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...