silver dollars

ROP running low and clear before my one stand of the fall, and lo and behold MZA is funemployed. Under challenging conditions, Employment Quest 2012 is underway and word on the street is that fish are being hooked: skinny water and down economy.

It occurs to one that a job search is much like fly fishing for steelhead – meat must be kept in water, chins up. Just cause there’s not a tug-tug when you swing through a run doesn’t mean your program is fucked – although it could in truth be fucked, but just not automatically, inherently, out of hand fucked. Whether crafting a cover letter or a streamer, use sticky hooks and nice paper. Be like a zen archer when you cast or hit Send, destroy the separation of you and target, annihilate both expectation and surprise.

I had a job that let me drink (and brew) beer during working hours and paid enough to buy fly lines more or less whenever I needed to, or at least when I remembered to. But, as happens in the course of human events, it became necessary to keep stepping down the run. Take stock, be mindful of what’s important and what’s transitory. I’ve got a typo-free resume and a passable low-water box and no leaks in my waders. Go time.

modes of participation in a migratory fishery as identity: a screed

Steelhead. Chasing chrome. Unicorns. An addiction, the most extreme form of freshwater fly fishing, a polemical and political minefield, where angling etiquette goes to die. The swing is the thing, strike indicators are for pussies, why don’t you want to actually catch a fish, it’s not as good as it used to be, this is our river you Fucking Illinois Bastards.

The rhetoric of steelheading as identity gets a tad exhausting. Can’t everybody be cool? It should be enough that they’re here, and we’re here, and that they’re miraculously ascending their natal system again before their cometlike peregrinations take them back beyond our ken, and that we’re casting flies at them instead of sitting at a desk or commuting or filing our taxes or any of the other muddy gray things that cast no light on the stony road of the inevitable. Why do so many of us have to be so loud and 21st century about it?

Hey, swinger. I get it, you’re a cowboy. Keep stepping down the run, John Wayne.

And you, with the strike indicators … don’t listen to them. You can be proud or ashamed, just keep doing your thing, but wait your turn. This isn’t Thunderdome.

And you, with the bait … you’re going do what you’re going to do, and you’re never ever going to read this anyway.

And all of you pick the hell up after yourselves and stay the fuck off the gravel. This isn’t your garage, and just cause it’s a self-sustaining population doesn’t mean we can’t still fuck it up.

fighter command to punter patrol, over

Second stand of the fall run: staying behind.

The era of wifi has made the role of Fighter Command obsolete, as Punter Patrol can now smear batter grease and Spotted Cow over the NOAA and USGS feeds on their mobile devices of an evening in the ROP watershed. No need to call home. These are different times.

Left to imagine the Dark One, Professor Cheeseburger, and Slint riding their ponies single file to hide their numbers, slopping down hills of red mud, gentlemanly low-holing one another in the fabled, historied pools of our river: Vin Diesel, Washington Generals, Nelson’s Glory Hole, Gay Lamprey.

I believe I will brew some beer.

open letter

Congratulations, fellow trout-angling blogger, for blogging  about an 8″ brookie that ate a Panther Martin for you in a Wisco spring creek; I join the entire internet in saluting these twin accomplishments.

I further enjoyed reading about your exploits on the upper reaches of the ROP with a spinning rod, and found myself increasingly fascinated by each successive hero pose of small resident fish being lipped for what I’m sure was a brief and unharmful time out of the water before a gentle, post-treble hooking and -Zebco horking resuscitation and release.

As a special request, please post more photos of dudes with fly rod cork clamped in bared teeth while hoisting little largemouths. The juxtaposition of  machismo and a small specimen of a notably gullible warmwater fish is a badly-needed infusion of commentary on our sport.

Unless that wasn’t intended to be ironic.

In response to the question posited by your post on using spinning vs. fly tackle, I would simply encourage you to keep living the dream.

MZA