snug as a bug for all intents and purposes.

Will's turn to model. Sporting them like a champ.
Lastly, though it is not the least in importance, is Natives lifetime warranty.   It's a pretty sweet deal.  If there is a manufacturers defect that caused the problem, and it is within the first year, you simply send them back and they will replace them.  After a year, or if the breakage was not from a manufacturers defect, you can simply send in the sad shades with a processing fee of $30 and they will hook you up with a new pair.   Can't argue with that.

Overall thoughts... after a decent amount of fishing trips and everyday use... I'm sold on them.  I don't go anywhere without them and curse myself when they are forgotten at home.  The Andes retail at $129, and I am sure glad to have them.  Aside from a rod, reel, line, and flies, a good pair of polarized glasses are almost a necessity.  Get sun burned eyes once (which is more likely to happen in the winter), and you will quickly start looking around for a good set of shades.  They are useful, increase an anglers safety, and did I mention these particular ones are killer in low light? Now I just need to look into some other Natives with a darker lens for the coming bright summer, or maybe just a different set of lenses to switch out. 

I think we'll be seeing more and more of Native in the angling world as time passes.  Quality gear can be hard to find, and sometimes takes a bit to gain its due credit.  So, if you haven't already, check these guys out, you won't regret it.


The reviews at Living Fly Legacy are my honest opinion. Often when offered to give a review, if the assessment of the product is more negative than positive, it is not published and the review is kept private between the provider of the product and myself. Living Fly Legacy is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of this publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.