Friday, August 31, 2007

In support of wet-wading...

"Waders are like condoms - they offer some protection but also severely limit enjoyment." -JW 7/24/07 as recorded in notes at some apparently-not-too-interesting meeting
Plums and Grapes

Jimmy and I took a little field trip to pick some plums. When we got to the grove though, we found that most of the delicacies had vanished - someone got to them before we could... also some blow down effect was apparent. We scrounged like bears and did our bit of gathering. With heads in clouds and shrubs we stumbled onto some grapes - an unexpected but welcome surprise. JD ate and ate - I had to hold him back... "More plums Daddy? More grapes?" He would have consumed every plum on the ground had I not pointed out the difference between rotten and solid fruit. Lover of the wild grapes too - even the green ones, and the raisin-forms. It was good to get out and scavenge around like hound-dog-bear-cats... Scorn the corn and get into some real food - even if it was beat up, rotten to a degree, and picked over. The Kid is a champ.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't need no more lies!

I was getting pumped up listening to this song this AM and I realized that the lyrics hit hard enough to merit a blog - check out N. Young layin' it out there:

The Restless Consumer

The people have heard the news
The people have spoken
You may not like what they said
But they weren't jokin'

Way out on the desert sands
Lies a desperate lover
They call her the "Queen of Oil"
So much to discover

Don't need no ad machine
Telling me what I need
Don't need no Madison Avenue War
Don't need no more boxes I can see

Covered in flags but I can't see them on TV

Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies

The restless consumer flies
Around the world each day
With such an appetite for taste and grace

People from around the world
Need someone to listen
We're starving and dying from our disease
We need your medicine
How do you pay for war
And leave us dyin' ?
When you could do so much more
You're not even tryin'

Don't need no TV ad
Tellin' me how sick I am
Don't want to know how many people are like me
Don't need no dizziness
Don't need no nausea
Don't need no side effects like diarrhea or sexual death

Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies

The restless consumer lies
Asleep in her hotel
With such an appetite
For anything that sells

A hundred voices from a hundred lands
Need someone to listen
People are dying here and there
They don't see the world the way you do
There's no mission accomplished here
Just death to thousands

A hundred voices from a hundred lands
Cry out in unison

Don't need no terror squad
Don't want no damned Jihad
Blowin' themselves away in my hood
But we don't talk to them
So we don't learn from them
Hate don't negotiate with Good

Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies

The restless consumer flies
Around the world each day
With such an appetite for efficiency
And pace...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If your first three fingers have calouses as thick as fiddy-cent pieces on the tips, then you are probably a good guitar player. That’s cool – I love guitar and everything else… but if those same tips are burned red from coming in contact with a cylinder that is spinning at approximately 10,500 revolutions per second then you are most likely a carp fisherman.

A friend and I bargained our way into two hours of fishing (plus travel time) on Monday. We plopped the nameless canoe in a certain water and paddled to an portage trail that took us to an otherwise in accessible piece of water (inaccessible because the right-wing, private-property-rights-enthusiast, capitalist who owns the land around the water won’t let anyone through to fish). We sidestepped the profit-maker successfully and found ourselves in a cool little nirvana.

We didn’t have a heck of a lot of time, but here is what happened:

Right away we saw carp everywhere. They were doing their classic pulsating-mouth-just-under-water routine – apparently feeding on something very small – probably an algae of sorts. It’s been my experience that when they are doing this, they are very difficult to entice. This day was the same deal… putting flies where I wanted them, but doing nothing but spooking fish. In fact, I spooked damn near every one of those summa biches. I could only laugh about it though.

The setting was outstanding – I was walking along a “cliff” of sorts – looking down on these fish… like looking in a fish bowl. I love any situation that allows that high vantage point. I did some sneaking on fish – like this one – tried to capture the “peeking over the rock ledge at fish” perspective:

I put a fly on this fish for five minutes straight – he just sat there and ignored it… didn’t spook, but didn’t take either. Funny. After a while he just swam away with a compadre who came up and said “hey – can’t you see that asshole is trying to prick you?!!?”

Finally, after getting my ass handed to me over and over I broke out a teaspoon, placed the green crawdaddy in it, and fed it to one carp that was sitting still like the previous picture… I saw no motion, but it was right at his mouth and I took a guess-hookset and was right. The next 10 seconds were some of the best I’ve experienced on the water: that carp took off in a straight line like you wouldn’t even believe… reel started screaming and I tried to apply pressure with my three fingers… it was going so fast though that they started burning immediately. “Hey Swigs – check this out – my fingers are burning,” I said. He was standing right next to me and I was so glad he was there to witness this ass-thrashing in progress. The fish slowed down for approx 0.5 seconds, then took off again even faster along the same straight line – right out for the greater pool. The reel buzzed like a fuggin skill saw and I tried again to slow it down and just got scorched again… Finally my backing just started going through the guides and the line started to bow… I think the weight of the line out there broke the 3x. I knew it was coming – in fact I think I remember saying something like “good bye fish” etc.

Not one fish landed by either of us. I wouldn't have changed a thing about the day though. Good scouting, good discovery... good ass-kicking and cool sights... got to sit on a rock precipice and drink steaming hot coffee while watching carp cloop their asses around... etc, etc - what would a guy change?

Funny thing is that that fish was no where NEAR what you’d call a “big” carp. What does that tell you me boy!?! A juvenile carp can kick your izzow and make you feel inadequate in ways that a walleye could never even dream about! A little baby carp could clean the streambed with a trophy largemouth… I’ve even seen carp fry chase walleye young-of-the-year out of a pool. Hell, I’ve even seen carp EGGS that fight harder than the “eater size” fall-guy walleye. Fugg that walleye – bring it any day and ol’ buglemouth will rub your eyes with your own caudal fin until you’re blind and then he’ll rip off one pelvic fin so you spend the rest of your life swimming in circles me boy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Three and a half hours is a long quick hitter or a much-too-short expedition. I had this slot of tweener time last night to myself, as family was visiting predecessors in northern Iowa (they are true Iowegians). I opted for the no-driving approach and hit a local carp water.

Conditions were semi-dogmeat: somewhat overcast and water still very turbid. I am going to name that new rod first cast though, because I walked up and right away saw a feeding fish… put cast beyond and dialed up the old guesswork again. This time though, I learned what a guess can do when it runs afoul: masterful snag in the dorsal fin. That really sent that carp for a jigger though – ran like a mad hound dog through one foot of water for quite a while. I actually tried to pop him off but the hook was too tight in the fin. Landed and released… then lapsed into a dry spell of spooked fish and screw ups. I walked to some other water and found these fish:

I couldn’t cast at them given the setting, so I tried to heron-walk on their asses… that actually worked and I was able to dangle flies in front of faces. Two of them moved in a direction that would lead me to believe they were interested in eating the fly but both times I set the hook and found nothing. I eventually bleeped up all the fish and they went along their merry ways. I shouldn’t admit it, but I returned to this spot later after some reset time and replayed all the same events.

Back to the main water though… it’s cool because there are plenty of fish there. They are hard to see, but I discovered some valuable information regarding where the fish hang out according to various water levels. I found two fish that were “parked” – don’t see that very often: almost sitting on the bottom, dead still with water just over their backs. I couldn’t tell which end was which on one of them – I think head and tail were in sediment and I could barely see outline of back… I put fly at each end several times and got not one flick of movement. Finally the fly touched the carp and he had to use his legs to actually walk off the sediment flat – took him forever to actually swim – pretty cool indeed.

Later on I was back up high and I finally saw a nice BIG fish cruising/eating. Right in perfect range he was… Then from out of the blue a fuggin mallard came to his rescue and made a big ruckus to warn him of the homo sapien preying upon his golden ass. I was shocked and all I could manage was “you fuggin duck!”

19:38 rolled around though, and it was getting really hard to see. I persisted though. I saw one fish feeding and moving away from me – I figured I had no chance, but I had nothing better to do so I started casting… It was one of those rapid fire cast-and-pick-up in succession bits that usually doesn’t work… This time though on about the fifth cast I put it out there just right and I saw a slight pause in the fish’s path… Set the hook and right away knew it was no snag-bag. Zonker’s swimming clouser was money there.

On the way out I got a non-fishing bonus: a whole mob of little gang-banger looking kids had taken over the park with a tackle football game. There was a lot of high-pitched chatter and smack talking… pretty funny. It sounded like this: “Hey mutha fugga – if I touch that ball I’m runnin’ through you biches.” I had to laugh… but some of those guys were actually pretty quick and slippery.

Some other bonuses included a pretty little fish and an encounter with some wild mint. I put some sprigs of mint under my cap and ate a bunch of the leaves on the spot, in the hopes that I could camo my smell and be even sneakier.

I’m getting pretty tired of this one little carp water and I need to explore some other geography. I opened a bit of a new dimension last night with some discovery, but I need some new settings. OR – I need conditions to change so sight fishing gets better. OR – I need to figure out a way to catch those carp that seek refuge between the flood control walls that are 3453 feet high and a bane to carp fishermen.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007


I was sent out to fish for 1.25 hours yesterday, after sons went down for naps. Couldn’t refuse, despite poor conditions: 100% cloud cover and very turbid water. I fully expected to be skunked, and I figured I’d see only a few fish.

Surprisingly I was greeted by several waving tails of carp. “Hello, hello they said.” I rigged up my brand new 7 wt Redington (replaced after John Montana snapped its predecessor for me!) and focused on a tail that looked big… waving around approx 30 feet out and 15 feet down (I was up high). With the first ever cast at a carp with that rod, I put a fly about 4 feet past the fish and quickly stripped it to where I figured his head was and let it sink. Could see nothing really… but I estimated sink time and location and figured that if the fish saw it, he’d eat it right about now… picked up rod and fish was on. That feeling does not get old. No visual cues at all from the fish.

Being that I was hurried out of the house I forgot my net. That made for a 14-minute battle with this fish. In traditional carp fashion, it made several good runs – most sparked by the sight of a lanky human ogling it with desire. The most dramatic moment was when I had to run inland to get off a little walking bridge after hooking the fish – I had a lot of line out and I was afraid he might pop off.

Came to hand at a nice little rocky flat at shore… handled gently, took a few photos and let him go.

My estimate is that this fish is on the heavier side of 6-8 lbs. Carp! you say? When's the last time you caught an 8 lb fish?

Fishing is one of many demands that competes for my time. It is not the most important of those demands. It's worth noting however, that some people perform better and are generally more agreeable when they are allowed even just a short period of recharge time like this... If weeks go by and I haven't cast a line upon water it gnaws at me, and affects my attitude, disposition and agreeability. I'd be lying if I said that were not the case. A guy doesn't need much. A day is great, but even 1.25 well-planned, low-impact-at-home hours can do a lot.

Just a second or two to stare into an eye like this one:

Friday, August 03, 2007

“The Supamarket don’t make meat bhuoy.”

On August 13th one of this small herd will be killed, and one quarter of its flesh will be distributed to our family for consumption over the coming months. None of these animals have consumed one grain of corn. They’ve spent their lives roaming hills in southeast Minnesota.

It’s kind of a strange deal – to see and/or photograph an animal that you’ll eat. Once you get over the oddness of it though, you realize that it makes sense, and it’s honest and good. This isn’t a plastic wrapped package of corn fed beef that was butchered by a machine-man in a closed-walled and dark slaughterhouse… This is straight up honesty: you saying “it’s about energy brother, and I have to end your life to keep mine going.” Looking him in the eye when you say it would be good. He will understand. People might tell you it’s wrong, but if you think on it long enough, and work through the necessities posed to you by your life and existence, you’ll realize that it is right. It’s right to do it in the right way though.

This animal will die one day – they all will, and their energy will be consumed by some other sink. What you can do is make sure that he’s had a good life until death. No pens and dark barns… nor raping of biology and diet by shoving grain down throats. No sticking with needles and no treating like meat-boxes.

Meat isn’t made by butchers. Get out and see the land and the animals. Buy whole foods. Make your eating process and chain transparent and known to the greatest extent possible.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver