Saturday, February 5, 2011

Craig Mathews can suck it! (Kidding ... mostly)

By Liza Hunt
EMBT Guest Blogger

Leave it to Craig Mathews to make it look easy and fun.

It has been a frigid January in Idaho with the temperatures dropping well below zero many, many times. The Tenkara rod I got for Christmas didn’t even have a fly line attached to it, and I really had no intention of taking it out until the snow was gone, the roads were clear and the flowers were blooming in the spring.  

But there was Craig Mathews, fishing in January, on the Madison, no less.

My husband doesn’t like to fish big water. He likes to hike into the backcountry and cast flies in streams my 8-year-old could jump across. I see big, slow, snakey "S" turns in Yellowstone National Park and start to salivate. Chris won’t even slow the car down. 

"I'll fish there when I'm old," he mutters.

AND he says that my new beautiful 13 foot Tenkara Fountainhead rod isn’t for big water–and it certainly isn’t for big fish.

So there is Craig January...on the Madison...with a Tenkara rod–well, what’s a girl to do? I decided we were going fishing.

In the Craig Mathews video the sun is shining, he’s cracking jokes, and he manages to catch two very nice fish in about two minutes. 

The Liza Hunt video would feature an hour of driving on icy roads through dense fog with a cranky 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy who keeps asking how long things can hold their breath (alligators, whales, Bear Grylls).  

In my video, we arrive at Warm River, circle through a parking lot packed with snowmobile trailers, park on the road and spend 40 minutes cramming ourselves into six layers of clothes and new neoprene waders. We then stand around for another 20 minutes waiting for Daddy to rig up everyone’s gear. By then, two of us have to pee. I’m not sure Craig Mathews had the same challenges.

  • The dog got tangled up in my line and managed to bury the nymph in my left index finger.
  • The 8 year old fished for a total of 20 minutes before his reel fell off and he went into the river up to his neck to retrieve it. Keep in mind, it's February.
  • My brand new Tenkara rod broke into three pieces.
  • I cursed Craig Mathews.

At one point in every fishing trip, I find myself declaring, “I’m never going fishing again!” 

But then, I tell myself to give it five more casts–my Sweet Baboo puts down his rod and gives me a little direction (“The fish will be in the deeper water. Show me where Cameron fell in”). 

Moments later, I end up with a nice little rainbow trout. It might not be a fish that YouKnowWho would be proud of, but that little rainbow saved my day, and will keep me coming back for more.

God Bless you, Craig Mathews.


  1. Wonderful piece! Thanks for sharing Liza with us Chris. She's a delight. But then, you knew that.

  2. Sounds like a ....great ( I think ) day.

  3. Kudos to Liza for a wonderful post. I'm still convinced that only the criminally insane would take a dog and an 8 year old fishing, let alone in the ice and snow!

  4. Liza, Too bad about the rod but a great story none the less! Craig would be proud of you getting out there>

  5. All in good fun, Liza, but maybe I'll just have to say we warned you :-)

    13 foot Tenkara Fountainhead rod ...
    My brand new Tenkara rod broke into three pieces.

    Craig has a Tenkara USA rod!

    Tight lines,
    Tenkara USA

  6. The good news is that Fountainhead has a $25 repair policy. Not bad. And, of course, there was no disrespect intended to Tenkara USA (our family has a great little Iwana). We just had a $50 gift limit for Christmas this year, which made the Fountainhead our only choice.

  7. Oh, and as for the criminally insane...

    One kid is perfect. Two is doable. One kid and one dog is doable. Beyond that, we were asking for trouble. And it was freezing... but the fish didn't seem to mind ;)

  8. Very nice piece...I have always enjoyed the Warm River. It usually has been productive for me, maybe that is why! Just remember it's all about the journey! Although that rainbow sure put a smile on...

  9. Love the humor in that post. Craig's video was awesome, but I secretly wanted one of those icebergs to take him out and bring it back down to a human level. Yeah, I'm evil like that.