Monday, April 28, 2008

Fishing with a true American hero.......

His name is Porter Halyburton. And on Monday, April 7, 2008 I had the pleasure of guiding Porter and his friend Dr. Don Lucey of Greensboro, NC. We had an incredible day, a perfect day to be honest. It was a day with many fish, over 100 in fact, and also some nice fish. That was the story for our trip.
Only for this decorated war hero, it wasn't so perfect some 43 yrs ago when he was shot down 60 miles north of Hanoi and spent the next 7 1/2 yrs as a prisoner of war. After graduating from SMA and Davidson College, Halyburton volunteered for service in Vietnam. A Naval Flight Officer, his F4B Phantom was shot down over North Vietnam on October 17, 1965. His story is one of the most incredible stories of faith, hope, forgiveness and courage you will read.
In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the lifelong achievements of Porter Halyburton were recognized by the U.S. Navy. His military decorations include the Silver Star, three Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals, a Navy Commendation Medal, and the POW Medal. A recent book, Two Souls Indivisible, tells of his friendship with a fellow pilot, an Air Force Pilot, African-American Fred Cherry. The Vietnamese, knowing that racial tensions were at a high in the US hoped to create animosity and torture by making Porter take care of Perry who had been injured when he was also shot down. The plan backfired, Porter and Fred became close friends and survived the horror of being POW's.
Some great background information is available on the details of Porter's story. Porter's bio is very interesting, and incredible might be a better word for it. What a great story to give hope in the world we live in today, unfortunately our media won't tell you the other side of the story....that is what our great servicemen past and present do and have done day in and day out. All the media tell you is the negative, not the positive and how these men are the reason we can live in freedom here today. But then, of course, the media never has been a friend of the truth anyway. An agenda, sickening bias and sadly little more can we expect from them.
Hats off to all our servicemen and thank you for the price you were willing to pay for all of us, even those who would speak bad of you and would put your lives in danger by not giving you in the field what you need to get the job done. We honor you and appreciate your sacrifices for our freedom, it isn't free like some people think.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Joy of tying and fishing a huge fly.....

Just a few nights ago, I was checking out a few new foam cutters I got in a big shipment of fly tying materials and was thinking about how much fun it is to tie a large fly. Not as what we normally think of as being large, say a 10 or 12, but rather a 4 or 6. Ever tie a size 6 dry fly for trout? Better yet, ever fish a dry fly that large? If you have you are certainly in the minority. There are few people who live somewhere that trout regularly eat bugs that large. But believe it or not, there are places that fish love to eat bugs that large. Like the Snake River, one river we'll be floating on our Wyoming Sampler trip in August of this year. Not only do fish eat flies that large, they absolutely kill them- - -those fish, many of which are native fine-spotted cutthroats , are mean and crash the surface in pursuit of a big bug or fly.

One the lower Snake, I remember one summer when I was fishing with two good friends from High Point Burt Whicker and Larry Pritchett. Not only do these fish eat big stuff, but they like the flies fished with an active retrieve. I mean its the kind of fishing that makes you feel like you are at home on the New working a popping bug. And the strike, well you'd better have a good hold on the rod or it might be taken away from you. Simply put, these cutthroats think they are bass. I have fished a lot of places out west, and this is the only place I've ever seen fish feed that way most of the time. I can even remember the final day of our wilderness float where the first fish slurped down a size 4, yes a size 4 (almost 2 inches long, and a dry fly!) chernobyl dry I'd just put a whip finish on less than an hour before.

I must say, I wouldn't trade small fly fish all together for fishing big flies---fun as they are. I still love to see big fish rising to tiny bugs. There's nothing like it. But an occasion visit to the other end of the fly spectrum I'll take..........and enjoy it just the same.