Skip to main content

Posts

Very Superstitious

Bass anglers are a peculiar lot. They set the alarm extra early, grab a coffee or energy drink, and pile a trove of expensive gear into a boat or pickup, shirking all domestic responsibilities to head to the nearest water in an attempt to catch a few fish they will ultimately throw back. Anglers take time off work and spend wads of cash on equipment and lures to outsmart a fish that are known to hit beer tops and cigarette butts.
But like all tribes of people, bass anglers have their own philosophy, and are steeped in fishing lore handed down from ancient times. Passed on as well are the many superstitions held by fishermen and women for generations. It is believed that applying this esoteric knowledge will almost guarantee success on the water, if you hold your mouth right (whatever the hell that means).
Never Whistle
In this Cancel Culture we are living in, with the Me Too!movement and all, it is no longer acceptable to make rude remarks or cat-calls to women or to bass, apparently. If…
Recent posts

Coming Full Circle

We were camping on the James River near Gladstone, Virginia one summer when I was a teenager, and as usual, I had struck off by myself to get away from the rest of the family and spend some time exploring unfamiliar waters. Besides, if I hung around the RV site too long, my dad would put me to work, leveling up the camper, hanging those ridiculous owl lights around the canopy, or something. I had seen a picture in the camp store of some smallmouth bass a guy had caught, and I had only seen a few of them in my life. 
I waded out into the water about thigh deep and started casting a small Rapala down and across the current with my spinning rod. Besides me, there were three other fishermen strung out along the river in this section of wide, swift moving water. Every now and then, a fish would take a swipe at my lure, but I couldn't get any to commit. I made my way down toward a large rock about a quarter of the way across, and side armed the bait upstream, and watched it bob and ride …

Can fishing add years to a person's life?

This is a piece I wrote several years ago. It still holds true today.



Everyone needs a place where they can reflect on life. A place that will strengthen their spirit and rejuvenate their soul. Such a place is known only in the heart. There are a few places like that for me, but the one that first comes to mind is the solitude of a mountain trout stream. 
As I cast a fly into the dark recesses along the banks and near deadfall trees, my mind wanders to days past. I think of all the great experiences I've had, and the people in my life who have inspired me. All that time, I wish I could get back. It does not really matter to me if a fish is hooked-- just watching them swirl and gawk at my offering gives me satisfaction, and is sustenance to my soul.
The aroma that comes from the surrounding forest and the the sound of rippling water gives me a deep feeling of peace and quiet joy, far beyond my comprehension. In the spring of the year, it's the new green on the trees and the flower…

Water and Stone: Meditations

My soul finds rest by the river. The soft purling of water over smooth stone soothes my mind, lifts my spirits, and gives me a sense of my place in the Creation. Rivers represent for me life, death, and the passing of time. The constant flow of water washes away my sorrows, and carries my prayers down the river that I must cross over in the end.
When I gaze into the cold, turbid water, I am reminded of my own birth and my rebirth. Contained in every molecule of river water is a memory, the resonance, of the formation of the Earth.
In the depths of a shadowy pool of clear water, I watch a trout steady itself against the powerful current. Its colors are a remnant of primordial times, proof of the handiwork of God. The trout reveals to me the purity of the river that is its home.
When my mind is troubled, I go to the river. I step out into the cold, clear waters to cleanse my soul.

Darkness

The effects of the shortened length of daylight on my psyche is compounded by the raw, wet, cloudy weather this afternoon. Seasonal Affective Disorder-- add that to the list of issues I deal with on a daily basis. What I wouldn't give for a little sunshine today. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. When I leave home in the morning, its pitch dark, and by the time I arrive home, the light is fading. No wonder so many of us suffer with depression more in the winter months.
I know that I have so many things to be thankful for, but I tend to forget that when I am down. My wife and kids are so good to me, even when I am withdrawn, stuck inside my own head. I lash out at them sometimes for no reason, then have to deal with the shame afterwards. If you're anything like me, you know how that feels. 
My oldest daughter found out she has some major issues with her intestines last week. At first, the fear was cancer, but thank God, it wasn't. Her condition is still serious…

Through the Seasons

As a child, I would sit at the base of an ancient oak tree, the woods my only refuge from a world in which I didn't fit.

In summer, the green canopy sheltered me from gathering storms, from both the sky above and the soul within.
On autumn evenings, I would watch the squirrels play on the branches above, and my spirits were lifted.
Winter's cold breath did not keep me away, and I didn't fear the ghosts that the trees had become.
When the first leaves appeared in spring, I would be there to witness life renewed, in both the woods and myself.

Passing On the Hunting Tradition

At ten years old, it was nearly impossible to sit still on the cold, hard ground beneath a huge pine tree, beside my dad as he scanned an old hayfield in search of deer. I was bundled up in his old camouflage coveralls—which were big enough to swallow me whole—and the boredom had started to set in by 9 am. I busied myself, playing with sticks and pinecones as I watched the occasional squirrel or songbird that would come to check us out from a safe distance. It was a cold December morning in Greenwood County, South Carolina, and despite the extra layer of clothing and my thermal underwear, I was shivering, hoping that soon my dad would give up and we would retreat to the comfort of the heated cab of his pick-up truck. I sat back against the tree and pulled my blaze orange stocking hat down over my ears, and drew my head inside of the coveralls to warm up. In just a moment, I was jolted by the thundering blast from my dad’s .58 caliber muzzleloader, and I popped my head out just in time…