a farewell to farms

The smell of freshly-spread hog manure on ochre September fields was heavy in the air on the banks of the Big Muddy, but the biggest farmer stood in the bow on what was probably Squatto’s 2012 smallmouth float swan song, and that farmer is blogging before you now.¬† Continue reading

Spring Branch, August 2012

Home water: it’s not glamorous, it’s not the lifetime trip destination river, it’s not necessarily action water, going there doesn’t even need to be about fishing.

The stuff of this aquifer flooded my cells for the earliest years of my life. Bubbling up from the rocks beneath where my grandparents lived and my mom escaped a bull through a split rail fence and my dad coached high school softball, down coulees as sudden and hidden as a Himalayan valley, draining into the aqueous highway below the Harpers Ferry lock and dam where generations of my family drowned worms in a blue Lund and listened to whippoorwills and the Soo Line at night all summer long.

My daughter is as much of a tourist here as I now am. We throw pellets to trout in concrete impoundments and watch them swirl and thrash and swim towards us and away from the rightness of their instinct. The fences around the spring-fed races are electrified at night to keep herons off the product. We’re all transfixed for different reasons.

There’s a pool downstream of the pens where the diverted water rejoins the branch. In the last days of this dry summer a mixed pod of wild browns and specs seems to hold in clear air alongside the cerise stripes of hatchery rainbows thousands of miles and generations from their mountain home. We watch from the high bank, rod unstrung. The Monster drops leaves on their heads and watches only the streamborn fish scatter.

Hella Bronze 2: the Rebronzening

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In which your author continues his drifty-rowing apprenticeship, beers are mortgaged before the sun is over the trees and the Dark One proceeds to party, Storm Shadow appears and does St. Croix bujitsu on topper eaters for ten entire consecutive minutes of hot popwater action, and a rigorously halfassed beef jerky taste test proves conclusively that Jack Link’s Carne Seca is still the one to beat.

Hella bronze

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This iridescent pencil popper is what propels me. Break your back and crack your oars. Somewhere there’s a >20″ Microptera specimen that your author tussled with for a long time before the hook came loose at the boat and it took the googly doll eye with it, and from hell’s heart I stab at thee. On a brighter note: T-Can ringadings her first bronze power and Slint trick nets an otherwise LDR’d bass, eliciting fist pumps from the bow. Just nice be out, Moby Dickmunch.

All photos except “Squatto-12” courtesy of Slint. Arigato, Slint.

lost tribe

My rod hand hurts. Every aperture of integument clogged with greasy sweat and 70 degree dewpoints  giving it nowhere to evaporate. This eutrophic urban fishery the color, clarity, and temperature of a nice bowl of miso soup.

Masquinonge? Qua? Ain’t seen one.

I busted off my lucky popper. I drank beer from the bottle and hurled long loops and stripped line like it was a job and rowed Squatto in circles under the landing pattern of Delta jets in purple Minneapolis dusk, the far shore blurry with haze. It was a sticky, humid, high summer evening. Bass were slurping, carp were jumping, the lake sang the body electric for a few minutes at dusk but nobody was playing eat the fly.

There’s a tribe for this, I know, but some of us are still in the desert. If you can’t beat them, eat the locusts.

Ninja, please

The punter evening shift was hiking down as the the punter day shift – the Dark One and your author – were hiking up. Their waders were all dry and did not have goose shit on them. Their hands did not smell like fish slime and beef jerky, and were not coated with the earthly residue of mashed-up midge larvae or mayflies squished on the wing.

“Get any?” the evening shift asked.

“Yeah.”

“Nymphs or dries?”

Ninja, please. Do you see any Thingamabobbers?

My first video

It is what it is … home movies, mea punter culpa. Shot on a Flip, edited in YouTube, and I’ve learned some things: bluegrass abounds in fly fishing videos because it’s about the best and most simpatico option offered in the YT video editor; the clips of rising fish look better when watched on a large player; midges can be bidges; and the Dark One looks so good walking away in Simms it’s almost a shame he’s ever coming back.