Thursday, March 31, 2011

favicon.ico - use one?

Have you thought about making a favorite icon for your blog or website?

It's really pretty easy to do and fun. Its iconic!

They show up if you use a favorites toolbar and also show up in the address box when you launch the site (provided you have ability to put it on your sites root directory. If so the browser will use it. Otherwise it's use is limited to the favorites bar or dropdown.

Here's the one I built. Its an itsy bitsy dude, because the address bar and favorites bar are not very tall.

That one is meant to be an abstract noise line. It's not a heartbeat monitor (already been called that). Our spinners have already been called earrings, (been there, done that).  You get a pretty thick skin, just sayin.

Download a free Icon editor, ( should have some) build the icon you wish to have show up. It's fun. There are dimension and size restrictions though. You can search google on favicon and find all the specs and rules.

File it somewhere you can find again.

To replace the Blogger icon just right button the current icon (once you have site listed on the address favoites bar) and go to Properties. There's a change icon button in the dialog box.

Set yours and your done and can admire your handiwork until you decide to change it.

Miguel Lasa Osprey photography

For all the envious fishermen out there. Here's a real treat. Once you launch the link, there's a slideshow choice located at upper right.

Osprey slidehow

What an amazing talent Miguel has.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Work on the Net - Y? I blog

Y? I blog.

Truthfully,  I've observed (first hand) that my outdoor experiences are more interesting, sharable and noteworthy then my indoor experiences. Did I mention, less private?

The Spice

There's a passion about my outdoor life and business that seeks audience.

Web design and admin on our website developed skills with photography and HTML, these fueled the fire.

Primitive,  fast,  furious, and exciting.

I began to communicate with other bloggers. They fanned the fire. Why not me?

I've been on the periphery of blogging, as a reader and ghost writer, for some time. I took the plunge and started blogging after an interview with a blog mentor (Ben G) about my desire to launch and expand a US fishing spinner company.

The analogy of a salmon swimming upstream comes to mind.

Fish Creek Spinners swimming through millions of fly fishing anglers, to have some fun, mess around (wink), then die or be eaten by a bear. LOL.

The Slice

I've always said, "It's not real, unless you write it down" tax returns, shopping lists, budgets, business plans, HTML and documentation.

There're plenty of other things "I've always said", but those will be different stories. (was the use of there're a blogging sin?)

Blogging fuels creative energy; that passionate fire in your belly - crackling and igniting your brain into action - sending ideas out your fingers to the waiting keyboard, sparks that - for a moment - glow on the web, then expire into the archive..

The game changing web platform is a mighty big slice. A worldwide - sharable - persistent chronology. Now thats something to excite and scare the living crap out of you.

Work, on the net - I tie a good knot, but prefer stainless wire

Yep, blogging provides opportunity, but if you ask me, it does put the work in netWork!

A point in time snaphot (literally and digitally), or a written reflection. A persisent record that the pressures of day to day life will avoid, comes with a cost in effort. "It's a great life, if you don't weaken".

With luck and an audience, a post just might stimulate or influence a reader response.

Shared feelings on common ground,  now that's some powerful building blocks;  essential stuff, the core of relationships. Life is a relationship business. A network - Thank-you OBN!

Or on the flipside, could it be that - Business is a life of relationships?

Alternative spinners

It's my opinion that the popular, albeit legacy, fishing spinners we've seen a million times (so have the fish, btw), are dominated by foreign companies for no good reason, other then history..

We work hard to offer alternative products, they look different and sound different. A reader recently commented, "You can't find these at Walmart". Thank-you thank-you, thank-you, you get the message. Our brand expands, cast by cast - one angler at a time.

I'll write about that and anything else on the ragged edge of my outdoor interest areas. Places and topics I wander into with the inclination to share.

I believe FCS can be a change agent, a shift away from the way it's been. Like fly-fishing, only with different shiny stuff.

Lots of small steps, we're small, friendly, and adaptive.

Jobs are important to self esteem. They define our standard of living and future. At some point, you realize you need to eat your own dog food. 

If we ship jobs overseas, our standard of living stalls and deteriorates, we don't feel good anymore. Networks are interesting; Net  =  Work is essential.

So that said, as we grow, outdoor jobs will follow. Build it, they will come.

Our adventure's underway and a bearing point is set.
Read about our agonizing (yet mildly interesting) post by post, cast by cast journey - Here, on the 'Noise on the Line' blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Estes Park Elk

Here's a few pictures of Elk in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Longs Peak - Rocky Mountain National Park
 Judging from the Bull personna, most were likely taken in September when they were starting to herd.

One thing about Estes Park, it has a lot of Elk. Big ones, small ones, slow ones, frisky ones.

They sleep and graze on the driving ranges and golf course fairways, they walk the streets and bike paths, they eat your shrubs and fertilize your front entrance. Oh yeah, they like to stop traffic.

What's this coyote doing in an Elk Post?

Stay away from my girlfriends, got it? Where'd they go?

Let's head into Estes Park and put a few rounds on the golf course.
Yep, get ready to see Elk in Estes Park.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Get on the Map - Google Maps

I don't know if any of you have considered applications for Google Maps or not. If you think you might have one, like recording the locations of your outdoors adventures, fishing spots, hikes, or favorite hunting spots, it's pretty easy to start using (IMO anyways) and worth an hour or two getting familiar with it. It may not be that exciting building it and maintaining it at first, but after a year or two, if you're like me, you'll enjoy reflecting and sharing the historical record that it maintains.

Google Earth has similar function, but I couldn't figure out how to imbed it. Maps was easier.

I was using Google Earth to track online and wholesale customer locations (you know who you are), taking a screenshot jpg and putting it on the FCS Get on the Map page and it was kind of a drag keeping it updated, then relaunching on the website each update.

Don't get me wrong, the snapshots were fun and probably a better point in time reference. In my application, watching the map fill up was a hoot, still is! With Maps, I might have to track yearly progression with different Icons. Google provides a bunch, I opted to build my own.

Whew, back to the post.. While doing other website changes over the last several months (in addition to starting this blog), I considered Google Maps. Maps turned out to be a less time intensive method of tracking online and wholesale customer locations then Google Earth.

Mostly because I couldn't figure out how to launch Google Earth externally or never invested the time to figure it out. Google Earth was always loosing my icons too. I found Google maps seemed easier or less intimidating. Having the whole Earth in my primitive hands, just freaked me out! A flat map was more better!

I like that Maps provides zoom and positioning arrows instead of a static screenshot. Now, when I maintain My Maps on Google Map, they show on the website automatically (after I did the initial build). That avoids continued jpg refresh on the website. The zoom and positioning buttons allow others, better visibility to their specific interest area, including a worldwide perspective.

The bottom line is I converted Google Earth history to Google Maps. If you're a customer, fish with FCS and find I missed your location during the conversion, feel free to let me know and I'll fix it.

The only downside to it that I've discovered is that, while doing entry, the software started building a second map. I might have unknowingly caused this to happen because I use custom icons. There seems to be a size restriction and paging is probably due to the size of my icons and those size limitations. I did rebuild the icons with less definition (free FXIcon software) but damage was done. The size restriction is kind of a pain to deal with, but live and learn.

If you have a few minutes to kill, check it out, maybe you'll think of something to do with it too!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Underwater sound recordings - Noise on the Line

Fish Creek Spinners - Put some noise on your line

All fishing spinners make noise and vibration during rotation. We hear, fish sense vibration.

Stop by Fish Creek Spinners Web Store and checkout it's new format - Now it includes sound recording!

I contacted a sound specialist in Vancouver, B.C. Cold Gold Contact Microphonesto record the sound profiles of our fishing spinner models. I hope you get some referrals Liane! I've included a few flash videos of the models in this post.

You can hear more on the Fish Creek Spinners Noise page.

The more components contacting the spinners center wire, the more noise and vibration caused as it travels through the water.

The rotation of the blade generates turbulence. Different shaped blades travel through water differently. Propellers are different then other blades that use clevises  like Willow blades, French blades, Colorado blades, Indiana blades, or Fluted blades. Each of these blades have different depths to their cupped underside and behave differently; some spinning wider and slower, others closer to the spinners body and faster.

Inline blades, although oval, rotate on the center wire like propellers.

Blades collide with other components as they rotate and different sounds and vibrations are generated. Territorial fish notice all this foreign water activity, possibly responding toward an aggressive intruder. In any case, for some reason, the vibrations and noise excite them, causing a chase and strike response.

Seems the flash recording script has disabled in Blogger. Please go to the FCS website noise page to listen to the recordings - link below!

Here's a few samples. You can hear more on the Fish Creek Spinners Noise page

To listen to the sounds, Click and hold the knob on the slider and slide it to the right to activate your speakers.. The Slider bar is the small line located to the right of the three colored 'On/Off' control buttons. Once the slider bar is positioned, use the triangle to start replay and the red square control to turn the recordings off. Each recording needs to be controlled individually and will interfer with each other.

One more thing, these are recording loops. You'll notice the repeating pattern at about a 4 second interval, this was done to reduce file sizes and improve flash file load times.

All the spinners stacked on this page, have their volume control slid to the left (top center in each block) to avoid them competing with each other. After hearing a few, you can Refresh the browser page to silence them or manually turn them all on to listen to the rain storm!

It should be noted that spinner recordings have been known to cause other parties in the room to get up and leave. That might be a good thing or not, just sayin...

The first couple recordings are our flagship design, the Armadillo. Although there are a few Armadillo models of different weights, they all use metal contact discs as spacers between glass or metal beads (like the armored bands of the Armadillo). Each different type component, in this case, glass or nickel sounds differently and can be differentiated in a hydrophone recording.

Here's the Swing blade glass armadillo recording. Chattering noise profile caused by the blade. Swing blades spin faster and closer to the body, colliding and causing friction against the contact discs.


Now the metal armadillo recording. No glass on this one. Listen and you'll notice the contrast. The metal armadillo has a sharper, more metallic chatter.

Here's our little Fire Ant ultralite - this one surprised me. Two small propellers and a couple of metal beads make a lot of noise. Different noise then the clevis spinners.

Finally here's the Angle Iron. This one purrs like a cat!


Again, you can hear and see many more models on the  Fish Creek Spinners Noise page

Interesting alternatives for your next fishing adventure.

Noise on the Line!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Calling all Cows - Wood Ticks, Nettle and Fun

Being surrounded by forest and stream has a lifelong impact on a person. Have you ever seen a cow evaporate? I have.

I grew up in northern Wisconsin, on a farm in logging country. The place was bordered thousands of acres of forest; white pine, hardwoods, and pople. It was a family farm passed through generations.

As the oldest of five farm kids I grew up with responsibility. Daily chores like going to get the cows, feeding cows, milking cows, and cleaning barns were compounded with seasonal chores like making crops and fixing aged machinery.

The cows were the center of our chore filled responsibility; the daily routine.

Chores could overflow and ruin summer vacation, we quickly learned, you needed to use your 'imagination'.

Somehow, through some magic, we discovered 'the cows' guarded the secret keys to the 'woods'.  They knew the art of escape, they wandered all the secret places. Getting the cows, became our code word for escape.

Are you ready to go yet?

Each morning, they leisurely wandered pastures then disappeared each afternoon. They just evaporated. Where did they go? Something about the scorching sun and insect torment, brought them into our woods. Each afternoon, we quickly followed.

The woods offered countless hideouts; easy escapes from the summer sun into cool backwaters filled with frogs and turtles waiting to be caught and exalted.  Any sideline to provide a break from the chore filled routine and a kernel of recreation. Adventure lurked in hidden glens, teaming with interesting insects and poison plants to avoid!

We'd have to search and return them before milking,  it was our job. They were our bovine mentors, teaching the art of camouflage, sharing the coordinent of each silent and forgotten location they chose to frequent. Each day, that was the drill.

We quickly learned to linger with them in the leisure and coolness of the woodland shade. Stealing time to  look for hazel nuts, chase the noisy red squirrels and befriend chipmunks of all sizes.

Always too soon, the low afternoon sun woke the kamikasi deer flies and jolted us away from this idyllic dream.

Slowly, ever so slowly, we meandered out of the woods and into open pasture, looking to intersect some familiar cow path and continue progress, channeling milk into cheese and returning a milk check.

What a trick, through chores, the woods opened its many secrets, full of opportunities to exploit as we searched for each kernel of recreation.

It was only natural that I begin to fish, hunt, and trap. But those are different stories!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ivan Shishkin - that boy could paint a tree

If you've ever had a chance to spend time in an old growth forest, it's near impossible to avoid being overwhelmed by its beauty - a real feast for the senses. I like aspen ridges, but love those mossy old pine forests.

They're hard to find - a thing of the past in most parts of the country.

I came across this 19th century Russian Painter - Ivan Shishkin, who painted old growth forest landscapes. Wiki on Ivan
Many show the impacts of logging, but they're all incredible, almost photo like detail.

I first got interested in his work when I saw a painting - Morning in the Pine Forest - It was a dawn painting full of interesting lighting and a mama bear and three cubs in the forefront. I had to have it, but it was just the tip of the ice berg. Turned out somebody else put the bears on his landscape, but still a wonderful picture.

Morning in the Pine Forest - Ivan Shishkin

I continued to search and found many of his other landscape prints - they were all on Russian websites.  AgniArt.Ru is the site I purchased the prints from.
Here's a couple others.

If you're interested you can search to find them, maybe you're into old trees too! or..

Stop by Fish Creek Spinners Web Store and checkout it's new format!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5 new ways to catch a Northern

New 1/2oz Bucktails fill a gap

We're adding a 1/2oz bucktail spinner to the product inventory. This weight will bridge a gap between the medium category (stopping at 3/8oz) and heavy weight spinner category (starting at 3/4oz).

The spinner will be well received by both pike and trout fishing anglers using medium sized spin fishing tackle.

Check them out in the webstore

Two blade configurations were put together.

The double blade model pictured above has erratic movement as the two Super Willow blades collide with each other during rotation and the two friction discs bookending the bullet weight body. The 1/0 bucktail treble provides drag and buoyancy and allows the super willows to dig in and fan out.

The other configuration has a single willow blade. This blade will ride closer to the body and contact the friction discs causing vibration. These have larger bullet bodies to compensate for less blade weight. They also have a bucktail to create some drag and buoyancy on the 1/0 treble hook.

Here's a few more pictures to get to the 5 new ways (there's actually 11 combinations in the model with potential for more!

Here's a table listing model specifications

Ultralite Weights
Wt ozModelLen InchesSKUsOptions
1/12Nitromite2 1/426Faceted Glass or Plastic beads
1/10Glow Armadillo2 1/44Glow White Blade and 4 Glow tube colors
1/10Sm Metal Armadillo2 1/433Colorado and French Blades - Metal body - Glass tail bead
1/10Fire Ants2 1/410Variety of Propeller colors
1/10Hot Rods2 1/218Double Blades - Gold, Silver, Black or Green
1/10Worm Bling610Gold or Silver props; Variety of Glass and Zonker
Medium Weights
Wt ozModelLen InchesSKUsOptions
1/8Glass Armadillos2 5/827Ridged, Indiana and Swing Blades
1/8Worm Props51010 colors faceted glass; Double bait hooks
1/5Metal Armadillos2 1/219Ridged, Indiana and Swing Blades
1/5Glass Armadillos2 3/427Ridged, Indiana and Swing Blades
1/4Angle Iron2 1/429Gold, Brass, Silver or Black Inline Blades
3/8Metal Steelhead316Ridged, Indiana and Swing Blades
1/2Half Ounce Bucktails516Double Blades - Gold, Silver - Colored Willows - Colored Bucktails
Large Weights
Wt ozModelLen InchesSKUsOptions
3/4Early Season Bucktails52412 colors - 4 Treble sizes - Multi Bucktail colors
4/5Dinner Bell Discs62412 colors - 4 Treble sizes - Multi Bucktail colors
1Muskie Spikes5 1/22412 colors - 4 Treble sizes - Multi Bucktail colors
1Dinner Bell Prism6 1/22412 colors - 4 Treble sizes - Multi Bucktail colors
1Dinner Bell Squid72412 colors - 20 Skirt Varieties - Stainless Single
1Cousin It82412 colors - Double Silicon Skirts (Call for Picture)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

5 new ways to catch a Walleye

Crawler haulers and Worm bling

Fish Creek Spinners has been gathering and compiling walleye info, coast to coast. We're getting tips and suggestions, refining and creating new and fresh alternatives. I'm interested in what you think. If you're an angler, take a look and comment. They were built for walleye's but will catch warm water fish like bass,,as well.

They're starting to get interest from Great Lakes guides and Northwest anglers alike.
Here's some insight into the serendipity, sequence, and adaptive evolution within our design process.

A Northwestern bait and tackle shop saw the Propeller Fireants and looking at their current tackle inventory, saw opportunity for a walleye lure. This lead to an adaptation of the Fireant spinner to make it bigger, adding glass and larger propellers and also a new set of hooks then found on a tradional Walleye worm harness.

After getting the hydrophone recordings and listening to the noise coming off the propeller blade models I realized we needed more propeller spinners in the water. As they rotated around the spinners wire, it was a very different noise profile then other inline spinners. Interesting, yet annoying at the same time.

This 2 hook worm rig is my own design. It might be a little too far off the traditional walleye worm harness track, but this double hook setup provides a lip restraint as the worm is threaded on the longer shanked hook and anchored on the small hook to stabilize it The walleye's are waiting for it!

This would make an effective bait harness for plastics or bait on Largemouth Bass.

Next a worm farm in Ontario called looking for business and we ordered some of his aberdeen worm harnesses on 15# mono.

These found homes as alternatives to the rig I set up on the 2 and 4 propeller models and also the glass armadillos.

I still have faith in our bait rig adaptation btw. Maybe it will catch on for Bass.

Finally, the grand finale - 1/5oz Worm Bling - Ta Da!~ This ones a sweet morph  - it has 3D prism eyes on a flat glass bead - a takoff on spinnerbaits. The large propeller provides noisy revolutions when trolling and a tied zonker skirt completes the package. Its strung on the harness leader to accessorize your most excellent worm choice.

Eyes for Walleyes - fish will notice this new intruder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bullwinkle's MaMa

The girl with the far away eyes

OBN turned me on to a contest about scary moments and unexpected thrills in the Outdoors.

I wrote this last March, but it's still got mileage and worth it's salt, IMO!

Marie and I were on one of our many camping trips in  northern Colorado. Just south of  the Wyoming border. A dirt road meanders thru the national forest, northwest of Cowdrey all the way to Whiskey Park northeast of Columbine, Clark, and Steamboat Springs. I've hunted Elk and Mule Deer on the West side, but discovered the North Park camping while out exploring the back roads.

The dirt road doesn't get plowed, so we discovered and re-discovered that early season camping doesn't work well, unless you like to use snowshoes or enjoy flirting with danger dodging snow drifts while driving in (did I mention isolation?). But since we are all about isolation, here we are back again! This time with two dogs; Rocky a chocolate lab, and Arrow a Westy terrier.

The road is bordered by miles of beaverponds, stacked one above the next (that's really why we're back). These beavers are busy little maintenance workers. Even in late June, the snow melt can be over the tops of the dams.

We camped at a fire ring site, surrounded by budding aspen and early spring night sounds. One of the many campsites left over from hunting season.

It's tough fishing beaver ponds in spring. The extra moisture makes the dams spongy and even the normally dry area's below the dams are full of water with spring run off. Marie went for a walk and I took the dogs fishing with me.

These ponds were full of hungry brookies. I dont mind getting wet, so was slogging around the shallower edges, weaving back and forth from side to side using the below the dam areas as roadways and climbing up onto the dams to fish when it was clear.

About the third pond, I scrambled  up the dam and made a cast off to the left when I sensed something was up. The dogs had just climbed up and were balancing on the knife edge, where water meets mud, grass and sticks. Balancing or trying to knock me in. I've never figured out which it is.

Anyway, I was going to change a spinner and stopped fishing. As I looked over to the far bank off my right shoulder, I locked eyes with a cow Moose. When I say locked eyes, I mean, she was locked on me and the dogs, not in a casual way, more of a challenging way. I've heard tales of how dangerous a cow moose can be, especially if you get between them and their calves.

"The Moose with the Far Away Eyes"

Hmmm, the brush was mighty thick and calves aren't wearing blaze orange.

The standoff stopped time, and my ears came alive. Behind me, below the dam, I heard something bailing out thru the brush and water. I didn't see it but knew it was a calf. At the same time, the cow plunged into the water and started coming toward me and the dogs.

It was a big pond, and she was swimming and not moving real fast, but I knew I needed to get the heck out of there, pronto.

Have you ever tried to hurry after jumping off a beaver dam? You're knee deep in water, mud, and beaver slashing and it's frickin hard. Did I mention the 1000 lb wild animal with piercing 'far away eyes' silently but judgingly swimming ever closer toward me? Did I mention my moose magnet dogs wondering what was up with the big brown thing behind us and barking a positioning beacon as I tried to escape?

I splashed, struggled, pierced and fell my way out of Beaverville, on to the safety of solid ground. Once there, I heard the sounds of the calf, scared by our forced march thru the brush, it had circled around and back to mama. Whew, so that's what adrenaline does to ya!

Such a cute little fellar
My heart was pounding, my brain was filled with visions of being beaten to death with sharp front hooves and a quick death. It would have been a good ending I suppose, death by Moose,  in the Mud. Probably over in a few minutes, dogs run faster then me..

After the dogs showed up, Marie would be wondering where I was and start freaking out. Wishing that I would have left the car keys in the tent... No cell coverage. Yep, isolation in the wild has both it's up and downsides.

March Spinner Drawing

Blog Love spinner drawing for March - Mark wins

Fish Creek Spinners Blog Love drawing assortment for March 2011

Here's the March drawing assortment. I chose an ultralite package since the season openers will most likely be hitting the streams. One exception, since the snows falling out here in Colorado today, I included an Ice Rocker jig (the pink tri-color zonker with the 3D eyes on metal body).

I don't know about you, but I have some slow moving, deeply undercut stream bank hiding places that I could see giving the jig some time in the water around.

This is currently all our small spinner models; 1/12oz glass Armadillo with the copper french blade, 2 1/10oz Small Metal Armdillos with the 8mm Orange faceted tails, 1/10oz Fire Ant with the red props, 1/10oz Nitromite with the Silver Indiana - Gold body and black faceted glass, 1/10oz Hot Rod double bladed - Salt White with Red tail. The rocker jig weighs 1/5oz and has two nickel propellers for a little motion and noise.

If you win (good luck btw!), let me know whether you want single hooks on the assortment or will go as is with the trebles.

Fine print -  I'm going to be difficult this month and request followers, that want to opt in to the drawing, to leave a comment on this post.

I know, I know, first I wanted followers, now I want comments. Geez, this guy is a pain.

Seriously, I'm asking because this will help fuel enthusiasm and interest, please do it to WIN! 

I'll use this widget to find a winner. I'm still working out the kinks on it. Looks like 13 entrants at this point, one double comment. Last day to sign up!

4/1/11 update

I thought I was able to save the outcome of the Random Generation using that widget, but it doesn't look like it keeps results if I re-publish.

In any case, I logged comments (WDSTK3 had 2, so I removed the second one). That left 13. I hit the generate button and 3 came up the winner, which in the order recorded was Mark.

Congrats Mark, send me an email with your mailing address and whether you want single or treble hooks, and I'll get your spinners headed to their new home.

For the non-winners, if you're an OBN blogger, there's still hope. OBN has 3 Fish Creek Spinners assortments looking for reviewers through Sunday.

Get on the bus and you still could get some in your hands for free. They're nice assortments.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Calling all Crows - Trickery in the Rookery

Catch and Release - Bird Style

True story.

Marie, her son and I went on a camping trip on Cottonwood Pass by Mt Yale (one of the Collegiate Peaks north of Salida and south of Leadville) and were fishing Chalk Creek above the Hot Springs.

While out scouting the back roads by Mt Princeton, we came across a big clear pond full of rises. Bigger rainbows were laying off the shore, some cruising around the pond, most watching. We quickly decided to get the fishing poles and test our luck.

Across the pond, a Raven was hopping along and doing short hop flights. The activity caught my attention and I noticed he seemed injured, so I decided to walk over to get a closer look. He let me get close, which was a sure sign something was up.

I sat down on the bank and he hopped closer like he was begging food. Close enough to where I could see mono wrapped tightly around both feet with several lead sinkers dangling from a few loose loops in the mono. Not a pretty sight.

Fast forward, I left and came back with some bread or bun and started baiting him with small pieces. He was hungry and definately in survival mode. Hanging out by the pond either catching injured fish, eating dead fish, maybe fish guts left around the pond, or inticing anglers like me to feed him, to keep from starving.

He was weak, if startled he would fly a short line over the water, but he never tried to cross it. I don't think he could get any elevation and he quickly landed. He didn't mind if you approached him again either.

I was likely not the first to try to catch him, but since I love crows and do enjoy a challenge,  I tried sitting and the 'toss him a snack' trick used on camp robbers, no luck. No way would he get in arms reach, he had already figured out human range. He would hop in, close enough to get outlying baits, but no way would he cross the line that ensured his escape should I try to move fast.

Finally, either he knew he got all the treats he was getting or he tired of the silly two legged feeder and flew a short distance away from the pond, landing on the floor of a small foot bridge, along one edge, but still within sight where he continued to scope me out.

Now it gets fun.

I slowly walked over to the far side of the bridge which was just tall enough to let me think I could sneak under it. He stayed put as we had our standoff and studied each other.  I was wearing a hat and put it on the bridge's bottom rail to try to keep his attention diverted, as I ducked under the bridge. I carefully and quietly crouch walked  the few steps under the bridge (raven still hunting) expecting him to figure out the diversion and take off.

Still crouching, I got positioned for a quick look and the big move. To my surprise I looked up to see the ravens hind parts within reach. He was still standing there, I guess studying my hat, or maybe recounting tales of the Lion and the Mouse. I grabbed his butt and tail feathers and things got way exciting real fast, other worldly exciting. A surprised raven is a big wild bird.

What a ruckus, wings flapping, feet raking, screaming, I held on and got his wings confined, holding him away from me as I brought him back to the big pond while being raven bit, cursed in raven talk, and getting literally chewed out.

Traded a hat for a raven - good deal! or was it?

Marie and Paul were laughing but in awe seeing me carrying him back to the pond . I sat down and took a look at the fish line wrapped tightly around his legs and feet, one so tight his toes were swollen, the other not so bad. Marie had a fingernail clippers on her and that was to be the surgical instrument.  Paul shed his shirt and wrapped it over Mr.Midnight's head and wings to better confine him, quiet him down and stop his biting my arms and hands. Paul had him kind of held, my adrenaline rush was subsiding and I moved around to start unraveling and snipping away the line with the fingernail clippers. They worked pretty good, maybe his foot was numb. 

With heart racing and wild with adrenalin, I was able to quickly get most line removed but had to dig and snip the tight wraps off which got him raking again. I finally felt the job was close enough to done and I pulled off the shirt as Paul let him loose to fly off and up this time.

Long story, but kind of has a point. Birds suffer slow deaths from carelessly discarded fishing line. Osprey, eagles, ravens, ducks, geese, all suffer injuries and can die slow deaths tangled in discarded line. Ask any Raptor Rescue about it.

Rescues are rare and are not the normal end. Gather up any discarded line you see and put it in a pocket until you can properly dispose of it.

Always on top her game, Marie got a few pictures of me trying to catch him, then with him in my hands and before the release to set him free started. She made into a 3 picture sequence picture frame. I still have the string and sinkers somewhere around. Just took digitals of the prints, kind of bleached out and flat but still evidence!

Noise on the Line!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Daredevil wanna be's

Twisted and tied up these sweet Alts for a spinner swap. You got it, 5 guys signup, twist up their handywork and send them to a hub (me), for distribution, getting back an assortment of creative fish swag. Its fun.

Here's those spinners

The #5 Indiana's have a bright nickel finish on their backside. By looks of photo, I need to get out the jewelers rouge or at least wipe off some dust!

1/5oz, 3inches long in red and white match the hatch faceted glass. Two strategically placed friction discs for noisy vibration against that nickel backside. Hand-tied red bucktail on the #8 trebles.

 Not sure of the color for trout, Think a Pike will chase these? I twisted them on .035in. wire.

Favorite Gear

Getting a late start on this. Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN) is soliciting articles calling out its communities favorite gear. As a new member, I'll put in my two cents.

I've always been a primitive photographer. Early on, I found out that by carrying the camera, I stayed out of a lot of pictures. Anything that simplifies photography is appreciated.

My favorite gear for troublefree = handsfree. Here's my new little sidekick for all things outdoors. Its a GoPro HD Hero. It has its faults, like me, but sure fits well into my idea of what a versatile camera is about. It's marketed for the extreme sports crowd, but for me, its softer applications are its high points.

Of course, I've taken it fishing many times, to the Amusement park, strapped to grandkid Eli's helmet for a skateboarding video, and once we even rigged up a diaper cam, to record my 6 month old grandson Landon's point of view (thats POV) as he crawled and learned to walk around the house. What a hoot!  That little feller was already pushing the envelope on extreme sports and the camera's tolerance for absorbing shock!

First, the benefits I've recognized. I have other camera's video and digital stills, but this one stands out. Its a handsfree and has head mounts, chest mounts (my favorite), handlebar mounts, hood mounts, board mounts, and lets just say it has a mountain of mounts, ok?

 Its comes with a waterproof and bombproof case. Tiny and tough, simple and rugged. I dont have to prepare or pose shots, just put it on and change batteries every few hours. Love it. Love it. Love it. (do need the extra batteries)

Its sound quality suffered in the waterproof case, but it has an open back for uses where you dont expect to fall in. With that open back on the case, it's sound pickup is much better.

It doesn't have a  view finder or digital screen. I've missed some sweet closeups (like the beauty of a fish held in my hands), because the lens is not readily visible and is fix positioned in the mounts.  Like everything, practice makes perfect and I'm learning.

For me, the rugged carefree part overcomes its shortcomings. Learning to leave 95% of its content on the cut floor is tough, but once you get some editing skills, its pretty quick and I just add a soundtrack and text when needed.

Here's that amusement park video.

Home slice sunnyside Jalapeno potatoes for breakfast and Packer games

In addition to spinners, I've been making a lot of hashbrowns for my grandson Eli latey. I've gotten tired of buying them shredded and started nuking them, cooling in frig to have them ready and shreding them for breakfast. Eventually, I decided to try something different and its a hit at our place. Thought I'd share it.

Before the trip, nuke a few potatoes about 10 minutes and chill them in the frig for easier slicing. Bag and throw them, a few jalapeno's and some sliced cheese (I like the Tillamonk sliced) into the cooler.

For breakfast, slice the potatoes about 3/8th inch thick, the jalapenos about 1/8th inch, and quarter the cheddar slices.

Put a few tablespoons of oil in a pan over the camp stove to heat. Then drop in the potatoe slices, letting them fry on one side til crisp. Flip and stack on a jalapeno slice or two and cover each with a quarter of the sliced cheddar. They should be ready when the cheddar drapes over the jalapeno's.

Better start practicing! They're pretty tasty and also good apps for a Green Bay game..

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tails of South T Bar

This ones off topic, not fishing , just a story.

After a long Friday in the IT salt mines, Marie and I decided to get away for the weekend. We hurried to pack her CRV and headed for our thirty-five acre parcel of paradise on South T Bar ranch.

Three and a half hours later, we pulled into our makeshift driveway, as the sun was setting behind Waugh mountain. Driving to the campsite, we wove around prairie dog mounds and a fine crop of noxious, but extremely healthy, bull thistles in late summer bloom. I parked on a scrub oak and pinion knoll, getting a panoramic view of our jack rabbit meadow as dusk settled in.

We emptied the car, turned down the seats, set out the sleeping bags and snuggled into our folding camp chairs hoping to hear some coyotes before retiring. Twilight on the ranch is beautiful. The air gets soft and the earth darkens where it meets the sky. A sculpted edge of black mountain skyline surrounds you as night arrives and the first of a million stars make their appearance.

The night was cloudless and the moon was the color of french vanilla ice cream and casting shadows. The Coyote pack paid their respects;  just off to the west and very close. It seemed like they would be hunting our creek bed tonight. Our Jack Rabbit better be on the alert. He's big and gray, a wise and careful rabbit. He better be close to his hiding place tonight, deep in the Badgers old den. After hearing the coyotes, we called it a night and went to the car to listen to night sounds and calls from the hunting coyotes.

 In the middle of the night, we woke, hearing them hunting the meadow. My eye's needed to adjust and I tried to get the binoculars on them, but they were simply invisible noises. Close enough to the car to hear their feet padding through the grass as they ran past the car, but unseen. On the alert, I could hear large dogs barking, miles away but persistently closer.

To reach South T Bar, the dirt road had an easement through a sheep ranchers property. It was a usual occurrence for his six or seven Pyrennes dogs to escort our car (my car had their tooth marks imprinted on its bumper). They'd be standing, lying, and sitting around like white marble statues, until the moment they saw us. From our first appearance, at the base of the hill, to our final exit around a bend in the road, they chased and attacked the car. They made sure we knew that our presence was an intrusion before they returned honorably to their porches.

The distant  barking must be coming from some of the Pyrennes.The moon was bright and we saw two large white shapes, far down valley, rapidly getting closer as their warning grew louder. I could sense authority in the sounds of their barking as they closed in on the coyotes. Pyrennes guard duty, 24x7, protecting their flock.

We were in the middle of this show down, close enough to hear the air being forced from the coyote lungs as they ran nervously around us. Not wanting to give up their hunting, yet seeing, hearing, and probably smelling the white shapes approaching, ever closer. What a thrill! Alert with excitement; surrounded by invisible wild hunters and watching breathlessly as the two courageous white knights closed in to keep the forces of darkness in check.

The two Pyrenees arrived quickly. They marked our car in the moonlight, then proudly departed with tails held high to continue their vigilance into the night. Marie and I just grinned to each other and settled back into our sleeping bags. The loud woofs of the Pyrenees disappeared behind a ridge and then surface again farther away, ever on watch.

The next morning we made coffee, reminisced the nights excitement and decided to spend the day whacking the thistle crop into submission. After about an hour of search and destroy, Marie said "Look!" and I did.

Two Pyrenees were coming up the meadow straight at us. Our only experience with these dogs was the drive through their territory and it was never a friendly encounter. There was reason for concern. Marie said, "Are they going to be mean?" I looked at them, now about 50 yards away and one of their tails was wagging. As he approached, I put down my shovel and extended my hand to let him sniff it. Thankfully, they were incredible new friends, coming back to make amends for keeping us up all night. Break out the hot dogs!

Since they'd been up, chasing coyotes all night, they were tired and probably never made it back home, to the ranch. We set out some water and they lapped it up and both laid down by the car, at ease now and waiting for lunch and affection. These two dogs were beautiful and noble; intelligent faces with deep knowing dark eyes and black noses. Thick white coats a bit tattered from the nights crusade. Both wore collars with tags; Winni and Bear. Probably the mated parents of the sheep ranchers Pyrenees clan. .(they did get hot dogs).
From that day forward, each time we would travel to South T Bar to camp the property, they'd make the trip to visit us. They never forgot us and neither have we forgot them. For years, Marie's retirement dream is to raise Pyrenees puppies!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Spinner Drawing winner is....

The winner of the first monthly spinner drawing for February is....


I went thru several iterations of how to do the drawings, then opted for the Keep it Simple Stupid and put everyone's handle name on a business card into a big bowl, mixed up the names, and drew one.

I removed mine and two relative names (sorry Ben and Paul)  from the list and added a couple of email requests from New Mexico.

Here's a demographic of the participation. (my classifications) based on checking the Follower info. If you want to know which stack you're in, send me a message.

February Spinner Drawing entries Click to Enlarge
BlazerShane, Congrats! Send me a message with your shipping address. Get'em wet and send me fish story! I hope you find an opportunity to fish them all in Oregon, plenty of species to go after.

Noise on the Line!