January/February 2013

January/February 2013
January/February 2013

Extending our Fishing Season
One of the best things about off-season fishing is having the water to yourself. There is a tranquility to fishing that you won’t find in summer. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks to make fishing safe, comfortable and fun. Rig your boat, your tow vehicle and yourself with these tips, and let the adventure begin.
I think the number one thing to do before you leave the dock, is to check the weather. If it is questionable there is always another day. “Leaving the dock is optional, coming back is manatory”.
Boating on chilly days is best enjoyed when you’re prepared, temperature swings can happen quickly, warmth is the key, and more is always better. Wear winter boots with wool socks, gloves, cover your head with a warm, close-fitting hat that protects the ear lobes. A tubular neck warmer should be used instead of a scarf. If a scarf is used make sure it is tucked into your jacket to avoid strangulation. Dress in layers so you can add or subtract clothes as conditions dictate. Be prepared for sun, rain and wind. Weather can change on a dime on the west coast, and when it does, it can be dramatic. Modern technology can keep you warmer than ever. Make sure your life jacket will fit over your extra clothing and wear it as soon as you get on board. In addition to being a safety feature, a life jacket provides thermal insulation for your core.
Another accessory is a pair of goggles, like those worn by snow skiers and motorcyclists. Watery eyes from cold wind aren’t pleasant and they’re not safe. Even with sunglasses, it can be like trying to see through a rain-spattered windshield. Sharp vision when you’re at the helm is a safety characteristic you owe yourself, your passengers and other boaters.
For Your Boat
Add a canvas enclosure which creates a great advantage to keeping warm.
Onboard heating systems,can take the edge off, but if you don’t want to go with permanent, engine-generated heat, there are electric and propane alternatives to consider. Even a bulkhead-mounted marine oil lamp will give off a surprising amount of heat while bringing a hint of nautical charm to your boat’s cabin.
Make sure your boat has blankets on board. Make sure your fire extinguishers, VHF marine radio, and a complete first-aid kit all in good working order.
One of my favorite “great ideas” for off-season boating is spill-proof mugs. I want my hot chocalate hot and not in my lap.
My sure you file a Sail Plan wheather you are going out for a day or a week, with you being the only boat out on the sea this just makes sease. You never know when you could run into a problem.

Here is a copy of a Sailing Plan:
Owner's name and address ___________________________

________________________________________________

Telephone Number _________________________________

Emergency Contact Number __________________________

Boat's name and licence number _______________________

Sail _______ Power _______

Size and type______________________________________

Colour _______ Hull _______Deck _______ Cabin ________

Type of Engine ____________________________________

Other distinguishing features _________________________

Radio channels monitored HF ____ VHF ____ MF _____

MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) ________________

Satellite or cellular telephone number __________________

Safety Equipment on Board

Liferafts ________________________________________

Dinghy or small boat (include colour) ___________________

Flares (include number and type) _____________________

Lifejackets or PFDs (include number) ___________________

Huxley’s Run: 

The Cat With The Hat

The missive bleeped on my email. It was like the warden coming to tell the prisoner the gallows were ready. Last meal consumed, time has passed, and the hour is nigh. As Lawrence, the Publisher of Island Fisherman puts it about seven times a year; “Doc, it’s time…”
Time it is. Time to write something of some intelligence. Time to peck at this keyboard until a new babe is born. Time too, as it has happened, for so many abortions I cannot count. This is no different. The tackle box is empty, I think. The line has no hook, the boat no motor. Now what?
I could tell of the time on that river when the cast was perfect. The fly hit the inside of the slick and danced momentarily before the trout came and went with its prize. Over my shoulder there was a shadow, a movement. It was author and fly fisherman extraordinaire Art Lingren.
Had I known he was there the cast would have hooked nothing more than the cloth on my back. Instead it had been pretty. Precise and pretty. The river was remote. One wouldn’t expect to meet anyone. And one would not expect to meet anyone who knew that piece of water as the Three Cedars. Art did, because I think he had a part in naming it.
We didn’t talk long and I can’t remember what we discussed. I remember it was pleasant there in the shade; the river a sunflower-seed spit away and sun topping the river like fresh sheets fluttering over a bed.
Or I could tell of when my daughter finally came of angling age and handled the four-weight fly rod in water instead of grass. It was too much to ask, but nonetheless the river gave up the pink salmon on her first cast. I was silent for as long as an ecstatic father could be and then began jumping around and giving instructions like a hopped up spectator at a cockfight.
The most beautiful of salmon came close and the fight was about out of it. I grabbed it, held it up and congratulated her. “Put it back dad, I’m hurting it,” she said. Dreams were dashed and no matter the pleas, she has not come again to the angle. Something died that day; hope. Hope that, hermit-like as I am in my fishing, I would welcome her company the way I would welcome the sun’s warmth on an autumn river, or the river’s cool water on a summer’s pool. But it is not to be, I’m afraid.
Or I could tell of my friend Fred who arrived at one fishing wearing a hat that was nothing more than bits of cloth and thread seemingly held together by three rusting flies of unknown origin. My mistake of mentioning the state of his ratty topper was met with a lengthy blow by blow of how it had been his closest companion through many battles with finny foes. And he punctuated his tales with a relatively revealing story of its ultimate usefulness.
Apparently Fred had embarked on a day’s wilderness fishing without one, vital, piece of equipment. He had left the toilet paper on the shelf in the garage. No problem, he openly admitted, his good old hat sufficed. Le chapeau de bidet, as it were. He even took it off and “folded it just so” to provide illustration to his story of going to nature’s head with, well, hat in hand.
“A couple of rinses in the river,” he winked, “and it was as good as new.”
I thought briefly of asking “what about the flies?” and then realized with not a little horror that those flies could have been privy to his privy. I choked back that query and wondered, not for the first time, how I ever started fishing with such a shithead.
Now, where was I?

 

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