Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Where have I been?


Every place and no place at once.

January was a blur of work and fishing in frigid weather on the Farmington. Egg patterns brought enough fish to hand to make it all worthwhile though there were moments when my fingers and nose, burned from the frigid wind, may have disagreed.

February began with a little light knee surgery followed by physical therapy and whining. It took longer than I thought to get back into fighting shape but by the end of the month my right leg was doing what it was supposed to do without much complaining. I didn't bounce back as quickly as from the knee surgery a decade ago but then someone did mention I'm not getting any younger.

March brought upper and lower GI prodding by various and sundry medical professionals. At least they told me they were professionals. And no fishing. And, fortunately, no medical conditions that can't be solved without some minor medications and drinking habit dietary changes.

While I haven't scribbled anything here in some time I've been sporadically writing for Hatch Magazine as well as The Drake and The Flyfish Journal. Writing for these outlets has been financially satisfying (you, dear reader, are notoriously frugal) and, more importantly, has caused me to slow down and write what I consider to be some better pieces. You can judge for yourself, but you'll have to go out and buy those magazine before they're off of the news stand.

Over the past few weeks I've stumbled upon these little gems.
There's no promise I'll be back here anytime soon but at least you know that I remember that this place exists and if you add yourself to the mailing list (link at upper right) you'll at least hear from me when I am back.

Even though it's mud season in much of the northeast, the hills are getting the red blush that tells you leaf out is not far off. I walked along some small streams with a rod over the past few weeks. I've seen some fish and caught none. The good fishing is just ahead. I'll see you on the water.

After this long winter, my back feels like that.
Winter has placed two trees in the middle of a fine run.

Mud season has come to the Pootatuck





Wednesday, December 31, 2014

At the end of the year

Thanks for sending along "Hendricksons" for our review. It has its moments, and it carries strong feelings of familiarity for all us aging anglers. Therein lies its charm, but also its drawback: it's simply too familiar an approach, into far too familiar a topic, to elbow its way into [Insert name of famous journal]. - Editor

As the year waned I was consumed by urgent professional matters that seem to have evaporated opportunities for angling, heck, for much of anything other than email and PowerPoint. I see that my last post was in early October which was roughly the last time I wrote for Hatch Magazine and fell into a black hole of work. Being in the middle of the holiday season, work has moved to the background and I've been able to refocus on the important things: family, rest, sport.

I sat in a blind last week waiting for geese to fly. We saw some geese but the only shot we took was at the bull. It was good to be among sportsman again talking about nothing more consequential than whether we needed more dekes and if that was a crow or a hawk on the far treeline; consensus was a hawk.

My boots, muddy from the cornfield, got a proper cleaning when Ann and I took Ripley for a walk in the woods. Sam and I got them dirty all over again yesterday as we spent a few hours wandering on the trail. There's something to be said for having opportunities to get wet and muddy. It feels a whole lot more like living than what we do most days. Tomorrow I'll be on a stream hoping for a winter trout. It's good to be out again.

I've been in a bit of a writing funk. I'm not sure if that's due to the urgent, stressful matters at work or if there's something else at play. Regardless the words have been slow in coming though I do have several half-written pieces that I should probably be polishing up. I've set some time aside today to write and clean my office. I'll probably get more of one done than the other but at least I set off with the right intentions.

In this stack of writing there's a piece of fiction I wrote two or more years ago. It sat with an editor for almost a year as he promised to put it "in the next issue". It turns out his publisher didn't like it as much as he did. We eventually agreed to set it free. Since that time it's been with several other editors. Some sent quick declines, others sat on it and one, the author of the quote above, made it clear this piece wasn't publishable.

In May I sent it off to yet another home and since I haven't heard back I'm now confident I've exhausted opportunities for financial renumeration. I'll have to be satisfied with the renumeration of knowing that someone other than a few editors have read the piece.

So, to end the year, I present Hendricksons for your reading pleasure and critical review.

I hope you enjoy the piece. Have a happy and safe evening tonight, and I wish you all a prosperous New Year!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Little Things

Articulated streamers designed to imitate large meals are all the rage lately especially with the crowd that likes large fish. I suppose that includes most of us, though once you try casting those beasts you might reconsider. That is, until a large trout slams the thing, then it's all worthwhile.

The reality is that most of us spend a lot of time casting more modest flies to trout of the more common variety. This time of year the game gets smaller and smaller as we move into midge and olive season. A buddy recently wrote me about a pending fishing trip. The advice was that we'd start at size #18 flies and work our way down until we found the sweet spot probably around #22 or less.

Since we're only seeing small flies hatching, it's not a big leap to assume that's all that's in the water column. And while it might be true that these smaller bugs are the majority of the fauna all those bugs that hatch in warmer months have to be live somewhere off peak. It's no surprise that they're living underfoot.

You can read the rest of this article at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Casting Distance


On one of the less storied stretches of the Housatonic River there's a long riffle that pauses twice creating two very fishy places. I've fished this spot regularly over the past few years. While these spots are no great secret, they attract far less traffic for a variety of reasons. First, they're relatively harder to access than other spots. The well worn paths go upstream and downstream. Second, during most water levels they look relatively featureless with little obvious opportunity for holding water. Finally, the folks who fish it keep mum about it.

On Saturday the water was low. I expected some exposed riffle based upon the gage reading but what greeted me when I got there was a surprising lack of water. I was still thirty feet from damp ground and the main current was on the far bank. A short ways upstream an angler sat high and dry upon a boulder that was normally under water. He was just at the edge of the first good spot so I walked upstream over the dried cobble to the second pool.

You can read the rest of this article at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Strip mining for bass


As an angler it's easy to get down on the coal industry. What they've done to water and air quality over the centuries is a crime. The industry continues to enjoy the protection of both parties at all levels of government. I suppose that's because we like what happens when we throw a light switch but there's clearly room for improvement in how things get done. Of course, in every cloud there is a silver lining and I may have found one in coal.

West Virginia is the place I most associate with coal mining. I'm not sure why that is. I was going to blame it on A Coal Miner's Daughter but it turns out Loretta Lynn is from Kentucky. It also turns out West Virginia isn't at the top of the list. Wyoming produces more than three times the coal of West Virginia; 388 million tons in 2013 down from 457 million tons in 2008

Indiana is also in the top ten. As America has sought energy independence all manner of taxpayer funded incentives have been lavished on the industry. As a result, Indiana's coal production has increased over the past few years reaching an all time high in 2013 at 39 million tons.

You can read the rest of this article at Hatch Magazine.

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I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.