The Mad Fishicist

A fly rodding, sheep stalking, moose calling, guitar trying, bird watching, fly tying, Katie loving stay-at-home-dad.

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Location: Alaska, United States

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Spring Flybox

"Flies have a strong, marvelous power, and each is meaningful as a point of contact with nature. Embodied in the fly is a message that reflects the tyer's point of view about nature. By creating an enduring fly, you convey your message to future fly fishers."
-Nori Tashiro

In one week, I've filled my flybox to beyond capacity. Nothing in this box represents anything real or natural. But steelhead trout are anything but real. They are to rainbow trout what steel is to iron. As I write, schools of sea bright steelhead are swarming the Gulf of Alaska at the mouth of the Situk River. Their bodies are undergoing a chemical shift that will allow them to enter the fresh water. Their chrome will change to green and red and silver and they will stop eating. In a month, they will have found their way upstream to their redds in the river and its tributaries. The fighting that will take place for those redds will be far more violent but no less dramatic than the fighting that should take place as a result of this flybox. In just over a month, these flies will swing in and out of as many redds as I can find. May they be tempting enough to induce a bite and tied well enough to survive the thrashing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

"There's nothing more dangerous...

...than a wounded mosquito."
-Eric Idle as Roy, Monty Python's Flying Circus

I'd hate to be the trout that tangles with this mosquito. It's my third dry fly. The first two were disasters.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bead Headed Leech

"The first fly I make
In the Name of Christ,
King of the Elements,
The poor man shall have for his need;
And the King of Fishers,
He will afterward give me His blessing,
And still me for the crests of the waves..."
-David James Duncan, The River Why

Fly box filling. Hopes rising like trout to a fly. Tomorrow I will attempt a dry fly.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Fall Flybox

The last fish of a season. The memory isn't fading, but everything else is. Tying flies is refilling my flybox and refueling my patience.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My ktema es aei

"They do not use flies for bait, for if a man's hand touch them they lose their natural color, their wings wither, and they become unfit food for the fish. [Instead] they fasten crimson wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers that grow under a cock's wattles, and which in color are like wax."
-Aelianus, De Natura Animalium (ca. AD222) Describing a Macedonian method of catching fish.

Here's my first ever hand tied fly. The pattern is called a Dennis Rodman or a Jerry Garcia. I'll call mine a Haight-Ashbury. It's tintinnabulatious. Or cumulonimbustible. It also should catch me some steelhead.
Click here for comparison.

thank you heath

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Applying the Scriptures II

Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
-John 21:3a

The days are getting longer. The waters are starting to move against their icy shells. I saw a Prodigal Trumpeter last week. And a mosquito. I am going fishing.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


This letter is dated 7/19/04.

Hey Baby-
I cannot WAIT for march 10 (or whenever you come out of your mommy's tummy). I have a few promises:

I promise to always love Mom no matter what.

I promise to always consult God for guidance when it comes to you and Mom.

I promise to give you my best.

You must know how loved you are already by Mom and me. I have spent the last week wondering what you will be like. I have wondered what you will be good at and what types of things you will like. Maybe you'll be good at math so you can help me when I need it (your dad needs lots of help with his math). Or maybe you'll love books like I do and we can make good trades. But whoever you turn out to be, I need you to know how your mom and I will always be there to support you and love you and to help you be the best person you can be. We pray for you every day, and you can count on our prayers for the rest of our lives.


This one is dated March 5, 2006.

I know that some day you will be free to seek your own love. My goal is to love you and Mommy in such a way that some day you will look for a love like mine. I see it as my responsibility and my privilege to set your standards high, so I pray daily that I can live up to it. Keep watching me with Mommy. Take good notes, and when you're 35, you can start looking.

Happy Birthday Angel.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

On a Salmon Stream with Sophia

"There is a faith, called fishing."
-David James Duncan, My Story As Told By Water

And another, called fatherhood. I belong to both.

photo by heath

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Three Years in Profile

Three years ago today we met.

I'm sitting in a fancy hotel room and I don't want to leave.
Nothing and nobody could kick me out.
The building is gorgeous; the architect knew I'd like it.
The room has no number.
There's just two words on the door.

The view from here is incredible, but it can sometimes get blocked.
If it were up to me, I'd go ahead and demolish anything that blocks the view.
It's that good.

I couldn't pass this room up.
The words on the door were calling me.
But wait until you hear about the room itself.

This room has class.
The designer knew I'd like it.
This room has a place for everything.
It's as if the room keeps growing to fit me and all my junk, as well as the fine art, decor, and furniture that were already there.

High ceilings, custom design, and it feels like home.
Everything here is made of the finest material.
Every item is handpicked.

If there's clutter, it's on purpose.
If something spills, I'll clean it up.
I don't want anything to spoil this fancy hotel room for me.
If anyone else knocks, I won't answer.
I want this room all to myself.

Oh yes, the two words on the door.
I'll bet you thought I wasn't going to tell you the words that called me to this room.
The whole reason I opened the door in the first place.
I'll tell you, but don't bother knocking.

The words on the door:
Katie's Heart.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Applying the Scriptures

"Also take your rod with which you struck the river, and go."
-Exodus 17:5b