Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dizm Eyewear

A few months ago, I was introduced to Dizm Eyewear.  Honestly, I had never heard of the company, but a quick Google search increased my curiosity. & I’ve been wearing Dizm’s ever since.

photo:A Burgos
 Dizm was founded in Hermosa Beach in 2009 with a "focus on bridging the gap between action sports & fashion using bold styles, and individuality."  But Dizm is about more than good-looks and stylin’ shades. Their polarized lenses are paired with frames that are 100% renewable, recyclable, biodegradable & compostable plant based material.  

So, how do they perform?   I’ve been wearing the Mary
photo:A Burgos
Jane’s for the past 6 months  & they have been my go-to sunglasses for everything; fly fishing, hiking, Christmas tree hunting, happy hour on the patio, & even PRK eye surgery recovery.  On the river, they cut the glare exceptionally well & the clarity was a pleasant surprise to me. I have always struggled with seeing the fish & Dizm’s have upped my sight-fishing ability.  Even at the height of the sun & snow glare, Dizm’s offer clarity & quality eye protection. 

photo:A Burgos
Equally important to me is functionality. I’m not rich enough to buy sunglasses just for fly fishing, & another quality pair for every day use.  I want something that I can use all the time.  I can spend a day on the river & easily transition to a rooftop patio with friends.  I wear these sunglasses every day.  They’re comfortable to wear; they don’t hurt my head or the bridge of my nose.  Eye surgery can leave your eyes more sensitive to the sun, but with my Dizm’s, I don’t need to squint, or worry about proper eye protection
photo:A Burgos

 My Mary Jane’s have been sat on, stepped on by dogs, chewed on by cats, left in the sun…. You know, normal life ordeals that we all put our stuff through…. I’m just as happy with my Dizm’s as the first day I got them.  I love the fact that Dizm focus on the environment & yet makes a product that’s versatile. Even more exciting, in the near future, Dizm will be coming out with products that will be more specific to an angler's needs

photo:A Burgos

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Fly Fisherman's Wish List

As we try to recover from our tryptophan hangovers & search for the best Black Friday deals out there, lets not forget our local shops & small businesses! 

The list is by no means complete, but, in no particular order, here are a handful of gift ideas for the angler in your life:

1. Goat Head Sole Spikes - I still believe these spikes are the #1 item to bring to the river (besides your rod/reel/waders!)  The combo pack is available for $23.95- Much less than a trip to the ER for a busted arm/leg/hip...let alone your ego!

2. Cheeky Fly Fishing Reel -  Besides a cool name, Cheeky Reels come with a sealed drag system & the light weight MAX Arbor on all Cheeky reels reduces line memory & increases line retrieval rates. They also hold about 20% more line than other large arbor reels which, increases line capacity dramatically without compromising arbor. Check 'em out....Cheeky's are cooler than a Bee's Knees. 

3. Nature Boy Designs - Whether you are looking for a stylish & unique dog collar, a sleek custom painted rod tube, or a handy-dandy lanyard, Keith's handmade designs cover a good variety of angler goodness. Personally, I'm a big fan of the 550 Lanyard.

4. Dizm Eyewear - Eyeballs are one of our biggest assets- protect them!!! Dizm not only offers stylish designs, which make it easy to transition from the water to Christmas shopping, to meeting pals for a spiced egg-nog, these shades are 100% renewable, recyclable, biodegradable & compostable plant based material. Its good fish-karma!! 

5. Rep Your Water - Be proud of the state you fish & show it off!  Caps, shirts, buffs..... pick & choose, mix & match!  Besides, 1% of your purchase goes back to the beloved waters we fish in!  I believe that's called a Win-Win.

6. H & H Outfitters - These Oregonians' know how to design shirts! They even thought about the ladies in their designs with specific fits; I wear my 'I <3 Trout" shirt proudly. Don't forget to check out the kids section either, dress your Minnow for success!

7. Blue Halo Gear - Fiberglass custom rod blanks, fly boxes,  fly line & now featuring 2nd generation complete fiberglass rods, Blue Halo knows how to party. All my reels have Blue Halo line & you cant pay me enough to switch. (Also, if anyone wants to by me a Christmas gift-I'm really wanting that 8'6 3/4wt fiberglass rod....) One last thing, the beards on these guys put Duck Dynasty to shame.  Why WOULDN'T you buy from Blue Halo!

8. Redington -  I'm a big fan of this Washington based company; I have a pair of the Willow waders & in 2014 Redington will be releasing another option designed specifically for women. I've been lucky enough to try out a pair, & let me tell you, the Siren's are awesome!  I'm excited to see companies like Redington move forward with women specific gear. I also have a pair of the Convergence Pro Fleece Pants, & after spending long fishy days in the Colorado winter, I would recommend these for any angler.

9. FishCraft Creations - For the lady fisher in your life.  Just because we love spending time in (often times freezing) water, doesn't mean we don't want to look good! Bracelets, necklaces & earrings, made with everyday fishing flies/lures, get her a gift that shows of her passion. She'll love you even more! All items are handmade & I cannot stop ordering things! I love them all!

10. Where the Yellowstone Goes - Still my favorite fish flick out there! Hunter & Sarah Weeks show the importance of freestone rivers & taking care of what we have. Plus, it's filmed in gorgeous country! (Also check out their awesome promotion for a chance to win a Sweetgrass Grass Bamboo Fly Rod.)

11. DONATE!  Regardless of where we fish, how we fish, or what we fish for, conservation of our water is the most important thing.  Make a donation on behalf of your favorite angler: Trout Unlimited, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery- that's just a short list.....

Happy Holidays to you all!!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Beginning.....

Almost frozen

During a recent move, I came across my 2012 ‘Bucket List’ that included “fly fish once a month.”  Fly fishing was just going to be an “I feel-like-being-outside-today” activity, yet my once a month goal has become more of a weekend ritual & in my first year, I logged about 40-50 days on the water.  I fished all year; sweated my butt off in the summer & I froze my butt off in the dead of winter.

It’s been quite the journey full of frustrations, cuss words, beautiful fish, beautiful scenery, & endless happy memories.  It’s interesting (at least to me) to look back at my photos & actually see the progress I’ve made. I’ve thought a lot about what my biggest frustrations have been. I’m sure there’s more I can list, but here’s the top ones:
One massive nymph rig knot
Nymphs stuck in my fingers

Back Cast- Simply put, it’s all over the place! I’ve lost flies to the shortest of weeds, to high up in the trees.  Every single person I’ve fished with tells me the same thing: “Watch your back cast” or, “Slow it down”.  You would think after hearing it over & over again, I would get it, but it continues to be a struggle. Probably my biggest struggle.  Truth be told, I’m pretty much a weakling so to get farther casts, I equate speed to strength.  Obviously this is not the case, as proven by multiple pile casts! When I actually watch my casts, I can do it properly…but after watching a few, I revert to old habits. I wish a bark collar of sorts existed for bad back casts; I bet if I got zapped every time my back cast failed, I’d learn a lot quicker! I’m not sure how to correct this. Maybe just continued practice & forcing myself to watch my casts until my body naturally moves with proper form.  When I first started, I had some wicked wrist action going on, but found wearing a simple hair band around my wrist & slipping the butt of the rod in the band, kept the rod in proper position.
My very first fish
Gear- I’m not sure I can change anything here, but fishing gear for women sucks.  I’m not entirely sure why the hunting, skiing/boarding, skating, surfing, etc. industries can figure it out, but the angling industry cannot.  Even the “women” styles are clearly not made for women. The waders are just slimmed down men sizes & last I checked I have different curves than a man does.  Same goes for the vests & waist packs, just smaller sizes.  It just doesn’t work.  Sure, Simms will customize sizes, but sorry Simms, I don’t have $800 to give you & I’m willing to bet the majority of women (especially those starting out) don’t either.  I know that companies like Redington, Simms, Orvis, etc. are working on them, but perhaps the designers could have chats with Browning or Red Head over in the hunting world to help them out. That’s enough about that!

 Patience- Yes. I admit it. I am wickedly impatient & now it’s out there for the whole world to read!  I can’t help it. Or maybe I can…but either way, patience is kind of a big deal in the sport of angling. I can say though, that I am more patient that I was a year ago. Scary really, but progress is progress!  Every new technique I try, I say the same thing, “I can’t do it.” “This is lame.” “I don’t want to do this.” Luckily, my stubbornness outweighs my impatience & I finally buck up! I should try & take my own advice here, but slow down, breathe, realize its not a sprint & slow & steady growth is just fine. 

Fishing adventures with Beard
Fishing Friends- I know, this sounds like a positive rather than a negative but in this case it’s both. I have been extremely fortunate to fish with amazing anglers, but with my level of aforementioned impatience, combined with self-set super high standards, I’ve frequently had to remind myself to relax & remember my fellow anglers have been fishing for 20+ years versus my one year. Let’s take Beard for example.  He’s good. Extremely good. I’m not saying that because he’s my other half, I say it because of his abilities. I’ve never met anyone that can fish like him or offer his level of consistency.  Beard can walk up to any river, cast twice, maybe three times & catch a fish & it will be at least 18 inches. This isn’t an exaggeration. Beard it the Trout Whisper. Beard, I have no doubt, was a beastly brown, in his past life. I’ve learned an immense amount from Beard, but if I were to be completely  honest, there have been days I'm so annoyed fishing with him & just don’t understand, if I’m doing the same thing as him (sans the bad back cast) I can’t catch anything!  BUT!!!!!  There was one day that I DID out fish Beard & that was awesome. Just awesome!!  In the end, I appreciate the lessons I have learned from people like my Dad, big brother, & Beard. I may be a stubborn student, but I do listen & simply must continue to remind myself that I shouldn’t compare 1 year of abilities to those of a veteran angler.(For the record, I did not start fishing because of Beard. Beard came after my addiction was in full swing.)

Happy, happy cold days
 Whew! I feel like I just had some long confessional about my naughty fishing habits! Alas, in the end, I’ve made a lot of advancements & I’m happy with where I’ve ended my first year.  Being able to set up a nymph rig without getting it stuck in my fingers is a plus. I think fishing 40-50 days, 10 different rivers, & 2 states seems a good haul as a newbie. I tied a handful of my own flies that actually caught fish! Fishing through the Colorado winter was a pretty big deal for me.  Catching my much loved 23 ½” brown trout is even a bigger deal to me! To this day that fish makes me grin from ear to ear.  I’m pleased some of my photos were used in a Trout Unlimited article about women anglers, as well as having been a board member for the Colorado Woman Fly Fishers. I’m excited & appreciative to have the support of Cheeky Fly Fishing. Lastly, I am beyond humbled by the support from all of you. I never really thought people would read what I write, let alone continue to read my jumbled writing. Truly & sincerely, thank you!


What’s coming in Year 2 of my fishing adventures & Rods, Reels, & Heels?  Well, I hope to come up with a logo, I’m working on an actual website & I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve!  As for fishing, I am going to correct my ugly back casts & focus on having more patience. I’d like to start tying on semi-regular basis & I’d like to do more art via me love of fishing.   I have a solid list of rivers to fish & species to catch. Some have told me it’s a bit hefty for a beginner. Maybe. But, I’d rather get my butt whooped by a fish then not even try (even if I complain)! 

See ya on the river!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big Dreams in Small Streams

Every where you look, its all about the big one: Johnny Boss Hog. Hogasourus. Hog Johnson. Toad. Pick your name; you already know all the references. Facebook and Instagram are covered in monsters that don't even fit in a net. I subscribed to the "bigger the better" thought for awhile too.  I caught my Colorado Water Hog & I wouldn't be upset if it happened again.  There is a problem with chasing Hogs though: everyone else is chasing Hogs and its more crowded than a happy hour featuring the Jim Beam girls.

 I have to battle rush hour traffic in the concrete jungle 5 days a week. The last thing I want to do on my down time is fight for a spot on the river. (Never mind the jerks that high/low hole you, etc.) Like many of you, fishing is my release. Plus, the Rainbows are spawning & there's even more people to wade through.  I need wide open spaces & wanted to give the spawning bows a chance to...well you know what.

Thus began my love of small streams & little browns. Let's get the touchy, feely stuff out of the way first. The small streams boost some seriously gorgeous scenery. No one for miles around, fresh clean air mixed with the smell of pine, & the buds and blossoms of the Spring. You might even see random pieces of animal parts laying around. Maybe a shed or two. Your small stream might be vastly changed thanks to the hard work of a beaver still busy working on changing the landscape. And, if you're like me (which I'm starting to get the feeling most aren't) you don't even care if catch a fish, you're just happy being out in the great outdoors. Sittin' back against a tree, drinkin' something tasty with your guy/girl/dogs, soakin' in the sun is the life!

Then there's the approach: The ninja fishing skills really get a work out when you have to stand 3 feet back on the bank to cast into a stream that's maybe 2 feet wide whilst trees and various other vegetation make an obstacle course to cast around. If you have an A-Type personality (like I do) this can be both rewarding & annoying. I expect perfection but I produce a cast much less of that! In my case, instead of casting above his face, I cast it right on top of his head, spooking every fish in a 5-mile radius. (Maybe that is why I like the hiking aspect so much, I'm good at that part!)  When you finally get the sneak right & the cast accurate there are fish!

The little brownies, 6 inches or so, full of piss & vinegar (as The Beard would say), hitting your dry fly with so much effort you think you may have caught Johnny Boss Hog.  Oh the fun of a 3 weight! The ever territorial browns make the hike to the small stream worth it. Plus, they're cute! I'm always amazed how different the little guys look with spots/colors compared to their larger kin.  Dare I say it, but it seems as though the little ones have more life to them. Almost like they realize they might be the underdog, but they're going to fight like hell.

Perhaps the biggest reason I fell in love with the small streams was simply because of the aggression I witnessed when a larger brown attacked a smaller brown that I had on the fly. I know fish eat fish, this wasn't new to me. I've seen photos with fish in the mouth of another fish.  But SEEING it is an entirely different ordeal. I felt bad for the little guy, then thought it was super cool. Back to feeling bad because I wanted the bigger fish to keep going! I just said they were cute, now here I am saying its cool watching browns duke it out! (This isn't the best quality photo, but it's all I have and even if they were better, pictures do not provide justice)  The bigger of the two didn't eat the little one, he just didn't want him around his area. Touche' Mr Brown, touche'.

Whatever the reason, a Moonshine high in the Rockies, a great day with the Beard, my first sunburn of the year, or feisty little brownies.... I'm a lover of the small streams, even if I catch more trees than fish. A little more practice & a little more stealthiness & I may just never go back to chasing Johnny Boss Hog again.  

Ha, ya right.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Films, Trouts and Goats

It’s been a long time since I’ve written; too long. What can I say; it’s the trout’s fault!

It’s been a great few months!  I worked the Colorado Women’s Fly Fishers booth at the Denver Fly Fishing Show and met a tone of awesome folks including the cool dudes from Cheeky Fly Fishing, Allen Fly Fishing, and Mr. Hopper Juan himself, Juan Ramirez. I also hit up the International Sportsmen Show; always a ton of people with interesting stuff that makes me wish I had an endless bank account & endless amounts of time! Next on the docket is the F3T show. Other exciting news is that I am now part of the Chasing Tail Media- a great group sharing the passion & experiences of fly fishing through film & photography.

Of course, I’ve been on the river a handful of times. Though I didn’t technically catch anything (I hooked ‘em, but didn’t hand ‘em), fishing with my Dad & big Brother on the Crooked River over Christmas was a serious highlight. I even got a new Lamson Konic reel for Christmas & set it up with some wicked line from Blue Halo Gear.   

A short while later I was able to break in the reel & line during a Bluebird day with a temp high of 18 on a monstrous 23 ½ inch brown trout. Biggest fish of my life & a month later I’m still on Cloud 9 because of that guy. Nothing like catching a Colorado Water Pig with shiny blue cheeks & fins almost as big as my hands! A few weeks later, I caught my first cutthroat as well. A cuttie has been on my list since day 1 & 8 months later…..FINALLY! 

Winter fishing has proven to be some serious fun. It’s tough, the fish are picky, the temps are brutal, but the rewards far outweigh the downsides.  I have layers upon layers & came to the terms that looking like a marshmallow & waddling like a penguin is okay….the fish don’t care!  I also purchased some Goat Head Sole Spikes & couldn’t be happier. It’s icy out there & rubber soles just don’t provide the traction you really need.  I’ve fished with the Goats on my boots on the Crooked River, Colorado River, S Platte, and even the slicker-than-snot Blue River.  You can actually feel the traction & grabbing of the spikes.  It’s like having 4x4 on my feet!

Because there’s lots of winter fishing left to do & the guys over at Goat Head & I both want you to enjoy it without failing on your can, I have a set of Goat Head Sole Spikes to give away! Tell me why (on my blog or over at Rods, Reels & Heels) you need them & one random winner will be chosen for a set of Goat Head Sole Spikes. Contest ends Wendesday, February 6th.