20 Questions

 Christine Johnston Warren

Christine Johnston Warren

OK, time for full disclosure. I started this 20 Questions franchise for purely selfish reasons--I was too busy with the day job to really pay very much attention to the blog, but I wanted to build a solid readership so folks would visit frequently and hopefully enjoy my little creative outlet when I could find time to craft a "real" blog post now and then. Frankly put, 20 Questions was a way for me to generate interesting content without doing a hell of a lot of work--I would simply e-mail a list of edgy, off-the-wall questions to folks who move water in the fly fishing industry, wait for their kind reply and then paste their answers into the Blogger in Draft box on the computer. Very little human interaction is required (a blessing for a closet introvert who can occasionally fake it). 

For the first time in a year or so of doing this feature, I regret not conducting an interview in person. Christine Johnston Warren--known by many as The Fly Fish Chick--nailed the questionnaire. Nailed it.

A couple months back, I noticed Christine was marketing a new book, "Paddlefish," about her journey in the renowned (and maybe not in the best of ways) Texas Water Safari. I'd heard of the event, and the horrors its participants endured as they paddled canoes and kayaks from the crystal-clear headwaters of the San Marcos River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, stopping at deadlined checkpoints and generally trying to pull off Texas' answer to the Iditarod. There are tales of 10-foot alligators tipping small boats over, military-like mosquito sortees that never really relent and snakes. And mud. And it's in south Texas in June--'nuff said. 

I was intrigued by the notion of the book, and by a woman who, I've since come to learn, wasn't a supremely qualified paddler when she committed to the race in order to raise money for a charity. Christine is something of a mix between Sex in the City's Carrie Bradshaw and a young Ouiser Boudreax from Steel Magnolia's--not exactly the type you'd expect to see slumming with the grunts through knee-deep, muddy river portages or skipping a shower for 100 straight hours.

But Christine undergoes something of a metamorphosis in the pages of "Paddlefish." She'd already taken the leap and gone into corporate exile in hopes of actually becoming the writer she'd always dreamed of. And she'd always been an accomplished angler--her parents raised her right and she grew up casting a fly rod from the banks of Montana's finest water to the surprisingly fishy south Texas savannah. But she questioned her perhaps-too-hasty decision to commit to the TWS (and rightly so, frankly--her tale of the race compares the experience to nothing short of a visit to a hot, sticky version of Hades), and I think it's the doubt, mixed with her nervous excitement over trying something so completely absurd that drew me into the pages of this fine story. 

And at the end, what does Christine discover? (Because these books are all about self-discovery, right?). She'd probably be able to give you a laundry list of epiphanies. I'm only going to spoil one of them. Christine Johnston Warren, it turns out, is one tough chick.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I hope one day to share a beer with this amazing broad--she's the real deal. On with the questions: 

What is your greatest fear? Ending back up in the corporate world. At this stage in my life, after every risk I have taken to break away and follow my dream of writing, to get sucked back in would be a grave personal disappointment. But the allure of being able to pay bills more comfortably always lingers. Of course it’s a rather pompous assumption that the corporate world would even have me at this point.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Heavy question. Janis Joplin? No, just kidding! Obviously it’s Princess Diana.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Wasting time on reality television. No wait, using foul language. Oh hell, it’s probably the reality television thing.

I'd forgotten this film... thanks, Christine, for the reminder.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Mendacity. Paul Newman sounded so tortured fighting against it in “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” when everything was hitting the fan with Big Daddy. I was thoroughly mesmerized by the movie when I first saw it in high school so I’ve always believed mendacity is the thing against which we should all rail. But can I cite some more bad traits? Like pettiness, social climbing, bad grammar, bad driving, narcissism, being a chameleon, or challenging stream access laws in Montana. All of which get my blood boiling. And I think we can agree they are all somehow related to mendacity.

What is your favorite journey? Hands down The Texas Water Safari. I doubt if I will ever have another adventure like it in my lifetime.

On what occasion do you lie? It’s not so much a lie as a strict privacy policy. Under no circumstances should a woman ever tell anyone her weight, SAT scores or salary. Always let them think the best, and never confirm anything less than that.

Ah, what cheese looks like in a windbreaker.
Which living person do you most despise? Ooh, ‘despise’ is such a harsh word. Now I do like to poke a little fun at Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel. I mean, really…the too-tight muscle tees, the on-air melodrama, the airbrushed straw cowboy hat that looks like it came from a kiosk at the mall. But it’s all good fun, I don’t despise anyone. Or maybe you just caught me on a good day.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Like”
“You Know?”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“No, I swear I’m not making this up.”
“Seriously, finish your homework.”

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Surviving divorce. Being a good mother. Being a good wife. Publishing a book. Keeping my faith throughout.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A hummingbird. I deserve a decent metabolism next go round.
Where would you like to live? Can I say Austin even though I live here? I know you were probably looking for an answer with more longing and aspiration, but Austin’s such a damn cool spot.

Tina Fey... the "new" Nora Ephron?
Who are your favorite writers? I always come back to Hemingway. Nora Ephron is the standard many of us girls are shooting for. I recently read Tina Fey’s "Bossypants" which was hilarious and smart, she has a new fan in me. And I am quite bullish on two Austin writers these days, Ruth Pennebaker and Eileen Smith. I literally can’t get enough of their blogs, I devour their posts when I am sitting in the carpool line waiting for my daughter to get out of school.

Who are your heroes? Sophia Loren for aging so nicely and Loretta Lynn for writing many of her own songs. I’m still holding out hope that I will end up as a blend of the two.

What’s on your iPod?
Old outlaw like Willie, Walyon, Merle. Honkytonk including Loretta, Patsy, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce and Faron Young. Texas music such as Cross Canadian Ragweed and Robert Earl Keen. I’ve got lots of blues, southern rock, and soul. Some reggae and beach music. Current pop stuff for working out. Tons of 70’s…rock, disco, softrock, all the fun late nite nostalgia tunes. 

In three words, how would your closest friends describe you? Well, I would have initially guessed exhausting, flighty, and overly imaginative. But then I realized I think that’s what my husband would say. So I asked friends point blank and apparently the consensus is I’m hilarious, loyal and vivacious. At least those are the words I could re-print. I think bon vivant and tan were also mentioned? For the record, I highly recommend sending out a mass email to friends asking them to describe you favorably in three words to help with an interview. People love to be quoted and it’s a shameless way to receive a deluge of flattering emails, quite the self-esteem boost if you’re having a bad day. (PS, I have exceedingly kind friends, so that helps.)   

If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival?"Welcome, Christine. The jukebox is an old Wurlitzer, it’s always free for you, and I’ve removed all the jam bands from it."

What’s the favorite of all the cars you’ve ever driven? A 1966 Carolina blue Cadillac Sedan de Ville. It used to be my primo fishing ride out in Montana. Now it’s sadly defunct in my driveway being used as storage for all my husband’s grilling supplies.

Which actor/actress would play you in the movie about your life, and why? Because I would have negotiated backend points and complete creative control on the film, I would insist on Catherine Zeta Jones to play me. But I’d settle for Sandra Bullock.

Hey... nobody's perfect.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? Bravo TV’s ‘Real Housewives’. No city in particular, I’m hooked on the whole trashy franchise.

What’s the closest you’ve ever been to dying? With friends in college in Italy, hitching a ride to the beach in the back of a milk truck. Such poor judgment. We were pretty much a breath away from being a bad CNN headline the whole summer.

BONUS QUESTION: If you could go back in time, what year would you visit first?
I was alive in the 1970s but I was just a kid. I would have liked to have been in my 20s in Austin, Texas, in the 70s, experiencing the outlaw music movement and the Armadillo World Headquarters and watching the hippies and rednecks mingle, laying the foundation for what makes this town so unique.

Or Paris in the 20s with all the artists and writers. Also hard to top.


 Tim Romano

Tim Romano
Tim Romano is a gifted photographer, and if I said nothing more about him, that would be plenty. His innate curiosity behind the lens is unmatched, in my opinion, and it shows in the finished product.

But he's so much more than that. He's an entrepreneur (he and renowned outdoor writer Kirk Deeter co-publish Angling Trade, the fly fishing industry's leading trade publication). He's a blogger (he and Deeter team up to do the Fly Talk blog at Field & Stream magazine's website). He's a conservationist (he's deeply involved in Colorado Trout Unlimited's unique Greenbacks group, a collection of younger fly fishers who are putting their passion for fly fishing to work protecting Colorado's rivers).

I would submit to you that Tim is what a lot of us wanted to be when we grew up--he's smart, talented and, largely, doing exactly what he wants to do to make a living. Every time I meet him, I come away thoroughly impressed that a guy so young can be so "together."

But I have a suspicion that that's all about to change. Tim's wife, Ellie, is eight months pregnant with the couple's first child--a daughter. When that little girl shows her face, the balance in Tim's life will tip drastically, and knowing Tim, he'll devote his existence to the girls in his life, as he should.

I think you'll be as impressed by Tim as I am. On with the questions:


Tim's real answer to the "perfect happiness" question.
And you wonder how the dude suffered a spider bite?
(Don't blame me, Romano--Erica Stock, I owe you a beer)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The day I open my e-mail to find not one new email in my inbox. Seriously…

What is your greatest fear?
It's so cliched, but man I hate spiders. If you put me in a room full of them I'd pass out and probably never wake up. Death by spiders - yup that'd be horrible. I've actually been bitten by a brown recluse…

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
J. Robert Oppenheimer. Not sure I identify with him, but I find his story fascinating.

Which living person do you most admire?
Tough one… Off the top of my head I'd say my friend Joe Mauer. We call him Doc Joe. He's 97, was a baby doctor here in town. He's probably birthed more people than I've met. He's sharp as a tack, tells it like it is and has an amazing zest for life.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Procrastination. I've got it bad. I mean it took me two months to write this thing up for you.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Ego and people who don't listen.

What is your favorite journey?
My favorite journey is one that is spontaneous and possibly longer than I would have thought. If you're talking about something concrete here, then my 3 months I spent living in a van with my buddy in New Zealand. We fished 70 out of 90 days.

Tim hates these dudes... wonder why?
Which living person do you most despise?
Despise? That's strong. I'd have to say all those spandex wearing, self righteous road bikers here in my lovely hometown of Boulder, Colo. They're a bunch of idiots.

What is your greatest regret?
My greatest regret at this point in my life is that I haven't put all of my energy and time in to being a photographer 100 percent of the time. I'm a giant weenie in that regard. I think I could do it, but I've never had the cajones to find out.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Gotta go with my wife, Ellie. She's amazing.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would LOVE to be able to write. It takes me forever and usually comes out horribly.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Most certainly I would be some type of bird. Preferably a bad-ass bird that didn't get eaten by other more bad ass birds than me.

Ellie
What is your most treasured possession? There's this one photo of my wife I took years and years ago with her lying on the couch with her head basically in her grandmothers lap. It is my favorite photo I have ever taken. I have the medium format negative squirreled away and just recently had a $100 scan made of it.

Where would you like to live?
I would love to live in Austin, Texas, but the climate would be like San Diego, and there would be forests like the Northwest and flats out my back door like the Bahamas, and rivers like there are in New Zealand. Oh and the food and people like New Orleans…

How would you like to die? 
I should say in my sleep, and that'd be nice, but honestly I wouldn't mind to go out doing something I love. Rafting, skiing, flying with my brother (sorry Patch),etc…I think that's kinda cool in a sick and twisted way.

What’s on your iPod?
Recent new additions include, Bon Iver, Best of Dire Straits, The War on Drugs, Haley Bonar, Gillian Welch, The National, Raphael Saadiq, The Clean.

What’s the title of your autobiography?
"The Man Who Rode Winged Unicorns While Drinking from a Diamond Goblet Filled with Children's Laughter."


Significant? You bet.
What was the most significant moment in your life?
So far I'd have to say my wedding, which while fairly mundane is true. Although I'm having a daughter (my first) in about a month, so well see..

What’s your favorite film?
There's quite a few, but for some reason I really like Road to Perdition - I think because of the score and cinematography. Monochromatic and eerily beautiful.

Where would you want your loved ones to spread your ashes?
Boulder Creek, North Boulder Creek, Gore Canyon, multiple lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, a pinch in the marsh outside New Orleans and just a touch in my garden.


Tim Romano's dream machine.
BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite car of all the cars you’ve owned?
I owned a, ‘88 subaru station wagon with my younger brother back in the day. I always thought it'd be cool to get that car again, jack it up like 8 inches, put off-road tires on it, some serious suspension, a much larger engine and a winch. A strange off-road beast for sure…




Hal Herring

Hal Herring
If you met Hal Herring on the street, you probably wouldn't suspect that he's one of the most influential–and, I would argue, gifted–outdoor writers in the country. You might think he works a blue-collar gig somewhere, and that the smile on his face is always there, even as he's yanking the guts out of a tractor, hammering nails on a roof or mucking out a barn (and I would suspect that, at one time or another, he's done all three of those things).

That Alabama accent of his kind of woos you into a comfort zone, a place where candid conversations are the norm, not the exception. Discussions with Hal, sometimes over a can a beer or a glass of good whiskey, become infectious and animated–you don't want them to end, because they're so productive, so ... inspiring. He's got a bartender's ear. He looks you in the eye when he talks to you. And he's more contemplative than just about anyone I know.

And maybe it's that "Ah, shucks," thing... that down-home personality that put you at ease, but after a time, you'll come to the realization that you're in the company of a wise, sensible man who can quickly sift through all the litter that surrounds a complex issue and settle on the solution. He's a thinker. He's a doer.

And what I respect most about Hal is his uncanny ability–without reserve or hesitation–to speak truth to power. As an independent outdoor writer catching assignments as they come with some of the best-read publications in the industry, you might think that, in order to preserve the next job, the next paycheck, that he'd be cautious and maybe a bit reserved.

But like a good baseball umpire, Hal Herring "calls 'em like he sees 'em," and his delivery of factual information has more potency than 800 mg of ibuprofen.

I have had the good fortune to spend some time with Hal "in the field"–one of the benefits of my day job. He's been assigned to cover a couple of "Best Wild Places" tours through Field and Stream magazine over the last couple of years. The project–a partnership between the magazine and Trout Unlimited–is an attempt to shine some light on some of our country's best public lands sporting destinations and then describe the threats to the persistence of these places in their present state. Over the last two summers, Hal has visited Colorado's Roan Plateau, where natural gas drilling threatens a relict population of native Colorado River cutthroat trout, and the Clearwater country of north-central Idaho, home to the largest swath of unprotected backcountry left in the Lower 48.

Inspired by wild country, and a shameless advocate for wise conservation, Hal's work has very likely played an influential role in the effort to protect these and other "best wild places" around the country. If you have the chance to read some of his work, you'll quickly catch on to the fact that Hal has a knack for identifying solutions, not just lamenting the problem.

I hope you enjoy this chance to get to know Hal a little bit better, and that his work will inspire you, like it does me, to protect our country's wild heart so that one day, your kids or you grandkids will have the chance to experience the best of America.

On with the questions...


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
As Mac Sledge (played by Robert Duvall) said in the movie Tender Mercies, “I don’t trust happiness. I never did. I never will.” If there is such a thing as perfect happiness for me, it would come at a time when I was too deeply engaged to ever notice that I was in it. Satori, or kensho, those kinds of brief awakenings with permanent significance, I’m more comfortable with those than “happiness.”

What is your greatest fear? 
I would never give that fear power by verbalizing or writing down what it is. I’m as superstitious as an old Balkan peasant.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? 
John Wesley Hardin. And that is NOT because I find Hardin an admirable character.

Which living person do you most admire? 
E.O. Wilson.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Procrastination.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Fundamentalism, which is really a catch-all term for “oversimplifying,” denying complexity and eschewing nuance.

What is your favorite journey? 
The drive on Highway 72 between our farm (where I grew up) west of Gurley, Ala., and the tractor supply place outside Scottsboro. All those small farms and old houses, all those hardwood forests, the bottomlands of the Paint Rock River, the Flint River, then the backwaters of the big Tennessee, with the strange little spirit-haunted mountains above it all. You can pull over to see what the people are catching–crappie, catfish, shellcrackers, bass–and get into the most amazing conversations, too.

Hal on the Roan
On what occasion do you lie? 
I think lying is the Devil’s business. Work as a writer and a journalist for long enough, and you find that your real work is trying to say one true thing, one irrefutable thing, and then another, and another. You get out of the habit of thinking that any lie is okay, or can be positive. So that’s my answer: I try not to lie.

Which living person do you most despise? 
It is my sincere belief that despising another living creature is extraordinarily corrosive to your life, your energy, and your understanding of the world. The word “despise” is a powerful one indeed, more powerful than “hate.” I’ll dodge that question in order to answer it, by using the Biblical command to hate the sin and (try to) love the sinner. I despise the actions and effects of Rupert Murdoch and Karl Rove, and lesser, flabbier devils like David Frum and Michael Gerson, speechwriters for George Bush during his time as our President.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
In writing, I use “whatsoever” way too much. In talking, I’ve been using the word “bandwidth” an awful lot. As in, when my wife asks me if we should try and fix our ancient and dilapidated barn before it gets blown over by the wind, I’ll say, “I just don’t have the bandwidth to write this new story and think about that, too.”

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
My wife and children, above all else. Coming down the list, and encountering the “what’s,” I really do love my work, most of the time, and I love to hunt elk and fish for just about anything in fresh or salt water.
Wahoo

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
From what I’ve seen of living and dying so far, I think what you get is incorporation into the wild fabric of the universe (matter is constant, right?) and the only separation between us and everything is the “rational” mind which is going to stop its work after death. So if I am part of it all, no separation, I’m already back, in the best possible way, all people and all things. If I have to be a thing, though, I’d like to be a wahoo. They are my favorite saltwater fish.

What is your most treasured possession? 
My Remington 700 LTR, .308. First new rifle I have ever owned, and the first rifle that I truly chose for myself.

Where would you like to live? 
I am happy where I am, in Augusta, with the Rocky Mountain Front just to the west and the Missouri River to the east. When my kids are grown, I’d like to live for a while in Baja, on the Sea of Cortez side. Hopefully by then, the good Mexicans will have rebelled and taken back their country, and things will be better there.

Who are your favorite writers? 
Guy De Maupassant, Tom McGuane, Cormac McCarthy, Dostoyevsky, John McPhee, Charles Bukowski, Kerouac, T. C. Boyle, William Gay, Larry Brown, Vonnegut, and on and on and on. I read Karl Marlantes’ book “Matterhorn” last winter. He is right up there with the best of ‘em.

Bull Pasture River, watercolor by Shay Clanton
Who are your heroes? 
My heroes tend to be writers and artists, because I think it is harder to be those things, and they can have a more positive long term effect on the world–independent men and women in the grip of dreams and ambitions, fighting self-doubt and poverty of resources, time, and energy, achieving, never resting on laurels they don’t really believe in. As Tolstoy wrote: "The aim of an artist is not to resolve a question irrefutably, but to compel one to love life in all its manifestations, and these are inexhaustible." Now that is a goal! So to name a few of my heroes: Vincent Van Gogh, Lou Reed, Warren Zevon, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus. Walter Anderson. My sister, Shay Clanton, a painter whose work truly captures the mystery and power of nature.

How would you like to die? 
In battle for something I believe in.

What’s on your iPod? 
I don’t have one. I read about the guy running on the beach and getting killed by the small plane that was doing an emergency landing–the pilot could not imagine why the guy did not get out of the way as the plane roared down upon him, but of course he was grooving to his iPod. Oblivious. I’m already real oblivious. I don’t need any earbuds to make it worse.

If there’s a Heaven, and you’re lucky enough to make the cut, what would you like to hear God say to you upon arrival?
“And while you’re here, you’ll be driving a perfectly restored 1976 Ford F-150, three on a tree, with an AM/FM radio!”

What was the most significant moment in your life? 
Walking around the living room at our old house in the Bitterroot, trying to get my baby son or daughter to go back to sleep late at night, music on, they reach out and grab your finger with their hand, you look ‘em in the eyes, and think, "By God, it’s me an you, and we’re in it for the long haul."

1973 Opel Manta
BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite car of all the cars you’ve owned? 
1973 Opel Manta, a hand me down family car that I got when I was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., going to college, and going nuts in town with striper, crappie and bass fishing just out of reach, the paradise of the Gulf coast five hours away, Apalachicola River, six hours… that old Opel and a full tank of gas was freedom and freedom is heaven.






 Jen Kugler

Need proof that the fly fishing world isn't always snooty, elitist or exclusive? That some within this fraternity recognize the need to bring more folks along in order to ensure the pastime persists?

Jen Kugler, aka, Flyfishilicious
Look no futher than Jen Kulger. Six months ago, Jen had never touched a fly rod. Today, she's a bona fide fly fishing junkie. She hasn't become a full-fledged fly angler without help–particularly within the blogosphere, where fly fishing blogs are prevalent, and readers appear to be many. When Jen started her blog, Flyfishilicious, just a few months back, she was honest and contrite. She didn't now much about fly fishing, but she wanted to learn. She saw one of the trendy fly fishing flicks while visting a friend, and thought the sport looked like something she'd be interested in. She asked. Many answered.

Today, just a few short months after that fateful day spent in front of a friend's flatscreen, Jen is not only fly fishing, but she's evolving before our very eyes. I had the pleasure recently of writing a guest post at Jen's blog, basically in response to her questions about the role in conservation fly fishers must take, especially if they are to expect fly fishing opportunities to be something we can hand down to the next generation. That she was interested in conservation impressed me greatly. That she was busy trying to channel her energy, to determine how to put it to work for good, made me an immediate admirer. Often, the interest in protecting the places we fly fish comes later to the angler. But not to Jen. She's on a collision course with complete angler status, in my opinion.

I asked Jen to give me a bit of a bio ... something to let the world know who she is. It's apparent that, in addition to being contemplative, curious and thoughtful, she's also a bit modest. She describes herself as a "quirky, forever-29-year-old" who has become hopelessly addicted to fly fishing. She lives in the Denver suburbs, is a single mom and works full-time ... that she's found the time fish is impressive. That she's found the time to take in the big picture is simply magical.

On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Most recently it has been standing in a quiet creek on a warm day throwing dry flies to hungry trout.

What is your greatest fear? 
Snakes. *shiver* Horrid creatures!

Which living person do you most admire? 
That would absolutely be my Father. Honest. Dependable. Intelligent. Pleasant. Hard-working. Respectable. Selfless.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Lack of physical endurance. I choose not to push myself. I'm a bit lazy like that.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Dishonesty and unreliability–they go hand in hand.

What is your favorite journey? 
I love adventures–I'm up for almost anything. If I could, I'd spend my time traveling the world–taking in all the diversity and history. Fishing a new stream, trying new foods, people watching, listening to new languages. I find all of that completely fascinating.

On what occasion do you lie? 
When I'm protecting the last of the sweets I've hidden away. For some reason I'm a little territorial when it comes to food. "Sorry kids, we finished the pumpkin pie last night." *evil chuckle* Then I wait until they're tucked away in their beds to savor the last of the sweet goodness in peace.

What is your greatest regret? 
Imbibing in the new addiction.
Not starting to fly fish earlier this year. I missed out on a lot of great weather and now we are heading into the ice abomination, dang it!

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
My children. They each own a very special place in my heart that will never be duplicated or replaced.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
It's very hard to choose! So I'm going to go with drawing. I'd love to be able to create a masterpiece with a pencil and paper. Not a talent I even remotely currently possess.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Surviving–just surviving life so far!

Jen... in a future life.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
A finger monkey - it's just the cutest thing ever - although I'm not sure they're real, but oh well.

What is your most treasured possession? 
An old miners cut diamond that was passed on from my great-grandmother to my grandmother to myself and to which I will pass on to my daughter who carries the name of the original owner–Nellie. I love anything that has to do with my family history. I find so much connection and tangible energy from items that were held by my ancestors so long ago.

Where would you like to live? 
In a cabin secluded in the woods by a trout stream–but with access to a grocery store and with an amazing man who will cook, chop wood and shovel snow!

How would you like to die? 
Death is an interesting subject to me. It's one of those things that must happen to everyone, yet the feelings and reactions that come from experiencing death around us are so extreme. I don't really care how I die, but I hope it's unsuspecting, quick and painless.

What’s on your iPod? 
I'm not big into music–but I like to listen to music, mostly for the background noise. I go the free route and listen to Pandora. The stations I listen to most are One Republic and Moby.

If you were a pet dog, what would your name be? 
Jitterbug–I'm always moving and busy doing something.

What was the most significant moment in your life? 
Birthing my children naturally. I've never experienced such a thing–mind, body and soul all working together to bring another life into this world. The process is intense and completely miraculous. There isn't anything else like it; it's a very short moment of time, and there is only one way to experience it.

What’s your favorite film? 
The Prestige with Christian Bale–my Newsies crush!

Where would you want your loved ones to spread your ashes? 
Rush Creek. Silver Lake, California

BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite car of all the cars you’ve owned? 
Definitely my first car–1986 Volvo 240DL, yellow. Her nickname was Buttercup. Oh Buttercup how I miss you. That car went through A LOT! Good times. Good times.




Kirk Werner

The Unaccomplished Angler
For the record, I've never met Kirk Werner. But I've met people who've met Kirk Werner, and I've yet to coax an ill word about the subject of this week's 20 Questions Challenge from any of those fine folks. 

But I do know the author and freelance illustrator possesses at least one flaw. He's never caught a brook trout. Never. 

Kirk is the author of the popular Unaccomplished Angler blog, and if you follow the fly fishing blogosphere, chances are you've seen some examples of his illustrative work in some the logos he's created for folks in this unique community (the Outdooress is a good example). 

He's a talented artist, and the creator of the Olive the Woolly Bugger childrens' book series (you'll see below that he's trying to turn the series into a film, an ambitious, but worthwhile endeavor--good luck Kirk!).

Kirk's an Eagle Scout who lives in Washington state, where he chases steelhead and has a self-proclaimed "love-hate relationship with the Yakima River" when he's not complaining about the weather.

Enjoy getting to know Kirk. On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
It’s been said that money can’t buy happiness, and while that may (or may not) be true, not having to worry about money would mean being able to do everything I want, when I want (and not necessarily selfish endeavors). So in that sense being financially independent (not necessarily filthy rich) would make me perfectly happy. Or at least I’d like an opportunity to find out if it would.

What is your greatest fear?
Failure to do something meaningful and lasting during my time above ground.

The emotionally grounded William Clark
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
William Clark. The whole Lewis and Clark expedition fascinates me more than any other event in history. It was an incredible journey. Hard to imagine that they succeeded. I’d love to have seen the unspoiled country as it existed back then, to observe the abundance of game and fish. I don’t want to discredit Meriwether Lewis, as he was equally responsible for the success of the Corps of Discovery, but William Clark was emotionally stable. I’m probably more like Lewis, which is why I choose Clark as my answer.

Which living person do you most admire?
My dad. His childhood and upbringing was far from the ideal. He was raised by a single father who did his very best during tough times to provide a loving, stable home to his two sons. Had my dad turned out to be any less of a man than he is, he wouldn’t have had to look very far for excuses. That’s far from the case.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
 Impatience and procrastination may seem like strange bedfellows, but they deserve equal billing. Often I cannot wait to put things off until tomorrow.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Dishonesty. If you say you’re going to do something, either do it or admit up front that you are not going to do it. Don’t give others a sense of false hope.

Kirk's creation--kids everywhere are grateful
What is your favorite journey?
The one I am currently on, which is trying to get a film made based on my books. The goal is daunting and the chips are stacked way against me. That’ll make the victory of succeeding all the sweeter.

On what occasion do you lie? 
When answering question No. 2 above. I meant what I said, but in all honesty my greatest fear is that I’ll have bot fly larvae hatch under my skin.

Which living person do you most despise?
Those who commit violent crimes against others. And career politicians.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Yes, dear.”

What is your greatest regret? 
The superficial answer would be that I took a multi-decade hiatus from fly fishing. The meaningful answer would be that my mom didn’t live to see how great her grandkids have turned out.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
 There are three: my wife, my daughter, and my son. And my dog, Eddie. I guess that’s four.


Which talent would you most like to have? 
I’d like to be able to do the Chinese splits. Seriously.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two really great kids who are becoming exceptional young adults.

Kirk Werner in another life
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
I’d like to come back as an osprey. It would quickly get me past my fear of falling from great heights, and I’d be a much more accomplished angler than I can ever hope to be in this life.

Who are your favorite writers? 
Larry McMurtry is right up there at the top. Lonesome Dove is my favorite book ever, period.

Who are your heroes? 
My mom. She was a wonderfully unconventional person. I miss her. My paternal grandfather, whom I never met.

How would you like to die? 
 I am reminded of a classic joke: “When I die, I would like to go peacefully, in my sleep, like my grandfather did. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

What’s the title of your autobiography? 
The Man Who Preferred Cheap Beer.

If you were a pet dog, what would your name be? 
 Itchy. It’s a bit of an inside story, not necessarily an indication of poor hygiene.

BONUS QUESTION: If there’s a Heaven, and you’re lucky enough to make the cut, what would you like to hear God say to you upon arrival? 
“Seriously? LOL!”


Tom Sadler

Lt. Commander (U.S. Navy Reserve, Retired) Tom Sadler is easy to be friends with. And we're great friends. I think that's because, in our hearts, we're after the same thing--the protection of the places that matter, and not just to us, but to the future of our hunting and fishing heritage. The thought of our kids or our grandkids growing up without knowing what the natural world has to offer is dead-on frightening.

And we both love brookies so much that it's borderline inappropriate. Borderline.

Tom Sadler and a Rapidan brookie.
For years, Tom worked the halls of Congress, first as a Senate staffer, then as a (gasp) lobbyist. He understands how the sausage gets made and, like me, deplores the process but values good results. Perhaps that was why he was able to stomach it for so long. It's also clear that he understands the essence of politics and what it means to be calculating and crafty (I looked everywhere for unflattering photos of him, with no luck. Even the photo I shot of him in an interesting little establishment on Bourbon Street has magically disappeared).

More recently, Tom began to put his passion for the outdoors to good use. He worked for a time as the president of the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, and then moved onto the Izaak Walton League and then to the Trust for Public Land. He understands the importance of protecting habitat if we're to hope for opportunity, now and years from now. And, as proof that he knows how those in Congress think, he's added what I like to call the "kicker" to my favorite phrase:

"Habitat equals opportunity ... which translates into economic activity." Brilliant. Maybe one day, when our elected representatives aren't too sidetracked by politics, they'll pay attention to those five words.

These days, he's the proprietor of the Middle River Group, where he "plays Doc Holliday to the Wyatt Earps of the fish and wildlife conservation world." He's taken up the Tenkara rod (another shared passion), and guides anglers from his Shenandoah Valley home in search of brookies in the mountains of western Virginia. You can lean more about him at his blog. You'll love it. Trust me.

On with the questions:



What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Cooking a big dinner for friends and family. The kitchen is my outdoors, indoors. Like a campfire, it is the place to gather with friends and craft something all can enjoy. It improves with dogs underfoot and there should be whiskey involved…

What is your greatest fear?
A slow and painful death. I don’t fear dying just fear a lingering, useless end.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Doc Holliday, at least the movie versions in Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. The notion of being a trusted and loyal ally to someone who is trying to do the right thing is pretty appealing. The flaws are part of the package but the loyalty and grit to stand with a friend is what I identify with.

Which living person do you most admire?
My wife. She is an OR nurse, was a single mother, raised two great kids, started her nursing career as a single mother in her 30’s, keeps her head on straight in a crisis and loves to fish. Why she married me is a mystery.
Doc Holliday. I see the resemblance.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have acquired a bad habit of interrupting people. It is appallingly discourteous.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Self importance. People are rarely as important as they act. Truly important people don’t need to tell you or show you they are important.

What is your favorite journey?
The one that brings me home.

Which living person do you most despise?
Any person who would intentionally make an animal suffer. And yes I recognize the irony of that coming from someone who fishes and release most fish. How that plays out for me remains to be seen.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Tomorrow. I may be kidding myself every time I say it.

What is your greatest regret?
That my father died before he met my family. He would have been thrilled to have a grandson and granddaughter.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My dogs. They have shown me unconditional love, loyalty and joy beyond measure. Ashby was the last and she has a special place became she picked my wife Beth. Fortunately Beth understands this and is another reason I love her.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Brook trout. Perfection in water.

What is your most treasured possession?
Memories of fishing. With my wife first and foremost, my friends, my dad, my son, my brother, my dogs.

Where would you like to live?
Surprisingly I love where I am now in the Shenandoah Valley. It is an outstanding retreat from the city, bracketed by brook trout streams, yet an easy launching pad for journeys around the country and the world.

Who are your favorite writers?
Robert B. Parker, Dan O’Brien, Tom McGuane, John Sandford, W.E.B. Griffin, Robert Heinlein

Who are your heroes? 
The late, great Jim Range.
Jim Range. A true Wyatt Earp of the hunting, fishing and conservation world.

How would you like to die? 
Quickly, painlessly and with some semblance of dignity.

What’s on your iPod?
Chris Ledoux, Jimmy Buffett, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Chuck Leavell, the Rolling Stones, Emmy Lou Harris, Zac Brown Band.

If you were a pet, what would your name be? 
Zeke, it is a good name for a dog.

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? 
Piano player in a whorehouse. No, wait a minute that is too much like being a lobbyist, I’ve already done that. How about a cowboy, a real one working. On a real ranch. Maybe working bison instead of cattle. On horseback most of the time. Tough, honest, outdoor work.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
If there is a Heaven, and I go there, and there is a God, I hope he says, “Try a size 16 BWO emerger over in that slick there…”
 

Tom Reed

Tom Reed
Tom Reed is one of my best friends on this planet. There might not another man I admire or respect more. He's also a hell of a writer, one whose words speak to the reader from the printed page. His latest book, "Blue Lines," is one for the ages. With colder weather settling in, and the idyllic evenings planned by the fire with a book resting on the table next to the recliner, I'm telling you now, this should be that book.

In addition to being an avid fly fisherman, Tom's a dedicated hunter, and you can read some more of his writing on the blog Mouthful of Feathers, and even more at his website. You'll recognize the prose as both poetic and succinct. Conversational, yet profound. The kind of writing that makes you think to yourself, "Damn... I wish I had written that."

Unfortunately, our friendship is well-steeped in dark liquor, so much of what we've shared over the years has been forgotten, along with the hangovers and the cottonmouth. But we work together, both as colleagues and as friends who love quiet country, away from the clamor of life that exists wherever power lines stretch. It's a low-maintenance friendship, the best kind, in my opinion. It's one of mutual respect, mutual understanding and lots of laughter.

For perspective, Tom's the first guy I think of whenever I hear a new joke that must be shared. It's reciprocal. Nobody--nobody--tells a filthy joke quite like Tom Reed.

I hope you'll get to know him a bit here on the blog, and I hope you'll grab a copy of his latest book, where you'll get to know him even better. But I really hope, one day, you'll get to tip a beer with TR and see, first-hand, what a good friend looks like.

Here's to you, buddy. On with the questions:


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A crisp October day and a couple friends, good bird dogs and good horses. We’re mounted and riding across the Montana prairie chasing Hungarian partridge over pointing dogs. The dogs go on point, honoring each other perfectly, and one person holds the horses while the other two dismount and walk in on the point. Wait for it . . . wait for it . . . it doesn’t get any better than that.





What is your greatest fear?
Seeing The Exorcist in the theatre when I was like 12 years old or something. That shit took years off my life.

TR admires... TR.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
It’s a toss-up between Aldo Leopold or Theodore Roosevelt. Probably Roosevelt, though. Roosevelt was more of a driver, a trait which I probably have a bit too much of.

Which living person do you most admire?
My Dad, the kindest, most gentle and generous man I’ve ever known.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The uncanny ability to tie wind-knots when there’s not a whisper of wind.

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

On what occasion do you lie?
“I swearp to ghoshthat I haven’t beenk drinmping at all. Reeealy.”

Which living person do you most despise?
Any host of an “outdoor” show.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The F-word. Yep, that F-word.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Right now, it’s a talented little bird dog named Sage, probably because I just shot a limit of Huns off her points.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be a fiddle player in a bluegrass band.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The Wyoming Range Legacy Act.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Tom Reed’s bird dog. At least I’d like to be so lucky.

What is your most treasured possession?
A pocket knife that my dad gave me years ago on one of our annual fishing trips to Buford, Colorado, when I was a kid.

Where would you like to live?
Pony, Montana, which is exactly where I’m living.

McCarthy... nice choice.
Who are your favorite writers?
I’m a bibliophile, so this question is tough. Here’s some good ones you’ve probably never heard of: Robert Olmstead, Thomas Savage, Timothy Egan and Charles Portis. But I’d have to say Cormac McCarthy. Or how about this gem from Norman Maclean: "Dear partner, Just to let you know I have screwed a dame that weighs 300 lbs. Your pal, Jim." That’s some funny stuff.

Who are your heroes?
My colleagues at Trout Unlimited. Yeah, I know that sounds corny, but there’s no other group of people I’d rather be around, and no other people so passionate. But my real hero/mentor is a guy named Jim Houston who lives in Silver Star, Montana, is 79 years old and still gets out there to hunt and fish as much as he can.

How would you like to die?
On a September morning in the backcountry at the tottering age of 89: I’ll be working a bugling elk into range of my bow and I’ll just finally blow a valve out of my old heart from the excitement.

What’s on your iPod?
3,299 songs . . . Jackie Greene, Faron Young, Gillian Welch, Gov’t Mule, Ryan Bingham, Steve Earle, Sting, Tom Petty, Tom Russell. Eclectic.

If you were a pet, what would your name be?
Gretchen. I don’t know why, but that’s funny.

BONUS QUESTION:  If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival?
"You’ve got a dozen of Heaven’s best bird dogs up here and they’ve been crapping all over the place just waiting for you and that damned shotgun of yours. But don’t you dare shoot all of my birds, you son of a bitch."


Kyle Perkins



Kyle Perkins
I don't technically know Kyle Perkins, but in recent years, I've truly come admire and respect him. Through his website, Compleat Thought, Kyle has become a force for conservation, particularly here in the West.

He's also an accomplished fly fishing guide, a devoted husband, soon to be a father and, if the chatter on the Internet is to be believed, one of the most respected guys in the fly fishing community. He lives in Denver these days, where he freelances in marketing strategy and copywriting. He fishes the Colorado Rockies often, and volunteers for Trout Unlimited, both in Alaska and through the unique Greenbacks, a Colorado TU chapter consisting of younger, energetic anglers with a passion for conservation.

On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Holding my wife’s hand without a worry in the world. We tend to be too busy and hold tension about what is in the near future. I would love to just enjoy moments where there is no anxiety, and we can live in the present. Of course, I may need a small pond or creek holding native cutthroat nearby.


What is your greatest fear?
Seeing ‘Candyman’ in the mirror. Remember that movie?

Which living person do you most admire?
My father. Without him, I probably would have never casted a fly-rod, became a guide, or learned how I could play a roll in protecting valuable ecosystems.


Doh!
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Procrastination–period.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Can I say procrastination again? Either that or ignorance.

What is your favorite journey?
So many, but I would probably choose my experience in South Andros fishing for bonefish. That trip taught me so much to become a better angler. I’m used to small streams, stalking hole to hole. This was completely different. What was fun was talking to those guides about fishing rivers for trout. They had no idea what I was saying.

Which living person do you most despise?
I don’t. Despise is a strong word. I disagree with people, but really don’t despise anyone. There are people I’d like to punch in the mouth, but I still wouldn’t say I despise them.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Honey badger don't give a s**t.
Usually only things from South Park or the Honey Badger–though, I do say, “I know, right?” a lot.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Of course my smart, beautiful wife and our soon-to-be child she holds in her belly.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Ability to breathe under water or fly. Wait, those are super powers, right? Well, I always wanted to be able to free-hand illustrate.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning how to adapt to change. Other than that, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve accomplished my greatest achievement yet. That’s what keeps me motivated.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Oh yeah, an eagle of any species–and I’d go straight to Alaska.

What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t really hold on to much. Though, right now, I have my first dog’s ashes on my desk. He would lay by my side every day, sleep at the end of the bed, and convey unconditional love, no matter what mood I was in. Of course, I will let them go sometime. I would scatter them in a river, but I’m really trying to think of what he would have wanted.

Where would you like to live?
If I really had a choice, I’d stay in Denver forever. I love this city and state. If I had to move, and had a choice, it would probably be the island of South Andros, Bahamas. Everyone is so kind and gracious there. Not to mention the fishing is insane.

Hunter Thompson. A legend, and
a Kyle Perkins fave.
Who are your favorite writers?
Oh wow. I have a writing degree, so where do you want me to start? I really enjoyed Steinbeck, Hemingway, Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson books while in college. Of course, you can’t ever count out Gierach and his wisdom of fishing.

Who are your heroes?
Everyone who takes care of our precious natural resources. We’ve lost so much, and it’s these people who continue to work to save them.

How would you like to die?
Quickly.

What’s on your iPod?
If I had choose a few, they would probably be Justin Townes Earle, Queens of the Stone Age, and Jay-z.

If you were a pet, what would your name be?
Oso. I always wanted be named after a bear.

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now?
I would go back to guiding. While I didn’t get to fish as much, I loved seeing the face of a client that caught their first fish, or a fish of a lifetime.

In three words, how would your closest friends describe you?
I would hope kind, patient, and enthusiastic.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
"Rods are on the left, stream is two miles that way, and don’t forget to say hello to your grandfather–in fact, take him with you."



Russ Schnitzer


I've known Russ Schnitzer for years. For a short time, about six years ago, we actually worked together for Trout Unlimited's Public Lands Initiative. Russ was working on TU's abandoned mine reclamation program, doing the Lord's work on behalf of coldwater fisheries in the West.


But Russ is much more than a conservationist. He's a hell of a photographer, and his work for more than a decade in conservation has clearly sparked his passion for shooting the outdoors in a unique light.

Russ Schnitzer
Russ left TU not long after I joined the organization, and continued his good work with other organizations that work to protect some of the best resources the West has to offer. Our good fortune brought Russ back to TU not too long ago--he's now the senior policy advisor for the organization's Western Water Project, a progressive arm of TU that works to reconnect and restore fisheries habitat in conjunction with private and public partners, including ranchers, farmers and state and federal agencies. His work these days deals specifically with the Colorado River basin.

Photographically, his work concentrates on outdoor adventures, lifestyles, travel, and, substantially, fly fishing. Drawing on experiences across diverse western landscapes, Schnitzer’s independent photography strives to make a connection between people and nature. He believes that these unique relationships are fundamental to a conservation ethic that works in a West valued deeply by many disparate interests. Recent gallery shows have been in Jackson Hole, Denver and Kansas City, with awards received for both color and black-and-white images. He is a regular contributor to Trout Magazine, Catch Magazine, The Flyfish Journal and The Contemporary Sportsman. His work has also been seen in Patagonia catalogs, Fly Fish America, Fly Rod & Reel, NewWest.net, and several conservation titles, including 2008’s “Rivers of Restoration.” Recent clients include The Nature Conservancy, Brunton Outdoor Group, Portis Group, Wyoming Department of Tourism, and Western Rivers Conservancy.

In addition to photography and fly fishing, Russ's interests include hunting, road cycling, running and gardening. Schnitzer grew up in northern Minnesota, and has lived in Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Colorado. He and his wife Kelly Conroy currently live in rural Wyoming with two dogs, a cat and some chickens.

On with the questions:



Just a sample...
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Steelhead and chukar cast-and-blast during an endless autumn with my wife Kelly and a couple good friends.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Jim Bridger

Which living person do you most admire?
My father.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A tendency toward selfishness.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
 Ignorance, as well as laziness and/or complacency.

What is your favorite journey?
Man, there are a lot of good ones. Thus far, any that lead to Alaska.

On what occasion do you lie? 
Whenever there are cops involved.

Which living person do you most despise?
That's a moving target.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Pretty much every piece of dialogue from "The Big Lebowski."



 What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife, of course. I'm ridiculously lucky.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Poly-lingual.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
There's a line from an old favorite song that goes: "Be careful not to crest too soon." I'm still building toward that.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
If I had any say in the matter, I'd wish to come back as a well-tied orange #14 Stimulator.

What is your most treasured possession?
A pocket watch that belonged to my great-grandfather, who purchased it as a young immigrant in the late 1800s. It was given to me by my late grandfather.

Where would you like to live?
I've lived in a lot of places. From that, I've learned no matter how much I might idealize a new place, no one place is or will ever be "perfect." So, that said, I'd like to live in a place with the following characteristics: relatively easy access to rivers, mountains and backcountry; hunting opportunities; good growing season; relatively mild winter; and with plenty of nearby friends with whom to fish, hunt and mess around.

Leopold tops the list.
Who are your favorite writers?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Edward Abbey, Ernest Hemingway, Aldo Leopold, Rick Bass, Barry Lopez, Robert Ruark, Wallace Stegner, Roderick Haig-Brown, Jack Kerouac, John McPhee, Tom Robbins, Gabriel Garcia Marquez,J.D. Salinger, Tennessee Williams, Bruce Smithhammer, Tom Reed, Scott Sadil, A.D. Livingston, John Muir.

How would you like to die? 
Quickly, quietly and outdoors.

What’s on your iPod?
It's eclectic by most standards, and voluminous. For example, my playlist right now includes: Pavement, Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, Blitzen Trapper, Silver Jews, Dinosaur Jr., The Flaming Lips, Liz Phair, The Pixies, Radiohead, The Rentals, Grateful Dead, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels Band, Johnny Cash, The Avett Brothers, John Lee Hooker, Tom Waits, Holly Golightly, Rolling Stones. For starters.

If you were a pet, what would your name be?
Chief.

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now?
Strategic communications consultancy and freelance photography. Which is to say, I would be a bum.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
 "Next."


Michael Agneta


Michael Agneta is a life-long resident of Philadelphia and a relative newcomer to fly fishing, but throughout the blogosphere, he's well-known as the author of the popular Troutrageous! blog. The blog, now four years old, is a mix of fishing and pop culture peppered with frequent references to Lilly, Michael's 5-year-old daughter (poor Lilly... the world will know her too well!).
Michael and the famous Lilly.
Michael's married to K.C., his wife of 11 years, and he's the treasurer of the Stony Creek Anglers fishing club in Montgomery, Penn. He started fly fishing in 2008, as has "been hemorrhaging money ever since."

He's a small-stream junkie, and he's fond of the Tenkara rod, but no so fond that he's jettisoned his complicated life in the 'burbs to live a simple Buddhist existence on the banks of some Appalachian brook trout stream. In his words, he "evidently forgot to drink the Kool-Aide."

As an aside ... Michael's responses to the EMBT 20 Questions Challenge were exactly what I had in mind when I started this little weekly feature a couple months back. The bar's been set pretty high. Good luck, future participants... you're going to need it. On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I'm probably supposed to say fishing a cool mountain stream in search of wild brook trout. Unfortunately, I've never done that, so a more practical idea of happiness is having my daughter Lilly give me a unsolicited hug, kiss, and an "I love you Daddy." Likely while I'm consuming a big, Costco-sized tub of Party Mix.

What is your greatest fear? 
 Time for a rant....at the moment, my home state of Pennsylvania's willingness to bend over and "take it," (in addition to handouts) from natural gas developers and their lobbyists. Just handing over rights to huge swaths of state forests left and right. With such lax regulations on, and minimal penalties for, environmental contamination violations, something serious is certain go wrong in the not too distant future. Can't say I look forward to drinking only bottled water for the rest of my life.

Because of the fastball? Nope.
Which living person do you most admire? 
Rollie Fingers. Growing an enviable moustache remains a dream unfulfilled.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
 I'm a nervous fingernail biter with a potty mouth. So go f*ck yourself.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Dishonesty. Disrespect. Greed. I know that's three, but they all kind of go hand in hand. I'm not a religious person, but I do strongly believe in karma and paying things forward.

What is your favorite journey? 
My wife and I drove from Kansas back to Pennsylvania after her senior year of college. We were young and poor, the car didn't fare too well driving over 50 mph, and we kinda got turned around while looking for some after-hours food in rural West Virginia. That was fun.

On what occasion do you lie?
When I fill out 20 Question thingies for other blogs.

Which living person do you most despise?
The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Is it okay if I count them as one person? If not, Andy Reid is getting pretty darn close...

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
"Awesome," "Dude," "Nice," stuff like that. Sometimes I wonder if I learned how to talk from watching Bill & Ted... I'm also quite fond of using ellipses... aka three periods in a row... when writing... like this...





What is your greatest regret? 
That I don't have a better relationship with my Dad. It's complex.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
I've often thought being able to sing well would be a nice talent to have. However, enough beers in close proximity to a karaoke machine and I turn into a beardless Kenny Rogers. "You got to know when to hold em..."

Is it worth it to go all trivial on a cruise ship?
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Winning at "Jeopardy" on a Carnival Cruise. I wrecked those other two schmucks. Yeah, you know like THIS trophy, Trebek. I think one of my victims got me back later in the cruise on BINGO night...

In another life...
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
Hasselhoff.

What is your most treasured possession?
 I don't really get sentimental about objects. I'm much more fond of memories. Other than my fly tying materials, I'm an anti-hoarder. I do kinda like my Steve Irwin Bobblehead.

Where would you like to live? 
Hmmm...I work in merchandise management by trade...so places like Springfield, MO, Freeport, ME, or Sunderland, VT might be nice...not sure if I could do Kearney, NE though.

Who are your favorite writers? 
I used to read a lot more than I do now. My favorite writers used to be Dr. Seuss and whoever wrote the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. Today's reading tends to come in the form of blogs, so I'd have to say my favorites are Erin Block, Owl Jones, Kirk Mantay, Mike Sepelak, Ben Smith, and Clif (last name redacted). When they post something new, it definitely gets read (even though I'm bad at commenting).

Who are your heroes? Since I'm known as a fishing blogger, would it be odd to say I don't really have any fishing heroes? That said, I wish Mel Moore was my cool uncle. A true class act that guy. All cards on the table, my real hero has got to be my Mom. It's impossible to give single moms enough credit and respect for what they sacrifice for their kids.

How would you like to die?
Shot down in a blaze of glory...soundtrack by Jon Bon Jovi.

Meet Troutrageous!
What’s on your iPod?
 I don't have an iPod. There have been some wildly popular things I've simply never done. Like watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" for example. It was like the number one show on TV for years. Never watched it once. Maybe I should buy an iPod, download old episodes of Ray, and kill two birds with one stone. That said, if I had an iPod, it would probably have Earth, Wind, & Fire on it...I've seen them in concert at least 4 times... and damn if that Maroon 5 "Moves Like Jagger" song ain't catchy.

In three words, how would your closest friends describe you?
How about one word? Wookie.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival?
Get your sticker here...
"Can I have a sticker for my Godmobile?"







Brett Prettyman
I first met Brett Prettyman in Lake Charles, La., at an Outdoor Writers Association of America annual meeting. That was in 2006. But I've known Brett Prettyman's work for years. He's among the last of dying breed–the outdoor writer for a metro daily newspaper. Back in the days when I was a journalist here in eastern Idaho, I'd read Brett's work and, from afar, try without success to match the quality of it. His work in the outdoor arena is unmatched. I hope you'll take the time to check some of it out.

Brett writes about hunting, fishing and the outdoors for the Salt Lake Tribune, where he's worked for over 20 years as a journalist covering everything from minor league hockey to the 2002 Olympics. While I've known Brett's work for years, it's only been in the last five or six years that I've come to call Brett one of my most trusted friends. He's the real deal, a hunter and an angler who understands the connection real sportsmen have with the outdoors. And he balances his life as a professional journalist of the highest repute with a wonderful family that includes his amazing wife Brooke and a houseful of great kids that will one day realize just how fortunate they are to have they parents they do.

Brett's on my short list of folks I truly admire and respect. I hope, after you read his responses to the Eat More Brook Trout 20 Questions Challenge, you'll come to admire him, too.

On to the questions:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Spending time with my wife and kids in the outdoors.

2. What is your greatest fear?
In his element.
Snakes and grizzlies.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Can't think of one.

4. Which living person do you most admire?
My wife, Brooke. Not sure how she keeps the family on task and maintains that beautiful smile through it all.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of patience.

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

7. What is your favorite journey?
Capitol Reef National Park with the family

8. On what occasion do you lie?
Fishing, doesn't everybody?

'Phins fan? Sadly, yes.
9. What is your greatest regret?
Being a Dolphins fan.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Wife and family, hands down.

11. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Calling out fly fishers in Utah to do something about the proposed lodge on the Green River at Little Hole and getting a proper result.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A dentist, so I can continue to inflict mouth pain as a profession.

13. What is your most treasured possession?
A father-in-law who stood up at our wedding and said "I don't really consider this as losing my daughter, but as gaining a fishing partner".

14. Where would you like to live?
Pretty happy here in Utah, but the Pacific Northwest

McManus ... a Prettyman fave.
15. Who are your favorite writers?
Aldo Leopold, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pat McManus

16. Who are your heroes?
Soldiers, conservationists and my wife, not necessarily in that order.

17. What’s on your iPod?
Shuffle – first five
1 – O Death – Ralph Stanley, O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack
2 – Edel & Weiss – Space Yodel
3 – Arthur Smith and Dan Reno, Dueling Banjos
4 – Johnny Cash – Give my Love to Rose
5 – Depeche Mode - Pleasure, Little Treasure

18. If you were a pet, what would your name be?
Paperboy

19. What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now?
Wildlife biologist. What I wanted to be until I realized I was not cut out for the math. Decided if I couldn't be one I would write about wildlife.


20. What word or phrase do you most over use?
That.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival?
"We have plenty of fly rods in here. You don't need to bring your own."




Cameron Mortenson
The first time I realized just how influential Cameron Mortenson has become in the fly fishing world, I was attending a Trout Unlimited chapter meeting outside of Canyon, Texas, on the banks of the Guadalupe River. The TU chapter down there is one of my favorite chapters in the country, because those guys have such limited trout-fishing opportunity. That doesn't stop them from loving their river, though, and the Guadalupe is a very respectable tailwater trout destination, made special by the caring group of TU members who work constantly to ensure habitable conditions for trout that actually enable year-round trout production (if not fishing) on this river in the middle of the searing Texas Hill Country.

The "glass geek" himself.
Anyway, at the chapter meeting last spring, I noticed a TU member sporting a Fiberglass Manifesto t-shirt, and we struck up a conversation that led to some fascinating talk of hidden creeks bristling with wild and native Guadalupe bass, a species that's on my "to catch" list, hopefully in the coming years, and hopefully on a supple and sensitive fiberglass rod. The Fiberglass Manifesto is Cameron's blog, and over the course of the summer, I noticed a couple other TFM t-shirts out there, the last of which I found on the back of Mike Sepelak of Mike's Gone Fishing ... Again, while chasing trout in southwest Montana.

Finally, in New Orleans, of all places, I got to meet Cameron in person at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show, where a lot of the fly fishing movers and shakers gather each year to gawk over geer and share a drink or two. We chatted briefly over a bowl of gumbo and beer, and promised to stay in touch. This blog post is the first realization of that promise.

Cameron's a self-described "glass geek," a devoted angler who fly fishes with fiberglass, an old-school material that has faded in the minds of the fly fishing masses (unfortunately) with the advent of graphite and all the new materials the big manufacturers are finding ways to fuse into finished rods these days. But glass maintains a following (I am among them). If you like to feel fish on the line and you like a softer, slower cast that makes delicate and accurate presentations, glass rods have a place in your quiver. If you're like me, and you cut your fly fishing teeth on old, bulky glass rods, you also know that nostalgia and fly fishing go together like Brad and Angelina. 

Cameron gets the glass attraction, and has devoted his blog to glass and the people who help it persist. As an aside, he's also a husband, a father and a vice police detective. Cross him at your own risk. 

Enough chatter. On with the questions:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Traveling, fly fishing, feasting, new experiences and spending time with family and friends.

2. What is your greatest fear? 
Dying young. Well... is 37 still considered young? I hope so. I’ve worked within law enforcement for the past 15 years, currently as a vice detective, and there are aspects of the job that are a constant reminder how easily life can be taken away.

3. Which living person do you most admire?  My parents. They made sure that they were involved with everything that we did growing up from church groups to school trips. They also expected me to spend my free time outside and not in front of the television. I know without a doubt that it helped mold me into the person that I am now.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  A lack of self-control and being a bit obsessive compulsive which seem to have a hand-in-hand relationship with certain aspects of my life.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Close-mindedness. There needs to be more forward thinking in many aspects of our lives.

6. What is your favorite journey?  Certainly the one that I am on now, being married and raising two children together with my wife. We travel as much as possible and are passing along the same wanderlust that we have to our daughter and son. I’m of the belief that experiencing new places broadens ourselves and it’s neat to see how it has changed our children’s perspective as well. Of course it’s just strange coincidence that most of these places that we travel also involve fly fishing of some sort as well.

7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “No Sir, Finn” to our two-year-old son as he climbs on, pulls down, stumbles over, drives over, steps into everything that he shouldn’t nearly the entire time that he is awake.

8. What is your greatest regret?  Not finishing my college degree. I was a couple years into a nursing degree when I decided to follow my interests into law enforcement. I still plan to go back and finish but likely would do something business related instead.
McGuane tops TFM's reading list.

9. What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
My wife. I’ve been told by friends over and over that I married up. They’re right.

10. Which talent would you most like to have?  I often wish I was a better writer. I have a problem putting what I am thinking into the right words that end up on paper or the computer screen.

 11. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Staying married over the past 12 years while working a very irregular work schedule with various assignments within law enforcement, being engaged as a father, and still carving a bit of time here and there to get on the water.

12. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?  A backcountry stream where native trout swim and would require quite a long hike in so that only the people that worked for it a bit would ever be able to enjoy it.

13. What is your most treasured possession?  Over the past five years or so I’ve begun collecting custom pieces of fly fishing gear such as fiberglass fly rods, reels, and other items which were built in small shops by craftsman rather than a factory. There is something quite special about a piece of gear which was made specifically for you.

14. Where would you like to live?  Ideally we’d split our time between several of our favorite places at different times of the year. The list grows longer each year as we visit new places.

15. Who are your favorite writers?  Ernest Hemingway, Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison and John Gierach, though I don’t sit down and read as often as I would like.

16. Who are your heroes? My father. He has been a salesman his entire career and taught me the art of the hustle. You’ve got to work hard to get what you want.

17. How would you like to die? See question No. 2. I don’t want to die. Life is too beautiful to leave.

18. What’s on your iPod? I listen to a lot of podcasts such as the Fish Schtick, Itinerant Angler, Dirtbag Diaries, From Scratch, and NPR Live Concerts to name a few. My music tastes are wide open, though I’ve been especially enjoying The Black Keys, Jack Johnson, Radiohead, Bright Eyes and Ben Kweller lately.

19. What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? It would be really neat to have the opportunity to work on The Fiberglass Manifesto on a full time basis. I have a lot of ideas on how to grow the website but a lack of time to get it done. I would also restart the Fishy Kid website since it has a tremendous potential to engage young anglers.

20. In three words, how would your closest friends describe you? Obsessed. Creative. Hack.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
“Cameron, my son... you were right. Glass is not dead.”

Photo courtesy of Grant Taylor.


Rebecca Garlock
Like a lot of people over the last year or so, I first met Rebecca Garlock through what has become a vital clearing house of outdoor blogging information, the Outdoor Blogger Network. It's no coincidence that Rebecca, along with Joe Wolf, created this virtual hang-out for outdoor bloggers, and I like to think that it's Rebecca's drive and passion for the outdoors that made the OBN what it is today–highly relevant, informative, entertaining and an irreplaceable gateway into the outdoors for both bloggers and blog-readers.

But Rebecca, aka "The Outdooress," is much more than just the creator of this important new (it started 11 months ago) tool for the outdoor blogging community. She's a successful blogger herself, and she's a very influential outdoorswoman in her own right (we'll forgive her for the chucking hardware for salmon--nobody's perfect, right?). I have the utmost respect for Rebecca, and I've enjoyed getting to know her over the last year or so. I look forward to working with her again soon.

Now, onto the questions:


1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Stay with me here, but I believe perfect happiness is something of a farce. I think happiness is like a great friend. If you put too much expectation, obligation and pressure on it, you’ll drive it away. So for me, the idea of happiness is enjoying all the spaces between everyday life. Enjoying the spaces on a river just enhances the whole deal...

2. What is your greatest fear? 
Here’s the cheap laugh. Nothing in the world will rattle me worse than a worm. Now you’ve done it–I shall have nightmares tonight just for typing out that four letter word.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with? 
Since she passed away, I’m going to make her historical. My grandmother Mary. She was a through-and-through outdoors lady I will always identify with and admire.

4. Which living person do you most admire? 
My Father.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
I don’t make a good full time friend. I tend to disappear from the world, both emotionally and physically, for long periods of time into a solitary state of being. Thankfully my closest friends understand and accept that about me. Others tend to take my frequent silences personally when in reality it has nothing to do with them at all.

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Generalizing the world around them in a negative tone. Start a sentence with, “Everything or everyone...” and you’ll lose me.

7. What is your favorite journey? 
Question: Does this Jet Ski make my butt look big?
Rebecca's answer: "Uh, no."
All the ones that start without a map, a destination, a timeline or a purpose. I take those wandering journey’s quite a bit.

8. On what occasion do you lie? 
Any time a girlfriend asks me if her arse looks big in something, if her new hair color looks good or if I like the guy they are dating. 

9. What is your greatest regret? 
Regrets shall remain in my closet. It’s a big closet complete with shoe rack and full length mirror.

10. What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
I’ll go with a “What” here. And that "what" is the outdoors. Things change, life shifts, but my love of the outdoors always remains the same.

11. Which talent would you most like to have? 
Would it be considered shallow to say I covet the ability to cast the perfect double haul?

12. What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Raising two daughters that have turned out rather amazing in spite of the fact I was never a cupcake Mom. Thankfully, the girls claim to appreciate that I’ve never been like the other moms.
13. What is your most treasured possession? 
My personal journals. They hold my history.

14. Where would you like to live? 
Not afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Personally, I don’t want to live anywhere. The older I get, the less possessions I want tying me down. As soon as my youngest daughter flies the nest, I’m outta here. I’ll be a full time rubbertramp living the life of a nomad.

15. Who are your favorite writers? 
Edward Abbey, Virginia Woolf, John Muir, Elizabeth Gilbert, E.E. cummings...there is no way to list all my favorites here!

16. How would you like to die? 
Good question. I know I do not want to die via drowning-fire-car crash-suffocation-murder-cancer-or anything I’ve seen on 1,001 ways to die. So I’ll pick option 1,002–peacefully in my sleep while napping next to a river when I’m 92.

17. What’s on your iPod? 
A playlist for every mood. U2, Eddie Vedder, Dave Mathews Band, The Notorious B.I.G., Massive Attack, 311 and so on..the only thing you won’t find on there is Country Music.

18. If you were a pet, what would your name be? 
Probably Sage. For obvious fly fishing reasons and other not so obvious reasons.

19. What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? 
Professional Fly Fisher. What? There isn’t such a thing? Well a gal can dream of the perfect excuse to fly fish all day, right?

20. In three words, how would your closest friends describe you? 
I don’t know. Let me text two closest friends and see what they say. OK, the verdicts are in Friend 1) loyal, trustworthy and beautiful;  Friend 2) loyal, adventurous and generous

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
"Well now Rebecca, I see here in the books that you have been enjoying yourself all these years."




Craig Mathews
Craig Mathews
Craig Mathews is one of my heroes, so when he agreed to be the second victim of the Eat More Brook Trout 20 Questions challenge, I couldn't have been happier. In addition to being one of the country's fly fishing elite, Craig is a staunch conservationist who, over the years, has been able to speak truth to power in a way that is constructive and helpful. And he puts his money where his mouth is--in partnership with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, Craig helped start the "1% for the Planet" program, where businesses and industry could earmark 1 percent of their profits to conservation-centric the non-profits of their choice.

To date, the effort has contributed over $100 million to the environment. 

When I first moved to Yellowstone Country in 1999, Craig's book (that he wrote with Clayton Molinero) was one of my first purchases, and I kept that copy in the glove compartment of my truck for years, until one day, during a sudden rainstorm at Cave Falls, the book just fell apart on me. Craig was key to me venturing into the Yellowstone backcountry, and I'm forever grateful for that education. 

Craig lives near West Yellowstone, Mont., with his wife Jackie and stable of dogs. You can find him most any day at Blue Ribbon Flies in West, sharing information with anglers. He'll be the guy with the smile on his face.

Now... on with the questions:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?  
Native trout rising to a mayfly or a caddis fly emergence on Yellowstone waters … a calm-clear day and not another soul on the river.

2. What is your greatest fear?  
Specifically climate change and the fact that the environment is 19th on the peoples’ list of problems to deal with when it should be the top priority.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?  
Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt.

4. Which living person do you most admire?  
Michael Finley, former superintendent of Yellowstone National Park who never ran from a fight to save our national parks from those who would use the parks for their personal gain and greed.

5. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  
I have no patience

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

7. What is your favorite journey? 
I'm on it, one of the original fun hogs of life.

8. On what occasion do you lie?  
When it protects someone I love.

9. Which living person do you most despise?  
Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

10. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  
''Unbelievable,'' and ''dead as a wedge.''

11. What is your greatest regret?  
Not moving to Yellowstone Country sooner. I came when 29 years old and have been here now 33 years.

12. What or who is the greatest love of your life?  
My wife, Jackie.

13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?  
Being co-founder of 1% for the Planet, total giving $100 million for conservation to date.

14. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?  
I'd like to think it may be a honey badger, fearing nothing, fighting for all that is right.

15. What is your most treasured possession?  
My 3 dogs; Taz, Leksie and Finn.

16. Where would you like to live?  
In Yellowstone Country, where I live.

17. Who are your favorite writers?  
Nick Lyons, Kafka, Vince Marino, Carl Hiassen, Col. E.J. Harding and G.E.M. Skues.

18. Who are your heroes?
Those folks that stand up for the environment; those holding bake sales to raise money for environmental causes to protect; preserve and enhance wild places and wild things for all future generations; those taking on the polluters and plunderers that would steal a healthy life from our kids and grandkids and all things wild.

19. How would you like to die?  
Knowing our world is safe from those that would steal and plunder wild places and wildlife, clean air and water from us in the name of progress.

20. What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now?  
Police officer, a former profession of mine.

BONUS QUESTION: If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival?  
Finally … someone from Montana!


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 "OwlJones.com," 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? 
Selfishness.

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 icanhascheeseburger.com

20. How would you like to die? 
Free.

BONUS QUESTION: 
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).


2 comments:

  1. Great Stuff in here> amazing to see a glimpse into someone else's medicine cabinet <
    Tight Lines,
    Koz

    ReplyDelete
  2. I usually don't care for blogs. Except for S#!t My Dad Says. But that's simple wisdom wrapped in a big entertainment candy. Now that I'm hooked on small stream brookies, I have found yours and am afraid I must follow.
    Josh Bass
    Roamin' North Georgia

    ReplyDelete