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07 Feb

Face-Plant and Keep on Trucking

Post from CO Jeremy Payne from couple of days ago. I love these kinds of reports: “Today, during the arrest of some poachers I was running in the snow. While running in the snow I did a face-plant off a 5’ snowdrift, tactically rolled back onto my feet and continued my pursuit of the criminals. When the suspect turned the corner of a house his first words were, “What the hell happened to you?” I must have looked pretty intimidating covered in snow. Arrests were made, I love being a Game Warden!”

Jeremy Payne, second from left. COs in tactical gear.

07 Feb

After the Super Boil

Okay, the national “boil” has been lanced and drained for another year and Christina Aguilera dropped a line out of the National Anthem, rather than a breast out of her costume. [Does hers count as lower or higher gaffe?] It was a good football game with major momentum shifts and solid performances under the so-called gun. Halftime? Damn bizarre, which reminded me largely of a marching band on acid with no instruments. Some wise-acre once said you know you’re on the down-side of life when you can’t figure out pop songs and one day it occurs to you that they are no longer about “you.” Further, humor aimed at younger folk tends to riccochet off your aging bean. This was my take on halftime last night but more on that in a moment. The advertisements: Is the world in the process of being animated? First we outsourced to the gods of globalization and now animation? Are cartoons the 21st century workforce? Animation certainly reduces actors’ workloads and demands. What will we humans do while celluloid avatars work?

But about that halftime show: lots of velocity and movement, no discernable direction. It looked like Blue Man Group draped in light sticks and somwhat reminiscent of suicide bomber get-ups. Just saying. The dance numbers (dare we say choreography?) were a mix of US Army Basic Training PT and Hi-Speed Tai Chi performed under blacklight. Songs? Could not understand a single word, not one. Except LOVE in electrolit neon on the stage, which seemed a bright blinking nonsequitor. The Black Eyed Peas wore leather, simulating spacesuits or S&M getups for the post-party. And who was the Black Eyed Pea warble-dude wearing a clear plastic soccer goalie helmet? The whole thing was like a cheesy sci-fi video shot in somebody’s garage. Musical Matrix on the cheap.

Thank the gods no aliens landed in Dallas last night during the halftime goings-on; they surely would have wondered how the hell this species ever managed to get into space.( I wonder the same thing.) The show was a pile of high meat, truly je ne sais quoi…in the worst possible way. Think: pigswill.

Oh yeah, the Green Bay Packers edged the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. I like it like that, like that, like that, and Kalamazoo’s Greg Jennings had a fine game — once they got him involved in the offensive scheme.

My final thought on this: una-i-kto-alu, which is Inuit for, “It is very cold.”


06 Feb

Super Bowling from Abroad

One BBC reporter this morning described the Super Bowl as follows: 60 minutes of football and 47 minutes of adverts at a cost of $100,000 per second, seats ranging from $2000 – $23,000, parking at $500, and sleep-cheapest, no-tell motel rooms starting at $2,000 a night.” He could have added the game is played by steroidally – enhanced athletes being paid mega-millions for never growing up and continuing to play a kid’s game until their bodies break down, or management unceremoniously dumps their butts in the street. The average player salary in 2009 was $1.9 million. No numbers are available for last year or this. The average career lasts 3.3 years (only 2.57 for running backs). Fans don’t like to think about this.

Not a single mention of excellence, glory, or sport, just money. And in a country where most gambling is illegal, every paper and TV station reports point spreads. Only in America as a dear Ozzie friend used to lament.

I remember a line from Pete Gent’s book, North Dallas Forty when the protagonist is being confronted by team managagement and he bemoans (I paraphase; the book is downstairs, I’m too damn lazy to walk down there and pull out the exact quote but is has stuck in my mind for decades: “Every time we players call it a business, you guys call it a sport; and every time we call it a sport, you guys call it a business.” Pete played and a year older than me, limps around with the leftover of the glory days.

The Super Bowl could be more accurately renamed the Grab-You- a Big-Ass-Pile-of-Money Bowl and it could just as well could be described as a gaudy display of haute yobbery, a gathering of chancers in a country in deep recession, where the government defined the poverty line in 2010 as $22,050 for a family of four.[Less than a high end seat for one butt in Dallas).

Yet down in Dallas a constellated mélange of partying haves are being watched by have-nothings while the government provides imaginary ghost shirts to the poor and as the middle class fades into oblivion we are left with what writer AA Gill called, “Twenty first century problems in a medieval society.” Today people sit in a life of no hope while those who still cling to some semblance of stuff look down their noses and think, “If ‘those people’ would just work.” Indeed. We are, too many of us, clueless to reality and we swim along day to day in a sea of deafening unspoken truths, clinging to myths of how we think the world use to be and never was. To Wit: Leave It to Beaver. Wasn’t true then, not true now. It was fiction on TV, nothing more.

 Meanwhile our President talks of his faith and hosts a Super Bowl party at the White House, taking a publicly neutral stand on the game’s outcome. Why in my mind today am i seeing Marie Antoinette and hearing her say, “Let them eat cake.?”

Last year the New Orleans – Indianapolis game drew 106.5 million viewers, thereby becoming the most watched TV program in history (dislodging the final episode of M*A*S*H, which held the top slot for 27 years).

Enough polemic: Ready for some football? Yeah, I’m weak, like most of the rest of my fellow sheep.

Bah. Go Pack. Over.


02 Feb


My daughter took 8 hours to drive 40 miles through  the storm yesterday after her students were dismissed at 1300. It’s a drive she won’t soon forget.

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Dig-out time.

Lakeshore Drive, which was so much in the news.

02 Feb

Loaded for Bear: Cold War Memories Shared

We had a blizzard warning all day yesterday and we got some 40 mph wind gusts, but only 11 inches of new snow on top of seven already  on the ground, so overall, not such a big  event, certainly not the snowlocaust some were mewing about or texting SMG (Snow My God!). Meanwhile Pal Ed Haerter, former Vietnam fighter pilot and cold warrior sent me something to me  which I think is worth sharing and remembering. Most of you had no idea any of this stuff was going on, or that there were thousands of committed men and women pepared to do some desperate things in defense of the US, though nuke war wasn’t much of a defense. It was what stategists used to refer to as Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD .

From Gary Barnhill: My good friend, the inimitable Col. John Morrissey, Shit-Hot fighter pilot, decorated war hero, war historian, US National Aerobatic Champion, certified stud, lover of wine, women, song, and old trains has found the words to brilliantly describe our youth in a way we can all proudly share with friends, family and loved ones. They are John’s words but it is the youth we all lived and loved. A little piece of history not taught in schools at it was all Top Secret at the time. Heady stuff for 22-23 year olds. Four years in Germany and never visited Berlin. They feared we would be kidnapped and tortured for our war plans knowledge

SUBJECT: The Way It Was – Fifty Years Ago

 The War in Vietnam was not nearly as tough as it was long.  Very long.  Many died – around 58,000 I am told.

But there was another war that was going on before, superimposed upon, and continued after the shooting war in Indo China.  It was seldom mentioned and less frequently reported.  Make no mistake about it – the real heavy lifting was done in that one.  It lasted even longer than Vietnam’s eleven years. 

No bombs were dropped in this one, and no shots fired.

A good thing too, because it was a Table Stakes war.  You didn’t hear about it because neither player called each other’s hand.

The bet was too high.  So high that the winner would also lose.

And we/you are alive today because that hand was not called.  And so no one really mentions that war.  Since it did not bleed, it did not lead.

We won that war in 1989. The other side just quit – went silently in the night.  And no one noticed.

And very few appreciated that  the thread holding the sword of Damocles had not broken.

The attached picture is just one very small piece of that war.   It is one of about one hundred such aircraft in Europe, Italy, Turkey, Germany, England, Okinawa, South Korea, and Taiwan that sat nuclear alert every day, all day, all night, and all the days of the year, and all the years of that 55-year war.

From the clanging of the alarm to burner light – 5 minutes – guaranteed!

Each fighter with a nuclear weapon of ~ 1.1 megatons.

Each with one motivated, highly trained, frequently evaluated, dedicated Bomb Commander – the term given to fighter pilots authorized to deliver nuclear weapons.  Think of ‘Bomb Commander’ as the ultimate James Bond license to kill.

Day, night, regardless of weather, we were going.  Target and enroute winds updated at very frequent intervals.  All routes, times, and altitudes committed to memory.

There on the hard stands the fighter awaits the fighter pilot, the deadly catalyst required to produce the ultimate Armageddon.

The attached picture captures all.  The F-105 with the end of civilization in her belly, the pilot’s helmet and parachute neatly placed in the empty cockpit,  the desolate hardstand whose only companion is the Air Policeman with orders to shoot to kill if any unauthorized intrusion is detected.  And the words inside the sealed plastic envelop on the top of the instrument panel.


The klaxon sounds.  Fighter pilot and crew chief (always dressed and ready) race to their plane.  The chief pulls the gear safety pins and completes a dozen critical checks as the pilot races up the ladder you see laying on the ground.  The canopy is already unlocked. I slip into the cockpit, my hands automatically turning on the battery while I click on the cockpit lights, slip into the chute, fasten my helmet strap.  With a glance at my chief’s nodding approval, I depress the start button.  The engine climbs through her octaves to idle. I close the canopy and check in with the command post.  I receive the words.  I open the envelope knowing that in two more minutes I will either be on my takeoff roll with afterburner’s flame accelerating us towards a Soviet missile site in Siberia ensuring the end of the known world, or in the alert shack trying to get back to sleep.

And I live in this alert pad ten days each and every month.  Ready.  Prepared. No doubts.

I am 23 years old.  Married. One child. For this I receive $525 each month.

That, and the trust and confidence of my country and the life long companionship of true warriors.

I was never young again.

From Ed Haerter: John’s narrative sure hit the nail directly on the head. I remember looking at the bird on alert and wondering if that thing in the belly would really work like we were told. Also thought it was kind of interesting that, although the weapon could be set for several different yields, it was always on “high blow”, for my targets anyway.

It was an incredible time. The ADC pilots had tactics to actually ram a Soviet bomber if they were out of armament, the tanker pilots all were fragged to fly one- way missions, with their being required to give all of their fuel to the bomber they were refueling if the bomber requested it, etc. In fact, tanker tactics evolved to the point that when the B-1’s came on line, one refueling was not enough to get them to their targets, and the second refueling was by necessity, well inside Siberia. In my later ANG days, just before retirement,  I was CO of a tanker unit, and sat alert at O’Hare on those missions. In fact, at a conference at SAC Hq, I suggested (jokingly) to the SAC DO that they might as well hang a couple of cruise missiles under our wings as long as we were penetrating so deeply, just to add to the firepower.

As John said, the other side just “went away”. We were briefed on the position of the Soviet ballistic missile subs every morning, and if they were inside a certain distance, our crews had to sit alert in the aircraft, because of reduced missile flight time. All of a sudden, in 1988, they just moved further and further out each day, and eventually were all in dock.

We won a great battle, and a lot of it was only possible because of the sacrifice our families made supporting us throughout those times. The worst part of the European nuclear alert mission, for me, was knowing that your base and everything and everybody on it was going to be a big smoking hole a few minutes after you launched.

And, as John said, nobody will ever really know about it.

Over. Truly. Thanks to some men with grit and commitment.


31 Jan

Backyard Visions


The Bear Up There

Arbor Ursus Backyardus

There’s a one-tooth bear that lives in our tree,

When I go outside, it growls down at me.

Just to be clear its sound only I hear,

A reassuring grunt not sent for fear,

Only to remind me, “I’m still up here.”

 [Portage, January 31, 2011]

Fish on (deck)
Broke Rabbit
Flicker on the Feed

The Ozark Weather Stick Gives Hints above and beyond showing high and low pressures.

30 Jan

An Important Health Reminder for All Women

Jambe Longue is wife Lonnie’s handle in my blogs and various writings. Long ago we decided she didn’t need public exposure, but something happened recently and after some discussion, we decided a blog was in order in which she is featured. To make sure all our friends were on the same page informationally, we sent out a note by email to let them know what’s going on. The sole intent of this blog entry is to remind everyone that mammograms and self examination continue to be important for women of all ages, and that cancer, which was an automatic death sentence when Lonnie and I were kids, is no longer that way. In fact, even with my extensive experience around pharmaceutical sciences for decades, I was amazed at how far things have progressed. This said, it seems important to talk about these things, and not keep them in closets of privacy. Here’s the note, which we sent out yesterday, January 29:

Consider this a Horse’s Mouth Note:  As alarming as the next sentence may sound, the news is good. We want you to know that Lonnie had a lumpectomy to remove a very small malignant tumor from her right breast yesterday, Friday, January 28, 2011.

Here’s the sequence of events as they unfolded:  Lonnie had a mammogram Dec 22, and the docs saw something un-Hoyle (something they felt they ought to take another look at); she went back for another check on December 29 and a small tumor was confirmed. Interestingly the tumor was not detectable with breast manipulation (self-examination, either by Lonnie or her surgeon. This experience  is a good reminder that self examination alone is inadequate as a warning aid for cancer. Women need to have their mammogram, too.

On Jan 5 Lon had a biopsy. Result came back as invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common kind of breast cancer. We met with her surgeon  Jan. 12, and Lonnie had a round of MRIs on Jan. 19,  to be sure there were no other tumors in the breast area (none were); yesterday she  had the lumpectomy to remove the tumor, which was quite small, and of  a nonaggressive nature. It was an outpatient procedure: We checked into the outpatient surgery at 0945 and were home by 1530. [Had to drive her car because the infamous Green Streamer, which lives outside year-round, was encased in a half-inch of clear ice.]

During the surgery, the doctor (Nancy Kalinoski) checked her two sentinel glands, both of which were negative, and removed them. There was no mastectomy or removal of muscle that can accompany the more radical surgeries. This procedure is targeted smart bombing, rather than carpet bombing. Lon has not needed pain meds other than tylenol since the surgery. [Course, women are just one helluva lot tougher than men. We all know that.]

The tumor was sent to pathology during the surgery, and over a period of days it will be shaved and observed as will some surrounding tissue samples to see exactly what is there and we will know pathology results by Feb 1 or 2. On Feb 9 we go to the cancer center to meet docs there. This sort of breast cancer is automatically treated also with radiation [duration can vary] and because her cancer is driven by hormones, there will be hormone suppression therapy. Tumors driven by hormones tend to be easier to treat than those that are not. Depending on what pathology reveals, there could be chemotherapy as well. If she has to have the whole shebang, the order of therapy will be chemo, then radiation, and finally anti-hormone. At this point the surgeon, who specializes in breast cancer, is thinking it’s more likely it will be just radiation followed by anti-hormone, but we will know for sure Feb 9.  The bottom line prognosis is excellent: it has been caught early, and it’s not of a raging nature, and we are looking at this as just one more bump in the road of life. She is of course tough as a hungry junkyard dog. Yesterday they inserted a wire via ultrasound and infused her with blue dye to check if there was transportation into tissue outside the breast. There wasn’t.

However she has a pretty blue breast for a while and is peeing blue (should be done by this afternoon) and, of course all of  this provides her no end of bodily functions to laugh about. [It’s nice to have my flatulence off the front burner of her zingers, at least for a while.]

She came through the procedure very well. She was semi loopy last night, but slept well after we got her settled in and she is back in the world this morning, putting together a honey-do list. She has taken no pain pills yet, but I suspect she might dip into that supply later today.  The hardest thing with her is to get her to sit still and not be up poking and putzing around. She is taking next week off from teaching, but will go back the following week. The doctor said she can resume normal activities today, depending on her energy.

Naturally, this whole thing was alarming and  a real attention-grabber for us and reminds all of us the importance of regular mammograms for all females of appropriate age.

Please no calls, and no visitors until the scars are healed (not that she might flash her boobs – though with enough wine she might); the doctors want her to stay away from people to prevent infections and complications, so we will comply and in a week or so we’ll be rolling back to normal.

She wanted everyone to know what’s going on  so that information doesn’t go out piecemeal and,  as private a person as she is, she thinks it’s very important to talk about it —  if this helps other women to catch similar problems early on.

This is a good reminder that it behooves us to live every day to the fullest. And to be brave when the moment calls for it.

Feel free to share this email with others who you think might be interested, or who may ask what’s going on. We will be back in Deer Park in the UP this summer crawling around trout streams and collecting agates off Lake Superior.

Our Best,

Joe and Lonnie


25 Jan

State of the Nation

Did you watch the State of the Union speech tonight? If not, shame on you. I watched with interest and found it without much eloquence and very uninspiring. I like the call for all colleges to reopen to recruiters and ROTC. If they don’t open to recruiting at least, how about they get no federal funds until they do? (My idea, not the President’s.) Military recruiting is either a national priority of importance to all of us, or it’s not. 

I was bothered to notice those times when substantial numbers of people did not stand up. The first  instance was when the President said he did not want to go back to a time when health providers screwed the public by denying policies or payment for pre-existing conditions. Health care insurers have screwed millions like this for years, everybody complains about it, why weren’t all the legislators standing?

I’d do away with all ovations, if it were up to me, but it isn’t they do it and it clearly stands out as a way  to wonder what’s going on in their heads.

I also like notion of freezing all domestic discretionary federal spending for five years. By the way, do we still pay farmers to not produce? If so, this should get the heave-ho, and I mean right now. I also wondered tonight how many kids of US Representatives and Senators attend and/or  graduate from public vs private schools, and how many of these progeny have served or are serving in the military. I’d like to know what percentage of reps and senators served in uniform, by party.

 I liked thePresident’s  call for increased respect for teachers, but the response sounded pretty hollow.

I’m glad gay men and women can now serve openly. I was a kid in the USAF when it became racially integrated, and females in cockpits came after my time, but even in my day almost all the men I flew with thought it was only a matter of time for women, and so too does this apply to gay folks serving their country.

It also seemed to me that when the president made a statement relative to American Muslims being Americans too, that a large portion of the elected folk sat on their cans and this bugs me:  Are we THAT close-minded?

I also think the President should remind folks that despite China “owning” our debt, our economy is more than 3 times larger than China’s, while they have three times our population.

I like his call for not penalizing kids of illegal immigrants, people who have been born and raised inside our borders. They are part of our national treasure. That their parents cheated the system is irrelevant.

Also, maybe my memory is failing, but it’s been my understanding that the internet was “invented” by the government as a way to help scientists collaborating on important projects to have a more convenient means to talk to each other and confer without traveling or phone tag. There were academic scientists involved in this, but it was the government primarily that brough the thing to life and then people like Jobs and Gates took it and ran with it.My impression, anyhoo.

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts last week called the State of the Union Speech a “pep rally.” If so, then this was one not for a team pushing hard to win, but for a team stumbling along. My take. Others will no doubt disagree.

The speech was described as thematic and different. Prolly so, and like I said, uninspiring. We keep waiting for a leader who can step up and say “Follow me,” and we will. 

To conclude, and not to dip too far, Speaker of the House Behner looks like a dead ringer for Edgar Bergen’s Mortimer Snerd No? Take a look for yourself. Over.


25 Jan

Rhythm of Love

The neices, Meggan&Liz, just cut a video with Plain White T’s, singing Rhythm of Love. If you want to tap your toes and smile, type in  Meggan& and enjoy. The girls are seniors in high school and soon off to tour. What talent, and they’ve got both feet planted firmly on the ground.  Fly the dream, and congratulations lades!

24 Jan

Wrangling Riverine Rodents At Night

Obsession, like a virus, is a demon that creeps in and takes hold before you understand you’re had. For example, I now find myself creeping from hole to hole on creeks and rivers on moonless nights, throwing gobs of feathers into the ink, seeking big fish. I don’t care what species, just big. But my favorite is brown trout.

 I’m also addicted to the annual hex hatch, but then you have to wait for the bugs. With mouse-chunking, its game-on nearly every night.

I was sure I’d outgrown this big fish thing in the far-back. Newp. Summer fishing the Upper Peninsula I’m content to catch small brook trout all day, but several times each summer I feel compelled to make contact with big browns.

Part of each winter I spend moving from water to water when the landscape is undressed, looking for likely holes that may hold summer fish. Winter, if the snow isn’t totally ridiculous, is the best time for such scouting. Come spring, after ice-out and runoff, I return to the same places to see how they look. If still promising, I make it a point to day-fish the hole and immediate environs. Not important to catch fish during these excursions, but seeing them is. I usually visit the potential sites at various times and while trying to tempt fish into sight, wade around to get a sense of the footing, pratfalls, traps, other potential hat-floaters. Getting to know the area is critical to your safety.

The interesting thing is that big browns often become exclusively night feeders, so even living here in southwest Michigan in a semi-urban environment I can find big old trout at night, willing to play cat and mouse.

It’s said in some parts of the country that the best such fishing is during the full moon, but that’s not the way we play the game here in Michigan. We may shine a small green or red  pencil light at the tree tops to get a rough gauge on distance and scenery at night, but this game is meant to be played dark, and the darker the better. We wait until there will be no moon at all, and that’s when we go.

The best mousing seems to be for the first two hours after dark. Then there is a lull and it seems to pick up again from 2 a.m. until 4 a.m.

We use short, three-to-four foot leaders, with 15-20 pound test mono. With total darkness and big browns hot for chow there isn’t much finesse in all this.

You need to stay focused. Every single cast at night has the potential to be the one that brings an attacking gorilla.

The thing about mouse fishing is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even an accomplished caster to be successful. What it requires is a certain degree of stealth, the ability to listen, and some way to hardwire your striking reflex to the sound and to some connection to your fly. You have to discard imagination and seat yourself firmly in reality, given that wandering in rivers in total darkness probably is not exactly a good representation of reality. Or good judgment. But hey, we’re fishermen, safety is relative and if you don’t take some risks you don’t catch fish. 100 percent of the casts you don’t make, don’t catch fish. To work a mouse, you need to leave your house.

There are probably lots of techniques, but I know only two and have caught fish with both.

In either method, you want to get the fly as close to the bank as you can, and you want it to slap the water with an audible splat.

The first technique involves using a Garside Gurgler. (Or a soft Tex Mouse) You slap the fly out close to the bank at 90 degrees, and start stripping slowly, in 18-inch strips. Most casts won’t be more than 20 feet, and sometimes they will be less than a dozen feet from the bank. With the Gurgler,  you are stripping upstream. Not to worry. If the trout strikes and you don’t feel it, keep casting. The fish will keep attacking until it takes the fly, or decides it’s not worth the pain. Remember, rodents do not swim like torpedoes in the water, so slow stripping is essential.

The second technique features the use of a Houghton Lake Blaster (or Houghton Lake Special) or even  a heavily greased zoo cougar (color not an issue, though black is probably best for silhouette purposes). Here you make the same cast, only the fly will be swept downstream and you simply hold the rod tip high to make the fly wake and count to 7 or 8 as the fly goes to the bottom of the pull-drift. If casting right handed to the right bank, you sweep your arm and rod across to the left and up above your left shoulder. If casting right handed to the left bank, rod tip up an sweep from your left shoulder to up above you right shoulder.  As with the other technique, strike on sound or feel. I’ve also found that sometimes you can actually delay the strike, lift the rod tip slightly (if you have all the slack out) and feel the fish before you cross it’s eyes. I’ve heard that some guides in Alaska believe Rainbow trout attack mice tail first and that’s the first tug you feel, and the second bump is the full-body-take. I don’t know what the real facts are, but I know that sometimes if you resist the heavy strike-right-away, you can still hook the fish.

Kelly Galloup once told me that big browns head-butt bait fish to stun them, and then turn leisurely to pick off the floating victim, thus if you can delay your strike and let the brown make the full-body pickup, you can slam him with great vigor. I’m simply not wired for such patience. Kelly’s assertion came from snorkeling and observing fish over a long periods. There might have been mescaline in that water. I can’t say.

If one believes the fish hit the rodent tail first, then fishing with a fly that has no tail means no delayed strike on your part. Duh.

The thing about this sort of fishing is that you need to be comfortable in total darkness. If you’re not, stay home.

If you’re the kind of person who imagines all sorts of creatures closing in when you are in darkness, don’t even bother going out.

The big bugaboos in this thing are that strikes are so few and far between, thus, you may find it hard to pull the trigger when you’re moment arrives. Not to worry. You will usually get more than one chance as you move from hole to hole. Sometimes a nice gravel flat near a hole and cover is also good in the darkness, but you need to scout all this before you start trying to night-fish the water. Don’t fish 6-inch skinny water or fast riffles.

Most strikes come early in the fly’s drift, but some will not happen until right at the end. Brown trout know a mouse in water is an easy target and apparently they sometimes observe before indulging. I used to do the same thing in bars when I was young and looking for whachamacallit in all the wrong places. I’m too damn old for whatchamacallit nowadays.

Rules of the road. Do NOT wade at night where you have not waded in the daylight. Know the limits of your area and abide by them.

Check your fly and leader after every strike or fish caught and released.

Slack line is your enemy. Keep it tight at all times.

If you’re in a boat, somebody can get out and hold the boat and ease it down the river, and by easing, I mean very very slowly — so you can smack every inch of the target bank.

Because this sort of fishing takes place in summer when river temps are warmer, get the fish in, and released as quickly as possible.

What  precisely are the fish eating? I’m not sure: Rodents. Hell how many different ones can YOU identify?  I have been told with great authority of a certain water vole that has a territory on two sides of the river and swims back and forth all night from bank to bank, and these being (allegedly) the chosen night-meals of brown trout. From an evolutionary standpoint this behavior seems suspect, but I’m a simple writer, and clearly not a scientist. Some fishermen also talk about plain old mice, moles, lemmings and even rats. But I’m not sure what’s in our waters other than generic rodents and the fish seem to eat these with laudable gusto.

Funny thing : I’ve never caught a brown trout at night on a fly designed to look like a realistic mouse – you know, little eyes and little ears etc. I think all those design elements are to catch anglers, not the fish. The things I look don’t look like anything in the light and apparently only look like rodents in the deep night.

Oh yeah, one more caveat. It’s not probable, but it’s possible you could bump into bears, bobcats, moose, or wolves at night. Not to worry. Just keep fishing. Even if the worst possible scenario unfolds, continued focus on your casting will keep you happily and productively engaged until you die.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.




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