Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trip Summary - Blue Springs Creek and Maramec Spring Park, March 2015

I'm currently writing this post out by hand on a yellow legal pad, sitting in the back of a hotel conference room in Chesterfield, Missouri, listening to some schmuck drone on and on about the exciting new developments in family law, and how mortgage refinancing rules are affecting divorce cases in the state of Utah. Barf. (Note: I'm at home now transcribing these notes on blogger and my left hand is killing me. I haven't written this much since . . . the LSAT? I'm not sure when.) As a condition of maintaining my license to practice law in Missouri, I am required to complete a certain number of continuing legal educations (CLE) hours per year (15 hours, to be exact). This means that once a year, I have to take a vacation day on a Friday and sit through nine hours of inapplicable legal training - a vacation day that I could have spent out on a stream somewhere. Hell, I'd even rather be at work than at this seminar. At least work has wifi and fewer lawyers.

Handwritten notes of this blog post
What one all-day CLE seminar's worth of hand-written fishing stories looks like.
Two weeks ago, in mid-March however, I did take a proper vacation day and did get some fishing in. It wasn't the perfect day of fishing, or even necessarily a good day of fishing, but at least it wasn't a law seminar. I'd planned on writing about the trip weeks ago, right after it happened, but it seems that it's taken me longer to write about it than I thought it would. I could blame it on something superficial like being too busy with work or life, but that wouldn't necessarily be true.

If you read this whole post (and sorry in advance for the lack of pictures) you'll see that I talk about impatience more than once. One of, if not my main problem when fishing (aside from lack of funds), is that I have a tendency to feel rushed. I rush to drive to the stream, rush to rig up, rush to wade to a spot, then rush to catch something. There's the problem. I fish too fast too often. I don't spend enough time with my fly actually out on the water. And honestly, I don't want to make the same mistake with this blog. Admittedly, when I started it a few weeks back, I was in a rush to add as much content as I could, but I don't want to feel that rush each time I have an idea to write on and post. So I'm trying to slow down, both with fishing and writing, and give each post the attention it deserves. Although I didn't get a chance to snap any pictures on this trip, there were a few things worth writing down. Any pictures would have been crappy anyway. The weather was miserable. If you really want to see pictures of Maramec Spring, I have a gallery from last month. I did want to write about this trip though because it was my first fishing excursion of 2015, and the first time I've ever fished with my own flies.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Early March - "March Brown" Wet Fly

Life has been getting in the way of hobbies lately. I haven't had many chances to tie, much less fish for a little while, but that should all change soon. Pending managerial approval, I think I'm going to take off a day next week, and like many dead teenagers in the movies, go spend Friday the 13th wandering around the woods and try not to get myself killed. Yes, I've decided to check out Blue Springs Creek again in Bourbon, MO. The first time I tried that creek, I had not been fishing very long, and had been wading even less. I didn't see a single fish all day, mostly due to two factors: first, I was probably wading through all of the best spots and not even realizing it, and second, I don't think I went nearly upstream enough. I didn't even cross Highway N. Next week, leaky waders permitting, I'm going to try and fish all of the public water that I can.

But that's next week. Today, I did a little shopping. This upcoming Wednesday, Mike is hosting another fly-tying session at his auto-body shop (look for a post about it next week), and I needed to stock up on some supplies. Today was the first decent Saturday St. Louis has had in a long, long time, and I spent it running errands with my wife. Luckily for me, Feathercraft is right across the street on Manchester from K. Hall Designs. Fellows, I'm telling you, K. Hall is the best place in the city to buy your lady a birthday/anniversary/Christmas/Valentine's/whatever day present. Just go in, buy some expensive soap, tell your wife/girlfriend/mistress that you got it at some fancy boutique, and you're set. Feel free to omit that part about it being practically next door to a great fly shop. I dropped Emily off there and had all the time in the world to mull around Feathercraft, and was able to get all of the supplies I need.

The most significant purchase was a bag of Hungarian Partridge Feathers. I needed these for the Depth Charge pattern recipe that Mike posted online, but wanted to try them out before Wednesday. I flipped through one of my fly books and found an easy looking pattern that called upon partridge feathers, the March Brown.

March Brown Wet Fly
The March Brown

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fighting Winter Madness with the Orange Bass Popper

It's been a few days since I last posted, and I have to say, winter madness has officially set it. Today I sat in my cubicle and stared at my wall calender for at least 30 minutes straight trying to figure out when would be the absolute soonest I could get out on the stream. I'm writing this post on March 4, which means the trout streams in Missouri have been open for four whole days now. Usually, I am not one of those who gets suckered into opening weekend. I find that I would much rather watch 60 idiots stand on the Bennett Spring dam on their trout cam than be out there with them. However, I have the itch bad this year. Trying to balance my work life, my married life, my bank account, and my desire to go fishing is prooving to be difficult. Plus, now I'm writing about it and sharing those feelings with the entire internet, and that's just exasperating the problem.

Fishing will come soon. Fishing must come soon. Who knows. I might hit up Blue Springs Creek on Good Friday. The best thing about Blue Springs Creek is that if the fishing's lousy, it's only about 20 minutes from Maramec Spring.

Anyway, this post is about a big, orange bass fly I tied. This past week, I had an unexpected learning experience. It snowed in Saint Louis again so I was working from home. My rear-wheel drive Ford Rangers will spin out with a light breeze, never mind a quarter inch of snow. I popped onto the Ozark Fly Fishers' Yahoo! page and saw a post about a last minute get together to tie some bass flies. I checked and this was happening just across the highway over in Maplewood. I had been staring at my Outlook inbox for the past eight hours, so the idea of getting out of the house and tying some new flies really struck a chord with me. The winter madness was already beginning to creep in at that point.

The Orange Bass Popper
The Bass Popper

The fly we were learning (myself and two other OFF members) was a bass hopper. We were using a neon orange pattern on a size #2 hook. I have to tell you, after tying size #16 hooks for the past month of so, this size #2 felt giant in my vice. To be perfectly honest, I was in a bit over my head with this fly. My one month or so of experience was perfectly insufficient. Our teacher was former OFF president, Mike, and he was teaching us in the office of his auto body shop. Pretty sure my chest is about 200% hairier than this time yesterday from this last week.

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