Monday, January 14, 2013

Fishing for trout and Perch

Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia said in an interview that during the hard years of high school the outdoors saved his life.  At the time the outdoors was catching crawdads in the LA river.    I can say the same thing and have often done so.  But for me it wasn't the LA river thankfully.  It was the  Pacific Ocean.   Surfing saved my life, it saved my soul.  Youth is not an easy time and boredom is the friend of too many adolescents.  

In this post I want to talk about fishing.   I have lived in LA since 2001.  It wasn't till 2011 that I started fishing.  I never expected to fish in LA or the surrounding area simply because my fishing experience as a kid was in New Zealand.  That's hard to beat, believe me.  But on a trip into the Sierra I was stunned by the beauty of the lakes and rivers that cut through the high desert valley's and granite walls.   Full of trout, it's no wonder the Eastern Sierra boast world class fishing. 

My four year old started fishing at the age of three.  My seven year old can now fish independently.  Living in LA I thought the only fishing they would be doing will be at those fishing boxes you see at festivals; you know, the ones when an adult gives a kid a pole with a clip on the end of the line, they throw the line over a curtain and someone behind the divider sticks a plastic toy, or GMO, sugared up candy on the line and gives a tug.  

My kids fish!  So do I, and we live in LA.  There is great fishing here.   

These are the tips I've learned so far.

Keep It Simple Stupid.
Remember this acronym.  You don't  need to get all fancy.
For trout fishing and surf casting; use the Carolina Rig.

This is super easy.  You don't need the swivel.  Just an egg or bullet weight that slips on the line, and then something to keep it from slipping towards the hook.  Here is my rig.  I use a plastic bead that you squeeze with pliers, then slide up the line.  Release pliers and it will close on line, locking sinker in place.

I use this when I fish for trout, and I use it when I fish for perch in the surf.
The bait you see in the picture is a Gulp worm for salt water.  They smell really fishy, but work wonders.  You can also simply dig in the sand for sand crabs, put them on your hook and voila.

When trout fishing I use either bait balls or my favorite, small red plastic worms for trout.  For both 
types of fishing, cast out, then slowly reel in to imitate a live worm or fish.

Perch are hungriest during high tides.  That's when they swim into ankle deep water and begin foraging in the sand, looking for sand crabs.  You don't need to cast far.  Fishing for perch is great for kids, because it's like popcorn.  They just keep jumping on your line.  It's easy, the boys don't get bored.  On any beach in Southern California, this makes great sport.  

Trout fishing.  I'm not going to tell you exact spots, that's for you to discover, or come camping with me and I'll take you there.  All I'm going to say is the Eastern Sierra sports amazing trout fishing.  Along the 395, from Lone Pine on up; great fishing.  I've discovered fishing holes in the desert where my kids just haul them in.  Lakes, rivers, pools, amazing.  Apparently the rainbow trout in New Zealand were imported from this area.  Talk to your local fishing store, they'll point you in the right direction and give you the tips on how to rig your rod.    

Hope to see you out there.



Saturday, January 12, 2013

why this blog

Why this blog?  This blog because taking the kids outdoors while living in the city is not an easy thing.  We just can't walk outside and explore nature without being somewhat intentional about it. 

Why this blog?  This blog because I don't want my kids growing up in LA and knowing their only entertainment to be video games, television and movies.
Why this blog?  This blog because there are so many distractions in this vast urban environment, starting with the internet and social networking that it makes it hard to get outside and give our children an outdoor education.

Why this blog?  This blog because I need accountability.  I need a community, even if it's only two friends, who will be expecting me to post about our adventures in the outdoors on a weekly and monthly basis.

Why this blog?  This blog because I don't want to be one of those dads who sees the outdoors as a place where he can get away from the "wife and kids".  Too many marriages have dissolved in bitterness, too many kids have grown up without their dads because the dads were out and gone.  I want to go out, I want to breathe the solitude of nature, but I want to do it with my family.  I'm taking them with me.  Therefore when my boys are adults, they will associate the outdoors with their daddy.  They will say this is where we connected as a family, this is where we played together, dreamed together, experienced adventures together.  And they will know what they are doing, they will have the skills and wisdom to sail across a sea, climb a mountain, camp in the desert, surf a wave, fly in the sky.
Why this blog?  This blog because perhaps it can be a source of ideas and inspiration for both myself and others; a place where we can help encourage each other to take our kids camping, to take our kids into the mountains, the high deserts, the endless miles of coastline, the islands, the forests.  

Why this blog?  "Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia.  Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia the air will thicken.   Take great care that it does not confuse your mind.......(C.S. Lewis: The Silver Chair).

 Every time I go into the outdoors, I feel still, I feel at peace, I feel closer to God and I hear His voice because I'm looking at His handiwork.  When one looks at a painting, one sees and hears the painter's voice.  It is the same in the great outdoors and I want my kids to know how to live and engage with nature because in doing so they are coming face to face with the Creator.

Join me therefore as we leave the shiny lights of the city and take to the road.  On this journey we will encourage each other, inspire each other, and give each other tips, tricks, ideas, and answers as to how to raise Urban kids with an Outdoor education.