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Sunday, May 17, 2015

What a Slut!

It was familiar water for me on this day; I had been there many times.  The sky was hazy, not cloudy; it made for acceptable visibility.  Seeing only a couple fish the first 30-40 minutes got me wondering about my prospects for the day.  Both fish were over 15 pounds so that was encouraging.  The first fish that took my fly was just over 18 pounds; that was simply wonderful!  She reminded me of everything that I love about carp fishing--stalking fish that are big, smart, and wary.  Add to that, detecting the take visually and you have the ideal sportfish.

Because I was not seeing that many fish but also because I was seeing a high incidence of fish over 15 pounds I just randomly decided to see if I could keep myself from casting to anything less than a fish that appeared to be 15 pounds or better.  There have been days, just a few really, when I have caught so many large fish that I just can't be bothered fishing for the 8-9 pounders.  Please know that is nowhere near normal.  This day it wasn't that I was catching so many fish; it was just that I wanted to see if I could keep myself from casting to 8-9 pound fish even if I wasn't seeing large fish.  I wondered how long I would go without getting at least a shot at a large fish before I decided that this wasn't really a fun game after all.  I wanted to test my discipline.

Temptation called me several times, I was "strong", I resisted the 8 pound fish.  It wasn't totally easy because 8-9 pounders were most of what I was seeing.  Enough large fish were taking my fly that I "held up".

Six hours of wading is typically enough for me particularly when I am on the move the whole time and that includes getting back to my truck.  On the way back to my truck I had the fly in the hookkeeper since I don't typically see many fish on the return.  

Near the truck a fish was moving across the shallows.  She appeared to be about 8 pounds; she was clearly a linear mirror.  Instantly focused, I took the fly off the hookkeeper, peeled out line, and laid out a good cast in front of that beauty.  She approached, turned to her right when she saw the fly and then just calmly swam away.  Spontaneously, I said out loud, "What a slut!"  

Nearly 6 hours of fishing without casting to a single 8-9 pounder and as soon as I saw a mirror I caved in.  What can I say?  I love all carp but since mirrors are unusual here they are more appealing to me.  Being unusual makes them kind of exotic.  I particularly like the fully scaled ones and the linear ones.  That Jezebel mirror carp made me give in to temptation; yes, at that moment I was reduced to being nothing more than a "mirror carp slut" without a thing to show for it.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My River Was Calling Out to Me

Katy and I walked yesterday near ponds and channels in central Washington.  We were enjoying the nice day and looking for birds. In the process of looking for birds we heard splashing in shallow water; it is such a familiar sound to me.  A carp was clearly feeding, others were looking for love.  It's April for criminy sake; what are carp doing spawning already!?  

Unseasonably warm weather has gotten me out carp fishing sooner than I ever have in 12 seasons. On Sunday of this week a mirror became my first stillwater carp of the year.  Any mirror makes my face smile.  This one was fully scaled with unusually bright yellow on his belly.   I got to see him turn to the Chocolate Cherry; what a nice way to start the year.  Other carp were kind enough to take the fly that day also.  

Consecutive warm days in the spring are to carp fishing what a freshet is to coastal salmon or steelhead fishing.  A freshet brings staging, migratory fish into their natal streams; warm, spring days bring carp into the shallow water.  

Two warm days after the stillwater trip the call from my river was gaining volume.  During the winter it whispers to me; it reminds me of fish from seasons past and tempts me with visions of captures to come.  It calls me when I'm sleeping, it calls me when I'm driving, it calls me when I'm working.  To the point of distraction it had been calling me for weeks; a little more loudly and a little more insistently each day.  Tuesday was the day I answered my river's call.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lessons From the Carp Lodge: Episode #6--Adapting to Different Conditions--Dropping the Fly

Most of the carp I catch are 25-40 feet away.  There are times when murky water, cloudy skies, and hard wind conspire to keep from seeing carp until I am very close to them.  There are also times when carp feed on emerging damsels just under weed patches.  All of these conditions require that I adapt my techniques and get very close to carp to present the fly to them.  Watch this video in HD and on the full screen so you can see the fish.  Enjoy.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"After the Hookset"--a video

I had hoped to produce at least 3 videos this winter--possibly 4.  Hmmm... I have worked on them but alas, here is the first one I have actually finished.  It is not meant to be instructional; it is just meant for fun.  There are 8 takes and hooksets in this video.  What I am focusing on is those seconds right after the hookset.  Watch it on the full screen and in HD so you can see the fish more easily.

The last fish that jumps and summersaults is one of my favorite videos I have captured these past several seasons.  He actually picks up the fly before I realize it; you can see the line move.


PS  I do have a fair amount of my video "Dropping the Fly" finished.  Lets see if I can get it finished before carp season starts.  If I don't I'm a total goner; I likely won't get it done until next winter.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Videos Coming Soon

This past summer I had some tremendous days of carp fishing.  (Some not so tremendous ones too...)  A number of carp were even kind enough to let me get them on video.  A couple carp came all the way out of the water on the hook set and they let me record them in the act.  Dang that was cool!

I broke two rods this summer; lets see here, ammmm...that would be two rods in two days actually with both of them being just as I was netting the fish.  One of those snapping rods can be seen on video.  Heck if the camera is on it records that good and the bad.

Believe it or not I have some very good, long casts on video from the last two summers; the fish are clearly visible, heck a few of them were even nice enough to take the fly.  God bless those nice ones.

The "Good Luck Duck" appears (audibly) in one of my videos and while he has scared fish in the past I like to think he helped me catch the fish I was casting to.  He did.

When I see two tailing or shopping/prowling fish facing each other and in sight of each other I think it makes them more aggressive about taking my fly.  Well I got that on video this past summer too; one of them smacked the fly.

I got some good video of fish taking the fly on the drop.  One of them was hiding under a small weed patch that was floating on the surface.  His head wasn't visible but his tail was sticking out behind the patch.  I dropped the fly in front of the weeds and just as pretty as you please he came out and ate the fly.

I had hoped to produce at least three videos this winter.  I have worked a lot the last few months marketing and selling homes and as a result so far all I have done is start some videos.  I have one video project with a couple sloshers and a couple jumpers.  I will call it something like, "After the Hook Set What do Carp Do?" or "Do Carp Ever Jump?"  I'm still thinking about the title.  This video is just for fun.  I have a project I'm working on called "Long Casts and Confidence--Catching Carp at Distance".  I thought this one would be helpful.  I have another one on adjusting and adapting to conditions and fish behavior.  I had hoped to produce something on dropping the fly.  And of course since I have the "Good Luck Duck" recorded I thought I would let him make an appearance on my blog and on YouTube.

Well good grief, so far I haven't finished even one of these.  I'm the closest to finishing "After the Hook Set What Do Carp Do?"  and "The Good Luck Duck".   I'm trying, I'm trying.  Some videos will be coming soon--I hope.



Friday, November 14, 2014

Kim Karpdashian and Twerkin' Tail

Dear Kim,

I don't want to hurt your feelings, BUTT, you don't do anything for me.  Nothing at all.  I think you're kind of gross.  Kim, this is some real tail!

And plus Kim, here is some tail sort of twerking.  Oh Kim, I love this kind of twerkin' tail!  It just really gets me going.  


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Marysville-Pilchuck is MY School!

Made primarily of cinder blocks, the buildings at my school are not particularly elegant looking.  If memory serves me correctly the school was built in 1970 at a cost of $6,000,000.  Pilchuck High School became the second high school in the district.  The colors were green and gold; PHS was the home of the Chargers.  With no two story buildings and covering almost 90 acres the campus was sprawling.  Classroom doors all opened to the outside; at the time it was called a “California style” school.  Didn’t the architects know it rains here?   The community was much smaller then.

In the early 70’s there were 9 consecutive school levy failures in the Marysville School District.  To cut costs Marysville High School and Pilchuck High School were merged in to one school in 1975.  That was the year I came to the high school.  Marysville High School’s colors were red and white and the mascot was the Tomahawks.  The newly combined Marysville-Pilchuck High School adopted red and white as the colors and adopted Tomahawks as the mascot.  The Pilchuck High School campus became the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus.  Marysville High School became the junior high.  The school day was shortened, class sizes ballooned.  They were challenging times. 

In time a group of parents, led by Don DeMarco, came forward and took on the challenge of getting our Maintenance and Operation levy passed for the first time in years.  It was no small task.  In the face of need the community rallied.

Even with the two high schools combined into one, in the late 70’s we could still do an all school assembly in the auditorium.  I believe it seated about 825; we still weren’t really a very big school.  In a few years we had to do two assemblies to accommodate the growing student body.  As more and more new homes were built the student body grew; we moved assemblies to the gym.  In or near the late 90’s we had well over 2,000 students.  I believe we peaked somewhere near 2,650 kids.  We had become one of the two largest high schools in the state.  All the changes brought new challenges.  Students, staff and the community always rose to the occasion. 

I have been a real estate broker the last 5 1/2 years.  I taught from 1973-2009.  I was the Marketing teacher and DECA Advisor at Marysville-Pilchuck; I witnessed a lot of change.  I taught at a AA school, a AAA school, and a AAAA school—all that without ever changing schools.  Early on I thought of MPHS as MY school.  I loved my school and still do now.  Was it those old cinder blocks that grew on me?  Did the warping fascia boards touch my heart?  When the roof leaked in my classroom, did it endear me to that special place?  In a way I suppose it did.  More precisely it was my students who grew on me; they touched my heart.  Touched my heart?  Well, it was more like they became ingrained in my heart—they became a part of me.    


As a teacher I remember kids preparing for competition, practicing presentations, running for offices, and planning large scale projects.  I particularly remember the daily interactions in the classroom.  Sometimes it was an effort just to get everyone to sit down and stop talking.  Sometimes I felt clumsy and awkward with a class or with something I was hoping to accomplish.  Sometimes, certainly not always, things went smoothly.  Sometimes the classroom was incredibly exhilarating.  I enjoyed the good natured bantering with my classes.  I enjoyed getting to know them as a group and as individuals.  I enjoyed seeing kids gain skills and confidence; it was so exciting to see their eyes brighten and their backs straighten.  How many jobs are there where you get to love 150 new people every year?  How many? I had that job; for 36 years I had that job.  It was such a privilege; dear God, it was such a privilege! 

I remember school and community service projects my students and I worked on.  “Think About It…” campaigns were created to encourage kids to make good decisions in all aspects of their lives.

Breaking Down the Walls was a week long program involving hundreds of students and many staff members.  Parents and other community members also participated.  We worked to help kids see how much they really had in common with each other and to see past superficial differences.

Martin Luther King programs were done to honor the great civil rights hero and to celebrate diversity.  The Total Experience Gospel Choir sang at our assemblies.  The first year we had them they performed at 24 schools.  Later, Patrinell Wright, the founder and director of the group, told us our school had one of the two best programs they had seen.  (I never understood why we weren’t THE best.)

Our Proud to be an American program was a response to the 9/11 attacks.  While having students and staff form a 60 yard flag on the football field was the most visible part of the day’s activities the assembly beforehand was by far the best part.  Retired Army Major Daverso’s tearful and emotional response to the assembly was moving for everyone.  Once again students and staff came together to straighten our backs and choose positive responses. 

In conjunction with Marysville Rotary I remember building the Marysville-Tulalip Veterans Memorial; I doubt if there is anything quite like it on any high school campus in the country.  The project took 2 ½ years.  We researched every Marysville-Tulalip KIA veteran going back to World War I.  The dedication ceremony, done in 2005, took nearly two hours.  In attendance were over 200 people from the community.  Frank Gadwa, an Air Force pilot, was shot down over Germany during World War II.  He was a German POW for 2 years.  He attended.  Marine Corporal Jack Elkins, a Bataan Death March survivor, was in attendance.  In uniform.  The Tulalip Honor Guard presented the colors.  Marysville-Pilchuck students interviewed over 250 veterans and the families of KIA veterans.  They made a tri-fold display board for each veteran.  Captain Robert Pearson was shot down over Viet Nam in 1967.  His mother was there to help read the formal dedication of the memorial.  Gary Clifton Paddock, US Navy, died on his last day of service in Viet Nam in February of 1967.  We interviewed his mother; it was still too painful for her to attend.  Marine Lance Corporal Jack Hammond was killed in Viet Nam in October of 1967.  His mother attended the dedication.  After the dedication two students walked her out to the memorial where she gingerly touched her son’s name. 

In all of these instances kids took tremendous risks to organize and put on large scale projects.  Students, staff, parents, and the business community came together to make extremely worthwhile things happen.  This is how I remember my school and the community. 

Darkness comes: 

On the morning of October 24, 2014 the unthinkable happened at my school.  A freshman boy texted his friends and invited them to have lunch with him in the cafeteria.  He walked in and shot five of them; it was vicious, premeditated murder.  The killer then turned the gun on himself and took his own life.  At this writing two of the five victims have died.  Why did this happen?  Why?!  WHY?!!  Why, why, did this happen?!  I am horrified.  I am confused and I am grieving.  This kind of thing happens other places, faraway places, but not here, not at my school.  My school is a good place, a safe place, a very special place.  This boy shot his friends and his cousins; it is more than I can grasp. 

The victims were shot in the head.  Those young faces—smashed…  Those young lives—snuffed out…  So much promise and so much to look forward to—smothered in an instant…

I have so many questions, so many questions…What was the killer thinking?  Why did he do it?  The faces of some of the victims were so obliterated that they had trouble identifying the kids.  What was it like to be a parent of one of the victims and get the call that your son or daughter may have been shot?  If the two victims who are still in critical condition survive, what kind of life will they have?  What are the families of the two murdered girls feeling now?  What is the family of the shooter feeling now?  How are thousands of alumni feeling about their school and their community now?  How will any of the families ever move on?  How does one 15 year old wreak so much havoc and bring darkness into the lives of so many people? 

As a parent how do you explain all of this to your middle school or elementary school child?  Kids who were not even there will have nightmares.  How do you comfort and reassure your kids?  Parents will be more worried and more anxious for years to come.  Trust is broken now for everybody.  In one way or another everyone is marked by this for life.  For life.


How do people move on?  Where does anyone begin?   How do we start to find light again?  Two of the shooter’s victims have died, two more remain in critical condition at this writing.  Another shooting victim, Nate Hatch, is currently in satisfactory condition.  He recently tweeted this:

I love you and I forgive you jaylen rest in peace
2:15 PM - 26 Oct 2014
1,656 Retweets 3,461 favorites

I asked how one 15 year old could bring so much darkness into the lives of so many people.  Is it possible that a 14 year old is showing where light begins?  How does he find it in himself to do this—to forgive the shooter?  How?!  How is he doing this?  Where does he find the strength?  Where does he find the courage?  How does he choose light in the face of devastating darkness?

Through the decades, time and again I saw students, staff, and the community come together; they are already doing it now.  They are already choosing light. 

During my years at the high school I knew so many teachers and other staff members who were hardworking, dedicated, caring people; day in and day out they put kids first.  They helped MPHS be a good place and a safe place.  They did through the decades I was there, they still do now, and I know they will in the future.  I am completely confident that the kids, the staff, the parents, the community, and the alumni will reclaim the school.

Students and staff, take the cafeteria back; take it back!   Show respect for the victims.  Paint the walls, make a change of some sort and then walk in there together and TAKE IT BACK!  Take. It. Back!  Take your cafeteria back; take your whole school back!  When the ribbons are gone, when the balloons have deflated and the flowers are faded it will finally be the staff and the students who make the cafeteria and the school your own again.  Take it back; you can do it.  Support each other, work together, trust in yourselves and each other.  I know you can.  It is in your hands.  I know you will choose light; of this I am sure.

Is Marysville-Pilchuck a good place, and a safe place?  Do I dare say it?  Yes.  Yes it is!  Marysville-Pilchuck is a good place, a safe place and such a very special place.  Marysville-Pilchuck is MY school!