Category Archives: fishing

But everyone has a firm handshake and wide white-toothed smile

three_StrikesIt’s usually something commonplace like unfiled taxes or an out of wedlock debauch that tumbles presidential hopefuls back to earth, mostly because  candidates can’t lie like us anglers, instead they crumple into sobs at the first hint of adversity, and we’re forced to watch some tearful confession while his wife stands grim lipped at his elbow.

Us sportsmen are experts at judging moral fiber and could shorten the field quickly if they’d give us a couple of debate questions, but they won’t –given there are too few of us remaining to matter.

Our environmental organizations dispute this notion – suggesting the outdoors crowd commands respect in both Executive and Legislative branches of government. Simply the threat of us taking our votes elsewhere causes senators and congressmen to blanch openly, given their fear of arousing the Sporting juggernaut.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of Congress fears us camping on their lawn, knowing that our delight in not showering coupled with our penchant for blood sports, would give us free reign to trap and eat stray cats, ornamental Koi, homeless people, or anything else that investigated a crumbled Twinkie sprinkled with lawn clippings, and the waiting Punji pit below …

Proof is in Texas’s Governor Perry, who prior to mounting his ill fated Presidential bid, signed an anti-crime package making it illegal to lie about a caught fish’s length and weight, a fact that might have put him at odds with that sporting vote, had he not forgotten … uhm, that third, uhm … stuff, first.

While a few fly fishermen have graced the Oval Office, most notably Grover Cleveland, Hebert Hoover, and Teddy Roosevelt, it’s been a long, dry spell since Jimmy Carter, the last angler that proudly ate what he caught.

No thanks to us, it appears the drought will continue.

I am shocked that there is opposition to young fishermen …

I find it compelling drama but as it’s occurring in Europe there’s hardly a mention of the issue in our media. 

SANA, the largest angling organization in Scotland is rocked with scandal because its board accepting money donated by the fish farming industry, whose very existence threatens the last wild stocks of Scottish salmon.

SANA’s own website confirms its Migratory Fish Committee is committed to “campaigning against certain activities of the Scotland’s west coast marine salmon farming industry in the belief that these are endangering wild migratory stocks and the environment.”

However, this did not prevent trustees of the national governing body for game angling from agreeing a three-year sponsorship deal, understood to be worth a total of £12,000, with SSC for SANA’s International Youth Fly Fishing Team.

– via the Scotsman.com

It certainly represents a pickle for any well meaning angling organization. On the one hand money is so rare that anything is gladly accepted – and on the other, we’ve never had the luxury of donor organizations that may be working at cross purposes to our own, and are ill equipped to define who’s on our side and who’s not.

It’s plain that somewhere in the States we’re going to be dealing with the self-same issue – and we’ll be as stunned by the offer of money as we will be to the carnage that ensues should we accept.

With half of all seafood already pen raised – and with the world’s population continuing to grow, this issue is going to get more tangled and complex rather than less so. Terrestrial pens or blue water facilities may prove part of the solution – but it’ll be decades and many lawsuits before we work the kinks from the system.

Of particular interest to me in the article are the comments from the public – and the argument made by the industry shill about us wanting to preserve the wild fish only to kill them ourselves.

Like the presidential candidates, I’m unsure how we’ll appear in the court of public opinion. I’ve got no answer to refute that “you’re killing them too” issue. We know we kill fish, even when it’s catch and release, and mortality rates have been well documented …

I can’t help think of that nice, retired, dentist fellow, who didn’t really want to be club president this year – and how the crowd shouted down his protests and elected him anyway … and the limo from Gorton’s has just squealed to a stop at the curb and the well dressed suits fix him with a greasy smile …

We call it Rusty Sharp Stuff, you call it the Impossible Lie

It’s why I have to whisper encouragement to all them Blueliner’s when they pretend they want to come fish with me …

I hear that molar-on-molar grind and attempt to restore their calm before they hurt themselves in a fit of piqué. Trout fishermen being used to fishing only in the first three dimensions; simple rectangles and polygons, a bit of trailing weed, perhaps even a low hanging branch – yet when I mention the fly needs to make that interior eddy by the ashtray they get all confused and squirrely on me.

Toyota Sedan-like optimal lie

Trout fishing being much simpler than a four door Toyota, which requires a caddy to whisper slope and bearing, sink rates and waveforms. Given the darkest and deepest lies are always a complex object, offering confounding currents due to entangling roots and tubers, and sprinkled with a leavening of decaying head rest.

Audi instream eddy

European engineering, multidimensional complex cast, especially if you want that natural sweep into the interior where all the big bass hide.

Ass, grass, or Pikeminnow, nobody rides for free

A hookup in the passenger seat induces a bit of angler panic, regardless of size. It’s the wireform of the seats that corrodes into rusty sharp stuff – all of which eats tippet instantly.

Not much life in the river these days, the flood having extincted all the fish and moved the cars from their former bankside imbed. I still carry a rod with me, but its only occasionally that something presents itself.

Mostly its the exercise I’m after, given the heat and miles of bank offer the opportunity to restore that lean predacious angler that doesn’t grunt while pulling on his booties …

… and spread the Powerbait so thick, there’s probably a platoon of watermelon Gumby’s rolling about the deep water

It’s likely to trigger a most difficult chicken and egg debate, considering us fly fishermen can save a trout stream or save a forest, but we can’t do both …

Recent salmon studies suggest “you are what shades your banks” – and if the surrounding forest isn’t healthy, neither is your fish population.

More insidious than Zebra mussels, more cunning than a middle aged divorcee, and while we gash ourselves over saving the outdoors by eschewing filthy felt wading boots and their porous inserts, our woodlands are being overrun by eyeless and slimy creatures that fly fishermen are sworn to defend …

the lowly earthworm, and we’re all guilty as sin.

image Clean, Dry, and Protect all you want, but it was you that drug them little Styrofoam canisters up to the bank and left them there to reproduce unchecked.

Once you learned to fly fish you got all huffy and resentful at the thought and claimed your hands had never touched the Unclean Thing, but the rest of us are claiming ignorance and we know better. First you unleashed hordes of the Big Assed American Nightcrawler, then after despoiling most of the American West, you trained your kids with them effete Eurotrash skinny types from the liquor store cooler.

… we ain’t going to mention the mountains of Powerbait you left in your wake, that would only be piling on …

Penance is possible only if you wad the butt section of your Boron BIIX into the leafy substrate and affix both leads from your car battery. Stomp everything that moves, then Clean, Dry and lament …

The sure fire way of making friends fishing

The only thing the fly shop can’t stock is that “icebreaker” needed to make the local fishing crowd greet you with open arms. It has to work at distance, so the wading throng clustered tight to the hole sees you and either motions you among them – or generates the en masse exodus, ensuring you’re the focal point for tales of prowess, slow reflexes, and near misses.

Half naked tanned and taut has a better’n average chance of waking the crowd in the fast water, yet giggles have a life span, after which the audience is immune.

The Beer Bike

Then again, the hardship of moving into a new town, a new drainage, and working up the street cred’s to be a member of the inner circle, might be aided somewhat by the Hopworks Beer Bike.

… especially if that’s a couple of large sausage & mushroom catching their death of cold in the rear cargo area.

My Bologna has a first name, unfortunately so does the pen-raised mongoloid I picked for my trophy

It'll be everything he's used to Tom Chandler posted a short Twitter link yesterday that’s worth the read. Eye-opening to some, but not too far a reach to  suggest that the future of fishing and hunting might be private enclosures seperated by cyclone fence so I don’t interfere with my fellow “sport” in the neighboring enclosure.

The quarry might even be pen raised and as timid as domestic pets, but those qualities won’t show in the photos of the carcass, or the magazine article to follow.

These days a child’s first exposure to fishing is some above ground pool where images of Dumbo contrast sharply with a school of panicked trout milling about while smiling old guys bait hooks for kids. It’s like a street gang, where the initiate has to kill and eat something before he’s allowed to wear the colors.

Proud papa lingers behind snapping pictures and encouraging his bewildered child as he  jerks squirming silver fish into the air where they’re thrust into a plastic bag as quickly as possible to make way for another future sportsman … and his Poppa.

Then he spends the next four years glued to Nintendo killing everything else with equal glee. When Poppa deems him old enough he’s exposed to the heat, cold, wet, chill, mosquitos, and perspiration of the out-of-doors,  just enough to remain skeptical about it all while realizing that air conditioning and a fistful of Ma’s cookies is much superior.

Then it’s Internet Porn, Music Video’s, cell phones, texting and sex-ting, iPods, iPads, Facebook,  instant oatmeal, pop tarts, and instant gratification, and like a computer processor loses any developing attention span to become interrupt driven.

He’s old enough to understand the woods is one of the few environments he doesn’t control and fishing is a lot more fun when it’s bookended by hamburgers.  The lack of cell phone coverage limits  communication with the digital real world, but this imposition he might be able to endure for an .. OMFG .. entire weekend.

… we stuffed all manner of insta-gadgets in his sweaty little palm so he wouldn’t complain on those long vacation drives. We went digital to keep him rooted to the rug and avoid those mean city streets, and now the little snot would rather tweet and Facebook someone than hold a conversation, and reluctantly parts with a damp and lackluster handshake.

Just like a dead fish.

His is the generation that inherits everything we stomped life out of , he’s got the memory of “back when me and Dad went, they wuz huge” – only they aren’t anymore and are few and far between even in the smaller flavor.

With an attention span of 94 seconds, and the reflexs of a gunfighter, why wouldn’t he want his sport to be fast and on demand?

There is little question that the freshwater fishing of the future will bear little resemblance to what it is now. Our collective terra-forming cannot be undone. Roads pierce the last remaining wild areas, guys like us driving to the last remaining reaches of the Precious, providing those important ruts that will erode with winter’s downpour, and piss mud and silt into the last remaining quality fisheries, there to mingle with our discarded water bottles and toilet paper.

Private property will be the last bastion of off limits, and it’ll be there we’ll fight the first dozen or so court cases over who owns the rights to all the genetic enhancements, and whether fish grown to eat rock snot are fish at all.

We’ll have a glut of privately grown trout reared to order and sold to members on a rent to own, or catch and kill basis. The well healed package might include a movie filmed by video cameras that line the banks, edited by lodge staff with all expletives deleted, and a slo-mo action sequence of the trophy that the future angler will personally select like a lineup at a Nevada brothel. genetically enhanced, dosed with adrenaline and released into the private pond for a lifetime of memories or bragging rights.

It’ll have a first name and have spent the bulk of its lumpy existence wallowing in Growth hormone and Tofu-Watermelon Pizza, but so long as it’s big and stupid – them modern day sports will not care.

It’ll be like everything else enjoyable; fast, on demand, and him and his pals can be home in time to watch the video on the lodge’s web page.

The only reason you’re shaking your head with “that’ll never happen” is because you think we can actually restore something, even though we never have – and never will.

All that finery on the banks that you’re trodding  is shrinking inexorably with each year, and what’s removed first is the unspoiled and wild portion we hold dearest.

Your kid will never know your favorite creek without the water bottles and overflowing parking lot garbage can – because the public trust … isn’t …

Twenty bucks to CalTrout doesn’t fix a damn thing, it merely slows the future for a split-second.

Instead he’ll find a manicured ersatz facsimile for pay, and assume that’s what you meant by unspoiled – and the half mile drive by golf cart to his rented waders will be the “roughing it” part of which you were always so fond.

All them animal rights groups will be bought off with, “we’ll restore this unloved little toxic backwater, plant the fish the week prior, promote the fishery as ‘you can actually eat these’ because they ain’t lived here long enough to be completely toxic and you won’t picket us … right?”

That’ll ensure we’re not tracking deadly bacterium and nasty into or out of the carp infested public areas, nor are we swearing or blocking the view of all them birdwatchers.

The beauty is how economically feasible all this can be. With farmed fish comprising 50% of all fish sold already, and the fear of releasing tampered genetics via pens lolling in existing water, much of the increased reliance on farmed fish will come from landlocked waterways – ponds, creeks, and the like.

As most will be close to large urban areas to ensure freshness and ample commercial storage, it’ll be easy to lure a monied or aggressive angler to partake. Rented waders and wading paraphernalia ensure nothing foreign is introduced and fish planted in such numbers that guarantee the angler can be charged be the hour or day and still think it special.

It’ll allow fishing our generation has never seen. Wading a saltwater pond for Bluefin Tuna, and after tiring of 60 pound fish and 30 mph, spending the balance of the day using pellet-nymphs and indicators for Ling Cod or enormous trout.

I’m not suggesting it’s esthetically pleasing to us guys, we’re responsible for crapping on more than our share of the Pristine, and like our Pop – limiting our conservation efforts to our yearly twenty bucks to a Green organization, hoping someone else does the heavy lifting and lightens our conscience. It’s a legacy we’ll leave to the interrupt-driven instant gratification offspring we’ve managed to produce.

… who’ve had their genetics tinkered with all manner of our environmental excesses – just like the fishing.

Can fly fishing regulation restore fisheries with a stroke of the pen

Increased regulations Outside of some rare conservation program that’s reshaped a creek with instream cover or dredging, regulations, or fish plants, I don’t think any angler will make the claim that his favorite creek fishes better than it did a decade ago.

Intervention at any level is always a temporary boon. The organizations that promote quality public water can’t sustain them for more than a couple of years, and with funding drying up in lockstep with a battered economy, and increased threat to other creeks and rivers, the result is too many chicks vying for a meager worm.

Few in number compared to other anglers, we can still degrade a fishery quickly with constant pressure. All them feet tearing into the bank at the egress points, all those fish mishandled or gut hooked, thousands of crushing feet on the aquatic wildlife, and the continual stream of guides and clients that are part and parcel of the premier waters.

Over time, no matter how slight the mortality rate, we compromise everything.

Kirk Deeter of the Fly Talk blog brings up a worthy point in a different manner, but ignoring the beadhead-bobbercator issue entirely, are fly fishermen willing to adopt even more stringent regulations in return for big fish and watershed preservation?

Not more water reserved for fly fishing, rather more stringent regulations on our existing water, potentially hampering us enough to buy additional years prior to destroying a unique fishery due to our weight of numbers.

It’s something I’ve witnessed first hand. Living on the banks of Hat Creek during it’s reopening as a trophy trout fishery, it’s popularity enhanced due to vigorous magazine coverage, that resulted in most of California making the pilgrimage to test their skills on large wary trout.

About six years later anything over 16” was a rarity, and six years after that it was just another creek, despite the occasional attempt from CalTrout to intervene. A two year stint as CalTrout’s Hat Creek Streamkeeper during its heydays made me privy to the causal agents and much internal discussion, but the meager and uncertain funding meant the creek had to defend itself once the initial makeover was complete.

Certainly there were many issues that were unrelated to anglers, the Baum Lake canal burst, sending a slug of PG&E’s sediment into a spring creek among others. Regulated flows prevented the watercourse from freeing itself of sediment – as it lacked the winter scour so important to sediment flush and ridding itself of foreign objects.

Most of the persistent issues were related to anglers. California hosts a large population, plenty of fly fishermen, and the trophy water being a scant three miles long magnified the impacts of all them feet.

With all the emphasis on invasive species, and watching the Powerhouse riffle widen an additional 50 feet due to wading anglers wearing the bank down by entering and exiting the creek, I’d think a “no wading” regulation is now more pertinent than ever.

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, barbless hook, no wading allowed.” 

With the new conservation ethic disposing of the flat felt bottom, cleated rubber soles (equipped with studs to improve traction) may reduce invasives – but due to cleats and steel studs will certainly increase the amount of bank removed by a fishermen scrambling into or out of the water.

Via regulation are we prepared to get us out of that business entirely?

It’ll send half of us back to the casting ponds as the available fishery is what you can throw and mend effectively. It’ll increase the amount of car traffic on nearby roads as we bounce between access points rather than crossing at the shallow spot, and will add “safe havens” for fish – as neither bank affords access or the ability to cast effectively.

Don’t expect vendors to help push this sterile initiative as it’ll remove a third of the gear we’re equipped with and a third of their gross.

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, barbless hook, maximum 10 anglers, reservation only.” 

Limiting the human traffic will solve many ailments. Figure a fee-based system that pays for the 24-hour reservation system and limited back office staff to settle squabbles.

There’s brown water aplenty to handle those reserving too late, or turned away at the toll booth.

Profit can be recycled back into the fishery. Assuming a year long season and 300 capacity bookings, a $50 use fee equates to $150,000 per year. Figure half of that being chewed up by overhead and trash collection, road maintenance, and an occasional Porta-Potty, that would leave $50,000 a year for watershed improvements – or a Riverkeeper to maintain a constant patrol during daylight hours …

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, barbless hook, dry fly only.”

Gear restrictions of any type would aid fish too, whether limiting the kind and type of artificials we throw, or how they’re thrown, should buy a watershed additional seasons of prominence. “Dry Fly Only” has a purism taint that obscures the conservation issue, but if adopted would impact fishing significantly.

… and no, an indicator is not dry. Nor is a dry fly with nymph dangling below, we’re insisting on only surface fishing – but we might overlook the dry fly pulled under and twitched fetchingly …

Having fished on dry fly only water, with mown trails between small fishing platforms (with seating) at each pool, I can attest that it’s rarified – but still fly fishing.

… and each phase of the aquatic insect would have to be ruled on in advance – and posted whether it’s dry or wet just to avoid your claims of innocence while being carted off in manacles.

I’m not sure that we’re capable of policing ourselves, so each turnstile into the quality water will have to be equipped with brass and tungsten detection…

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, barbless hook, floating fly, upstream presentation only.”

There’s a perverted element that would welcome hideous restriction as the bragging rights would be commensurate. Thankfully they’re a minority albeit intensely vocal, but they exist.

Unfortunately as we pile on the restrictions we’re obligating ourselves to an increase in stern eyeballs monitoring all this extra ritual. Wardens being in short supply and with thousands of miles to patrol, we’d have to hire someone to monitor us while we alternate between spirit and letter of the law.

Which brings the spectre of fee based fishing and similarity with Europe.

The antics of Donny Beaver and viability of the private fishing club proves there’s enough rich folks to pay for exclusivity, the question becomes are us less fortunate willing to pay for a similar increase in quality?

“Quality” being a surrogate for less people, bigger fish, catered lunches, or whatever you find most attractive.

Despite their stated intent, many states tap license fees to cover shortfalls in other budgets. In the current economic climate that will persist for some time. Fee based fishing offers some small possibility that the funds would be dedicated to the watershed, the question would be is the angling brotherhood willing to pay for equal measures of restriction and pleasure?

The growth in “farm pond” fisheries suggest that both size and quantity are very compelling to anglers, enough so that many shops feature this type of “private access – hatchery enhanced” fishery – and participants are willing to pay extra for access to artificial lakes enhanced with brood stock.

Regulations are at the whim of the landowner, and some even charge by the hour.

It’s certain to be off-putting to some, but with all of the fanciful threats forecast by global warming, population growth, invasives, and alternate land use, and should only a fraction of that come true, it’s plain that public agencies and their stewardship of the public water could be unsustainable.

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, barbless hook, floating fly, no wading, upstream presentation only, and the river is opened only in odd numbered years.”

How about resting the water every other season? That would make patrolling the Precious easier for wardens, as they’d be able to open fire on anyone seen on the bank …

With all we have vested in the sport, and all the conservation dogma we espouse at every cocktail gathering, why not alternate venues or pursue some other noble, more plentiful quarry in alternate years?

It would be curtains for many of the destination shops who are struggling already, but the agile will exploit the Internet, and the fortunate have more than a single watershed to service.

Perhaps three or five year closures might make more sense. Giving our discarded tippet and water bottles more time to flush.

“… fishing is Catch & Kill only, limit two fish over 6”, artificial only, barbless hook, floating fly, no wading, upstream presentation only, and the river is opened only in odd numbered years.”

Limiting our time on the creek might also work, although we’d have to stooge around on the bank waiting for a buddy to get his limit, or convince him to claim one of the carcasses was his. Naturally, you’d have to cough up cash or buy the dinner as you’ve obligated him to cease fishing on his next successful grab …

Local tourism and fly shops would be the benefactors, perhaps a few anglers would take up upland birds – spending the balance of the evening blowing hell out of pine trees.

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, no wading, upstream presentation only, barbless hook size 20 or smaller, and no artificials may contain : a) rubberlegs, b) lead, c) beads, d) synthetic fibers, e) or may be predominately Olive, Brown, Gray, or Black.”

Now that most of the stoneflies, half of the dry flies, and three-quarters of your fly box is off limits, remember to get there early … to allow for ex-TSA employees to go through your vest and impound everything you can’t use.

As a fly tier I wouldn’t object too much. Knowing what goes in every fly I’ve tied has me dressing on the other side of the fence, watching you get hustled to the ground for illegal synthetics you didn’t know you had.

I’ll avert my gaze when I hear the snap of the rubber gloves …

The “20-20” Club is something that motivates a lot more anglers than you think, and with hooks being what they are and 18” fish having imaginary extra length there’s many fewer members than claim credit.

How big would the average fish have to be for that kind of rigor? Remember we’re protecting both fishery and fish, and any indignation is worthy…

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, no wading, upstream presentation only, barbless hook, and each angler is limited to a single fly in possession.

Again it’s a time limiter, you can select the fly after much observation the evening of your arrival, I suppose you can take a roundabout way back to the car after you snap it off on a tree limb and get another – which will spawn new paths through the underbrush to avoid the turnstiles and the watchful eyes nearby.

Or you can merely go straight to the extreme and stand in line for what will surely be the new esthetic:

“… fishing is Catch & Release only, artificial only, no wading, upstream presentation only, barbless hook, and each angler must construct his terminal tackle using native flora or the contents of the parking lot’s garbage can.”

Sadly Tonkin cane is in short supply throughout much of Montana as well as the Rockies or Sierra’s. The invasive threat being what it is, it should arrive within the decade however.

Saplings are fair game, and those skilled in furled leaders could conceivably weave some type of weight forward from the native grasses. Small game will suffer – as they’re chased about and disemboweled to return gut leaders to prominence. It’s not much of a reach to plant pen raised squirrels to ensure survival of native fish, and their fur can be utilized to craft both dry flies and nymphs, ensuring full utilization as a resource.

While I’ve strayed fairly far afield from the original question, given the trend of irreparable damage fostered by us stewards, and the outside issues that add to that mix, should we consider changing regulations to restrict our impacts on the Pristine, and in what manner would you make that palatable?

Fly fishermen are compensating for something, certainly, our rods aren’t fully automatic, belt-fed, or both

All I had to do was read any of my past posts to recognize “I don’t measure up”, yet PETA had to send me a zinger just the same …

compensating_something They’re on the warpath, and with the death of the UK’s famous “Two Tone” carp, PETA erected a billboard to chastise local anglers …

I’ve often wondered whether dry fly purists weren’t compensating for something, but I hadn’t trod the masculinity route. I’d left it at thinking these were the kids whose Ma cut the crusts off their PB & J, and they still had a chip on their shoulders.

PETA delights in bearding the prophet, nearly as much as we like laughing over their latest protest. This episode is no exception, featuring the debut of DoAnglersHaveSmallRods.com – which hosts a test to determine whether the water is both … cold … and deep.

I don't quite measure up

Finding out about my shortcomings doesn’t redden my cheeks a bit. What’s really going to be funny is when “Casper Milquetoast” knocks at my door to borrow a power tool, and he gets an abacus and a scratch awl to repair his roof.

“Yo, Casper, looking a little damp there, Sweetheart. Is that madam’s chamber pot you’re emptying – Wow, I bet she is pissed, huh?”

Where we interview for the position of fly fishing sidekick

We’ll be back around seven, and we brought Sweetums’s Frisbee for you to throw. Try not to tire Precious too much, knowing his delicate sensibilities and fragile constitution.”

Right.

I had dog watching duties this weekend, and while tossing slobber-Frisbee is a rarified treat, peeling the layers of domestication off a well mannered beast is twice as much fun.

“Little Meat” is a burner, and freed from the leash and dropped into the primitive, there was a better than average chance that all my Spey flies would be real Blue Heron …

All we had to do is corner one on a stretch with no deer carcasses or desiccated anything – as maggot-ridden has a special draw equal to something fleeing in a panic, and only to a dog occupying the seat next to you.

Triple_axel

… only they were smart enough to keep their distance, mostly …

The nametag says I’ve never seen him before, akin to the perfect crime. While the Fish & Game is frantically searching for a second clip and with closure approaching Mach 0.6, like everything else that breaks cover …  Toast.

Me and “Cheetah” have a few rough edges to work on … Tennis balls can be returned, but anything screaming or bloody should be consumed behind bushes – so I can feign horror like the rest of the onlookers.

Any animal “siding” you while fishing has to have personality aplenty. It may justify its oxygen providing precious “pointer” skills; lift the right paw if it’s a Pikeminnow, left paw if it’s a sucker, droop both ears if its Bass … yet while attentive to my pantomime, Meat’s keen eyesight and rocket-speed were reserved only for terrestrial prey.

eat_drink_roll

While twenty-four hours isn’t enough to undo years of obedience, there was a tell tale gleam of malevolence after a scorching march through the watershed…

Otter fleeing in terror

… especially after consuming two of the three Otter that have migrated down into the Big Fish stretch. It’s both the first and last time such magnificent creatures have been seen on my creek, and despite blanket protection provided by the Fish & Game, ag chemicals made them slow and fat, something my companion exploited unmercifully.

Taco_Bell

Chase stuff, crap on stuff, roll in stuff – look wounded when hurled into the creek after acquiring a disguising scent, and expect to go to Disneyland or Sizzler upon return to civilization.

Almost like fishing, with the only difference being our insistence on cooking or photographing stinky stuff, rather than wearing it proudly.

California Free fishing day tomorrow

Nasty! Tastes Nasty! Just a friendly reminder that Monday, September 6th is the second of the two free fishing days for California. Residents 16 and older do not require a license to catch, thump, or eat anything, in either fresh or salt water.

Note the lifting of the license restriction will not make fish tastier, so the screams of joy and adventure will not extend to the dinner table. Like all real fishermen – kids hate fish – unless a clown serves it …

… and then only maybe.

I’ll urge you to be firm despite the scowls and tears. Teaching them to catch fish may be an elective, but teaching them to eat what they kill is a requirement, a rite of passage.