Articles in the Category Stories

Podcast: Freewheelin’ Two — Stories and Experiences — S5, Ep7

It’s the things that happen while we’re out there that make fly fishing for trout the all-consuming, never ending pursuit that it is for us. And, in truth, all of us need to LET that happen. It’s in the choices that we make regarding where we’ll fish, when we’ll fish and who we’ll fish with. Those elements, the locations, the woods, the water and the friendships make all of this special . . .

The Good Wader

The good wader keeps moving, believes in traction, casts in rhythm and makes no excuses. The good wader becomes the good angler . . .

Midnight Vise

Two more turns to anchor the tail. Keep it tight. Build a solid foundation, or the whole thing falls apart after a few fish — and that costs time. The shortening days steal enough of that already.

Who Knows Better Than You?

Anglers cling to the stories and accounts others. We believe in the experts. We want masters of this craft to exist and to tell us the answers.

Sure, you might have a group of wild trout dialed in for the better part of a season. Maybe it’s a midge hatch every summer morning, or a streamer bite on fall evenings, for one hour on either side of dusk.

But it will end. That’s what’s so special about chasing trout. Like the wings of a mayfly spinner, predictability is a fading ghost . . .

Everything Has a Flip Side

Everything Has a Flip Side

What do you believe in? What can you fish hard enough and long enough to effectively convince a sluggish trout that it’s hungry? That’s the fisherman’s confidence. And it beats out the hatch chart, the guide’s advice and last week’s river stories every time . . .

Fish It Anyway

Fish It Anyway

And from somewhere subconscious, a part of me made the choice . . .

“I’m gonna stay on till dark,” I told Smith. “I tied on a dry-dropper, and I’ll cover the edges.”

I watched Smith walk toward home, toward the rest of life, into the lights, into the warmth, into the friendships. I stayed with the river and remained alone — pensive in the rain, resolute in the wind.

Winter Pregame

Winter Pregame

Lessons like these linger, and they have an impact. His was a message not to fear the winter, but to respect it, to venture forth but to prepare for the unexpected. Seek adventure, with provision as your companion.

Most of Dad’s lessons were ingrained that way. And, years later, when fishing became a life for me, I saw no reason why snowy roads or ice in the rod guides should keep me from fishing . . .

Last Cast

Last Cast

The light of the last day of the year began to fade, and I reminisced a bit. It’s been an incredible year for me, full of life lessons that I probably needed to work on for some time now.

Here’s to living the next year vividly . . .

What to Trust

What to Trust

Of the good fishermen I know, one thing I see in all of them is how easily they can reach conclusions about fish habits. They have a knack for knowing what to trust and when to trust it.

The damned thing about a river is that it changes every day, and the habits of trout follow. If you’re observant enough to see the dynamics of a river, you can predict how the fish will respond, just by correlating their behavior patterns with the changes in water level, clarity, food availability, etc. Often, though, that’s a big leap to take. And it requires trusting in your observations enough to act decisively on them . . .

Thirty-Inch Liars

Thirty-Inch Liars

Every fisherman in the parking lot seems to have a thirty-inch fish story, don’t they?

You know what I hear when someone says a fish was “about two feet long?” I hear: “I didn’t measure the fish.”

Bass guys don’t put up with this stuff. My friend, Sawyer (a dedicated bass and musky guy), is dumbfounded by the cavalier way trout fishermen throw estimates around. In his world, if you didn’t measure it, you don’t put a number on it. They take it seriously. We trout fishermen embarrass ourselves with estimates.

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Waiting On Luck

Waiting On Luck

With the river at its peak, Dad and I spent a drizzly day with no one in sight at any hour, early or late. Alone together against the odds, we landed the occasional fish purely by accident. Yes, we targeted the backwaters. Sure, we fished deer hair sculpins, worm patterns and chartreuse things. But such are the measures suggested by those who peddle wishful thinking more than experience. Nothing was consistent in those roiling waters.

Regardless, Dad and I fished. And we hoped. We were waiting on luck . . .

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Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

At thirteen years old, he has enough experience with the woods and water that I don’t think twice about dropping him off to fish for the evening, awaiting his call when he’s either fished out or it’s getting dark. When I pick him up, he’s full of excitement and stories, or he is calm and peaceful in a way that I don’t often see him. I let him be, in those times, and allow the experience for him to soak in, as he processes a return to the world after a long outing. Leaving the water to rejoin life is sometimes a hard turn.

Kids soak in the rhythms of nature. And later in life, maybe around twelve years old, that base of experience pays off . . .

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Following Through

Following Through

This morning should have been like any other. Kill the alarm and hate life for the first five minutes as my body begrudgingly catches up to the will of ambition. Coffee helps. So does the routine, because the inevitability of repetition and pattern seems certain. It cannot be challenged. So, no, you cannot go back to bed. Go fishing . . .

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I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I was in that stage of learning where I’d read more than I could put to use, while Rich had already fished more than he could ever find the words to tell.

. . . Somewhat stunned by the beauty of it all, I fell silent and let time creep along, until the slow motion whitewater of the falls mixed with the endless emerald shades reflecting in the softwater glides. An impenetrable canopy above stood guard against the angle of the sun and disguised the true time of day. This timeless valley was either day or night — with the details of everything in between insignificant . . .

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My Fishing Dogs

My Fishing Dogs

Fishing with a good dog brings a novel joy to average moments. It’s the wet nose on your cheek in the middle of a bankside sit, the shared ham sandwich under dripping evergreen boughs while waiting out a soggy thunderstorm. It’s the simple companionship — the kind that comes without questions or conditions. Our bond with a good dog is pure friendship. It is, quite simply . . . love.

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