Fly Fishing Through Geezerhood, TFO BVK Reels, Dry Fly Floatants, Fly Fishing Bucket List

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Fly Fishing Gracefully Through Geezerhood
By: Mark Bachmann

They say that time is the overseer of all things. In the antiquarian text (first published in 1653): The Compleat Angler, Izzak Walton states, "The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing." Based on that, some fishing guides may live almost forever?

Recently my office email: mark@flyfishusa.com has become monopolized by Geezers, who are both seeking and giving advise. A large percentage of our subscribers are males who have retired, with means and desires to cross fly fishing adventures off their bucket lists. As a mater of fact, Geezerdom contributes the major monetary support to the fly fishing industry, (and everything else for that matter). This was true when we started business 34-years ago, and will continue to be true long after we are gone. Very young men (and women) have the time, but rarely have the means. Post collage graduates have the money, but are usually dealing with families, and sacrifice the time for themselves. Many retired people have both the time and the means for fly fishing.

We opened our fly fishing business in 1981. That year I became a fly fishing guide at the age of 37. I was slim, agile and strong (and more than a little naive). I was able to see tiny dry flies on the water at long range, and was amazed when the person who had made the cast couldn't see them also. Now with cataract surgery looming on the horizon, I finally understand.

Yet now at nearly 71, I am doing better physically than most of my peers, and even better than many folks that are ten years younger. Realizing that this situation could change in the blink of an eye, there is a possibility that I understand some of the reasons why. And I offer these insights with the greatest respect to all my readers, in hopes that they empower themselves to feel as good as I do.

Stalking game-fish in all their many forms is mild exercise that builds the body up, rather than tearing it down. Long hours of wading through and against the raw power of a steelhead river builds balance and coordination. Casting precisely with a fly rod while wading strengthens the core muscles. This has to be so, since every cast starts from the bottom of your feet. Fly fishing for steelhead and salmon may be the single best weapon against the fatal stages of geezerhood. Wading in serious water, and casting a good line is very good exercise that builds stamina in the body, and gives a cleansing focus to the mind.

However, I have discovered that even as much as I fish, it is barely enough to maintain the physical condition it takes to do it well. For me, if I fish full days Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I am strong, and I retain my balance. If I fish two long days back to back each week, I can maintain nearly as much as when fishing three days a week, but the long down time in between sessions makes it harder on me. If I wind up in a stretch where I get caught doing a couple of weeks stuck to a computer, my belly and legs get soft. I am in the middle of such a stretch right now, because our rivers are very low flow. I have no idea how guys who spent their lives living on carpet and concrete are able to wade at all. So, my first advise is to get lots of exercise. If you like to fly fish, do lots of it and you will live longer, and you will be happier too.

I have found that a deep tissue massage every week keeps my muscles more elastic, and that in-turn helps my balance and strength. Regular massages (if done properly) allow the muscles to slide past each other and work together with more harmony, and with less
pain-causing friction. It took trial and error (about 10-years, and six different therapists) to find the right massage therapist. Most of them didn't have a clue what I really needed. Believe me, it is a game changer if you find the right therapist. If you live close, or vacation in our area, I suggest that you make an appointment with Molly Stein at: Mt. Hood Massage (503) 564-9364.

For me, rowing a boat is a great work out. The boat that I use on the local rivers has been nicknamed Miss Piggy because she is big and hard to control. That may be her most endearing quality for my workout. Sometimes I row for miles, just because I can. But, no physical activity is as easy as it used to be. Next month I turn 71. Geezerhood is looming on the horizon. I probably should give it some serious thought. Like a few other so called "important-things", I've put it off in favor of just going fishing...damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Might as well concentrate on enjoying yourself. Never seen a hearse with a luggage rack.

I rarely use a wading staff, but do recommend a staff to anyone who has problems wading without one. If using a staff allows you to wade confidently, and allows you to wade often, eventually you may build enough strength and agility to be able to wade without one. I personally know several elderly anglers who used staffs for years but eventually out-grew them because long hours of wading, made them significantly stronger (and made them feel younger).

Everything changes as we get older. But part of the equation is that we are told to act our age by our peers so often that we begin to lack the will to overcome hard physical exercise. That in itself contributes to our faltering abilities. Don't give in. Fish long and hard and live longer and better. In the future we will outline more of our thoughts about doing things that will enable you to wade easier, and fish well into old age.

 
TFO BVK Super Large Arbor Reels
REEL MODEL COLOR CAPACITY (yds/lbs) DIAMETER WIDTH WEIGHT PRICE
TFO-BVK-REEL-I Moss Green WF4 + 75/20 3.30″ 1.30″ 4.6 oz. $239.95
TFO-BVK-REEL-II Moss Green WF6F + 200/20 3.75″ 1.30″ 4.9 oz. $249.95
TFO-BVK-REEL-III Moss Green WF8F + 200/20 4.10″ 1.30″ 5.2 oz. $259.95
The story is that Lefty Kreh grew up poor, and while on the way to becoming the world's most recognized and most beloved fly angler, he also learned the art of being thrifty. Lefty is an incredible athlete in his own right. In his youth, Lefty was so uncanny in the shooting sports that Remington Firearms Company hired him to demonstrate their rifles and shot guns in front of huge crowds. During mid-life Lefty wowed thousand of anglers at sport shows my demonstrating fly casting. In his heyday Lefty took fly casting to a dimension that has rarely, or maybe ever duplicated. Of course every tackle company wanted Lefty on their team. They rained the finest tackle the world make upon him. Lefty didn't need to design his own fly reels, but he remembered growing up poor, when fly fishing was a rich guy sport. Lefty wanted to design great tackle that average-income type people could afford. His rods and reels reflect the philosophy that everyone deserves a shot at fly fishing. The BVK Series of rods and reels are glorious in this respect. They are truly great tackle at an affordable price.
Super Large Arbor Reels BVK reels are precision machined from bar stock aluminum. The moss green anodized frames and spools are ported to eliminate excess weight. Equally at home in both fresh and salt waters, the super large arbor design provides faster line pick up and helps the maintenance free drag system work at a more constant pressure that standard arbor reels. Delrin/Stainless stacked discs make the drag silky smooth and the one way clutch bearing makes engagement instant and left to right hand conversion simple. Lefty's pet reel... is just excellent!
Item Description Price To Top
TFO BVK I TFO BVK Super Large Arbor Reel, Moss Green Color $239.95 Sale Ended
TFO BVK II TFO BVK Super Large Arbor Reel, Moss Green Color $249.95 Sale Ended
TFO BVK III TFO BVK Super Large Arbor Reel, Moss Green Color $259.95 Sale Ended
 
Dry Fly Floatants
Most dry fly floatants are greasy semi-liquids that maintain a cushion between a fly and the water, thus allowing the fly to rid on top of the water. First rule is: don't put fly floatant on any bare part of the hook if you want the fly to float with the hook point under water. If you coat the hook bend, the fly will usually ride on it side.
Tiemco Dry Gel Shimazaki Dry Shake
Long lasting silicone gel fly floatant. Just squeeze a drop onto your forefinger and liquefy by rubbing against your thumb. Wipe the liquefied floatant onto the hackles, tail and wings or even the body of your fly. Best when used sparingly. Temperature sensitive. Works best at body temperature. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle w/snap top. A very fine, lightweight, white powder. INSTRUCTION - Shake your fly vigorously for 10 - 12 times in Shimazaki Dry Shake. The fly becomes thoroughly water-repellent and buoyant. When the fly starts to sink, use tissue paper or piece of cloth to squeeze out as much water as you can from the fly and shake again. Comes in wide mouth snap-top plastic jar
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
30494 Tiemco Dry Gel dry fly floatant $13.95 Sale Ended 130252 Shimazaki Dry Shake dry fly floatant
$11.95 Sale Ended
Umpqua Bug Float Gehrke's Gink
A very popular long lasting silicone gel fly floatant designed by Dave Whitlock. Just squeeze a drop onto your forefinger and liquefy by rubbing against your thumb. Wipe the liquefied floatant onto the hackles, tail and wings or even the body of your fly. Best when used sparingly. Can darken some colors slightly if used too heavily. This can be used to your advantage when matching some hatches. Temperature sensitive. Works best at body temperature. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle w/snap top A very popular long lasting silicone gel fly floatant. Just squeeze a drop onto your forefinger and liquefy by rubbing against your thumb. Wipe the liquefied floatant onto the hackles, tail and wings or even the body of your fly. Best when used sparingly. Can darken some colors slightly if used too heavily. This can be used to your advantage when matching some hatches. Temperature sensitive. Works best at body temperature. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle w/snap top.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
30251 Umpqua Bug Float dry fly floatant $5.95 Sale Ended GERKGINK Gehrke's Gink dry fly floatant $5.00 Sale Ended
Mucilin Red Label Formula Mucilin Green Label Formula
A thick waxy paste that liquefies to the touch. It is an ancient formula that works both as a line and dry fly dressing. Temperature sensitive and harder to handle than silicone gels, but still very popular. Safe for all non self lubricating fly lines. Was originally formulated for silk lines. Works well with all kinds of dry flies. Comes in a hard plastic container with removable lid and line cleaning pad. The "green top" Mucilin is still made from animal fat, but with silicone added. This modernized version is slightly less temperature sensitive and lasts slightly longer on your fly. Works well with all kinds of dry flies. Comes in a hard plastic container with removable lid and line cleaning pad.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
AA-MU Mucilin Paste Dry Fly Floatant, Red
$5.30 Sale Ended AA-MUS Silicone Mucilin Paste Dry Fly Floatant, Green $5.30 Sale Ended
Cortland Dab Cortland Dry Fly Spray
A very thick viscosity, long lasting, non temperature sensitive silicone gel. Works best when used sparingly on flies constructed with course materials such as hair. Useful when treating the tops of dangler type cripples. Comes in a poly tub with chain. This pump-spray liquid dry fly floatant works well on all sizes of flies, but is especially handy for large dry flies such as Sofa Pillows etc. It will not change the color of the fly, but must be thoroughly dry before it will keep a fly floating. It is most useful when applied in advance of fishing.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
663855 Cortland Dab dry fly floatant $4.95 Sale Ended 647077 Cortland Dry Fly Spray
$6.95 Sale Ended
Loon Aquel Loon Easy Dry
A lightweight, non temperature sensitive silicone gel fly floatant. Doesn't change fly material colors unless applied too heavily. Contains pheromones, which mask human odors. Comes in a 1/2 oz. squeeze bottle w/snap top. Why to buy
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
F0005 Loon Aquel Dry Fly Floatant
$5.50 Sale Ended F0023 Loon Easy Dry Fly Floatant
$7.50 Sale Ended
 
The Bucket List: Entry #8
By: Kelly Rogers
April in Montana.., I thought.  How long has this river flowed through this valley.

Sitting on a folding chair, I heard the conversations of my fishing companions and our guides behind me and the gentle gurgling sound of water flowing in front of me.  I smelled the lunch the guides, Andrew, Josh, and Kurt, were preparing for us.
I had come here for a little time off with two of my co-workers, Charles and Jake, both experienced fly fishermen.  This expedition was filled out by two other anglers, David and Carl.  Charles, Jake and I work in San Jose, California.  Charles and I have been making this pilgrimage to western Montana for at least ten years.  This trip found us in the capable hands of Back Door Outfitters of Stevensville, Montana; John Cook owner and outfitter.
The party had spent the night before in three cabins on John’s ranch, followed by the usual hearty country breakfast, served around 8:30 A. M. at John Cook’s cabin.  I usually gain five pounds on one of these trips.  The Guides, as usual had appeared by 9:30 and by 10:00 A.M. we were all on the road, the drift boats on trailers behind us.
John decides our destinations, depending on whether he thinks the best fishing will be on the Bitterroot, Clark’s Fork, or the Blackfoot.
It was decided to float the river as a flotilla, the three boats together, each striving to discover the next honey hole.  We enjoyed the good natured competition, and having two first timers with us only added to our fun.  Jake and I rode with Josh in his brand new ClackaCraft.  This was his first trip as a guide.  Never the less, the young man had us on fish almost from the moment we shoved off.  By the end of this day we would have two fish in the net at least three times.  I lost count of how many we caught!
Now, sitting in my chair beside the river, gazing at the distant mountains through the still leafless trees, I heard the good natured bantering behind me.  As I sipped my beer, a Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, a craft beer brewed in Missoula, I enjoyed the smells of barbecue sauce and cigars.  I felt the warmth of the sun on my back as fleecy clouds drifted by in the distance.
As my eyes drifted up stream, an odd sight came into view.  There were two figures in what seemed a very small drift boat.  I sat up in my chair my attention riveted on the scene before me.  As the river brought them nearer I recognized the boat as a vintage twelve foot Dory drift boat of a type used on the McKenzie River during the nineteen thirties.
Carefully placing my beer in the gravel beneath my chair, I stood up to watch.
The experienced guide navigated the Dory into a perfect location, across from a large log that paralleled the flow.  I had missed what I had hoped would be a good fish on the same log, not thirty minutes ago.
The gentleman in the front of the boat made one false cast, and then placed his bug perfectly above the log.  It slowly drifted into the slot.

The strike was big and splashy.  He set the hook as if he had done it a thousand times before.  The fish, immediately on the reel, took off downstream.
I started for the river’s edge.  As the Dory drifted toward me, I saw the pale, deeply lined face of the man who handled the fly rod and wondered how many times he had followed this ritual.  Hunched forward, he struggled with the rod as it bent lower.
“…looks like you have a nice fish on.  Can I be of any assistance?” I called out to the guide.
“That would be great.  Grab the boat.” he replied.
By now they had drifted down right in front of our lunch site and I stepped out into the shallow water to take hold of the boat and stop its drift.  Standing in almost three feet of water, I looked down at the boat floating in the clear water.   The brand new boat had the look of fine furniture.  Every detail was perfect. Fresh varnish sparkled in the sun.
As the guide climbed out of the boat, I could see that our elder had his hands full with this Bitterroot trout.
Looking to the shore, I saw my friend Charles.  “Get a net,” I called out to him.
Though nursing a bad back, he immediately rose and, grabbing a net, waded out into the water.
The Dory’s guide, now holding the boat’s transom beside me, leaned over and said, “He’s been my friend for a long time.  He built this boat himself.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but the words didn’t come.
The guide continued, “We just thought he ought to take it out and catch a fish while he still had time.”  A shadow passed over his face and he looked away.
By this time Charles, a cigar clenched in his teeth, made a sweeping motion with the net, coming up empty.  His footing difficult on the rocky river-bottom, Charles ignored the booing and good-natured cat calls of the fishermen on the bank.  Wincing, he made another attempt, to no avail.  His third attempt, though, was the charm and the net emerged from the water to reveal a beautiful fat eighteen inch cut bow.

Cheers from the bank echoed in the valley.  Though speechless, the look on the ancient fisherman’s face was priceless.
The guide, now beaming a broad smile, handed me a camera and asked if I would do the honors.  His old friend now held the fish as the cameras recorded the event.  And then he gently placed the fish back into the river and released it.
Perhaps someone else, someone younger will catch that fish some day.
We all tendered our congratulations as his guide climbed back into the boat.  I shook our elder’s hand with admiration and pushed the small but worthy Dory, a labor of love, back out into the Bitterroot current.
As I reflect back on that day, at age fifty-nine, I wonder if, in twenty or thirty years, I might be floating down the Bitterroot, or if I’ll have a friend willing to guide me then.  I can’t help thinking that by participating in his achievement we bore witness to just one fleeting moment in a life well lived.
I have not made a bucket list and I’m not sure I ever will.  But if I do, I will surely put this experience on it and cross it off.
 

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1(800) 266-3971

P.O. Box 368 - 67296 East Hwy 26
Welches, Oregon 97067, USA
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We have been in business since April 21, 1981.

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