|Column nr.6 2002|
PINNINSULA WASHINGTON STATE
Last months column featured a true land of plenty for serious fly fishers, the Olympic Peninsula, Forks, Washington and its wild rivers, unspoiled sparsely populated wonderland. If for the pure joy of it, one were to try an conjure the most perfect vast land area imaginable with raging wild rivers at times teaming with serious game fish, this could be it! Wildlife in abundance arranged from the top down on the predator prey survival scale. Bear, Mt. Lion, Elk and all the smaller beasts and birds represented. The Olympic Peninsula area near the Hoh River and the Hoh Rainforest with both salt and fresh water coursing all around gives the area a wildness that is infectious. Hub cities exist with all the amenities, a short ferry ride over to Seattle and your back in the civilized world. This Grand National treasure is a repository of what's left of America's wildness, as is Alaska and a handful of isolated areas. The ambience of ancient ferns and greenery as green could ever possibly be everywhere the eye wonders. A place where if fairy tales exist, nowhere but Ireland is more perfect for lighter then air creatures with gossamer wings.
The best news about this slice of fly fisher/naturalist paradise is the amount of fishable waters that meander in and around the Peninsula. Depending on the season and changing regulations one can find everything from serious Rainbows to migrating Salmon. The two days I spent with guide Gordy Gracey on the Sol Duc River was enlightening. We encountered bend after bend with great deep holes and at times ripple action to die for. In the two days drifting we threw everything from Muddlers, to dry flies. The technique guides use is pretty standard and easy to master. Known holding areas with deeper runs require throw and drift, then with tiny quick retrieves entice resident fish to hit.
It worked every time and we hooked many fish including smolts and Rainbows with a couple of Cutthroats rounding out the action. Fly rods in the 3/5-weight range were suitable during the shoulder season when I was there because the larger salmon had just finished their big runs. Time spent gliding along the Sol Duc was an education in appreciation. Many Bald Eagles and their progeny were busy sampling the local fish while perched on rocks no more then fifty feet from our drift boat. Local citizens relate tales of Mountain Lions roaming the area, as do herds of Elk and many migrating birds rest and feed before moving on. Naturalists, birdwatchers, fly fishers or anyone interested in seeing a place that has all the characteristics North America has always been famous for, catch the Seattle Ferry to never never land.
Those seasoned fly fishers who have ventured into prime fishing habitat usually via floatplanes or serious backpacking rejoice. If an area with abundant waters fresh and salt teaming with salmon and trout rings your bell? An area that you can actually drive to and then let your non-fishing wife or girlfriend enjoy enchanting wild greenery and wildlife in abundance. Olympic Peninsula and Forks Washington will provide all that and one more bonus my fly fisher friends. The people who live and wake up each morning in this fly fisher friendly place are not burned out torn and frayed slaves to hordes of demanding bug throwers! They smile, they laugh and they act as if all the time and kindness in the world were at their disposal. Truth is they know something the rest of us may never know. Keep your area as pristine as possible, let Mother Nature rule her kingdom and the world may just beat a path to your front door.
Contact info and all websites concerning this sportsmen's Mecca can be found in the May 2002 column update titled.
RAPE OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN
The final day of reckoning has arrived for commercial fishermen trying to make a living catching the various rockfish that have been the industries mainstay for many years. The fishery has been depleted by many factors including antiquated offshore bottom dragging that has destroyed natural nurseries.
In my opinion foreign fishing fleets have probably caused our once self-sustaining waters to reach the critical melt down of no return and raped the Pacific Ocean.
Our beloved self-serving elected officials have turned a blind eye to this blasphemy. Huge processing ships have done a methodical surgeon like job of vacuum cleaning the last of the great schools of tuna, rockfish, and commercial fish stocks. We now hear belated pleas for common sense and quotas that in the past have been consistently ignored. Whales are still-hunted by Asians under the guise of scientific investigation. Game fish like Marlin and Billfish are still captured and killed instead of filmed and let go. It is an ugly fact of life our political leaders failed all of as the FBI, CIA, failed us on September 11th.
Who is to really blame for the rape of our oceans, we all are to blame as we elected these self perpetuating so called leaders and they allowed the rape to continue period. Is it too late, I think it is too late to bring these wild stocks back. Global warming, greedy self-serving political leaders and a populace with its head buried in the sand are the factors that have destroyed our precious natural ocean resources. Rock Fishing is about to be banned in California possibly for many years. The dirty deeds have been done dirt-cheap as we all slept comfortable in deep ignorant sleep.
If the above sounds rather cryptic and extreme consider these facts of life in regard to deep-water commercial fishing by foreign processing ships. Each year ships from around the world especially those of Asian registry descend like ravenous locust upon all of our oceans from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They spend months either long lining or scraping the oceans bottom and taking what they want and throwing the rest back to die. The rest is usually healthy fish and mammals like some specie of Dolphin. This repugnant hideous work is done just outside our national water boundaries or in areas where they no they can get away with it. If you think these statements are radical or simply the thoughts of an outraged lifelong outdoorsmen? I suggest one might simply contact the various fishery management agencies wherever you may live and ask questions, hard questions. I can no longer stay silent in respect to this rape and pillage of our natural resources because our elected official consistently either get bought off by those with a vested interest or turn a blind uninformed eye to this issue.
One day youthful radical activists will tire of trying to save the few old growth trees left in isolated areas and begin making noise in regard to the state of our ocean fisheries. Of course by that time it will be too late. So what is the answer fellow fly fishers? In my mind the cat is out of the bag and on a one-way train to oblivion.
Life for Quill and his trusty sidekick almost human constant companion Timba the Abyssinian Egyptian cat thought sacred by ancient shamans is rarely quiet for long. The voice at the other end of the phone is that of international film festival patriarch fly fisher, female heartthrob, rare fly collector trader Stoppard Bedford. "Quill, how goes it within that smoky other world of yours these days?" "Same old rollin and clearin of fog banks mixed in with a few moments of pure quiet bliss" "Hear you have another fly with Lincolns hair and absolute authenticity?" "Yeah, I got the hair from the certified restoration team that rebuilt his main home just last year. They found several books and photographs with locks of his hair cut at time of death by his family. I came by a minute amount, just enough to have Mr. Exotic fly tier himself tie three excellent "Fallon Slayers" in jet black and light black muted tones with certified legal papers stating its absolute authenticity. The amount is not negotiable sir". "I don't have a lot of time for car salesmen games Quill. How much is the fly and how can you prove only three have been tied?" "I will meet all demands and the price is 10 large". "I want the fly hand carried by you to my place up north this week". I will make arrangements this afternoon, any questions or whatever, you know how to find me. I have to write the last section of my next column, which is almost due now. After I finish, it's off to lovely Marin County land of George Lucas and Sean Penn to hand deliver your most rare fly.
Quill began his mornings as he usually did by first checking his bank of six laptops hooked up to ongoing archeological digs around the world. The news from Peru made him smile, more feathers are being smuggled and they are as brilliant as any ever seen by modern man!
PARFFA WHOWEIRD GETS BUSTED BIG TIME!
Then just when the day is starting to shape up and the almost constant mist that envelopes "Ravens Haven" begins to clear. The hot phone buzz ruins the moment "Hello, Quill here" "Fletch its me Clare, did you see the latest news yet?" "Oh boy, do I hate conversations that start with that statement. So what gives my little munchkin?" "Its all over the news wires, remember that famous homemaker gal you sold the Mosquito fly tied with feathers recovered from the Titanic's safe?" "You mean Parffa Whoweird and her" It's a good thang world" "Yep, she is now under investigation for insider trading and making up stories about the deal that just don't quite ring true". "So what the heck does that have to do with me? I just sold her a rare fly, what's the big issue?" "Fletch, she was caught at the airport trying to smuggle ancient Egyptian soaps out of Cairo last night. They also found the paper work and the fly you sold her. It's all over the news my love". "Man, just what I needed a whacked out collector gone rogue on me".
Quill found Timba perched near his laptops and picked him up anxious to be soothed by that loud purr he emits whenever they both sit and watch the hawks dive. His mind goes back to the conversation with the ex pres Phil the week before. A sit down with the new President in regard to national security? What could that possibly mean, does he want one of my rare flies or maybe some kind of international spying? Quill picks up the phone and calls Phil, "Phil, relax its me Quill, been up nights wondering what this
National security deal is all about? Have you heard anything more?" "The cowboy wants you to put together a fly fishing trip with both sides of this Mid East insanity. He thinks the neutral ground and peaceful rivers you throw bugs might be perfect for breaking the stalemate and stopping the revolting violence. One more thing Quill, he found out all about your current Ancient Mummy finds and wants you to tie two rare flies to be presented to both Prime ministers as a gesture of peace". "Hey, hold on here my infamous friend. You mean for free, you mean the cowboy wants me to do this for love of country and all that jazz?" "Not only that, he says he can arrange for you to acquire several feathers from a hat worn by Eleanor Roosevelt and a few strands of hair from non other then Tricky Dick Fixin the other most notorious of the American Presidents, so what do I tell him?" "Ok, here is what I need to make this happen and feel good about it. Tell the Banty Rooster I will do it on one condition. He has to get me clearance to rifle through the Smithsonian's rare finds department. They have some material I would kill for. If he does that we have a deal". "He will contact you very soon on this, sounds like a solid trade to me. By the way, what ever happened to that cute intern you had working at the castle?" "Forget it pal, she went back to school last week. Tell the cowboy I will be home till next Tuesday".
When Quill bought his castle "Ravens Haven" and its contents that included a library stocked with everything from first edition James Joyce to original manuscripts containing details of many Irish myths. He never dreamed he himself would become almost as famous as the legend of the "Curse of the Quicken Trees". This ancient myth speaks of warriors fooled into believing a kind host had prepared a grand feast in their honor. Instead an illusion of trust and hospitality almost killed them. Only the beheading of three kings could lift the spell and free them. Quill often thought he was under an ancient spell that required him to prowl the underworld for nature's rarest feathers fit for a king's ransom! Oh the wicked webs we humans weave and use to deceive. Suddenly Timba bolts upright and begins the long low growl indicating another uninvited chopper is in the area?
EXOTIC WOOD HANDLED CUSTOM FLY ROD
The special limited edition numbered fly rods designed by famed rod maker Ira Stutsmen and my self have been almost sold out. The 100-rod offering is now winding down to last few in the series. This one of a kind custom traveler with leather carrying case is a fully functional heirloom quality rod that will warm the hearts of generations of fly fishers. The rod can be seen by clicking onto the hot link on my web site at www.danfallonflyfishing.com. Ira will tailor make the rod to your exact needs in regard to weight or length. One cannot attain a fly rod like this beauty anywhere and it is an attention getter to say the least. Exotic wooden handled adorned with Nickel Silver and the look of fine Bamboo sets it apart quite nicely.
Written by Dan Fallon, June 2002 ©
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