Nov 14

The Underground

When I started this blog there were a few blogs around and there were an even fewer really good blogs. One that I always kind of liked was The Trout Underground. Tom is an entertaining writer, a unique voice. To make it even better, he wrote about the place where I’m from. He wrote about the Upper Sacramento and the McCloud. He wrote about guides I knew, even if just a little. Of all the trout-filled places in the States, the biggest trout blog in the WORLD was from my home waters.

Upper Sacramento Sunset

Upper Sacramento Sunset


He wrote a lot. He had regular posts to follow. He had lots of followers and he took time to respond to comments. He was the model. Sure, there was the Chum, but that has always been a tougher room in terms of conversation, although the sheer volume of posting going on over there is astounding.

Tom and The Underground were at the starting gun of dedicated outdoor blogs, pioneering a new way of communicating. I don’t think that is overstating.

It looks like the Underground is going into a winter hibernation, but one it might not come back from. There is fatherhood and work and less and less time (man, that sounds familiar). There is also a metric ton of crazy not too far away convincing Tom it might not be a great idea to publicize his comings and goings too much. Oddly, my name even featured in his court case, which was beyond strange. It is possible Tom and I have met, but if we did it was only briefly, almost in passing, at the Ted Fay Fly Shop. We are not in cahoots.

So, a unique and steady voice is falling silent. I’m saddened by the loss, but glad we got to be here when it all went down.

Thanks Tom. Thanks for everything.


The McCloud.

Nov 13

Defamation Shmefamation

Some good news for folks who like blogs and/or Constitutional Rights (specifically, here, I’m talking about the 1st).

An odd scene has been playing out here in California where an outdoor writer (Tom Stienstra) sued a blogger (The Trout Underground) for inconveniently reporting about his arrest, years ago. He claimed defamation and wanted the court to make the Underground pay him $10K.

Well… it didn’t work. The court ruled against him. It wasn’t the clear cut victory for Free Speech one might hope for since the court basically said Stienstra had overlooked the statute of limitations and so didn’t have standing.

Go to the Underground to see all the details.

I’ve long been a fan of the Trout Underground. He writes about my home waters and the people I know and respect.

Thanks Tom Chandler (The Trout Underground) for fighting the good fight.

Oct 12

Best Underwater Camera

I’ve struggled with this for a long time. I’ve owned a total of 6 underwater digital cameras. Three of those, if you can believe it, actually got lost or stolen. One leaked and died and I still own two.  I have had 2 Olympus cameras that I pretty much hated. I had three Pentax cameras that I liked very much until they evaporated into the ether. Now, I have a new Nikon (AW 100) that I’m pleased with (for the moment).

One of my major gripes with most underwater cameras is that there is a huge lag time between pressing the button and the picture actually being taken. That means you end up missing the shot. My Olympus also has this really great thing where when you turn on the camera and take a picture that setting results in a blurry picture. So, to make it take anything decent you have to turn in on and then change the picture mode.

The Nikon, for me, is pretty sweet. Very little lag time and very little delay from when you turn the camera on to when you can take your first picture. I like all of that.

I was excited to read a post over at The Trout Underground pointing to a Waterproof Shootout.  This should answer some questions for ya! That link has people who actually know cameras doing a more comprehensive job of it. Worth looking at for usre.

My camera (and my beer).

Side note on the Nikon AW100… you can’t charge this thing with the USB. You have to have the wall mounted charger. I grabbed a charger that had “Nikon” on it and thought that would work. It won’t. Takes a different Nikon charger, which I have at home, but not with me now. Means I won’t have many pictures this weekend.


Sep 11


I saw a little blurb on The Trout Underground that implied fly fishing for trout is better than fly fishing for cuda’s because of the injuries sustained to the guy below by a 4 foot cuda that sliced through his arm. Here’s a link to the full story.

See, I kind of see it as the exact opposite.  That there is a possibility you could get attacked by a flying 4 foot cuda is kind of exciting. There is some really crazy stuff out there in the ocean… stuff with sharp, pointy fangs. I like that. The ocean is dangerous. It is wild in a way that included people.  That’s one of the draws.

May 11

Thoughts on Cantara Loop

On June 4, 1991, fishermen and residents of the area saw nearly 40 miles of the Upper Sacramento River essentially sterilized, and oddly enough, we were probably lucky it was metam sodium and not something more persistent.

via Trout Underground talks Cantara Loop Spill, 20 years on.

That’s where I grew up.  My folks still live in Dunsmuir.  My home water is the Upper Sacramento River, the same river cleansed by that spill.

I didn’t really know it before the spill.  Sure, I had fished it, but not with the intensity I did later.

It was the summer between my Junior and Senior years in high school and my first experiences with fly fishing were still a few years in the future. We knew something bad had happened, but we didn’t go near the river.  It was all a bit scary.

The most amazing thing to me is how the river came back.  It came back on its own in its own time.  There were no trout planted, no bugs were imported, no plants were brought in.  The river just healed itself.  It took a few years, but it healed.

It is a promising story.  It give me hope that so many of the things we’ve broken might just heal, if we let them.

Natural repair


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Oct 10

Reason #1 that the Salt is better than the Fresh

OK… I’m not really prepared to say that the salt is better than the fresh… the fresh is what I do most often.  I love it.  However, given the endless assault on all things salty over at the Trout Underground (again here), I feel compelled to underscore why, in fact, the salt is totally more super awesome than the fresh.

Reason #1… Tiny Flies

That’s a WD40 nymph.  The instructions say you  can tie this in a #24.

The smallest bonefish fly I’ve tied up is an #8, and that’s nearly microscopic for the salt.  The largest fly I’ve tied for saltwater is a 3/0, which is meat on a hook.

That I have several #20’s in my trouting fly boxes is a clear sign that saltwater fly fishing is more awesomer ruling than the freshwater stuff.

Jun 10

Tag Ends – 6/13/10

How did it get to be mid-June?  Man… time is just flying by here.  Here are some bits from around the web.

In other news…

The US got a point of England in the World Cup.  Awesome.  I love the World Cup… watching now.

Apr 10

Trout Underground Turns Older

The Trout Underground (the world’s most popular fishing blog), is written by Tom and Tom turns, well, older, today.

Happy birthday Tom.

Now, go plow some snow!

That's Tom, taken by Wayne Eng

The Trout Underground inspired me to start this little labor of love, although the rivers that Tom mostly writes about are 1) a hellofa lot closer than I am to any bonefish, and 2) the rivers of my youth.

Keep up the good  work there Tom and Happy Birthday.

Mar 10

Tag Ends – 3/24/10

Bits and pieces from around the blogosphere:

  • I saw that the Fly Fish Chick made it to Exuma recently… and that seems like a very good place to be.
  • Even the Trout Underground is getting in on the action, finding the Louis Cahill photo gallery of Andros South.
  • Flatswalker has been talking Tarpon.
  • Life on the Cay has a first bonefishing lesson in Belize.