Monday, October 27, 2014

World Series 2014: Elk Hunter vs. Elk Hunter

The 2014 World Series features an intriguing yet contrasting matchup between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.

The media has already labeled it "Destiny versus Dynasty." The Royals are competing in baseball's Fall Classic for the first time in 29 years while the Giants are seeking their third world championship in the last five years.

The managerial matchup, though, is a straight-up draw:  elk hunter versus elk hunter.

 "I know both of these guys and one thing they share is a passion for elk and the outdoors," said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. "There's only one place where Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost would rather be right now other than out in the backcountry chasing elk and that's in the dugout trying to out-manage each other and win the World Series."

 The similarities don't stop there. Both Yost and Bochy are former big league catchers with strikingly similar career averages. Bochy batted .239 with 26 home runs and 93 runs batted in over nine years while Yost batted .212 with 16 home runs and batted in 64 runs over a six-year playing career. They both played for three different teams. They are both in the midst of managerial stints with their second ball clubs and are also both 59 years old.

 Bochy managed the Giants to championships in 2010 and 2012. Immediately prior to the 2014 Spring Training schedule, he shared the same microphone with Allen in a suburban Phoenix baseball stadium at a roast as part of an RMEF gathering.

 "My passion is hunting. A former teammate of mine, Goose Gossage, had a ranch in Colorado. We used it as therapy for after the season," said Bochy. "In my office in San Francisco, I'm the only manager with an elk head hanging in his office."

 Yost, who has a World Series ring as Atlanta's bullpen coach in 1995, is also well-known around baseball circles as an avid hunter. He also briefly enjoyed a second career as a taxidermist between his playing and coaching careers.

 "Ned was a long-time friend and hunting partner of my friend Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. for many years," said Allen. "They spent a great deal of time in the woods together."

 When the World Series ends, chances are the two will swap a hunting story before returning to the woods in search of a different kind of trophy.

 "Both of these men are fine gentlemen, outdoorsmen and sportsmen. And we are especially grateful they are both supporters of the RMEF," added Allen.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Montana Fly Fishing: Spruce Fly...

Spruce Fly: Tied and Photographed by Chuck Robbins
Said to have been tied by Cap and Milo Godfrey around 1918 while fishing steelhead on the Lewis and Clark River in Oregon. Perhaps one of the oldest flies, it's still a popular pattern today among Northwest fly fishermen for steelhead, trout and sea run cutthroat.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Montana Fly Fishing: Mickey Finn Owns Interesting History

Tied and Photographed: Chuck Robbins
A Mickey Finn (or Mickey) is a dope-laced drink “slipped to someone unawares in order to incapacitate them.

The history of the Mickey Finn fly is rather vague. Apparently named after a nefarious bartender on Chicago's South Side, well versed in wasting patrons. But most seem to agree it was first tied by a Canadian, Charles Langevin in the 1800s and called the Langevin Fly...what else?

In the early 1900s William Mills and Son, an upscale New York City tackle store, which sold, among other high end fly fishing items, Leonard Rods, sold the Mickey as “Red and Yellow Bucktail.”

In the 1930s John Alden Knight (he of solunar tables fame) took Toronto Star columist, Gregory Clark, fishing and after an apparent fantastic day he labeled it Assassin.  A short time later having heard Rudy Valentino had been killed, “after being slipped a Mickey Finn,” he renamed the fly and soon after penned an article in Hunting and Fishing Magazine toting its charms—an especially “deadly fly for catching brook trout, largemouth bass and bluegill.” Later champions toted its virtues for catching brown trout, garfish, steelhead, sea run cutthroat and smallmouth.

The article hit the streets in fall of 1937, just in time for the New York Sportsman show. By shows end some 300,000 Mickey’s were reported tied and sold before it closed.  Weber Fly Company reported sales exceeding 1 million in the first quarter 1938.

Only the fish know for sure but certainly one reason for its long-lasting appeal among fly fishermen is “simply pretty, easy to tie, looks good in the box and even better in the water,” as one my old fishin’ pals puts it.

John Alden Knight tutored “simply cast it quartering upstream, let it sink a little, then strip it back”.

See, dopey fly, dopey tie, dopey method, nothin’ to it.