Friday, September 9, 2011

Twenty Questions: Owl Jones

Here at the worldwide headquarters of Eat More Brook Trout (you should see the little space the staff and I have carved out of the store room), we're constantly looking for content that will keep followers coming back for more. And, frankly, unless I'm either on a fishing trip or just back from a trip, it's tough to keep the blog updated with fresh information. With that in mind, I thought we'd start a new weekly feature that requires precious little effort on my part, and a lot of thought and contemplation on the part of the folks I plan to pick on for the next 52 weeks.

It's called "Twenty Questions," and it's inspired by one of my many vices--reading the back page of Vanity Fair magazine while "browsing" airport newsstands. With apologies to the wonderful magazine, I rarely buy it, but I often "steal" it while I'm waiting for a plane. The back-page profile consists of a Proust questionnaire (made famous by French writer Marcel Proust, who delighted in questions like those below, and answered several such queries over the course of his brilliant career).

Jeff "Owl" Jones.
I thought it might be interesting to take that venerable Vanity Fair questionnaire, trim it down somewhat, and present the questions to a handful of folks in the fly fishing world, just so you, as readers, can get a better handle on the folks who are moving and shaking in our tight little community.

For the first victim participant, I've chosen Jeff "Owl" Jones.

Owl Jones is a something of polarizing figure among the fly fishing community. He first came on the scene during the message-board craze of the mid-90s. Since the late 90s, he has been banned from most of the larger forums due to his unwillingness to sugar-coat his opinions, and his ability to ruffle the feathers of  fellow anglers and state wildlife agencies alike. In late 2010 he started his own blog which is now called "," where he has not yet been banned (although, by the time this runs, you never know). Owl currently lives in Gainesville, Ga., with his lovely wife and their invisible dog "Snickers" who always does what he's told and never barks at night. His goal is to get famous, take over the fly fishing world, and someday have extra-large zingers with his face on them. 

As an aside, Owl is still smarting from the hurt put on his Bulldogs by some lowly community college from Boise, Idaho, last weekend. On with the questions:

Banned from a message board near you.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting around a campfire with good friends on the first night of a four-night fishing trip. 

2. What is your greatest fear?
Dying without doing anything significant. And bees. I hate bees.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with? 
It’s a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Spider-man.

4. Which living person do you most admire? 
Another tie. My wife and my mother–both of them are solid as a rock and at times I can’t understand how they can have everything so “together.”

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
The constant, uncontrollable urge to always speak up about everything. Many nights I lie awake and wonder why I just couldn’t keep my big mouth shut (or fat fingers off the keyboard) and let it ride...

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others? 

7. What is your favorite journey? 
Frontiers, although Escape wasn’t too bad either.

8. On what occasion do you lie? 
Owl's favorite dude.
The only time I lie may be to spare a person’s feelings. I shouldn’t lie even then, but... I’d be lying here, if I told you I don’t do that on rare occasions. I pretty much say whatever I think 99 percent of the time.

9. Which living person do you most despise? 
Most days... myself. Politically? James Carville. (He’s an LSU fan, too. Ugh.) In general? Again, probably myself. I’m not the person I’d like to be, and I struggle each day to be a better human being. Most days I fail.

10. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
“When’s dinner?”

11. What is your greatest regret? 
That I didn’t serve in the U.S. military. My dad was a Tank Commander, and my step-father a U.S. Marine who served some time at Camp David and once, he told me, played pool with Eisenhower. I have the greatest respect for our military men and women.

Owl's other favorite dude. 
12. What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
Jesus Christ, who saved my soul and gave me peace, even though some days I fight Him on the peace part by worrying too much, and trusting too little.

13. Which talent would you most like to have? 
I’ve always wanted to be able to paint. I can draw a little, but when I pick up a brush and paint it looks like something a blind cat would slap together. In college I once gave my very best effort and painted a horse in a field. I even got a B+ for it from my professor who told me “That’s the best abstract yet from you. I really understood the emotion you put into that deformed wildebeest, Mr. Jones...”

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Fooling my beautiful, very attractive, incredibly sweet girlfriend into thinking I was worth marrying. I didn’t think I’d get a second date after I went to the wrong venue for the concert, got us lost in the bad part of town, and said all the wrong things before dinner.

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
A fried pie. Probably blackberry or blueberry. And I’d probably be burned and crusty and not worth eating.

16. What is your most treasured possession? 
Time outdoors. I have instructed my wife to make sure if at all possible that when my time comes to go, I don’t die inside. I’d hate to die without being able to see the sky or feel the wind. I truly love being outside more than anywhere else.

17. Where would you like to live? 
West Yellowstone was mighty nice. Anywhere that’s at least 50 miles from a big city will do.

18. Who are your favorite writers? 
Nick Lyons, Ken Hall, and Horace Kephart. What? No favorite movie question? (Smoky and the Bandit)

19. Who are your heroes? 
Rush Limbaugh, Chris McKee, William McLendon, Joe Kisselburg, Amber Jones, Henry Branam, Jo Ann Branam, Brett Favre, Dave Ramsey, and whoever created

20. How would you like to die? 

What's on your iPod?
I don't own one. But if I did, it'd be filled with nothing but 80s stuff. This modern pop/club music crap makes me want to hurl (you can use that).


  1. Hi Chris! Two criticisms. One, is that I didn't think of this idea first. It's a great, entertaining idea that I love. 2nd, you busted the myth of Owl Jones. He's a real person! Love him or hate him, he's real...crazy, but real. Nice job.

  2. very well done. I feel so much closer to that hooting little bird.

  3. Errr...Cofisher...why don't you ever believe me? I told you Owl was REAL something! Ha. That was a great interview with a REAL legend in my mind! Love him... : ) My bro...

  4. Howard... he's not real. He's a figment of my imagination. Glad you enjoyed it... feel free to suggest future victims.

  5. I like the new addition! It's going to be fun to get glimpses into some of these characters that we read everyday.

    Well done Owl :-)

  6. Wow! I have a new respect for the Owl. He likes cool people that I think have their political compass pointing in the right direction, he reads books from authors that sound important and he too has a strong faith in our Lord.

    Gotta figure out how to spend some time on the water with this awesome dude!

    Thanks, Chris! Great interview.

  7. This is great! Made me smile in a week where there hasn't been much to smile about.

    Thanks for that, and keep 'em coming!

  8. Thank you for the kind words, everyone. And thanks to EMBT for obviously deleting all the poo-poo'rs. ( I'm sure you guys are outnumbered! ;) )

  9. Full disclosure ... and Owl knows this: He and I don't always agree on everything, but we've found ways to disagree without being disagreeable. My logic behind creating this little feature was simple--I wanted to give some insight into the hearts and souls of those who make this fly fishing world tick. I hope you'll be just as appreciative when there are folks profiled here that you don't see eye to eye with. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I rarely ever agree with anything Owl says or does, but he's real and he's who he is. He's still a friend.

  11. I, too, am proud to call him a friend.

  12. I really enjoyed this and think this is a super idea. Like others I'm looking forward to the next victinms - er contributors..
    As for that Owl character.. well hey I want to dag him along on some backwater adventures.. he'd do just fine in my neighborhood - hell they'd probably erect a statue or something :)

  13. Statue? I've always thought that Owl would look good in cement overshoes!! Just kidding buddy.