The Spring Storms on The Mad River

 “Kings Creek Storm” painting by Clint Bova Urbana Ohio
spring 2014 Oil (plein air) on hardwood panel "6x8"
Flooding and blown out conditions were a common obstacle this spring in the Mad River Valley. I spent a lot of time searching for fishable water and putting on my creative thinking cap. Wishing all a productive, meaningful, and memorable trout season here in Ohio. The fickle weather is part of the hunt, and Mother Nature is always testing your perseverance.

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.                        
                   ~Henry David Thoreau


The 7'9" Isaac Zane The Ultimate Prospecting Rod

 above & below: A just completed  7'9" Isaac Zane 
for Nathan Hale of Colorado Springs CO.
(click photos to enlarge)

{7’9” 5wt. “Isaac Zane”} This has become my favorite go-to rod for new river prospecting. I’ve fished this taper for many years over a wide variety of rivers primarily because of it’s diverse casting range. 

A delicate combination of clear wraps and black or red tipping with a down locking domed cap and ring reel seat. A subtle tapered swelled butt is eye catching above the grade A cork grip. This rod may also be ordered with a down sliding cap and ring set or threaded barrel set. Blued or polished nickel hardware and a hand rubbed curly Koa or walnut burl reel seat make this rod very pleasing to the eye.

This rod is a great throughout the season go anywhere rod. All Signature Rods come with a milled nickel finial style ferrule plug. Each rod is hand rubbed and polished then fitted with a cashmere rod bag. The Signature Rods all come with a double brass capped heavy walled aluminum rod case.


The Early Spring Midge

Midges are out with the earliest Stonefly and Mayfly hatches, often the fishes are ONLY hitting midges. Why is this? Well its the old “pounds per meat law” trout zero in on the most plentiful morsel in the water in order to save energy. When the water is still very cold this is often the case.

A very productive pattern I have found over the years is something I call an “early spring midge” that consists of a few special materials but is quite simple to tie.

Hook: TMC 111 #14-18
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Black, Gray, or Rust
Abdomen and Thorax: Beaver Belly
Wire: Extra fine French silver wire
Legs: Tightly knotted Pheasant tail
Wing and Head Post: Light gray Tiemco Aero Wing
Hackle: Black

This pattern can be floated on the surface or just under the surface film with great success. The Aero Wing head post and wing makes it easy to spot in contrasty early season water. The nature of Aero Wing material is a hollow fibre that is very buoyant yet is gossamer enough for quiet still water conditions.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Figuring Variability (fly rod wood spacers)

I get a lot of requests for light, medium, or dark figured spacers. The three spacers above show this variability even after being stabilized. All three of these spacers came from the same piece of lumber that I brought back from Hawaii three years ago while visiting my family. By cutting the wood while paying attention to the cross-grain you can get this variability from a single piece of Koa especially if it is slightly spalted. Figuring refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surfaces. The side-grain of "figured wood" is not plain but has a curly sheen.

The figuring on a particular piece of wood may be due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood. Some tropical hardwoods, like Rosewood, maple, and Koa can have quite spectacular figuring. Colloquially speaking "figure" is often referred to as "grain."

Nomenclature describing figuring include bear scratches, bird's eye, blister, burl, curl, dimple, fiddleback, flame, ghosting, quilted, and spalting. Many people from different regions around the world describe it differently. Curly wood is believed to be caused by wind swept conditions in its given area. The striking wave-like patterns are highly sought after by woodworkers. Curl is also commonly referred to as fiddleback for its traditional use in making musical instruments especially stringed instruments.
~Clint Bova


A workbench with a view

 Above: my bench with a view

Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono.

“Acquire skill and make it deep” 
New Year wishes to all
~Clint Joseph Bova


The Anxious Fisherman

I suppose tending to rods, tying flies, taking the time to study rivers, and even going through the mental visualizations prior to even getting into rivers can stir up anxiousness in many fly fishers. I look at anxiousness as an enemy of sorts especially when it comes to the creative process. Fly fishing and the crafts that are the foundations of the sport can seemingly be an intimidating and convoluted amalgam of processes. Athletic and mental dexterity, tools, techniques, materials, equipment, and a myriad of disciplines frame up the very act of fly fishing. It can be downright overwhelming when you look at it all from a distance. This was a topic of conversation that I had with a friend of mine that is a well known fly tyer. We both agreed that if you are “results oriented” fly fishing is not the sport for you. Most river guides will reiterate this behind closed doors but not to their clients faces.

The crafts that are the building blocks for the sport as we know it are all based on skills that take months if not decades to become adept in. Mastery is a hollow term since the creative process is never mastered instead it is constantly pursued. The minute somebody claims to be “an authority” or a “master” than this individual has ceased to evolve. The joy of fishing is about the pursuit, the getting there, and the fleeting moment that makes “the pursuit” worthwhile.

A state of anxiousness suffocates “the pursuit” so rest easy and make practice a ritual, make tying a habit, and make entering a river as intuitive and natural as a conversation with your closest friend.
Happy Winter 2013
                 ~Clint Joseph Bova     


Storing & Conditioning Your Cane Rods

Above: CJ Bova Rod Co. 7'9" 3pc. 4wt.
Some fisherman are pretty ritualistic about long term storage of their cane rods. Bamboo rods are made to take a beating but some simple steps can be taken from season to season to ensure your rod is in tip top shape for your next trip to the river.

~Gently wipe your rod sections with warm soapy water at the end of a season. Use a mild soap like Dove. Once thoroughly dry store your rod in its given rod bag and simply hang it up in a cool closet. You can use clothes pins to hold your rod sack by both ends. Bamboo rods are just fine in rod tubes for extended periods in time just make sure they are stored in a cool dry place. Honestly I get so much use out of my own personal rods that I keep them in their tubes and then rotate them from my rod racks.

~If your rods have water stains or have any scratches you can use Novus products to restore your finish www.novuspolish.com  Novus makes three different grades of polish that will keep the finish drop dead gorgeous. They are incredibly easy to use and will condition both polyurethane and spar finishes. I have been using this product now for many years.
~If your cork grips have been soiled simply wipe them down with a wash cloth and warm soapy water.

~If your nickel hardware needs a polish I recommend Flitz made by TCP Global, typically you can find this product in most hardware stores. You only need to use a very very small amount of this polishing creme on a swatch of t-shirt material. A little goes a long way.

~Spacers are bound to get dirty after years of fishing. Clean your spacer with a small amount of denatured alcohol and a rag. Then apply a very sparse amount of tung oil and wipe clean. If you can find a product called Arm-R-Seal from General Finishes it will help you to keep all of your wood spacers pristine. Strictly a wipe on wipe off product that is very easy to use. I also condition my wood handled nets with this product.

With a little extra time after each season you can keep your rod quiver looking well loved.
~Clint Bova