10 Best Ways to Ruin a Trip

15 02 2011
The following list of the 10 Best Ways to Ruin a Trip are, sadly enough from personal experience. Mostly.

10. Lock your keys in the vehicle after phoning home to say everything is fine.
9. Get stuck on a Forest Service Road 7 miles from camp –  at 2 am – because you thought it’d be fun to “drive around and look for deer.”
8. Set your tent on fire with a flung marshmallow.
7. Break your rod. Then break your “back up” rod a half-hour later.
6. Realize you remembered the extra propane cylinder, but you left the camp stove in the garage.
5. Forget the rain-fly for the tent. Then realize it’s ok because you forgot the tent, too.
4. Remember the 3 cans of beanie-weenies, but forget the can opener.
3. Fish for 2 days with a fly that has had it’s hook broken off.
2. Forget to pack deodorant.
1. Find out on the second day in the woods that being “pretty sure” you packed the TP wasn’t good enough.

Pedro Fills In…

14 02 2011

Frustration Vacation

13 02 2011

Did you ever have one of those weekends where you thought that maybe God wanted you to stay at home? That maybe some greater cosmic force was upset that you ended up in the Great Outdoors, taking in the beautiful weather and the warm sun? Did you ever stop, look up at the sky and ask “What do you want from me?” I guess I should have know from all the dead skunks along the highway on the way up here this weekend. Apparently it’s skunk mating season, according to my friend Chris. They must all want to mate with Freightliners and PeterBilts from the carnage along I-85.

Well anyway, let me take you through the weekend I’ve just had in case every trip you take turns out peachy-keen. I suppose I shouldn’t be feeling as frustrated as I do, after all the weather was great and the company yesterday was awesome ( my good friend Chris was there) – but we caught few fish. A few. 3. Between us both.

So the fish didn’t exactly go nuts for us, right? That’s ok, right? Yeah, well it would be ok maybe if it was spring already. But this winter! This cold, long, snowy winter that everyone in the South seems to be so sick of enduring…this winter is making it really hard to swallow 3 fish a day between two anglers. I don’t just want fish, I NEED FISH. I enjoy the nature and the woods and the water, but I don’t go fishing to sit on a rock and think about art. If I didn’t like the catching part of fishing, I’d just leave the rod at home and take up hiking I guess…

But, 3 fish a day –  What was I thinking? That’s ok! Because today I only had to swallow one fish. In a river full of 15-30 inch trout (that’s right…..30 inch trout in a public river) I caught one 11 inch brook trout. That’ll show me for complaining about three fish I guess! At least I didn’t break a rod this weekend.

I did twist my ankle and run a #22 Griffith’s Gnat through my index finger though. And I inadvertently froze two bananas out in the truck last night. You know what frozen bananas taste like? No? Trust me, you don’t want to know.

So, this morning I wake up to find that I’ve overslept and I make it to the river at a “rooster crowin’ crack of dawn-ish” 11 am. The river was crowded yesterday. Today it is twice as bad. Somewhere to stand and cast to a fish? Hope you brought your own rock. I eventually find a rock to stand on and this is where I perform the incredible feat of 5 hours +/- of fishing and one little brookie.

Then, I decide on a “non-camping” dinner and stop at Wendy’s. This will make the third time I have ordered the new funky cheese Chicken Sammich and NOT gotten one. Do they even make this thing? Are they just advertising it’s asiago cheese, juicy tomato and crispy bacon to lure  you in and then give you a PLAIN OLD CHICKEN SAMMICH! THREE TIMES WENDY’S! THREE TIMES you have totally screwed up my order. PS – your new FRIES stink, and tonight they were cold. That will teach me to check the order at the window. And by the way, it’s odd that you can always be super-slow in taking my order, but so pushy when you suggest that I take my change, my drink and my food in like .003 seconds. GIVE ME A MINUTE, will you! I have the same number of hands as you do, you idiot – and one has a wallet in it, the other has the change you just gave me. Shoving a large sweet tea and the bag (with my order wrong, mind you) in my face isn’t going to make me go any faster after I just waited 7 MINUTES FOR YOU TO SAY “CAN I TAKE YOU ORDER?” HELLO? ARE YOU NUTS?

Alright. So then after eating my PLAIN CHICKEN SAMMICH ( FOR THE THIRD TIME! GGRRRRH! ) I decided I’d download the video I shot today. There was precious little catching, but I did get a couple of decent shots of trout ( not of the monster 30 inch ones we saw, unfortunately…). I download the video, process it, save it and start to play it back before uploading it online so I can share it with you guys. Guess what? No, really. Guess. You’ll never guess. Never. Nev…..THAT STUPID GLITCH IS IN MY VIDEO AGAIN EVEN THOUGH I CHECKED IT FIVE TIMES BEFORE SAVING IT AS A MOVIE! SO, NOW I HAVE A MOVIE THAT I THINK IS PRETTY *$&# FUNNY, BUT I CAN’T SHOW YOU BECAUSE EITHER MY COMPUTER, THAT (#@&$ WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER, OR THIS CHEAP KODAK CAMERA KEEPS SCREWING UP THE VIDEO! I’m sure I’ll put up the video for you guys eventually, even with the errors in it…but I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to spend an hour putting something together only to have it come out screwed up with no warning.

And now…….I’m so frustrated I can’t sleep. Horray. Like I don’t already have enough of THAT problem as it is.

So, let me ask you guys – have you ever had to ask yourself if maybe you would have been better off at home?

Spring. Please hurry. I can only practice running from bears for so long. . .


Spring. Wonderfully Trouty Spring.

Friday Fish-Sticks

11 02 2011

This week’s Friday Fish-Sticks is brought to you by the letter F, which stands (as you know) for Fishing. That’s right you snowed-in jealous anglers out there, ole Owl is headed to the mountains again this weekend for a three day trout fishing adventure that will hopefully include some trophy fishing on one of TU’s 100 Best Trout Streams, some DH fishing, and a little warm, sunny weather! There will be live reports from NC, and another award-winning video. ( Awards given are purely fictional and do not represent actual awards or honors. Yet.)

So, let’s get crackin’ because I gots ta get packin’!

This first video has more than one funny thing going for it. FYI – there’s at least one four letter word (NSFW?) in it. My favorite line is ” If anyone is watching this video, please send …” – ehh, you’ll see. 😉

And apparently these are “big fish” for their waters, btw. As a Southern Appalachian trout chaser I know that everything regarding fish size is relative.

For those of you living in a cave for the last 10 years ( or outside fishing…)…

I don’t know who put that kid up to this, but he’s probably still being harassed about it today at his job down at Starbucks. Or the circus.

And to end this mild explosion of Friday Fish-Sticks goodness, I give you the following video presentation (which may be more odd than funny) of the ultimate extreme in tenkara fishing (*snicker, snicker…):

To me, this just doesn’t look like much fun for alot of reasons, not the least of which is that by the time you have the fish close enough to take out the tip of the rod to “play” the fish, he’s probably pretty much done fighting you. And, although his “light lines” excuse is lame (you can fish 2 lb. test with a spinning reel, dude.) I do see two advantages to fishing this way. . .

1. Your bait is always exactly where you want it.

2. You’ll look really cool doing it.

( OK, one reason….)

If you didn’t at least smirk or smile and shake your head sideways while watching this video, I’m not sure what’s wrong with you, but it’s something……it’s definitely something.


So, the Fish-Sticks today were a little dry and over-cooked perhaps, but I have to admit to  you that my brain is already in “pack up” mode and there are 100 things I need to be doing already this morning. I stayed up for about 34 hours these past two days to force myself into a normal ( meaning not nocturnal) sleeping pattern because I’ll need to be on the road tomorrow at around 4 am. to meet my buddy Chris in Western NC for some fly flinging. I plan to post up this weekend a bit from NC, and it will be my very first on-the-road blogging attempts, so we’ll see how that goes.

Hopefully, by next week things will be back to normal around here and I’ll fill you in on what’s going on, why the posts have slowed down and what to expect in the near future. In closing out this week, I’d like to also point out that I’ve been doing some research into the whole ” Pebble Mine” thing and although I find it strange and a little disconcerting that I’m on the same side of an issue with some pretty radical environmental groups, I’ve decided to join with those that oppose this mine. Even the “chance” that it hurts such a great fishery is not worth taking, IMHO. I know I wouldn’t want them mining the Smokies if I thought it might hurt brook trout populations. So, the anti-Pebble decal goes up to the right, and FFSBR takes a position against Pebble Mine. What’s worth more? Gold or Salmon? That’s easy for an outdoorsman, isn’t it?

So, it’s time to pack and make sure I get everything in the truck that I need.  I’m pretty sure I need to tie up some midges for my own fly box as well. ( PS. Thanks so much to you folks asking about flies. They will all be shipped out early next week and I’ll be inserting pics of the midges and other flies I’m offering into the slide-show at that link next week, too. ) Anyhoot, I’d tell you exactly where I’m going, but what fun would that be? Everyone likes surprises, right? Plus, if I told you ahead of time, I’d open myself up to all sorts of things….stalkers, black helicopters, aliens, bigfeets. You’ll just have to check back on Saturday night and see what I’ve got for ya!

Have a great weekend, guys. Go fishin’ if you can!

Owl Jones, MIA

10 02 2011

I realize that some of you may be thinking that I’ve fallen off the face of the earth by now, since there hasn’t been a post in a while – and only what? – Two this week maybe? Well, there’s stuff going on. Real Life Stuff that’s keeping me from posting much this week. Never fear though, I’ll be back in rare form ( your understanding of that depends on your interpretation of the word “form” 😉 ) in no time at all.

I just wanted to take a minute and say that I’m still here, and I’ll be back to four posts a day very soon – so the three of you that care, relax. I’m just attending to some stuff that couldn’t be put off.

And just so you those of you that stopped by hoping to see I was still missing don’t feel like it was a total waste of five minutes, try this on for size:

Back-Country Fishin' on Bradley Fork. No, I don't have a hump, that's a backpack under there, silly. And yes, that's a bright orange hat. Long story.

Hey, whose National Park is this anyway?

7 02 2011

Each year as cabin fever takes hold, forums across the interwebz get …well, down right hostile. One particular forum I visit has recently started debates about messy horses, dangerous bears, and now loud Harley Davidson motorcycles. The horses aren’t any messier than they ever have been, the bears are as dangerous as always (not very) and the motorcycles, although more numerous….well the motorcyclists are Americans too and as much as some anglers don’t like the idea – it’s their Park, too.

You can hear motorcycles near Park roads as they rumble through the sliver of road that cuts the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in half, and you can hear them as they roll down Little River Road going from the tourist town of Gatlinburg past “the Y” and into Cades Cove. And you can even hear the echo of those American made engines rumbling down the asphalt in the backcountry at times.

The GSMNP is big, but it’s not THAT big. It’s not Alaska. It’s not Montana. It’s surrounded on all sides by cities and towns, cars and construction and we are very fortunate to have it to enjoy. That said, sometimes there are anglers ( and undoubtedly hikers and others) who get so wrapped up in their own little world ( or hobbies) that they forget that this national treasure isn’t protected just for them! The National Parks belong, supposedly, to all Americans. Not just to anglers; not just to hikers and certainly not just to fly fishermen.

Do I enjoy hearing a group of 45 Harley’s blow by me while I’m fishing near the road? Well, no. Even though I am myself a motorcyclist, I’m not fond of crusiers – although I have nothing against them. The sound from 30 or 40 Harley’s lasts maybe 30 seconds as the blow by at their incredibly boring speeds of 25-45 mph. However, when you get enough of them in the Park – like on a holiday weekend or a pretty day in spring – you can relive those joyous moments many times during the day.

Do I think it makes my day in the Park less enjoyable? Maybe. A little. Do I enjoy smelling the exhaust? No. But then, neither do I enjoy smelling the exhaust and brake dust from hot brakes on cars, either.

Do I think that fishing should be banned in the Park? I don’t know….do you think I should? Do you think a guy trying to ride his Harley through the Park might be distracted by the bright flashy yellow of a roll cast to his right or left? Do you think the horseback riders might be upset because every 500 yards of trail they have to slow their horses to let a fisherman pass by? Do you think the hikers enjoy seeing the litter of discarded fishing line hanging from stream-side trees?

Of course, no one is talking about banning hiking or fishing in the Park. At least, not yet.

But people are talking about banning horses and loud motorcycles because apparently they can’t understand the simple fact that the National Park is not just for them. As far as I know there is no law that dictates to Americans the manner in which they may enjoy the Park. Do you want to drive through it in your RV? Would you like to hike the length of it on the A.T. ? Can I interest you in a bicycle ride on the roads around the Park? How about just walking?

Understanding that the National Parks aren’t there just for fisherman is a key step in understanding why dictating to other users the manner in which they may and may not enjoy the Park Lands is wrong. And how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Would it be a good thing, after we’ve outlawed the loud pipes of the Harley owner, to outlaw loud trucks? Then loud cars? But as it gets quieter, what if the regular cars are too loud? Should hikers or bird watchers then band together to outlaw the Ford Focus or Honda Civic for making unwanted noise? And those little tinny-sounding bells on bicycles? If everyone is riding bikes because they can’t drive their cars, are we going to outlaw the bells? If we do that, what about the wheel noise as they go wooooshing by? That’s not natural! Maybe we’ll just outlaw any vehicle and make it “walking only.” But when that happnes, woe to the fly-fisher whose heavy boots will cause alarm among the most eco-conscience among us. Fly Fishing boots will have to go and we’ll all need to wear wading slippers made of cotton and lace.

Ok,  yes – yes – that’s absurd, but I hope it makes you think. And I hope it makes you step back out of your own world, whatever that world may be – fishing, hiking, hunting, camping, biking, 4-wheeling, and makes you realize that whatever you do in the great outdoors, you are not the sole possesor of our collective natural areas. And no one group should ever be able to dictate to another group the exact manner in which they are allowed to enjoy THEIR National Park, National Forest, or other public lands. And especially for the minor inconvenience of “hearing” another group as they travel through those lands. Get over it, you’re not in the Alaskan wilderness when you’re in a National Park and you don’t have the right to end someone else’s enjoyment of the Parks any more than they have the right to do the same to you.

It’s funny…..you never hear of a Horse Riding Club wanting to ban bird watchers or trout anglers…

Maybe their not as selfish as anglers? You tell me…

Caturday. I Haz it.

5 02 2011

I’ve got company this weekend, so there’s no REAL posting….sorry!

I’ll leave this guy in charge….


Everyone have a great weekend, ok? And if you have the flu, GET SOME REST. 😉

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