Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving's Gone to the Dogs

Cooper - The Grand Old Man

It's become a happy Thanksgiving tradition to spend the holiday with friends and family at Jo and Dewey’s home on the lake. One of the particular joys of this gathering is the attendance of everyone’s four-legged friends and this year we had them in packs. The house was filled with the festive patter of a dozen folks and their eight canine companions. It was a dog’s day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Of course I didn’t catch anything. That wasn’t the point.

The point was to take advantage of a miraculous late November mid-seventies day for one last hike to the Haw, one last wade in my home waters, one last shot at them river largemouths, before officially closing the book on my warm-water season.

I had this crazy notion that Indian summer temperatures and an approaching storm front that had barometric pressures dropping like autumn leaves would goad the bass into one last pre-winter feed. It wasn’t to be. Too many cold nights have put them down for good. I just needed to know.

I caught no fish, and that's okay. I got what I really went after.


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Fall

We were awakened last night by a deep, soft whump – felt in the pit of our stomachs as much as it was heard – and we puzzled over what it could have been.  This morning it was clear what had happened. Every sourwood, sweetgum, redbud, poplar, and dogwood leaf had conspired and fallen as one, a blanket upon the earth, obscuring driveway and walking paths, woodpiles and birdbaths, gravel roads and stone fences, everything.  And while the fierce oaks and mighty maples still cling tenaciously to their brilliant but fast-fading foliage, today’s gentle autumn breezes have begun to pry loose even those crisp sheets, bringing them to the forest floor like slow gentle rain.

It’s a tantalizing time to walk the woods.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Change in Direction

What do you do when your recent western trout trips have been, how can I say this nicely, a bit short of stellar? You simply turn the other way and head east, of course, and chase trout of a different kind.

One of the joys of living in the heart of North Carolina, the Variety Vacationland, is that by driving but a couple short hours you can find yourself on a tumbling Appalachian mountain stream or along the grassy inlets and surf of the eastern seaboard.  For a fisherman, it's a delightful dilemma - which way to go?  But after the battering I've taken on my recent excursions to points west, a change of scenery made perfect sense.  And the deal was closed with a call from my buddy Troy who invited me down to his place on Emerald Isle to chase some speckled trout and, with luck, a redfish or two around the grass and oyster beds of those intercoastal waterways.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Dam Philpott, source of the Smith River tailwaters, Bassett, VA.

Dam(n) cold, the air hanging below the structure at sunrise, as though the previous evening's discharge had shaken off it's lake-bottom chill and left it hovering in smoky wisps beneath the towering ediface.

Dam(n) picky, the Smith River browns, who spurned everything we threw at them, and we threw a lot.

Dam(n) fine, the brilliant fall day we spent up and down the waterway, soaking in the bluebird skies and breathtaking autumnal colors.

Dam(n) lucky,  Curtis and I, to have been out there.

Ready to go back?  Dam(n) straight.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lookin' Out My Front Door

I walked out of the front door, this rainy afternoon, and there she was - one of the twins, born this past spring, finally shaking off the spots and getting her first winter coat. You can be sure that Mom and Sis were close by, probably just over the ridge.

It happens every day, but today I had a camera.

I love it here.