Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton Unable to Enter Fly Rod Giveaway Due to Email Questions

Hillary Clinton testifying about her contest entry.
Vermont- In a stunning move, the Pembroke Company has announced that Hillary Clinton is ineligible to enter their rod giveaway due to questions surrounding the legality of her email server at home. Pembroke is an outdoor lifestyle company specializing in outdoor lingerie, fly fishing, and high end cat litter boxes. Their contest to give away an expensive fly rod was designed to gather emails for marketing purposes. You entered by submitting a valid email address.

According to Pembroke spokesman Pete Schoenauer “We really regret having to make this decision. We really wanted Secretary Clinton to be a part of our contest. But rules are rules, and not only does the email address have to be valid, but it also has to be from a legal server. Her home email server does not meet up to the high standards we set here at the Pembroke Company. She is hereby disqualified.”

When reached for comment Mrs. Clinton seemed sad but resigned. “It’s all part of being a political figure. You’re a target all the time. It’s a shame too- I know it’s campaign season right now, but the bull reds are in down in Louisiana, and I have a couple campaign stops to make there.” 

She continued “I really would have liked to win that rod. Bill and I were broke after we left the White House, and the rod rack is pretty bare.”

We also reached Bill Clinton for comment. “The questions you should be asking,” he said in his trademark rasp, “aren’t whether her home email server is legal, but whether she thought it was legal at the time she signed up for the contest, and the answer is ‘yes, absolutely’, and I back Hillary 100%. She deserves a fair shot to win that rod.”

When asked if he had entered the contest the former president answered “I love spring break as much as the next guy, but every now and then you just need to get offshore and throw deceivers.”

We also contacted rival presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “I know what I said about her emails, but you have to draw a line somewhere. She deserved to be disqualified.” said the self-professed Socialist. When asked if he had entered the contest he winked and said “Somewhere in Vermont there’s a brook trout pond named after me.”

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager Levi Feinstein added “We really just want to get all this behind us. It would have been nice for her to win that rod AND the presidency, but we would have been happy with winning the fly rod.”

All may not be lost for Hillary Clinton. In a stunning change of fortune, when it was discovered she is a fly angler, over a dozen companies stepped up and added her to their pro staffs.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee- March 28, 2016

Eeeeeerrrrrrrrpppppphhhhhhhttttt!!! Yawn, stretch, scratch, repeat- It's Monday, and I don't have to start work for a couple hours, so I thought I'd give the Monday Morning Coffee a stir. Go on, have yourself a cup.

Well, as you all know, Jim Harrison died this weekend, which makes me kind of sad. He looked to me like he had one foot in the grave anyway so I guess we knew it was coming, but even looking old as dirt, smoking like a chimney and drinking like he stole it, he still exuded a vitality that you couldn't miss. I may be partial to Mr. Harrison's writings due to the fact that he's from Grayling Michigan, or that his Brown Dog Novellas so accurately captured the northern Michigan and UP haunts I love, but to be sure he was a damn fine writer and poet, a national treasure, someone who will be missed, whose writings will be forever treasured.

If you can't tell from my last post I got out fishing last week (the ONLY benefit of unemployment) and caught a brook trout. My girlfriend Marsha and I went back up to the Coleman river on Saturday and I caught a few rainbows and browns. The Coleman is a tributary to the Tallulah River. The Tallulah had been stocked last week and was a total shit show, the kind of circus I associate with the Pere Marquette or Tippy dam during the steelhead and salmon runs. The nice thing was that the "Artificial Lures Only" sign at the entrance to the Coleman thinned the herd out to just me. We hiked in to where the trail ends in a steep gorge at a thunderous waterfall. Now I need to go back and figure out a way around that.

I'm on a bit of a tying tear lately as my boxes are sadly depleted. My last round of ugly misshapen pheasant tails and soft hackles caught a lot of fish. This round looks a lot better - I could almost sell them. I need to tie up a bunch of Clousers for the local bass, and have some other trips to tie for too. My streamer box looks like hell and I've found muddler minnows to be hyper-effective here in Georgia, so I need to tie those too. I'll try to share some pics.

I lived most of my life in Northern Michigan, but all my grandparents were from the South. My Grandma Tucker used to tell me that what she missed about the South was spring- the fact that they had a nice, long, pleasant spring. I understand what she means now. It's full on spring here in Georgia and I'm loving it. Hopefully the summer doesn't beat me up too bad.

Well, my coffee is done and I need to hit the vise for an hour before work. It's going to be a great week. Let's get after it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

From One Stream to Another

Up, up the gravel mountain road. Onward and upward. Both are good right? Like most human endeavors, rivers are cleaner, more pure, BETTER at their source. As they, and we, wind through our respective courses, we grow, expand, pick up tributaries, impurities, baggage. I figure now I'm the equivalent of a valley stream, no longer clear and cold and babbling, but well defined, log-jammed and dirty. I'm never going to leave this place.  I'm definitely not the Mississippi, or even the Ohio, just a mid-sized stream meandering, but set in its course, no longer clear. It's a metaphor you can ride too hard. People are not rivers. Rivers aren't so simple.

These mountain streams are heart-breakingly beautiful; endless cascades beset by mountain laurel and rhododendron, both evergreen but dormant, waiting for their chance to flower, to shine, like actors waiting in the wings to play their bit part before fading into the background. This particular stream is also beset by people, and about every half mile I slow my pace. Almost all of them carry spinning rods. A woman stares at the place where her line disappears into green water, her thumb on the button of her reel, staring so intently, as if her universe has compressed into that tiny sphere and I'm just a passing comet.

A couple miles up the road I discover the reason for all this frenetic activity on such a tiny stream- a truck blocks the road, forcing me to stop. A man standing on the back, eyes me suspiciously, so I get out and greet him. He takes a net, scoops deeply in a tank on the truck, and then hurls a dozen or more ten inch trout into the stream. He is the fish stocker.

My ensuing interrogation uncovers the following facts. He stocks this river once a week with between 2500 and 2800 trout. The fish are mostly 10-12 inches long. That's about 11,000 trout stocked into this tiny stream a month. It's a feed trough that people line up to partake of each week, a grand tradition of the oldest entitlement in America- hatchery fish. I hope the State of Georgia buys quality pellets.

I resist the urge to ask him to scoop me out my limit of fish.

I ask the man how far to Buckskin Creek. He says that not only is the road closed, but that you couldn't get a tank up it. Only mountain bikers and hikers go there. Sounds good to me. Part of me- that part tainted by silty run-off from muddy creeks, actually considers staying there and fishing, but fishing for stocked fish has as much appeal to me as roping newborn lambs.

Onward and upward, hoping to find some purity.

I'll save you some miles and switchbacks, the dead end, a hiker named Crunchy, and others on the Appalachian Trail seeking purity on their own terms. By the time I figured out where I was not and reconnoitered it was afternoon. I followed a path alongside the wild stream I wanted to fish, and when it veered far from the river I followed a tributary rill into a steep gorge to the stream, where it roared from pool to pool through vertiginous jungle. Just once, while crossing the top of a waterfall, I saw a wild brook trout holding in the current.

I followed the stream back up, fishing where I could, bushwhacking where I couldn't, sweating in the cold humidity, hoping that sound I heard wasn't thunder. It was.

Then, in a pool where a single rock split the flow into mirror images, I caught my first Appalachian brook trout, it's colors dull with the season, but still beautiful. It was the only trout I caught, though I saw many more. Perhaps they sense that I am tainted, a visitor from the valley, a rude voyeur.

When the skies opened up and the rain finally came I stepped out of the stream, found the trail, drove out over the pass and down, down, downward, back to my valley.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fantasy Fish

I'm sitting around on a sunny Saturday morning with a bad chest cold, perusing social media for some good reads. I found this thanks to Cameron Mortenson over at The Fiberglass Manifesto and it got me thinking- what are my fantasy fish?

I have a lot of dream destinations I want to fish for various familiar species- northern Ontario/Quebec/Labrador for big brook trout, or the Innoko river in Alaska for pike, but those are familiar species I catch on a regular basis.

But that article in Scale magazine got me thinking- what species make the fantasy list? Species so exotic that they set the imagination on fire. Something you can't catch in your backyard. Fish that live in an exotic setting, fight hard and take you to a whole new level.

Mahseer in Thailand

I may as well start with the fish in the article. It is claimed, as with so many fish, that mahseer fight pound for pound harder than any other freshwater fish. I'd like to test that claim. But when you couple them with such an exotic location- a jungle river, wild elephants, Asian tapir, pythons and cobras AND a mayfly hatch- now that is something you have to experience at least once.

Milkfish, Indian Ocean

Ah, the Seychelles, Maldives, and all points thereabouts. To fly to a location in the Indian Ocean that takes two days to get to, then to chase a plethora of flats species on those distant shores- bonefish, permit, Grand Trevally, and the elusive and hard to hook milkfish, which subsequently proceeds to give your drag a much needed cleaning. I could really go for that.

Peacock Bass, Amazon Jungle

I have a Heart of Darkness fascination with the Amazon jungle and it's fishes. Perhaps it's due to my late father's travels down Ecuadorian rivers on native rafts, in search of such fish. He was after catfish; I want to chase Peacocks. In a lot of ways the Amazon is the new Dark Continent, with hidden tribes, big predators, big hard-fighting fish, and lots of mystery. I want to go.

Tiger Fish, Congo Basin, Africa

And so to the real Heart of Darkness- Africa itself. Much of it is still little explored by the outside world. I recently read Peter Capstick, in which his camp cook's son was killed and eaten by a leopard, and then they had to hunt the cat over the boys dead body stashed in a tree. And it is in this landscape in which I want to fish for a creature with huge fangs, one that has been seen snatching birds out of the air. It lives in malarial jungles, in areas prone to Ebola outbreaks, and the much more deadly civil and national wars. Throw in an active volcano or two and you have the perfect Indiana Jones fly fishing adventure, which I am jonesing for.

There is no limit to the dreams of a fly fisher. Social media can make it all seem so immediate and real. Most of us will take our adventures on brook trout streams, with social media and the internet to fill in the gaps. But once, just once, you need to pursue the monsters that dwell in your dreams. I hope we all get the chance.

All images were stolen fair and square off the internet.