The Convert

Some of us are graced into fly fishing families. Others of us are born into fishing families. The rest of us find fishing on our own. As the latter, it generally starts at worm dunking. Worm dunking generally focuses on small readily caught species, fished from the shore or docks. One might stay at that point for a lifetime, while others may always push for more.

I started as a tried and true worm dunker. I loved the days on the dock catching endless amounts of bluegill. My world would turn upside down with the bite of a bass. Research and progression, the focus went to bass. Bassing was life now. A decade of my life would be dedicated to the hardcore hardware pursuit of the large mouth bass, and consequently pike and musky.

The drive was always big, bigger, biggest, more, more, more. I could not catch enough fish in the time I was out, and could never get back to the water fast enough. There was an insatiable lust inside me, and I didn’t know how to quench it. I fished my hands raw. Super line cuts, reel seat knuckle lump, and bass thumb. You might have been there too. Then it happened.

I drove past a river and saw the stoic solo angler waist deep in the river,skillfully and purposefully making art for the fish. His red line floated back and forth in the air, haloed by the setting sun. There was no haste. There was no lust. His love was evident in the passion for his art. I was the wary buck hugging the bank, gun shy to move, because…worms.

It would be years before the realization hit me, of what I had actually seen. It would take even more years of fly fishing to understand his stoicism. It took the highs and lows in life and on the water, before I was ready to convert. It took personal trial and error before publicly admitting I had crossed over from fly curious to full on fly fisherman.

These days the spinning rods are dusty and the reel grease acts more like contact cement. I embrace my passion and the progression of my approach. I’m thankful for the steps that have gotten me here. I love that the approach is the drive now, not the head count. I appreciate connecting with nature, rather than taking from her.

We all fish for our own reasons and in our own ways. Do the best you can with what you have, but never settle until it feeds your soul. There are truly beneficial gifts waiting when you find your peace.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,

Jared Lane
R. Hacker Photography LLC (66 of 107)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten Dollars

Casting myself into the world of fiberglass fly rods was one of my biggest goals for this year. I wanted to invest the time to slow down and truly appreciate the approach, in pursuing fish. Not only has my casting and presentation improved, from slowing myself down, but I have had a lot of fun finding new rods to play with.

Recently, my wife and I saw a sign for a rummage sale, and I pulled a U turn, so we could stop to check it out. With the look of the venue, we did not expect to find anything particularly useful, but you never know if you don’t look. At the end of the line up of 5′ fiberglass casting rods, with push button closed face reels, stood a forgotten gem.

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She stood stoic, alongside her inferiors. Blue green, wrapped in gold and adorned with one of my all-time favorite fly reels. I passed our son to his mother, and got both hands on her for a closer look. All of the guides were intact. None of the wraps were blown. The ferrule seated properly and wasn’t stuck from years of neglect. The cork was still in great condition. Flawless, save the layers of dirt and grime.

The reel told the same story. Gross and dirty, sticky from the wax rubbed silk line, that sat coiled and untouched for decades, but she still managed to shimmer with potential. Then I saw the price tag. Ten dollars. My mind had already been made up that I was taking this little rig home regardless of the cost, and giving it a new life, but at ten dollars, all I could do was chuckle and hand the man his money.

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Once home, I took an hour and deep cleaned the old Ocean City No.35 fly reel, then restored her finish. New grease and a couple dabs of trigger oil, and I couldn’t believe it was the same reel. A quick wipe down of the rod revealed her true colors, and just how beautiful that old Great Lakes F7 fiberglass fly rod was. I wasted no time grabbing a spare fly line and getting rigged up.

It was straight to the yard after that to see what this beauty was capable of. It was love at first cast. She had a crisp and precise action, but not at the sacrifice of deep soul. The rod cast the way I would want a rod to cast, if I sat down with rod maker and put all my wants and needs into one rod. I couldn’t believe it. Ten dollars.

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Life has been none stop, so she is yet to fish, but in the spare moments like manning the grill, I am outside enjoying every practice cast. I’d be hard pressed to remember the last time, ten dollars spent, was this rewarding. I can’t wait to get her on fish.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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Happy Accident

The day had been planned and replanned. The weather forecast changed the plans yet again. This was already the kind of day I hate. It was also the exact kind of day that makes you truly appreciate a child’s smile and a spontaneous change of the ever changing plans.

On my way home from the part of the day, that went perfectly according to the third plan, I saw a sign that read, “Trout Ranch”. A vague arrow lazily suggested a direction alternate to the route I was travelling, and I willingly locked the brakes and let the trailer swing as I left a little rubber on the asphalt.

Trout Ranch. My mind ran wild with the possibilities. Safely on a side road, I pulled over and pulled up the Google to find out what sort of mecca awaited me…and more pertinently, where my mecca was. I loaded the address into the truck’s gps, and continued on the path before me.

At the end of the road, beautiful rolling greens were dotted with immaculate log cabins and well maintained homes. Just beyond them, cold, clean, clear artesian springs pumped life into a pristine cascade of sparkling ponds. Trout lept every where. Dark schooling masses made wake through the crystal clear water. This was my mecca of pure chance. A happy accident.

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The rest of the day’s duties and time line loomed over me, casting an unfortunate shadow on this window of joy, but I took the time to enjoy the chance. In short order, the proprietor of this dream, gave me a quick run down of what they do and let me guide myself through his paradise. I was in nirvana.

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I inquired, expecting a resounding rejection, if I would possibly be allowed to toss a couple flies at the big ones. I held my breath as I awaited the sound of a shotgun blast, and the swirling cloud of dust, like something out of a cartoon. Instead, a big smile washed over his face, and he told me that’s what they were there for. My heart rejoiced. His stipulation was that I kept what I caught, and paid him per pound.

As a rule, across the board, I never keep trout. For this chance, and the nature of the game, this was the first time I could justify it in my mind. I raced down the hill to scope out the big pond, and what I would be up against. I raced around ponds and back up the hill to the truck to throw a rod together, get it lined up and get a fly in the water. Private trout fishing, all to yourself? I don’t even have dreams this good!

I had already spent too much of the time I didn’t have, admiring the spring fed, gravity driven, shimmering example of perfection the “Trout Ranch” was. I built my cast as I trotted a safe distance along the edge of the big pond, scouting for a beast. I let my cast fall right in line with a brute. As the fly was dropping toward the water, I watched the fish catch sight and start to charge. Eagerly breathless. In a split second’s flash, a smaller rainbow shot like cannon fire out of literally nowhere and smashed my fly as the first fiber of it hit the water.

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Fish in a barrel; I will give you that. Head shaking, lightning running, leaping escape attempts, from a fish that’s never met a hook; I’ll take that! Per the agreement, the fish went in the bucket for a date with some mesquite on my grill. Torn between the elation of the fight and the sadness of this fish’s fate, I built another cast to shoot at the brute. My fly met the water, and fish raced to the ripples. I stripped hard and fast, hoping to draw the bite of a battle ready opponent, and on my third strip, was met by a willing adversary.

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I’ve never seen a fish jump so high out of the water, so many times, as that fish. My fiberglass fly rod pounded in my hand. This rainbow was as wild as the day was long, and had no intentions of remaining hooked. With the long handled net at the ready, I caught the fish in mid air on it’s next leap.

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Two casts, two fish, dinner, and an unforgettable experience. The rest of the day went as poorly as it possibly could, but at it’s end, the kind smile of a child and the happy accident of a trout ranch, are the parts that will be remembered.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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Urban Fishing

My alarm vibrated and sang arrogantly, thinking it was telling me something I didn’t already know. I had awoken every hour, on the half, for the few hours I was in bed. Like a child on Christmas Eve, the following day held a wonder so strong that sleep was impossible.

I was in a new world, with new water, and new fish. Almost anything we would be fishing for would be a first for me, and not just on the fly. In this fantastic state, I tend to gallop to the water gleefully, completely consumed by the brightness of possibility. It is one of the very few times I truly let my optimism run care free.

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The hot Iowa summer sun peaked over the trees, softening the jagged shadows of the mass of boulders lining the spillway and taking the cool bite out of the early morning air. The dew still hung heavy and the dam spray carried the smell of rotten fish and garbage. The rush of the dam silenced all else. This was urban fishing.

The water was moving faster than any I had fished before, and the looming wall of boulders behind me created a whole new casting challenge. Line management, ha, just say a prayer. I took a deep breath, built a stadium cast, with the back cast shooting the nosebleed seats, and loosed my first cast into the mighty current. The other anglers dotted around the spillway looked on in a sort of wonder. I can only assume this is a sight they don’t see every day…or ever.

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My 4″ shad pattern drew hit after hit, without commitment. Fearing the hook too large, I downsized and had no reaction. I tied the first fly back on and headed closer to the dam, shooting the breaking current line. A few more bumps, then the line went tight and my rod bent deeply. It felt like a balloon had popped as my lined recoiled toward me. Bit off.

I played through scenarios and options as I rifled through fly boxes. The speed of the water, the color, and the reaction to previous flies flew through my head, and I opted for a weighted egg sucking bunny leech. The action picked back up. I saw a silver flash, and felt nothing. I pulled a hard water haul out of the current and started the rocket drift again.

My line once again went tight. The line that had been feverishly stripped in ripped back through my fingers as the beast made every effort at escape. My fiberglass fly rod bent in half trying to turn this fish and pull it out of the current. I had absolutely no idea what I was hooked into, but it was nose down and shoulders to the rope. I was giggling, and the spillway played a willing and eager audience.

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I caught the flash of tarnished silver and the grey blue contrast. Buffalo. I laughed deeply, as a tear caught the edge of my eye. Elation spread through my body as I brought the fish to net. A new fish, in a new world, on new water. This is exactly why I couldn’t sleep. I spent a few minutes in exhausted awe, ensuring the fish was revived and ready to battle the current once again. A sound resembling disgust rose gently above the sounds of the dam. It was very apparent that fish do not get let go in these parts, and a dozen or so on lookers would have gladly taken my catch.

The sun was now high enough to see my fellow anglers and the lay of the land. Campers hoping for walleye. Locals catching anything and everything possible to take home. Bow fisherman, arrowing fish and shaking them loose to die down stream. Garbage filled the boulders like a degenerate mortar, and fish carcasses rotted under the rising sun. My mind reeled. There was an undeniable beauty to this place. The fishing possibilities incredible. Yet, everything I saw and smelled and heard around me held no respect for the gift of the treasure in this waterway.

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Urban fishing was an experience I will never forget, for the good and the bad. It was a disgustingly beautiful experience, and I cannot wait to go again, but the next time will be with a back pack full of garbage bags and an extra hour or two, to clean up the piles of disrespect. It is my firm belief that if you cannot respect the whole of a resource, you do not deserve any benefit of that resource. I urge you all to encourage any one you see littering to pack in and pack out. Maybe even offer to take it for them.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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Things Align

The dust billowed like wild fire smoke as I sped down the dirt road. I couldn’t get there fast enough. My brain thought I was in a hurry to finally fish, but once I slid my kayak into the water and left land behind, I knew it was survival instinct, racing to leave life behind.

Work stress held my breath tense. It made my head shake gently back and forth, like my mind was saying I couldn’t take anymore. My face was hot and temper short. Every thought and movement had a sense of panic. I knew I needed quiet solitude to decompress and just be.
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That is what the water gives me. It is a mental, spiritual, physical healing. That day’s therapy was water I had never fished before, but in the splintered moments I had to research, I thought I’d have a decent shot at some late spring brown trout. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I knew there wouldn’t be any other people, and any fish I did catch would just be a bonus.
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The eagle’s shrieking chatter echoed over the water. The owl’s hoots were muffled by the dense forest. The osprey’s shrill was drowned out by splashes. Every where I looked, fish were surfacing. Some were sipping bugs off the surface; others offering full scale aerials. Calm washed over me as I sent my first cast sailing. I gently stripped the line twice before it went tight. The instant full body shakes coming through the rod let me know I had a brown trout on the line.
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The rest of the afternoon was as unrealistic as the first cast. I stopped counting trout at 24. Black crappie were hitting even harder than the trout, and after 100 in the first hour, I stopped counting them as well. It became a battle trying to catch trout, before a crappie got my fly. As soon as I realized that, I knew it had worked. Work stress had rolled off my shoulders, and I was finally able to be in my element.
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I kicked my feet up, leaned back, took a few deep breaths while appreciating the scenery, as my fingers made small wakes alongside the kayak. I was overwhelmed with happiness. The happiness work had stolen from me. My soul recharged and I spent the next 4 hours catching more fish than I could count.

Every once in a while, things align, and you get exactly what you need, right when you need it. I didn’t need countless fish to hand. I needed my happiness. I needed my soul to be fed. A lot of things become very clear on the water. Life will be starting a new chapter soon.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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Something New

My mind has always loved a challenge. It creates an unstoppable drive within me. I love seeing an obstacle and overcoming it. I enjoy the intimidation of things I know nothing about and diving head first into researching and taking action to learn them. With the way my mind races, I cannot sleep at night unless I have been mentally stimulated, or physically exhausted that day. Most of the time, physically exhausted doesn’t even get me to the REM cycle.IMG_0627[1]

I’ve always had a lot of respect for any one that can tie flies. The art and skill of the endeavor has always impressed me. I tried a handful of times with a pair of vise grips, and a bottle of super glue, but that never did anything for me. I felt that I had to truly learn the art wholeheartedly. I knew I had to do it. Over the course of the last year, I acquired a vise, started collecting material storage, acquiring materials, and buying the tools. This week, I was finally ready to take the leap, and learn, through success or failure, how to tie flies.
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With an almost two year old in the house, work, and life, I knew I only had nights after the rest of the world had gone quiet, to practice and learn. Perfect. I swapped out my New York Times crossword competitions and historical documentaries, for a vise, craft supplies, and dead animal products. My mind was fully engrossed. I was hooked. Learning to tie flies was exactly what my mind needed.
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The planning to go from what is in your mind, to what is physically in your hand, by manipulating the possibilities of any given material, is thrilling. Steps, processes, and techniques all have to marry to tie a successful fly. I have greatly enjoyed my first handful of days delving into this venture. The true test of my success at the vise, would be measured by the water, however. Fish don’t lie, and if a fish thinks your fly is garbage, they let you know, by not biting. The most physically real expression of turning one’s nose up.

The first round off the vise, all ate on the water. I was elated. It furthered the drive. The next night at the vise, I was sitting thinking what to create, and I thought back to a comical adventure, that involved chumming with real corn, to try to get a carp in line to bite a fly that looked nothing like corn. I pulled out the craft foam, and worked through the process in my mind, to make a corn kernel fly, as a joke, calling it “The Colonel”, to make Rich laugh, about that memory.IMG_0639[1]

The next night at the vise was spent tying a production run of that same corn kernel fly, for some one that was going to pay me money to tie them! Today I finished my first articulated musky fly. This afternoon, I took to the water to test a few more of my other creations and see if they would eat. Best numbers day on the water this year. Tomorrow, the Colonels ship out, to battle rubber lips in destinations unknown.

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I’m not even a week into the adventure that tying flies is, and it already feels like home. Fly fishing itself had and still has the same effect. I am going to start the planning now, so that when the time comes, I will be ready to fish the flies I tied, on the rod I made, and have the whole process come full circle. I hope each of you take the time every day to invest whatever time you have, to do things to further your passions. Find the inspiration to feed the drive. Try something new!

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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Glass Fantastic

Life streams by faster than spring run off, and it is all to easy to get swept up in the current. Realizing this in looking back at last year, my goal for this year was to slow down, take my time, and appreciate life. I needed to make time to enjoy it, rather than take time to.

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I invested in fiberglass fly rods, to force my self to pay more attention to my fishing, and embrace the true feel of how the rod is working for me, and with me. I wanted to deepen the intimacy of my endeavor in my beloved sport. It has given me the chance to finesse and fine tune my presentation. Fiberglass has really purified my passion for the pursuit. I truly enjoy casting more, and anticipating the success of a well executed presentation. The biggest reward has been in the fight with fish on glass.

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As I have slowed down and focused on all the separate parts coming together fluidly, the culmination has brought clarity. I’m finding, in my adventures, that fishing glass gets me more in tune to how magical what I am doing truly is. Being able to feel every nuance is game changing. The bend and pull in glass, as you bring a fish in is a much more passionate experience, than just horsing her hard on a stiff graphite rod. The delicate power of fiberglass becomes a paint brush to your mind, and paints very vivid pictures of exactly what the fish is doing under water, long before you have a physical visual.

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Being able to feel the rod load energy all the way to the grip, and then the springing release as you unleash your cast, is an incredibly satisfying sensory activity. On almost every outing, I end up spending a fair amount of time, casting for the simple pleasure of the endeavor. Making the move to predominantly fishing fiberglass, has made my goal, reality. I am making the time to enjoy my fishing whole heartedly.

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Providing for a family, I knew I had to keep the rod budget low. After settling on a reasonable option, and a little negotiating with the better half, I purchased two Cabela’s CGR fiberglass fly rods. Thinking back, she actually ordered them for me, because I was busy butchering a deer. Anyway, I went with a 7′ 6″ 5/6wt and a 7′ 6″ 7/8wt. Being used to 9′ graphite rods, I was a little intimidated by the drastically shorter lengths, but once I built the first cast on one, I was hooked. I have grown to love these rods immensely.

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I have fished these rods in frostbite conditions and sunburn conditions. I have landed tiny fish and monsters. The sensitivity and control is outstanding. The price point amiable. The experience fishing these rods is priceless. I know full well that more rods will come into my life, but these will always have their special place. Fiberglass rods have a cult following, and now I know why. If you haven’t taken the time to fish on fiberglass, slow down and make time.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
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As It Should Be

Anticipation ran rival to Christmas Eve. Hopes and dreams had outgrown reality. Every thought made my heart race. I was ahead of myself and needed to center. I needed to get my expectations in check. I didn’t know what was going to meet me at the end of the line, but I knew what I wanted.

Rich was on the sunny West Coast, hunting halibut. I was in the snowy Northwoods, chasing brown trout. We were going to meet up in north central Illinois, to hunt rainbow trout together. Rainbow trout my mind had made the size of sea run steelhead. Rainbow trout with maximum security bad attitudes. Rainbow trout in numbers so thick, they’d come to hand like rain drops in a typhoon.

unspecified2As the miles turned into the next state, my mind reeled back to that fleeting glimpse of yellow the last time I made this trip and looked over the bridge to the water below, when we finally arrived at our destination. That fleeting glimpse that exceeded my wildest expectations. Palomino. I was ready for the adventure, and had finally gotten my mind back to the reality that fishing is not always catching, and regardless of numbers, I would give my best to the pursuit.

We arrived in the same place, late in the evening. We talked shop and made a game plan for the morning. We both had the same heart racing anticipation for the water. We were up early and out the door. Whichever direction conversation went on our way to the river, it always came back to our over eager anticipation. As the miles dwindled between us and our destination, the nerves built. We could not contain ourselves.

unspecified7We pulled up to the bridge and eagerly exited the vehicle. We raced to the bridge’s edge. The water was high. Discolored. Not a single fish in sight. The emotion hit us both hard. This time Rich had more drive than I did. He was in his waders first, en route to the river’s edge, trying to lift my spirits; trying to instill that there was still hope. Once in my waders, I went the opposite direction and started scouting, in hopes of seeing some thing. A flash. A ripple. A breach. Anything. Nothing. Then I heard the whooping. Rich had just missed a fish, and I was running as fast as my waders would allow, to get to the hole.

unspecified8There were fish to hand, not what we pined for, but after the length of the day had ran its course, we had caught plenty of fish. A short conversation with the Warden over lunch let us know that the area had gotten huge rain and the fish had been pushed down river. We looked at our options for the next day, and went the other direction. We had monster rainbows to catch.

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Grey drizzle. Cold breeze. New water. New possibilities. Anticipation again ran high; this time with a healthy dose of reality from the day prior as a filter. In short order, Rich had a beautiful rainbow trout in hand, slightly larger than anything we had seen the day before, trout wise. I had a few bumps as I quickly worked down river to my own space. I found a spot that spoke to me, and pulled my first rainbow of the day from the current. On the next cast, I watched a huge mouth just miss my fly, and heard Rich whooping upstream. I stopped what I was doing and ran to help with the net. FINALLY.

High fives and laughter were exchanged as the reality sank in. We were in the right spot. We had found the big fish. The game just changed. Rich had just put the first big one on the board. After a little celebration I hurried back to the big miss. A couple more small trout came to hand and went back to the flow. Then I snagged the bottom. The head shaking, drag screaming, monster on the bottom.

unspecified3The universe saw fit for this to be the time my line was wrapped around every last thing in my general vicinity. My heart was pounding as the adrenaline surged through my body. That just made untangling my line even harder, so I could fight this fish. Miraculously, I got it to the reel; fiberglass rod pounding in my hand. I yelled for Rich. I hadn’t lost the fish yet, so I wasn’t going to now. The largest trout I had ever seen in nature, in a net, in my life, was about to be held in my hands. I was shaking in disbelief. This fish is why I drove almost 400 miles. I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Our fires had been relit. Our motivation ran rampant. We were once again rabid with a fever for the pursuit. Rich caught more big ones than I did. He caught the most beautiful rainbow trout I have ever seen. I caught more little ones than he did, to the point where he got sick of seeing the bend in my rod and the smile on my face. We laughed. Giddy with a hard fought success. The ride back and the rest of the evening consisted of reveling in the inability to process the day as being real. I caught more trout that day than I had in the last year. Unreal.

unspecified5The next, and last morning, was colder and greyer. The forecast had already told us to stay in. We made our way to the river anyway. We battled the elements. Rain. Cold. Wind. Hail. Lightning. Biting cold wind. Colder rain. Freezing rain. It was a test of wills to hunt fish that day. The fish were harder to catch than the weather was to withstand. Giving it our all and going for broke, we brought the last hard won fish to hand for this trip. Soaked. Freezing. Relieved. We called it, said our good byes,  and both headed to our homes and families.unspecified6

 

 

 

 

The highest highs and lowest lows balanced out the determination that made this hard fought trip, one that will always be remembered. Hard realities, reality checks, and the unreal all spun around at will. It was fishing as it should be.

Keep your line tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
R. Hacker Photography LLC (66 of 107)

All Is Fair

The unseasonably warm March breeze picked me up and floated me toward the river like a lone lost feather. I eagerly obliged her advances and welcomed her embrace. The stretch of water was new. I didn’t know her depths or her boundaries. We blindly engaged each other.

Algae covered rocks rolled under foot as I waded the fast paced flow; she was swelled and proud with cold spring run off. She was faster than I had anticipated, and I quickly realized I had to put my foot down to steady my resolve against her advances.
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The runs were shallow and fast, the cuts and pools; cold and sluggish. The majority of this stretch was barren, like a sea bound river after a migrational run. An eagle soared overhead, gliding down river. I took cue and followed suit. After far too long rolling my ankles over tumbling boulders, I saw the deep cut. My eyes fixated on the sunlit glory of the breaking sandy edge. This is what I had journeyed for.

As the unseasonably warm breeze picked up the stinging edge of the cold river and wafted her toward me, I postitioned myself for the drift. I fed my rod enough line to find the top of the cut. As my line floated weightlessly through the air to the top of the pool, I let it lay gently atop the water. Giving my streamer the first strip as it met the sand line, I anticipated the strike. Nothing. Several more casts. Repostioning down stream a few steps. Nothing. I switched my focus to the rest of the run. I watched a small brown trout miss my fly.

Unable to shake the notion that there was a fish at the top of the run I hauled deep and let my line shoot back upstream. Strip, strip, BOOM!! Big fish on. We battled each other for a short while. Long enough to get eyes on the monster, before she shook the hook and bid farewell, only to haunt me in my dreams. It was the kind of eat that startles you awake. The sort of fight that makes you sweat in your sleep. A little ways down river I got my consolation fish, and it was time to head home. IMG_0240[1] My sleep that night was broken and restless. The next day I went back. I stood back from her rippling curves and watched. I waited for her next move. I wanted to find the beast from her depths, but on my terms. After a short while the unmistakable sounds of fish eating off the surface were audible. The game just changed.

I had a heavier weight rod and articulated streamers, and the fish were all there, and eating tiny insects. My mind reeled as I remembered the box of tiny flies I had tucked into my bag, for just such occassions. I tied on a tandem rig, and dusted them with floatant. I shook my head, in borderline pre-defeat, and built my cast. We were baring our worst for each other. All was fair.

I watched noses push wakes next to my drifting flies floating on the surface. Several casts with out eats, reassured my notion that I was overgunned, and as my mind was preparing to move on, my line went tight and my rod shook in my hand. I was in disbelief. It had worked. I battled that fish in and stared in borderline shock. IMG_0281[1] We shared a lovely moment together and I sent her home. I quickly built my cast and let it loose on the same spot in the riffle. As soon as the fly met the water, I watched it get consumed.IMG_0290[1] Back to back, wild brown trout, on dry flies, presented on heavy line, cast from a heavy rod. I spent more time with this fish, in awe.

I had never fished dry flies before. I had tucked them into the last/worst case scenario part of my brain and fly bag. I am infinitely happy that I was prepared however, because it was a remarkable experience. The fish were small, but their memory vast. They made a large impression on my future approaches.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,
Jared Lane
R. Hacker Photography LLC (66 of 107)

Glass on Ice

The wet, heavy, early March snow fell gently on the seemingly sleepy waterway as I stepped off the ice shelf into the current. The winter breeze left the sting of falling temperatures on my hands. I set my mind to the mission at hand, and started the day’s search for early season brown trout.IMG_0187[1]

With a new fiberglass fly rod in hand, and articulated streamers in tow; I wanted today to be a day of firsts. I was eager to play a trout on glass and open myself to a world I had yet to conquer. I only brought 2 flies to the river, so I had no other option than large articulation to fool a wary winter trout with. Every cast was a pleasure and every retrieve filled with excitement. I love the thrill of adventure in trying new things.
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By the end of the first run the snow had draped a white veil over the surrounding scenery and dampened the distant noise of town. The falling temperatures made crust on my line and ice on my guides. My fingers burned. The rod was encrusted in ice and snow was building on my hat’s brim and my beard. The crisp air filled my lungs with refreshment.

By the end of the second run, the results were largely the same. The fish count for meat hungry brown trout had not changed. The temperatures had however, and every other cast brought the need to remove the ice from my eyelets. I found a bullfrog, fooled by the previously warm temperatures, trying to once again embrace a level of hibernation. I wished him well as I moved to the day’s third and last run.
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My first cast on the last hole met slight resistance. Once the drift had played out, I cast the same place, in hopes it was a sluggish fish and not just a tree branch pushed down stream. My fly was darting to the edge of the pool when the line went tight. I gently raised the rod, holding the line tight. The virgin fiberglass rod danced in my hand as her first winter brown trout shook and rolled violently at the line’s end.

The tugging bow in the rod splintered ice back to its origin, and I got my first glimpse of the fantastic animal I was playing tug-o-war with. My heart raced. My reel was frozen stiff. I went into hand to hand combat mode, making sure I didn’t loose this winter meat eating brute. Elation filled my body as the beautiful brown trout rested in my net.
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My first brown trout on fiberglass. My first brown trout on an articulated streamer. My first blue cheeked brown trout, and one of the top five brown trout I have had to hand. My heart pounded as my battery died. No more photo documentation. None needed for my memory anyway.
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The last length of the run held several more bumps and another beautiful trout to hand. By the end, my fingers were frozen to the rod’s cork. My beard was solid white. Every step was stabbing pain. It was time to go home. Back at the truck, my body was pulsating in pain trying to remove my waders with frozen hands and feet, but all I could do was smile.

Every new venture I pursue in the fly fishing world, makes me fall into a deeper obsession. Today, fiberglass and articulated streamers, paired perfectly for an incredible day in the elements searching for brown trout. They both cemented their place in the forefront of my river arsenal. Sometimes, the adversity of a certain situation makes it that much more memorable.That was today.

Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,

Jared Lane
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The Buzz Around The Bend

We hold our morals and values in the forefront of our efforts at the Brotherhood of the Bend. Honesty and integrity. Kindness and respect. Our philosophy is simple; we want to build a better fly fishing world for anglers on every level. We strive to uplift the community, and encourage everyone to do the same. We are building a brighter future.

 It has been one of our goals to be able to offer the products, gear, flies, and outfits we believe in, to you, at a price point you can handle. Never forcing you on a product or item outside of your means, or that will not ultimately suit your fishing needs. We want you to have a safe place to feel comfortable and confident, when deciding how to spend your hard earned money, and make every dollar count for you. In our continuing efforts to build this, we are beyond excited to announce the future!

 The Brotherhood of the Bend has partnered with RiverBum, Inc., to be able to bring you the best quality products, at a price point you can afford. We could not be happier to be partnered with the RiverBum family, as they whole heartedly support the mindset and efforts of the Brotherhood of the Bend. RiverBum fiercely embraces the same core values we do, and have the same visions for a better future for the fly fishing community. We could not have found a better business to partner with, than RiverBum, to be able to build this for you.

 Together we will be able offer you an entirely new buying experience. We will continue to effect a change in the perception of fly fishing and further our mutual efforts to make fly fishing accessible to everyone. Together we can outfit and show case your adventures. For families and top level pros, men and women of all budgets; we will be able to supply your needs. We will build the community up side by side. We are proud to be able to offer this to you!

 We will be offering monthly discount codes, and many other buying/sale options as we continue to build the future. There are a lot of things in the works, and they all line up to something you should be excited about! As always, our following is our brand, and YOU have made this possible. In celebrating our partnership with RiverBum, we celebrate because of you and for you. You, our dedicated following, have made it possible to continue the efforts of building a brighter future for us all.

 The discount code: RiverBOTB10 is good for 10% off your entire order, site wide, and will expire at the end of February! We encourage you to embrace RiverBum, Inc. with the same love you have shown us, as we move forward together. Here’s to keeping your pride wet, lines tight, and drags screaming! Here’s to you!

Jared and Rich
R. Hacker Photography LLC-0009