Dad! Did you Gink it up?

My son and I hit one of the local Bluegill pond for a few minutes last night. We only took fly rods this time. We were committed and he was excited. His mom told me as soon as he got off the bus that fishing was the first thing out of his mouth. Unfortunately we got a late start because his mom had gotten a flat tire on the riding mower earlier in the day and getting that silly little tire reseated on the rim and pumped up took longer than I thought after dinner.

When we did finally got to the pond, the bug activity looked promising and the fish looked active. I said I was going to tie on a dry fly, and he said, “yeah, I like dry flies.” I agreed and tied on a rubber legged ant with an easy to see bright orange orange hot spot.

After a few lickety-split false cast he fired off a fairly decent cast and the fly plopped on the water and promptly sank.

He looked over at me and said in a frustrated voice, “Dad! Did you gink it up?”

Sure enough I forgot the secret sauce. How bout that, my boy even remembered the Gink.

After another whippy cast, he promptly missed a big slow motion slurpy strike.

Last time we were out I missed a strike on a nice rise and said a few choice words. He looked over at me and gave me a look like I had REALLY done it. I said “it’s ok we’re fishing, you can say a few bad words when you’re fishing, especially when you miss a strike like that”

You can guess what he was up to last night when looked over at me and with a big grin on his face, said “Dad are we fishing?”

After a silent pause I said, “Yep.”

He responded back quickly, “SHIT!”.

He even got to pee on a tree, not a bad evening. He’s learning well.

I can’t go for that in a Van – Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers

Ok so I’m a sucker for a girl that take a good kazoo solo, let’s just get that out of the way right now, and who isn’t really?

That being said,I think, if properly recorded, (and by that I mean, not from the dashboard of a van while driving)  this version of this tune could be in the same category as Jimi’s All ALong the Watchtower. Heresey? Perhaps, but hear me outThis version of this tune takes a tune that was weak and mis directed, incomplete, bland, and unmemorable and transforms it into a powerful, concentrated, hooky, pop tune that could actually get some airplay and get some exposure amongst the unwashed masses.

Who can resist a girl like her saying “I’ll do anything, that you want me to do,” followed by, “I can’t go for that.” That’s powerful stuff.

To further explain my Hendrix analogy look at “All Along the WatchTower.” As a Dylan tune it was weak and fairly forgettable. The melody didn’t have much going, there any changes, and it was built around the same three chords over and over again. Like most Dylan stuff there wasn’t really any hook to speak of, but the core idea of a song was brilliant and amazing. Dylan was right on and I’m not knocking him. It’s just that it took the genius of Hendrix to unlock the true power of the hidden gem buried inside Dylan’s deadpan delivery and plain Jane arrangement. When Hendrix hit’s those first few notes it’s on from the word go and it’s pur genius.

So too, here Nikki Bluhm has taken an otherwise boring tune from the eighties and turned it into a real powerful trip behind the scenes of a patchy relationship between a desperate woman and douche bag of guy who wants more from his lady but she won’t go for that, no can do.

And Earl Scruggs died last night, that sucks. In fact it sucks so bad I can’t even write about it… sucks.


In the category of toothy critter logos: Pensacola Blue Wahoos have a cool new one.

I love cool logos and artwork more than most folks especially when they revolve around well rendered toothy critters like Wahoo!  So it’s no surprise that the new Pensacola Wahoos logo really caught my eye.

It was designed by Brandiose who apparently also designed one of my other favorites Mr. Red. Mas props to the dudes for a nicely rendered fish, I wonder if it’s too late to have them change that bear hook into a fly?

Ocular Histoplasmosis, if you are a bird hunter, you should read this.

So it’s been a little weird around here lately. The SmithFly stuff is taking off and getting crazy in a good way. That’s awesome, 2012 looks GREAT, thanks for all the support. Most of my stuff is now SOLD OUT which is a good thing. I’ve been working some crazy overtime at my day job, no complaints.

But the other day I went to the eye doctor for a random check-up, I hadn’t been in over ten years. My eyes and my vision were fine, or so I thought.

Upon closer inspection the Optometrist noticed what she called a “swollen optic nerve”. She was cagey about what that might mean, but Google is brutal and revealed a list of causes that ranged from BAD to REALLY REALLY BAD! Needless to say the Smith house was a little freaked out.

The optometrist referred me right away to a specialist called a neuro-opthamologist, any time you have to go see someone with “neuro” in the title it isn’t fun right?

So with trepidation I went this Tuesday morning to see the  neuro-opthamologist. After a tense few minutes in his office he revealed that it was NOT in-fact a swollen optic nerve, it was ocular  histoplasmosis.

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused when airborne spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum are inhaled into the lungs, the primary infection site. This microscopic fungus, which is found throughout the world in river valleys and soil where bird or bat droppings accumulate, is released into the air when soil is disturbed by plowing fields, sweeping chicken coops, or digging holes.

Histoplasmosis is often so mild that it produces no apparent symptoms. Any symptoms that might occur are often similar to those from a common cold. In fact, if you had histoplasmosis symptoms, you might dismiss them as those from a cold or flu, since the body’s immune system normally overcomes the infection in a few days without treatment.

Ok so now that we have the technical crap out of the way basically at some point in my life, who knows when, I’ve been infected with the histoplasmosis spore and it moved to my eyes creating scarring. The mold and spore that causes histoplasmosis is endemic to the area I live. They call it the histo-belt, as its basically a belt around the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. However it also happens to be present in bird droppings. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might have seen some posts about the birds that I’ve bought over the past few years to train my lovely English Setter Nick. I cleaned up a lot of poop, from quail and chukars over the past few years.

The Doctors all agreed that there is no way to tell if my infection was recent or from a while ago, aka if it was from the birds or just growing up around here. The mold just lives int the dirt. So just playing around and getting into stuff can give you this issue.

Anyway, if you buy birds, or if you shoot birds, or you raise birds, be careful with the poop and handling of the birds, it might make you sick and permanently hurt your vision. And if you are a bird hunter like me, get your eyes checked sooner rather than later. The docs can catch it and they can save your vision.

Apparently Histoplasmosis is the leading cause of blindness in 20-40 year olds in this country. For the rest of my life I’m going to have to have laser scans of my retinas to make sure new blood vessels aren’t growing behind my scar tissue and threatening my ability to see.

For now my sight remains 20-20 and I don’t need glasses, but we’ll be watching it closely.

Shoot straight and wear mask if you’re cleaning up poop.

Fishing in Davenport Iowa, it’s something I want to do…

Apparently distraught over PBR’s hipster bandwagon, Will Ferrell decided that the next frontier in hipster phony-down-to-earth-ness was Old Milwaukee. And why not, it too is owned by Pabst? The ads are hilarious, but  just like PBR, the beer is unfortunately terrible. But after a long day on the water, any cold beer from a can will do the trick.

Where to order a good turkey this Thanksgiving

If you aren’t going to eat a wild turkey or goose this Thanksgiving, I highly recommend you check into Bowman and Landes. They are a local for me, but ship all over the US, great turkeys, and worth a look. Just look at those ugly SOB’s wandering around like idiots in the corn, they look TASTY, and oh so free range!

Unless I can find some pheasants this weekend, not likely, the only pointed, shot and retrieved birds we will be having on turkey day at the Smith household will be some chukars we shot on a training day a month or so ago.

My Beaver runs on Bio fuel – American and Alaska Airlines Complete World’s First Commercial Biofuel Flights

Can I hitch a ride on your Greasy beaver?

Could Beavers run on Bio-diesel, or better yet straight GREASE? No, or at least probably not yet. Given that legendary DeHavilland Beaver that we all know and love (or hate/fear) uses a gasoline powered internal combustion engine the asnwer to the headline is no, but I couldn’t resist writing it anyway. But with any luck, maybe, just maybe, in the future we could all be riding high in a greasy beaver… here’s how.

The reality is that bio-fuels can be blended with jet fuel because it so similar in properties to diesel. And yesterday the proof of concept flight took place, (info courtesy of our friends at

Yesterday, American Airlines completed the world’s first commercial biofuel flight, from Houston to Chicago, with 40% Solazyme algae biofuels and 60% traditional jet fuels. Tomorrow, Alaska Airlines will attempt a similar feat, flying 75 planes with a 20% cooking oil biofuel blend. Quite a achievement, but more surprisingly the sustainable flight attempts have become something of an industry scandal, with insiders claiming that American Airlines heard of Alaska’s plans and rushed to beat them in becoming the first airline to go green with biofuels. So what is the real impact of these flights?

Read more: American and Alaska Airlines Take World’s First Commercial Biofuel Flights This Week | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

Th wikipedia jet fuel article says that perhaps biofuel combustion engines are not that far off, observe.

The air transport industry is responsible for 2 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emitted .[21]Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent. One possible solution which has received more media coverage than others would be blending synthetic fuel derived from algae with existing jet fuel:[22]

Green Flight International became the first airline to fly jet aircraft on 100% biofuel. The flight from Stead airport in Stead, Nevada was in an Aero L-29 Delfín piloted by Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante.[23]

Oil prices increased about fivefold from 2003 to 2008, raising fears that world petroleum production is becoming unable to keep up with demand. The fact that there are few alternatives to petroleum for aviation fuel adds urgency to the search for alternatives. Twenty-five airlines were bankrupted or stopped operations in the first six months of 2008, largely due to fuel costs.

Who knows next time you lift off for that trip to the Alaskan bush, you could be riding in style courtesy of last night’s deep fried pickles. And leaving a smaller carbon footprint to boot. I love the smell of progress in the morning!