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    Tuesday, April 14, 2009
    Hello Ladies….

    Wow.  The “Girls just wanna have fun” song is repeating itself inside of my head.  The worst part, is that it’s singing in my head with the same scratchy nasal voice of Ms. Lauper and it’s causing me to sing along with it.
    We recently had our ladies learn to fly-cast day and, my goodness, what a day it was!  In a months forecast of rain and snow, somehow myself, eight other ladies, and a little lady in training, were able to coax Mother Nature into hooking us up with some serious sunshine.
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    Ape teaching on a beautifully sunny day.
    The day was hot, the wind was minimal, the burgers were juicy and my ladies were a riot!
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    Learning knots.
    I always have a hard time chatting over a table to a group of fiery women who are chomping at the bits to get a fly rod in their hands.  Half an hour into theory, I notice eyes wandering and we scoot to the field to laugh with each other and intimidate the passing fishermen unfortunate enough to have to walk by us to get to the run.
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    Paying close attention.
    It always amazes me just how quickly the female population catches on to fly-fishing.  Sometimes I sit on the sidelines with a grin on my face, proud as all hell watching them concentrate on their rod tip, and count their timing aloud.  This is why I love my job……
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    This is why I love my job.  Damn, they made me proud.
    So four hours later, goodbyes were exchanged and hugs were given, most of them eager to return and master the double haul.  I hate seeing them leave, as the female angler in me wants so bad to establish the most kick-ass, hard-core team of female fishing buddy’s around, but I wave “so long” and just hope to be able to see them again on the water.
    Keep your eyes open, there are some fierce anglers on their way to the water!
    Posted by April Vokey on April 14, 2009
    Sunday, April 12, 2009
    Close Your Eyes…..

    When was the last time you closed your eyes and let the sun warm your face?  Allowing that fantastic orange glow to trap itself inside your eyelids, forcing you to slow down both your breathing and your mind. That slight warmth is a true appreciation.
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    (Aaron Goodis photo)
    I have a best friend who regularly forces me to do just that; slow down and appreciate.
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    Sharing strawberries on the river (Jan Wolff photo).
    Last November I fell in love with a small puppy in the pound.  His head stuck out with distinctive white markings, and his paws were huge.
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    Colby at ten weeks old (April Vokey photo).
    “He’s going to be big….” They warned me.  Half St. Bernard and half coon hound, I fell in love with the mutt, knowing full well that he was about to be adopted into the life so many creatures long for…..an outdoor adventure alongside river banks and evergreens. Yup, he was going to be a fishing dog, and he was going to be my saving grace, “the glue that holds me together”, as one of my buddies so eloquently put. So I named the “mutt” Colby, and started his training at ten weeks old.
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    Boat training (Scott Baker McGarva photo).
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    (Aaron Goodis photo)
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    Training gone right.  Keeping still while mom looks for fish (Hannah Belford photo).
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    Yup.  Been there before…. (Michael Davidchik photo).
    It’s amazing the difference it makes when you are accompanied on the river by someone you love, and even more amazing how much of a difference it makes when they can’t speak English or say something stupid to ruin your day.
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    (Michael Davidchik photo)
    We play in the sand and share strawberries on fallen cedars.  He walks me by my pinky finger and gets excited when he hears my reel wind line back in.  He has brought a whole new meaning to appreciation in all of it’s most simplest forms.  Amazing how those simple forms can often times carry the most impact.
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    (Matt Moisley photo)
    Posted by April Vokey on April 12, 2009
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009
    If Only They Knew…..

    I’m allowing myself ten minutes to remove my tongue from between my teeth and say a little something that has entertained my thoughts for the past six years.
    Assumption and I go way back.  Way, way back.
    High maintenance, made-up, prissy, fake…. My fishing buddies and I always chuckle when the guy who has too much time on his hands feels a strong desire to make a crack about my makeup or color of my hair. If only they knew the joke was on them….
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    Enjoying a laugh (Dave Allen photo.)
    Truth be told, as a casino cocktail waitress for longer than I care to admit, serving drinks and pretending to care about the pace at which chicken fingers are served, allowed me to fish like a maniac during the day and learn more about fishing faster than the average weekend angler. Tight shirts, combed hair, manicured nails (I always had fake ones to try and conceal my embarrassingly calloused and rugged fishing hands), and an ‘easy on the eyes’ image were all part of the uniform.
    For years I would work until the early morning, only to clock out and head straight to the river for some early morning fishing.  Car packed with all my gear, a toothbrush and a small tube of paste, I would drive all night through icy canyons, stopping only for the occasional energy drink, day-old coffee, and consequently, dreaded rest stops. When my eyes began to feel heavy, I would nap in the lonely bend of a highway pullout until I was snapped back to consciousness by a loud passing semi-truck or obnoxiously honking train.
    Hell or high water, I was making it to the river so I could fish all day, before driving all dusk back to work to do it all over again.
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    Straight from work to the river, crimped hair and all…..(Matt Moisley photo).
    There were days I fished with nylons under my breathable waders, and days I fished with rhinestone earrings sparkling in the snow.  There were days I reeked like beer and stale perfume, and even more days where mascara flaked my cheeks. But I didn’t care.  I was fishing….. and I didn’t have the time to be bothered with high maintenance facial scrubs, make-up remover or hair elastics.
    Ironic, isn’t it?
    Posted by April Vokey on April 7, 2009
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009
    An Introduction…..

    “A what!?  What’s a blog?”  Man, I felt old having to ask my little sister for the definition. I always figured I’d stay far, far away from keeping a “blog”. An online diary filled with updates about my scattered life and sometimes chaotic days on the water….  Hell, it even sounded like a messy word; like some sort of stain or gross spill on a sheet of paper.
    But as I miraculously began to gain some knowledge about computers and inevitably, the internet, I soon realized that I am a woman who has a lot of things to say with no one to say them to. Hmmm.  A blog was starting to sound quite interesting….
    I suppose an introduction would be fitting right about now, wouldn’t it? My name is April Vokey and I am a fishing bum who has built my life around this passion. There are several questions that I find I am asked fairly regularly and would like to address them first and foremost:
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    April Vokey holding a small but sweet piece of steel (Aaron Goodis photo).
    What/Who got you into fishing? How long have you been fishing for? What else do you do? Are you one of those girls from ‘Fishing With Shelley and Courtney’?  (Yeah, I really love that one).
    I always cringe when the question, “so, what else do you do?” is shoved in my direction. I especially love it when it’s asked by one of those guys who makes David Beckham look unathletic. (You know, the good looking guys with the spiky hair and uncomfortably tight shirts who stink of adrenaline?  The ones with pecs so huge, I find myself covering my own chest in embarrassment…)
    My answer is always the same.  I shift feet, turn a funky color, and stammer pathetically trying desperately to think of another interesting sport or hobby that I may have tried once in previous years. “I studied jazz and classical music in university, and have had a number of roles in musicals…..”  I watch their eyes glaze over.
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    Acting a fool, as usual.
    Truth is, I really don’t (and never have done) much of anything else.  I fish, I write about fishing, I read about fishing, I tie flies for fishing, I take other people fishing…and I love it.
    Onto the next question.
    I started fishing when I was three.  Dad wasn’t much of a fisherman, though I must give him credit for trying.  We trolled worms around the lakes and were equally excited about the bites we missed, as the fish that we caught. Mom, always got a kick of how fast I could race into shore with a chain full of blood soaked pan-fries. (*Note to fathers with young daughters:  These are the days that your girl(s) will cherish forever.  If you don’t already, take her with you on your next outing to the water.  Though you may not realize it at the time, you may be starting something truly wonderful!)
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    Three years old and crazy about fishing already….
    As the years passed, our roles began to change, and it was I who was waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the first bite. By the time I got my drivers licence, there was no hope for me.  I spent every waking minute at the river learning about fishing.  Lord knows, how many spinning reels I blew up before buying my first bait caster, and consequently, how many bait casters I banged up before buying my first fly rod. For years I slugged away alone on the river bank, learning how to read water and find sitting fish.  These years were filled with innocence, excitement, scares, enlightenment and countless other emotions that turned me into the woman I am today. I found inner strength and a true sense of independence, all the while meeting some genuinely wonderful people along the way…..
    Last question.
    Nope, not Courtney. And certainly far too short to be Shelley. But while we’re on this subject, my friends call me Ape (as flattering as that may be), and ‘April’ usually means I’m in trouble….. It’s up to you.
    So there you have it.  The basics.
    NOW!!!  I would like to take a moment to utilize this blog for its true purpose.  Please read the following:
    B.C. Steelhead numbers have been on a steady downwards spiral for far too long than most of us would like to admit.  These fish are wild, native, unique, and loved by anglers from all over the world. I have conveyed a message to all of my fellow anglers, and to anyone else who is willing to listen. It is as follows:
    Listen up!!! This message is for you whether you live in Norway, Oregon or British Columbia…. Our steelhead are suffering and need your help! I have started a fundraiser called Flies For Fins. I don’t want your money, but I do need some of your time and tying materials. I am working with Reaction Fly and Tackle, Pacific Angler, Michael and Young Fly Shop, Whistler Fly Fishing and Sea-Run Fly and Tackle to raise money for the Steelhead Society (steelheadsociety.org). Each location will carry a cork board that is full of steelhead flies MADE BY YOU. These flies will be sold at the shops, where proceeds will be donated to the Steelhead Society. In the middle of each cork board will be a graph that is updated weekly to show how much money had been raised.  (I will also update the graph on this blog) Mailing flies only takes a couple stamps (just make sure that they can be flattened in an envelope.) This is for a great cause, please choose to take some of your time and flies out of your box for it. I will have a Face Book page up in the next several days for Flies For Fins, however, we need flies RIGHT NOW.
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    “Wizard Of Oz” Design and tied by Vokey.
    Flies can be shipped to: 8505 Norman Cres. Chilliwack, B.C. Canada V2P 5C6
    Feel free to send one fly, or ten! Make them as fancy or as plain as you would like. Please include your name.
    Envelope, stamp, fly. It’s that simple. Please do your part and help us make a difference!
    Posted by April Vokey on April 1, 2009
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