Wednesday, February 25, 2015

...I just have to out run you!

Here is SE Arkansas we're experiencing a rare phenomenon.  White stuff is falling from the sky. We don't get snow in the Delta very often.  As such, the roads are deemed unsafe for travel and the local schools have been out since Monday afternoon.  Today I decided to read to the girls for a little while.  I gave up reading nursery rhymes and children's books a few years ago to focus on serious educational material.  After a few minutes, I found exactly what I was look'n for, a book about fly fishing tailwaters.  This won't be a book review, so hang in there a second longer.  Starting in chapter 1 - The West...blah, blah, blah...they made it through one tailwater before getting bored.  Me, I guess I got distracted also b/c I found myself thinking about the possibility of combining my 2 passions, running marathons and fly fishing.  My attention shifted to finding destination's that offered the opportunity to do both on the same trip.  I decided to keep with in the frame work of the book and began in the West.  Below is a list of marathons close to tailwaters featured in the book, "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish".

Ogden Marathon, May 16th, 2015, Ogden, UT.
Recommended for 1st time marathoners.  Mostly a descending point-to-point course.  A shuttle carries you to the start and you run back to the finish in the downtown area.  Either finish or sleep in the mountains!  This would be a great choice for any runner wanting to complete a race and be close to several featured TW's.
Provo River (UT)
Green River (UT)
Few hours - Henry's Fork of the Snake River (ID) and South Fork of the Snake River (ID)

St. George Marathon, October 3rd, 2015, St. George, UT.
Fast, descending point-to-point course.  Runner's World rated it as one of four "Marathons to build a vacation around".  Very popular and limited to 7800 runners, registration is by lottery.  Runners register in April, and hope they're selected in May for the 2015 race (gotta love the lottery).  *2 hours from Las Vegas!
TW's in the near vicinity:
2.5 hour drive to Lees Ferry, (AZ).
4 hour drive to the upper TW's in Utah.

City of Trees Marathon, October 11th, 2015, Boise, ID.
If you're one of those trying to run a marathon in all 50 states (me), this is probably a good choice. TW's in the area:
1.5 hrs to Owyhee River (OR) - Easy road side access all along the river from what I read.
4-5 hours to Henry's Fork of the Snake River (ID) and South Fork of the Snake River (ID).

Portland Marathon, October 4th, 2015, Portland, OR.
Considered one of the best marathons in the West and top 10 road races in the US.  Also recommended for 1st time marathoners.
Besides the race you'll need to find time to fish this TW.
Deschutes River (OR) - enough said.
Many other rivers/streams near Portland.

I realize this information isn't relevant to most or ANY of my fishing buddies.  But I'll leave you with this thought.  If you're fishing with me and a bear suddenly appears - I don't have to out run the bear...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some serious stuff going on!

Timing is everything.  Can't make this stuff up.  Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from the Little Rock Marathon race directer.  Part of the email read:

"We would like to inform you that our 2015 Finishers Medals are in jeopardy of not making it to Arkansas in time for our race. While we and our medal partner met every critical deadline, our medal is caught up in the middle of a labor strike between the longshoreman union and the Long Beach Port Authority."  Labor Dispute Article

I just assumed it would be the weather, and/or traffic, that everyone would be screaming about.  Personally, I don't care, those things are dangerous.  Look, it's the size of a large skillet and weights 2.5 pounds!  Just what you want around your neck after running 26.2 miles.

Unruly buggers photo bombing

Last year, my wife punched the gas, ENTERING THE DRIVEWAY, and the medal fell from the dash.  Guess who was sitting in the passenger seat and can't move his legs?  Luckily, my shin bore the brunt of the impact or we'd be Fred Flintstoning it today.

Only injury I got was after the marathon from the 2.5 lb medal
The good news is, the weather still looks terrible and after February all my weekend obligations are over...that means fishing is coming back into my life.  Excited!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Not again...

David Knapp at The Trout Zone posted an interesting read today about winning some cool ice cleats from another blogger, Windknots & Tangled Lines. (The really cool bloggers give away free stuff - disclaimer...I'm not cool so...)  Anyway, back on point, David's post about ice cleats got me thinking about the Little Rock Marathon which happens a week from Sunday, March 1, 2015.  I'm running the half in 2015, I try to alternate between LR's full and half marathons and completed the full in 2014.  Now you're asking yourself...if you're still reading...what does this have to do with ice cleats?

Do I need to explain this?!

I'll share my thoughts.  Let's go back to 2014 and take a look at the weather.  It was suppose to be a warm start around 50F and cooling off as a strong front pushed into the area around noon.  Let's just skip to the point and say it was cold and raining when the race started and dropped to near freezing in a couple hours.

I really never understood the was obviously re-routed!!

The weather got so bad that the race directors decided to, some argue, "cancel" the race.  Other's believe it was "re-routed" to get runners off the course quickly.  I was lucky enough to have been past the cut-off point and avoided all the confusion.  Finished the race in under 4hrs, freezing cold and soaking wet, but still smiling!!!

Current forecast for Friday, Feb 27th.  Fun times!!

Fast forward to 2015.  I have been checking the 10 day forecast as I'm sure every runner does before a race, and surprise, looks like I might need to borrow some ice cleats (I noticed they fit around running shoes).  I understand it's way out there...but based off past experience, I'm planning on snow and ice.  AND, adding to the medal bouquet.

Last years "Epic" wouldn't fit into the vase.
There's a glass vase under there somewhere.  Little Rock puts on a great event.  I have run marathons in 7 states and can say LR is top notch!!  Did you happen to find the "unruly buggers" in the above picture (this is a fish'n blog, right)?  Their terrible, always get'n in my stuff!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hogs on the Buffalo

I'm not an activist but this is something worth watching.  Serious threat of pollution to the Buffalo River.

Hogs on the Buffalo

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Go fishing or else!

What a weekend!!  On Friday, me and 2 buddies decided to hit the river so we drove up bright and early Saturday morning.  The other guy's don't have a kayak so we were going to wade below the dam.  I hadn't seen one of these guys in years so I was cool with leaving the yak on the rack.

We get to the dam and hit the water.  I made a cast, lost my grip and fling my fly rod into the freezing water.  That sucks...but I was lucky to have my dive mask on me (literally) and it was only a few feet deep.  After a few attempts, placing my face under the water I was able to find it AND another fly rod, crazy.  It was a 13' 4wt illusion fly rod/reel perfect for nymphing and in mint condition.  The odd part was, the reel was full of fly line.  At the end of what looked like 100 yds of white backing was a light wire cricket hook with an artificial cricket.  Kinda weird I thought...must have been someone just starting frustrated and tossed it into the river.  (I've gotten close to doing it many times)

As I was wading in the river, I tripped on a fully submerged gold and maroon canoe.  Unbelievable!!  Me and the buddies pulled it from the river and emptied it.  It looked to be a rental that had gotten lost in a storm.  Not in great condition but serviceable.  Didn't take much convincing and we were on the river floating away from the dam, me in my kayak, buddies in the canoe.  On the way down river, I stopped and worked an area but didn't have any luck.  Right at the moment, I had a the hell are we getting back!?  We didn't run a shuttle.  The guys had gotten about a mile away from me.

When I caught up to them they didn't care.  They responded, "we'll figure it out."  That's crazy, I thought!  I didn't want any part of that I turned around and left them.  On my way back, I beached the yak to fish a great look'n run.  Walking to the run, I ran across a cooler packed with ice cold beer on the river bank.  Beside it was several tackle boxes full of bass baits.  Very confused, I stood there look'n at the just didn't seem believable.  I was just about to leave, not touching anything, b/c I feared it was a set-up...a women walks up the river bank and thanks me for finding her husbands stuff.  She had knocked it from their boat as they were driving back and he was furious...Insane!!!

When I finally arrive at that great look'n run, I see a moped sitting in the bushes...seems like it should run.  So I start it and drive it up and down the river bank for a few minutes!!  How crazy is that, I just found a ride back to my I can fish as long as I like.

Where I test drove the Moped

I wade out and the most amazing hatch starts.  LARGE fish are rising with total abandonment!!  I stop and tie on a parachute adams and make a presentation...nothing.  Again....nothing.  And again...nothing.  The air is filled with all kinds of winged insects...I can't identify any one type...seems like there are all types.  The water is boiling all around me and I can't breath w/o inhaling a bug.  So why in the hell isn't this PA working?  Try a gnat, BWO, caddis, etc....every dry fly I have for what seemed like HOURS!!!  Then the CRAZIEST thing thus far happens.  A huge brown inhales my Thing-a-ma-bobber!!  My mind asks itself, "why are you using a bobber?"  Instantly, I WAKE UP, pissed-off and in a real foul mood.  It's the worst NIGHTMARE I've had in months.  It was so vivid, my heart was racing and my mind was in over drive.  The next day my shoulder was sore and my back hurt.

I ponder the meaning and conclude:  I have been struggling with a cold all week.  Not a really bad one...just a cough and scratchy throat.  But it's driving my wife insane.  I guess the constant sound of me choking and coughing, as my sinuses try to drown me in my sleep, finally got to her.  Thursday she demanded I take a cold medicine, vapor rub, and something else made in China, so she could get some sleep (she has some VIP's in for work and needs a good nights she say's...I'm not so sure).  I have no idea how the kids got to school Friday morning, I know I took them, but the last thing I remember was drinking 2 cups of coffee at 7:30 am.  Out again...I finally awake from my coma around 11 am.  Starving, I eat a ham/cheese sandwich...forget I ate that sandwich, and make a PB&J sandwich.  The rest of Friday was pretty much a haze as I set on the couch and drooled on myself, while watching ESPN, until about 3 pm.  Not wanting to repeat Friday's evolution.  I refused her medical treatment and self medicated with a home remedy of 80 proof and ice.  The end result wasn't much better, I was reminded of the true fears that haunt my subconscious.  If I had caught just a few fish, the outcome would have been...A DREAM.  Must go fishing, its been too long!!!

Nightmare re-enacted as I pieced it back together over the next day.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fish, eat, sleep

In general, I avoid camp grounds at all costs, unless it's in the winter or I'm camping with my family, b/c I hate paying to sleep outside.  Between me and my brother we live with 7 "crazy ladies" (none read this blog so I'm safe-but plz don't repeat) who prefer electricity and running water.  Really, they like bathrooms which are commonly found in more civilized parks.  I however, enjoy the solitude of waking up beside a stream miles away from other people...and showering is overrated!  Not seeing another fisherman is a huge PLUS (no showers)!!

Being completely honest, kayak camping is not S.E.R.E school and I try, REALLY HARD, to not eat bugs and drink urine...but you can leave the 1000 count Egyptian cotton sheets and the Keurig at home.  If you've ever wanted to give it a try my suggestions are to pack light and keep it simple..think backpacking gear.  My packing list breaks down into 2 categories:

1- Keep me alive:  Food and Water
Everything has to be light weight, not require refrigeration, and easy to open.  I plan to recycle as much as I can, so small plastic containers (like the vegetables below) are ideal.  I plan on eating bagels for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, (the travel sizes fit my needs), and depending on my mood...sometimes I'll pack dehydrated meals (if you like eating recycled socks!!)...most times I'll take some spam, chili, other canned meat for dinner.   Snacks include, trail mix, or mixed nuts, granola bars (sometimes the chocolate melts...but I don't care), jerky is a must!!!  Food is just calories, as long as it's easy to prepare, I'll eat it.  I want to maximize my fishing time so building a fire to cook steaks, eggs, and bacon isn't for me.  The good news is the load get's lighter after every meal!

Water is a no brain'r.  It weights the most but can't be forgotten...take more than you plan to use.  I pack a few gallons and keep my 2 liter Camelbak filled (fits behind my kayak seat perfectly).  I always have water purification tablets in my first aid kit for emergencies.  There are some really interesting treatment systems available now, but I don't feel they are needed for a 2 night trip.  I'd absolutely pack a LifeStraw or similar product if I were spending 3-5 nights on the water.

Coffee...technically not a "keep me alive" item, but I'm addicted to it and can't function w/o it.  Keep it simple some instant coffee, non-dairy creamer, and sweetener are all I need.

Camp chair also holds bug spray, headlamp, rags, pliers in the pouch on the back

2 - Keep me happy:  Comfort Items
Clothing (what's appropriate for the area), fire starter, boots, my kayak seat doubles as a camp chair, small battery operated lantern, TP/disposable bags, mesh trash bags, knife, utensils, camp stove, extra batteries and some fine china...plastic plate.

Propane stove for boiling water for coffee or heating food.

I carry a 2 man tent.  Some would argue it's not necessary...but it makes me happy to be out of the wind, rain, and bugs.  I have spent many a night under a tarp or wrapped up in a sleeping bag on a gravel bar.  But I'm older and wiser now (FYI, waking up w/ a rock lodged in your A$$ crack is called wising up).

Small sleeping pad, clothing, and roll-up 40F sleeping bag, all pack nicely in a dry bag, secured in the hull of my kayak.

 2 dry bags keep all my gear from getting wet.
These are just some of the items I pack (not all inclusive).  The beauty of kayak camping is you can make your own pack and decide what's most important to you, some may want a pillow, others a Yeti full of beer and steaks?!  For me it's about the fishing and being able to start in the areas that most day tripper's paddle through on their way out.  I focus on the fishing and try to not get overly complicated with the camping, eat, sleep, in order of importance!!  So don't forget your fishing gear!!!

***Remember to pack out what you pack in and leave the glass (containers/bottles/etc) at home***