Monthly Archives: March 2009

On Life, Hope and Flyfishing

Reprinted my permission from Mingo

Lately it seems the world is full of nothing but shitty news about bailouts, ripoffs, shameless executive greed, corrupt, incompetent politicians and a rotten economy that has forced many of us to push our retirement plans out further and further into an uncertain future. I’m sure many others are sick to death of working their nuts off while watching deceitful rotten lying sacks of shit get rewarded over and over while the rest of us take it in the proverbial cornholio from morning to night every godamn day.

I’d like to share a recent experience that may hopefully
give some of you reason to smile, regain perspective and perhaps realize
just how lucky we truly are. Yes, damned lucky…….despite all the bad news and bullshit.

I recently had the last conversation I will ever have on this
side of reality with a lifelong friend of almost 40 years. He died a couple weeks ago after a long and painful battle with cancer. We did not see each other much over the past several years after he and his wife moved permanently to his small farm on the Yachats River. He spent the past decade supplying Oregon coast restaurants with fresh herbs and produce and he fished the little Yachats and his beloved Alsea every chance he had. It pains me deeply to think we will never again fish together, laugh together or drink together in front of a roaring fire in this world…… I truly hope we will meet again to share laughs, go fishing and quaff some cold beers along whatever twisting rivers there may be in the next one. The pain of saying goodbye lingers still. My friend is gone now, and I miss him terribly.

But this story is not about sadness. This story is about hope and the
healing powers of laughter, fishing and friendship. I have been blessed with other great friends………and one of them is dealing with his own long, painful struggle.

I will never forget that moment several years ago when he called me at work. He sounded really down and he said he had something he needed to tell me. I knew he was dealing with all kinds of shit from the ex-wife-from-hell so I figured something else had happened with child support demands or something else. I was working a spreadsheet, prepping for a sales presentation. I told him I didn’t mean to be a dick, but I let him know I only had a couple minutes before I had to leave.

“Mingo……I have some bad news bro. The doc just told me…..I…..have leukemia”.

“Holy shit………………………………………. what can I do?”

“Keep me laughing brother……just keep me laughing……the doc says I should not plan on living past 50 tops……so keep me laughing”.

My friend and I had been through a lot together. He had already beaten
cancer once when he was 23, and now he had to face Leukemia in his 40s?

This was not right. We were supposed to continue getting tossed out of bars for being too boisterous when we were in our 70s for Chrissake!! I wanted my friend to live. He had always had some passing interest in fishing and he liked hearing my stories. It was time to make it happen, because neither one of us knew how much time he would have left.

We made plans to meet up and go steelhead fishing that weekend. I started him out with a spinning stick, something he was already somewhat familiar with from boyhood trips to Lake Washington. Making time to fish is not always easy of course….work and family responsibilities come first, but we made it a point to get out whenever we could. His first trip with me was epic. With the common beginner’s luck that can really skew perspective, he hooked 4 silvers and 2 steelhead his very first day out. I had the thrill of being with him when he hooked and landed his first-ever steelhead; after a couple minutes of basic instruction I left him alone with his thoughts and went downstream to try my own luck. I heard him let out a war yell ….”HOLY FUCK! I got one!”. He fought it with preternatural ability, and after I tailed it he hoisted it up to the heavens and let out a yell that rattled the mountainside. He carted his hatchery fish home, put it on
the BBQ, called some neighbors over and celebrated like a caveman after a successful hunt.

Two old friends, one facing a very difficult health crisis, had found a new way to hang out and spend time together.

We caught a lot of fish that first year. He said it helped him completely focus, totally relax and block out everything. He needed it. I needed it. There are more funny stories from that period than I can even remember, among them the clear lesson that yes, a steelhead can swim backwards, at alarming speed, right out of a knotless release net…….and that holding a mint bright 15 pound hatchery buck to impress some tourists, even when you are standing 25 feet from the river, is no guarantee it will not squirm out of your hands, pingpong off a dozen rocks, make its way back to the water with a shocked Mingo in hot pursuit and take off like a torpedo into the depths leaving me standing like a tazered idiot in a bug-eyed stupor.

And beer. Plenty of tasty, cold beer. Some people retreat to a world of radical therapy when they are facing a health crisis. Not my bro. He came into this world a partier, and he was going to live life on his terms and nobody else’s.

After a couple seasons using spinning gear, my bud started paying closer and closer attention to me when I’d use a flyrod. I showed him a few basics after a typical skunk day of chasing summer runs and he said he wanted to try it for real.
“Cool. Let’s do it!”

The first day out he suffered the usual spaghetti tangles, wind knots and a dozen flies snapped off in the trees. He also managed to hook and land a couple trout and fall in the river……..twice. I wasn’t sure if this form of fishing was going to stick……….but at the end of the day on the hike back to my rig, he had a shit eating grin on his face. He asked me how much a decent flyrod costs.

He started to flyfish. And he would tell me after every trip how it was one of the very few things in his life that made the madness stop, that made the stress go away for a bit, that allowed him to focus and keep the pain at bay. It gave us a great way to hang, and I know it was great therapy for him. It was easy for me….I’m an addict, like most of you reading this. I have no choice in life…..I MUST fish, or I will die. I was born that way and I’ll leave that way……but my friend came to love it later in life, and for different reasons.

We’d head out to the Middle Fork as often as possible…….

And we would hit the Cedar from time to time……where he proved he was quite adept at his own techniques like the notorious “lip and strip”………..

He was there to snap this shot of me and a fine little trout one hot summer day ……..

We had some great days on the lower Cedar before the port decided to destroy the entire stretch and channel it into a shallow sterile riffle in the interest of “flood control”. A travesty, and a story for another day……

Neither one of us will ever be mistaken for a Rajeff brother if you watch us casting, and neither of us give a shit about turning flyfishing into a fashion show. My bro already had turned exclusively to hip boots on my advice after he blew the leg seams out of two pairs of chest waders with his giant ham-like Italian calves. I figured the hippers would keep him from getting into any more wading trouble.

Lincoln Park was the scene of the notorious lesbian attack, right after this photo was snapped………….she was very interested in getting a close look at his searun as he bent down to unbutton it…I’ll never forget the scene as the 6’2″ , 250 pound lesbian rushed him while he was bent over trying to release his trout. “Let me see that! Is that a cutthroat? Is that a cutthroat? I wanna see it! LEMME SEE IT!!!!!”

“Back off dude, give me some fucking space!” Her pendulous mudflaps were flopping outside the armpit holes of her wifebeater as she tried vainly to get a look at the fish he was trying to release. Pure comedy. I was laughing so hard I forgot to take another photo. Only in Seattle…………………….

Gradually I taught him to nymph with an indicator. I swelled up with pride two
years ago when he came back from his annual early spring Sun Valley ski and flyfishing trip he takes with his grade school chums. These guys have known each other since they were 7 years old, and they’re comically competitive with each other. The previous year he was a total rookie but he still managed to catch a couple of trout. Two
years ago, he took the pool cash and schooled the others by landing 14 nice rainbows from the Big Wood on nymphs while they managed just one between them. Heh.

My friend gave me my nickname…..Mingo. This involved a day of hot Hawaiian
sun, massive quantities of rum and beer, our wives dancing to Henry Kapono’s band in bikinis and nonstop
laughter on the outdoor patio at Duke’s
on Waikiki. Nicknames are born from days like that. He became Magwa, I
became Mingo.

Magwa has always lived life on his terms. He decided to retire early 2
years ago to pursue a life of his own making without the pesky
annoyances of a boss and a job. He had been careful, he had planned and he was ready and able to pull it off. Like my wife and I, he and his spouse both hate the weather in Seattle so they were deliberating between a move to Palm Springs and Hawaii. We sold them on Oahu…..a decision that was once again born of a day of joking,laughing, guzzling beer and assorted mayhem at Duke’s on Alki.

Magwa likes his life there. He is warm when we are cold and
he fishes whenever he feels like it. He runs into Dog The Bounty Hunter at the gas station, he volunteers to help flood victims with the Red Cross, he’ll grab a spinning rod if he’s in the mood, or use his flyrod if he feels like chucking a streamer. He lives his life on a constant quest for the perfect maitai, on his terms, without any pretense, bullshit or illusions. He refuses to dry up and hide, to become a teetotaler, to give in or give up. He’s the toughest guy I’ve ever known and the greatest friend I’ve ever had. He’s slept outside in a tent on safari with wild elephants stomping around right outside, he’s been in a land rover stuck in the mud that barelyl pulled out in time to avoid the charge of a pissed off lion who did not like his wildebeest dinner interrupted, he’s fished for tigerfish, rafted the Zambezi, had his boat charged by a bull hippo, boated the Nile, scuba dived the Red Sea and caught fish on a Fijian reef after a night of kava and beer drinking with tribal elders. We’ve chased steelhead, salmon, trout, roosterfish, marlin, tuna and sails together…..and when we’re in the islands we all make it a point to spend as much time together as possible together, fishing, drinking, joking and living life.

Last month, after my other friend had just died, we were all together in Seattle during Magwa’s short visit. We were helping him put some of his furniture in storage and when we were done, we all went up to the West 5 for a couple cocktails. Magwa ordered a round of drinks and told us he had something to tell us. My wife and I were tensed up and started to freak…………

“Well…….I just got my latest round of tests back and……..”

Long pause………………….

“They cannot find any trace of cancer in my blood, my marrow, my whole body!”

My wife cried. We toasted, we drank more, and laughed
until the bar closed.

I’d like to think that just maybe, somehow, the fishing helped in some tiny way. Maybe it started that typical fisherman’s night time sentient stream of hopeful, impossible R.E.M. dreams full of giant steelhead, sailfish and 75 pound emperor wrasse smashing poppers in an impossibly blue atoll reef. Perhaps it kicked in some fierce interferon microscopic bloodstream samurai that attacked and subdued his cancer cells, beat the living shit out of them and devoured them like girl scout cookies.

The point of this story is simple. 99% of the garbage we read, hear and worry about is not important. Spend time with your friends. Call one tomorrow and set up a fishing trip. Laugh like a mental patient. Party in whatever way is meaningful to you. Enjoy a cold brew. Don’t let someone else’s wadded up panties turn you into an uptight douche. Don’t be afraid to be silly. Act like you’re 14 years old and surround yourself with people who make you smile. There are enough glum asswipes out there trying to bring you down.

Don’t let them.

Because in the end, we are lucky people. Maybe 1% of the bullshit you encounter every day is even worth caring about, because you can’t control it anyway. We are not 3rd world subsistence fishermen who have to catch something to avoid starvation. We don’t have to feed a family or a village. We use feathers and expensive plastic wands to fool a fish, fight it to submission, snap a photo and let it go. Maybe we keep one to eat from time to time, but it is not life or death if we get skunked.

Life is pretty damned good for us. Call a friend, spend some time, hang out and go fishing. Do it now. Don’t wait for tomorrow.

One final thought…….Magwa was told not to expect to live to 50 when he was diagnosed many years ago. He is about to turn 51………and I know we’ll still be fishing, drinking and laughing on his 70th birthday.


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There Ain’t No Nookie Like Chinookie~

Actually the song title is “Aint no humpies in my bed” funny little tune that I think you’ll get a kick watching.

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Manzanar: “From Barbed Wire to Barbed Hooks”…fishing stories from Manzanar

Most folks don’t know what Manzanar was, but Cory Shiozaki definitely does. Shiozaki is compiling information for a project documenting the history of Japanese-American internees who snuck out of the Manzanar internment camp under the noses of armed military guards to go trout fishing. Shiozaki’s documentary, “From Barbed Wire to Barbed Hooks,” will tell the stories of how internees risked life and limb to experince a feeling of feedom, albeit brief, fishing Sierra rivers and lakes.

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Chironomid Chronicles: Nunnally Lake, March 24th, 2009

Continue reading

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Prosecutors Seek To Claim Over $30M From Madoff’s Sons

NEW YORK — Prosecutors stepped up their scrutiny of Bernard Madoff’s family and assets Tuesday, telling a judge they want to seize jewelry, business interests and more than $30 million that the disgraced money man and his wife lent to their two sons.

The move was one of two motions that prosecutors filed Tuesday, four days after Madoff pleaded guilty to what could be the largest fraud in history. The other motion argued that Madoff must remain behind bars before his sentencing because his guilty plea creates a tremendous motive to flee, especially since he faces the near-certainty of a life prison sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa A. Baroni said strict bail conditions that have kept Madoff under guard in his apartment with an electronic ankle bracelet and video monitoring were not foolproof. She said Madoff “managed to perpetrate an enormous fraud, over the course of decades; his ingenuity should not be underestimated.”

The prosecutor even noted that Madoff “has been shunned by the New York community and his inability to salvage his reputation.” She said his history of extensive foreign travel, including to his $1 million home in France, also heightened the risk he could flee.

The court filing sets the stage for arguments Thursday before a federal appeals court on whether Madoff should remain jailed. His defense lawyers have asked the court to set him free ahead of his sentencing.

The bail issue was one of two fronts for prosecutors in the Madoff case Tuesday. They are also pursuing the fruits of the fraud, attempting to seize as many assets from Madoff as they can to reimburse victims who lost billions.

The government earlier this week indicated it will seek the forfeiture of nearly everything the Madoffs own, from the $22 million estimated value of four homes to $62 million in cash and securities, nearly all of it in the name of Madoff’s wife, Ruth.

The latest list extends the demands to loans the Madoffs made to their sons, Mark and Andrew, including an Oct. 6 promissory note for $4.3 million to Andrew and a Sept. 21 note for $250,000 to Andrew. The loans came less than three months before Madoff admitted to them that his investment business was a complete fraud.

In all, the government cites $22 million in loans to Mark and $9.55 in loans to Andrew. The document lists 2005 as a particularly busy year, when Mark received $16 million in loans and Andrew received $5 million in loans.

Madoff has insisted that his family was not involved in the fraud, but the attempt to seize the loans is a sign that prosecutors are intensifying scrutiny of the sons as they investigate how the scam was carried out.

Prosecutors are also going after Madoff’s business interests. The businesses in which the Madoffs would have to relinquish any ownership interest include real estate partnerships, a New Jersey cancer clinic and PJ Clarke’s on the Hudson, a tavern located in the financial district.

Gary Berger, the administrator at Hoboken Radiology, said Ruth Madoff had bought a 21.25 percent interest in the business about five years ago through an investor who was a personal friend of Madoff.

Berger said the Madoffs never visited the facility and he had never met them, though he had arranged the financing.

“I’m happy they’re looking at her assets,” Berger said. “If she received her assets due to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, obviously there’s something wrong with that.”

He said the facility serves between 125 and 150 people per week, including cancer patients.

The filing also says Madoff has a stake in several entities of Sterling American Property, a real estate investment firm that also has ownership interests in the sports world.

Company spokesman Richard Auletta said in a statement that “no member of the Madoff family has any affiliation with or interest or investment in Sterling Equities, the New York Mets or Sports Net New York.”

Auletta said that Ruth and Peter Madoff invested “as passive limited partners in real estate funds sponsored by the partners of Sterling Equities, as well as a limited number of other venture capital type investments in which the partners of Sterling Equities have an interest.”

“Any potential forfeiture of these investments will have no material impact on such ventures,” he said.

Prosecutors say Madoff told 4,800 investors in his private securities investment business in November that their investments were worth nearly $65 billion. Investigators hunting for assets say they have found about $1 billion in assets.


Associated Press Writer David B. Caruso contributed to this story.

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Beda Lake: Kent L’s. Report, March 19th, 2009

Reprinted with permission from Kent L.~

Mike M, Tim C and I fished Beda yesterday. In a word, fishing yesterday was fabulous.

We arrived to find one other car and a 5th wheel trailer in the lot under overcast skies at about 8:45am and were on the water within an hour. As the clouds gradually burned off, I picked up two LDRs right away using a Phesant Tail along the reed line in in the main launch bay. Mike lost another fish there as Tim and I moved through the channels to the main lake. We noticed a half dozen or so dead fish in the weeds on the bottom as we kicked through.

Despite our fears about being awfully cold, the water temp was a balmy 48º a foot below the surface at 10am. When the sun burned through it became apparent we’d worn way too many clothes.

Before we all pulled out for a shore lunch at about 12:30, I’d had two fish to hand and 3 LDRs as did Mike. Tim had 3 fish to hand and 2 LDRs. We met Jim Speaker from WFF who’d driven over the day before. He’d released a half dozen or so although he started fishing at 8am. Of my 5 fish by lunch, 4 had come on the first or second cast to a new pattern I’d just tied on. Continuing to fish that pattern proved fruitless. OTOH, Tim fished the same soft hackle pattern all day.

By lunch, there were numerous other people who’d arrived including 3 guys in a drift boat that was apparently run by a guide. We asked how they got the boat in and the guide said he’d trailered it to the launch (clearly ignoring the no vehicles allowed sign still evident at the gate.) An enforcement officer appeared at the north end of the NE bay later in the day and had quite a conversation with the guide. I couldn’t see if he was cited or not.

Fishing got really slow after lunch, with only two LDRs for me before moving into the NE bay as the wind kicked up a bit. I watched one guy in the middle of the bay pulling in fish after fish on chironomids under an indicator so I switched to that setup and got a huge hit immediately. While Mike and Tim fished around the island along the east side, Jim joined me in the SE corner of the bay where we finally got the depth under the indicator dialed in (6ft) and we proceeded to put on a clinic for the next couple hours. We had perhaps a half dozen double hookups and landed well over 20 fish each just in that corner of the bay, all to a dark red chironomid – mine with a snow cone bead, Jim’s with a glass bead. We literally spent more time playing the fish than in casting to catch the next ones. I never thought I complain about my arm hurting from playing so many big fish.

All were rainbows ranging from about 17″ to about 21″ which I’d heard were planted in November. If so, they seem to have adapted quite well as they were all quite healthy and aggressive. I had several that were so think that I couldn’t get a hand around their bodies. One fish took off immediately, taking nearly all my Cortland 444 with him before I managed to palm him to a stop. My Hardy reels at full scream sound like Formula One racing engines and every time they lit up, I could see heads turn from all over the bay.

In late afternoon, Jim and I kicked over to join Tim and Mike who’d also been having a fish fest south of the islands and in the SE bay. Mike picked up a gorgeous 16″ tiger late in the day and said he’d also landed a smaller RB of about 14″. No brookies or browns from earlier plants were in evidence. We finished up there before kicking back and heading to the car at about 6:30pm.

I have no idea what our final tally of fish was as we all lost count. I quite counting at 30. I’d guess that between the 4 of us we hooked and LRDd or landed well over 120 fish, maybe as many as 150.

So what worked? Chironomids under an indicator were the ticket for Mike, Jim and I although we each picked up fish on a variety of different patterns. My next best pattern was a sparkle leech fished on a clear intermediate with a couple split shot to get it down. Tim stuck with his soft hackle (about Carey Special size but with different materials) all day.

This morning, I’ve got a sore right shoulder and wrist, sunburned cheeks, hands and ears, and a big grin that’s showing no signs of fading.


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Beda Lake: Tom H’s. report from 3/19/09

Reprinted with permission from Tom H.~


I couldn’t find anyone to go fishing with me Thursday. Paul was there the day before and Gil was there on Tuesday. I decided to go by myself. It’s been a while since I’ve ventured to the eastside alone and the first time this year to cross the Pass. I’ve had a couple of perilous fishing trips with snow the last couple of years. This time the Pass was balmy 34 degrees and rainy and the temperature was only suppose to rise. I arrived at the lake around 10:30. (I got a late start) There already 10 vehicles in the lot. No problem, there was room and fish enough for all of us. From previous reports from Paul and Rex I may run into ice but the air temperature was in the upper 40’s and probably rose to the mid 50’s during the day. Just gorgeous spring day! This was the first trip that I didn’t have to wear heavy jacket. It sure makes casting easier.

I kicked through a shallow channel. The lake opened up before me. There a least 15 tubers, pontooners and one drift boat dotting the lake. Most were casting toward shore and stripping in. I stayed behind them, casting a crystal micro leech with a type VI sinktip line into water greater than 10 feet. I quickly pick up a hard fighting fish. I continue with this technique and landed several more 18 in fish. I was amazed on how hard all the trout fought. Also all the fish were 18 inches or larger. I thought Rex, Paul and Gil would have hooked so many of these fish that they would not fight as well. I have one savage hit but it came off. For about 15 minutes I didn’t get any more strike. I thought that strange until I check my fly and it was missing. I don’t know how many casts I made without a fly. A Word to the wise fisherman: Check your fly!

I made my way to the NE bay. As entered the bay I made a cast toward the little island and started stripping in. Three strips and then my line just stopped. Line began peeling off the reel and in seconds into my backing. After a 5+ minute fight I released a 22 incher perfectly shape. It had thick shoulders like it was on steroids. I wish I had my camera. This fish was 5 of 7 (My Borg designation system for labeling fish. Trekkies know what I’m talking about) This was the fifth fish landed of seven fish I had on. 7 of 9 was also memorable because it also was 22 inches and took over five minutes to landed. Things started to slow down so I switched newest tactic, a jig leech under a strike indicator. Right off the bat I had my first take down. This fish exploded out of the water and continued to jump 9 more times. 9 of 11 reminded me of those slow motion videos of tarpon jumping where they burst out of the water, gills flaired, writhing and twisting in the air. I think the water temperature and having a good winter have made these fish fighting maniacs. The water temperature was 45 degrees. From my day of raising salmon for my school, the fisheries biologist told me to keep the tank water temperature at 45 degrees for optimum health. I landed several more fish this way but this technique also went dead so I started another one of my favorite techniques, shallow water chironomid fishing. I parked myself about 50 feet the reeds on the shoreline. Set up my two chironomids, 3 feet and 5 feet below my indicator. Soon I was playing more fish. My final tallying was 17 of 21, not the 40-50 plus fish of Rex and Paul’s trips but very respectable and you don’t want to make fishing too easy. This was my best trip this year and all by myself. Or was I all by myself?

Jesus said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” I was able spend a day with the Creator in His creation.

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Beda Lake: March 18th, 2009

After my last weeks outing, I was itching to get back on the water. I had worked the weekend and and had clients Monday and Tuesday, so I couldn’t get out with Gil C., so today I ventured out with Jeff H. and much to my surprise, Mr. Chironomid himself, Chuck G. Jeff and I decided to rendevous around 7 am, just as I was taking my dog out for her run at 6:30 a.m. my phone rang and Chuck was asking if I was still heading out to fish Beda. I told him that I was locked and loaded and just needed to finish walking my dog and then I’d be on the road. Preparing for a stillwater trip has so many checklist items, making sure you have everything you need and then some for a pleasurable day on the water. I was a little worried about the Pass, but the forecast had changed for the better and to my surprise was looking like it was going to be in the mid 50’s in George and sunny with a 10% chance of precipitation. YEAH! Jeff was excited to get out and fish, especially since he’d just purchased the brand spanking new Koffler 10′ wide back whitewater/still pram from Eugene. When I saw it in person, I just about salivated over myself, boy it was really nice and well thought out and spec’d out with all the ‘right’ stuff. The Pass temp. was 32 degrees and the drive over way quite nice with some wet roads, but no snow or ice. From my doorstep to Ellensburg is exactly 100 miles, which I made in good time, right at 1.5 hours. From there it would be another 45 minutes to the parking lot of Beda lake. Beda can be reached from Dodsen Road, exit #164, past the George rest stop. The iPhone music was playing “Hotel California” by the Eagles just as I drove past Ryegrass pass, I thought I was in Baja Mexico. My recent visit to Cabo and San Jose, BCS. The landscape was just beautiful with the sagebrush, the plains, rolling hills, and rock formations of the Columbia Valley. In my rear view mirror I could see the snow capped Cascades, just a nice way to get out and enjoy God’s country. I timed things right, as I rolled into the parking lot, Jeff was getting his gear ready in preparation to launch. We quickly set up our gear and proceeded in a B-line to where Chuck G. was anchored up.

When I arrived, I asked if he’d hooked any yet, and he said no. Based on Gil’s report from the day prior, he’d done well with Chironomids, landing around 20 fish. Today I wanted to string up both rods, one with my full intermediate line and the other with a floater and Chiron set up. Well, my bobber set up proved to be NIL, I had a micro takedown, briefly had the hook up but the luck fish got away. I enjoyed last weeks slugfest with many caught on the strip, I decided to explore the lake, throwing the same bugs I had done before: leeches in Hot head red, Black, white, purple. I’d noticed one gentleman who was doing well right on the point throwing and stripping. He probably landed a dozen fish between 11 and 1 pm, not a bad take, especially from wade fishing.

We could see swirls from the fish all over the lake, but I couldnt get any to take my Chirons, things were slow for Jeff and Chuck on Chirons as well. I was anchored up between the island and the skinny point on the North end of the lake. Water temp ranged from 45 degree to 46, and there was no ice on the lake, boy what a week does to those Eastern WA lakes! Definiltey more boat activity today, with 6 other fly fisherman that started off. I’d hated to see Beda on a weekend, when its got the full brunt of Westsiders making the trek in hopes of ripping some lips. , See map:

When I saw the gent from the shore doing so well, I put my egg sucking leech on and almost immediately got a hit, but the fish didn’t stick. For the remainder of the day, we explored other areas around Beda, caught more fish, definitely not as good as last week, but not a bad day for us. We all landed somewhere between 17-22 fish a piece and really enjoyed the slice of sunshine and calm wind conditions on Beda lake. This will likely be my last trip to Beda, as I want to hit some other lakes: Lenice, Nunally and prepare for our Dry Falls trip next month when it opens. One thing that I also wanted to get out of this trip was to water test my new pram: Sears 10′ welded aluminum that I retrofitted with Scotty anchor locks to make it into a stillwater cruiser. It performed flawlessly and with a few minor modifications: seat, refinishing the oars, it will be a nice spare guest pram. Its light and can be car topped for those ferry runs over to the islands to fish Lone lake or even possibly Eglon beach. We’ll see about that… I was glad that there were no leaks and it was relatively stable. I still like the working room of my Koffler and it superior stability, but its heavier and has some tradeoffs. I would like to put a seat mount on my Koffler, so I am more comfortable when fishing all day long. Currently it has the rope rowers seats, not the best support. I didn’t have time to install seating on the Sears pram, so I just brought a foam camping sleeping pad and folded it up several times and it worked well. I do like standing when casting and stripping, so I find that more enjoyable. If I am Chiron fishing, then having a comfy seat is key. More things to tweek before Dry Falls, and the BC trips. Until next time… Tight lines!

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What does Bernie Madoff have to do with Abel Reels?

Meet Andy Madoff. A little over a year ago, Madoff was the leader of an investment group who bought Abel Reels. He was also an investor in NYC’s Urban Angler Fly Shop and, I think, Thomas and Thomas. Andy is the son of Bernard Madoff, he of the Ponzi scheme that is currently charged with defrauded investers of around $50 billion and has been all over the news the past three days. Here’s a shortened version of the press release from November, 2007:

A small group of private investors has acquired Abel fly-fishing reels and fishing accessories. Andrew Madoff, Abel Holdings CEO and lead investor, said, “Abel’s 20 year legacy of unparalleled quality and performance makes it an attractive investment.”

The New York Times is reporting this morning that, so far, there is no evidence that any of Mr. Madoff’s sons (Andrew, Mark and Peter all worked at their dad’s firm) helped their father carry out, oh… how do we put this delicately… “the largest financial fraud in history.” So we’ll see if that remains the case.

A moderately interesting side-note to the story (every good financial pages/fishing story has to involve a babe) is that Katherine Hooper—If you don’t recognize the name, you may remember the cover of Fish and Fly a few years back, which featured a shot of her taken from this series:

is apparently Madoff’s new love interest. Hooper was also a co-owner of Urban Angler and was formerly with fellow co-owner Jon Fisher (don’t ask me what “with” means—it looks to have been a modern Manhattan relationship, so I don’t know if they were ever married. Whatever.)

In any case, Hooper’s relationship with Fisher and Urban Angler dissolved about the same time Abel was being bought buy Andy Madoff and his brothers. So what is Catherine doing now? Pretty sure she has something to do with the new ownership group at Abel. Here’s a shot of her and Andy Madoff at some NYC fundraiser:

And lastly, here is a photo and Youtube video (what report is complete without a YouTube video?) showing Mark Madoff—Andy’s brother, part owner in the Abel group, and in no way connected or remotely aware of his father’s fraudulent 50-billion-dollar scheme—fishing in Cabo. Oddly, it appears that Mark—despite being an “avid flyfisherman”—somehow never learned a double-haul. ~ Courtesy from the Drake.

I suppose if I had that much money, I would’ve spent more time fishing and learning how to cast and how to set the hook!

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Pimp My Pram…

So, I guess I have a boat addiction and can’t seem to get away from anything that floats. My newest addition to stillwater arsenal is a 60’s or maybe 70’s vintage Sears 10′ welded aluminum pram. I picked it up for cheap from a guy from Really nice guy named Jeff up in Everett, he is a diehard chironomid fisherman and was selling alot of gear as he was liquidating his excess inventory of boats, rod, lines, and stuff that was lying around. I guess the adage of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is totally true. The boat was his father’s and it’d been well used but loved over the decades. I love the fact that this boat is light, maybe 50-55 lbs and I can car top it on my roof rack. This enables me to trailer my Koffler as well as car top this lightweight pram on my roof and fish the Eastern Washington and BC lakes in 2009. I bought it as a project that was easy to upgrade, which will include Scotty anchor pullers, Quick release seat mount and a new comfortable seat. The oars are a little sketchy, but they will do for what I am going to use it for: Car Topping, ferrying over to the Salt, and having it as a spare boat for my friends and those who otherwise wouldn’t have a pram to fish from. I believe that the only real way to fish the stillwater is with a pram. You can stay dry, carry alot of gear, have your lunch, relieve yourself, all without pulling anchor and going to shore. It also is advantageous to stay warm and hopefully will be easy on the MPG when topping. I guess Im a sucker for boats and love the romaticism of the being out in the water and being able to enjoy fishing from the comfort and stability of a boat versus in a float tube or a pontoon boat. I was never really sold on pontoon boats as the fact that I like to have all my stuff with me and the idea of dropping a rod into the water is always possible if you’re not paying attention. Here are some pics…

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