Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Home Water

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There is a lot to process after three weeks in India. But the most important part was returning home…

A friend of mine asked me what I was looking forward to the most about my trip to India in the days before I left. She was mad when I told her I looked forward to coming home the most. She didn’t believe me; and thought I was putting her on with a cheap answer.

I was right. It was the best part.

First was seeing my wife and daughter outside security. I dreamed about for days leading up to the flight home. And every moment of that embrace lived up to my expectations.

And then some.

Next was returning to my home waters. I often say that fishing is about more then just the fish. Most people must think I am full of crap; and that’s okay. They are correct in the fact that if I didn’t ever catch fish, I wouldn’t go fishing. The first strike of a fish and the feeling as they slip through my fingers and back into the water are the two most electrifying moments of fishing.

They will never get old.

But being on the water gives me a chance to do some silent soul searching. I have learned just as much about myself on the water then I have in years leading back up to my rediscovery of the sport.

Three weeks in India were emotional and eye opening.

So was watching the sunrise over the cottonwoods and water on my first morning back.
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Even though my home water is not exotic, and the places around well known to my body, I still find out something about myself every trip.

And return home to my wife and daughter every night.

I was even rewarded with a new fish on the fly after three weeks away… A black bullhead.
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Not that they are hard to catch, but I had never caught one on a fly before.

You can travel around the world and learn a lot about yourself.

I did.

But if you pay close enough attention, you can learn just as much in your own backyard… Coming home helps you to appreciate those moments that much more.

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Day 3: Visiting The Kids

20140515-222155.jpgToday we visited an organization that works with the children of trafficked women for the commercial sex trade. Academically our students are here studying the issue of human trafficking, especially how it relates to Southern Asia…

The place we visited was in the heart of the Mumbai slums red light district. This small school and night center provides what often makes up the only refuge that these children have from the conditions around them. About 60 children gathered to make Macaroni art and bead bracelets with us, from ages 4 to 16. Most had never seen a white person before… Let alone an American.

They laughed and played with us for several hours. When I was not looking, the children would sneak up to rub my cotton socks; as I was the only person from my group wearing them and these children wear sandals… if any shoes at all. They sang local children’s songs and tried to teach us to count in Hindi.

One young boy asked where I was from. When I said Nebraska, he asked “What is that by?” Thinking of the nearest place he might have heard of, even though it is no where close, I said Chicago. Again he looked at me and said “Where?” I broadened my statement and said “the United States.” He looked at me and said “Which continent is that on?”

These kids live with violence and danger on the streets, mothers trapped in human sex trafficking, and the majority have been victims of the most heinous of crimes. Despite this, they laughed and played not unlike any other child I have watched play at home. They were quick with a smile and eager to share India with us.

They got together in a large group and giggled as we danced the hooky-pokie together. Several of the older children to thank us and invite us to come back every year…

They don’t receive many visitors.

When we left the school, our tour took us on a quick walk around the block. As we tried to cross the main intersection to walk down a slum lane, a local cop monitoring traffic stop and would not let us travel down the lane because of the danger to us; even as he let local women and children run by.

The stares that we got from the locals seemed to pierce right through your skin. As we walked back to the bus, I felt as though any of the hundreds of men lining the street could have jumped us at any second. There eyes and their posture made it clear that we were not welcome in their neighborhood. Without a doubt the peril of this place far exceeded any where I had been before. In that moment the immense weight of danger and fear that these children endure everyday came crashing down upon my soul.

As we rode the bus back to the hotel, I pondered how humanity could allow children to live in such conditions and turn a blind eye to their plight. They are laughing, loving kids just like my daughter. When I returned to my room, I did the only thing a rational person could…

I cried.
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So, Where Have I Been?

A valid question.

Well, since I last blogged, I…
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Won a fishing tournament…
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Built a jig and learned to make my own furled leaders…
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Bought a nice fishing flasher and became as obsessed with ice fishing as I am with fly fishing…
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And broke a fly rod…

That will get its own post later on.

I spent all this time doing things that I enjoy doing, but not sharing them. And I discovered that I really missed that aspect of my blog. I am starting to think that a lot of people read my blog not for the fishing, but to hear my words. That is the message that I took away from my grandmother. Writing a blog to a single purpose, can be mind numbingly restrictive; and I think that helped to burn me out on blogging too.

Flies Over will still be fishing heavy. I spend way to much time fishing and thinking about fishing for it not to be. But I think I will start to expand the topics out a bit more. I envision this next era of Flies Over Nebraska to be a blog written by a fly fishing writer stuck in the body of a higher education professional. Topics from any part of my life will be fair game.

You’ve been warned.

And I am going to India for work in a few weeks. So there’s that…

I am sure I am going to need an outlet for my creativity while I am there.

So welcome to the, what I think is the fourth, dedication of Flies Over.

Slightly less fish, more glimpses of a fisherman’s mind.

(You ought to love that, dd@dog.com)

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Late Season Crappie!!!

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In case you missed, Nebraska has started it’s fall 2013 trout stocking schedule

Which means I have been out chasing my favorite fish, above and by far: the Rainbow Trout.

There isn’t a prettier fish around. Or one that is more fun to chase.

I have all sorts of things to say about chasing trout over the last week. But one experience takes the cake. One night this last week, Little E tagged along with me to catch a trout. She knows full well that the Rainbows are daddy’s favorite. And daddy desperately wanted to catch her one so she could hold one in her hands. Hopefully holding one would inspire a lifetime of awe in her, just as it had for me.

Well, they call it fishing for a reason. I got skunked.

Little E spent her time picking cattails to take home to mommy. Right toward sundown, when we were getting ready to call it a night, she pulled on my pant legs and asked if she could cast. I had my tenkara rod with me, and figured why not…

I had been messing around with a dry fly, as I had gotten a few pecks at it, but no takes. I didn’t think anything of the fly choice at the time; I just wanted her to cast the rod. So she began flinging the rod around. Her “cast” (using the word loosely) was pretty funny.

I was working with her to pick the line up, cast it, then count to five; to give the fish a chance to bite. An important skill for down the road I thought…

I thought…

When she went to pick up the line for a cast, she belted out “Daddy! I got a shishy!!!”

And sure enough, she did.

She pulled the rod back, almost instinctively. All I had to do was grab the line and flop it up on shore.

She was so excite… just look at that smile.

She even put it back in the water herself…

And then she wanted to keep going. And two or three casts later, up came another one…

That’s my girl!

Somehow, even the days I get skunked somehow turn out being pretty memorable

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It’s that time of year again, when my November Birthday and Christmas create the need for me to make a list of gift ideas for me. I think this list could apply to other fly anglers; but specifically, this is what you can get for me. For my friends and family, if you do get me something off this list then you might want to let my wife know so we can avoid duplicate gifts… (although I will take multiple trips to Kamchatka!)

Here is a Birthday/Xmas list…

This Boat
-A waterproof camera
-A Full Sized Coffee Maker for my office, since “Goose” is dying… Thank you to my wife and Little E for this for my B-Day!
-Magazine subscriptions to In-Fisherman, Nebraskaland, American Angler, Fly Rod and Reel, or the online magazine The Catch
-A Classy Red Sox Shirt (one that just says “Boston” or “Red Sox” without any other garbage on it)
-Fly tying desk organziers… This or This
-The Huskers To Win The B1G
An Ice Fishing Flasher
Gift Cards To Cabela’s to help me pay for the Fly Rod I am saving for
-New Husker Sweatshirts are always appreciated
-A box of Oreo cookies
-I need cologne
A guided fly fishing trip to Kamchatka
Big, Nice Fly Boxes, preferable waterproof…
-Summer Fishing Clothing… the non-cotton type that is super-fast drying… Long sleeve T’s preferred to avoid sunburns
-Winter Fishing Clothing… base layers, coats, especially pants… things to keep me warm while ice fishing
-Pretty much any ice fishing gear

Get to shopping and let’s make this my best birthday/xmas yet!!!
E

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Sometimes the best fishing trips are ones that don’t have a single bite…

In order to give mommy sometime to get her projects done, Daddy and Little E planned a whole day out. She had been asking place that has bouncy castles, ball pits, and everything else that would make a three year old’s day. And seeing an opportunity to use this to my advantage, I struck a deal with Little E…

You see, she has not be “volunteering” to go fishing lately. She’s three and everyday brings with it a new revitalization of the knowledge that their is a whole world for her to discover.

And she loves to explore. The loss of my fishing body becomes a difficult pill to swallow.

So we struck a deal. If she would go fishing for a couple hours this morning, I would take her to the “play place”. At first the proposition only brought tears… “I don’t wanna fish; I just wanna go to the play place! I only want to do one thing!” But after a few minutes, she took the deal.

On the way to the lake, we talked about how “sometimes I don’t like to go fishing”, but only because she wanted to play. I can’t say I blame her.

But then we got to the lake… and out came the Sponge Bob fishing pole…

She marched me up and down the bank, to all of the “good spots”… the spots where she could drop her toy jellyfish tied to the end of her line in the water, and then she could retrieve it. Each time she did, she held it proudly in the air. She would march it over to me and ask, as I have done so many times for her, if I wanted to pet her “shishy”. And after a quick pet, she would have to put it back in the water… and make daddy say “bye-bye fishy”.

As we continued this process, it didn’t take her long to realize that daddy had not caught a fish yet… but she had caught lots of jellyfish. And she let daddy have it…

“I am a good fisher-girl. I a better fisher then you.”

That’s my girl. Rub it in…

No, I didn’t catch a fish; or even had a bite all day. But when I told Little E it was time to go to the play place, I caught the greatest line of the daddy…

“I don’t want to go, daddy! I’m not done fishing!!!”

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