dreams of fish

Since I was a child, I have often had very vivid & symbolic dreams. There are times when I would wake and recall each detail from my dreams. There are certain things I know for sure, such as that I am certain that I dream in color. Colors such as yellow, blue, black, white, purple are seen often, but some colors like red are seen in my dreams but I am not sure if it was red/black or just red. In any case, I have kept a dream log in different stages of my life and when I read them, I recall what I saw, even today. In the past couple of years, I’ve been having a few dreams where fish are involved. And since this is my blog site for fishing, I will write about some of the imagery I have seen.

Dreams are cool because sometimes you are things that you are not. I’ve had dreams where I have actually turned into a lure, or the fish chasing it, or the body of water around it, or all of it those things at the same time. It’s like watching a movie where the camera angle changes rapidly from one to another, but even more so I feel the water flowing around. Last night I had a dream where I was the fish, and I was swimming all around the world, from oceans to small streams, and I was looking for something. I was the big, predator fish seeking something. My scales were huge, and each one shined bright like a silver armor. They moved like I was wearing armor and each scale made a metallic sound when I swam. The funny thing about last night’s dream was I knew I was dreaming. Dreams get exponentially more interesting when you realize you are in a dream, and you then try to maintain that dream for as long as you can (which inevitably wakes me). What was more weird is that I realized that I was in a dream, and when I woke up (in my dream) and I was still the fish. So I was a fish dreaming about fish. So I woke up twice, once as a fish, and once as a person. I have to try to remember what I ate and drank last night … the combination must have been good.

In different cultures fish symbolizes different things. Common symbolisms are: sacrifice, fertility, prosperity, wisdom, spirituality, intuition, insight…among others. For me, it likely symbolizes the frustration of not being able to fish because everything is frozen over, and my waiting for spring to arrive...


from elegance to performance…

Fly fishing reels have a fairly long history, and I won’t even attempt to try to explain what was significant or worthy in this industry. I will however state that I love the designs and I’ve pretty much started to spend a good chunk of my money on these things. As with most artifacts, you can take a good guess when these reels were built by simply looking at the material and machining process that’s applied on them. Various materials- from wood, to metals, to Bakelite, to clear composite are used. The structure and mechanism is simple yet completely functional (well, some better than others). The finishing on these are basically a matter of preference and I like that about these things … that their shape, function, mechanism is driven by performance – yet the trim, finish, and other details are completely decorative (and often elegant). As you look at some of the more recent designs, you can start to imagine how cross pollinating with other industries (bicycle technology, exercise equipment technology, mobile electronic technology) could spice things up a bit. Hum… let me get my drawing book out.

fishing the land of the morning calm

very familiar...freezing cold, windy, and casting lures in between the ice.


no shortage of inventions

Ok, if you spent any time searching for unique fishing gadgets, you will realize that there is no shortage of ideas. Some good, lots of strange, and some just plain bad. It’s all good in the sense that it allows one to see what’s out there, sometimes just to figure out what not to build. As I search through the thousands and thousands of invention out there, I can imagine that person at the moment of invention saying _ holy shit, I think I’m on to something here! and spending countless numbers of hours building it. There is a time and situation for anything and all things at some point or another can be a good idea (even if that’s only at the point of conception). Breaking down the activity down to the basics is a starting point. You are basically presenting the bait (moving, still, artificial, live, other) and then you are setting the hook, then brining the fish in. There are auto reels, there are fish alerts, there are various ways to present the bait, and then there are the supplementary devices to attract the fish. Like anything we do, there is a beginning phase, intermediate phase, and then the expert phase. No matter what you do, the objective is the same. There are problems to be solved here.


build what you use…

There comes a time on the water where you have thoughts on how to make gear better, and then there are times to start taking action to do it. I am fascinated by outdoors gear, more specifically fishing gear. The simplicity of the mechanism, the elegance of the details, and the purposeful design that catches fish. Sure there is a lot of designs already out there, and sure there are thousands of manufacturers. But then again, what industry isn’t like that? There is a lot of furniture companies and even more phone companies. That doesn’t stop people from building and starting new ones and the successful ones will take the place of older ones. The road to starting anything new is unknown and frightening. However the thought of someone on the water, using a gear that I designed, and thinking – damn that’s clever (or elegant, or smart, or useful, or simply beautiful) wants to make me travel down this road. The thought of me using one myself is what I dream of, every night I go to sleep. It’s nice to have things to dream of.


fish standing

Everyone has a hero in their lives. For me it is my father. As far as my memory stretches, my father has always been a pretty serious outdoors man. He has travelled every continent, to see the place again from the top of a mountain. My childhood is full of memories of travelling different places with him, to see the wonderful things that mother nature built around us. He was a pretty busy man, but he would always make time to do the thing he liked to do. He was a man who knew how to deeply appreciate nature, and he often shared those moments with us as kids. He liked fishing, but I don’t ever recall him fishing inland. He always preferred the ocean and I remember a conversation where he told me that fishing should be done standing. His character was not the type to sit and wait for the fish, and I think this had deep influence over me. I think a big part of why I fish is because fishing helps to remember the times we fished together. I think he would have been pretty proud to see me actually catch fish.
(that's my father with the red shorts)


catching catfish on a stone fly

I know there are people who will call me bluff (since all fisherman and hunters are) but I tell you this one is true. I have done it once and from what I read on the web, I might not be able to do it again for a long time. This past summer, the stars aligned and a catfish found it’s way to my stonefly pattern. As catfish are bottom feeders, many people just don’t believe it when I tell them that I found a catfish (a sizeable one) at the end of my line. I was using a slightly larger stone fly pattern on this 4wt rod, and when the line stopped moving. I thought I had a snag on a log or something, then the swirling began, and I knew it was a catfish. Although the fish was probably only 3lbs, it felt huge on the 4wt rod and it was a chance to see how far the rod will bend back. I will have to do this again next spring, to show my friends that this can be done. I have a feeling there are anglers in Europe who I can learn from, about catching carp and other bottom feeders on fly rods.

scoping out IBSP...

I had a chance to visit the Illinois Beach State Park over the exceptionally warm January weekend. It was so foggy, that all we can hear is the waves breaking, and this sound is what we followed to find the beach through the forest preserve. Although we did end up throwing a few casts, it was mainly a scouting trip in preparation for the coming Spring season. Very few people fish the lakefront, and even less on fly rods. I recently purchased my first spey rod, and with this longer distances are within reach for me. I am still getting used to spey casting and it definitely requires some “adjusting” away from the regular fly cast. I plan to fully utilize my new rod and reel and I can’t wait to see the expression on the skeptic’s faces when I pull out a large steelhead during the early spring run. Here is some information on the beach state park from the DNR site.

Illinois Beach is a unique and captivating natural resource for all to enjoy. It was created by the titanic forces of glacial advance and retreat and the steady winds that breathed across expansive Lake Michigan. The park has dunes and swales with sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation. The park is 4,160-acres.

More than 650 species of plants have been recorded in the dunes area alone, including dozens of types of colorful wildflowers. Prickly pear cactus thrives in large colonies in the dry areas, and the wet prairies are carpeted with a wide variety of grasses and sedges. Large expanses of marsh in the swales support dense stands of cattail, bluejoint grass, prairie cordgrass, reed grass, big bluestem and sedges.
Just north of these pines is the Dead River which actually is a stream that is blocked by sandbars much of the year forming an elongated pond. When the water finally rises high enough, it breaks through the sandbar and drains the surrounding marshes. The abundance of aquatic plants and fish flourishing in this changing environment belie its name.



I dug through some old photos the other day and found evidence when this "bug" started with me. It was a lot earlier than I remembered. I spent a good chunk of my childhood growing up in California, and know that this is where I basically got hooked on fishing. Even as a child, I recall being intensely focused when I had the line in the water. As a child catching a small shark or a man ray was pretty exciting. For me it was equivalent to meeting amovie star(Jaws) or like meeting an alien. To this day the face of a man ray freaks me out, as it has such an alien expression (or at least what I imagine an alien to look like). Something pulled out of water with that kind of outter space feature is amazing, kid or not.
I also found a picture of myself basically wading with a stick somewhere in Korea, and that must have been the Fly Fishing influence. It's interesting how we can look back into the past and depending on what you are thinking today, even the past can have new meanings. I guess that's not too different than how a lot of history gets written.
"Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake." Robert Penn Warren


a brand new year

I greet 2008 full of hope and anticipating change. It is not full of resolutions, but inevitably, it will be full of change. Some of it will be difficult and it will be a challenge all the way. There will be a lot of uncertainty, but after all, that is why I am so dedicated to fishing. 2008 is about moving to a new river where I do not know where the fish hold, or what hazards are hiding under water. I will wade slowly, but with certainty. I will have to re-discover each and every spot in the river again, and patiently seek fish. I will have to learn the new favorite spots where I am able to sit a relax, and concentrate of only a few enjoyable things. There is only one thing I do know and that that is that after some number of seasons, I will again be home again. Until I get to that moment, I will march on with dedication and passion. I know that this road will be lonely, but like it is in fishing, there is always the one or two catch that keeps me fishing, even in the seasons that are most dry. It's a good feeling to anticipate change. It is full of hope.