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Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing’

Lodi, CA: Paddling and Pubs Get Political

Canoe Vibes - Paddling in California - Stop the Tunnels

I wasn’t sure if I should do it.

In the revolving door of perpetual political one-sidedness – an internet feed full of my-way-or-the-highway cyber stances on deleted confidential email threads and misunderstood second amendment threats – my finger hovered hesitantly over the send button outside of Ollie’s Pub.

You can’t miss the message. I drove north on the five from a hazy fourth of July weekend in LA to Lodi, California – pronounced load-eye not load-y, to save you the laughter from the local bartenders that made me sweat. The fence signs, bumper stickers, and billboards from twenty miles out all the way to the patio at Ollie’s where I sat enjoying my Lagunitas IPA all preached one message: Stop the Tunnels.

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Yellowstone, WY: Rockstar Fish and Hungover Rivers

Viking kayaks demo (21)

I worked as a youth counselor at a church camp once. Over the couple summers, there is one conversation that hasn’t left me. My boss – only a few years older than me, still hardly able to drive to work legally at the time – asked me one of those questions that you never forget your answer to.

“Best rock and roll band of all time?”

“The Rolling Stones”

He didn’t like my answer. His reply was nothing short of theatrical, showy, and monotone to the beat – classic Beatles. He was a Beatles guy; I wasn’t then and I’m still not now.

I don’t know what he’s doing these days as our summer job stint ended about twelve years ago to the day. People grow up; things change. But I’d venture a guess that there are certain elements of people’s personalities that don’t – things that reflect permanent personality traits, things like your stance on the Beatles versus the Stones.

Windows down and blasting forty-minutes of Beggar’s Banquet on repeat, I pulled into Yellowstone National Park with my cat, my camera, and a twelve-pack of Snake River brew for a day with Mick, Keith, and the brown trout of Yellowstone River.

You just can’t do that with the Beatles.

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Video Trailer Release: 100 Miles through the Adirondacks

Yak Fish TV | Canoe Vibes | Mark Vlaskamp | Adirondack Canoe Expedition

They weren’t buddies when we started, but they are now. Professional kayak angler Robert Field, kayak fishing YouTuber Rex DeGuzman, and Kayak Angler Magazine‘s web editor Ben Duscheney, and I spent eight days paddling, fishing, and portaging 100-miles through the Adirondacks. Expeditions like this don’t just make good friends. Trips like these also create cool videos. Here is another short video trailer for the upcoming Fall 2016 full video series release.

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Boston, MA: Northern Reds & the Curse of the Bambino

Fly Fishing Boston Harbor | Ben Duchesney Mark Vlaskamp | Canoe Vibes

On October 27, 2004, the confetti fell, the pennants raised, and the people of Boston let out a long-overdue sign of relief. Their streak had ended.

On June 10, 2016, my clouser minnow disappeared, my excess line went tight to the reel, and I let out a long-overdue sigh of relief. My streak too ended in Boston.

While it wasn’t eighty-five championship-free years of paranormal haunting from the drunken ghost of Babe Ruth like my Major League Baseball counterparts with the ruby hosiery, my fishless streak among target species had worked its way up the east coast from the mountain streams of North Carolina to the big bass lakes of Virginia. It was only two weeks without catching a fish, but when you’re traveling for the sole purpose of adventuring, paddling, and knocking new target species off of the ol’ aquatic bucket list, two weeks feels like eighty-five years.

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Roanoke, VA: Pushing the Limits of Hybrid Acceptability

Canoe Outriggers | Wingman Canoe Stabilizers | Canoe Outriggers for Fishing

“Do we need to scout this one?” I asked as we quickly approached the meaty part of a comfortable class II on a section of Roanoke’s James River. “Where I come from, we scout these things.”

We didn’t scout it.

From the bow, I flew in blind and limited in my ability to steer while my sternman, Wingman Outfitter co-founder Drew Arney, laughed. “Don’t worry” he comforted me – a confident paddler unused to running rapids blind and thus coming off as an uncomfortable noob – as he effortlessly shot us down the hay barrels with a couple wet, halfway committed, halfway not-so-much hero sidekick-ish draw strokes.

Shooting comfortably out of the rapid, I sat there impressed at the stability and handling of their design.

But I wasn’t surprised.

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