Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Update to Keep My Blog from Being Deleted

At least I assume that if you don't post for awhile you might just be dropped from the free blogspots. Anyway, sadly this isn't a fishing post. I'm still dealing with "that awful disease," cancer. The kidney cancer has metastasized to my lungs and now my brain. They tell me that the lungs are still treatable and the brain is operable, so I'm not checking out just yet as far as I know. Hospital time and then home recovery just really slows down the fishing aspirations. Nice to go back in free moments and review the trips though. In that sense the blog has been worthwhile to me even if there isn't much action right now. Maybe my one or two total readers might find something worthwhile here, too.

Don't want to sound too morbid though. I am a dedicated Christian and am confident in the future, no matter what it brings.

Tight lines.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Absence

It seems like a long time since I've added to my blog. In early September I was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer which had metastasized to my lungs. On September 19th I went under the knife for a full left radical nephrectomy. I'm still quite sore from the surgery but am gaining strength daily. A CT scan earlier this week showed that the spots in my lungs seem to be stable at the moment - and quite small. I don't know what the future holds but I may be on some kind of chemo at some point. Until then I hope to get some fishing done whenever possible. Perhaps I'll get a few posts up.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Encounters with Carpkind

It has been much too long since I've been fishing. A combination of work and Carpal Tunnel struggles.

I fixed that briefly today however. Though steelhead are in our local river I got out between 1 and 3PM and did some carping. Things were slow at first. Pods of spawners were cruising the surface but I could spot none in the shallows. I finally fished the smaller pond and managed to hook 3. The first wrapped my line around a pipe sticking out of the water. The other two fought well - one a 9 pounder and the other a 5. Nothing spectacular but a nice wiggle the end of the rod.

I did meet another carper who frequents the place I fished - apparently on different days. He's off on Monday and Tuesday, I usually come on Friday or Saturday. Nice to see someone else motivated to catch and release these hard fighting fish.

Here are the two fish that made it to shore. The larger is the first one.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Warm Weather at Last!

After several months of "unseasonably cool" temperatures we had a heat wave predicted for today and tomorrow. Well, 85 and 95 degrees f. probably doesn't seem warm to some but to Western Oregonians it is a real shock when your daytime average has been in the 50's and nights have been in the 30's. Weatherman says it may crowd 100 before the weekend is over.


I couldn't bear the long fishing dry spell any longer. We had talked about going north to the trout lakes but the $3.75/gal gas price really hurt when we filled the Durango so we opted for the carp ponds instead. Of course Mrs. zonker doesn't fish so she just dropped me off and she and Otis, our 6 month old Labrador spent half a day tooling around Eugene.

That left me free to pursue the fish - which I did with gusto. It's been a long winter and a long, cold spring. With the suddenly warm water, lots of spawning carp were about but it took me some time to find feeders. This chunky 10 pounder decided she liked me.

Some time passed before I found another active fish but this one finally moved. It weighed 8 pounds.

Mrs. zonker called me on the cell just as I hooked up with the largest fish of the day - this nice 13 pound small freight train. It was nice to see my bright orange backing again as she took off for the opposite side of the lake.

Great to get out again. My hands are steadily improving with the therapy. Looks like I might not need surgery.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Float Tube Mods

My fishing has been limited by the shape of my hands lately. Carpel Tunnel still. So, I've been doing a little work on my float tube. I often fish trout and bass from it using flyrods, so I decided to go all out and make something with that in mind. Here are some photos. Most of the mods are inspired by the ideas of others - especially those on the Big Fish Tackle Float Tube Forum. In the pic, the yellow pool noodle is attached to top of floating fish wire basket. I use this when I fish our in-town lake for stocker trout. Yum! Also seen in the pic immediately below are the blue/red inflatable PFD, the Fishin' Buddy fish finder, and the green Wood River fly fishing bag. Not seen in picture are the net, anchor bag, and fins.

The rod tubes are drop slotted for holding fly rods. Net slides in "T" attachment on far right. Slots are cut to keep net from turning. Gravity holds it in and it is offset so it doesn't tangle with rods.

Here's the frame disattached. It is held on the tube with clips and bungie cords. It can be disassembled into three parts by removing two bolts. Dark gray padding is foam pipe insulation held on with zip ties. Fishfinder holder is 3 inch black pipe held on by three hose clamps. Frame is bungied to bottom d-rings on tube.

Here is a shot of the shaped tubes, cut with a Dremel tool. All PVC is 1 inch shedule 20.

The cross bar in back that gives frame rigidity.

Fishin' Buddy finder attached.

Quick rod holder designed for holding rod while tying leaders, flies, etc.

Handy Wood River tackle bag (no longer made) fits perfectly into left hand pocket. In it I can carry all of my fly gear. Other float tube pocket holds extras like air horn, lunch, raincoat, bottled water, etc.

Here's the tool used for shaping the PVC. A $5 attachment to a $20 dollar tool.

I've had the tube on the water one time for a trial run since the remodel. It works very well keeping everything within reach. Fun to make. Fun to fish.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Quick Carping Trip

I had a little time this afternoon and though a storm was supposed to hit in the late afternoon I decided to go out for a bit anyway. I hooked and landed only one fish - this 8.5 pound Carp. Rain and wind hit about 5 PM which sent me running for the car. Naturally I didn't bring a rain coat. I did spot several more nice carp working around in the dead weeds in an area where I couldn't cast. As I was watching them a guy came up and asked me if I had caught any fish. When I told him I was fishing for carp with a flyrod he was instantly full of questions. We talked for 15 minutes or so and spotted several more carp in the area where I couldn't cast because of a high bank. Fish always hang out in that spot. Guess they know they're safe. Even if I could get off a cast to them I'd never land a fish as it is near some pretty heavy cover. It's nice to see fish in the shallows again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Carp of 2008

I played hooky today. When I got up I checked the weather. It showed rain for 10 days -- except today where there was a big, bright, sunshine icon for the whole day. Predicted temp was 60 degrees f. Maybe this would warm up the water enough to get some carp active.

Once the thought was in my head I couldn't shake it. My secretary was sick. No appointments. Try as I might, after working the first half of the day I tossed my flyrod into the car and headed for the carp ponds. As cool as it has been, I didn't hold out much hope. I got out of the car and didn't even string up the rod. Quickly I started walking the perimeter. The first pond had a flyfisherman. I watched for a few minutes and determined that he wasn't having any action and didn't seem to know what he was doing. Not wanting to horn in, I walked around his spot to the next pond. No sooner had I arrived than I noticed several thick mud clouds in the murky water. A carp flopped on the surface. Water boiled over in the corner of the cove. That was all it took. I sprinted back to the car, strung up the rod and was back. The fish were still there. I tied on a fly -- one of my new yellow carp bitters -- and started casting. I could see several individual mud clouds, though no fish were visible, which is typical for this spot. I was just getting into it when a small dog came up behind me, rushed past, and jumped into the water. Fish went everywhere. Needless to say, that spot was spooked, but at least I knew they were there. The dog's owner showed up shortly after and called her dog saying that she "didn't want to scare the fish." Too late, but I've learned that I'm better off saying nothing and letting the event pass. Sometimes the fish come back. I exchanged pleasantries and the dog owner moved on. Soon the fish were back.

This first shot is just a mood maker. Look at that bright sun! In Oregon we learn to really appreciate these days.

With new mud clouds forming in front of me I tossed my fly out into the fray and tried to keep a tight line while retrieving ever so slightly. The indicator twitched and I set up on the fish below -- a nice little 6 pounder. Ah, that felt good!

Later I had another slight tap and on the other end was this portly 12 pounder.

The two hours I had set as my limit soon expired and I had to leave for an evening meeting. But this was really nice -- the first carp for 2008. Based on my records from last year I expect the next three months to be the best of the year for carping with the largest fish available in shallow water. From now through the pre-spawn I expect to break my last year's record of 28 pounds. Great day on the water.