Monthly Archives: April 2008

Lazy Sunday in Cowen

Took the kids to Great-Grandma’s on Sunday. Hiked in the woods, played croquet and played with the neighbor’s kid, but the best part was a short fishing stint on Big Ditch Lake. My daughter (2 years old) caught her first fish ever! It was pretty awesome. What is really cool is that my son caught his first fish on the same dock at Big Ditch Lake.

All I caught was this lousy stick…

For God’s sakes don’t vote for Gary Payne


close call

My pastor calls me up and asks me to take him fishing. So last night I met him after work and drove south. He does fly fish, some, but on this excursion he chose to be an elitist and packed his spinning rod and a bucket of mealworms and night crawlers. I can be tolerant of these elitists, particularly if it is my pastor! He promises to catch and release all trout though.

So right off the bat he catches a fish. Then a few minutes later another. This goes on and up the stream we go until he has got me down something like 4 fish to 0. I know that he won’t stay quiet about beating the “expert” fly angler with bait so I flip into overdrive. Of course, I have often conceded that an efficient bait angler will beat a fly angler the majority of the time…I just don’t want to let it happen on my watch. Then the Lord showed some mercy on me and allowed a sweet Quill Gordon hatch to commence. I caught 4 fish in nearly less than 5 minutes by lifting a squirrel tail soft hackle and tied the game, it was sweeeeet. The hatch was over almost as quick as it started and neither of us caught another fish. I said “caught”. I did proceed to hook another 3 or 4 fish and had on FAT 14″-16″ range brown on for a fraction of a minute. These fish all rose to an elk hair emerger pattern – tied with trailing shuck, pheasant tail body, forward elk hair wing – and rose well to this pattern with a quality drift for a short time. Most of the fish were initially hooked downstream of my position which made for a tough hookset, hence the lost fish.

The starter fish – yeah, it was that ugly

Full Frontal

Check out the adipose fin…

There were larger fish caught, but with the hatch going and the bite furious I didn’t stop to take any photos.

Promised Photos 3

Couple of news nuggets first:

  • I’ve recently updated my Vandalia Rodworks website. Make SURE you check it out and let me know right here what you think. I created a new index page (the start up page) that gives you a quicker portal between Vandalia Rodworks and Vandalia Imageworks. I’ve tweaked the Imageworks site a little bit by adding a price list for prints. Also, I tweaked the rod site some by changing some of the biography stuff on the makers, some of the Odds & Ends page has also changed by removing non-rod specific stuff that is more appropriate for the Imageworks site. However, I will not remove the submitted galleries from those who’ve sent me photos of their fishing with Vandalia cane. I still have to put together Steve Sattler’s submitted gallery still yet. I’ll be making more updates when I can get to it.
  • I’m gearing up and making plans for the 2008 First Annual Spring WV Brookie Walkabout. May 2-4 will find 3 hapless trout bums and myself wandering around a remote WV location with backpacks and fishing rods. I’ve been fired up about this trip since last fall. Should provide plenty of photo and video opportunity. Don’t get too fired up though, as I’ll probably reserve much of the video portion of that for profit <evil laugh>. So yesterday I hit a sweet deal at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I gathered up some backpacking materials in my arms (i.e., new MSR stove, misc. odds & ends)…about $100 worth…and proceeded to the checkout. Using my Dave Ramsey bargaining skills I needled the checkout girl for some discounts. She was really cool about it (thanks Erica) and tolled over to the filing cabinets where she spent 10 minutes looking for coupons. She returned with a 20% off coupon AND a $10 off total order coupon – yep, she combined them. I ended up with a $50 MSR Pocket Rocket stove, for about $30, $18 for a kickin’ headlamp  and a new Kelty camp pillow for $2. Righteous. “Used” my savings at a nearby store on a new, more compact tripod.

Now, some pictures…or in the verbage of WV Appalachian flunkies…some ‘pitchers’.

I dig the name of this church, I’m sure you do too…


big ol’ moths and a few caddis out, this was my offering…

this was milla’s…and the result thereof

Castaway’s Musical U-tubarations I

Since Castaway enjoys my musical selections, I’ve renamed all future musical plugs to honor the cool dad.

Matisyahu – The reggae, rapping, Jewish guy. How much better does that get. To quote Nigel Tufnel on Spinal Tap, “None, None more better”. Ok, so I paraphrased.

Ok, so this one is a direct link since YouTube had disabled embedding for Matisyahu. What’s the big deal.

Click Here – If you’ve never heard the King Without A Crown -Live At Stubbs version you need to click


Radiohead – I can only get into certain Radiohead songs, but this one is awesome – even live

Rogue Wave – The video for Lake Michigan and the song itself is much better, but yet again – embedding disabled. Actually, a bunch of stuff I’ve looked up to post here is embedding disabled. Jerks. Anyway, Rogue Wave is pretty cool, but they are awful when live. At least what little bit I watched of them on youtube was horrible. Being an awful live band doesn’t necessarily mean much to me though. In my opinion music is an artform and if they produce a clean track with a unique sound with good lyrics that’s good enough to entertain me.

Lastly, here is a really great website to sample bands via blogs. It is a music blog aggregator and has a great search feature.



the god Loves you sign

What a crazy week. Monday I was in Wheeling, yesterday I was in Williamson. For those of you who failed WV History and never learned all the counties in social studies, that is Ohio and Mingo Counties. Two places very very far from each other yet within state borders and two COMPLETELY different cultures despite an overdependance on a single industry. That is something that really interests me, that somehow each region’s people within WV seems to have a little shell around them that somehow they represent all of WV and the rest of the state is just like them. Like how when WVU played Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in 2006 (which we won) and how on WVU messageboards there were a large portion of fans from the northern WV area trash talking to Georgia, but actually using stuff like Sherman’s march to the Gulf during the Civil War as if WV was the winner in that affair. These folks simply had no concept that half of their own state fought for the confederacy, that there are confederate memorial statues across many of our county courthouse lawns and even OUR STATE CAPITOL has a statue commemorating our confederate dead (with our native son Stonewall Jackson standing tall). These folks have no idea that walking into a bar in Logan County and calling everyone a bunch of yankees is grounds for a killin’. Like it or not, the Civil War is still being fought in the south…why? Simple. It is an identity. Northern people irritate southern people and likewise. It is just an excuse for an identity seperation. Folks in WV are probably tied to those divisions more than any other state simply because it is probably the most contentious border state of all.

So anyway, I digress, some of you read the title and were wanting an update.

For those of you not in the loop, let me catch you up. Around 2005 a group of anglers formed through the messageboard took on a project in southern WV. To redistribute some wild rainbows and browns from Elkhorn Creek in McDowell County to some miscellaneous southern coalfield streams that had been identified by one of the group as having high potential via stream chemistry testing. One such stream in Mingo County got a transplant of fish. It is a rather long creek, probably 15 miles or so, and only one slug of fish was put there. The fish were all put in at a nondescript location along this creek at a roadside pull off where a simple board was once nailed to a tree that exclaimed “god Loves you”…with a lower case “g” and an upper case “L”…and nailed so that it faces parallel with the main highway in a manner that the only way this sign was meant to be read is if someone happened to feel like standing in the middle of the road and looking perpindicular on the day they needed this particular evangelism OR in the case that a group of marauding anglers determined to put a batch of wild rainbow trout in the creek at said location.

For two years after the transplant I personally caught trout from one single hole above this location. There is some very nice looking water below this area, but I’ve never had time to thoroughly fish it. You see, it is quite a drive for me to get to this place. So the only way I’ve been able to visit it is during my workday by scheduling to make my lunch hour at this location when travelling in Mingo County for work. I did that this week and…drumroll…I did not catch anything other than creek chubs. Now, I only fished for 20 minutes tops and only in two holes. There was a dead dog under the bridge at the lower hole so my time spent there was measured in seconds. Stink, stank, stunk. Last summer was brutal in that drought conditions had creeks dried up to a standstill throughout the state. I really hope that this creek didn’t get purged of salmonids during this drought. I got a report from Benny that the “Beckley” creek and a fat tributary were void of fish during his visit last week as well. Gonna be a rough year, brace yourselves.

This is the hole where the fish were caught in previous trips…

This is a nice god Loves you rainbow

This is a nice smallmouth that I caught years ago under the bridge mentioned above where the dead dog lays now.

promised photos 2

Some more shots. You know, the most annoying part about this blog format is the narrow space. Landscape (horizontal) shots have to be resized to fit in the screen and it is hard to get the dimensions right. Have no fear, I intend to update the Vandalia Imageworks site soon with some new galleries. I’ll let you know right here on “Bamboo Shavings” when I do.

Logan on point for a good trout…

man’s best friend

lunch break

promised photos 1

Some more photos from the recent brookie trips…(note to Chris: very observant of you on the new category. Yes, I did get a new DSLR.)

Trout, WV

How awesome would it be to have that as your address? In more ways than one…

Ramps were thick. So much so that you could smell them just by fishing alongside them.

Lo-Dog knows how to get there

Frog’s what?


still a bit behind

Never fails. Gets warm in chucktown and the winter cabin fever cannot be contained another second. I arranged to work in Nicholas County today so that when I finished up I had a couple of hours to see if brookies were ready to go springtime dry fly bananas. I rolled to a couple of tributaries of S. Fork of Cherry that I had not yet fished and tied on a #16 yellow sally-esque fly that I created. Didn’t produce much so I tried a #16 green & orange stimulator, which moved several fish. The air temps were about 60 and it felt great. I moved about a dozen fish in the 1 1/2 to 2 hours of fishing, but most were so small they couldn’t get the hook in their mouths. I only landed a couple.

ramps anyone?

rebirth, gotta love these sandboxes…

spring, it’s here

To me, the beginning of spring is not a date on the calendar. It isn’t turkey’s gobbling or quill gordons hatching (although that is really cool). It is when I find my first trillium blooms. I did that Saturday and man am I fired up now. Time for the good kind of fishing, the one where you fly floats on the top of the water.

There was something even better about Saturday though, it was the first TU project that I’ve been able to participate in this year. The trash cleanup on Arbuckle Creek. A good core group of KVCTU volunteers, some members of PAN and locals from the community of Minden showed up to clean garbage up from the trailhead at the National Park border all the way up through Minden proper. I’ve participated in clean ups on Elkhorn Creek where you felt like you were spitting into the wind, but this is one where we made a huge difference. The stream is REMARKABLY cleaner now than when we started. Even the roadsides were cleaned up a good bit. Of course, the canyon down in the National Park is still pretty bad as far as flooded in trash, but it would take a monumental effort to remove that garbage. I still feel pretty good about what was pulled off.

Princenymph finally got his panties out of a wad.

Afterward, we dabbled in some angling sport amongst the denizens of a couple of area streams. Some were cooperative, others not so much. The water was high and the fish were not real active. I fished deep and big and moved several fish…more than I can remember. Hooking several and only landing a couple. The biggest of the day was a thick 15″ to 18″ brown that I was forced to play in shallow water because there was a young kid learning to flyfish in the deeper hole just below where I was playing the fish and I determined that it was better to lose the fish than to mess up that kid’s fishing. I played the fish to my net then just as I touched the hog with the bottom of the net hoop it flipped and broke me off. Actually, I had two big fish break me off Saturday, the other one never showed itself so I was not able to gauge its size.


These little guys were the only things rising to the hordes of BWO’s hatching. There were several Quill Gordon’s hatching too, but nothing rising to them. I watched several of those big bombers flopping about on the water’s surface right over prime trout holds and not one fish took any of them. I was amazed at that.