Monday, October 31, 2011

The Photo Bin - October 2011

Where the hell have you been, Mike?
This is still a fishing blog, isn't it?
And where have the Photo Bins been lately?

Legitimate questions, all.

Me? I've been right here, busy getting settled into the new surroundings. The to-do list has been, and remains, massive and would make interesting reading on its own. Sadly, I haven't been able to find fishing on it. I have managed to sneak away to the Haw just a couple of times in recent weeks, for a bit of sanity time, but the fly rods have, for all intents and purposes, remained tucked away in their new fishing closet. That should change soon and, hopefully, we can get back to piscatorial business.

As for the Photo Bins, those monthly trios of odds-and-ends images that I began in January, where indeed. The camera has gotten as little use as the fly rods lately and that too must change - starting now with the timely little Halloween pumpkin above.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Father's Gun

I have little in the way of personal effects by which to remember my father. Such items are, for the most part, unnecessary as I see his face each morning in the bathroom mirror. I do, however, possess one item that speaks clearly of him. I have my father’s gun.

The nine-shot, nickel and steel, wood-handled twenty-two caliber Harrington and Richardson revolver had a previous owner, as evidenced by the H. Smith crudely branded into its snug brown leather holster. The pistol was acquired, I expect, in barter for some service – the shingling of a roof, the repair of a transmission, the breaking of a horse. Whatever the task, you can be pretty sure that Mr. Smith received the better of the bargain.

Monday, October 17, 2011


A turtle walks into the sheriff's office. "I've just been attacked by three snails," he cries. "How terrible," the sheriff replies. "Tell me what happened." "Well, I don't really know," says the turtle, shaking his head. "It all happened so fast."

Confession: I totally nicked this joke from a New Yorker (April 18th, 2011) profile on neuroscientist David Eagleman who is studying the brain and our perception of time. His work would help explain why everything shifts into slow motion after your wading boots shoot out from underneath you on slippery rocks - a phenomenon I've experienced much too often. Cool stuff.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We're Home

We’re home.

The journey to this place began the day I decided that enjoying life was more important than earning more money. It might sound like an easy decision, but, six years ago, at the tender age of fifty, it took some thought. But that’s a story for another time. This is about our new place.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dog Days - June 2011

The summer swelters are here.
Days that make me want to burrow
deep into the earth, praying hard
for the wet blessing of a rain drop.

Here in the South, there's a certain pace to things - or perhaps more succinctly, a certain lack of pace - when the heat arrives. Ambition melts like a chocolate bar left on the truck's dashboard and time lies suspended, shimmering like the watery mirage on distant blacktop. Life sits on the porch and pants.

Dog days.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Which Way Would You Go? - March 2011

It changes at the old three-turbine power station.

Upstream there are miles of hard-ass rock hopping and wild browns. Downstream there are miles of easy roadside access and stocked whatever. Upstream there’s steep, skinny water and fish that flee at shadows. Downstream there’s wide, flat riffles and pods accustomed to pellets. Upstream the trout are as small as their habitat, and smart. Downstream they’re as fat and dumb as the day they poured out of the truck.

Now, I don’t mean to denigrate fishing for stocked trout. Lord knows, I do it often enough myself. But if you had the choice, if you had the chance, to chase the wild ones, would you? Would you if you had to sweat bullets and bang your knees to do it? Would you if, instead, you could catch eight, ten, a dozen stockers for every wild fish netted – that is, if you netted any wild fish at all? Would you if you knew with absolute, unconditional certainty that you'd get back to the car bruised and bloodied and spent?

It changes at the old three-turbine power station.

Upstream it’s lonely and it's wild and it's hard. Downstream, it’s not.

Which way would you go?

Rerun Note: A short post, but posing a tantalizing question. It was one of those pieces that just popped out complete - practically writing itself. I wish more of them would do that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snowfall - December 2010

Airborne, my light blue heron fly line disappeared into the thick, falling snow; slate grey strand invisible against the backdrop of heavy, leaden skies and white-coated tree branches. Without visual cues, the other senses are enjoined – feeling the flex of the rod, hearing the textured line whisper through iced stainless steel guides, sensing the gentle rhythms of the slow, steady tick-ticking metronome that is the cast.

There’s magic in fishing the first snow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tippet Tantrum - September 2010

I hate 6X tippet.  It’s difficult to see, a pain in the ass to tie, and impossible to avoid wind-knoting within the first half-dozen false casts.

7X?  Forget about it. Spider-webbery.

8X tippet cannot be seen with the naked eye. One should take extreme care when purchasing 8X so as not to buy an empty spool by mistake.

9X is only one molecule wide and is often used by science fiction villains as a weapon to slice through everything – wood, steel, human flesh.

10X, I believe, is the basis for the particle physics string theory, hypothesizing the sub-atomic base material for all matter, space, and time.

Einstein loved light tackle.