Thursday, June 29, 2023

06.29.23 Same Bat time, different Bat channel...

     I almost missed it. I had a plan around a busy day to get down to the river. Lots to do today with stops in Princeton and Pipersville, PA. First, Princeton. Went there helping a friend get ready for their move to Florida. Of course while I was there I figured I go visit by buddy Andrew at Orvis. Well he was

off today so I got the ear of fly fishing manager Bruce and we talked all about the Delaware and striped bass. From the early 90's to mid 2000's he co-owned the Delaware River Outfitters in Pennington. He used to have a solid client base for those that fly fished the Delaware and the shop ran float and jet boat trips in the river. It was cool to here from a guy in the know back in the day. The Orvis shop is looking 

great and Andrew has been increasing all things fly fishing, especially materials, and not just the Orvis brand stuff. So if you need a fly shop to visit take a ride to Princeton. It's in a outdoor mall so there's plenty of food and shops to make it a half a day trip that will satisfy you and your better half. 

     In my pursuit of making my 2002 Silverado new I have been scouring the internet looking for parts. Now I'm looking for body mount bushings to replace what is left which is just about rubber dust. I'm going back and forth between rubber, which is alot more expensive, and poly, which is cheaper but gives a little bumpier ride. Well right now I just about have none so what's the difference. I found some 

seats that were in just about like new condition from a 2006 Silverado and I took the longer than expected 50 minute drive to see them. After walking the entire 100 acre junk yard we found out the truck had been crunched yesterday, seats and all. So that put me behind my planned fishing outing. 

    Timing did matter because although I was as the same time yesterday the river had nosedived, dropping more than 5,000 cfs in 24 hours. I set up the tank and went to work going 3 for 5. The fish were more aggressive than yesterday and I think that may due in part because they could see and 

probably breathe a bit better in clearer water. After the last two came unbuttoned, one a real nice fish, not a monster but nice, I checked the fly and found out why. The first miss must have straightened the hook out a bit. I enjoyed this ill-timed outing and glad to put a few in the tank. Going salty in the AM.

    And just following up on the National Women's Flyfishing Day I see that Orvis (or someone who man's, or women's, the controls at the Mother Ship) felt the need to respond to Diane's reply to Keith. Just so I remind myself, they (all of them) are watching everything we say and do all of the time, and respond only when they choose, "It's my party...." 


06.28.23 Two will do....

     I just knew it. With the Delaware up a bit over the last few days and water temps holding I just felt there would be some active fish around. Along the Delaware we've been hit with 1"+ of rain just about everyday since last week. It's done the river good, going from around 3,000 cfs to 20,000. 

     The water temps are down also with the rain, cloud cover and cool nights, now around 72, which is good for this time of year. It was almost that hot two months ago when we had equator like temps and drought like conditions. With the water still You-Hoo colored I wasn't sure how things would go. 

     I looked through my fly collection and picked a larger one which had a bulky head and some extra hackle in the back to give it some life. It didn't take long until the top fish smoked the fly as it swung down in the current. Best part was I saw the take. It went all of 27 inches, although looking at it here there might be some doubt. Somehow that iPhone camera perspective doesn't do it justice. Either way it was a nice fish. 

     This weekends festivities had my tide clock all wrong. I thought I was fishing the incoming but it turns out it was two hours until dead low. Luckily there was enough water in the tub to hold some fish. I caught a smaller fish but that take was witnessed also. This fish was smaller but photographed well. 

     I took a break in the action to head over to the Mercer County Airport to pick up my brother. He took the ride with my Mom back down to Florida and then flew home. After some small talk, and me 

dying to get back down there, I told him where I was and he wanted in. It was two hours later at dead low and the only action was one fish who took a swipe and then blew up on the fly. The next few days could be good out on the river but tide and time of day aren't all that favorable. For me, I'm looking forward to a morning in the salt on Friday and then a weekend down in the Cape. I'm really looking forward to catching my first fluke of the year, and if it's a keeper it's coming home. Funny how I'm so into releasing bass, but so into keeping fluke. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

06.28.23 It's National Women's Flyfishing Day, but....

      This morning I saw a post from Orvis on their Facebook page. It was posting that today was National Women's Flyfishing Day. That's cool. That's really cool, I guess, but, like everything else these days, you can't make everyone happy. No matter what the topic, movement, or support you're trying to give, or sell.

     I remember way back in the day, 1985 to be exact, when Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is October, started. It was a good thing. It is a good thing. Then between 1985 and now every disease, cause, nationality, opinion, right, and opinion now has a month of it's own, well, many cross over. Now I'm not against raising awareness, to say, have guys get their prostate digitally assessed at their local Doctor's office, well know that Nurse Practitioner's can do that as well, but the overload of "months" loses it's appeal, interest and action. Just so you know September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. 

     All kidding aside, guys, get your prostate checked, it could save your life. Digital rectal exams are the first line of defense. It should start when you are 50 years old, but it seems like my doctor has been doing it longer than the last four years....mmmm. P.C. is the second leading cause of cancers amongst men with around 35,000 deaths reported each year. Black men are twice as likely to develop P.C than white men. According to studies, HERE, they say men who ejaculate greater than 20 times per month lowered their chance of getting prostate CA by 20%. If affects 1 in 8 men, so someone reading here is getting it, GET SCREENED! Okay, public service announcement is done.      

     So let me say some things. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". Which, to me, kinda goes along with "it's my (and Orvis's) blog and I (and they) can post whatever they want to. Now, I'm an Orvis guy. Been one since I started fly in 1992 I think it was. I followed that through being a loyal customer, to Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide, and now a mix of customer and "Not an Orvis Endorsed Guide guy". I have had my own "problems" with Orvis, from things in the guide program, to some of their products, like earlier bootfoot waders, to the transition from the old school company culture to the newer one we see today. Yes, it's a progressive and liberal living culture there. Don't like it, shop some where else. It's a company, they have to make money, and have to make the greatest number of their customers happy. I respect a different opinion and culture and don't have to run away if someone, or a company, thinks differently, of course to a point. 

     When they first switched things up I saw the catalogues focused on the trucker-hat-young-no-money -sleep-in-their-truck-angler, and you know what, that was a bust. They don't but rods or gear! You have to follow the money, that's what pays your bills, your employees, your R & D, and allows your to share your monies with so many great causes, which they do, alot, no joking there. 

     So what can I equate this to. I remember when I started listening to Howard Stern in the mid-1980's. That's when he was with Imus and then went on his own with Robin, where he pushed things to levels unheard of in radio, or TV, or in print. People, mostly on the left, forget those days. They now look at 

him as some progressive friend of everyone, but how soon they forget, "Butt Bongo Fiesta" (the video above that must be viewed on You Tube, or CNN or MSNBC), or sitting girls on the Sybian, which was a vibrator attached to a saddle, or one of the big favs was when Howard would throw bologna slices and see if they could stick onto girls assess. How would that work today? How would the ladies on The View react if we sat them down and showed them the re-runs on live TV? But all of the current "in people" flock to be interviewed by him, and to be fair, he is a great interviewer. And he's a genius, because he's worth $650 million. What they said back in the day, "If you don't like it turn the channel"- like an early form of cancel culture. 

     I will have to say, for me, we don't need more "of this or those or that" in fly fishing, or anything else. We just need more quality people out there, regardless of who or what they are or what they believe in, to work with us and even learn and enjoy the sport of fly fishing. When I was working at Monmouth Medical Center they called a meeting with hospital management to have me and some other male nurses try to figure out how we "can get more men in nursing", right now we're at 13%. They wanted to send us out into local high schools and colleges. I opened by stating, "That is dumbest idea I've ever heard", adding "I don't care about men, women, white, black....we just need good solid nurses". The idea ended right there. I had even offered to do it if it could be a mix of men and women and anyone else they saw fit. Hope. Done. But hey, if someone or a company wants to celebrate or recruit a certain group into something, "It's their party....",

But you better be consistent.

    We have seen the Orvis' morph into a more inclusive look to their company. Maybe it was time. There was a joke that Orvis was all about rich old white guys and dog beds. Well that is no more. They show, promote, and support things that are more mainstream in line with what's going on in society. We saw that all that went on a few years ago and what is going on in just about every company in America, which isn't a bad thing, if it's done right. It's called D.E.I., I see it at my work at the college and in the hospital. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The goal is to support, promote, and recruit and underrepresented students and employees of different color and culture and sexual and gender identity and preference. Orvis does that, and, although at times not boldly, also shows their support of political ideology and positions. Again, "It's their party....". 

      Orvis has pushed to show how progressive they are over the last several years. And they can do whatever they want. Today, for National Women's Flyfishing Day they shared a collage of their associates, their employees, out and about enjoying the sport of fly fishing. Perfect. Case closed. Period. But wait.....Now, when Orvis comes to putting together a catalogue, or a video, or a statement, don't you think that every i is dotted and t crossed. When I first glanced at the post I thought to myself, "Well, that's very one shaded". Why? Do I normally notice that stuff? Not really, unless you have trained or have forced me too. Or unless you have made it a point to show and tell me your position and yada yada about all things right with the world and with your company. Taking a position, or a side does have consequences, "It's my party....." 

     When I scrolled through the comments this one caught my eye. Innocent enough. Spot on. But it was met with responses kinda like "How dare you say that" . You know what, it should have been noticed and said, because, you, Orvis, are selling, well better put incorporating D.E.I. Everyone is, or is trying to, well Bud Light I think would like a mulligan on that. I think their losses are around 27 billion dollars. Ouch. 

     It does become a "game" of risk vs gain. It's a business. You have your base (the ones that spend the most money consistently). And you have potential customers, ones you hope to get when parts of the base leave, which they do. Companies may say, "We don't want their money anyway". I don't believe that for a minute.  Just ask the Bud Light folks. And you better be sure the audience you are trying to align yourself with has the same bankroll the ones who might leave do, or it's a net loss, no matter how warm and fuzzy everyone feels. 

    I remember a year or so ago the cover of the catalogue was shot by Brian Grossenbacher in I think Minneapolis, which was ground zero of the civil arrest a few years back. I wrote a little about it then, HERE. Now taking a position or a change in culture at a company can attract a new customer base. It may even pay off in the bottom line, but it's very risky and doesn't come without drama. But hey, a lot of companies say bad press is good press. The name is out there and people are talking about you. But I am not in the board rooms at the Mother Ship in Vermont. What I do see is, is money, and lots of it, that is takes to enjoy the full Orvis experience as it is sold online, in print, and in the air (culture) of Orvis. 

    I ask, without a need for an answer, Who is booking and or taking trips to North America (okay maybe), Saltwater Tropics, South America, Europe or New Zealand? It ain't me that's for sure. Not the guy who sweats buying new stuff and has reels so worn the spare spools can't be interchanged because of the grooves and 9 foot rods that are now 8'5". What is my point here- be careful what you wish for. Now it seems Orvis has the balls to back up their decisions to move the company in any direction it wants. And why would supporting fellow human beings be a bad thing- it's not, in any way. What is bad, or leaves a bad taste in some paying peoples mouths, is when we, customers, have to be force fed how our fly gear supplier, any of them, acts and feels, while implying what is right and just and that we should feel the same way also. 

     So that brings me to the post. I am sure you have tons of DEI going on over at Orvis. Your workforce I am sure is very, very, very diverse. You support and preach it, so I'm sure it's like that, and not just in the lower paying retail jobs. So if not in the Vermont headquarters then across the country and beyond for sure. So if you're going to make a post that shows none of that, get ready for someone, like Keith, to notice and say something. But then there's those that will get after Keith for having the audacity to notice something, like I did, as soon as I saw it. See below,

    What's funny is that it's a bunch of rich white guys calling Keith out. So to wrap this all up, June is PRIDE Month. Early in the month Orvis posted their position of support for the LGBTQIA+ community and the month that celebrates Pride.  

     "It's their party.....". And I say that because I would hope, while it's not true, that most people and companies in America support, or if not, don't not-support, said community. But that's pie in the sky for me to think. What I do think is most people support, or don't support or not support, they just don't care and need to be told who supports or not. Orvis does, and "It's their party...." Done. But, that means a consumer, who may support or not, has their right to choose to support or not a company that needs to proclaim their position, support or opinion, on anything that has to do with anything. See below, 

     Now, that's Randy's party, he can say and do what he feels. It's America. It's his own money he is spending it. He has choices, just like Orvis, or any other company, like Anheuser-Bush does. 

     I think no matter where we go with this it comes down to this. If you're going to talk the talk, then walk the walk, or, you'll be called out, and at times, rightfully so. No worries. Your effort to support and or gain new clients more in line with your own culture may cause others to separate themselves from you. And that is okay all the way around. 

     And as June comes to an end and we move on from PRIDE Month and National Women's Flyfishing Day. And what do we have to look forward to? Well, it's a wide range of things that we celebrate or stand and support. If you want to see a partial list of over 70 things that July is, see HERE

Some are; National Baked Beans Month, Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, International Women with Alopecia Month (easy Chris Rock), Mango and Melon Month, National Cord Blood Awareness Month, and Eggplant and Lettuce Month. There are a ton more. 

      I am not sure if Orvis, or any other fly fishing related company will proclaim their support for any of them from the long and varied list, but if they do, remember you have a choice to get on or off their bus, without fear or ridicule, as long as your words and actions aren't insensitive, well moreso hurtful, to another human being or group. Now get those beans going, July and National Baked Beans Month is only a few days away! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

06.27.23 Had to give it a shot...

     Mother Nature is sure throwing us some curve balls lately. It seems like this weather pattern calls for an inch of rain everyday. At least that's been the way since last Friday. Early this morning it felt like we were in Kansas from the Wizard of Oz, and this afternoon more of the same. This morning was

freshman orientation at St. Joseph's for Erin and a separate one for the parents. It was scheduled from 830-5, but I blew out after lunch. Late in the afternoon Erin sent me the top photo of the approaching weather. I looked at the accuweather radar and thought that there might be a window to hit the river. 

     I figured the water would be way off-color, nearly unfishable, but maybe there were some fish pushed to the bank that had to eat no matter what was passing by overhead. If this was a time for the eel fly than this was it. I had a very short window to make some casts into the Yoo-Hoo colored water.

     There was no one willing to play and soon the heavens opened up and the lightning started to streak the sky. I took some refuge thinking I could wait it out but that lasted just a few minutes. It'll be a few

days and tides before the river cleans up. I can't complain about the rain, because we need it, but the way it's coming isn't good for the ground or the rivers. It poured, the ground can't handle it and it just becomes runoff into the river. The river blows out and then drops like a stone it a few days. I'm hoping to venture down into the saltwater some time later this week, if Mother Nature gives us a break. 


Sunday, June 25, 2023

06.25.23 Nice way to end a great weekend...


      What a weekend! It's nice when a plan goes together and pretty much goes as planned. For me this weekend it was Friday to Sunday. Let me start with fishing. By Sunday evening I was beat but I had a 

good river tide and the ominous weather in the sky was holding out so I took advantage of an empty house and went fishing. I started with a walk and wade trip on a very skinny incoming tide and landed

a cute, but nice, smallmouth bass. By the time I fished through I was soaked from the 150% humidity and was ready to shed the waders and jump across the state line. As the water filled in on the flood tide the fish moved in and were looking to eat. I had them on small flies, had some interest in the eel fly, and 

then later with a bigger fly. No keeper sized bass but these were feisty and healthy schoolie bass to 25 inches, just a perfect way to end the weekend. While the river is low the rain, cloud cover, and time of tides is keeping the river fishable. Two made it to the tank and one was a quick catch, photo and release. 

     The big event this weekend was the girls graduation party. We had some rain but the timing of it and  having the right sized tent, with sides for an extra $500, kept the guests and the band high and dry when 

it deluged. Friday day and into the night was spent running around getting last minute things and the cooking and baking done. It was all hands on deck and we couldn't have done it without all the help. 

     This was a BIG family party with just about the entire fan damily present. Tara came from Texas, Mom was here from Florida and my sister and nieces came from Saranac Lake. We had a bunch of friends as well. Leif and Delaware Joe and his wife came and the talk, for hours, was all fly and striped bass fishing, Joe's wife is a real trooper handing in listening to these guys for a long, long time. I am glad they got to meet each other. Our friends from Long Island came, Neil, and his wife, ok Kathy, 

made the trek and they spent the night after a great post-party hang. There was cornhole, bubbles, badmitten and all the food and drink you could want. It was just a great way to celebrate Lauren and Erin's accomplishments of graduating college and high school.  

     In truck news I found a pair of step rails for the truck on Facebook Marketplace for $50 and for another $10 got a like-new spare that will replace whatever is welded up underneath the truck currently. Soon the truck bed, cap, and tailgate will be off and I'll be making a flatbed for it. 

Part of the flatbed design will be a rod rack for the fly rods. If I can get a rear sliding window for it it might be like a vertical stand that sits on the bed so the rods can go through the window into the cab. She's a good ride, strong for 255,000 miles and 21 years old.