Divine Inspiration

Recently I was asked by a customer out of Upstate New York what inspires me to lean towards my more “antique-esque” hardware patterns. I definitely have an affinity for some past rod makers one being the late Fred D. Divine who began making rods in 1875 out of Utica N.Y. I always felt that his hardware was somewhat medieval in personality. After going through the armory exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art for the fourth time I started seeing some basic geometries that were very reminiscent of some of Divines tooling and stamping. Meandering about in arms and armor exhibits is a good way to develop a taste for forging and tooling. I soon started making drawings of my own and surrounding myself with little artifacts of “Divine” inspiration. I have a small collection of Divine paraphernalia that keeps my creative juices flowing. Most of my cap and ring sets are slightly reminiscent of Divines “Classic Reel Seat”. The cap is slightly elongated, a pronounced taper, with an even more pronounced domed butt. The rings are chamfered and banded and echo some of the trim detailing not only on the cap and rings but also adapting on the cork check and winding checks. Generally speaking Divines hardware is very elegant and simple. When I glance at the few Divine rods that I own, I break into a Cheshire Cat grin, I am then inspired to stand in front of my lathe for hours and burn the midnight oil.

Thank you for all of the kind complements out of the Mohawk Valley.
~Clint Bova


Simpler Life Simpler Tye

I think I’ve learned more from Canadian ghillies about successful trout fly patterns over the years than anyone else. They seem to excercize the mantra, “the simpler the better”, and I’m a firm believer in this affirmation. For the most part trout food is fairly understated, modest in profile, and buggy. My most consistent and successful fly patterns are fairly dull, not a lot of flash if any, and only carry subtle hints of color variation. I suppose when you really think about it mayflys are two-toned, there are only two colors contrasting against one another on any mayfly with the exception of any varigations. Hues of green, yellow, umber, and rust are the basic color ways. These colors are accompanied by a range of cool and warm grays that range from 1-10 on a gray scale. These are the colors I mix and dye my feathers to emulate both mayflys and caddis flys. Terrestrials are a whole nother ball of wax but even these patterns need not be overly complex and garrish. I’m not a big fan of attractor flys of any kind in part because they are usually over designed in profile and color, and they are somebody else’s interpretation of nature and not my own. So simple streamlined patterns ring true to me. Some of the Scottish guides that I have come in contact with are extremely resouceful, frugal with materials, and creative. This is a great combination of traits for creating simple and effective “guide” patterns. 

Several years ago I was fishing the Grand River in Ontario and I was fishing alongside a guide who handed me a “wee tuft” of CDC and Coq De Leon on a dry #22 hook. I was fishing over a very large brown, over 22 inches and he was not budging so I tied on the “wee tuft” and the Scottish guide said “off you go”, and off I went! My little 7' Trails End started bending and bucking. Flashy flys look great in magazines, but when they’re all dressed up and nowhere to go effectiveness is revealed, a second date is undeserved.


Fluid Time Delay

I often find myself looking up, not really knowing why. Sometimes it’s as though I am looking for the wind and always trying to see it.The trees offer me a suggestive response with a flapping leaf or a bending branch. The wind acts as a obscure time piece, and like temperature, the wind is affected by the sun directly and indirectly. The wind does respond to time in a sort of celestial manner. My dog Manny often looks up when I do when the wind blows, he joins in and looks somewhat introspective while doing so. I then try to draw a mental picture in my mind of what the nearest piece of trout laden water is doing. If my dog could fish we would do so often since both of us have a certain zest for solitude and running water. Unfortunately Manny will never bare an opposable thumb so the idea of meandering about with him in streams grasping fly rods is somewhat wishful thinking. Although there is an orthopedic surgeon that I know of nearby that could pull this surgery off, maybe I could trade him a  fly rod for such a surgery? Needed: one left thumb, in good condition, preferably a furry one. The surgeon also happens to be a fly fisherman so I don’t think he would deliberate over the procedure too long. Manny would only need one thumb on his left front paw because he seems to have the temperament of a left handed caster. If you watch this Golden Retriever he seems to sense ghosts in running water. He watches the eddies, reflections, and riffles with a certain kind of introspection and turns his head one way then the next as if he is taking shorthand notes. I chime in and say “whatcha see Manny”, he then responds with a sorrowful look  and ends up sticking his head fully underwater, much like a Blue Heron would looking for a crayfish. 

If our minutes are measured in hours in dog time then their pondering is much more drawn out than ours making them masters of internal conversations and thoughtful doggy introspection. It also makes them much more aware and perceptive than human beings. I am convinced that dogs and trout have this ability and are the real masters of our universe for this reason. Our arrogant sense of time simply caters to our lack of focus and harmony with the natural world. We are mislead by time, we base everything on the speed of two hands in a  circle. We need to slow our clocks down or just simply throw them all away. If every human minute was equivalent to an hour in canine time we would understand why our furry friends are so attentive and understanding.They live seemingly shorter lives because they live on a different clock all together. 

While we embrace time that we’ve been subserviently checking all our lives, we can actually embrace the notion that we spend less time exercising our senses and more time dealing with meaningless distractions based on the relative speed of a clock. We accelerate ourselves for somebody else’s invention. We’ve all haven been given a time handicap. Nearly everything follows sheepishly an unchanged time piece. We are slaves to two hands in a circle. Humans use to live shorter because they spent more hours being useful and partaking in meaningful activity, souls satiated early, no need to live longer, the spirits take them once they have proven their worthiness into the next life. An interesting notion when looking at it from a spiritual standpoint. I had this discussion with a very thoughtful and creative furniture designer many years ago. I suppose this also embraces the notion that “the good die young”. When our dogs are staring introspectively into running water and chasing ghosts are they playing or are they fully focused, and practicing and passing through for some kind of meaningful life lesson portal? Growing up on the ocean and watching animals in and out of the water most of my life has planted this notion in my head over the years. I’m convinced that spending time on the water actually extends your life considerably. Our senses align with a natural time delay, and like our furry and finned friends, we too can momentarily cycle side by side with their god given clocks.
                              ~Clint Joseph Bova

“You do not cease to fish because you get old, 
                    You get old because you cease to fish”


Easy Grilled Rainbow Trout

4 six-ounce fillets of rainbow trout.
1/4 cup of canola oil.
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice.
1 tablespoon of ginger root, minced.
1 teaspoon of grated lime peel.
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

In a suitably sized saucepan over medium heat, sauté the minced ginger and grated lime peel in the canola
oil, until just lightly browned and aromatic.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the crushed red pepper.

Once the oil has completely cooled, gently whisk in the lime juice and reserve.

Heat the grill to a moderate temperature.

Brush the grill pan with some oil to reduce sticking, and grill the trout fillets with the flesh side down for about
2 minutes.

Gently turn the fillets and grill for 2 minutes more, or until the trout turns opaque.

Serve the trout immediately with a splash of the ginger/lime mixture.


Sweet Whippings~Silk Rod Wraps

I definitely love wrapping with silk. I have always been a big fan of Pearsall’s silk threads. I honestly believe that the dye batches are the most consistent, color fast, and easily matched. I have been wrapping with Pearsall’s consistently for the last fifteen or so years and have had no guide failures at all. I suppose this sounds a bit like a sales pitch but I’m typically a very reserved optimist and a bit superstitious on top of it all. So I usually keep my happy thoughts to myself. I wrap a lot of rods with white silk which eventually ends up as clear wraps. I have managed over the years to consistently create crystal clear wraps, no glassing at all, no thread tunnel pockets or bubbles by paying close attention to time, temperature, and viscosity using spar. Pearsall’s silk is all I will use to achieve clear wraps to my level of “perfectness” or maybe I just have a high level of comfort and trust with our friends in the UK. My wife has watched me over the years reach scarey levels of deep meditation and severe cognitive dissonance over this particular process. If you approached her on the topic of clear wraps she would wink at you and say I was truly insane. Most people who have seen my wraps would understand my level of OC when it comes to finishing.

One remarkable property of silk is its high tensile strength and its fibers will not easily tear or damage. It is also an elastic medium that can be stretched and then will recover to its original size unless stretched beyond 20-25% of its original length. It has been used in the past in making guy ropes to take advantage of this resilliency.

The attributes of silk all are very positive in my point of view. Pearsall’s offers “Naples”, a heavier diameter silk, which I use for overwrapping ferrules, and the standard “Gossamer” silk thread that I use for guide wrapping and tipping. Again silk has a very high tensile strength but maintains a very consistent minimal diameter. With this in mind it is perfect for whipping threads. Silk evenly absorbs solvent like a sponge, so if you are using spar or even spar urethane blends you can get a very consistent clarity if applied and diluted correctly.

Silk thread has the property of being a very flexible material. For example, a silk scarf can readily be pulled through a wedding ring, and it will quickly retake its original shape without a lot of wrinkling. In addition, silk holds its structural integrity and will not rot. Silk is also more heat resistant than many other types of thread, including nylon, and is actually rather difficult to burn.

Silk takes well to dyes, both natural and synthetic, which results in wide variables when it comes to color especially in threads. Another property of silk is its soft feel, and it retains it shape well, even after having been stretched. In appearance silk has a sheen and luminosity which makes it easier to work with while wrapping under a magnifier. Both bamboo and silk complement one another as raw mediums. They have been used in tandem for hundreds if not thousands of years for swords, suits of armor, and specialized tools. I suppose if a synthetic equivalent to silk was ever developed I would turn my cheek because like bamboo it is truly a gift from Mother Nature.