Posts Tagged With: fishing

Flashback Friday: The Style Issue

This young man is featured in an ad for Louis Vuitton on the back cover of The New Yorker‘s recent “Style Issue”. He can scowl all he wants but I think he looks scared.

LV model

We can’t see what he’s scared of but I imagine that, having shown up for a sailing cruise with a pile of fancy matched luggage and stylish shoulder bag, he might not quite be up to the good-natured ribbing he’s taking from the crew. I know I’d be tempted to throw him overboard. Stylish or not, Thurston Howell VI there just doesn’t fit in, even if (or perhaps because) he has a silly gold anchor charm hanging off his pocket. Personally, I think he should ditch the tie and go with something a little more casual, like an ascot, but thank goodness fly fishers aren’t hung up on style, right? Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Flashback Friday Rides Again! Russian Tiger Catchers, A Story Not About Fishing, and Then I Get to the Point!

It’s easy to get distracted while thumbing through my old magazines, looking for something in particular. Mixed in with the mundane and everyday aspects of the outdoor life are exciting stories filled with danger and daring, told by those who survived them, offering a glimpse of rugged days gone by. Like these 1950’s Russian tiger catchers, restraining a wild beast with not much more than stout wooden poles!

tiger catchers

Brought to bay by dogs, this tiger was destined for a zoo or a circus and had to be taken alive. One man has a line around a paw and, according to the article, the tiger was in a bag and headed for the truck within minutes. I hope these guys made good money, because I can’t imagine grabbing tigers for fun, although I guess you never know. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Trout Bum’s Year, Yet Another Story Not About Fishing, and a Little Rant

While away the Old Year passes, snow has drifted, up to most people’s asses, or just above my knees, and the flakes are still falling as darkness settles in, just a tad later than it did yesterday. With a long night ahead, and nothing to do tomorrow but move more snow, this is as good a time as any to inflict upon present to you a look back at the year that was 2012, here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. I do this not because I think you’ll enjoy some misty-eyed reflection but because, if I know my readers, some of you weren’t paying attention the first time around. I also know it’s the kind of thing that bothers Mike at Troutrageous! to no end.

January was nearly half over before the year’s first post appeared, in which I received a package from Sweden and shared another story not about fishing (See “A Package from Sweden and Another Story Not About Fishing“). I will post a review of the DVD in that package one of these days, but I’ll tell you now that I liked it and it was sent to me by an especially notorious character, Marc Fauvet, Master of the Limp Cobra.

(Speaking of cobras, the man in the Story Not About Fishing once tipped over backwards in his office chair, which is interesting to begin with because it means there was a chair that didn’t collapse catastrophically beneath his bulk before it had a chance to even think about tipping over. Four of us watched it happen but there was no way to stop it without someone getting crushed. Stuff fell off the walls when he hit the floor and the Styrofoam cups on his heavy wooden desk spilled their coffee all over his Important Papers. We wanted to help him, right then and there, but he bellowed at us to leave him the hell alone so we ran. He was still mad at us from the day before, when we had maneuvered him onto the platform of the big drive-on freight scale in the shipping barn. One by one we had stepped off, leaving him there by himself so we could see just how much he really weighed and we almost got away with it, too, but someone gasped when the indicator on the scale settled down, and when Robbie saw what was going on he flew into a rage. Now, it was a day later and he was on his back, stuck in a chair (the impact really wedged him in there good) between the wall and his impossibly huge mahogany desk, turning purple and screaming at us as we tripped over ourselves trying to leave. We were, after all, working for the world’s largest importer/exporter of exotic animals and knew very well that when something the size of Robbie goes down it is sometimes best to just get the heck out of there and let the situation sort itself out. We did sneak back in a few times to check on him before he finally rolled onto his belly and got to his feet, but we spent the rest of the day in shifts, one of us posted by the door, with a tranquilizer gun and a pair of heavy-duty winches. You know, just in case.)

The rest of the first month of 2012 included video of wind-whipped Snow Wraiths, litter bugs from New Jersey, a delightful poetic interlude, some interesting ice, a visit to the frostiest place I know, and I posted a piece about the pursuit of perfection on The Backcountry Journal.


Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Bacon Grease and Rainbows

Seemingly endless months of partisan bickering, accusations and denials, half-truths, gossip, innuendo, and lies have finally come to an end. The mud that was slung has barely dried to dust, and some are already hatching schemes for the next time around. Some are angry, some are too stunned to speak, and others would like a chance to catch their breath and clear their head before tackling the hard work ahead. A few small voices have even been heard crying out for a time of healing.

That’s right, folks, another season at Fish in a Barrel Pond is in the past. (Surely you didn’t expect political commentary from Quill Gordon, did you?)


A fly fishing magazine left behind in one of the camps this summer had a section titled “Fly Fishing Dream Jobs” or somesuch nonsense. Since I hear so often how dreamy my job must be, I flipped through the pages in search of myself. At first, I thought there must be some mistake but a second perusal convinced me there was no mistake about it. Nothing but a deliberate editorial decision could explain the absense of Fishing Camp Caretaker from that dream job list and for a while I was a tad more than miffed.

I like to imagine there is more than one Fishing Camp Caretaker in the world and I believe he, she, or they would have been miffed, too, but then I gave it some thought and not only understood the omission, but was also glad for it. I am sure my imaginary comrades would agree, it would just jerk our tears from their little ducts, against their will, to see the looks on the faces of some people who think it sounds like an easy gig, after they’ve done it a few days. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor, Rural Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Quill Gordon Wears Steel-Toed Drinking Shoes

The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society has 100 members and 1 employee, which in itself could explain my desire for an occasional snootful. Sometimes, though, it seems the issue is not as much that I partake of volatile spirits from time to time but rather the company in which I do so. Why, just the other day, someone asked me, “Gil, why the heck do you hang out with that bunch of drunken ruffians?”

My interrogator was Dr. Calvin Butz, and the drunken ruffians in question were my friends Milt, Wally and Stinky, whose combined age is 274.

“Because I like old-timers, I guess. Why do you ask, Calvin?”

“Call me Cal. I think they are rude, offensive, and downright dangerous, that’s why.”

“They’re not so bad, Calvin. Come on, they’re old, give ’em a break. Besides, Wally’s pretty upset.”

“That may be, but he doesn’t have to take it out on me! What’s he so upset about, anyway?”

“Well, for starters, some Nazi shot a tank out from under him once. Need more?” Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The Fish are Easy

The members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society are wonderful people, each and every one a shining example of virtue and sportsmanship. Go ahead; ask them yourself. They’ll tell you. It’s those other guys that are the problem.

I don’t think the trout of Fish in a Barrel Pond really give a carp one way or the other. All men are equal before trout, as the saying goes, so as another season of fishing comes to an end, with the slopes of Nonesuch Mountain bathed a gaudy, autumnal glow, I take a moment to reflect on the ways of both people and fish, circa 2012. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bamboopalooza, Part II: Fall River Rods “South Fork” Meets Your Grandfather’s Rod

There are some very nice bamboo fly rods being made today, by craftspeople every bit as talented and innovative as famous rod builders of the past, but one of the things that attracts many anglers to old, used, bamboo fly rods is that they are old and have been used. The workmanship of the builder ensures their durability, and many rods made as far back as the early 1900s, or even earlier, still see service today. Part of the fascination they hold is the thought that they have stories to tell. How could a rod that has been fished for 50 or 75 or even 100 years not have stories to tell?

Those old rods were once brand new and, like the anglers who cast them, they acquired their patina over time, little by little, cast by cast. Every outing adds another page to the story and this is one page near the beginning of one rod’s story.

The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Rods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.

My time with the Fall River Rods “South Fork” is over. I’ve written my journal entry and sent the whole shebang on its way to the next lucky angler on the list. It’s a great rod to fish with and a lot of fun to cast but, as I discovered, some of the best qualities of bamboo shine brightest away from the water.

Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Bamboopalooza, Part 1: Fall River Flyrods “South Fork” is Not Your Grandfather’s Rod

The Outdoor Blogger Network announced on March 1st that Fall River Flyrods was building a custom bamboo rod to be fished by 15 anglers over the course of the season, with one of the 15 owning that rod when all was said and done. The lucky 15 were chosen at random from over 100 interested anglers, which worked out well for me because I am much better at random chance than well-developed skill.

Montana Fly Company provided a 5/6 wt Madison II reel, with a beautiful “River Rock” finish, and RIO Products chipped in with their Trout LT DT5F fly line to complete the outfit. I would like to thank Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products for giving me and 14 other anglers the opportunity to play with this rig, and I would especially like to thank Joe and Rebecca for all the hard work and dedication they have put into making The Outdoor Blogger Network the great place it has become. Over 1000 Outdoor Bloggers, all connected together for your reading pleasure. Imagine that.

I would also like to point out that I have no connections with Fall River Fly Rods, Montana Fly Company, or RIO Products. Except for the chance to fish with this rod, reel, and line, I received nothing other than a great time, good memories, and a chance to connect with a wonderful bunch of outdoor bloggers.

Fall River Flyrods “South Fork”

There was a time when fly rods were made from glued strips of wood, such as ash and lancewood. Exceptionally long, and requiring two hands to cast, those rods were heavy and cumbersome. Rods made from split cane bamboo were shorter and lighter, bamboo was relatively plentiful, and in 1874, H.L. Leonard began making bamboo rods exclusively. A trade embargo on Chinese imports in 1950, along with the development of modern synthetic materials, pretty much ended large-scale bamboo rod production but a number of makers continue the tradition, producing custom rods that are not only beautiful but also make use of the best qualities of the long fibers of bamboo.

An entire generation or more has learned to fly fish using synthetics, and the trend has been toward lighter, faster rods, especially of graphite and boron, that load and have most of their power in the upper third of their length. Traditional bamboo rods are heavier, slower, and flex deeply, well into their lower third. Hand a bamboo rod to someone used to fishing rods made of modern materials and, at the very least, you will get a funny, puzzled look as they try to figure out what the heck just happened to their cast. Most will eventually catch on and settle into the rhythm of bamboo but they will more than likely say it is much too heavy and slow for them.

Jason Zicha, of Fall River Rods in Pocatello, Idaho, has created tapers for the rods he makes that more closely mimic the action of graphite, loading quickly and flexing toward the tip, like the “South Fork” model currently making its way around the country as part of a project put together by the Outdoor Blogger Network. Fifteen anglers will be giving this rod a workout (and a history) through the season and writing about it on their blogs, as well as adding their thoughts to the journal that is travelling with it. This is Part One of my experience with that rod. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Product and Gear Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Package from Sweden and Another Story Not About Fishing

The internet allows us to communicate with, and get to know, people who live far away, in distant lands. There are times it almost doesn’t seem real. I fire up my computer and there you all are, your words and pictures on my screen any time I want. Wires, electricity, zeroes and ones combine to produce a wondrous illusion, instantaneously, allowing us to share words, pictures, and more with people we may never know in person, wherever in the world they may be.

Back in December, Marc Fauvet, of Limp Cobra fame, announced The Friggin’ Awesome Limp Cobra Holiday Photo Contest!, with the only requirement being that said photo must have a fly in it. The results of the contest can be seen HERE. The real winner was Ulf Börjesson, who takes wonderful photos and keeps the blog [Mad] Trout, but he declined, allowing my photo to move from second place to first!

We know a digital image can travel thousands of miles in a matter of seconds but how long does it take for a DVD to travel from Sweden to Vermont? Thanks to Marc and Ulf, we know the answer to that question: Three friggin’ weeks!

I am looking forward to watching this one and trying out some of what it has to offer. Perhaps I’ll do a review in a few weeks. Thanks again, Marc and Ulf!


With winter’s banshees pummeling the windows and moaning at the door, the Shack Nasties lurk in dark corners. They follow me across the dooryard as I go about my chores and huddle with me beneath my blankets when I come back in, whispering sweet nothings in my ear, reminding me of far-away spring and a distant, misty, evening rise.

Screw the Shack Nasties, Cabin Fever, or what ever you want to call it. Here is a story, not about fishing:

When I was a kid, going to the mall was a special treat. A world unto itself, the mall was a new concept and my family went to walk and gawk as much as to shop, joining the throngs that circulated through the climate-controlled, concrete, chrome and glass corridors like schools of fish. Whenever I became separated from the rest of our little group, my parents knew where to find me because there was one thing in that giant Church of the Almighty Dollar that invariably drew me in, like a moth to a flame. Somehow, I always ended up in front of the County Seat Jeans Emporium, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the gargantuan pair of pants hanging from the ceiling inside. My nine-year-old mind was absolutely boggled by the size of those pants. It was humbling to realize that the mall was a place where anyone could get anything they needed, but I shuddered as I imagined the person who needed those pants. Those pants weren’t just Levi’s. They were leviathan. My parents assured me that those giant pants were a joke and that no one could possibly need pants so large, and for years I believed them. Until I met Robbie Brown. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fishing Hurts, Again (Still?)

Winter’s approach means less time on the water for most anglers in the northern hemisphere, and more time in front of the fire, contemplating this and all other seasons past. It also means more time in front of the computer, discussing our “sport”.  Erin Block has kicked off our more philosophical time of year with a very interesting conversation on her blog about ethics, specifically casting to spawning fish.

Every angler has his or her own justifications for fishing (or not) the way they do (or do not) and I am glad to see Erin’s post take off the way it has, even if I prefer to save such heaviness for the dark cold blue of deep winter. Her words, and the comments they have spawned (pun intended) are definitely worth a read.

The fact that anglers are willing to discuss their fishing ethics is encouraging to me. It is certainly better and more productive than some of the stuff non-anglers throw at us, as pointed out by Marc Fauvet of The Limp Cobra in his post, My rod’s bigger than yours. PETA has adopted a strategy to eliminate fishing by relating the torturing of fish to penis size, referring to the penises of the anglers, not the fish. Never mind the fact that many of the world’s finest anglers have no penis at all. Check it out and see if you have something to add to the conversation over there, before it turns completely to goats.

Personally, I still sometimes wonder why I feel the need to drive a hook into a fish’s mouth and reel him/her in, just to let him/her go. Or why I set traps for beaver, muskrat and mink. Or swat flies, kill wasps and poison mice. I do, however, know why I do not fish for dogs and I wrote about it once. You can read my story here: Fishing Hurts.

Meanwhile, I’ll be blowing out water lines in the camps and trying to get stuff picked up before it freezes to the ground. It’s going to be a long winter.

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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