not good enough…

I’ve never been great at fly tying, in fact I tie just barely good enough to catch fish – sometimes. I have know people who tie flies with such fine detail that I find myself staring at the beautiful flies for a long time. Recently, I have been feeling pretty down looking into my fly box, wondering why my flies are so poorly tied, why I can’t get myself to spend more time perfecting a fly rather than just tying a bunch of ugly flies, and really wondering if I will ever get to tie creative flies like those who I admire. Sometime a really nice fly becomes inspiration, but these days – it’s just a reminder how crappy my own skills are. I know this is nothing much to write about, but right now, I feel so humbled I did.


an old fishing club 2

now that's a good club photo.


Cruising with Captain B.

My friend Captain B recently purchased a fishing boat so we took her out for a spin on a small lake in Wisconsin. Both of us were pretty synched up to be fishing on his new boat and started the day early. The fishing was good but could have been a lot better if it wasn’t for the crazy hot weather we are experiencing globally. A lot of bass, lots of good conversations, and a promise to take the boat out again soon. Congratulations on your new ride Captain B!

BTW - I have heard that bananas on boat is bad luck, but I heard this in Hawaii so I'm not sure if this is a Hawaiian thing or universally bad luck. Does anyone know? We didn't take any bananas on board, just in case.

Something familiar:

A few months ago, I guided some Japanese friends to the creek in Korea. The owner of the pension that we stayed was a fly fisherman. One morning when I entered his main hall area, where customers could stay for coffee and breakfast, I happen to see familiar things on the table: It was a tying table. I could tell that he put fly fishing a side for the season since summer is most busy season for pension business. But tying material, tool, and fly box full of fly, I could tell he is already got ready for fall season of fly fishing.


forgiveness, second chances, and a good place to stand

Gators in Chicago.

Chicago has found 2 alligators in the Chicago River. A 5foot & a 3foot. Both are captured and in care of shelters. I want to catch a gator gar, not a gator itself. I guess I’ll think about this in some way next time I am wading in the rivers here… because you have to think… the mommy gator may still be out there.


A poster design from Fishfinder, really nice. Although Fishfinder now builds buildings for a living (and is making a billion dollars), I remember him when he was really slim & a dedicated artist, way back when we were roommates at the art school in New York. Seems he’s still got some creative juice left in him. Very nice.


Pictures with no fish:

I talked about this with my friend recently that we go fishing and we only seek for fish and not able to enjoy around us in nature. I do started to try to look more of surrounding when I fish now days. These are some of the beautiful things near the water in the creek.


sweet fish

As I fish the rural creeks in Korea, I have occasionally come across anglers that carry super long reel less rod and a round large landing net. They also carry a small plastic box which resembles a suitcase which floats on the water. From conversations, I learned that they are fishing for “silver-fish” as they are called in Korea (in other places, they are called sweet fish, sweet smelt, ayu). Their scientific name is Plecoglossus altivelis, which translated basically means “textured tongue” - descriptive of the tongue on these silver-fish which feeds off the algae, crustaceans, insects, sponges, and worms attached to the rocks. They are native to Asia - Korean Peninsula, Northern Japan, Eastern China, and parts of Taiwan. They have a short lifespan of one year where they spawn and die. As the name suggests, these are highly prized fish for their good taste. They are also known to have a sweet scent that resembles the scent of watermelon or cucumber when freshly caught.

There are a few ways to catch these silver-fish including the standard traps & nets, but there is also a very unique method which plays off their extremely territorial behavior. I have only seen this unique method used in Korea & Japan, where this style is a very establish fishing method. The lure or decoy is a living silver-fish placed on a hook (hooked at nose & belly), which swims when in water. As the fish swims around and tries to find a hiding place, it provokes the territorial behavior of other fish and the other fish will attack the "intruder" and get snagged on the hook that’s attached to the belly. The hook attachment to the belly comes off, and only the nose hook remains. Both fish are flung in the air and into the large round landing net which acts like a baseball glove to the flung fish. When observed in action, it’s a series of smooth movements and the landing part is amazing. When a fresh fish is caught, the previous fish is put into the plastic fish holder and the new one is hooked at the nose & belly. They grow in sizes generally from 20 – 30cm, but some have know to grow slightly larger.

As mentioned there is a strong following & culture with this style of fishing both in Japan & Korea (called Tomo-zuri fishing). There are plenty of specific gears produced for this style of fishing, and some of these rods costs in the thousands of dollars, sometimes more. The more expensive rods are the ones that are super light, which would be important if you are carrying & maneuvering this 26 feet (8meter) rod around the mountain creeks. Another unique gear is the floating bait holder, which to me looks like a small vacuum cleaner canister. Anglers of this style seems to prefer wetsuits vs. waders, probably because they are sometimes submerged chest/ neck deep in moving waters. There are numerous competitions, teams, & clubs for this style of fishing and even a larger number of people who enjoy eating them. I look forward to both fishing this style & eating the catch sometime soon.

Very unique indeed. Below are some images and illustrations I found online that describe this style.

an old fishing club.

The details around this photo is sketchy but it’s a photo of an fishing club in Korea in the 60s.


looking for big mama & finding her.

Fishing was so good yesterday I went out to the Grove again this morning, this time with bigger flies. I was looking for big mama and I found her. There are muskies at the Grove so I threw some muskie flies but did not hook up with one. I hope to hook into one this fall up at Hayward. The inflatable boat there is what I want to buy someday.