Sunday, August 17, 2014

Do You Remember? ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

"I'm late and I can't find my keys!  I know that I put them on the kitchen counter, but they aren't there...  Oh you know who I'm talking about.  What's his name...  I have been down this road before.  We take a right, or is it a left?..."  Have we all not had these conversations a few times in our lives where we blank out on something that we should remember?  Ahhhh... the aging process.  So what is normal and when should we be concerned?  I guess that the first step in staying mentally sharp as you age is to know what is "normal" forgetfulness due to stress and what might be a serious memory problem. 

Forgetfulness can be an uphill battle at times.  It's nothing to laugh about.  Ok... sometimes it is.  I find myself talking about a movie and even though I just recently saw it, I can't remember the title of the dumb thing.  Well, maybe it wasn't that good.  Haha.  The worst thing lately is going into the kitchen to get something and not remembering what it was that I was going to get.  Oh boy.  Memory lapses can be dog gone frustrating.  But fortunately, the ones I'm experiencing don't have too much cause for concern as they are more age-related than symptoms of dementia.  The main difference between those two is that temporary memory loss isn't disabling.  It has little impact on your daily tasks and ability to do what you want to do.  
And you know that I am still doing what I want to do!!  Like yesterday...

But, in all seriousness... fishing is about the only thing that I don't forget things.  Oh wait.  I can't say that.  So, I get to the river a couple hours away from home and I can't find my PMD fly box.  I had sifted through all of my boxes and made a special trip to the fly shop to put together this box for the trip.  So, I put on my pouty face and headed down the river with the boxes that would have to work.  Yeah, no fish for two hours.  I threw out the kitchen sink at them!  I couldn't believe that there weren't any caddis flying around.  There is always caddis, aren't there?  Nope, just size 22 pale morning duns.  And spinners.  So, I dug deep into my pack and came up with a Barr's Emerger.  Yay!  This bug has saved my goat a lot lately.  It's almost like my go-to fly.  I LOVE IT!!!  The Barr's is a great mayfly imitiation.  It can imitate a blue wing olivie, pale morning dun, or other maylfies.  It's simple and effective and the next fly that I am going to learn how to tie!

So, BAM!!!  As soon as I put this fly on, I had a fish.  And a couple more before I had to head off to lunch.  When I met back up with my friend, Holly, we decided that we would go down the road for the afternoon and fish another river.  I always am in favor of new water and especially when I don't have the right fly box!  Yikes...  I do remember putting it in the car the night before.  I had searched through all my bags earlier.  But, I had missed my boot bag because well... why would it be in there?  You guessed it.  

For some ridiculous reason, I had thrown a few things in my newly laundered boot bag to take out to the car.  When emptying it out and putting those things into my fanny pack, I missed this one plastic box.  Well, it was dark outside to my defense!  Lol.  And then the boots went on top of it and end of story.  = (  

~Sunday Tippet~

So, what are some of the reversible causes of memory loss?
Studies have shown that the side effects of medication, taking three or more medications,  depression, vitamin B12 deficiency, thryroid problems, alcohol abuse, and STRESS are common factors in forgetfulness.  

How can we prevent memory loss from increasing?
Well, it seems that there are actually some simple things that we can do.  
1.  EXERCISE!!!  Manages stress and leads to a healthier brain.  Researchers have said that walking can cut your memory loss in half.  Who doesn't like to walk along a river bank?
2.  Stay social.  Interacting with others challenges the brain.  In many different ways... haha.
3.  Watch your diet.  Fruits and vegetables!  And antioxidants are very useful in keeping your brain cells active.  Eat those omega-3 fats that are in a tuna fish sandwich!  And avoid those saturated and trans fats which can increase your risk of a stroke.
4.  Manage that stress.  It's easier said than done, I know.  But, memory difficulties are definitely linked to cortisol, the stress hormone.  Learning new things and concentrating can be effected greatly.  Lessen the load and you will start feeling better.
5.  Sleep.  The brain needs to revamp.  Lack of sleep will effect your concentration and decision making and can cause depression too.  One of the most important remedies to stay alert and responsive to the "little things" that you should remember!
6.  Brain excercises.  What are those, you ask?  Well, when it comes to memory, you have to use it or lose it.  Besides physical exercise, is mental exercise.  Playing games can increase those brain cells.  Anything strategic like scrabble, word games, chess or bridge.  Reading is a great excercise.  Learning a new skill.  Maybe just cooking up a new recipe, a new household project, playing piano, or tying up a new bug pattern on the vise.  These all can engage the brain and help the memory in the long run.

So, here's to better memories of what we want to remember... = )

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nose Up Or Nose Down?

So, you thought by the title that I was going to tell you about my recent dry flying success.  Sorry, that's not it.   I just wanted to tell you that one of my favorite things about fly fishing is the camaraderie of fly fishers.  Sharing water, sharing good stories, sharing knowledge. (Nose down)  This is what makes it special.  It shouldn't be something that is "elitist" or "exclusive".  (Nose up)  It's all about having an enjoyable time.  When you head to the river, you should expect to see an occasional angler there besides yourself.   It's not "your" river.  Unless you own the private land that it is on.  Haha.  So, don't make the sour face when you see me standing where you wanted to go.  I will be on my way soon enough...

Sometimes there is a crowd.  Yes, it is what it is.  And when there is a crowd, it is kind of nice if everyone leaves an appropriate amount of space between them and the next guy.  
It is what you call river etiquette.  

 Are you better than the other guy because you wear all the designer or big name fly fishing gear?  No!  One should never think that the guy wearing Cabelas doesn't know as much or more than the guy wearing Simms.  I have a friend that wears Cabelas and he is 5 times the fisherman that I am...  just saying.  And I only wear Simms 5x ply because I fall down so much and trip over every rock and branch.  There are factors involved with purchases.  There are some things that I buy on a budget and some things that I pay a price to have what my clumsy self needs.  = )

So, I'm keeping my nose to the ground.  Trying to stay humble.  Teachable.  And likeable.  
And if you don't find me acting that way... 
You can kick me in the a$$...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Challenges ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Why do I do the things I do?  Grab a chair and give me five minutes and I will tell you why.  There are times in life that might be difficult and challenging.  I have these times sometimes on a weekly basis.  And you might also.  I believe that all of us experience times when the very fabric of our world tears at the seams, leaving us feeling alone, frustrated, and adrift.   Yes, it has been several weeks since my last post due to a few struggles health wise.  But, when you decide enough is enough, well... you pick up the fly rod and head to the river!!  Well, in my case, you do.  My aches and pains somehow subside for a few hours when I'm out on the water.  So... that is where I go.  I learned a few things the last couple of times out.

We don't always have to be in a hurry.  Catching trout isn't an easy thing sometimes.  We need to be precise with our cast and take our time in planning our game plan.  So many times, I get into this big ol' hurry.  My casting gets repetitive as I just shoot out line time after time.  And it starts going offline from where I want it to land.  On my last fish of the day yesterday, I took the time in between casts to watch the water and what the fish were doing.  When I did this, my next cast was more precise and on the money.  It hit the inside seam of the small run coming downstream and pow!  Job done.  So, sometimes we just need to slow it down.

Here fishy, fishy!!  I'm coming to get you...  Oh, you knew that already by the shadow that scared you to the other side of the river!  Try to face the sun if possible.  (My sunburned face proves that I followed that rule yesterday!)  We have enough challenges in netting a fish and don't need to make it any more difficult.  Approaching that hole to fish can be done smartly and your stealthiness can raise your chances of landing a fish.

I'm trying to do my best in catching and releasing fish to let them live a longer life.  In doing so, I am trying to keep my fish in the water until that camera is out and after that quick click of the camera, it is back in the water.  And I'm only taking pictures of those that meet certain criteria.  Maybe those that have exceptional color or size.  But, most of my fish are now going out of the net and into the water without much handling.  

The one thing that scares fish as much as motion is sound.  Not that I am going to be one of "those" fisherman that cringe as you pass by when you say hello because it might have scared off a fish.  But, when we yell across the river to our friend, we have just alerted the trout that a more than friendly fly fisherman is in the vicinty.  Noise travels farther underwater.  So, when I was shuffling my feet to get my balance on some rocks... yup, the trout probably moved a few feet farther from me.  So, one more thing for me to improve on.  Since I wear cleats on my boots, I already have one strike against me with underwater noise.  So, I need to tread as lightly as possible.  When I do make noise, I settle in position for 5 min or so.  That seems to help the fish get adjusted to my presence.  Hey, just ask them... Haha.  Like I know.  At least I am hoping so!!

So, this is why I do the things I do.  Through the many times out on the water, I keep learning and hopefully getting better.  One thing is for sure.  I am going slower and enjoying it a bit more.  Not because I feel it helps your game in netting a fish, but to give my old bones a rest!   There are more challenges as you get older and if I'm going to help myself stay healthy and feel good, I am going to remember one thing...  It's not a race.  The fish will be there tomorrow.   I want to be too...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Pothole Adventure ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

It isn't very difficult not to make my last adventure part of a Sunday Tippets post.  You see, I have an important lesson about POTHOLES.  Avoid them!!!  And if you can't, well... here are a few suggestions if you must take that rocky, pitted, somewhat graded country road to that "so worth the drive" fishing hole:

1.  Ride with friends in THEIR car or better yet, truck.
2.  Take a bush plane or helicopter into your destination.
3.  Rent a car and let them take care of the suspension later.

And if you have to drive YOUR car:

1.  Buckle up.  Drive slow... almost to a crawl.  Sometimes potholes are all the way across the road.  You can't avoid them.  (Despite what others might think)
2.  Prepare for a hole filled with water.  It might deeper than expected.  The visual effects of a car wash would have been great when I hit the mother of all holes.  Alas, it was dry.
3.  Have a solid grip on the steering wheel with both hands to prevent loss of control from a sudden jerk of the car.  And just smile when a comment is made inside the car when you do hit a hole.
4.  Don't brake at the last minute.  This can cause more damage to your car in the long run.  Did I tell you how much a new muffler costs?  Or an alignment?
5.  Be sure to inflate your tires before the journey.  Don't start low.
6.  And of course, don't go on any dirt road journey with old tires.  No need to weaken the old and have a blow out in the middle of nowhere!   Well, at least I got a point for this one.

So, the journey begins.  You forget the little road trip out and all the fillings in your teeth are in place.  It's time to fish!!!!  

A special thank you to my special friends up in Yellowstone Country...  They put up with me let me stay and fish for five days in the most beautiful place on Earth...

Enjoy the slideshow...  And remember to buckle up...  = )

And the best advice on this Sunday Tippet...

Don't ask me to drive!!!

(In my defense, I really didn't do all that badly... Really, Mr. Mechanic)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Let's Fish It Safely ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

So many times, I have taken too many risks on the water while fishing.  I will admit it.  But, after yesterday's adventure, I won't be so quick to take a chance.  You see... even when you can make it across a river, doesn't mean that you will make it back across when the day ends.  There could be a surprise increase in the water flow which can increase your anxiety level in a hurry!  Which was what exactly happened to me.  So, now I sit and thank my lucky stars that it all had a good ending.  But, let's talk safety first.  

Damsel's Tippets on River Safety:

Walking or Wading Staff.  Having a "third leg" in a wading staff is sometimes a good thing to have.  As balance gets a bit trickier as you get older, the wading stick is very helpful.  It could be the difference in you falling in or staying dry.

A Firm Foundation.  As you stand... widen your base in the river.  As you walk in the river, make sure your knee flex increases as you get deeper into the water or as the current increases in speed. Flex your knees to lower your center of gravity.  This will also keep you from getting your feet crossed and tangled up.  You want to slide your feet, not cross them!  (or cross your eyes...that wouldn't help)

Take It Slow.   Carefulness rather than carelessness is the name of the game when wading in a river.  Taking time to evaluate the situation can prevent serious injury.  Keeping your moves slow and controlled will help you from falling too.  There are many hazards which lie underneath the water... ie:  fallen branches, moss, large rocks.   I have tripped up on these things, so I speak from experience.  There is never a need to rush on the river.  Just take it slow.

Wading Belt.  Did you know that when you wear that belt over your waders, that you are helping yourself stay dry if you take a dunk?  Yep, you might get the top half soaked, but your feet and legs will stay dry most of the time if you have put on a wading belt.  So, you can change into a dry shirt and continue your day.  And by preventing extra water to go down into your lower waders, they will be lighter weight when you finally do get up and out!  Huge help...

Felt Bottom Soles or Rubber Soles w/Studs.  Both have great traction on the bottom of a river and will help you out with balancing in slippery conditions.  Your walk on dry land can also be helped with the proper footwear.  

But, it's the hat that matters when climbing over a large tree... not the shoes.  Right, Kirk Werner?

Take advantage of a slower current when moving upstream or crossing the river.  This is a no-brainer!  But, I have to emphasize this, because it is the most important tip here.  You have to find slower water or more shallow water to really wade easily. Otherwise, you are better off just casting from the bank side or from the peanut gallery!  And there is nothing wrong with that, if you feel more comfortable with the conditions that are around you. 

 Never take a risk.  I have a few times.  And I'm not proud of it.  A lapse of good judgement can cost you your life.  I stewed about crossing back over the river for about an hour yesterday.  The river had gone up a few inches at least by the end of the day.  The water was swift and my balance...well, sucks!  So, it was scary to say the least.  Yes, I could have stayed on that side of the river until I got help... or until the water went down hopefully the next day.  But, I'm no good with coyotes or snakes in the middle of the night.  So, I looked over at my river buddy who made it over to the other side already.  Jeri and I thought we had found the best stretch for me to cross back over.  Slowly, surely, toes pointed upstream as I crossed, I made it 3/4 of the way.  Then, it got deeper and the current got swifter and I could feel my foot slipping.  What did I do?  I said a prayer.  A quick one, but my heart pounded and I knew that my concentration couldn't be disturbed in any way now.  I looked forward at Jeri, and she coaxed me forward and told me not to stop.  Because if I had, the current would have taken tired legs under.  So, I kept moving slow, and the slipping foot was shuffled up once again so I could get myself to the bank safely.  Crazy, that the hardest part would be at the end, rather than the middle!  But, without Jeri being there to keep me going in a positive manner, I might have not had the focus to make it across.  Thank you, thank you, Jeri.  And thanks to the guardian angels that were with me too.

Know your terrain and what you can handle.  Easy wading can bring good fish to the net too!  This river is just my speed.  Low water conditions without spring run off... And the results were great!

Slow moving water is my friend.  There is always time for riffles though... I'm just not walking through them to the other side!  = )

You don't have to take the extra steps or the trek across the river to put you into conditions that you are not comfortable in.  I waded across this wider river with friends.  Another important tip... bring a buddy to cross the bigger rivers with when you can safely get across.

 Stay safe out there, friends!!  And I will too.

And there is always still water...