Joy

Joy

There is a small creek nearby that I often fish in the summertime.  It isn’t anything special as creeks go, but something about it has always resonated with me.  Maybe it’s the way the willows screen the water enough to dapple the sunlight just so.  Or perhaps it’s that particularly eerie...
Winter on the Niangua

Winter on the Niangua

It is mid-day in January and trout are rising on the Niangua.  Wool shod, from top to bottom, I make the fifteen minute drive to frigid seclusion at the top of the Ozark range. As I pull in, the mist sags above the flow.  The white oak trunks are black against...
Black Ducks at the End of the Earth

Black Ducks at the End of the Earth

If you hunt or fish the same places enough times, over the course of enough years, a script evolves.  You go HERE.  You do THIS.  The animals do THAT.  There’s nothing wrong with this script, and our knowledge of it gives us some success in the field.   But our confidence...
Alpine Glow

Alpine Glow

Dust sticks to my sweat. Rocks and branches cut through my fragile skin. The cleanliness of my contrived, pampered existence has long since worn off, replaced by a haggard remnant of my former glory. The traverse has proven to be a far more substantial undertaking than I was anticipating. My...
Paddling Isle Royale

Paddling Isle Royale

I’m sitting in my kayak under one of only two bridges in Isle Royale National Park. The water is shallow, clear, and lined by variegated and brightly colored stones. No one knows where I am, I am all alone and supremely happy. Through this narrow inlet that leads to the...
Morning Down in the Hole

Morning Down in the Hole

Admit it.  It’s funny to hear east coasters talk about “wilderness.”  I live along the I-95 corridor, and while we have some amazing fishing and hunting, and some fairly wild places, wilderness it ain’t.  The Mid-Atlantic, in particular, is a region where getting to wilderness is better defined by the...
Africa

Africa

Africa. To some it is fantasy. To others it is a fulfillment of the quest that only the untamed spirit aspires. The Dark Continent holds more than its share of adventure for those that dare the teeth, claws, thorns, and venom to experience the richness of its resources. Many find...
Earn your keep

Earn your keep

I am a nobody.  I don’t look at myself in fly fishing’s mirror and say, “I’m One Bug Is Fake!”   Speaking in terms of writing ability, my outlook is similar.  Not that I would have a chance expand my ego, Mistress Analytics reminds me constantly that my daily readership is...
Mother Nature

Mother Nature

I walk with tottering steps up the forest-lined trail. Chubby cheeks. Chubby legs. My mother, following patiently alongside, takes my small hand in hers and guides me through the maze of roots and rocks. Dew slides across my small face as I push past thickets of thimble berries and, higher...
Terror at Lake Walcott

Terror at Lake Walcott

It was just after 3 a.m. when the chaos began. A horrible sound broke the stillness of the night that was like an unopened bag of potato chips popping. It was not. Rather, it was a madman with a knife attempting to break the window of my car and rob...
The Greenhorn

The Greenhorn

I had just threaded my line through the guides, attached a fly to my tippet, and was ready to cast when the uninvited fisherman emerged from the curtain of alders near the river’s bend. In a rushed act of desperate deceit, I hooked the fly to one of the rod’s...
Trout on a worm

Trout on a worm

My trail companion and I took the morning to fish a small trout stream. I would not be fly fishing today as the vegetation grew to the narrow water’s edge, leaving no room for a cast. Walking to the bottom of a steep waterfall, I dropped my line into a...
Mountains in Hiding

Mountains in Hiding

At the very base of the Rocky Mountains, El Paso, Texas, was a borderland of countries and states, a mesh and clash of philosophy and diversity, kept constant and in check by the watchful, unceasing desert sunlight. This was my hiking ground, and like many El Pasoans, I took for...
Spring Introspection

Spring Introspection

Categorically, each spring usually finds me whining of my ineptitude in the turkey field. Fall is usually filled with some manner of celebration over the outwitting of a great horned, antlered, or otherwise hoofed furry prize, but a 20 pound mess of feathers and a brain the size of a...
The Genius of Fishing

The Genius of Fishing

“The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.” -Oscar Wilde “If people don’t occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you’re doing something wrong.” -John Gierach In this world, there are two types of people—among myriads— who have always been on the fringe of society: Geniuses and...
Water and Trout

Water and Trout

Her world was water. Moving water. The rocks around her had changed little over the years, but the cold, liquid medium she existed in was forever morphing to the substrate through which it flowed. The water originated from snow pack, not far from her location at the headwaters of the...
Big Fish Story

Big Fish Story

Water. A boat or a bit of shoreline. A rod, bait, maybe a net. That perfect fish. I’d place my bets that you’re already seeing it, that time when you pulled a slick, silvery body in. That time a surge that felt a lot like love came up with the...
Cabin Creek

Cabin Creek

In Connecticut, we are fortunate to have many small streams that have good populations of wild trout. These streams are located on state land and have good access. This is one such stream. A winding, tumbling crystal clear stream with lots of woody debris to make it a challenge to...
Cold Water Canoeing

Cold Water Canoeing

I was excited to dust off my canoe today as the spring weather reminded me that it belongs in the water, not the barn. My trail companion helped me strap it to the truck, pack a meal, and we were off for a day of exploring. What a familiar feeling it is,...
The Mad Angler's Manifesto

The Mad Angler’s Manifesto

I speak with the voice of water, rivulet, brook, stream and creek, for the whitewater in lost gorges, boiling cataracts, every place where the souls of wild fish gather to remind us of the power of hydrology. I speak with the name of rain, with the soft lips of condensation,...
Smiling Like Fools

Smiling Like Fools

“Do you own a handgun?” Dave inquired. “Yeah,” I said hesitantly. “Better pack that along. Never know what can happen down south,” he said with a half chuckle. I had been invited by well-known quail hunting outfitter, Dave Brown, to join him on an Arizona Mearns hunt a week before...
I Know This Place

I Know This Place

I know this place I know every rock   Every cut bank, every sunken log Every deep run, hidden pocket, and back eddy Every tree I know this place Strangely, I think, it’s beginning to know me   Maybe even tolerate me Though it didn’t always   I know every...
It Looked Like He Knew What He Was Doing

It Looked Like He Knew What He Was Doing

I have a friend who casts a fly for neither distance nor accuracy nor stealth. Aside from those limitations he’s a splendid fisherman. It’s not for lack of strength or dexterity or intellect. Warren is a farm boy from Catawba, Wisconsin, and he has the farm-boy frame you’d expect: bone,...
The Visitor

The Visitor

You sit by the fire, draped in sheep’s wool and synthetic insulation. The light and warmth put your mind at ease and you feel comfortable despite the stark black forest just beyond the reaches of your fire’s glow. As the fire dies and the dark creeps closer, you quickly stoke...
One to Remember

One to Remember

Deer season 2010 will go down as one of the most memorable in my life. The hunting was difficult but the time spent with my Son in Law and my Grandson will never fade. It all started back when we all applied for our hunts. This year I took the...
Sudden Slack

Sudden Slack

In the opinionated world of the fly angler, you will hear a bunch of “gospel” telling you everything from what you should wear, to what tippet you should use.  You doubt me?  Google, “Tenkara Fad” and see what happens.  My favorite opinions are the ones that tell me if I...
Back To School

Back To School

It starts in August. The giant yellow Blue Bird and Thomas Built buses rise from a three-month hibernation to begin their diurnal shuttle routines. Just a few at first, but then more and more buses awaken each week until the end of September when the metamorphosis is complete. The nation...
Saturday Morning Goose Blinds

Saturday Morning Goose Blinds

We settle in the furrows. Busted cornstalk & camo. Coffee, pipe and tobacco for me, graham crackers, juice and a goose call for Cam. My pipesmoke drifts from the embers, disappears weakly east. The waiting is easy, we have our distractions. Sunrise discovers our black-gray-white decoys in their plastic readiness. Birds...
Winter Provides

Winter Provides

The frigid wind engulfs me as I make my way to the truck. I shiver in my light layers and quicken my step forward. More than anything, I want to turn around and go back inside, light a fire in the wood stove, and bathe in its dry heat. Every...
Making Perfect

Making Perfect

Many anglers at least pretend to aspire to perfection in the things they do, even though they may not be able to pin down exactly what perfection is. Most of us don’t have the slightest inkling of the consequences should one actually attain such a state of being but, still,...
The Trip of a Lifetime

The Trip of a Lifetime

The wind is crazy.  It’s all I can do to paddle into it.  I’m pushing as hard as I can, aiming for the next flat.  Because this area is currently in the lee of this peninsula, I’m pushing onward.  Shift that wind just slightly to the south and I would...
How We Hunt

How We Hunt

I think as hunters we like to do the type of hunting that best fits our personalities. I’m restless and can’t sit still, so I’m drawn to upland game and squirrel hunting. I’ve tried quite a few other things. I hunted deer in Virginia years ago. Had to do it...
Pursuing a Ghost

Pursuing a Ghost

Those that pursue the elusive Coues Deer often refer to them as “The Gray Ghost”.  They have an uncanny ability to disappear in rough desert landscapes almost instantly as if they never existed.  This hilly terrain in the foothills of the immense Sonoran Desert is a formidable place.  The deer...
Winter Water

Winter Water

I like scotch neat; no ice. It’s also how I prefer my small streams. That’s more of a dream now than a possibility. Daily temperatures aren’t moving much north of freezing and in a few weeks the cumulative effect of all those cold nights will grip the streams tight. Even...
Solitaire for Two

Solitaire for Two

I walk through scars, charred and still tender in places although it’s been years — over a decade now — yet the land still is burnt. Wildfires have always frightened me, and now living in a mountain canyon, I’m petrified of them. This land could be my land; these wounds,...
Once Every Thirteen Years...

Once Every Thirteen Years…

Sometimes amazing fishing is just around the corner, but then it seems impossible to know ahead of time when that will be.  Then there is the periodic cicada hatch, a solid guarantee of good fishing once every thirteen years.  At least, that’s the guarantee here in middle Tennessee.  Other broods...
Grayling in Sudeten

Grayling in Sudeten

The Czech Republic is a rather densely populated country, and it is not easy to take a day out fishing in the wild. There always seems to be a busy road or some other distraction around, depriving a fly fisherman of the proper contemplative solitude. One of the exceptions from...
Where There's Water...

Where There’s Water…

It’s a short distance from the trailhead to the lake, but it’s a bitch of a hike. A straight-up thigh-buster.  But at least you’re out of the damn truck and relieved to discover no permanent damage to your “jiggly parts.” The hike, believe it or not, is the easiest part...
Winter Eclipse

Winter Eclipse

Winter in Idaho feels like lock down to me.  I realize the calendar says that Winter does not officially start until December 20th, but try telling that to Ol’ Man Winter.  Come November, he already rules over Idaho with a frigid, iron fist.  As an outdoorsman, Idaho becomes a frozen...
Black Friday

Black Friday

The November wind pushed hard as we drove down the long drive, baiting us back to the comfort of warm beds and a well-appointed fridge filled with the previous days’ trimmings. And looking down over the lake, Nederland slept, in what could be described as a comfortable protest to the...
Insanity

Insanity

I once heard that the great Albert Einstein described  insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  If that’s the case, then I’m definitely insane. I’ve been coming here to this riverside piece of overhung limestone for  many weeks now. My goal is to...
The Fine Line

The Fine Line

There’s a fine line between adventure and madness. I’ve tiptoed it more times than I’d care to admit, never more so than in the gorge. The gorge, you see, invites you to the edge. It starts innocently enough, as all good temptations do. A wide southeastern trout stream running alongside...
November 1958

November 1958

The end of September is the typical time when summer and autumn finally split after existing in harmony for weeks. The world is no longer defined by the scarcity of clouds or the lush fields of green, but rather by the spectrum of grays and browns that collide to paint...
Winter, Walking

Winter, Walking

You go to bed, the night inky black, aware that there is a field below your window full of dusty blonde grasses, dried clumps of goldenrod, scratchy patches of sepiaed clover. There is wind, so their brittle bodies rattle against each other like reluctant bones, or swish down and back...
The Miracle Half-Mile

The Miracle Half-Mile

The trouble with fire is that it indiscriminately consumes everything in its path.  As alien cheat grass takes hold in Idaho’s high-plains, sagebrush desert, it’s great for chukars and chukar hunters, but hell on the sensitive sagebrush ecosystem.  When cheat grass catches fire – which it does regularly – it...
Latest entries
Joy

Joy

There is a small creek nearby that I often fish in the summertime.  It isn’t anything special as creeks go, but something about it has always resonated with me.  Maybe it’s the way the willows screen the water enough to dapple the sunlight just so.  Or perhaps it’s that particularly eerie quality the old-growth Lodgepole pines...
Winter on the Niangua

Winter on the Niangua

It is mid-day in January and trout are rising on the Niangua.  Wool shod, from top to bottom, I make the fifteen minute drive to frigid seclusion at the top of the Ozark range. As I pull in, the mist sags above the flow.  The white oak trunks are black against the snowy hillsides. While glancing expectantly,...
Black Ducks at the End of the Earth

Black Ducks at the End of the Earth

If you hunt or fish the same places enough times, over the course of enough years, a script evolves.  You go HERE.  You do THIS.  The animals do THAT.  There’s nothing wrong with this script, and our knowledge of it gives us some success in the field.   But our confidence can betray us – to...
Alpine Glow

Alpine Glow

Dust sticks to my sweat. Rocks and branches cut through my fragile skin. The cleanliness of my contrived, pampered existence has long since worn off, replaced by a haggard remnant of my former glory. The traverse has proven to be a far more substantial undertaking than I was anticipating. My water ran out long ago,...
Paddling Isle Royale

Paddling Isle Royale

I’m sitting in my kayak under one of only two bridges in Isle Royale National Park. The water is shallow, clear, and lined by variegated and brightly colored stones. No one knows where I am, I am all alone and supremely happy. Through this narrow inlet that leads to the vast expanse of Lake Superior...
Morning Down in the Hole

Morning Down in the Hole

Admit it.  It’s funny to hear east coasters talk about “wilderness.”  I live along the I-95 corridor, and while we have some amazing fishing and hunting, and some fairly wild places, wilderness it ain’t.  The Mid-Atlantic, in particular, is a region where getting to wilderness is better defined by the number of small-ish states you...
Africa

Africa

Africa. To some it is fantasy. To others it is a fulfillment of the quest that only the untamed spirit aspires. The Dark Continent holds more than its share of adventure for those that dare the teeth, claws, thorns, and venom to experience the richness of its resources. Many find satisfaction in the pursuit of...
Earn your keep

Earn your keep

I am a nobody.  I don’t look at myself in fly fishing’s mirror and say, “I’m One Bug Is Fake!”   Speaking in terms of writing ability, my outlook is similar.  Not that I would have a chance expand my ego, Mistress Analytics reminds me constantly that my daily readership is paltry, at best.  If someone...
Mother Nature

Mother Nature

I walk with tottering steps up the forest-lined trail. Chubby cheeks. Chubby legs. My mother, following patiently alongside, takes my small hand in hers and guides me through the maze of roots and rocks. Dew slides across my small face as I push past thickets of thimble berries and, higher up, huckleberries, both still unwilling...
Terror at Lake Walcott

Terror at Lake Walcott

It was just after 3 a.m. when the chaos began. A horrible sound broke the stillness of the night that was like an unopened bag of potato chips popping. It was not. Rather, it was a madman with a knife attempting to break the window of my car and rob me. I was camped alone...
The Greenhorn

The Greenhorn

I had just threaded my line through the guides, attached a fly to my tippet, and was ready to cast when the uninvited fisherman emerged from the curtain of alders near the river’s bend. In a rushed act of desperate deceit, I hooked the fly to one of the rod’s guides, tightened the line around...
Trout on a worm

Trout on a worm

My trail companion and I took the morning to fish a small trout stream. I would not be fly fishing today as the vegetation grew to the narrow water’s edge, leaving no room for a cast. Walking to the bottom of a steep waterfall, I dropped my line into a deep pool created by an...