Tag Archives: summer doldrums

My 2013 Fishing Resolution

In 2012 I got out fishing roughly 75 times. That’s a very rough estimate and most likely on the low side, but for the sake of argument, I’ll say 75. I don’t keep records like I used to.

When you live a two minute walk to a river and a ten minute drive will get you another 20 miles of river and access to five creeks, getting out fishing is relatively easy. I recall going out seven days a week a few times in 2012, sometimes for no more than an hour, but it was enough to lower my blood pressure and help me forget the world around me, even briefly.

Of all those times out fishing, I recall fishing with another human being five times.

So for 2013 I resolve to try to get out fishing with another human being six times, fishing with my daughters doesn’t count.

Anything more than that would be intolerable.

The reasoning is simple, at the last minute I may change my mind and choose to watch the squirrels running around in front of my house. Or my back hurts and I can’t be bothered. Or it’s hot out, or cold out.

Or I simply just don’t feel like it.

If I had made plans with others, now I have to call them and make up some lame excuse why I can’t go. Or if I choose to go, now I have to wander around making small talk, giving up the best fishing spots because I do get out all the time and I’m sure whoever I’m with doesn’t get the opportunity to go fishing much and the gentleman in me says, of course, go ahead, you fish it first, I get to do this all the time…

I hate being a gentleman.

Fishing with others also interferes with my fishing plans for the day. Which is, I have none. Sure, I go to a spot, but as my wife likes to say, great, I’ll know where you’re car is, after that finding you would be impossible.

I make decisions as I walk. I have no real interest in having a discussion about that as I walk. I feel like going that way. I don’t want to hear, no, I don’t want to go that way, or, why are we going that way. I feel like going that way, that’s pretty much it.

While on the water, I want to go fish over there, not have a discussion on why I want to go fish over there. When I get over there I may not even want to fish. Something on an island may have caught my eye and I might want to go wander around the island for awhile. Maybe I just want to sit on that boulder over there along the shore and… watch the river flow. I don’t want to talk about watching the river flow, watching it is enough.

So that means for 2013 I should make an effort to get out fishing with another human being once a month.

I might be able to accomplish that.

But if at the last minute I call and make some excuse as to why I can’t go, I’m probably lying to you.

There’s a good chance I’ve decided that sitting out in front of my house hand feeding peanuts to the squirrels is time better spent.

Or, if you want to catch me in my lie, you can call my wife.

She always knows where my car is…

Almost like those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

My usual routine is to get 4 or 5 solid hours of sleep a night, then lay there till I have to get up to go do whatever it is I’m supposed to go do on any given day.

Or piss like a race horse.

Which ever comes first.

For the past three nights I’ve been down to three hours of solid sleep a night. This routine has been going on all my life. If not, I may be concerned. But I’ve got used to it.

By noon, since I was already up for seven hours, I did all those little life things that need to get done and ran out of things to do.

So I went fishing.

I spent more time getting to the fishing spot than I spent actually fishing.

The odd thing about walking a blind curve on a set of railroad tracks is that a train can actually sneak up on you. I don’t know how they do that, they just do.

After two of these in an hour, I went home.

As I said, it took me over an hour to get back and forth to the spot I fished. Was worth the walk.

I got home at the same time my wife got home from work. Nurse’s aides keep odd hours. We went for a stroll through the woods not far from home, came home and I thought I would shut my eyes for an hour.

Three hours later, I guess I needed the nap. It’s very rare that I do that. Now I’ll be up all night.

Today’s song in my head was driving me nuts. Always liked it, but still. Over 40 years later and it comes out of nowhere.

Sunshine Superman

It’s Lunch Time my Friend 8.24.11

Why, look at that, it is almost lunch time.

The summer doldrums seem to be coming to an end. In the past week all the writers have come back to life and have been typing away like crazy. Others have been out taking picture of damn near everything.

This is a tough one.

We’ll start with Dale Bowman from the Sun Times wondering about how an outdoor writer winds up with only 1 out of 4 kids taking to the outdoors naturally.

6-year-old is a Natural

Bob Maciulis, publisher of Outdoor Notebook, also writes for Aurora’s Beacon News. He recently did a nice write up on our local waterways.

Rivers are the Lifeblood of Illinois

Bob Long, Jr.’s photos and words continue to be intriguing.

bossbob50’s photostream

This is where all writing and photographing hell broke loose. I think the best I can do is make it a little easier on you. You won’t have to go over to my sidebar and start clicking on things. Just go down this list.

The links will take you to the sites, then just start reading, looking and scrolling down. Some real gems here. Reading, looking, fishing, hunting and wandering around are all pretty well covered.

There’s a good chance you won’t get through them all today, so hang onto this for the next couple of days. Will give you something to do on those lunch breaks.

The River Zen

Unaccomplished Angler

Eat More Brook Trout

Mike’s Gone Fishin’… Again

Mysteries Internal

River Mud

The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond

Walkin’ With the Wild Woman

Mouthful of Feathers

A Rural Journal

I know, I know, I dumped a lot on you this week.

Don’t blame me, I’m not the one doing all the writing and photo’s. Okay, maybe some of it.

Doesn’t mean you have to go read them all in one hour. You know you can’t go surfing all afternoon, the IT guys do monitor your keystrokes you know. So just save it for the next few days, take your time and savor what’s here.

Will be worth it in the long run.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

I have no choice but to go fishing as often as possible. I’ll do whatever I have to do to squeeze in a couple of hours on any given day. If you go through what I’ve written about for the past month, plus go to my original blog and do some reading, the reasons become self evident. Pay attention to some of the things I’ve been saying, sometimes for years. There’s actually science that backs up the benefits received from wading rivers.

You shall see.

My ability to get out as often as I like has just changed, but I’ll find a way.

It’s been over a year since I’ve had regular work in the Graphic Arts Industry, the industry I’ve been working in for 28 years.

In the past year I’ve had numerous people tell me, including a couple of head hunters, that at age 55 I’m too old for the industry and I should find something else to do. They haven’t mentioned it, but I also happen to have the wrong genitals between my legs. A cursory glance around any company that has anything to do with the graphic arts will show that this is no longer an industry for old men, or men in general.

I’ve tried numerous things over the past year. Some not bad if I don’t mind working for under $10 per hour, about a quarter of what I used to make. I don’t need to pay my bills, and I’ve been pretty good at not doing that. I call it trickle down lack of economics. This is what happens when you fuck over old guys in the work force. Everyone below us in the economic food chain suffers. Most of us are now at the point where we simply shrug our shoulders when people start whining at us about money and say “tough shit for you.”

They don’t like it, but it makes us feel just fine.

This week I was finally able to land a full time freelance job that may go on indefinitely. It pays pretty close to what I used to make, which ain’t bad. I may finally be able to start paying some bills, which should stop all that annoying whining.

There are two problems though. I have to drive 50 miles a day one way to get to the job and that severely cuts into my evening fishing ritual.

But I have a solution.

On the way home I have to cross over the Fox River in North Aurora. I’ve timed my arrival to be between 6 and 6:30 PM. For the rest of the summer, that leaves me some decent sunset time to fish that area.

I know the stretch between North Aurora and Aurora like the back of my hand. It’s almost a 3 mile stretch of the river and I’ve waded the whole thing a few hundred times. Since moving to Yorkville 6 years ago, I hardly ever go there any more. Most of it I haven’t fish in over 5 years. This will give me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the section of the river where I first fell in love with fishing rivers.

It’s not like I haven’t caught fish there in the past.

It will be interesting to see if old familiar holes still hold fish or if it’s all just memories.

Will also be interesting to see if the other species are still around.

To get back to my need to be out fishing…

Years ago I read a number of articles about the effects negative ions can have on us. Particularly the negative ions that come from water. If you’ve followed along with what I’ve been writing for the past 13 years you’ll notice a pattern in the things I write. I’ve recently written about how my brain relaxes in tune with the running water. Another mentioned how relaxed I am during lightning storms. I knew all this, but I found an article that pretty much sums up everything I’ve been saying, only from a more scientific point of view.

Water Generates Negative Ions

Have you ever thought why we feel so good walking in the woods, on a beach or near a river, breathing the fresh air in the mountains, or just breathing the fresh after rain air?

That sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

This probably explains why I have this obsessive need to be outdoors in general and near water in particular.

Explains why, to me anyway, why I’m usually in a pretty damn good mood and rarely have any real bouts of depression. I recently wrote about how calm I get during lightning storms and how I love standing out among the flashes as they hit the ground not far away. Didn’t know that besides killing me, it might actually have health benefits.

Real coin toss on that one.

An astute reader and follower may have seen my references in past stories about how I never get sick. I just don’t. It annoys the hell out of some people as they lay there wheezing, hacking and blowing their noses as I shrug and say “that shit don’t happen to me.”

That is the one real benefit of all my fishing, hunting and wandering around, all the money I’ve saved on therapy and doctors visits.

Not that I would have paid them anyway.

(I finished writing this about 10:15 PM and before posting it I went out for my evening ritual of smoking one last cheap shit cigar and a good half mile hike around the neighborhood.

Far off to the west was a light show, lightning was flashing. Since I live on a dead end street I stood out in the middle of it to get away from the trees and to get a better view. A couple of bolts flashed into the clouds over head. I could hear the faint sound of rumbling thunder.

I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight).

Hectic Schedules, Summer Doldrums and Fishing Ennui

I think I first noticed something was up in the first week of May when Quill Gordon ended a post without placing a fly on the water.

Opening Day!

It took a little while, but slowly things began to build. I have no doubt there are others that have been writing about this, but the first week of June, Mike had Writer’s Block.

It was nice to see recently that he wasn’t letting the Dog Days of Summer get to him too much and he still found the energy to wander off and fish. I would be hard pressed to call the paragraphs he wrote about it writer’s block. Maybe he was referring to quantity rather than quality.

One of these days I’ll learn how to write like that.

Then Ed from The Four Season Angler kept getting out fishing, but his constant whining about being busy, lazy and uninspired was starting to get to me, so I convinced him he owed an explanation to his millions of readers as to why there was a lack of posts. He finally sat down and wrote something after sitting around listening to The Sound of Crickets.

It didn’t stop the whining though.

Next, in a phone conversation, Dale Bowman of the Sun TImes tells me how busy he is. An hour later I go to his Sun Times Blog only to find that he’s Gone Fishin’: Sorta.

I know the project he’s trying to finish, it will be worth the wait till he gets back.

Then, the other Mike went out fishing and Just Wasn’t Feelin’ It.

What’s up with all of this?

I know sitting on my own desktop are a good half dozen half finished stories that I keep meaning to get to finishing. My wife keeps reminding me that if I don’t sit down and hack them out that day, I never go back. So I say hmmmmm, get a beer from the fridge and grab a cheap cigar. Then we go sit out in the yard for a couple of hours. Or we go for a walk, where we take a bunch of pictures, I formulate another story in my head and I never sit down and do anything with the pictures or the story.

(Here’s a brief synopsis, it’s grasshopper time).

Around 10 years ago I heard that we, as humans, have hit our information saturation point. We can simply no longer take in and process all that is coming into our heads. Our brain cells start randomly dumping the excess information. This info overload was determined before things like facebook, twitter, blogs and the wide variety of instant access capabilities that we have now even existed.

I have no interest in going on and on with examples, you won’t read them anyway. But think about how you’ve come to deal with all this information? How many friends have you hid on Facebook? What do you completely ignore? How many things do you get that request a response and you never bother responding? How much do you guilt trip over this?

15 years ago I started going out fishing, coming back and leaving posts about my adventures on fishing forums. In the past 15 years I estimate that between the original post, the comments to the post and general posts on fishing that had nothing to do with actually being out fishing, I’ve left at least 6,000 things out there floating around on the internet.

Give or take a few.

I never thought of myself as a writer. I’ve never taken a writing class. I used to paint and before I stopped I was writing short paragraphs on top of my paintings. I must be compelled to write things down for some reason whether I know what I’m doing or not.

This starts to touch upon the problem. I go out fishing, I come back and I feel compelled to write something down about it. The brain is just a muscle and that process has become part of my muscle memory. With blogs this problem becomes compounded. I have to put something up there after every fishing trip or my page hits will go down. Nobody will come visit my blog. I’ll become a fishing non-entity.

I’m beginning to envy people that just go out fishing, have a nice day of it, or not, come home and go to sleep.

Instead, while I’m out on the water, I’m composing stories in my head. I’m taking pictures and thinking about what I’m going to say about them. The whole day is coming together in my head with words and images, I just have to put them down when I get home.

And that’s the part I would like to have the ability to shut off now and then. Not every outing is all that important. Not every outing has some meaning to it other than I went out fishing. Maybe I caught a fish. I went home and had a beer.

That’s it, ’nuff said.

I know at times I have those moments like Mike and I Just Wasn’t Feelin’ It.

It had nothing to do with not wanting to be out fishing. It had everything to do with not wanting to think about being out fishing and feeling like I had to go home and write about the experience when I was done. Kills the enthusiasm. Kind of like talking about sex before actually having it. Unless, of course, that’s what you’re into.

I also envy those that wrote about the outdoors in pre-computer days. They went about fishing and hunting and wandering around, then on a day shitty enough to keep them inside, they sat down, gathered their thoughts and wrote things down. Eventually, if they were lucky, what they wrote would get published in something.

There once was a lawyer, apparently a very good lawyer, named John Voelker that made his home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He liked three things, the ruffed grouse, the white-tailed deer and the brook trout. During the long UP winters he would sit and write, there wasn’t much else to do, under the pen name Robert Traver.

Eventually he wrote a little book called Anatomy of a Murder that gained him some attention. He also wrote a couple of books that I’ve been told were possibly the best fishing books ever written, Trout Madness and Trout Magic. I don’t have those in my collection, but I will be fixing that issue soon.

I’m sure these little details about Voelker are old news to most, but the point here is that he apparently once said that if it weren’t for the long brutal UP winters and if he could have fished all year round, he might never have written a line.

Part of me longs to have that kind of attitude. Go live your life, go have a life and when you have nothing better to do, give it some thought and jot it down.

Because of the muscle memory of our brains, my brain, I’m not sure that’s a possibility. I’m sitting here looking at the half dozen folders of half started stories and wondering if anyone really would care anymore about my trip to the Apple River the first week of June. Would it have any real interest to anyone RIGHT NOW.

That trip was so yesterday.

Instead, I’m sitting here thinking about doing a sunset fish. Checking the USGS river gauges every couple of hours. Checking the radar every couple of hours since they are calling for severe thunder storms. First thing this morning I had already put something up on Facebook regarding my mental gymnastics on the possibility of going fishing:

Wife wakes up and says, looks like it didn’t rain. No, it did, but the big one is moving south. Unless I go fishing. Then it will come this way and try to kill me again. I should test that theory later.

There’s a good chance if I go I’ll leave something on Facebook that I think is witty about how if you don’t hear from me, look for a lightning fried body floating down the Fox River.

Within the next 24 hours if I don’t write something down about the experience and put it up on my blog, does it make any sense to even bother at that point? Two months from now if I get around to writing something down, will what I experienced matter?

I wonder if this sense of responsibility to our followers, our subscribers, to keeping our unique IP count from plummeting is what keeps us, or me, from going out at all. Gives us, or me, the doldrums about fishing in general. It becomes an overwhelming responsibility rather than simply doing something we enjoy. In order to stop the brain muscle memories, we in turn do nothing.

Kind of sad, really.

Well, grin and bear it. It is what it is. Either go along or move along. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. Shit or get off the pot.

In the mean time, while out for a walk with the wife the other day, I never noticed before that milkweed flowers smell a lot like lilacs. Never knew that you could actually eat the things. Learned that when I got home and Googled “is milkweed edible.”

Starting to look like I’ll be heading out fishing later. The river level isn’t bad and the radar shows that the storms are either tracking to the south or are nonexistent.

If you don’t hear from me. . .