Thursday, March 19, 2020

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Morning Coffee- Because what else do I have to do?

Whew! Yawn, stretch, scratch, repeat- let's have some coffee, shall we?

I'm home this morning on this fine spring day, so why NOT have some coffee? I am indeed having a cup of coffee, but truth be told ~gulp~ I have quit drinking coffee every day. It has been affecting me adversely in multiple ways more as time has gone on (no, I'm not getting old- don't even go there), so when I came down with a flu-like illness in early February (the flu) I took the opportunity to quit and only drink it occasionally. Coffee- I love you, I just hate how you make me feel.

For those of you sick of news about the pandemic- skip the next two paragraphs, though I promise they are not overly morbid. I don't want to impose any more talk of that on you than you can stand. I just didn't feel I could glibly not mention it.

The elephant in the room of course is COVID-19. Perhaps you clicked here to read something not coronavirus, but I don't think there's any escaping it for any of us. I'm a bit of a news nerd sometimes, and when I caught reports of this in December that some novel virus was creating a health crisis in Wuhan China, I perked up and paid attention, especially when they first reported it was spread by people with no symptoms, as opposed to almost every other serious infectious disease the world has faced until now. AIDS may be an exception. I've been following this data collection and world map from Johns Hopkins tracking the disease since January, when it was only a couple thousand cases in China and a sprinkling of cases in neighboring Asian states.

You all know where we are now, and I'm no epidemiologist. I can only encourage you to listen to health authorities whether the CDC, your state, your county, or your family doctor. Take care of your family, and especially check on the older people in your life. Give them a phone call, give an encouraging word, offer to get them groceries and leave them on their front step if you are healthy enough to do so. This is not a 2008 financial crisis moment, nor even a 9/11 moment- this is a Japan-attacked-Pearl-Harbor-going-into-World-War-II moment. It will affect us all, and like World War II we will all need to step up and make sacrifices for the good of the world and our country. Like that war we are also going to go through hardship not seen in a generation, not since that last terrible Great War. We are also going to lose a lot of people. We are going to need each other. To all the naysayers out there- I pray to God you are right. The realist in me knows better.

~Fishing Content Below!~

Captain of his ship- Dave Grossman dispensing wisdom

This is a fly fishing blog (or used to be), and I'm happy to report that I finally got out to fish last Wednesday with the illustrious Dave Grossman of Southern Culture on the Fly. We had this trip planned before things got really serious out there, and it felt like a last hurrah of sorts. We fished the South Holston, and Dave really knows his water and put us on a bunch of fish despite my amateurish efforts at Eastern  tailwater fishing. I may write an actual post about it. One thing I learned is I need to be less stubborn. I hate showing up and not knowing my shit or having the right stuff, but I checked those boxes hard. Dave finally lost it (in a good way,) insisted I re-tie his way with his flies, and I caught fish on a steady basis for the rest of the day. We had a great time, laughed all day, got some sun, took in amazing, almost Western views, and even tied on some dry flies and I caught my first topwater fish of the year. It's so satisfying to make a good cast and mend, get a good drift, and watch that fly disappear. I could cut my hook points off and just watch that all day.

my kingdom for a fish- a South Holston brown falls for the Squirmy

I'm going to get to work on some content for you here. I have a backlog of unfinished posts, and it seems like there's never a shortage of things to say about fly fishing. In the current crisis, talk of fly fishing can seem glib, whistling past the graveyard so to speak (sorry for that metaphor). But there is no shortage of information and bad news out there; we all will need a break, something to take our minds off of trouble, if even for a few minutes.

I have been working on a series for Gink and Gasoline on small stream fishing, so if you want more to read the link above takes you to posts I've written there. Be sure and click around on their other excellent content too. Cameron Mortenson at The Fiberglass Manifesto continues to crank out great daily content and he has put together a top-notch reading list so check that out.

I love you all and I want you be well. I can't tell you how much your support and readership have meant to me over the years. All of my best friends and fishing buddies I have now I've met as a result of this blog, and I can't be more thankful. I also know I can be crusty and unpolished at times, so thanks for putting up with me too. Somehow we'll all emerge from this, and we will need the peace and meditation that fly fishing provides more than ever. Get out there if you can; if you can't, then tie some flies and get caught up on your reading. I'll try to help you with that.

Well, my coffee is gone and I've got writing to do.

Let's get after it.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday Morning Coffee- Nothing Special Edition

Eeeerrrgggghhhhhpppphhhhtttt! Yawn, stretch, scratch, repeat- It's Monday morning, so let's have some coffee.

It's been so long since I've done one of these I've almost forgotten how, but it's a rainy day and I'm off work so why not.

one of many great fish in Michigan this summer

I have not been fishing since July, which helps explain my dearth of content. I had a wonderful week of fantastic dry fly fishing in Northern Michigan then, which has sustained me up until now. I also got out around the same general time period on the Chattahoochee River with Louis Cahill of Gink and Gasoline, and Dan Frasier, the famous carp master. I caught my first, if diminutive, striped bass on a fly that day, and we saw a couple monsters swimming around. We also watched a coyote catch a duck on shore.

I'm still writing a series on small stream fishing for Gink and Gasoline. You can find the links here, here , here, here, and here. I also have a short fiction piece in the latest Southern Culture on the Fly you can find here. It's about fly fishing gangsters, so I hope you enjoy it. But enough pimping my wares.

Since then my girlfriend and I got three horses- foals- in September, so that has been interesting and exciting. They are draft-cross horses, which means at six months old they're already the size of small quarter horses. I'm no horse person, so the learning curve is steep.

our three monsters a few weeks after arrival

Bow hunting has always been my first love. I shot my first deer with a bow at age 14. I got into fly fishing as an antidote to my obsession with bow hunting to be honest. After a break of eight years I finally made the effort this fall to get back into it- got my bow tuned up, got my shot tuned up, and got a new seat for my tree stand. I had the inestimable privilege to hunt with Alex Cerveniak of the Deer Trout blog in November, and I took two deer home with me. We saw nice bucks every day. It was one of the best hunting trips I've ever been on. The hospitality was fantastic too. Today I'm cooking up some osso bucco from venison shoulder I have. Technically it's supposed to be shanks, but it works for the various shoulder bits too. I can assure you it is delicious. I'm really thankful to have the meat and enjoying some great meals. I also got a sous-vide cooker for Christmas, which has been a game-changer for cooking game. Cooks it perfectly without drying it out.

like falling off a bicycle

To bring all this back to the present time and place- it's winter, and my work is a little slow, so this is my time to get back out and fish here in the South. Hopefully I'll get out this week and be able to report back here. It would be nice to restart this blog. Josh Mills of the Chucking Line and Chasing Tail blog is doing a #dozenfordownunder charity event to support relief efforts in Australia due to the wildfires, so please support that if you can. I'll be tying up a dozen myself, so you can look for that (and bid) on my Instagram account @fontrisn.

I don't know much else besides that. Right now I'm just watching the winter rain pour down and cleaning house. I'll get to tying some flies later in the day. I hope you all are doing well. Or should I say "y'all"?

My coffee is done and there's work to do- let's get after it.