Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Texas Day 3

Today was a relax day. A bit of shopping. Evening church service and a prime rib dinner. We head home to Virginia tomorrow where it will be back at work. But not before I get a whirlwind trip to Wilmington in to try and find some winter red fish. Merry Christmas!

Sunset before the church service. Not a cloud in the sky. 

45 minutes later, it was nearly pitch black. 

Vegetarians, we are not. 

Texas Day 2

I woke for a morning run on the Texas high plains. The frost and cold air made for a trying run in the 4,000' elevation change. The baby went a bit crazy today and grandma got to feel the big kicks. Grandpa liked his new baby book, baby got his first sporting outfit. As a Viking fan, I am having a bit of trouble with this one but I think ill get over it :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the night before the night before Christmas...

Twas the night before the night before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a fly fisher was casting, neither woman, nor man;
The water kept flowing over limestone beds with ease,
Bathing in moonlight, sounds muffled by snow covered trees;
Somewhere in the Rockies, Appalachains or Midwest,
A lone fisher buckled their waders to their chest;
They tied on their boots, breath steaming from their mouth,
and blowed in their hands looking north and south;
When all of a sudden, a fish rose in the stream,
A ripple released from the eddies to the seam;
It was hard to see on this moonlit night,
But no fish could escape this fly fisher's sight.
So straight to the tippet, then to the pack,
Then to the fly box for the plan of attack;
On Caddis! On Hendrickson! On Blue Winged Olive and Scud!
On Zeebra Midge! On Phesant Tail Nymph and C. D. C. Emerger Bug!
Tied tight to the line then stripped out the rest,
Laying out a cast that was niether good, nor better, but best;
Reaching out flat, a perfect loop to the water,
The line pulled tight and pulled harder and harder;
A flood of emotion, elation, just beaming,
With fish now in hand the fisher saw this was the legend of which the fisher had been dreaming;
Known across this land as only the Czar,
Searched out by many from lands near and far;
In that quiet moonlight it was just the fisher and fish,
No cameras nor witnesses, just a child with a fulfilled wish;
The fisher wispered a thank you and the body slid from his hand;
The adventure ended just as soon as it began;
Walking back along the bank, to the cold parking lot,
This was a Christmas the fisher never forgot. 
So on chilled winter nights, when you are tucked in and covered,
Remember the Czar still swims out there, waiting to be discovered. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Texas Day 1

For Christmas we are visiting Sara's parents in Farwell, Tx. Here are a few scenes from the day. We finished the night off with Julie Andrews singing in the Alps in The Sound of Music. Not too shabby for day 1. 

Finally, the Australia trip video is done.

It took me a while to sit down and complete it, but it is finally done. As I didn't' really plan on making a video form the start, it is a bit of a hodgepodge of scenes from the trip, but overall, it does a nice job of showing some of the sights we enjoyed on our journey. The music is also provided by an Aussie band, Angus and Julia Stone

For the recap of the days see below.

Day 3 - hmmm... I guess there was no Day 3... 

In October 2013, Sara and I made a whirlwind trip to Queensland, Australia. Good food, coffee, waves, deadly snakes and poisonous catfish, great conversation, wildlife and plenty of sunshine. 

Music: Angus and Julia Stone: "Paper Aeroplane"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Painting Through Prosek: Spawning Colorado River Cutthroat Trout

I've been looking forward to this fish ever since a I saw a photo posted by Ivan of Yukon Goes Fishing on his Instagram feed. 

photo by YGF... I think.
Now, I don't really know for sure if that is Colorado River Cutthroat or a Yellowfin Cutthroat. What really amazed me was the spot distribution and stark contrast of the yellow body. 

I have primarily been focusing on the broad side of the fish. As you can seen in James Prosek's depiction, it is rather spotless. That meant I had to get a little creative in how I added the spots in. I could have painted the entire fish or just the tail, but I decided to go a different direction.

There may still be time to put this book on your Christmas list. 
The cheap paint set I bought a while back has lasted.
As you can see below, I deiced to just let the spots run off the page. 
I also painted them to fade out a bit. 

Another look at the spots. 

The Instagram shot. 

Next up, the Greenback.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Painting Through Prosek: Volcano Creek Golden Trout

As I finish the section on the Rainbow, Redband and Golden Trout, it has begun to really sink in how much trout diversity there is in North America. This slow stroll through Prosek's book has given me the chance to daydream about one day seeking out some of the less common species. Who knows, I might find myself backpacking the High Sierras, just south of Mount Whitney, stalking the Kern River tributaries in search of the Volcano Creek Golden Trout. 

From here, we move on to the Cutthroat Trout. This is a, relatively, diverse group. I believe I have about 6 or 7 pages marked to paint. Slowly but surely, I'll make it through. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rethinking being a Gearhead

I am a sucker for anything that comes in some sort of "outdoorsy" package. I fit right in with our consumer society. I love catalogues and new gear. I lust after the latest and greatest of the hiking and fishing gear.

Is this bad... Most of me says no. There is a, however, a little Jiminy Cricket waltzing around my shoulder telling me otherwise.

This video from Patagonia shares a mentality worth striving for. Of course we can't all be like the extreme examples in the video. My patagonia rain jacket gets more time spent hanging behind an office door than in Denali. But still, I like the idea of a product not only made to last, but bought to last.

Enjoy the video!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Painting Through Prosek: Nelson Trout

A species native to Baja, California identified in 1908. 
A colorful body with blues, greens and yellows. 
I left off the ventral boundary on this painting. 
A subtle difference that draws the eye to the name of the fish. 
By writing the name in pencil, the name doesn't draw the eye completely away from the image. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic and Reliving My "Rush to the Driftless"

Filmed this a while ago, 
but it seemed like a good time to revisit the old material. 

We all have waters
Tied to our core.
Mine is the Driftless.
What is yours?

I traveled back to the homeland for a week of family and friends. Fly rod and tenkara in tote, my dad and I met up with the Winona Fly Factory (winonaflyfactory.com) fisherman and we explored some of what the Driftless area has to offer for trout fishing. The tenkara rod ended up being a great option for my dad, someone who is pretty new to fly fishing. He took to it well. It was a long time on the water, but we had a great weekend fishing, finding morel mushrooms, and hanging out at the barn. 

Music graciously borrowed from The Rural Alberta Advantage: The Ballad of RAA
Filmed with GoPro, iPhone 4,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Painting Through Prosek: Sheepheaven Redband Trout

As you may have noticed, James Prosek seems to enjoy painting several of his variety of trout in their juvenile garments. Losing your parr marks must be like shedding the jacket of immaturity for many fish. Though, like humans, I bet they still make poor decisions time after time, even after puberty.

The Sheepheaven Redband Trout: a Redband trout (one of the Rainbow variety). 

And now, a look at the Painting Through Prosek portfolio. Below isn't pictured the Brook Trout (that went to Owl Jones) and a brown trout painting that went to my Dad. 

You can also see the redfish tail in there. That is the second attempt at a redfish. 
The first went to a good friend for her birthday.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Painting a Red Fish... or rather, a Redfish

Last Friday night, I sat down and tried my second attempt at painting a redfish tail. When it comes to painting fish you can be as simple or detailed as you like. The redfish is a perfect example of a fish that looks pretty straight forward in the minds eye, but quickly becomes more complicated with its subtle highlights and many shades of  rust, silver and blue. 

I'm thinking I might find myself painting a few Christmas gifts this year. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Out for a Drive: A Special Saturday

Though the peak of fall leaf season has come and gone in the Virginia Shenandoahs, I still wanted to get out for a day with the wife. We finally had a Saturday with no agenda, so we took the opportunity to visit our favorite BBQ shop and see the last of the fall leaves in western Virginia.

While some people might not look forward to a day of 7+ hours driving, I do. Especially when it is with the best company in the world. With a loose agenda for the day, we were given the luxury of an easy pace. 

Our first stop after the drive from Norfolk, Va through Richmond was the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Va. We have a soft spot in our hearts and bellies for this place. For me, it is the Colonel Bacon BBQ sauce. For Sara, it has to be the cupcakes. Regardless, this has become a staple for us, and it filled us up for our hike in the afternoon. 

From Gordonsville we made our way to the Crabtree Falls (see http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/CrabtreeFalls/) trail in George Washington National Forest. This is said to be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and is a relatively easy hike ~1300ft elevation gain and is about 1.7 miles to the top. As such, it is just about the busiest hike in the park. If it is solitude you see, look elsewhere. Still, it is a fun hike and the falls are pretty. Even though most of the leaves had fallen, there were still some beautiful things to be found. Fun bonus: the parking fee is usually $3 but it was waved for Veteran's Day. Score!

The trail was hidden from the sun most of the hike until you reach the top, so it was a bit chilly as we hiked up and down. We spotted a few patches of ice here and there. 

Additionally, by throwing the tenkara rod in the backpack and a gotubb with my line and flies, I was easily able to bring along the gear up to the top to find some pocket water to pick off one last brookie before I let them spawn for November. 

After the hike, we were ready to eat again. Being in the area of the Brew Ridge Trail, we had no other option than to get some grub at one of the awesome microbreweries. The Blue Mountain Brewery was our destination. I sampled some phenomenal beers (some twice) and the food was excellent. Get a pizza and the bread pudding and you will not be disappointed. 

After that, it was time for a nice drive home with my buddy. Sara and I got to share a great day together. As she is almost 25 weeks pregnant, quiet, one-on-one car rides will soon be a thing of the past. Of course, it will be fun in its own way. 
My Leaky Waders might just become My Leaky Baby And Waders.