Friday, June 7, 2013


Wednesday afternoon, after a long day of work that felt as if it had lasted a month, I made my way to the fly fishing clubs local pond to meet up with a longtime friend.  I’d like to say he is like a family member, but that would equate to only seeing him on holidays, funerals and when he is in need of money.  In typical fashion, the pond greeted me with the surreal silence of nature at peace – a cardinal called to its mate somewhere to my right, the reply came from the left not more than two steps later. Memories of watching the bird feeder with my grandmother, assurance that she is still with me, brought a cheekish smile.  I called out to Mark who was standing on the far side of the pond, dressed in t-shirt, cargo shorts and fishing vest.
“Nice Legs,” I teased, seeing the pale white of his skin reflecting of the water.  Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration.
“Nice dress pants,” he replied, reminding me that I been at work all day and not thought to bring a change of clothes with me.
I saw a gentlemen sitting on one of the three wooden benches strategically placed around the pond giving us a place to sit while enjoying a cigar or sip of Scotch; maybe two.  I quickly remembered that Mark was bring along his friend Reed who I had not met before.  As I approached, Reed introduced himself and continued tying on a fly that he had carefully chosen based on experience.  I proceeded to set up my 9’, 5 weight rod that Mark had given me last year because, as he put it, my 20 year old fiberglass Fenwick® needed an upgrade.  I chose a size 20, Adult Cadis Fly that I tied the night before with a swept back turkey feather wing, green dubbed thorax and grey hackle. 
As I stood there preparing for my first cast, trout were sipping midges off the surface and few leapt completely out of the water, perhaps attempting to grab one of the dragon fly’s as they performed there splash dunking/spin drying  [check out this incredible photo I found on the dragonfly whisperer’s blog]on water’s surface.  Mark kindly edged me on saying that Reed [Reed F. Curry] had hooked up on his second cast.  Not to be out done, I was now determined that my first cast had to be perfect and not end with 50 feet of line bunched up on the water, ten feet in front of me. 
I heard myself thanking God as I watched a nice tight loop unroll 40 feet in front of me, landing with hardly a splash, my leader and tippet stretched another 15 feet as the #20 Adult Cadis ever so gently floated to the water’s surface. Within a millisecond of landing came a splash, accompanied by the sight of a fat rainbows back disappearing below the surface with my fly and an ever so slight vibration traveled from fly to hand as I set the hook and watched my fly come sailing back at me. I gather myself with a false cast and somehow managed another beautiful presentation landing within inches of the last, another flash, this time followed up with a tight line and sweetly bent rod, ending with an over fed 16” rainbow that weighing every bit of two pounds.
Having repeated this 3 times in under ten minutes Mark and Reed asked what I was using.  I explained that I did not have a clue what it was called, just a little something that I remembered seeing at the Evening Sun one day and tied up with materials I happened to have at hand.  Clear fingernail polish that I “borrowed” from my daughter, a turkey feather from my cousins’ tom he bagged last fall, some green dubbing and grey hackle. I had tied about two dozen of them the night before in sizes #16-22 scud hooks; I was out of dry fly hooks that small.  Reed humbly asked I had any more, tied one on that he lost on a rather large rainbow within two minutes. I was elated when Reed came back for another, offer up some wonderfully dressed flies that he had recently tied. 
I could not dreams such a splendidly relaxing evening.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Government pulls the plug

An 18 year old soldier that I have known since he was in diapers, made this statement today, right after he heard that the United States Government [Army and Marine Corps] have pulled the plug on tuition assistance programs one week after across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration went into effect.  “Everybody needs to stop bitching about tuition assistance being taken away, we'll eventually get it back, so don't worry guys.”

Yes, and when you are 50, you will have earned it back in very small increments that will make no difference because Uncle Sam will have increased your taxes 1.99% more than you annual pay increase.  Why the Hell is it that our government makes, on average, 700.00% more than the young men and women that willingly stand in the line of fire to protect the rights of Americans who think they deserve free tuition, lower taxes, and yes, more rights.  How many Congressmen/women have taken pay cuts? Has “Obama Bin Laden” taken a pay cut?  I say we cut his Secret Services staff by 50% and remove the 7 armed guards that watch over his precious little girls.  While we are at it, we should stop paying taxes and only adhere to the laws that we agree with. After all, isn’t that what he is doing? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Memorable Moments

Memorable Moments

This is a trick I learned from an “old timer” while fishing Strawberry Reservoir, Utah some twenty years ago, also my first time in a float tube. It is one 4th of July weekend I will never forget.  We crawled out of our bunks and rolled our sleeping bags around 5 am [Jerry slept in for my sake, the “young buck”], Mrs. Clemmens stood at the tiny 30” x 42” table, in her light blue-green, almost white, ankle length flannel nightgown with blue roses [most likely ordered straight out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog that lay tucked under the tiny bench seat that doubles as bed when the table is lowered] pouring coffee into black, white speckled camp cups, also from the catalog I suppose. Yesterday’s catch freshly cooked still laid in the well-used frying pan, perfectly breaded, brazed in just a little too much butter [not that fake stuff in a tub either]. Fresh brewed generic coffee and Cutthroats served with a side of the best fried potato patty I have ever tasted; life could not possibly get any better.  I actually found myself just a little jealous of Jerry right then.

Oh yeah, trolling…Jerry and I spent the morning wading Strawberry River, about ¼ mile below the damn, catching and releasing several Browns and Cutt’s on #12 to #16 Light Cahill’s and Grey Wolff’s. By 9:00 AM the “Yuppie, City Slickers” Jerry called them, began showing up with their pale blue plastic containers of store bought dillies and crawlers tied to #6 hooks held to the bottom by pounds of lead split shot, casting whatever direction their wild windup sent the hook flying. Jerry and I decided a control retrograde was in order before we fell victim to the barrage of flying hooks and lead. Jerry, a purple heart recipient, mumbled on his way up the bank that he had seen enough lead coming at him in Korea…I didn’t catch the rest and it was probably best that I hadn’t.

 We headed back to the RV, filled up the float tubes and headed into the water, which in the 80 degree sun was a welcome relief; I just wish I had left my waders on as Jerry had instructed, but of course as a 23 year old Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, had to play tough guy for the retired Marine.  Hypo what, I had said, yeah right.  The remainder of our day was spent maneuvering our kick boats along the edges of steep drops, trailing 80 feet of sinking line behind us. I only know this because, it’s the first time I ever saw the florescent yellow backing leave my reel, with the exception of replacing my fly line once a year. We managed to land over a dozen 16-18” Lakers and Rainbows, Jerry release 3 that were over 20” and I just one, but it might as well have been 100.  It was my first and only Trout over 20”, measuring in at 22 ¾ inches.  I still have that old Fenwick rod with the little scratch I made in the shaft when I had laid the fish alongside my rod, which at that moment was used as a measuring device because, my tape measure was back at the RV in the chest pocket of my waders.

– Leroy “Gibbs” Dickey

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arm Chair Fishing

Here it is, the 5th day of February and I have yet to step foot in a trout river, instead I'm sitting in my armchair, enjoying the warmth of a slightly too hot living room, recovering from a cold that feels as if it has lasted for an eternity, begging my wife to save some oil and turn the damn thermostat back down to 65.  Although thankful for Gerry's Blog that provides me a much needed break from writing a report only statisticians and quality engineers would appreciate, let alone take the time to try and understand; heck...I'm not sure that I understand the thing.

I should be concentrating on Kruskal-Wallis tests, Chi-square tests and R square values for validation work that is due in two days, when the only clear thoughts in my head are whether I should purchase the 5mm neoprene waders that will help keep my body temperature above freezing in the ice cold New England streams or suck it up and add extra layers.  Now that I have actually seen my thoughts on paper the decision is clear - log in to Cabela's, purchase the damn waders and get back to work.