Tuesday, December 6, 2011

don't bring your kids here, it's game over

Sipping Dry trailer from Sharptail Media on Vimeo.

lo fi fly kills

Before you read the following paragraph, note that GT stands for Gran Turismo, and in this instance it's  referencing a fish, a very fast one known as a bonefish:
"I am bat shit crazy about GT’s and when I git me one I am gonna shmash em right in the face and make a pair of boots outta him…GT Gumboots….and you will all write in and want me to make a store so that you can buy a pair to prance about, dance & leap in. You, in a pair of LO FI GT GUMBOOTS running through the forest like a gazelle with a knife in hand on the hunt for an animal to kill and skin so that you can make a pair of pants to wear with them. Yes you just fucking read that."
If you read the Lo Fi Fly blog, that's what you're gonna get and it's pretty fucking awesome. I think you should check 'em out.
*foto blatantly stolen from LoFiFly

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I don't know that I have an opinion on the issue, however, if I were hard enough to kick ass at the SSCXWC I know I'd sure as fuck get in writing. Whatever your opinion, this is FUNNY:

All the deets over at Hodala

$11 well spent

I love tools, especially bike tools, most especially old, out of production bike tools that serve no current purpose and have "Campagnolo" stamped into them.
The very first bike tool I fell in love with is the original Ritchey CPR. Mainly because it said "Ritchey" on it, but at the time it was a solid multi-tool that took up minimal space. Having spent years buying and selling bicycle multi-tools from the dense forest of over designed tools at the bike shops I both purchased from and sold out of, I have this to say about the multi-tool: Less is more. That being said, I have found the MT-1 to be the underwhelmingly best all-round tool to have with me on a daily riding basis. No, it doesn't do everything (most tools that claim to don't actually do everything anyway), but this covers the emergency bases pretty well, with the caveat that on a fixie you'll still need a 15mm wrench, mountain biking you'll prolly want a chain tool, and if you ride a Schwinn, you're fucked.

foto borrowed from Park Tools

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

display table

I found an old steel table frame at a local antique store last week and knew it would make a great industrial looking display table/workbench. After a day of stripping it of its' mustard yellow paint, and another day of glueing cedar wood strips together followed by painting, sanding, oiling, waxing, and the general destruction of a new wood top in an effort to make it look old: I have a new display table.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

jordan hufnagel is destroying my mind, again

It's not enough that his bikes are some of the nicest things out there that I can't afford, now he has to go and make these sweet parts. What a jerk. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

tweed ride... and imbibing

The 2011 Minneapolis Tweed Ride is in the books. T'was as beautiful an evening as we could have asked for the fifty-ish participants that included many first time tweedies. Once again our hostess, Carly, treated us to an entertaining tour of Minneapolis' finest pubs and eateries. Though I found myself soaked by the ale and too content to leave my barstool and complete the party route that terminated with the group sweating through their woolens at the Hot Pants dance party at Nomad World Pub, I managed to snap off a few blurry pics prior to weaving my bicycle home for the night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

it's pheasant season

I'm not much of a hunter, so I rely on some awesome friends for my winter fly tying rations. I received my first batch of feathers today over coffee, and just spent the last hour prepping and separating them into little batches.
Thanks in advance to all my other hunter friends, I sincerely hope your side-by-side shoots straight and your retriever has a soft mouth.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

this is not custom

I love a trim fitting coat as much as the next New York Wall Street hipster guy. After all, the sure sign of a good custom jacket is a small armhole that was obviously built around your frame allowing the arm to swing with your movement and not disrupt the rest of your coat in the process. But...
I found this pic of a Michael Bastian for Gant sport coat on the web and thought I'd share with you all the stress points that are going to lead to this coats' failure well before its' time. Michael is a men's wear icon, but please, let's not encourage people do do this, it's as bad as wearing that old '80's oversized Armani shit. You could argue that if the seams are taped and the fabric has enough give, over time, it will become a custom looking piece, but, please, don't.
This guy is definitely not wearing this coat to a shooting party at the country estate this weekend, I don't think he can get his arm beyond his waist.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

i'd eat this bug. i mean, if i were a trout

I can watch Davie McPhail tie flies all day long. This is a great example of how his flies are super precise, yet still very "buggy" looking. The more I tie, the less I like super perfect looking flies. Yes, there are times on super still water over finicky trout that you need the catalogue cover shot quality flies (and he can tie those too), but on most days you need a good silhouette and the appearance of movement from your bug, Davie kills it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

ending the season on a high note

The trout fishing season comes to an official halt for Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend and I was fortunate to get out one more time. I chose El Paso, Wisconsin for my last cold day on the water, 50ish degrees, and it felt colder standing in the river. I landed my best brookies of the season on a pheasant tail wet fly fished dead drift style through a 2-3 foot deep riffle. About 1pm a light drizzle got the trout to nosing up and I landed one of my better browns as he was masquerading as an 8 incher. He was hanging out opposite the food channel in front of a small bush in no more than a foot of calm, still water. I tied a size 20 baetis to 4 feet of 7x tippet and it took exactly one cast. That's the way the season should close.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

cross clinchers/tubeless: success

Josh decided to join me at the river bottom down by Sibley House for the tubeless clincher test run. Which, I must say was a resounding success. The ride, however, was a bit of a trudge. There was sand, lots of it. Fine, soft sand and we managed to stay on our bikes for the first couple of sections, giving me a small sense of accomplishment, but it wouldn't fucking stop. *Note that our bikes are standing on their own in the middle of the trail* I did go down in it once when I couldn't unclip from my pedal and I almost stayed on the ground, it was so soft and deep it was like landing on a feather bed, all I needed was my pillow. By the time we got to the back side of the trail I stopped even trying to go through it, I saw it coming and just got off the bike resigned to hike. 

cross clinchers/tubeless: the test

I just built a new set of cross wheels:
White Industries hubs
DT Swiss double butted spokes
Brass nipples (of course)
Hed Belgium rims
I'm gonna give 'em go as tubeless with a Stan's set up. I've installed the Stan's rim tape and standard rubber strip with valve. Now I'm off to the shop to fill them up with sealant and see how they roll down at the river bottom. If you have never used Stan's and are considering trying to set them up yourself, one thing to keep in mind is that you will need an air compressor. They won't get air fast enough to create a seal otherwise, so if, like me, you don't have your own compressor, this is the part you do at the bike shop.
It seems the group is about 50/50 on how they will work, but I'm going to take them out right after I get them set up today and I'll be sure to follow up with the results. Worst case scenario, I'll have a really nice new wheelset with tubes in it, seeing as how I'm out of shape and won't likely race them anyway, it doesn't much matter...

wasting light

Foo Fighters were in town last night. I could've gone thanks to an awesome pal, but I was feeling too wasted from the previous few days activities, as well as knowing what I had stacked up in front of me for the next few. He showed me this YouTube video of the band performing their new album live, uninterupted, to nobody and it's really amazing. They have to be about the cleanest band out there at playing real rock-n-roll without kitch or any of that other false persona bullshit that pulls me away from a lot of hard rock these days. Just a bunch of really talented rockers doing their thing, so if you're one of the 10 or 12 people like me that hadn't seen this, check it out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

beer & fish, fish & beer

This is awesome, and it's not $50. Just sayin'

cyclocross season: git'er purdy, git'er dirty

The weather changed from summer to fall literally overnight and seems to have instantly made cyclocross the only topic of interest in the Minneapolis cycling community.
My cross bike has been sitting in the spare bedroom covered in dry dirt with no kit on it for a few months now and it seems the time has come to bring it back to life. So, as an obsessive-compulsive type, I take it out back and give it the once over in this order:
-remove every last little bolt, washer and screw.
-scrub it down so there's not a spec of last season left on it.
-frame save the seat tube (being an IF that's the only tube I have to worry about).
-put a nice thick coat of wax on it, let it dry, buff it out.
-install shiny new kit.
Now I just have to take it down to the river bottom and get it dirty...
BTW: The Curt Goodrich team were at the Angry Catfish for coffee the other morning and said there was plenty of sand at the river, so plan on getting in a shoulder workout. Don't forget to practice your Rocky the Flying Squirrel either.
If you're interested in giving your road bike the full-fish treatment before you put it away for the year, stop by the Angry Catfish, they'll be glad to treat your bike better than their own.
Next up: The road bike:

Monday, August 22, 2011

rush river, wisconsin

With summer highs still reaching for 90 degrees, I knew I had to get to the river early if I wanted to cast to rising fish. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. knowing I wouldn't get out of bed. I managed to get vertical at around 6, made coffee, tied a few flies (the boxes are getting thin), got my shit together and hit the road.
When I arrived at the river (I think the town is Martel but I'm not sure, these towns are tiny and they all look the same: farms, a gas station, two bars and one church) there were three cars in the gravel pull off. I hadn't fished that spot this season and was looking forward to it. After cursing under my breath, I drove a mile to the next bridge: two cars, fuck! Third choice: I pull off the road at the park and gear up.
I get to the water and start lining my rod to the sound of pretty splashy rises from trout that are big enough to know better. Baetis are coming off the surface pretty heavily and before I know it I've caught more trout than I can keep track of and I've only covered maybe 300 yards of water. Once my last size 16 bwo decided it wouldn't float any longer, I reeled in and called it a day only five hours in.
No monsters today, but a nice mix of browns and brookies. The fly of the day was a baetis pattern I created: tail: barred wood duck split into a V, abdomen: light olive thread with brown thread wrap, thorax: peacock herl, wing: barred wood duck, hackle: dark dun.

Monday, August 1, 2011

4onthefloor x daytrotter

There's a new Daytrotter recording from 4 on the Floor. Check out their cover of Smokestack Lightning, it will blow your mind. For the record, their artwork doesn't do BD1's beard justice, but the thought of it shaking hands with Jim Morrison's beard will eternally make me smile. Check it here

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a peek inside my fly fishing pack

Do you ever wonder what the guy fishing upstream from you is carrying in his vest? I do. There are so many products out there and so many ways to do things that it's hard to know what you're missing out on. In that spirit, I thought It'd be fun to list out what you'd find in my pack on an average day on the water.

1. Filson chest pack. I started using this roughly a decade ago after trying  many vests and other chest packs. I really like the idea of a main compartment that gives you access to most of the things you need without going from pocket-to-pocket. It also has a classic look and is made in the U.S.A.
2. Patagonia Torrentshell jacket. It's cheap, waterproof and I can wear it casually. I'm not a fan of spending $200+ on a jacket that sits in your fishing gear unused most of the time because you'd look retarded wearing it around town.
3. Fly reel. Until I hit the water to rig up I just throw it in my pack so it doesn't get forgotten at home, it's happened.
4. C&F small fly boxes. Usually 2, sometimes 3: One for dries, one for nymphs, one for streamers and terrestrials.
5. Indicators and split shot. I've found this plastic box works great for me, I like having all of this in one spot and I haven't managed to accidentally empty all my shot into the river yet...
6. Shake & Float. I love this stuff, keeps 'em floatin' high.
7. Waterproof video/still camera. It's a bitch to use when you're trying to get shots of your own catch, but awesome when filming someone else.
8. Mini flashlight. For tying flies on at nite or finding your way back to the car, I usually carry a slightly larger one as well.
9. Abel tool. This is not a great tool for daily use, but when you need to trim a fly, hone a hook or open a beer it's good to have.
10. Soft weight. I usually use split shot, but still carry this for some reason.
11. Glow-in-the-dark strike putty. I love this stuff, if you don't have it: Get some! It's great for low light nymphing, but I also put just a trace of it about 2 feet above tiny dries to help me track them, even in daylight.
12. Mucilin. I usually wipe a bit across the first 10 feet of my fly line before I hit the water. I don't know that it works all that well, but fly lines start to sink after a while and it drives me nuts.
13. Bug dope. Mosquitos can suck a dick.
14. Sunblock.
15. Lip balm.
16. Gink. Keep it off that CDC, brother!
17. Tippet: 7x, 6x, 5x, 4x, 3x, 0x
18. 3rd Hand tweezer. I keep this clipped to the inside main pocket on my pack and use it to tie on flies, it's a lot easier to spin than trying to spin the fly in your fingers, a hackle plier works pretty well too.
19. Magnet. I keep two of them attached to each other on opposite sides of the pack cloth. They are good instead of a fly patch for smaller flies as well as for holding a fly on deck while prepping a double rig.
20. Leaders & licenses. I keep my licenses in an empty leader packet in my pack, that way they are always there if needed.
21. Nippers on a zinger. The last 10 years of so I've been carrying around a titanium nipper from Fishpond that I really liked (note: past tense). They stopped making it a while ago, what with its' outrageous price and lack of any usefulness beyond the aluminum version, but it was awesome. It must've snagged on something while I was hiking a few weeks back and the nipper and zinger disappeared. I was beyond bummed out, I only hope the person who finds it appreciates it. Anyway, I replaced the zinger and in an effort not to spend ridiculous $$$ on the new Abel nipper, I'm carrying around an old nipper that's been sitting in my gear bag forever.
22. Forceps. Last time I was out west I bought this rainbow one, I think trout enjoy looking at the prismatic colors while I'm removing a hook from their jaw. I've left a couple of these on the bottom of deep pools over the years and I always carry an extra one in the back of the pack just in case. It's too valuable to be without and I hate trying to use it while working around some sort of retractor/retainer that keeps it from getting lost.
23. Lighter. You never know.
That's a pretty detailed list. On any given day you'll also find a bottle of water and miscellaneous unhealthy snacks in the back of my bag. There will also be extra tippet in 5x and 6x hanging out with the back-up forceps and lighter. I used to carry a small seine that I made from a window screen, but it never helped me catch a fish, so I stopped.
If you carry anything unique that I may have never thought of, please share. I'd love to know about it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

pink im6. yeah, this is happening.

I bought a pink fly rod blank and admitting it feels kinda like I'm admitting my substance abuse problem for the first time. I was feeling like building a rod and I needed a 10 foot seven weight for steelhead fishing. While looking for a blank, I came across this. It's a seven foot, three weight, 2 piece blank and it's really pink.
Last night I installed the reel seat and cork grip, now I need to get the guides placed, wrapped and epoxied, and of course, fish with it.
In actuality I have no need for this rod, I really bought the blank for a couple reasons: It'll be good to build a practice rod before I put together my seven weight (I refinished a bamboo rod about ten years ago and haven't built one since then). Secondly, more and more people have been asking me to take them out fishing and more of those people are women. I thought it'd be nice to have an inexpensive guiding rod with a little feminine appeal.
Building a graphite fly rod can vary in price quite a bit with the rod blank sort of setting the tone. You can buy a $300 blank or spend as little as $25. If you spend $300, you're not likely to skimp on the other components and will end up with a $500 rod, I will have $100 into this rod when it's done. I could have done it for less, but I couldn't bring myself to put a cheap clunky reel seat on it so I went to REC and bought a really nice reel seat.
I don't expect this to be the best fishing rod, but it's going to be used by beginners anyway, although, I have to say I'm kinda looking forward to fishing it myself.
Fair warning: If you ask me to take you fishing, you may find yourself casting a pink fly rod in rural places where they give meaning to that sort of behavior...

Monday, June 27, 2011

these girls

Don't know if I like this, or the album version better. Best Ryan Adams song either way.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

scott fly rods

Scott | behind the scenes from Scott Fly Rods on Vimeo.

100% made in USA. I recommend checking out their fiberglass series.

Friday, June 24, 2011

i was made for loving you

Despite the fade out, this KISS cover rates.
When you grow up with a band like KISS, you never really can leave them behind. You get older, more sophisticated, your musical taste evolves, you gain an acute disdain for throw away pop music, and '80's hair bands can suck-it! But you still have that place deep inside of you where, underneath the Van Halen and Duran Duran, lies the real reason you started listening to music, the very beginning, the greatest band in the land: KISS.
When we were kids they told us KISS was an acronym for Knights In Satan's Service. Of course, it's not true, but I still write their name in all caps. Why? Because they earned it. They introduced millions of kids to rock n' roll. Even though they were total shit, they were THE shit.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ski boys

SKI BOYS from Benny Zenga on Vimeo.

You've likely already seen this, but I'm sure you don't mind. This is simply one of my favorite videos on the interwebs and I feel compelled to revisit it every so often. It makes me think of early R.E.M., the Cali culture that was everywhere in the '80's and the current fashion trend that has brought Gant, Woolrich, and Sperry back into the fold.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

armstrong spring creek

The spring runoff came earlier than expected. My second day in Livingston, after fighting off some car trouble in Billings, was spent watching the Mother's Day Caddis come off in swarms in the afternoon sun above thick pools of chocolate milk. The bugs were there, but the trout wouldn't have any of it. Determined to get some good fishing in after 1,000 miles behind the windshield, I ponied up the $75 to spend the next day on Armstrong Spring Creek. 
I'm not usually a fan of country club fishing, but I was glad to have the option on this trip. Paying that kind of money to catch some trout seems pretty excessive as you're handing it over ($75 is the OFF season price), but after you've spent the entire day catching 14" to 22" trout on dry flies, you've forgotten that you even paid to fish. Not to mention, if these rivers weren't on private land, they would have been fished out by us greedy anglers years ago.
My day on Armstrong Spring Creek consisted of rigging up at 8am in drizzle with a temp of about 45 degrees. I spent the first couple hours nymph fishing a size 18 glass bead pheasant tail nymph with a size 22 chartreuse caddis larvae behind it. I had some success, but didn't catch a lot of trout, I did manage to hook my biggest trout of the day only to watch him jump twice in opposite directions before releasing my hook. The opportunity to switch to dries came around 11am. Noses were up and I saw size 16 baetis adults coating the slow water along the bank. The trout weren't happy with my offering, so I downsized to 20s and regularly hooked up for a couple hours. Went into town around 1:30p to warm up with some coffee and tied a few midges at the coffee shop before returning to the cold where I spent the rest of the drizzly afternoon catching trout on size 20 midge adults. Called it a day around 6p.

abel reels

I have fished Abel fly reels for around 15 years and I have never had a problem with them. Until now. I ordered a new reel and was unhappy with the quality of the finish. Full disclosure: I got a REALLY good price on it. Nonetheless, I was not happy. For the first time ever I needed to talk to the folks at Abel and sort things out.
As a life-long retailer, I've dealt with way too many pushy douche bag customers that think the louder they scream the better the service they will receive (unfortunately, in today's corporate retail atmosphere that's often the way it works). So I take the approach that if a company cares about me as a customer, they will simply listen to my story and make things right. If they don't see it that way, they can burn in hell, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
Needless to say, after a ten minute conversation with Don, I had a new reel being overnight shipped to me at their expense so that I'd have it in time to pull trout around in a Montana spring creek two days later. Not only that, but his generosity extended beyond words for, I fear, it will lead others to try to take advantage of such generosity if they know of it.
Sometimes even the best stuff isn't perfect, sometimes it's better than perfect in the end. If you need a fly reel, consider an Abel, they take their shit seriously.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

blue diamond

I just scored these on my Montana road trip. More on my vintage fountain pen fetish later...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

if it ain't chartreuse

it ain't no use. 
That's what the guide that I was sitting next to at Kettle House Brewery said when I told him this was my go-to fly. Here's a tip I shouldn't be willing to share: When nymph fishing, whatever fly you choose, tie one of these off the back about 10 inches behind. Whether you are in Minnesota or Montana, it's gonna be the bug the big fish eat. You're welcome. *not actual size*

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

did someone say fashion week? kirk miller in nyc

I remember Kirk Miller walking into the Minneapolis store I worked in with his father, Frank. He was just a teen, but you could tell he and brother, Derreck, followed in Dad's footsteps of appreciating the finer things even back then.
The Miller boys have been quietly putting their mark on menswear for a while. I remember being jealous of the idea of putting skull & crossbone perforations on the toe of wing tip shoes as they did with Barker Black (this was way back before skulls and crossbones were totally played out).
I was perusing the ACL blog today and came across their article on Kirk's new venture: Miller's Oath, check the article out here.
Way to go, Kirk.
photo borrowed from A Continuous Lean

keep curtis weird

I didn't get to join my friends in Austin, TX for NAHBS this year, but they thought of me, which is quite impressive. They went out of their way to secure me this Austin inspired t-shirt from one of my fave builders Curtis Inglis
I've been enjoying the Retrotec 29er 1x10 Curtis built me for a year and I'm looking forward to enjoying it in some dry, snow free weather again very soon.
Special thanks to Curtis for tracking the shirt down for me.

angry catfish bike+style+social

This happened Sunday afternoon at the Angry Catfish
Free tastings of Intelligentsia coffees were poured and Spring bike style was on view from Rapha, Outlier, SwrveChrome and Mission Workshop. It all culminated in the viewing of the Rapha Continental video, enough inspiration to make anyone want to go for a ride. 
That's what we did next, winding the nite down with a mellow bicycle pub crawl through The University's east bank and downtown. No one got hurt too bad, although, there was one guy who decided to jump a curb and forgot he was rock'n fixed when he, uhhh, landed? (he's from Fargo). He got up though. 


It's a 4:20 kinda day in the 612. This is the view of my back yard this morning.