Thursday, November 28, 2013


Perhaps inspiration is found in the bottom of a jug of homemade apple pie cocktail (thank you, Wisconsin), or perhaps it's just the season... but I felt compelled to sit and craft a tried-and-true post for the holiday.

Today, I'm thankful for...

Fishing buddies... 
My friends. A little social network time this morning convinced me that spending a holiday like this alone is done purely by choice. Just a few lines of text, some kitschy winks and smiley-faces, and I felt fulfilled... loved... appreciated. Thank you for that, my dear friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

The Rockettes. Whew. It's hot in here.

My kids. They're here with me this morning, and we're cooking and watching TV and YouTube vines and eating stuffing and breakfast burritos and ... let's just say I'm grateful. Beyond grateful.

Cold water. No cold water, no trout. No trout, no joy. Thank God for melting snow, upslopes and blizzards.

Bonefish. Challenging. Discerning. Lightning fast. Drop dead gorgeous (after a fashion).

Brook trout. I'm always thankful for brookies. I thank God every time I pull one from clear water and soak in the rich colors alive with a force that I cannot explain. 

Salt water. I live in Idaho. But a year without sand between my toes and the taste of salty spray on my lips is year poorly lived. 

Fishing buddies. They're more than friends, for they forgive the vices that grip me and help me embrace the passion I have for the pull at the end of the leader. They provide wisdom, offer patience and forgive weakness. They enjoy the little things, and understand the magnetism of water. 

Family. They're far-flung. They're weird. They're wonderful. Some of them are even Republicans. But I love them, and I'm thankful for them. And I've made them each provide me with a notorized copy of their birth certificates. You never know. 

Public lands
Public lands. May they remain so, for coming generations. And may those who wish to trash them gain the wisdom needed to see their value. They belong to you. To me. And even to those--bought and paid for--who would see them traded for short-term gain. 

Fiberglass. Our grandfathers had it right the first time.

Hopper season. If I need to elaborate, you need to get out more.

Bob Clouser. Thanks for the minnow, my friend. 

Hatch pliers. They saved my finger last summer. Close call.

Dean's Blue Hole. Thanks Sam Root for the photo.
Dean's Blue Hole. It's pretty intimidating to stand in three feet of water at its edge and cast over a chasm that drops 663 feet into the blue.

That special place on Colorado's Crystal River where my grandfather and I once stood and caught countless fat rainbows within shouting distance of one another. In all my years on the water, that day ranks at the top. I miss my grandfathers... both of them. They taught me to fish. They taught me about the water. Those are gifts I can never, ever repay. 

Ladyfish. Underappreciated. Big-eyed. Beautiful. Acrobatic. They frolic in the surf. They cruise the flats. They dance and shimmer. I'm enamored.

Jungle perch. When walking past a sign that reads, "Freshwater crocodiles have been known to injure people," you better come away with something. And a jungle perch is something, indeed.

Kayaks. This little craft is is the portal to the salty backcountry, where mangroves drape over dark water and shelter critters that crush Clousers and mangle 15-pound leaders. They're quiet. The run shallow and they squeeze into the tiniest of openings. 

Dolly Varden
Dolly Varden. These salty char of the north country never lose perspective, nurture a surly disposition and navigate among fish much larger than they are in order to eat and thrive. They're a worthy game fish and should be treated so. 

And, finally... 

Wilderness. Without it, we're not reminded of how things used to be, and how magical this place was before we razed and honed and progressed. There's more of it than we know--we should protect it. Forever. 


  1. Thank you for that.Happy Thanksgiving my friend.

  2. A pretty dang fine list you got there, my friend. And some good lookin' fishin' buddies. Happy Turkey Day.