fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)


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a little fishwrap on Friday

I’m in the doldrums…taxes need to be done, it’s another four weeks before the Trout Opener, the cold, rainy November weather we didn’t get in November is here now…and seems to be hanging on in Vermont while Hendricksons are hatching early in the East. The anticipation of our Opener usually brings about a focus, but the gear’s long been sorted, flies tied, new reel set up…with little to do but wait, my attention span seems pretty short these days.

I can’t resist and The Wife chuckles knowing that it’s never going to be in the budget, but I would gladly own a vehicle for every day of the week; and two for Sundays…as long as I had the garage space. I can’t buy but can still look, and anyone my age as young as I might love their next fishing vehicles to be one of these recent concepts from Jeep.

Jeep J-12

The Jeep J-12 Concept…a knock off of the always macho J-20…

Jeep FC

The FC concept is as a tribute to the unique Jeep Forward Control that was sold from 1956 and 1965.

You could, however, get your mitts on this oldie but goodie…I remember the first one I saw, in Tuolumne Meadows I believe, in green.

A 1970 Jeep Jeepster Commander…with a special and patriotic Hurst package…

A 1970 Jeep Jeepster Commander…with a special and patriotic Hurst package…

On stopping a damn dam: Could it be that all those Californians that long-ago brought a housing boom to Washington State brought more than their luggage? We in the not-anymore-so Golden State are too familiar with the fight over water and the damming of rivers, and now Kirk Werner of UnaccomplishedAngler.com is asking for help…and we should give it. A movement is afoot to stop in the preliminary permitting process a small hydroelectric dam proposed for an upper section of Washington’s Skykomish River. I’ve not fished the Sky, but have hopes that as the years wear on that I might get to know it and other Washington rivers in my pursuit of a native westslope cutthroat.

…And you can’t help but like the little guy, but maybe I pushed my luck actually following through with the threat that I’d drop by to get his signature on a set of “Olive the Woolly Bugger” books…but Kirk seem more than willing to sign copies of his books without you hovering over him if you make a Kickstarter pledge that could launch an Olive iPad app…a good idea for fly fishing fathers who figure they could receive the wife’s approval to get more new gear if only they could only pass their current gear down to their kids. I don’t need the books but I’m keen on something that might keep me entertained in the off season interest kids in the hobby.

I lied, so forget what I wrote. I will buy some new gear at the club auction next week, if I can fend off other bidders. A club member (and fantastic woodworker) donated some nice handmade nets big enough for optimism but more in keeping with the size of fish I land. I’m guessing I’m in for some combat bidding.

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blog appreciation, or just do it

I wouldn’t normally write something for a Monday, but I’m sitting here between Super Bowl commercials marveling at the breadth of the ‘raw honesty’ discussion resulting from a post asking if this raw honesty is needed and how it may be connected to the success, relevance, or execution of a fishing blog, fly or otherwise; or any blog for that matter.

An acceptance that there is a place for anyone’s blog, even if just an opportunity to ‘howl at the moon,’ seems to echo through every opinion and observation, and an inherent support of an interpretation that ‘raw honesty’ means writing what you want to write and letting your personality separate your blog from the herd.

The Internet is a very public place, and an increasingly accessible space in which blogs in various forms arise. According to statistics from Technorati and Blogpulse, the estimated number of blogs ballooned from 3 million in July 2004 to 164 million last year. This diversity gives voice to authors that may have never been read if not for a blog, and I think we are all the better for it. I’m happy to see that I’m not the only person who’s grateful.

There seems to be little glory in blogging, and it’s generally fleeting. But like fly fishing, much of the fun of blogging is in the doing. Hooking a fish/reader is a welcome consequence.


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I got nothing, ‘cept wishes for a happy and healthy 2012

There are still some sentences to edit and words to change, but I’ve nicely crammed nearly five days worth of work into this abbreviated three-day work week sandwiched between the Christmas and New Year holidays. It’s been grueling.

Not complaining, just explaining why I got nothing this Friday and not much to add to the overworked end-of-the-year rehash of 2011 done so much better elsewhere.

It’s been so busy that there’s not been time to ponder the meaning of what’s shaping up to be a very dry winter. While not good for the big picture, it may mean more fishing for me earlier in the coming year; and it’s a sure thing that after this year’s lack of it, mo’ fishing will be at the top of my list for 2012.

At any rate, we’ll wind down a bit this long weekend, finish reading “Dracula,” celebrate the start of a New Year, perhaps lament the underutilization of the past year, and make sure that lentil soup is the fist meal of 2012.

Early wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!


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rooting for the little guy fly

There’s something so very American about rooting for the little guy who’s dreaming big.

Kirk Werner, aka Unaccomplished Angler and children’s book author, certainly seems to be one of those guys. [Insert joke about height here.] Ignoring what he might think of me, I consider him to be a shade more than a passing acquaintance, definitely a friend in the fly fishing fraternity, and now role model when it comes to unbridled ambition.

Olive the Woolly Bugger Hollywood Star

Maybe some day, Olive...

Kirk’s launched a campaign he hopes will lead to one or all of his books based on the character Olive the Woolly Bugger (also a little guy fly) being made into an animated movie. He might just have a shot. Just not for the obvious reasons.

It’s right there in his chosen moniker: Unaccomplished Angler.

Reading Kirk’s blog you’ll see that he’s certainly endured enough heartache at the fins of taunting trout. Though he doesn’t appear to display overt signs of depression, he’s suffered for his work like many a better-known author; possibly putting him in the company of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Clemens, Virginia Woolf, Robert Louis Stevenson and, fittingly for a children’s book author, Hans Christian Andersen.

And, in my humble opinion, the Olive books — to use industry buzzwords — offer nice pacing; quirky, likeable characters and interesting plot twists.

So, being sucked into Kirk’s delusion of grandeur, I’m not only dropping a little image into the side bar supporting Kirk’s efforts in the hope, but offering public words of encouragement.

It never entered my mind that there may be a commission if this all pans out.


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fly shop offering entry-level paying position for the aspiring writer younger than this author

If you haven’t yet observed the lack of advertising on my blog, there are no advertisers influencing my writing this is not a revenue-generating venture. I don’t want it to be. Getting paid would mandate more frequent posting whether I have anything worthwhile to say (as it is, judge that for yourself), as well as better writing and accountability. Besides, I recently disclosed the real reasons why I blog.

And while I’ve dabbled in some freelance writing, I just haven’t yet found the time between my day job, fly fishing and the rest of my life to scratch out another article or two. (Also, modest fly fishing skills seem to require full use of my limited brainpower and, since I don’t take notes while fishing, it’s tough to write suitable-for-publishing after-action reports.)

For a younger person who aspires to start a career eking out a living as a fly fishing writer, Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters is looking for a “Fly Fishing Writer.”

Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters

Fly Fishing Writer

As the leading fly fishing retail store in the heart of San Francisco, just off Union Square, we are seeking an outgoing English or History major/minor student to join our customer service team. The Applicant will exercise a high level of skill with the written word, as well as advanced computer knowledge. Applicants must also have excellent people skills, must be team oriented and have a strong knowledge of fly fishing and fly fishing equipment.

Starting pay is $11.50 an hour.

At $11.50 an hour it’s not going to be easy to save up for that next trip to Kamchatka, but it’s $11.50 more per hour than this writer gets paid to write his Weekly Drivel®.*

Sure, you’ll have to do real work, actually interact with customers and answer the phone, but it offers a paying opportunity for a greenhorn writer. There’s also the possibility that all that interaction with customers will offer raw material for freelance articles or essays.

This is an opportunity not to be scoffed at my young friends. In this day and age, at least one online fly fishing magazine looks for writers who are “…NOT paid, but fueled to write by their enthusiasm for the sport, to draw attention to worthy causes, or promote themselves or a favorite destination.” Enthusiasm is a must for writing, but it won’t pay for that new 3-wt rod.

*Although “Weekly Drivel®” is a trademark of The Unaccomplished Angler, there’s no profit to be had here, thus no infringement.


The act of fishing, particularly fly-fishing, is similar to the act of writing. The masochistic urge to wake in the predawn hours and stumble with loaded thermos toward an icy cold stream to catch something you ultimately let go is not dissimilar to the quirky yearnings that guide a writing life. Both activities draw adherents who crave and breathe solitude. Both fly-fishing and writing abound with foible and reward. Both offer fissures of clarity amid the ambiguity of everyday life.

Both can give you hand cramps.
                                    — Holly Morris