|Column nr.2 2004|
| Traditional rods -
It is impossible to find a quality constructed Tonkin Bamboo segmented fly rod with all the best features, such as silver hardware, quality cork , precise fittings and an extra tip for less than $1,000. I have had an addiction to well made bamboo fly rods by companies like Walt Powell, Winston, and a hand few other great makers whose work approachs art. It has been my pleasure to field test a four - weight, two pieces, 7foot, Bamboo constructed by Headwater Bamboo Rod Company Hillsboro Oregon. In the last month I have wondered all over upper California and the Oregon border in search of private wild trout waters on private property or membership only private trout clubs of the rich and famous. My companion on these adventures has been this outstanding little 4-weight Bamboo with a mid to fast action and a solid spine that is constructed of revered Tonkin Bamboo known to be the best of all Bamboo for making fly rods.
The rod is very well made with real nickle silver and highly polished exotic wood real seats. I carefully examined the rod under a magnifying glass in sunlight to look for possible weak glued joints in the segmented construction and found none. The cork appears to be extra fine Portugese and the spacers between cork and Bamboo are carefully installed. The rods eyes are stainless steel. The silk wraps are another surprise as they are perfect and finished off with just the right amount of clear varnish. The rod itself is hand rubbed four or more times and the finish is extremely high grade. I was a bit shocked when the rod arrived, after many hours and many good trout that made the tip dance ever so lightly with all the sensitivity only quality well-made Bamboo can offer, I love this rod and have bought it for the same price you can buy it for, $349.
The best news of all about this well made rod that can take serious action and looks fabulous. It comes in five models, 3-6 weight, extra for a metal rod tube. The truly wonderful news is no waiting for months for your $1000. Bamboo rod to finally arrive? The boys at Headwater Bamboo usually ship the SAME DAY COWBOY! Contact Headwater Bamboo at toll-free 1(866)3928 or on the web www.split-bamboo.com
The news in regard to this particular winter and its snowfall and water dispersion upon upper California and its remote mountain tops is quite good. At this point in the season much snow and rain in many areas with a possible significant water crisis that is hitting the San Francisco area as their beloved Hetch Hetchy Dam system that was leased for thirty thousand a year will now be leased for many millions say the Federal government. The news in regard to current Steel head catch and release on the Smith and Chetco rivers, the Catch has been sublime. Many days of boats taking 8/13 pound tough steelies on roe or special roe like concoctions. This area near and just over the Oregon, California border is still a magnificent often quite remote fly fisher sanctuary. Those who have small air planes and plenty of free time are well-taken care of in this sportsmans paradise. Long spell binding vistas and serious wild trout, salmon, steelhead habitats are easy to find. It is a long five to six-hour car ride from the San Francisco Bay area, which is great because that keeps visitor count down to just the right amount. If you decide to come this way, make sure you check local and federal regulations about catch and release, extra clean waders, boots, boat bottoms are absolutely recommended.
California river and stream trout seasons open last Saturday in April which is still some ways off for those who live and breath fly action on moving waters. The Steelhead catch& release action way up north along with year round opportunities fly fishing on lakes and private clubs is a solid alternative during the cold lean months. Within fifty miles of Lake Tahoe California many lakes exist when the snow and ice permit excess. By and large from late November until April fly fishers must work a bit harder to find productive legal waters. Private trout clubs like Digger Creek Ranch near Shingle town California provide excellent year round action for a modest fee, contact www.diggercreekranch.com.
One other grand alternative for cabin fevered fly fishers is Yosemite National Park and its year round lake fly fishing, that is weather permitting. If you access "Trout Take Over Yosemite In The Fall" via this website or my own site at www.danfallonflyfishing.com. This article will give you many details about fly action in the park. Please check all regulations as they change year to year. I can just about see the first bright spring sunny days just over the mountain.. Edger Allen Poe was a spring loving poet, "Spring like the chirping of baby birds, warms the heart and soothes the soul..."
The news from the editor of the Fall River Mt. Echo newspaper is positive, it appears the serious summer 2003 Fall River levee break is now repaired and the tiny community of Fall River Mills and its special trout waters are at the moment somewhat back to normal. Those of us who care deeply about the quality and care of precious trout waters are hoping the main stream media will begin a more steady coverage of the western states water problems. As was mentioned in past columns, I have high hopes Americas youth will come to understand how extensive and pervasive water damage has been in the northern hemisphere! In fact water pollution is a global problem and a serious one, perhaps continuing dialogue may help turn the tide in regard to water awareness? Of course it will take a miracle or a disaster to wake up the average over worked citizen, lets hope we can avoid any more water disasters...
It might be a smart idea to begin thinking about how really fragile the fly waters are that we all love and spend quality time on or near. If you have a boat that is towed to different rivers and lakes during the season? Now would be a great time to get used to a complete bottom wash and rinse after every trip. One of the most used free rides for alien water intruders like snails, mollusks, seeds, weeds, and microscopic insects is the bottom of your fishing boat. There are a number of safe commercial washs that can be had and its well worth the energy. Your waders and boots are another means of transportation as the soles can easily hide all matter of intruders.
If one begins to make the ritual of cleaning boat bottoms and boots and waders after every trip and before storage, this will make a significant contribution to keeping invaders out of your favorite waters.
If you have concerns about the health of your local fly waters, a simple procedure can tell you all the news in regard to pollution. First access your local university or health dept, it might be state or local? Ask these agencies who is doing water testing in your area, then find out where to send a sample of your local water which you contained in a small clean bottle. Almost every state and country in the world has water testing agencies. After you have found out what is wrong with your favorite fly waters, perhaps mobilizing fellow sportsmen or starting local school clean water projects and river, stream cleaning operations may be just the direction you need to go to secure a clean bill of health so your sons and daughters can ply crystal clear waters fly rod in hand...
"ADVENTURES OF FLETCHER QUILL"
Adventures of Fletcher Quill
Its just before 3a.m. and Ravens Haven is rocking to the max, X Pres Phil is wailing on his sax, Jive Boy on Tambourine, Sharon Stone back up vocals and cow bell, Quill and Timba Back up, lead vocals and moral support. Staff interrupts
"Perhaps a late snack for everyone sir?"
Keith having just finished a raucous rendition of his all time classic "Happy" leans against the floor to ceiling castle picture window and speaking to no one in particular.
"Man, I sure miss Brian Jones at times like these, that boy could play any instrument instantly! He would pick up some strange gizmo like a Dulcimer or Harpsichord and just sound great with it. I remember when we cut "Aftermath" Brians Harpsichord was perfect and made that whole album."
Sharon walks over to Keith drapes her perfect arm around his shoulder.
"Must be many people you miss these days".
"Oh yeah, Ian Steward the 5th Stone, Nicky Hopkins insane piano work. Hell, I even miss Mick Taylor, that boy could really play guitar, he might be the best we ever played with period!"
The group has been jamming all night in the castle fly tower and the song book was too much fun. Timba looks sleepy and has crashed on Sharons lap, Jive Boy, Quill and the X Pres are sitting in the fly tower tying chairs as Keith ponders the lone wolf life of Timba and Quill.
"Quill, lets have a look at a few of those famous flies you peddle mate, I want to see the infamous rocker collection first."
Quill opens an engraved black oak wooden chest and points to a jet black Wolly Bugger size #16.
"The King of Rocks jet black dyed hair makes this fly actually workable, I got a few strands left and may tie another pattern or two."
Keith picks up the Kings fly and is mesmerized.
"Bloody Elvis now a fly?"
"Now this little size#16 Mosquito is tied with Little Richards cool locks, and this Muddler Minnow is tied with John Lennons fine hair, these flies sell for ten thousand and are one of a kind of course."
"So Keith, next question is what do I have to do to get hair samples of the "Glimmer Twins".
"Thats easy, here is mine right now" (He takes out his pocket knife and cuts off a hunk ) "as for Micks hair, I know I have one of his sweaters packed with me."
X Pres Phil chimes in.
"Sharon love, what do you think of this fly tying madness?"
"It does have an ethereal other worldly atmosphere to it, I told Quill if he wanted to teach me, Im up for it. My life can get very self contained and my existence in the glass cage does get old, why not chase fish with bugs on pretty waters?"
The whop, whop sound of choppers can again be heard above the castle, Phil gets on his cell and tells the Secret Service Detail to shoo away the pesky media flies. Jive Boy and the Pres appear to have truly hit it off and are now in deep discussions about what it means to live in the public eye.
"Mr. President your still a young man and now so famous, what is the down side?"
"No real downside Jive, I get all the easy money now speaking which I love to do. The SS Detail keeps me safe at all times, my life is now a dream come true, no more "Gonna get ya" paranoia waiting for some regress from the witch hunt. Best news of all is Hillary is way too busy to keep an eye on me dude!"
Jive Boy turns to the her Blondness.
"Sharon I gotta ask you the question you must get almost everyday".
"No need to even go there Jive, yes, the one moment of my cinematic history with Mike Douglas sitting in that chair with my cute little skirt outfit is the question I get!" The second question is "Tell me Sharon did you replay that scene with the San Francisco newsboy?"
The little people
Its near 5a.m., Quill has Timba back in his arms and is listening to his Staff Wrangler explain how certain foodstuff has begun to disappear again?
"Ok, make a call and have the launch pick up the extra items and we move on."
Jive Boy and Keith over hear.
"Whats up with the food evaporating Fletch?"
"Jive, this will sound very weird and I would not have imagined if it had not become such an issue. When the castle was first built in the early 1300s, it was supposedly built right on top of a faerie mound where the little fellows live and dance in endless reverie."
"Hold on mate, you dont believe in that old mythology do you?"
"Keith, its like this, five years ago we had a young female staff who claimed to actually see the little people and converse with them. She said they were very lucky for those they liked, and most unlucky for those they despised! The girl also told me they must have their daily bowls of cereal with a butter pat. If I were to stop that routine and try to expel them, my luck might suddenly change."
Sharon listening and trying to keep Phils wondering eyes focused.
"I believe in all those old myths, makes perfect sense the fairies would dig this castle. When I made a movie in the deep woods of Maine last year, we experienced the same situation."
Phil now realizing he will dominate only so much of her Blondness attention.
"We had other world visitors at the White House many times, and I dont mean humans. One day while I was up to my keister in trying to fend off the entire Justice Dept, I feel this tickling under my big Presidential desk, look down and its this tiny 2 foot high Irish looking faerie. He looked up at me and not missing a beat said;
"Mr. President we have bestowed upon you a bullet proof protection against your enemies. We only ask to be able to use the Oval Office late at night for our revelry."
"What the hell did I have to loose, let em have the Oval room late at night. You all know how effective that bullet proofing turned out to be! Besides we rented out the Lincoln bedroom like it was a Holiday Inn."
In these last hours before the Irish sunrises Sharon is staring at Jive Boy an finally asks;
"So Jive, what precisely do you do?"
"Im an international invisible snow board, skate board, wind surfer."
"What the hell do you mean by invisible?"
Keith, Quill, Phil move closer as Jive comes alive...
"Invisible because in all the various contests I go to, from Australia to New York. I never fail to both score high points, but no one ever has any idea what I look like or what my life is like. That is because my Dad was great friends with the madman poet William Burroughs who stayed at our house for months at a time. He taught me how to become invisible and I use that skill every where I go."
"Dam, why havent I been so lucky? Thank god I took a little time off and hung in San Fran, it was the perfect place to put Humpty-Dumpty back together. I remember an interview you did Quill in 1995 at KUSF Radio San Francisco. You asked the late great Ken Kesey what he thought about SF";
"Lots of people think San Francisco is full of hippy bolongi , for me its the best bolongi in the deli. This city is all about tolerance and forgiveness."
"I never forgot that interview Fletcher, you and Kesey sounded like brothers."
"Long time ago Sharon, another place another time, back when the very last rumors of innocense were still all over the city. These days it almost feels like downtown Hong Kong when I go back to visit, the unchecked immigration has turned the once multi national melting pot into one big Asian bedroom community"
Jive Boy changes the tone and wants Fletcher to show off his fly casting skills from the balcony of the Fly Tower. Fletcher picks up his favorite six-weight, strings it up and begins throwing a weighted Muddler into the soft Irish wind. Each throw is near perfect as the master of the air ballet displays his prowess.
"Man, Quill, most impressive, let me try."
"Ok Keith, first let out some line and now once you get into the air keep an eye on your back cast, watch it stretch out and then throw."
After several false starts the Unknighted One, manages to throw the Muddler about forty feet and is happy. Sharon is next up;
"I remember watching that movie" A Sewer Runs Through It".
"No Sharon, thats " A River Runs through it".
Once again Keith stands alone on the balcony deep in thought, Quill respecting his space let him be. As the Irish sun makes it splendid arrival, guests are looking very contented and elegantly wasted. As the group breaks up and heads to their cozy quarters, Quill and Timba faintly hear Keith half mumble to himself;
"I do love the new Knight, wish it was mutual, guess that ten years on dope didnt help..."
Stay tuned for next episode - Will Quill & Keith Bond? Will Jive Boy & Sharon start dating?
Fletcher Quill, earlier parts:
Written by Dan
Fallon © 2004
For Dan Fallon's earlier
and later columns; visit the table