Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gear Review : Western Visions Lanyard


I've been wanting to try a lanyard for a while, and bugged my wife to make me one to no avail for the better part of a year. Which is probably a good thing, because neither one of us knows what a lanyard needs to make it function as a lanyard should. Fortunately, I won a lanyard from Western Visions Lanyards in a contest a few weeks ago, and my wife is now at peace. First things first, it's got beads. Lots of beads. Bone beads, wood beads, fire agate beads. I like the way it looks, but some might prefer something a bit more understated. I can't help but feel a little like Flavor Flav while I'm on the river, but that's more a function of wearing a lanyard full of tools than it is the choice of materials. Speaking of materials, this lanyard is very well made, thoughtfully laid out, and beautifully designed. They feature a foam tube that sits behind your neck for comfort, a net holder, a safety breakaway connector, tipper holder, 4 strong snap snivels, and clips at the front and back for attaching the lanyard to your shirt. (The one on the back allows the weight of a net to hang from your shirt, while the clip at the front prevents the lanyard from flailing all over the place.) The design is practical and well thought out. 

I've used it a few times now, and I find that it really shines on those short trips when you just want to grab the bare essentials and head out the door with a minimum of fuss. I'm lucky enough to live a few hundred feet from a trout stream, and when dinner is on the stove and my wife graciously gives me 30 minutes to fish the evening rise, having this lanyard loaded and ready to go on a hook in the garage means more time on the river, and that's never a bad thing.



The website has a large variety of one of a kind lanyards for sale, and if you're after a specific color scheme to match a rod, reel, or a set of grillz, they'll work with you to make your custom lanyard. I'm a sucker for unique items, and I like knowing that no one else out there has this exact lanyard, and every single one is handmade and one of a kind. I didn't get to pick the color, but I really ended up liking the color combination and choice of bead materials, and think it looks fantastic with my bamboo rod.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fly fishing at 2500 meters

The soul of Swiss flyfishing lies in the mountains, and if there's anything Switzerland has a lot of, it's mountains. And where there are mountains, there are plenty of unspoiled, painfully blue alpine lakes. With around one thousand of these alpine lakes capable of holding trout, there are plenty of possibilities for the fly fisherman who's willing to work to catch some beautiful alpine jewels in salmonid form. Some are an easy half hour stroll from a parking lot, while others involve a cable car, an overnight in an alpine hut and 8 hours of death-defying scrambling over mud and talus overlooking thousand foot drops, wondering if you're ever going to see your newborn daughter again and thinking "I love fishing but this isn't worth it oh god why am I here", your friend laughing at you while frantically trying to hide the very noticeable glint of fear and uncertainty in his eyes.

The Muttsee, Glarus

In 2010, we fished the Muttsee in Glarus. After a cablecar ride and a 3 hour hike, we were casting to rising lake trout up to around 12 inches. We fished in solitude until dusk, then made our way to the nearby alpine hut, were we had a hearty family style dinner with a bunch of curious hikers who hadn't really seen many people flyfishing up here.

Grialetschsee, Graub√ľnden 

In 2011 we visited the Grialetchsee, in the mountains above Davos. There were tons of
small browns and char that were taking anything we would throw at them, so after a while we moved on to some other lakes for more eager, small fish, and then just spent day two hiking.

Fortunately, when hiking to these lakes, you don't need to bring all that much, thanks to the dense network of Swiss Alpine Club huts. Thanks to the SAC, you don't need to bring a tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, extra water, and food for meals. Generally costing around 50 bucks a night including a satisfying dinner as well as breakfast, they're a bargain, as long as you don't mind sleeping hostel style with a bunch of sweaty hikers.

A steaming pot of barley soup, and some generous beers with a view.

However, you do need to be prepared for anything when it comes to the weather. In 2010 and in 2011, in the height of summer, we encountered unexpected snowstorms. Not only can you get dangerously cold and wet, but the footing can become very precarious on some of the more exposed trails, some of which are extremely unsuitable for people without some alpine experience and who aren't comfortable with heights and exposure.

Those chains aren't just for decoration.

Middle of summer. No kidding.
That's not to say all these places are difficult to get to. One alpine fly fishing only lake I fish on a regular basis is nothing more than a five minute walk from the cable car station. It's stocked, so you can take fish (up to three) guilt-free, and it's pretty enough. Naturally, along with the ease of access comes the crowds. Not only are there a decent amount of fly fishermen, but you might also encounter school trips, dog walkers, and hikers.

As far as the fishing itself goes, I took a 6 weight both times, along with an assortment of dries, streamers, and nymphs. (Flies don't weigh that much, go hog wild.) It can get windy, so I left my favorite 4 weight at home. I've seen and caught char, lakers, grayling, and brown trout in various alpine lakes. I haven't caught any huge ones yet, but that's never bothered me before.
One of two lakers we kept for dinner.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Wrap, Week 40

Here's what's interesting (according to me, at least) in the world of fly fishing this week:


How the Government Shutdown Affect your Fishing: They closed Yellowstone. If I happen to be on a trip to fish in a spot that gets shut down because a bunch of childish mouthbreathers can't manage to act like adults, hooooooly shit.

Climate Change Spells Trouble for Anglers: More depressing news. "The science is telling us that in the lifespan of a child born today, 50 percent of the habitat suitable for coldwater species of fish will no longer be suitable for them."  I should stop believing in Science, it obviously works for some people. Mostly the same ones that shut down Yellowstone.

Fishing for Schools: how to get kids hooked on learning: A charity that gets kids into fishing. Can't argue with that.

Deals and giveaways:

Subscribe to the Pulp Fly newsletter, get a chance to win an Abel reel.

Subscribe to Fly Fishing and Fly tying Magazine (UK), get a free Grey's GRXi Fly line.


Trout in Plain Sight: a 30 minute film on fly fishing in Patagonia

An interesting video on British poachers. I hate poachers. Especially British ones.

April Vokey teaching Steve Harvey how to cast.

My First Fish:  A beautiful short film about a dad taking his son flyfishing. Guaranteed to tear up Dads, Dads with Dads, Dads without Dads, and Dads with Dad issues. (I'm looking at you, guy who gets a lump in his throat when he listens to Cat Stevens singing "Father and Son")

7 Degrees South: The full 1 hour+ long movie about fly fishing Alphonse Island. I've only watched the trailer, it was great, and as soon as I have some time I'll watch this.