Big Changes Are Coming... No Joke

I had an interesting opportunity presented to me at work yesterday...  I don't talk about my job that much around here, although I've spilled the beans to some of you at random times, so those in the know might consider what I do for a living pretty cool, or at least interesting.  It allows me to work in sports, and travel to many events every year.  For example, for those of you who are friends with me on Facebook (me personally, not the blog), were inundated with several pictures of hi-jinks in New Orleans last week for the Super Bowl.

To-Be-MVP Joe Flacco Warming up Super Bowl Pregame

Anyway....

Yesterday I was presented the opportunity to go to Jacksonville, Florida.  Permanently.  My department in Pennsylvania is closing this summer as part of a company consolidation, and my bosses feel strongly about my work to date and future with the organization that they'd really like it if rather than accepting a severance package & moving on, I move down to the Sunshine State and work at the Mothership.  In all honesty, some people may re-actively be turned off by such an ask, but I'm flattered, it feels good to be recognized & wanted, especially in a time when others are not as fortunate.


Here's the deal.  I don't know how I feel about Jacksonville.  I've been there several times over the past few years.  It's just like most cities.  There are good parts of town and bad parts of town, I've been fortunate to have found many of the good in my travels.  I know my family will find its way, heck, my wife navigated through cancer...and I'm sure I could probably score a house for Lilly with the swimming pool and trampoline she's always wanted.

But do you know what Jacksonville doesn't have?  Coldwater streams...  With real trout...  What I'd consider legit Tenkara opportunities.  You know how I like me some Tenkara.  Yes, Jacksonville has great inshore & saltwater fishing, even fly fishing for bass, but the former is such a part of who I am...such a part of what I love, and daydream about when I'm at said job, that...I'm...well...confused.

Am I ready to trade in my T! sticker for a Salt Life sticker?

Is this what's in store for me (& the blog?)


I don't know, but I have about a month and a half to figure it all out.

I'm open to advice, suggestions, you name it, because right about now, all are welcomed.


Comments

  1. Does Pennsylvania really have that great of trout waters to begin with? Sounds like you should take this opportunity, im sure you'll find some really good water to fish when you relocate. Good luck!

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    1. PA has convenient trout waters. Roll out of bed, be at a stream in 15 minutes trout waters. I'm not after the biggest fish, but with all of the other things being juggled on a day to day basis, convenience plays a big factor in my life.

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  2. Saltrageous. Bassrageous.

    Just heed these wise words: "Every time someone buys a Salt Life sticker, a school of permit dies, man!" Scotty D of Lowcountry Fly Shop

    Best of luck, no matter what you choose.

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  3. Face it... once a trout takes your fly, it has take your heart as well. Something tells me you'll spend some weekends about 300 miles or so north in northeastern Georgia or western North Carolina on some fine southern trout streams. I'll give you a headstart....

    http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout

    And if you're wondering about Jacksonville...

    http://spotcrime.com/fl/jacksonville

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    1. From that link it looks like the beach area is pretty safe...I could do that. And I think you're right, if I do make the move, Owl Jones might be getting a weekend visitor more than he'd like.

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  4. I think it come down to how much you like winter. Seriously though, I bet you could get hooked on bass or something salty if you gave it enough time.

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    1. I hate Winter. But really enjoy Spring and Autumn. Go figure. It's damn hot & humid here now in the Summer, so I'm indifferent about that season.

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  5. My only advice is to talk to the wife first. Relocation is scary, and it will probably affect her more than you.

    Don't let this blog hold you back. It's barely about fishing and even less about trout. If you're worried about trout, why don't you take the severance and move to Montana?

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    1. Thanks Clif. From someone who has already made a very big jump, your comment means a lot. FWIW, the wife is on board, at least in concept. We're going to go down in a few weeks for her to get the lay of the land.

      And this blog plays ZERO role in my decision. Luckily I'm not that delusional. :)

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    2. We under estimated how bored she would be. But that has gotten better over time as the network of friends gets larger.

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  6. Family comes first, brother, and if that means a relocation, then call the moving company. This is just a step along a long road. You'll find your way back to the trout stream. Go buy that Jags Jersey.

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    1. No Jags jersey. Relocation can't change the emotional scarring from 35 years of being an Eagles fan. A Jags hat...maybe...

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  7. My wife and I have had this conversation because we too have had the opportunity to "jump" over the years - but in all cases, to new jobs, into the total unknown. We did it once (moving from NC to MD) and we have probably one more such move in us, and it'll have to be a good one.

    The situation you're in is much different and in the short term, it's a no-brainer. You get to try a new job market and a new way of life without changing your job. That's pretty good. Yeah, you're good at what you do, so it's not about "a job," which, in a certain # of months you could find within "commuting distance" of SE PA. But what if it stinks? What if you end up fishing less in the PA waters you love? The things you'd like to protect in PA (lifestyle, your routine with Lilly, ease of finding non-fried food at a restaurant) could be seriously thrown into turmoil with your new "local" job. You just never know.

    I agree with the comments above. If "trout" is a serious driver for you, then here's your opportunity to move to the northwest, or at least "west" somewhere. Go boldly! But I have to admit, the ability to make a move (paid for) to a shop where you already have some job security and recognition, that's worth something unless it's in a place you truly hate.

    Good luck. As I say frequently, "Well, it's exciting." Exciting doesn't mean good or bad. It's just exciting. It's life!

    Kirk @ RM

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    1. Thanks Kirk, and no, at the end of the day "trout" isn't the #1 driver for me. It's probably a tertiary concern...although I'm not going to lie that every time I've looked for a new job in the past I've looked for the closest trout stream.

      I think my decision has come down to two. I seriously doubt I am staying where I'm at in Pennsylvania. That's just not in the cards, especially for the industry I am in.

      I am either going to JAX, or taking my severance and looking into the job market and relocating where we as a family have always talked about going, which might be a bit more Southern in nature, but not quite Florida.

      Thanks man, always good advice from you.

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    2. You'll figure it out. I hope to learn from your decisions and luck (good and bad!) because God knows I do not want to die at age 95 in freaking Baltimore, and I'll be needing plenty of advice of my own when the time comes.

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  8. Just do it. A friend is retired and living on the bay side. Goes out fly fishing every day, on the flats, up a river, you'll figure it out. You're biggest concern will be how you're going to afford all the sunscreen you'll need. All those years in PA probably sucked all the melanin out of your system.

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    1. Crap. I'm probably going to have to start wearing one of those Buff things...

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    2. Take it from me, they are easier to take off your neck than skin cancer...and I've worn both!

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  9. Is your wife a SAHM or does she have a career? I ask as my wife is a SAHM and though we only relocated about 80 miles from where we were it has been fairly hard on her. Now 6 months in it is getting better but I think it takes a good year to really settle in.

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    1. My wife is a SAHM, but she does plenty to keep herself busy including her own business she's started out of the basement. My wife it the kind of person that walks into a room of 3 people she's never met before and somehow leaves with 5 friends. I have no idea how she does it.

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  10. I'd say do it. I love bonefish. I have a blog about bonefish. I live in Fremont, CA and there are no bonefish in Fremont and there won't be for the next 1,000 or 2,000 years (but after that, I fully expect them to be here as there are some fantastic mud flats about 10 minutes from the house). You can still love trout and tenkara and #22 midges even if you don't have them out the back door. It just means those trips are more special. In the meantime you'll likely get to experience a whole new world of fishing. You'll have a chance to learn, likely a lot. You'll amass a whole new sort of story, too and I firmly believe two of the best things in life are learning and stories. Bam. There you go. I hope it works out.

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  11. Nothing more exciting than a backwater Redfish on a fly! Change is the essence of life...good luck.

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  12. Dear Mike,
    As someone who has (at least in the past ) shared a love of fishing equal to yours, my advice ( not that you asked for it ) is that you not base the decision on fishing. At all. Why? Because I fish now about three times a year it seems. Family you will always have. A job, fewer and fewer have. Right now, even with your credentials and skills, I would not want to be out of a job. Fishing? In 10 years you may still be "on fire" for it - or you may not be. I'm not saying you won't consider your family first and foremost - I know that you will - that you do. I'm just saying that I don't think the fishing thing will be a big deal. You learned to love streams - you can learn to love saltwater and trips to Miami and other places. Which brings me to my next point....

    There are over 2000 miles of trout water in North Georgia, and you would have year-round access to an old, grizzled, well-traveled guide here anytime you like. For a guy that drives from PA to FL every year, a trip to N. GA would be a walk in the park. The trout are waiting if you make the move, and so am I. I need a local fishin' buddy, even if it is a yankee from Florida. :) All the best! - owl

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    1. Thanks Owl, fishing really plays very little role in this decision, I just know I'll miss my trout. And that's okay. That said, it's good to know a good friend is only about 5 or so hours away.

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    2. Is that all? A 5 hour trip to the Smokies? And you have a guide too? Hmmmm... Just don't let Owl pack those funny looking snacks called pork rinds...

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  13. I do not have any big advice. Just echo what others have said. Talk to the wife....and go with your gut, and don't second guess yourself once you make up your mind.

    Whatever you do.....keep blogging. I need my Troutrageous! fix

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    Replies
    1. I'll keep blogging. Although you'll have to carry the Valley Creek tenkara torch for me. As soon as it warms up a bit, I'll show you the best spots.

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    2. I will take you up on that! Valley Creek Tenkara will go on!!

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  14. PS - if they have an office in TN or NC, your tenkara rod would be happier. :)

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  15. I grew up in Florida. 20+ years in Miami and 6 years in Gainesville (about an hour from Jax).

    You need to consider all of the family-related issues first and foremost (Florida is a strange state), but from a fishing perspective, I say do it. You will have access to quality sea trout, reds, jacks and the occasional tarpon. You'll have great bass fishing right out your door. Indian River Lagoon is incredible and it is just a few hours south of Jax. You'll be within a day's drive of some of the best saltwater fishing in north America and you could do a long weekend down in the keys. Maybe even add a stop in Homestead or Kendall to catch some peacock bass on the way home.

    I have immediate access to some of the best trout fishing in the country here in east Idaho, but I miss the salt with a vengeance.

    Do it.

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    Replies
    1. Having never fished the salt.....the more I read this post and the responses of those who have fished salt water.....I may move down there myself!

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  16. Mike, You'll survive wherever you go. That's what's good about you. I look forward to some gator wrastling.

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    1. Oh, those Rednecks have no idea what's coming...

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  17. Since you hate winter, it would take care of that problem although it's not unheard of to have snow in North Florida. Having fished Florida for many years and fished trout in California, I can say the you will not be out of your fishing element, just a change in gears. Besides, find yourself one of those little ponds that are everywhere in Florida, and you can Tenkara your heart out.

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    1. Thanks Mark. Still a big decision to make. But everyone, yourself included, is making it a bit easier to sort out.

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  18. There are grass carp in Jacksonvile...I caught one from the fountain pond in front of the TPC sawgrass golf course. Just saying...

    Good luck man...for my money, standing in water waving a stick is the trick. What is at the end of the line is less important.

    Best wishes...and we do have an office in Jax if you need any local help while checking things out.

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    1. Thanks John, appreciate the advice & offer.

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  19. If fishing does enter into the equation (secondary, tertiary, quadrilateral triangulary whatever) it is a 100% positive. Florida may be the best place in the world in terms of variety of quality fly fishing options. So you don't have trout. No biggy. Be the first to try Shark Tenkara or something equally silly if you must. Then get a reel and a 8 weight and have more fun than is fair.

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  20. Mike,

    If you're with a company that you like and a job that you like, I would do it. I grew up in Jacksonville, and my parents still live there. The city continues to grow. Every time I go down there they're building something new.

    I don't know where your Jax office would be, but the beach area is nice and I wouldn't rule out St Augustine. You might even find a place on the Intracoastal. Homes in Riverside and San Marco, which are closer to town, are also nice, older, but limited inventory.

    If you want to discuss let me know. With all this snow, I won't be going anywhere this weekend.

    Leigh

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    Replies
    1. I may hit you up for some advice a little later in the process. Thanks for the offer.

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    2. No problem - I've moved a five times for work so I can give you some battle-tested relo/family insight too.

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  21. Cool Mike, I am a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, so I hope you enjoy a the cheap tickets and a few years of football before they relocate...haha. On the other side, the salt should afford you with a host of fishing opportunities. Enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. New Logo...New Uniforms...and I agree, new location by 2015.

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  22. You have to do what you have to. Family always comes first. But as far as fishing goes....you may not be able to do true tenkara trout fishing but you can adapt. Living on Long Island is not exactly a trout fishing paradise but Ihave managed to use some of my tenkara rods to do salt water fishing also. A saltwater bay or estuary, a tenkara rod and some bluefish can be a lot of fun. Whatever you decide....best of luck to you and your family.

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    1. Thanks Kiwi. Oh, the tenkara rods won't go unused...even if it just for "cane pole fishin'" :)

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  23. If you decide to go, you still owe me a guided trip on Valley before you bounce.

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  24. Michael,
    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! That's really awesome and indeed should be flattering.
    Not an easy decision I'm sure. Moving is never easy, and geez, going away from trout streams even harder.
    Just make sure they include monthly tickets to trout fishing destinations as part of your relocation package. Ah, and a yearly Tenkara Summit trip too.
    Good luck!
    Daniel

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    Replies
    1. Tenkara summit is a given. And should I move, don't think you'll be getting off easy. I'll be keeping tabs. Photoshop still works from Florida (I think...)

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  25. Now that I have had 24 hrs to ponder... This is my take on all of this. A company that believes in you is a very special thing these days. Yes, relocating is stressful. But, if you get down there in a few weeks to check things out and it feels right...you can't pass by the opportunity. It's better to try it than to kick yourself later wishing that you had. So, you fish different water, but there will always be trout trips out West, I'm sure! (hint hint) Good luck, my friend.

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    1. Thanks. Your advice makes too much sense. Also, a semi-annual trip West will definitely be in the cards should this happen. No doubt.

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  26. I wish for you the best in whatever choice you choose. 8yrs ago I relocated from San Diego to Boone, NC. No job just a hope that things would work out. At least you have employment going for you. Some work is better than no work.

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    1. Thanks Kevin. I agree, things could certainly be worse. Going to head down with the wife in 2 weeks to do some serious scouting. Depending on how that goes, we'll see...

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  27. Ok...I can't help but toss my $.02 in on this one. River Dammsel is dead right on the company aspect. A company that feels THAT strongly about you is worth its weight in gold-that is a rare thing in this day and age. My only caveat to that is that it must be a family decision and work for everyone. And the trout thing...as a full blooded cold water fishery kind of fella...I get your angst about leaving it behind...but truth is truth...You will always be a troutster at heart and there are plenty of us who would gladly host you for a cold water getaway. The fact that you have polled the crowd tells me that you will give this every bit as much thought as it warrants. All I ask is that you keep writing. :)

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    1. Thanks MacLoosh. Fear not, I'll keep writing no matter what. Like Clif said, my blog is hardly about fishing anyway...

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  28. Congrats, Mike! I know you work hard and can only guess by the offer that you are really good at what you do. Having lived in New England for over 20 years, I have always believed I would never move to Florida or Southern California, unless an outstanding opportunity awaited me there. If you like your job and the company, your decision is already made. I don't care how good you are, looking for work now really, really sucks.

    If you are still on the fence, I recommend you listen to this Freakonomics podcast and visit their new website about making life changing decisions (http://www.freakonomics.com/2013/01/24/introducing-freakonomics-experiments-a-new-marketplace-podcast/)

    BTW... As I watch the snow blow outside my window, a move to Florida .... nah I like the snow better ;-).

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    1. Thanks for the viewpoint & the link, I'll check it out. Firmly on the fence a week ago, I'm coming around to the prospect now. It's still going to be different, any way you slice it.

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  29. I say make the move to Fl! Job security is nothing to sneeze at in this economy of layoffs and downsizing. Plus, you'll be pretty close to all of the great stream bass fishing we have to offer in AL... especially if you like to drive. It would be my pleasure to show you some our bass waters here in the Heart of Dixie.
    Whatever you decide, best of luck to you.

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