Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category


Yesterday, I took a vacation day and headed for the lake…

Many anglers are attracted to the sport to be close to nature; to escape the rat race of modern life and return to a simpler time of existence. I am no different. Outside of my wife and daughter, nothing in life makes me happier then the smell of prairie grass and open water with the sounds of a splashing fish filling the air.

Yet, for some reason I find the act of completely separating myself from society to be a difficult matter. No matter how far I hike and wade into the wildlife areas; I find leaving my iPhone behind difficult. When I am fishing on a weekday, the phone will ding and vibrate every few minutes with work emails, text messages, and social media updates. Wrapped up in a plastic bag to keep it dry, the phone has a nesting place on the inside of my fishing vest; there to remind me that no matter how peaceful my immediate surroundings look; the cell phone tower, the roads, the modern life I seek to leave behind lies just beyond the tree line… just beyond my vision.

I guess maybe I am addicted to my phone. Or maybe that being reminded every few minutes that someone relies on me for something is reassuring. I am not sure which…

While wading through the water yesterday, I heard a ding between fishing holes; so I gave in to the irresistible erge and checked my messages. Sandwiched between the meeting requests and FYI emails was the notice of a student death…

As a 30 year old working in higher education, these emails always stop me dead in my tracks. They do not happen very often; but in my young career, this is not the first one I have received. I feel way too young to be receiving these emails; and working in higher education you would hope that these would never happen. But they’re called unexpected events for a reason…

I enjoy fly fishing because the sport drives me out into nature. I feel a vivid and interactive part of something much larger then myself. Being in nature assures me that there is a higher power in life; whatever that might be (I believe in all loving paths to “god”). That the circle of life moves on whether or not we notice the wheels turning; whether we can see these wheels past our offices, our iPhones, our jobs, our modern lives…

As I took a seat on a rock mid-fishing trip, the vastness of life fell on me all at once.

After a few moments, I gathered myself and waded on.

With each cast, each bite, each fish came the vibration of life… down the fly line, through my rod, and into my soul. When someone I know dies, I think the shadow of that event is very similar to the affect that modern life has… That it pulls the shades down over the larger meanings in life.

I think that modern life causes us to get caught up in frivolity… and we waste time worrying about things that ultimately do not matter. Similarly, the finality of death causes us to forget that life is much larger then we can possibly realize.

Luckily, I was fly fishing when I read the news. The vibrations of my fly rod reminded me of the larger things in life…

I wish nothing by my sympathies to this young man’s family… and the knowledge that life is a big circle. When one thing ends; another begins…

Fly fishing reminded me of that.

And with the release of a fat happy bluegill getting ready for the winter months, I am able to climb out of the water and back into modern life…

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As I continue to stall on things to write about…

I will admit that when I am fishing, I am a sucker for a great sunrise/sunset picture. Due to my schedule and life commitments, my fishing tends to take place early in the morning or in the waning hours of the day. No problem with that… a lot of good fishing happens in those hours.

And of course, some beautiful scenery. Here are some recent shots…

Enjoy!







Isn’t life wonderful?

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20130907-094130.jpgLargemouth Bass; caught this morning on public water. 19 1/2 inches.

Story to come!!!

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Little E hasn’t wanted to go to the lake recently. She has been in a “Mommy’s Girl” phase. But this weekend we saw the roles reverse… for the first time in weeks!


It’s nice to be on favorite every once in a while. Letting her wear her toy fishing vest helped too…

What a great night!

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Today, I got out of bed at 5:20 AM.

Those of you who knew me in my youth must be shock at that statement. I used to sleep into 10 and 11 o’clock in the morning. But one of the gifts that fly fishing has given me is a knowledge of all the wonderful things that happen as the sun comes up. I have spent my whole life watching and looking at sunsets. They can be quite beautiful…

But they represent they end of a day. An almost pessimistic thought… the end.

Wanting to get up and fishing early early in the morning would have once been a foreign thought to me. I have always been a night owl, and my life and social life before fatherhood had taken place at night. As such, it would seem that fishing at the end of the day would be more comfortable for me. It often happens after all the day’s activities have come to an end. There would be no reason to rush to the lake; I could take my time on the water, and fish clear into the dark. Many times the only thing waiting for me after fishing is bed.

However, here is something that fly fishing has taught me about life:

Getting up early to fish has taught me to enjoy watching the world wake up. And this has become special to me…

Capture

It’s not that I have never been up in the morning and watched a sunrise; but enjoying one is something I have found through fly fishing. I my quest to find and catch fish, I have been refining my tactics any way I can. In the heat of the “dog-days” of summer, the best time to fish is at sunrise or sunset. Often the windows of good fishing are only at these times in the height of summer; and the feeding periods of fish can be intensely short.

Being on the water at the right time can definitely mean the difference between a great day and getting skunked.

Working in academia in the fall means the my work schedule is running at full capacity. Top that off with a young family and a three year old at home, and my evenings are often spoken for. Thus, my fishing addiction drives me out of the house to hit the fishing “window” at hours of the day a younger me would have baulked at.

Getting up at 5:20 AM means going to bed earlier, prepping my fishing tackle the night before, driving impatiently to the lake, and setting my gear up as fast as possible in the dark. All so I can be on the water and in place as light begins to break across the water.

This entire process seems counter intuitive to me… shouldn’t I be going faster when fishing at the end of the day when there are precious few minutes of light left? Shouldn’t I be more relaxed in the morning knowing there is a whole day ahead of me?

The whole world seems upside down…

I sense this as I wade into the water; a brand new feeling that not noticed in previous years of my life. Each time I stop and watch a sunrise as I am standing waist deep in water, an epiphany presents itself again. The optimism of a brand new day.

In the slow and lethargic pace of an evening fishing I pessimistically pretend that if I ignore the sunset, the day won’t end. But prepping my gear the night before and the excited pace to get out on the water early presents the optimism and excitement of a brand new day. This little realization relaxes and sooths me; as I watch the sunrise give birth to morning.

When I used to live the night life, I would always stay up into the early morning hours. Sometimes I would not go to bed until the hours I now wake up to fish. I never used to see the sunrise. I would only see it set…

And you never realize how depressing a world of sunsets can be. That is, until something grabs your soul and leads you into the morning sun…

And even the littlest catches can sometimes be the biggest events of the day…

Anglers may start their lives by chasing fish… but somehow they always hook up with something more.

Even if the fish are not biting.

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It’s been a week today, and my iPhone is still down. I am still not giving up hope that I can save it. I am extremely stubborn (ask about the Ford Mustang I used to own sometime), and I have a special screwdriver coming today to open my phone. I am going to attempt to take an iPhone apart and repair it. Wish me luck…

In other news, I have discovered that writing a fishing blog becomes difficult without easy access to a camera that goes everywhere with you. Also, the weather is hot and the fishing is bad. All makes for some pretty boring story telling. But since I have the time, and I am waiting for a doctor appointment this morning, how about a couple quick updates…

Early in July, my family celebrated Christmas. You read that correctly. My family is so spread out that coming together for the holidays is impossible, so we gave up and celebrate Christmas in July. I managed to pick up some pretty sweet fly fishing swag as gifts…

The sign will look great over my fly tying desk. And the Henry Winkler book is awesome. Definitely a recommended read; whether or not you fly fish.

The Pabst was not a gift. I have dubbed it the official beer of fly fishing. It also disgusted my Anheuser-Busch loyal family. (And yes, I really do think PBR is a good beer.)

Second, I managed to complete one of my 2013 fly fishing goals while at my parents…

That’s right! That is a fish, caught on a fly, from Harlan County Lake!!!

For those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning, you might remember one of my early posts about Harlan County. No matter how hard I try, I could never catch a fish on a fly there.

Well, eat it Harlan.

This is proof of concept. Okay, Okay… I caught a freshwater drum. Not the most glorious of fish. But drum do put up a good fight on a fly rod. And I have fairly caught, played, and landed a fish from Harlan County Lake… that was not foul hooked, or on a trolled fly (which I don’t consider fly fishing…)

I think that is good for now. I have a BIG update… but I am going to save that for it’s own post.

See you in the waiting room at the family doctor.

E

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This week, I took five days vacation from work to go fishing. Monday morning I got up at 4:30AM like a good angler, and drove to the lake. When I get to the boat ramp, I noticed a couple of rain drops starting to fall. A quick check of the weather radar shows a small band of rain coming, so I decided instead of taking the chance of getting caught mid thunderstorm in my belly boat, I would curl up in the backseat of my car and wait for the rain to pass. I set an alarm for 30 minutes and drifted off.

When the alarm went off, the rain was falling pretty hard. So I set it for another 30 minutes…

And another. And another.

At 9:00 AM, I just went home.

The rain we got on Monday put all the fish down. I even tried fishing through the rain for a while, to no avail. Tuesday, the weather had cleared. I don’t normally head out to the lake after a rainstorm for a day or two; but dang it… I took vacation to fish! I was going to fish regardless.

After an hour of bass fishing with no hits, I gave up and went to my old favorite…

Bluegill.

Sorry “DD”, I don’t think ‘selfies’ are creepy at all…

Call them easy to catch, but fishing is a lot more fun when you occasionally feel a tug at the end of your line. Finding the bluegills took a little bit of time. But after I found them, they saved me from a skunked day. Heck, I even ended up with an 8 1/2 incher!

Later in the day, I headed back out to Bowling Lake with my Tenkara rod (mostly at the request of one of my readers… here you go John!). Bowling Lake has weeded over in most parts pretty heavily; making a tough lake to fish. But the bluegill action just kept right on going. The first few bite on a foam ant fly, but after I switched over to panfish popper flies. Then the action really took off.

Here is my panfish popper box… all but the yellow and black flies are hand made by yours truly!

I guess the life lesson in this post is sometimes you have to take what life will give you and make the most of it. Life might deal you crummy cards… But as any poker player will tell you, it’s not the cards that count… it’s how you play them.

I think I played my hand pretty well today.

And the best part of the whole experience? Watching the fish splash away…

Fishing is about more then just the fish.

Just as life is about more then the cards you are dealt…

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