One of life’s rites of passage: the broken fly rod

SLAMMED CAR DOORS are a particular enemy of the fly rod. (Jim Burns)

Modern life is full of rites of passage: first date, getting your driver’s license, graduation from high school, maybe college, and later, a first pay check, the one where you find out that gross pay and take-home pay are two radically different numbers.

If you love fly fishing, add to that list buying your first fly rod and – on the down side – experiencing your first broken section.

I feel at least somewhat lucky that my first broken rod just happened after years of fishing. True, my son lost his tip top way back when in Juneau, Alaska, which tried to teach me the lesson I still don’t follow: pack a spare tip top.

But losing a tip top, the very top ring on your rod, and breaking your rod all together are two different miseries.

Most premium companies will repair your rod no questions asked for a processing fee, one of the reasons big-name rods cost so much. You’re actually paying for that replacement rod as part of the cost. And, it turns out, that can actually be a lot of rods during the season. Field and Stream reported one manufacturer saw 500 returned rods per week!

So, how do you protect your rod against getting broken? Here are a few tips:

— Don’t pack your rod in your car unless it’s broken down and away from the door. That’s how I messed up, by keeping my rod strung and whole.
— Don’t pull that carp out of the river horizontally, putting all the pressure on the tip top. Instead point the tip of the rod at the fish and reel it in.
— Use your rod tube when driving to your destination. It’s made to protect your expensive purchase.
— Don’t put your rod on your truck or car’s roof. You might forget it’s there after a long day of fishing and – scrunch, it’s under the tires before you know what happened.
— Always carry a spare.

And watch out for ceiling fans in tropical climates! Lol

My first time fly fishing, the guide told me to always put my fly rod on the windshield of my car making sure the handle of the fly rod was underneath the windshield wipers. That way, he said, you won’t slam the tip in the car door, forget it on the roof and run over it or forget it leaning up against the picnic bench. I know it sounds crazy, but so far I haven’t lost a rod or broken a tip . . . . I’m keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

Now I’ll see how long it takes Sage to get me my replacement.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

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Urgent Help for Southern Steelhead Needed

SteelheadBy Rosi Dagit

Guest Contributor

Dear Friends of Steelhead,

We have two important opportunities to help the recovery of steelhead in Southern California coming up FAST! We lost another one last week to starvation, and the impacts of the drought have continued. These fish need desperate help NOW!

Chris York
Irippchainsaws@yahoo.com
174.214.9.225
Restoration of damaged habitats for our struggling native species is as important as anything. Look at the amazing job that was done at the Carmel River Restoration Project. Thank you, Chris

DUE FRIDAY BY 5 p.m.!!!! Rindge Dam Removal

Below I am forwarding an email from Jamie King of State Parks who is hoping that we can provide comments to the Coastal Commission on the upcoming review of the Rindge Dam Removal Project.  Please take a look at the plan if you have not already, and take a moment to send in your thoughts.  Support for this will be super helpful!

 

Bob Blankenship
bob@hremcleanup.com
96.39.238.88
What Rosi says, goes! I’m commenting on behalf of the South Coast Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and you should comment too

 

Thea Boyanowsky
boya@me.com
66.133.193.34
Hi, thanks for all your hard work. My concern is that all this habitat restoration will ideally occur but the rising temperatures in SoCal might mean that the water will be too warm to sustain the steelhead? Just a thought. Wondering about what maximum water temps are for those beautiful fish.

Meeting on Tuesday 6 February 6-8 p.m.

On another front, I am attaching the media release sent out by State Parks regarding on going visitor services at Topanga Lagoon.

We have an opportunity on Tuesday, Feb. 6, to share our thoughts about the restoration of Topanga Lagoon. State Parks is holding a public meeting at the Santa Monica Civic Center to get input on concessions. The RCDSMM has worked for years with State Parks to obtain funds needed for the next steps of lagoon restoration, and these funds could be available soon.

The RCDSMM supports prioritizing lagoon restoration as envisioned by the Topanga State Park General Plan (2012). Any concessions/leases located in the proposed footprint of the lagoon restoration should be conditioned so that restoration planning and implementation can begin within 5 years.

Please take a look at the General Plan (found at parks.ca.gov) and either come to the meeting to speak, or send an email with your thoughts about the priority of lagoon restoration and how visitor services can supplement that vision in the General Plan to Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap at craig.sap@parks.ca.gov and/or Suzanne Good at sgood@parks.ca.gov.

Thanks so much for your help in responding to these fast moving requests for input. Your voice is important!

Please feel free to spread the word! For the fish, Rosi

Hello Friends of the Rindge Dam Removal Project,

 Our project goes in front of the California Coastal Commission on 2/7 for a CCC Consistency Determination. As we had hoped, the Locally Preferred Plan (CA State Park preferred plan) is the option that has been selected by the USACE and California State Parks and was supported by the vast majority of public commenters.

We invite you to show your support for the project either by sending comments in to the CCC Commissioners by 5 pm this Friday, AND/OR attending in person.

The Commission Meeting is 2/7 in Cambria. We are item W11b on the agenda. The meeting is located at 2905 Burton Drive Cambria, CA 93428. The link to requesting ex-parte communication is here: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/roster.html

 To provide written comments: go to this link, and click the submit comment button under to item 11b,

CD-0006-17 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles Co.): https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2018/2

 Edits to the FEIR/EIS and responses to comments are ongoing and we are looking to wrap that up in the next two months, and have the document sent up the state and federal chains for review and approval.

 With thanks for all your support during this project, Jamie

 Jamie King, Environmental Scientist

California State Parks, Angeles District

1925 Las Virgenes Road

Calabasas CA 91302

Quick Mends: Listen to the people

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This manuscript map from 1868 shows the path of the Zanja Madre, or Mother Ditch, as it winds along current-day North Broadway from the Los Angeles River, at right. (courtesy Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library Collection)

William Deverell, a historian at USC and the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, recently penned this editorial in the Los Angeles Times. He skillfully recounts how the concrete-encased LA River came to be, but does deeper than other writers.

According to Deverell, the research for the U.S. Army Corps final work came from old-timers. Tasked with creating a profile of the river, two engineers asked these old people what it was like to grow up in the region before statehood, before the Gold Rush, even back to the Mexican and mission period.

“The people they interviewed were nonwhite: indigenous, Mexican, mixed-race mestizos. (No whites, or at least a very few, had memories that stretched back far enough to help.) These elders knew the river; it ran through their memories and lives. They grew up near it, but not too near, lest wintertime floods wash away their adobes. They drank from it, as did their livestock. They irrigated their crops from the zanjas they had carved from it. The river was lifeblood, the defining feature of the landscape.”

Yet this research from seemingly egalitarian roots was later used to create a river not for the people, but for those with money, power and clout.

As we near the approval of the renewal design plan, he advocates we not make the same mistake twice.

Thanks to Steve Kuchenski of the Pasadena Casting Club Conservation Committee for passing this along.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Earth Quotes: Roderick Haig-Brown’s ‘A River Never Sleeps’

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 10.48.39 AM

Prolific fishing author Roderick Haig-Brown was a conservation pioneer, spending much of his life in Campbell River, B.C. (Courtesy Museum at Campbell River)

Why should we all speak up to restore our river’s natural habitat in the face of redevelopment plans that put everything but the endangered southern steelhead  first?

Perhaps, because of the recent shrinkage of two treasured national monuments, despite an outcry by millions of concerned outdoorsmen (and women). For an eye-opening read, check out What Would Theodore Roosevelt Do?IMG_1028

Perhaps, because of goverment-mandated cutting of the two most important words of this century — “climate change” — from documents produced by the beleaguered Environmental Protection Agency and other federal authorities.

Perhaps, because of the devastating climate-fueled conflagration we all recently witnessed here in our own city, to our north, to our south and to thousands of acres all over California.

Or, perhaps, because it is simply the right thing to do.

When does the misuse of what we’ve been freely given end? A former wild river now encased in concrete is as good a place as any to take a stand. Today, when I wade the soft-bottomed sections that remain, fly rod in hand, birds overhead, I feel that fragile sense of hope return. Hope begins as a small thing, like a faint cry you can’t quite make out. But, given time, and especially nurtured by like minds and hearts, it grows and spreads. Hope becomes a powerful force.

In these depressing times, we all need sources of inspiration to nurture that hope.

Consider the 1946 masterpiece, “A River Never Sleeps.” Its author Roderick Haig-Brown lays out his best-known book’s chapters by months. January is reserved for steelhead.

The English Haig-Brown included in this chapter drawn from his experiences in a logging camp in Mount Vernon, Washington, his praise for American openness to immigrants because we are a nation of immigrants:

“When I had been in camp only a week or two, a little old Irishman whom we called Frank Skagway showed me the strength and passion with which America grips her immigrants. In the bunkhouse one evening a few of us were talking of Europe and America and the differences of the life of the two continents.

Probably I said my say for Old England — I don’t remember now — but being only two or three months away from her, I must have. Frank had been listening without offering a word, but suddenly he looked over at me, his lined and long-jawed Irish face serious as I had never seen it.

‘Lad,’ he asked, ‘do you know what country this is?’

‘No,’ I said doubtfully.

‘It’s the land of the free and the home of the brave.’ ”

See you on the river, Jim Burns