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 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:...

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...

The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer

Well, it's summer again. The creeks say so, and the fish say so, and good fishing is becoming more exclusively a morning proposition with just a little activity right before dark as well. The night fishing action has not turned on for me yet, despite my best efforts;...

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The Stinky Bass

The Stinky Bass

Pat and I wanted to float, but after the recent rains all of our local options were too high and/or muddy. I'm not complaining about it. Fish like water, and I'd rather see a creek bank-full than find the streambed half sun-dried. At high levels, the ideal conditions...

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Float

Float

Burke and I floated today. It's almost late enough in the season to call it a winter run, but not quite. Need snow for that, and I'd say real winter hasn't started yet. Action was about what we expected for this river at this time of the year, which is to say, it was...

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Last Good Island

Last Good Island

So it's been a Troutbitten theme lately to do the unusual instead of the doing the usual. Burke started it a few months ago with "Out of the Ordinary October," and I think most of us jumped on the wagon and haven't gotten off.   It's a good wagon. If you are into...

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