Friday Goto Winter

Remembering Labor Day 2000

Remembering Labor Day 2000

Snowing 23 years ago this weekend. Today.

I was producing flies, streamers, at my tying desk Wolf Creek Montana.

Drinking Bailey’s and Coffee, just like this morning, and watching the oversized flakes fall heavily to the ground.

Every couple hours I would coax my Suburban from the driveway behind the Canyon Store and wander around the river. Over the ranch road from WC dropping down to Holter Dam. Guides rowing diligently with lots of net play. I vividly remember watching Trapper Badovinac back rowing on the east shore a couple hundred yards above the bridge thinking to myself between Camel cigarettes that my hotboxed GMC Montanalac was a better place to be than on the water this day long ago.

Fast forward 23 years,  nd I am on my deck writing this passage watching the rain come down and enjoying once again the safety of the roof over my head.

My inaugural year rowing for dollars and was so thankful to not be guiding that day. Shouldering the heavy and wet snow was what I did in the other season. Instructing skiing full time in the Cascade Mountains @ White Pass will teach any individual about quality outdoor wear. A bombproof rain jacket is imperative if you consider longevity in the outdoor business.

I am writing today thanking Mother Mo for creating and facilitating these memories. I feel so thankful to live near the river. I fell so thankful for the friendships. I appreciate it more and more everyday. I relish time on the water. I am absolutely aware that those moments, hours, days are fleeting. That it will all end. Soon? Boy I hope not. I am looking forward to as many more moments as I have left on this earth as I am granted.

It is so valuable to reflect on time. To plan ahead for the time ahead. To enjoy the entirety of the outdoor life. Good raingear can increase those moments!

Rain day here on the Mo. A great day to be out there. Probably quiet on the waters with many headed home on this rain soaked holiday. For many this is a terrible end this Labor Day Weekend.

For others it is a blessing. Which camp to you belong to?

Other topics today on the HH Blog

SOL speaks on a podcast with Matt Supinksi’s Hallowed Waters for about 3 hrs. Listen to the discussion about Montana, the Mo, Mark and Matt discuss their opposing theories about dry fly tactics…

A quick reminder that all things having to do with all movements of our bodies can be boiled down to fundamentals. The basics. The bottom line. Fundamentals. Often in the boat one of the anglers will give the other angler a suggestion about how to improve the fly cast. It often, mostly, is a movement that has nothing to do with fundamental movement patters of casting. Things like “I think you should tweak your wrist a bit at the end and you will be able to cast better. ” Huh? “Or you are tweaking your wrist wrong.” I always interject and immediately let the caster know that anything his buddies tell him about casting should be ignored. It is always about fundamentals. Always. The most often mistake for casters is, never stopping and pausing for the line to extend, never once during the false casting session, not one stop of the rod during the fore and aft strokes. The fore, and then the aft. Not connected. And, you do not have to ram the rod tip towards the water as fast as possible every cast. It is OK to stop it on the aft stroke, and then stop it on the fore stroke. A rainbow like casting stroke can never ever, ever, be good man. Nope. Check it out online if you still don’t believe me. You cannot improve your cast if you do not understand, or exhibit (any!) the fundamentals of the cast. Check out the 5 Essentials of the Cast, look it up man, if you truly want to improve. If not, listen to your buddies suggestions…

Labor Day
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  • Was fortunate to be schooled by Bruce Richards and Ray Schmidt in their advanced casting schools held in Michigan. They were patient and could actually teach practical elements of the fly cast. There we no dumb questions. A lot of appreciation for these experiences. Bruce made things so clear – we both graduated from Mich Tech so we understood the basic physics of ANY cast – lol. Rod path, acceleration and stop, wrist control, loop size, creep, jab, tailing loops, line designs, relationships between leader size/length and fly size, ect ….. he explained all these and more…… relationships, cause and impact on the cast, ect… . It was a game changer for me in terms of understanding what happens during the cast. There was one really key general takeaway, among many others, from these sessions that impacted my casting and it applies to both the forward and back cast. Thought I’d try to share it. Any cast must have some degree of acceleration and stop ( to Mark’s point above) to load that rod (ie good line tension) but it’s WHEN and HOW it’s applied, at a minimum, to prevent a tailing loop during either the forward or back cast. The key that Bruce taught was to delay both the major power forward (or rearward) and wrist turn until later in the stroke. A lot of casters think they have to power hard right from the start of the cast and all the way through but when that happens, the rod tip drops and the line follows that path (always). The top portion of the loop then drops below the bottom portion and that leader drops below the line….ie tailing loops. This short delay in when you amp up the acceleration during the stroke and then the forward ( or rearward) wrist turn helps to eliminate this tailer. Try to keep the hand/wrist moving in a straighter path too – so the rod tip moves in a straighter path ……otherwise those rainbow arc rod tip paths create those huge open loops that make it more difficult for your line to straighten out. I believe this tip, as Mark calls fundamentals, highlights good rod path, creating line tension, pausing to stop the rod ect….. .

    • Thanks John. Strong description of Bruce Richards teachings. I took have be blessed to hang with Bruce, not often enough, and glean as much as I can every session. A fantastic casting instructor with very few peers in that game! Thanks John!

  • Mark

    Grateful for the words brother… the sharing of a transparent vision of your memories, the importance of friendships, the tepidness of time, and the “awareness” of time… it leads to a single path towards gratitude and your post couldn’t mean more to those searching the words of authors, the lyrics of songwriters, the licks of poets… to have memories of tieing flies in a snowstorm in Wolf Creek and driving the Mo in a snowstorm while BWOs let loose in early Sept … hell yes thank you sharing those memories and please keep making them, sharing them and viscerally opening the hearts of those far away dreaming of Craig and Wolf Creek …. Could listen to you and Matt Supinski talk Dry Fly Code like I could watch Steve Kerr shot the 3 Ball— FOREVER…

    Peace grateful keep sharing your thoughts memories knowledge passion


  • Thanks John. Yeah that memory flashed into my head on this Labor Day. I distinctly remember thinking about how to add a collar to the Wooley Bugger and how that affects the volume of water and how it would be interpreted by the aggressive brown trouts. And of course on and on in my mind about multidimensional “feel” of the trout, and the sound board of the lateral line etc…

    Thanks John.

  • Mark that is an absolutely incredibly beautiful photo and truly depicts the magic and wonder of the vastness of Montana and the surroundings
    that we have chosen to be the better part of our lives. The small part of the Missouri River that we enjoy is very very special and we should relish and treasure it to no end! This is unequivocally one of your best posts ever. Yes I do read all of them. Cheers old friend!

  • Have to be honest – I have been reading your notes in prep for an upcoming trip. Really enjoyed this one. Thanks. On the water with a headhunters guide next monday. Can;t wait.

  • Right on.

  • Geez, Mark, that was a poetic post. And I enjoyed it even though I still shoot my cast–at times, anyway.

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