Thursday, September 29, 2011

Well, are you, punk?

This is culvert.

Recently, while researching a potential job at a university, Google led me to a website that asked me "Are you a Bro?"  It promises that if I learn the "Bro code", I will then "get photos of hot girls, funny stories and videos, frat music and playlists" and other fine things. I accidentally kept reading, and learned that "bro" is also an adjective, and a versatile one at that.  For example, the site's chat board includes repeated queries from young men wishing to know if a particular musician or clothing brand is still bro.  Apparently, one of the worst things a new fraternity brother can do is wear something that is no longer bro. One fellow was informed that bragging about having sex with a coed who was menstruating was "so not bro". Nowhere was a formal definition of "bro" provided, but of course that's partly the point.  If you don't know what bro means, you are most certainly not bro.

It occurred to me, after I was finished viewing the hot girls and funny stories, that fly fishing is in need of an adjective.  And, because nobody has stepped up to the plate, I am doing so now.  Am I going to define this adjective?  No.  Either you are, or you are not.  Not sure? Spend some time on this blog. 

And then ask yourself "Am I culvert?"

Well, are you, punk?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Early-season Waterfowl

As days grow shorter and shadows grow longer, our thoughts turn to the upcoming autumn waterfowl season. We reminisce about chilly late afternoons in the blind, squinting into the setting sun, hoping for the glimpse of a few strays, coming in for the evening.

Brayshaw watches the horizon for incoming bluebills

It's not important, in the end, that we always get our ducks.  But when it happens, the deal is sweetened in ways we cannot always express in words.  Sometimes, we simply rejoice in the feel of a trusty shotgun in one hand, a duck dinner in the other, and the promise, we hope, of more.

Brayshaw with the first of many, we hope.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fishing with Steve and Bob

One gets so awfully tired of reading *the same old combination of self-serving boastful crap, all wrapped up in a Yoda-like layer of vomit. So let's just clear something up: It's officially okay to talk about fishing. You know, not about numbers; just that mildly relevant metric that you caught fish, or not. No need to keep schtum; mum's the word; a nod's as good as a wink to a blind man.

I went fishing Saturday night with Steve and Bob. Good guys to fish with. They're happy to be sneaking away, no school next day, and consider discussion of food, tobacco, women, steelhead, and a rich dissection of fishing as much a part of the evening as playing tag with their egos. They're happy fellas and for the most part I think they go fishing for the same pleasure as me - to catch a damned fish. (As the great Bill Hicks once said, if this offends anyone, "go ahead and kill yourself. No joke. Do it now"**).

We fished a delightful beach in the Western-most part of RI&PP. We were trying to catch those fish in the wash, but we still had light and thus a pristine view of our flies swinging on up the beach after each heavy wave. As far as I know this wasn't putting us on what you'd call productive water, but we tried valiantly for 20 minutes or so. I kept my eye on Bob, on my left, and Steve, on the right, and they might have been peeking back to see who'd blink first and call a halt to the madness. You see, when the waves are that big you just cannae control your fly, but by jings it was nice trying. Steve worked a ball of mullet (only now do I realize how sexy this sounds), a spin guy landed a large blue, and my feet sank 6" after every wave, a feeling that I really like, though it's a mildly alcoholic sensation. Steve was knocked for 6*** by a wave and cackled. He did it again on the breachway too, when I thought he'd caught a fish but was just poking around trying to retrieve his fly. (A nicotine-starved aside: I wonder how often laughter is the last emotion before you're swept to your watery death?) The spray on those rocks was just the refreshing side of dangerous, and our minds wandered to thinking about what it'd be like to take a dip in Pulaski in 20 degree frozen rain. (Ans: More Death. But I can't wait to get up there. Trout fishing just hasn't been the same this year.)

Pounding wind and white water. Bob wears only a T shirt.

We went inside the breachway - no wind here - and saw shoals of medium-sized mullet that initially we took to be entire current seems there was so much of it. It was one of those atmospheric nights when it's lovely to be out under a near-full moon doing your stuff, three guys covering the water rather nicely, even if you long suspected that your chances of catching were never fair. And that's got to be okay, right? I mean, it'd take a special kind of loon to fish half a lifetime and still think the fish are always there. On the drive home we happily agreed that on this occasion they probably weren't, and that certain sexual acts are ill advised in the wake of a good chili.

Bottom's up! Here's to great company, and better fishing to come.


*Brayshaw's gone back to school, but he mentioned this earlier tonight.
***A "home run" in the game cricket. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Altogether now, All you need is Fun (everybody).

A good chunk of the people that talk about fishing are full of a substance akin to the post-Irene slurry currently flowing from the Connecticut river (clue: it is the color of bright shit). This isn't a surprise, as an awful lot of people go fishing. Data shows that the chunk who provide fishing wisdom typically have an angle to their angling, and usually the motivation is money; be they pedaling the best gear, the best way to employ it, or new-found "innovation", all wrapped in a warm, status-conferring hug. Selling shit is what it usually boils down to, whether they realize it, much less admit it, or not. (You can have fun with your own data collection by testing a simple hypothesis: the ones on the make are slow to reveal themselves as playful amateurs by comparison to the real masters, who are established beyond doubt, at least within +/- fairly narrow tolerance intervals to correct for taste.)

So I'm pleased by the fact that the guy who sells more shit than anyone else isn't like that. You don't have to like what he writes - though maybe you should appreciate what is surely good writing - but it's of some reassurance that his humility and down-right good quality continues to win the day (it may also signify that I'm not the one on my way to the loony bin, though rather like a day's fishing, one can't be terribly sure). I don't know him, but I'm thinking he shares a similar outlook to me and a handful of other goons I have the fortune to fish with. Watch the video, read Tom Chandler's splendid interview, then go ahead and ask yourself:

If I'm not doing this for the fun, why am I doing it?

-- Jonny