Friday, October 26, 2012

The Weekend 10: Bumper Stickers

I've entered the "swag" fray here at Eat More Brook Trout--I've gone and ordered a 1,000 super-cheap and small-ish window stickers to promote the blog (message me on Facebook and I'll send you a couple), and it got me thinking of some of the better bumper and window stickers I've seen over the years.

Generally, I'm not a huge fan of the kitschy phrases--particularly of the political ilk--that tend to dominate the bumper-culture these days. I think political bumper stickers are actually a real problem in our society--they tend to become soul-free catch-phrases used by politicians that, while easy to remember, lack any real substance. To me, politics is too nuanced for bumper stickers, and it cheeses me off when sloganeering takes the place of dialog.

But I digress...

Bumper stickers have their place, and I hope the little EMBT window sticker has its place on a lot of rear windows in the future. For now, some of my favorites...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

20 Questions: Mia Sheppard

Mia Sheppard
Mia Sheppard is confident, smart, funny and ... magnetic--she's a blast to hang out with. That she can cast a fly rod like a stick of butter and find fish on just about any stretch of water is simply a bonus. She's the real deal... a steelhead guide, an extreme skier, a chukar hunter and a patient, thoughtful and caring mother and wife. There aren't many out there like her.

But what I respect most about Mia (outside of the whole stick-of-butter fly-rod thing) is her desire to channel all that's good within her toward protecting our natural resources. She's one of the rare hunter/angler types that understands the connection between a healthy environment and the opportunity to fish and hunt. It baffles me that some folks think intact habitat and sporting opportunity are mutually exclusive.

I got the chance to fish briefly with Mia in Alaska this summer, and I'm so glad I did. Not only did I make a great new friend, but I was also reminded that there are people in this world who care about the places that allow great fishing and hunting to happen. You may not know Mia, now, but I'm betting you will, and I'm betting you'll be just as impressed with her as I am.

Here's your introduction. On with the questions:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Public lands... Our Birthright

Enjoying our birthright.
We're not all born into wealth--the Oligarchy is called the Oligarchy for a reason. But, as Americans, we do have a few birthrights ... a few intact benefits that come with citizenship.

Our country's vast network of public lands is the envy of the world--no other nation bestows upon its citizens the free-and-clear ownership of real property. Sure, it comes with stipulations--it belongs to all of us, so a mutual respect for the resource is necessary and largely understood. But it's ours. We can step foot upon it any time we wish. We can spend weeks on it without paying a dime. We can hunt, fish and gather. We can extract from it, hopefully in moderation.

It's ours. Our birthright.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

20 Questions: Brian Kozminski

Brian Kozminski, aka, "Koz."
Brian Kozminski is the compass behind True North Trout. But more than that, Brian's a Michigan fly fishing guide with an unequaled conservation conscience. He takes his Michigan roots seriously, right down to his active involvement with the Miller Van Winkle chapter of Trout Unlimited.

I don't know Brian terribly well, but what I do know impresses me. His steadfast commitment to Michigan's trout and salmon resources is obvious--he wears it on his sleeve like a badge of honor. His social media posts about Michigan fly fishing are bold--he's kind of like Robert Conrad, daring you knock the battery off his shoulder. You mess with Michigan, you have to answer to Koz.

But this interview process--which is usually pretty low maintenance for me--always lets me in on a few secrets ahead of everybody else. I learned a lot about Brian, and I'm guessing you will to, in the coming questions. I learned that not only is he a man of conviction, but that conviction came to him the hard way. I assume Brian--like of a lot us--had to hit rock bottom before he was able to build himself back up, to reinvent who his is versus who he was years ago. It's admirable, to be sure, but it's also powerful.

See for yourself. On with the questions:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Alone in the Dark

The sun wins.
For a closet introvert who can fake the opposite on command, time alone is like being plugged into a battery charger.

If only I had a USB port at the back of my neck. Then I wouldn't need to disappear for hours at a time to replenish what the real world drains (on second thought, when that port is invented, please pass me by--I'm not interested).

While "alone time" is necessary for a guy like me, there are times when a friendly voice is appreciated. As I hiked on blistered feet out of the Yellowstone backcountry, racing the sunset and losing miserably, I would have loved a reassuring voice, if for nothing else than to have a little conversation to discourage the park's grizzlies from getting the wrong idea.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Weekend 10: Best of Fall

We had our first hard freeze here in eastern Idaho this week, and my tomato and pepper plants are done after a valiant summer of producing the vital ingredients for fresh salsa. The tree-lined avenues of the numbered streets are sporting some gorgeous autumn hues, and the bright, sunny days that come on the heels of crisp, clearn nights make me long for days on the water when my hunting friends have abandoned the fly gear and headed afield searching for deer, elk and fowl.

So as "football weather" officially arrives, I thought I'd reminisce a bit about some of my favorite fall fishing destinations here in the Rockies, in hopes of both inspiring and compelling my fishing pals to hit the water during this, the best time of the year to find quiet water amidst the splendor of the season. Happy weekend.

Monday, October 1, 2012

20 Questions: Hank Patterson

A few weeks back, I had the good fortune to stumble across the first two episodes of "The REEL Adventures of Fly Fishing Expert Hank Patterson," on Facebook, and I've been laughing ever since.

I'm not sure if it was the Minico High School sweatshirt (which makes him an honest-to-God Idaho farm boy) Hank wore on camera for Episode Two, or if it was the "I almost can't tell if this dude is joking" delivery the videos offer up to the viewers, but I think the show's creators, Trout Jousters, are onto something. For those of us who've fished for years, we've all come across the odd guide or two who might have been a little less skilled than he or she initially let on, and I think Hank Patterson does a great job emulating some of the "experts" out there who might take themselves just a bit too seriously.

The short episodes are well done, and Hank, played convincingly by Travis Swartz (no, sadly, he's a not a real dude), is unabashedly confident in his angling prowess, even going so far as to invent new trophy fish to pursue--who hasn't wanted to tangle with an 18-inch native brownbow, right?

Hank Patterson
I think Hank Patterson is just what fly fishing needs at a crucial time in the craft's evolution--either we can figure out a way to laugh at ourselves now and then, or we can continue to think that everything we do is utterly serious and tediously pure. I'm all for the former--we've all had moments on the water where we've been made the fool, either by the fish or ourselves. Hank Patterson, the fly fishing expert that he is, might be our penance for the perception many have of fly fishing ... that it's too stuffy and that we, as fly fishers, are too exclusive... too snobby.

I hope fly fishers will embrace Hank as one of us, and I hope those who don't yet fly fish will look at Hank and be inspired to take up the sport, knowing that we, just like the bass fishers out there, can have a good chuckle at our own expense.

Thanks, Travis, for creating Hank, and thanks Hank, for reminding us that it's not blasphemy to throw a little slapstick into the fly fishing world. God knows we need it now and then.

On with the questions: