I've got a song that I hum when things get difficult. When I get tired on a trail, frustrated with life or just when I'm thinking too much. I'm not sure when I started, but I think it was some time during college or right after. It's a song by the Duhks, Down To The River. A slightly folksy tune, a lotta bit of Cajun, and a little bit Irish jig. I imagine that if I ever endure anything extremely troublesome, let's say childbirth, I'd sing it at the top of my lungs.
This weekend Jacob and I headed out on my first big adventure in a long, long time. A good hike, paired with lots of high country brook trout is the perfect combination. I can't begin to describe how sweet the pine trees smelled during the hike or how refreshing that cold mountain water felt on my feet. There certainly aren't words to characterize the tug of a native brookie on the end of my four weight. Read More
As anglers, when we think of Norman Maclean, our minds jump to A River Runs Through It, about never leaving Montana, and how Jesus himself was a fly fisherman. We've all got a copy of the book; personally, I own three, one of which has never been touched. And while it will always be a special book, for me, it simply doesn't compare to Maclean's final novel, Young Men and Fire.
My copy is used, purchased second hand, for only a couple bucks. It's worn and dirty and even carries the slightest hint of smoke, probably due to being read at night around a campfire. With the news of several wildfires popping up all over the southwest, the largest being in Durango, I pulled my old friend off the bookshelf. It seemed fitting. Read More
One of the first lessons I received when learning to fly fish was confidence. "You've got to have confidence in that fly, in yourself," Jacob's words have remained with me all these years. It's why I fish certain patterns, choose long casts over short rolls and why I move through the water the way I do. It's all about where my confidence lies. Read More
It's a funny thing when you lose your confidence. Perhaps you've spent some time off the water or had one too many bad trips. Maybe it was caused by a harsh word or unfounded judgment by a fellow angler. Then again it may have just disappeared and you have no idea how it happened.
For a while now my life has been filled with surgery, doctor's visits, high water, and more doctor's visits, with strict orders to stay out of the rivers and off the mountains. My body became fatigued during the process and my mind weak, resulting in a catastrophic lack of confidence.
Over the past couple years there's been a movement in the angling community to kick plastic and pick up trash every time you go out fishing. The kick plastic was no big deal, I carry my hydro flask with me everywhere, but picking up trash proved to be a challenge. It's not that I'm opposed to cleaning up our rivers, but my net is just not big enough to hold the amount of plastic bags and water bottles, chip bags, and the inevitable Miller Lite Cans that seem to be everywhere. Filling up a net usually takes me a few minutes and then I move on to trying to shove trash in my pack or waders and always walking away disappointed. Read More
It was one o'clock on Friday afternoon when I heard about the 416 fire in Durango. I've checked in with friends, kept up with the various social media feeds, and listened attentively to the local public radio station. Last night I asked the universe to kindly send our evening thunderstorms out West for the remainder of the week, but so far my request has been denied. As of this morning, the 416 fire is covering 2,402 acres with 10% containment. Read More
Well, it's that time of year! Jacob and I are getting ready to pack up the car and head out West for a month of fishing and exploring.
This year we're moving our sojourn to the month of July in an effort to catch as many fish as we can before all the rivers dry up.
So, here's my yearly PSA regarding rod bags. If you're in need of a bag or two please place your order before June 20th. Any orders placed after that date are not guaranteed to be completed and shipped before we head out. Read More
This morning I got an alert on my phone prompting me to be ready to evacuate my home in case of flooding or a landslide. I'm not too worried about the flooding part. We live on a hill, and while we may not be able to leave the house, we'll be okay. But, I've been surveying my neighbor's yard all morning and reminiscing about all the trees they've cut down over the years. I packed a small bag that's in the car, just in case. Read More
It's been raining here in Western North Carolina for two straight days and we've got three to go. Last week we went through the same predicament. I'm not talking about soft, delicate rain, but hard rain, the kind associated with thunderstorms and hurricanes and tropical depressions (insert Alberto). It's dark and wet, a feeling of seasonal depression has started to creep back into my being.
During college, I took a studio class. It was meant to teach us about artificial lighting, present products in an agreeable way and refine our commercial skills. While I enjoyed the nitty-gritty details surrounding light, I was positively uninspired by the cleanliness of it all. At one point I decided that I would try to bring the 'outdoors' in, photographing my trusty backpack, hiking boots, and camp stove against a stark white background with beautifully even light. The photographs were good, but my product was a little too "dingy," or so I was told. Read More