Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Photo Bin - February/March 2018


I have no idea where they went, February and March. I looked up and they were gone. No evidence of their passing. No accomplishments. No progress made. No memories. Not even any real photographic proof that they existed. So I'm doubling them up, here at the Bin, and scouring my images for evidence that Spring really is returning. I need the reassurance.

Above, though the trees are still bare around us, the sun's climbing higher over the horizon with each passing day. It's a start.


The small incubator pond above the house is chock full of spotted salamander and frog eggs, just as intended. And way too many leaves. It will take some cleaning out, but not until after the "hatch" is done.


A sure sign of Spring's approach is the depletion of the woodpile. And depletion requires replenishment. Here's a set of freshly quartered white oak rounds, set to dry a little longer before their final splitting. Next winter's warmth.


Anticipating Spring always includes early trips down to the river; exploratory ventures to see if the bass are ready to play. Not yet, but the signs are encouraging.


Another strong hint is the blooming the the redbuds for which our small community is named. But the flowering doesn't necessarily mean that Winter's given up just yet. The seasons clash for their turf.


The only sure sign of Spring is the clouser hatch. Their emergence for white bass, shad, and striper (in this case, yellow stingers for Okefenokee bowfin) heralds the return of days on the water. The appearance is most welcome.

So the signs seem to be there, hidden in the camera, that things are warming up. I'm more than ready to put those lost months behind me and get on to some fishing. I suspect that I'm not alone.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Photo Bin - January 2018


I've let these Photo Bins get away from me and, frankly, I miss them. It's probably no coincidence that the volume of my writing has also dropped off. Wandering through the images that fall out of the camera always gets my mind turning. Not being one who can make up storylines or create circumstances from scratch, I need the stimulus of images or experiences - and preferably the two intertwined - to put words to paper. (What an quaint, anachronistic reference in these digital times, words to paper, though I still do it.)

So how about we return to the practice and see if we can't get back on track here at Mike's Gone Fishin'. Spring's coming and a little rebirth is definitely in order. Ironically, this month's bin is anything but Spring-like.

We don't get big snows very often here in the heart of Carolina, and rarely are they as genuinely beautiful as what we were graced with this January. Full-bodied. Graceful. Lasting. Winter's not my thing but I was enthralled. I took a shovel-load of pictures so this month's bin is knee-deep. Hope you enjoy it. I certainly did.


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Now, my wandering the half-mile down the ridge to the mailbox was another matter, even in this first light dusting.


The evergreens strutted their stuff when the days went grey.


The houseplants gathered around the windows to peer out at the snow and to give thanks that they're, well, house plants.


The deer fencing surrounding the garden turned into a white wall and the only color in the back yard was the Sarah Graham sunflower that defies any the weather.


Piled high and deep in snow, we watched a bevy of bluebirds hunker down in the box together...


...as we did ourselves as the flakes continued to fall.


In due time our Carolina blue skies returned, but it stayed icebox cold. The sun, bold as it was, made little headway towards a thaw.


The mornings remained crip, the rising sun piercing, for the better part of a week.


The hero of the week, Zeppelin came to the aid of the fallen snow angel.


And for a few days, all was at peace.


What is a Photo Bin?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Louisiana, Check

Getting there

When fly fisherfolk gather, the conversation almost always finds its way (after meandering through sidebars of gear, beer, and the opposite sex) to one universal angling topic; the bucket list. Must-do-before-I-die lineups typically include the classics. Kamchatka, New Zealand, Christmas Island, Alaska, Patagonia, Cuba. They are also, with increasing regularity, expanding to the more exotic. Oman, Bolivia, French Polynesia, the Seychelles. Some of our more adventurous practitioners have secret lists, far beyond most of our imaginations. (Heaven forbid Elon Musk finds something that will take a popper on Mars.) And while my personal desires also includes many of the these places, near the top has long been a more domestic destination. I've wanted to chase big bull reds in the southernmost marshes of Louisiana.

Hello Houma.

Good Morning, Louisiana!

As they say in real estate, "Location, location, location"

Fish Camp

Ambushing from the weeds

Steve Martinez hoists a dump truck black

No bulls for me, but lots of slots

Shut up and cast!

The Other Woman

Looks like my fly line

Schnnider Boy, LA

Bayou pit stop

The fishing was tough during our week in the marshes. I look at the pictures above and wonder where those blue skies were when we were actually slinging a fly. Wind and cloud cover gave us a good fight but that's destination angling. Just because it's on your bucket list doesn't mean it will click when you get there. The hardships are part of the game. A true bull eluded me, this time, but Louisiana remains high on the list with a provisional check.

Who says a bucket list item needs to be a once-in-a-lifetime entry?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Actus Reus


First, I humbly thank the handful of you who have reached out to express your dismay and support regarding my recent legal difficulties. Your concerns are deeply appreciated but, I’m afraid to admit, completely unnecessary. Despite the fumus boni iuris nature of the alleged lawsuit, it was completely fictitious. I was not sued. The RFA does not exist. No visit to the Supreme Court was made. (Gorsuch, however, really IS a notorious low holer.) My crimen falsi was simply a misguided attempted to justify my unjustifiably long absence. Mea culpa.

But I must admit that I’ve struggled mightily in deciding whether to print this clarification or to let the story stand, incognita. You see, around here, volenti non fit injuria completely applies.

In plain English, if you read this stuff, you've asked for it.

Legit cave.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

On Appeal


Hi. Remember me? I used to write with some regularity in this space. It’s been a while, but now the silence can be broken and the truth behind my absence may finally be told. I was sued.

It's not a pretty story. The RFA (Real Flyfishers Association) slapped me with a cease-and-desist order alleging that I was fraudulently posting as, well, a real fly fisher. Apparently they found a sympathetic judge who had actually seen me cast and the lawsuit was on.

It’s been a long slog, fighting the deep pockets of the RFA, but after numerous appeals and a rigorous climb up the judicial ladder, none other than this great land’s Supreme Court vacated all of the lower courts’ judgments, citing as precedent our present “state of affairs.”

Ginsburg (who throws a pretty mean spey) wrote for the majority:

Given the suitability of the current holders of many of our top governmental positions, Mr. Sepelak should reasonably be allowed to assume the role of a fly fisherman, a brain surgeon, or a ripe avocado for all we care.

Alito (trout-setter) for the minority:

WTF were we talking about?

It was a landmark decision, but a close one, won only because Gorsuch (a notorious low holer) is still having trouble with his buzzer.

However it happened, the result is good news, presumably, to my half-dozen followers here at Mike’s Gone Fishin’, and I hope to be back posting shortly. At the very least, the Photo Bins should get started again, though Photographers United is watching me very, very closely with litigious intent.

Needless to say, it’s good to be out from under the oppressive cloud of adjudication and back to the business of dispensing some serious fly-fishing false news.

Stay tuned, comrades.