Articles With the Tag . . . Discovery

Grandfather

He didn’t fish. He hunted. Wandering over wooded mountains, and whispering through the wheat fields, I followed my grandfather into a broken forest. We climbed over long oaks, and we scaled fallen hemlock trunks to reach the other side of a small stream. My footsteps fell into his. He walked slowly — much slower than a boy’s patience could match. And when my eagerness overtook me, Grandfather turned to force my pause. He leaned in and granted me this wisdom: “Slowly, child. Life’s secrets are in these trees.”

He was gone before my sons were born.

And now, when I enter these forests, these forgotten tramps, miles away from industry and deep inside shaded canyons, the wet moss absorbs my footfalls and silences the mental rush of an average life. These muted and hushed moments are given for remembering . . .

Legendary

Hours earlier . . .

I walked behind Dad to the river. I kept my head down through the steady morning rain, watching water drops grow on the brim of my hat and then fall in rhythm with each step forward. On a muddy side trail I followed Dad: my boot tracks into his, my wide and awkward gait to keep up, the sucking sound of mud and rubber separating with each step, and more water rushing in to fill the hole behind — then the splashing of my own half-sized boots into his full-sized tracks.

We walked until our path finally ended underneath a stand of spruce trees at the edge of the river. Dad looked back . . .

Border Collie and the Thunderstorm

The border collie always sensed incoming weather before I did. Under the perfect contrast of black on white, just beneath mottled pink skin and between the ears, was a group of unknown senses, not just for the weather, but for a number of intangibles I never seemed to recognize. He tilted his head and stared at me with confusion, perhaps wondering why I couldn’t hear, smell or sense the thunderstorm before I could see it . . .

How It Started

There was a small shop attached to the house where he tied flies and built fly rods. Everything was a mystery as I opened the screen door, but I recognize the smell of cedar once I walked in. I knew nothing about leaders, tippets, tapers or nymphs. I just knew I wanted to fish dry flies.

I was turning sixteen that summer, and the fishing had slowed — again. It always did. When the sun climbed higher and my freestone waters grew clearer with their summer flows, the minnows that I’d learned to fish so well just stopped catching trout. It happened every year, but I was old enough to be aware of the shift this time.

The Fisherman is Eternally Hopeful

The Fisherman is Eternally Hopeful

Rich had cancer, and it was spreading fast. We both knew this was our last trip together and that a dear friendship was coming to a close. We fished a long morning, and eventually, I worked upstream toward my friend. From thirty yards, I could see the exhaustion in...

Angler Types in Profile: The Rookie

Angler Types in Profile: The Rookie

Sam surprised me. “Let’s do it,” he blurted out when I answered the phone. “Let’s go fly fishing.” The way Sam spoke the sentence was already awkward, as though he was uncomfortable with the words themselves. He slowed down every time he put the word “fly” in front of...

Fishing Alone

Fishing Alone

I swear I fish best when I’m alone. I can’t prove it without a witness, of course, but I guess I don’t care to verify it anyway . . . and that’s the point. In what seems like another lifetime ago, I fished the mountain streams alone and often, and I miss it now. In...

Hatch Matcher

Hatch Matcher

It was the summer before college. Before the real world started, they said — although college life never proved to be anything like the rest of the world.

I was working for a printing company, spending three hot months in a delivery truck, shuttling press orders to the docks and doorsteps of Western Pennsylvania corporations.

As I drove repetitive miles across the Keystone state, I was most attentive in the valleys. From my tall perch behind the worn-out steering wheel, I peered over each bridge crossing, wondering and dreaming about trout. I knew of Western Pennsylvania’s struggles to harbor wild trout. I knew about its troubled past with acid mine drainage, but I’d seen marked improvement in water quality over my young life. And I’d explored enough to expect surprises — trout can be anywhere . . .

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #3 — Fish New Waters

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #3 — Fish New Waters

I’m a wanderer. On the water, I’d rather explore a new section of river than visit a familiar one — almost always. There’s excitement and an expectation of the unknown in and around every trout stream. I’ve found too many remarkable things around the bend to expect...

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Backcast | Take Five

Backcast | Take Five

Here's one from the Troutbitten archives, an on-the-water story with one of my favorite tips stuck in the middle. Take Five ... The lack of production today is killing me. I’ve looked forward to this trip for weeks: tying flies, scanning maps, reviewing old photos and...

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The further you walk, the more you leave behind

The further you walk, the more you leave behind

I wrote an article about the pleasure of solitude and the distances we'll go to get there. It's titled "The further you walk the more you leave behind," and it's available at this Hatch Magazine link. Here are a few excerpts: ... This should be early enough, but you...

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What Can You Do for TU? How Trout Unlimited Can Save Your Soul

What Can You Do for TU? How Trout Unlimited Can Save Your Soul

There’s an army of people out there working together to save and restore trout streams. They stand against pollution and impairment, and they improve the quality of water. They stop bank erosion from cutting away acres of property, and that helps keep private lands open to the public.

There are more people taking care of our rivers than I ever imagined. Until recently, I thought only about the fishing. I want healthy wild trout in the water. Same as you.

I think it’s our turn to start giving back. Here’s how . . .

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