Weekend Weather 11/2/2012

While we are currently getting hosed with rain all week, and my thoughts do go to people being affected by the hurricane, I would like to turn our attention to some good news.  Not much of it gets reported, but here at the Ohio Steelhead blog, I am reporting it.  The good news is:  the rain is good for waterflows that gets those steelhead running and provides more ideal fishing conditions–and . . . the rain will be tapering off toward the weekend, and we’re looking at some clear skies starting Saturday.  This means you will see me on the river swinging Intruders on the Rocky and Chagrin.  Hope to see you out there.  Tight lines!

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Nokia Lumia 900 Review

An hour spent fishing adds a day to your life.

My uncle wrote this to me in a letter once, and it is a true statement. It is true because fishing awakens within oneself a God-given drive to connect with the world. The fly-fisherman practices his or her craft not just to fish, but to connect with nature, the river and its inhabitants; to connect with the surrounding environment, and with people to whom tales of fishing are told (true and contrived), is the fly-fisherman’s life. One may prove such tales with pictures, or fashion a tale that anyone would believe. In the Western parts of the United States, this is a fancy way of saying “B.S.”, and it is a fine craft, one which my father is an expert of. Whether the stories are true or made-up matters not; the point is that people are connecting with each other and with the sport. When I am fly fishing, I always have a phone on me for safety. One of the things I have been looking for as a means of connecting, is a device that will serve not just as a phone, but as a camera, a GPS map device, a journal to log my successes, and a tool for checking the weather. What is important is that this is one device, and not several devices occupying different pockets in my fishing vest or coat, so I don’t wind up fumbling around my pockets for the particular device I am looking for. The Nokia Lumia 900 serves as this device quite handsomely, and helps me to achieve that connection. First Impressions: The Camera!

I was highly, highly impressed with the camera. I cannot stress this enough. I am not going to go into the specs, but I will say the Nokia Camera and Camera Extras apps are very intuitive, and very well put together. I took the device out to the South Chagrin Reservation in Ohio with my wife and son, pictured above.  I was impressed with the rich color and automatic focus and exposure.  One can change the exposure and ISO settings, and take advantage of the presets using Camera Extras to take high-speed action shots.   The macro focus was also impressive, which I will cover in a different article.  Here are some photos:

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The Panorama feature is super-slick.  Pretty much it is touch the screen and move the camera in the direction it tells you and that’s it.  As you can see in the above slides, it looks fantastic!  I was utterly amazed.  Below is a captured video from about 30 yards away using the video function; my videographer was a little too frightened to get any closer to the water. :\

Navigation is easily performed with Nokia Maps for safe, handsfree navigation.  It will also download your map onto the device so that you can do offline hikes easily, which is very important for planning routes.  The Nokia Marketplace offers a Weather Channel app to help determine what the weather will be like for an upcoming trip.

Regarding geotagging notes and photos, I found Evernote to be quite suitable.  This is useful to me for jotting down where fish were caught, fly type and color used, water and weather conditions, size of the fish and attach a picture.  It is very useful to enter quick notes, and as you can see in the video, templates can be pinned for quick and easy access.  From there, sharing is as simple as logging onto Facebook or WordPress and copying and pasting the entry from Evernote.

Overall, I found the experience with the Lumia 900 very satisfying and useful.  I would like to thank the folks at Nokia Connects for the opportunity to review the phone, and would heartily encourage people to consider buying a Nokia for their next smartphone device.

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After a Quiet, Yet Busy Summer

Summer is nearly gone.  I had just spend the entirety of it working on this house, and hardly any time has been spent fishing.  I’ve all but missed the smallmouth bass season.  It seems like since I’ve started this whole house-buying process that steelhead season was drawing to a close.  Now, it is almost upon me!  Ugh.

The most “fishing” I have been able to do is practicing flycasting, which is a good thing.  This was done a few times while living with the in-laws in a spacious backyard where I could turn over nearly the full length of my taper.  Now the neighbor–whom I’ve never officially met, so he’s for all practical purposes, a stranger–would heckle me and say the bluegill/crappie, or whatever piddly fish he thought would generate a cute comment, were on the other side of the yard.  I took practicing my craft seriously, so I just pretended to not hear him and not dignify his remark with a response.  He took the point, but never to heart and would return shortly to heckling me some more on another day.  What a butthole.

So we’re out of the in-laws’ house (yay) and I have clutter all over the place as we sort through where to put stuff again, hopefully for the last time.  I have yet to get to my box containing my flies and waders.  Once there, I will begin preparing for another cycle of steelhead fishing, which I am very much looking forward to.  So after a quiet, yet busy summer of moving and dealing with life, the cycle begins yet again.

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In How I Discover to Employ Fly Fishing as Cardio

As a strapping young man moving into his prime, I have a concern about my overall health. I try to eat smart, but exercise is something that I have long been allergic to, owing to the hazing I went through during gym class in middle school. I took up weightlifting and cardio a couple years ago in an attempt to get over those apprehensions, and to get myself back in shape. Things have paid off well for myself as I’ve finally put myself within a normal weight range. I had been well under that range for many years, and had been known for pretty much eating whatever the heck I want without really gaining a single ounce. I’m getting older now, so I can’t really down a whole large pizza in the middle of the night like I used to during college.

Curious about how I could qualify fly-fishing as cardio, I did a Google search on the topic and found this handy little tool:

With my weight at 197 and my average time spent fly fishing being at about 4 hours, that puts my Calories Burned at 2,007! No wonder I feel wiped out after a good amount of time on the river! This certainly presents the case for a need of a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast before an outing, not to mention the need for a bag lunch & snacks for a little “recharge”.

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First Steelhead

Six o’clock in the morning and the alarm goes off on a crisp January morning. I pry myself from the covers and pull my clothes on in the dark; the pale twilight of dawn will not show for another hour. The scent of fresh brewed coffee fills the apartment as I gather my fly rod, fly box, and waders. I set myself down in front of my computer to check the river levels and weather forecast as I down a bowl of oatmeal and sip some coffee. “This is the day,” I tell myself; a sense of anticipation wells up inside of me as I prepare myself to hit the Rocky River and chase steelhead.

After a short drive, I climb into my 5mm neoprene waders and tie my wading boots. The sky blooms rose colored clouds as the dawn brightens, casting a rosy light on the river. I am one of only a few who have arrived. This is good, as I have a chance to having a section of the river to myself, rather than battling the combat fisherman who fill the shores. Another SUV pulls in with a couple guys eyeing the spot that I’m planning to start wading into: the bridge spanning the river above the marina, which yields several prime holding spots for steelhead. I must hurry and tie-in before these yahoos beat me to my spot.

I glance down at the stained water flow to make a determination how I would set up my line. Judging from the flow, I would use a sink tip and my last black and blue Signature Intruder. I tie the fastest blood knot I can tie, test it, and it holds strong and true. I quickly tie my Intruder on, lock up the van and head down to the trail leading down to the river. I smile at one of the recent arrivals and have some brief smalltalk. Cleverly, I let them know where I will be wading so he will get the hint that I was here first. Heh-heh!

I wade only a couple feet into the water and start casting across, letting the fly swing down and across. I cast a few more times and notice others starting to fill the bank downstream for me. I will need to work myself further into the stream to avoid casting over the other people’s casts. I work my way past a small riffle and cast the line upstream of a small bar and some shale boulders. The line came to a dead stop as I hooked up on a rock or a branch. A few careful tugs and my fly was free. Casting a good double-haul to place the swing slightly past this area, I let the fly swing, leveled my rod horizontal so I could detect even the slightest strike. I let my arm relax, but only long enough to feel the shake and tug of something alive on the other end of my line. My breath caught in my throat as I raised the rod to set the hook, then there was nothing. There was resistance, but I couldn’t feel anything. I felt another slight shake and then stillness. I bent my rod double, and but for the shaking of the line at the other end, I would have thought I had hooked into a rock. For a moment I thought I did when someone shouted from the other side of the river, “Do you got one?” I couldn’t answer, because I really didn’t know.

As if to answer the question, a silver bullet burst from the surface of the water.  My first steelhead!   I was smiling from ear to ear as I lowered the rod tip during the hen’s aerial display.  The 24″ hen’s side flashed a bright silver with a pink stripe painted down her lateral line.  I held onto my rod with both hands as the rod tip bent over double.  The fish went deep, found a rock and locked itself in place.  She started to run for a short burst, causing me to set the drag in vain, as I couldn’t get it to set just right.  With patience and determination I tried coaxing the stubborn fish out of the run, but it would not move.  It didn’t run or shake, but fixed itself firmly to the bottom.   She was certainly stubborn, but I was determined after 5 years of chasing this fish to not let her get away.

Five minutes into the fight (I can’t really say it was a fight, because it behaved more like a 25 lb rock that sunk to the bottom of the river), I managed to coax the fish closer to the shoreline.  It started swimming into a run slightly to my left, gave the line a shake, shaking the fly out of her mouth.  Gone!  I reeled my line in and found the fly still tied to the tippet.  My heart sank slightly, but the thrill of hooking into a steelhead for the first time had taken a firmer hold.  My first steelhead!

I made my way back to the place I was previously, but another fly fisherman was then standing directly behind me.  No doubt, he was waiting for me to move on.  Unfortunately he was distracting me from making a decent backcast because I didn’t want to hook into him.  After a few foul casts, I lost my Intruder fly to a rock, tried tying in a new fly, and the interloper had taken my place.

I waded back to the shoreline and decided to take some time to reflect on such an accomplishment.  I also needed to do something very important.  I reached into my side-pocket of my coat for my cellphone, called my dad and my wife and told them the news.

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