CW_VC28Dec_H1

For a sport as outwardly benign as fly fishing, deep, dark, vicious things can lurk under the surface. What should be a sport of escape—an excuse to spend time outside, listening to the rivers and the water and getting away from all the petty annoyances of life—can turn into a politically-driven ego match astoundingly quickly. 

Posturing. Know-it-alls. That one guy last year who told me to get in the back of the boat because I was a girl.

Hate to tell you, guys, but the best anglers I know are those who are driving beat-up trucks, wearing duct-tape patches on their jackets, and looking a bit grizzled. They are the quiet ones at the bar, quick and professional at the boat launch, and help the newbie pick out flies for the day. The ones who can back a trailer into the smallest spot left in town, then quickly hop out like it was nothing. No grandstanding. No looking around for compliments. No ego-stroking.

But wait until you see them cast. Or row in a 40-mile-an-hour wind. Or shore up to help that kid struggling to rig his rod, then help him and give a mini-tutorial. Humble as can be. Down to earth. And pretty damn fun to be around.

Some days, it seems the good guys are outweighed by the ego-driven. The guys expecting you to know their name, to kowtow to their “superior” knowledge and skills. The ones who just love to pick fights over minutia so they can seem important. These are the guys who drive folks away from the sport; who intimidate the newbie and ask the women, “Aw, sweetie, want me to tie that on for you?”.

Let’s have a Bimini twist-tying contest, dude. Game on.

Because, really what’s the point of having an ego in the sport? We spend our time trying to catch fish. Think about it. Fish. Slimy aquatic things. At the end of the day, we are flinging around a stick with thread tied on the end of it, and a piece of feathers and fluff tied to that. We’re not half as cool as we think we are.

Take some time to introduce someone new to the sport today; someone who may have been turned off by the growing “bro-brah” attitude. Pause and laugh at yourself. Wind knot? Yeah, pretty sure my worst wind knots came into existence when there was no wind. Not even a puff. Trailer backing skills? Those came hard-earned. I was the teenage girl backing horse trailers into pretend cinderblock “stalls” in the pasture. Casting skills? I have absolutely no problem noting my double-haul is a distinct, sometimes brutal, work in progress.

We’re in it to learn, right? So tone the ego down and enjoy the journey. 

It’s not much fun if you don’t.

CW_VC28Dec_h2

{ 23 comments }

Chasing Rumor

by Mark McGlothlin on December 28, 2014

in Fish Stories

Chasing Rumor from Chelsi Moy on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

Sight Fishing Wintertime Redfish from FlyFishJax Captain on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

CWWBL26Dec_TSofSE

A nice build getting a little exposure before winter really sets in. Via the woodenboatheads at Wooden Boat People.

{ 0 comments }

CWFFHdr26Dec_SCBalls

Like many folks have this week, growing up my family would some years pack up the car and make the 700+ mile drive from the Texas Panhandle to the Gulf Coast to spend the holidays with the extended famdamnily.

We happened to enjoy the bonus of having both sets of grandparents living in the same town and were plied with distinctive southern food treats from the minute we crawled from the Olds , stiff and cranky after the long drive.

Rum balls.

Divinity.

Pickles and pickled okra from that fall’s garden.

Fresh crab and redfish cakes.

Mama’s (maw maw) round steak and gravy.

Chow chow.

The list could go on and on. Though there’s one that was a favorite (and still is) – a handmade, holiday season, cheesy sausage ball. These little flavor bombs showed up at every family gathering, were often made in huge batches and set out when company dropped by and were often just left out on the counter to be picked clean during the day. Seeming every southern family had (has) a favorite version.

Southern sausage balls are another one of those things that might taste best when made using your grandmother’s recipe, though when we stumbled across this recipe (we’ve modified a bit) from chef Vivian Howard on Garden and Gun’s food blog (with video), we suspected this one would be a clear cut winner.

The cornmeal (replacing the classic home recipe Bisquick) is a stroke of shear genius; these sausage balls will almost remind you of a sausage hushpuppy, but they’re far, far better.

The perfect snack food for your New Year’s soiree coming up next week, though be aware, you’ll be tempted to eat the whole danged recipe yourself.

These earn a well deserved ‘hot damn’.

1 cup yellow cornmeal + 1/2 cup for dusting
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
2 oz. white cheddar, grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 lb. spicy country style bulk sausage
2 oz. cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 350; line baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray.

Mix the dry. In a large bowl mix the 1 cup cornmeal, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and baking powder. Now add the grated cheeses and mix well, making sure all the cheese is coated.

Combine the wet. Using your hands, combine the sausage, grated onion and cream cheese.

Put it together. Now dump the sausage mixture into the cheese and dry ingredient bowl, using your hands to mix well. Form into roughly 1-inch balls, roll in cornmeal to coat and place on the baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes until brown and crispy; there should be cheese oozing out here and there.

Serve ‘em up warm or later at room temperature. Vivian Howard serves with a sauce made with 3/4 cup apple butter and 1/4 cup Dijon mustard.

Enjoy.

{ 1 comment }

CheesyFly | Teaser

by Mark McGlothlin on December 26, 2014

in Fish Stories

CheesyFly // Teaser from Cine Fly Fishing on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

Patrón Añejo Punch With Josh and Eric of Mason Shaker from Tasting Table on Vimeo.

For your New Year’s party coming up next week…

{ 0 comments }

CW_ChristmasCard2014700Ds

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all from team Chi Wulff today.

May the Holiday week bring you fresh, untracked powder, bluebird skies, splendid food and beverage, just a tease of ice in the guides, a fat rainbow to hand and needed gear in your stocking.

May the visit from your in-laws be short, as peaceful as possible, and may they bring good beer and decent booze along.

May you find time away from the hustle and bustle to stand in or close by your favorite freestone, crick, creek, bayou or flat.

Merry Christmas to our fishy and foodie friends.

{ 1 comment }

Yow: Icelandic for Yes! Teaser from Tributaries Digital Cinema on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

CW_simplicity_V1There’s a stroke of sheer genius manifest in the current tenkara movement.

More and more I hear tenkara being marketed, often to fly-curious non-fishers, as the simple way to fly fish. It’s you, the rod, a fixed length line and a fly.

You have to admit, it is a profoundly beautiful, simple construct and barriers to (fly fishing) entry – namely cost and negotiating the maze of rods, reels, lines and leaders today – almost magically vanish according to many tenkara gurus.

Simplicity.

Funny, my fly fishing mentor (JW) nailed the simplicity game, indelibly for me at least, one unseasonably chilly late September afternoon on an intentionally-here-unnamed honey creek in Utah’s Heber Valley.

It happened to be 1985, a few decades ahead of the enlightened North American tenkara age.

He said to bring my 4-wt. rigged with a 12-foot leader, one spool of tippet material and three flies (small water dry attractors) in a plastic film container. No waders, no multiple boxes, no vest. Everything had to fit in a single pocket.

[Digression – for those confused by the term “plastic film container”, cameras back in the day actually used a long, strangely textured, opaque material called film. It most often came in a little yellow box which housed a black plastic cylinder about the size of your thumb with a grey, snap on lid, holding “the film” in an ingenious metal can. After exposure in your camera, you took said film to a magic place, where through the wonders of modern chemistry, said film was processed into slides which you then showed your friends, with some pomp and circumstance, on a large section of your living room wall.

For all the technical advantages of digital photography and high-tech gear, nothing has yet matched the anticipation of loading a stack of slides for viewing the first time.]

CW_simplicity_V2JW proceeded to lead us, off trail and using painfully long strides up a damned steep ridge, to a small meadow stream, still grass-lined that fall, with deep undercut banks.

Here he demonstrated like a Jedi master the art of what used to be called dapping back in those prehistoric PT days (pre-tenkara). We crawled upon and fished undercut, outside bends and pools at the ends of riffle runs. There’s probably several modern tenkara terms (from the Japanese of course) to describe what we did that day; JW just called it fishing the crick.

The crick was small enough neither of us needed to cast with more than the leader out of the rod tip for 98% of the day, though it was nice to be able to unspool a bit of line, make one cast to drop one in a tight lane, up and over the riffle on the far side. We caught 4 to 6-inch spunky rainbows all afternoon, as fly-innocent as the day is long, until we realized the sun had already dropped below the ridge line.

And there were a couple of leviathan 15-inchers that slammed up out of the deepest undercuts that left our hands shaking and hearts pounding that afternoon. (Unless you’re a small crick fisher you probably scoffed at that last sentence; if you are, you damned well know what I’m talking about…)

If tenkara rigs were available, we’d probably have used them that day. As JW mentored ably that afternoon, pursuit of simplicity itself is the cornerstone choice, gear becomes a secondary game.

I like simplicity.

{ 0 comments }

Hat tip to Steve Zakur via twitter (@sippingemergers)

{ 0 comments }

Baby Blue Crab Fly from Bryan Bowers on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

Tail_FFBH_15Winter

Log in to see this one.

{ 0 comments }

Boudin and Brown Water

by Mark McGlothlin on December 23, 2014

in Redfish

Boudin and Brown Water from Matthew Martelli on Vimeo.

{ 0 comments }

FinChasers4_Dec14_500DS

Read it here.

{ 0 comments }