Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hair Extensions? And they're paying how much?

Back when I was in high school and had just started tying flies, I could never afford the highest quality materials.  Struggling to make marginal feathers work, my dry flies inevitably sank and my wet flies too often rode on the surface.  To cap it all off, by the time I finally got my hands on a nice high-end grizzly neck, my sixteen-year-old self left it out where the family dog turned it into a nice morsel.  I still have the sad ziploc bag full of half-chewed feathers.  

And now, as if fly fishing and tying wasn't expensive enough, there's a fashion-fueled run on saddle hackle jacking prices up even higher

Most fly tiers know this trend has been slowly growing for a while.  However, fueled by a recent post on The Rusty Spinner highlighting just how exorbitant prices have become, I have joined the fray and listed all my old unused saddle hackles on eBay.  I bought the whole lot for just over $60 back in the day and will update things as the auctions progress.  If things go according to plan, I'll sell these items now for a tidy profit while the prices are high and repurchase new capes in a few years after the fad plays out.
Since I've had these for years on end without using a single feather, I obviously wasn't needing them anyway.  After all, every Alaska fly is big and wildly colored, right?  I just wish I had a few full grizzly saddles laying around . . .

* * *

And a quick update: Just hours into the auction two of the capes have bidders and will put at least $250 in my pocket.  Ridiculous.

Update #2: Well, the auctions have run their course and I have $593.00 in my pocket to show for it.  The cream full saddle and grizzly 1/4 saddle were the big winners, with the other two 1/4 saddles also doing well.
For the curious, this would have been a 16% annual rate of return on my investment over the roughly 15 years I owned the saddles.  Of course, the true test will come when I have to purchase replacements...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Testing out the new net

It's always fun to throw back the suds and go on a fly tying bender, if however brief, which is exactly what Sam and I did Sunday afternoon.  After the prior day's flexible rod sampling, my fly selection was looking a bit thin and in need of some attention.  Of course, once my fly box is full, I'm compelled to go lose a few flies--and thus a vicious cycle is born.

The fact that I had just bought a new giant-sized net pushed us over the edge so The Wife and I set out Monday for a rare weekday fishing excursion.  The lack of crowds was a welcome change, although those 20ish inch fish don't look so big any more:
We caught a handful of fish but the highlight of the day came when, while seated at the oars approaching a bend in the river, I hooked into a nice fish and fully confirmed that I cannot, in fact, play and land a fish while rowing the boat and containing the puppy dog.  Karta had a grand time through it all.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Better get a bigger net

I've been on a wicked dry spell recently.  I landed a nice rainbow back in April not long after ice out, but since then it's been goose eggs and gutter balls.  I spent two days chasing steelhead in Southeast--skunked.  A couple trips up north for early rainbow--nothing but short strikes and mosquito bites.  A couple trips south--casting practice.  I've caught fish in the salt, including a nice Chinook this past week, but I might as well have left my fly rod at home for the past several river trips.  It's a good thing it's not just about catching fish...

...or so I keep telling myself.

The Wife and I met up with one of my coworkers, Jason, and got the drift boat out for just its second voyage yesterday.  We didn't catch tons of fish, but it was a great day to work on your tan line and for me to remind myself what it's like to land a fish.

Of course, The Wife (looking very pregnant these days) set the pace by catching this guy right away:
Me getting in on the action, and keeping the rod tip up:
Jason caught the first really nice fish of the day:

At least someone (Karta) was keeping an eye on the line and indicator:

We each got into a handful of fish throughout the day, but the real action came later on.  While in the middle of saying how nondescript the river looked in this stretch, a nice fish slammed my dead drifting FMF and immediately started jumping up river.  She jumped five or six times before charging straight at me.  Me, gaining the upper hand and delusional enough to think the fish might fit in the net:
No longer thinking the fish will fit in the net:
Things were a little chaotic for a bit.  I needed three or four tries to get enough of the fish in the net to remove the hook, and at one point the net started swimming off with the fish still half in.  We never managed a full-fish picture since I wasn't willing to prolong the release after my landing debauchery, but it was a hell of a time and she swam off without delay.  I'm not sure where this ranks against other rainbow I've caught, but it's up there.  Oh, and needless to say, I've already up-sized my net.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Something tells me I spend too much time behind a desk

Well, I've been outdone again.  The Wife has been hitting the rivers pretty hard and had a good go of it yesterday.  This is one of many:
Don't think I haven't been getting out, because I have.  It's just that between The Wife's score yesterday and Adams from last week, I'm having a hard time competing.  Time to step up my game.

Friday, June 3, 2011

About time

Since several people have expressed concern about my lack of recent posts, here's a little somethin' somethin' to get back in the swing of things.  Adam, getting it done from a sea kayak: