Friday, September 30, 2011

The Shack

 From a distance you can see it, hidden in the trees. As I wind up the long driveway, the sight of woodsmoke curling out of the chimney and hanging in the still cold air is both inviting and comforting. Turning in to park in my old familiar spot, tires crunch gravel and then quiet as they roll over the bed of needles that has accumulated over the decades. I open the door of the truck and am greeted by the familiar smell of the river, and wet fir and cedar trees.I stand for a moment,engulfed in the sweet smell of well seasoned wood in the old iron stove. My nostrils flair as they detect the hint of something delicious cooking in the crock pot. Voices from inside escape through the walls, uncontainable in the small space. I hear familiar voices, happy voices....I am home! I climb the stairs to the front door and open it to a cacophony of greetings from my dearest friends. 

 The Rod Rack At The Shack(You should see the one inside)

The second I cross the thresh hold  of the entry way,  I feel instantly free. I just left the weight of the world, work, etc on the front porch when I came in. Old friendships long separated are rekindled here.New friendships are made. The deep and unchanged friendships of my closest friends grow ever stronger with every passing day.I instantly get an update on everything that has happened on the river since I have been there last. What's fishing,what isn't. Memorable encounters with fish are retold with an excitement that gets to your core. We are kindred spirits involved in a life long pursuit of a fish that defies description. The Shack is the gathering place, bunkhouse, war room, the dining hall, marriage counselor,psychiatrist couch,matchmaker,the saloon, poker hall, hospital,concert hall,movie theater, fly shop, and fly tying room. It is more than a place to get in out of the rain. It has become a part of the whole experience. It is a humble place, nothing fancy here, in fact the rods,reels,assorted tackle and fly tying material are probably worth more than the building itself in actual dollars. We wouldn't trade that old shack in for anything, to do so would take a piece of us with it.

 The Shack provides the rest to chase our dreams

 Sometimes those dreams can be caught

As the fall weather starts to move in, start heading for your Shack. They can be found on steelhead rivers throughout the NW. They are places of warmth and refuge for us wandering souls.Remember,as we all travel on this endless pursuit for the uncatchable fish,and that unreachable lie,it's the times spent in The Shack building relationships that are often most memorable.

 Tight Lines And Wild fish
Have A Happy Fall

Monday, September 12, 2011

A season of Septembers

At the start of every season I can't help but wish for a few more Septembers in the year. Rusty casting, color peeking from the underbrush, and a trickle...

But then October starts to loom and time is split between the yard, The River, and the talus slopes or tall grass of the back forty. The dogs tighten up, shots get further, and we all begrudgingly lose a few pounds.

September & October slip away too fast, but I've grown to appreciate early Fall for what it leaves me and not what I miss out on...

- Posted when I should be working...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The old Russian way


Why is it that customers, some of them very educated people order something and receive it 3 weeks ago then call up today and say "what I ordered isn't what I wanted. I'm leaving for BC early next week, can you overnight what I have now decided I really want?"

Fly shop owners start out as friendly, happy people but after dealing with this kind of crap for a few years they become crabby people. GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

time to learn

The experience of salmon fishing is not immediate. However there is a reward for your investment.

Time to learn the water;

The riparian rights, the pools, the locals, the landowners. Where the fish are likely to hold...

What has happened to the pool during ice out?

Spring pools, high water pools, low water pools, breathtaking fall runs.

Where to take a novice, where to test an advanced angler’s skills.

Time to learn the flies;

The styles, the hooks, the beliefs, the prejudices...

The idea that the pattern itself means very little is instilled, yet I still find my confidence in select few.

Of course these change from season to season. I accuse salmon of being illogical. What is to be said of myself?

Time to learn the WAY

Proper rotation on a productive pool.

Being dazzled by a beautiful, straight cast from experienced hands.

The fight!

Reflections of the challenge.

Time to learn the legend;

The mighty Miramichi river. Great men have stood here before me. Great men follow me through these pools. Have they been on a similar journey as I have?

-R. Feeney

The Deschutes

A very cool place to spend time with friends!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Late March, early April is my favourite time on the Squamish River. You really have to work and that work is only rarely rewarded with fish. The run of wild steelhead is small but the steelhead themselves are the largest in the Lower Mainland rivers.

Every spring, I bump in to other steelheaders who only fish here, away from the crowds and the ensuing madness of other streams. Its like being part of a secret society, whose only aim is to truly enjoy quiet and solitude. Its all the more remarkable because its exactly 1 hour from my home.

Some of my grandest moments in steelheading are from this very spot. It's funny to think that so few of them actually involve catching fish.

Jonathan Barlow