My most recent story for USA Today/Travel.
America’s natural treasures: Ozark National Scenic Riverways
I’m happy to say that I am now blogging for Outdoor Life. If you want to get closer to more fish read this: Fishing Tips: Get Closer with Float Tubes | Outdoor Life.
NowU launched Tuesday, July 15, and I’m pleased to have a story included. The target readership is folks age 45 and older, although there’s plenty for anyone of nearly any age.
The site includes travel, technology, family, career, fitness and nutrition, sex on the road (that’s in the “connect” section), and more . . . even a fishing story.
Give it a look. Tell your friends. Mention it to strangers. www.NowU.com.
From the spring to Dam 3 the river is higher than normal. This is probably a by-product of ongoing work at Dam 3, which is where the hatchery is located. Workers are busy trying to repair the 100-year-old gate on the antique dam.
Heading down river below the dam to what is usually a good trout and SMB spot. Photos later, hopefully.
The clerk at Wal-Mart was a guy about my age. He rang up a can of WD-40.
“I use this stuff to oil up my fishing reels,” he said.
I started to respond when he launched into a story about needing to replace one of the tires on his boat trailer then swerved to a story about a bass he caught last year while fishing with a buddy at a Tennessee state park while fishing for crappie before coming back to the trailer, which he apparently got from his brother-in-law in some kind of a trade. Details of the deal weren’t revealed but the brother-in-law was sorry that he got rid of his boat trailer but he didn’t really need to be sorry because he could use it anytime he wanted all he had to do was ask.
He scanned a package of ground beef and a 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes.
“Making chili tonight?”
“Got it on a Roadrunner.”
“Got what on a Roadrunner?”
He looked up from the scanner. “That big bass I caught while crappie fishing.”
He scanned a can of black beans.
“You put these in chili?”
“I’d use real chili beans. You don’t want to use too much of that stuff on your reel.”
I’ll be careful.”
He sacked the rest of my items and I paid the bill. The story continued.
“I really like those Roadrunners for crappie. I like white. They sell ’em back in sporting goods. That’s what I caught the bass on. I catch a lot of crappie but not to many bass. Not much of a bass fisherman. Never really done it much.”
The lady behind me was growing visibly impatient.
“Well, good luck,” I said, as an exit strategy.
“Don’t need luck for that. I always catch fish.”
My wife walks through and surveys the angling carnage: frayed tippets and ragged flies, cracked and dented fly boxes, zingers that only partly retract, creaky pliers, patched waders, a cracked stream thermometer, two vests; a belt pack, hook files, wading shoes, a dry patch smeared with blood from some forgotten injury, a 7-piece rod that somehow survived a nasty fall, a clip-on magnifier, four dozen other odds and ends. Some I use each time I’m on the water; some will die of old age having never been wet.
Another pile is spinning gear: a couple of reels and a spool of eight pound monofilament, two boxes bulging with plugs, poppers, jigs, cranksbaits, hooks, and sinkers, a small backpack stuffed with more boxes, line, plugs and pliers. It’s a regular wintertime routine; this sorting gear and clearing of the mind.
Wife: “Do you still enjoy it as much as you used to?”
Me: “The fishing? Or this.”
Wife: “Well, both.”
I do enjoy messing with my gear; although when I’m finished it’s rarely anymore sorted out than when I began.
I can no longer deny that middle age has arrived; if for no other reason the chronic ache in my back serves as a persistent reminder. But they are of little concern to me; the age or the ache.
I have an increasing number of friends and colleagues whose fishing passion seems to have cooled; tempered by an increasingly hectic work and/or family schedule, health, age . . . a dozen other factors, some manageable, others not so much.
I watch this declining angling interest with a sort of detached yet disturbed amusement, vaguely acknowledging that it might someday affect me, although I can’t foresee it. I remain frantic to fish, more so now than ever. I want to fish everywhere; catch everything, or try to.
For 2014? Work harder. Work smarter. Fish more. Pray more. The last two goals are directly connected to the first two but are themselves strangely intertwined. After all, when Jesus wanted men he could depend on he first went to the docks.
A happy and safe New Year to you.
While working at my desk this morning a radio news program played in the background. It droned on about the government shutdown and the debt ceiling and while these are critically important issues the revolving comments by our political leaders became like static. Simply put they were adults behaving badly. I finely switched to a sports program, where the bad behavior at least had a humorous, lighthearted quality.
Were I in charge, I believe I would thank our political leaders for their service and send them home. All of them. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Moderates. Conservatives. Liberals. Then hold special elections next week to fill every office, the only requirements being that those elected report to work immediately and show results.
It’s a good thing I’m not in charge. I think I’ll go fishing this afternoon.
Thinking about a September road trip that would require fishing and camping gear and include places named Three Forks, Hell Creek, Yellowstone, Little Missouri, Cow Creek . . . probably a few more.
Details to come.
The Fishing Wire reports that a New Zealand angler has landed a 42 pound 1 ounce brown trout. If confirmed, the monster would set a new International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record for the species. The current brown all-tackle record is 41-8.
Otwin Kandolf caught the big fish while angling in a canal downstream from a salmon farm on the South Island.
Details at www.thefishingwire.com.
While a dozen or so commercial fishermen labored on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley to haul in enough Asian carp to claim the $10,000 winner’s check in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife-sponsored www.fw.ky.gov Carp Madness tournament, Chef Philippe Parola www.chefphilippe.com was telling anyone who would listen why carp should be treasured as a culinary treat.
“It is all quality,” Parola said, while filleting a 20-pound silver carp. “It has a very clean taste. It is a bony fish but aside from that you have one of the best fish, ever. There is no downside to this fish.”
Parola later offered samples of fried carp (a delicate and delicious white meat) and something he called “carp cheese balls,” fried and about the size of a golf ball that, while tasty, featured more cheese flavor than fish.
On the water the tournament had become a two-team contest. Fish were weighed as they were brought in (unlike a bass tournament anglers could bring a load of carp to the scale at any time then continue fishing) and by mid afternoon Barry Mann’s team had weighed 17,647 pounds and Heath Frailley’s crew had hauled in 15,275 pounds of carp. That was three tons more than the nearest competitor.
Full results tonight and a full report in Sunday’s Louisville Courier-Journal www.courier-journal.com/outdoors.