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.

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...

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...

Two Sides to Every Fisherman

Two Sides to Every Fisherman

There are two sides to every fisherman: one that simply enjoys being on the water (hoping to catch a fish), and the other that desperately wants to know how to put more fish in the net. These two parts find an internal balance inside every angler I know. The casual...

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The Shallows Below

The Shallows Below

— This is the companion chapter to The Shallows Above, published a few days ago. ... I’ve done this nighttime thunderstorm thing before. Two summers ago, on a dark night in July, I was surprised by another thunderstorm. And once again, it was one of the most memorable...

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The Shallows Above

The Shallows Above

The thunderstorm came from nowhere. I’m not much for weather reports, and I hadn’t checked. I’d simply walked out of my garage and looked at some clouds in the sky at dusk. No moon, either. So it would be a dark night with only patches of starlight between the clouds:...

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Calculated Fun

Calculated Fun

  The other day, my friend, Austin, mentioned something about me being a calculated fisherman. I guess I come off that way. The truth is, my planning and plotting and theory building mostly happens while I’m not fishing. When I'm on the water, a lot of that...

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I’ve lived, and I’ve left some good things here . . . that is enough

I’ve lived, and I’ve left some good things here . . . that is enough

Will climbed up the mountain path and out of the canyon. He walked through the back door and into the old sunroom to sit at his grandfather’s wooden desk. He paused in thought and then put pencil to paper.

When he’d finished, he looked up through the sunroom glass toward the fading orange October daylight. Will walked to the porch and felt the cool stone under his feet as he scanned the landscape of his life.

The rooster crowed before dawn . . .

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