Showing posts with label Lilly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lilly. Show all posts

August 7, 2022

A Summer 2022 Update

I thought it would be appropriate to give what amounts to and end of summer update. The last post written was about an early June trip to the Driftless, and a few things have happened since then.

Nothing huge, and honestly, not much (if any) fishing, but stuff worth chronicling nonetheless, if only for future personal reference. (When you have a blog as old as this one, it's fun to revisit posts of years past from time to time).

We had steel drums at summer work happy hour... that was fun!

New York City

We didn't really have a "big" summer vacation as a family this year. That said, we did spend a long weekend in New York City right before the 4th of July. Now I'm not a big fan of NYC, I'd prefer to retreat to the mountains as opposed to the city any day, but with Broadway re-opening after being largely closed due to the pandemic, we thought it would be a good opportunity to go see some shows.  

See, Lilly is really (and I mean really) into theater (theatre?) and wants to pursue theater design in college in a few years. She's obsessed with set & costume design, props, and puppetry, and is an encyclopedia of theater knowledge, just like an avid angler would be with fly patterns.

In all, it was a fun trip, although it was really, really hot outside. Luckily most of our activities were indoors. I didn't go to all the shows that Lilly & K.C. attended (I did see "Into the Woods") but while they were occupied I wandered around Manhattan eating ever tasty thing I encountered. They just don't have food in Jacksonville like the kind you can find in Northeast.

Lilly & I did have a little father/daughter time at the American Museum of Natural History while K.C. was seeing Moulin Rouge solo. So I got to enjoy a little bit of "outdoors" stuff, even though most of it was taxidermy. I love spending time with Lilly, especially now that she's older (she's so intelligent and has a very unique mind). Lilly seemed to enjoy herself too. She loves all animals, although I'm sure she would have preferred ones that were alive.

A Date with Rona

Well the one unexpected souvenir I took back from our trip to NYC was a bout with coronavirus. I had gone the whole two years or so without getting it, but I started feeling symptoms that put me on the shelf for about a week. It wasn't too bad (I've been vaccinated), but nobody likes to deal with aches, fever, and congestion.

K.C. got it too, and it seemed to hit her a little harder than me, but interestingly Lilly seemed to dodge it. She had it during the last school year so perhaps she had some fresher antibodies. Who knows... either way, the virus' visit to our house, and its lingering effects, kind of limited most activities through mid to late July. 

Tenkara Angler Stuff

While I haven't really fished much (other than in the neighborhood), we have been busy over at Tenkara Angler. We re-launched our "Level Line Podcast" at the end of June and spent some time talking to Bill, Amanda, & Nate about a recent tenkara event they participated in up in New Hampshire. It was a fun conversation and we're looking forward to doing more of these.

We also published a few articles, the most popular being the "Big Fish Tenkara Rod Guide" which lists many of the tenkara & fixed line rods available to chase fish way bigger than the ones I catch. We also posted a video from 2016 that Jason Sparks dug up of a Tom Sadler tenkara demonstration. That one was fun to watch, it was like going in a time machine! I sure miss those days.


Remember how I mentioned Lilly's love for theater? Well, she got to spend time at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) at the end of July pursuing her passion. It was her first (I guess) unofficial college visit, and one she earned herself by winning a scholarship to attend the week-long seminar. She had two workshops, one in fashion design and the other in production design (costumes & sets).

It was weird dropping her off and helping her set up her dorm room for the week. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that for real in two years. I'm happy to report the little bohemian inside her thrived in the classes, I never heard her quite so talkative, exited, and expressive giving us the debrief after we went to pick her up.

The Nephews

I have two rad little nephews, and they and their equally rad parents (K.C.'s brother and his wife) came to visit us this past week for a few days. The boys can be a handful, but it's fun to have little kids running around the house again... cartoons on TV... and toys scattered all over the place. Especially when those kids are not yours.

Labor Day Weekend Smokies?

Which kind of brings me to present day. Lilly actually goes back to school this week, Junior year of high school! So in effect, our summer is over. (Although somebody needs to tell Mother Nature that, it's been 98 degrees here every day for like ever).

I am going to try to sneak up to the mountains one more time before the NFL season starts and my weekends get consumed by work. I'll most likely make the run up to Cherokee that I've done each of the past two years (2020, 2021)... but who knows, maybe North Georgia will be more manageable. I definitely will need to get away somewhere, a trout streams have been running through my head since I left Wisconsin.

August 15, 2021

Little Blue Lines

I spent the first 35 years of my life in the suburbs of Philadelphia. No matter where I lay my head at night, the Keystone State will always be home. 

Recently, I was able to spend the better part of three consecutive weeks back up in southeastern Pennsylvania. I guess when your employer still has you working remotely, you can technically do that from anywhere. Seeing that window of opportunity, and not knowing how much longer it might last, the family took advantage of this coronavirus-induced loophole in my employment and headed north for a bit of an extended stay.

The trip was a fun (but fast) one. We got to visit with family and friends we hadn't seen in almost two years. We were able to eat all of the wonderful carbohydrates for which Philly-based cuisine is known. I even got to do a little fishing on some of the waters I used write about here, (in what feels like) a very long time ago.

Lilly with Pickles the duck; me with my nephews.

I'll post about some that more familiar fishing over the course of the next few installments, however, today, I wanted to touch on a little side trip. It was actually toward the end of our stay, to water that was new to me, distinguished only by some little blue lines on a map.

The brook trout is the state fish of Pennsylvania. It actually holds that distinction in many states in the northeast. However it's a little hard to come by in its native form near Philadelphia. Stocked brook trout abound in the Spring, but the urbanization of the area makes it fairly inhospitable to brookies (and their successful reproduction) in the wild.

When I lived in Pennsylvania, the closest wild trout water to me was Valley Creek. Other than being smack dab in the middle of Valley Forge Historical Park, Valley Creek is renowned for its thriving population of wild brown trout (despite threats from pollution from busted sewer lines or industrial runoff every few years). As such, I always identified myself as a wild brown trout angler. 

Living in the south the past few years, and frequently enjoying what the nether-reaches of the Georgia & North Carolina Appalachians have to offer, I've become quite smitten with wild brookies. They live in areas where the temperatures are cooler, often times requiring a little extra effort in the form of a hike-in to find. However, once located they're quite eager to take your offerings. In short, they like to live where people don't, but are quite hospitable to visitors. Oh, and don't get me started on those colors. 

I knew there were some wild brook trout within an hour's drive of where we were staying in King of Prussia, and thanks to a little bit of map study and even more bushwhacking, they were found in a cool, mountain stream, away from people, just as I had hoped. Temperatures had been extremely hot the prior week, but having rained the night before the water levels were almost ideal. There was even a little chill in the morning air that cut the humidity, a welcomed bonus. 

It's always a bit nerve-racking when you fish new water for the first time. If you pass features you think might hold fish, but don't get any response to your fly, it can make you second guess what you're doing. Perhaps you begin to wonder if the fish are even there? Especially if your outing might be considered more "prospecting" than a sure thing. 

Fortunately, on this trip, the third plunge pool brought the first brookie to hand. It was tiny, but it was a Pennsylvania native, a background we both shared.

From there, I got to meet with several other fish, the largest and prettiest being a fairly skinny specimen found residing beside a downed tree. It took the fly with aggression, followed likely by regret, but swam off quickly once released.

This didn't prove to be a particularly long outing, as the headwater stream eventually got too small and narrow to fish, but it was certainly worth the journey. A refreshing morning in the southeastern Pennsylvania hills, paired with the frequent company of beautifully wild brook trout. 

Little blue lines, the stuff of this native Pennsylvanian's dreams.

March 28, 2021

Some Recent Florida Hijinks

Catching up on Lost Time...

Hadn't posted in a little bit, but we've been active here in Northeast Florida. Not necessarily fishing all the time, but all in the outdoors vein.

A Walk in the Woods

Two weekends ago I spent some time walking around the Timucuan Trail in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. That's a quite a mouthful I know, we just call it "GTM" around here.

GTM is where I'd often launch my kayak, when I did that sort of thing. That being said, I haven't in a while, but I thought I'd return to take a nice walk around some of the trails. It's a winding sandy path with a few different loops... most of it is fortunately in the shade, but there are some open marshlands as well as intercoastal coastline that it also parallels.

In all, it was quite a nice outing. One I'd like to do again in the future. I did the middle loop, but there's quite a bit more to explore to both the north and south, as well as what looked like some primitive camping opportunities.

A Little Pond Fishing...

Since last I posted, I also did a little bit of fishing... messing around in one of the local retention ponds. I used my Tenkara USA Sato along with a new floating line from Tanuki. It was really a nice casting line that I'll probably write a little more about over at Tenkara Angler

Anyway, this was the first outing where I REALLY started to notice that the mosquitoes were back, so that was a bit unfortunate. I guess I'm back to sun screen and bug dope before any future fishing outings...

And Some Cleaning Up...

Last weekend, Lilly & I got up early on Saturday morning do participate in the St. Johns River Cleanup. She went to get some community service credit for school and I went just to get outdoors (plus, somebody needed to take her and it wasn't going to be my wife!)

I'll give the kid credit, she did a great job metaphorically rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty. She was picking stuff up left and right, wasn't afraid to climb through the brush in pursuit of trash, and even handled the "gross" stuff well. We got four big trash bags full of trash, and also picked an old tire out of the woods.

The one thing we didn't pick was this guitar case and machete. There's a few homeless people that live in the park we were at, and we just didn't want to disturb something that was purposely left behind. Also didn't want to take what was potentially somebody's night time protection. We did tell the organizers and showed them what we found though and decided to leave it in their hands.

Outside of that, Lilly has fun observing some of the feral cats that also live in the park. It's evidently a community of about a dozen or so that are all "fixed" and that the neighbors have permission to feed... so they do. A few raccoons also assimilated themselves into the cat posse, which Lilly was very entertained by witnessing... and photographing.

Anyway, that's about it for now. That being said, I do have a few fishy things on the horizon that I'm sure I'll be mentioning in short order. So hopefully, not so quiet in the future. I'm already well ahead of last year's blogging pace, so I'm feeling good about my efforts to revive Troutrageous! so far. Guess we'll see how long it lasts...

Oh, and here's a bonus picture of a squirrel from the backyard patio. Not the best table manners on this one, huh?

February 9, 2021

Keepin' It Squatchy

Cryptozoology is Cool

My affinity for "Bigfooting" and Sasquatch is not much of a secret. I've always been fascinated by cryptids, and in this day and age finding interesting content on the topic is not particularly difficult. Sure, a ton of the "evidence" is suspect at best, but every now and then you read or see something that really resonates and just makes you, or at least me, believe...

I'm pretty psyched that the crew from Finding Bigfoot reunited to stream a new special on Discovery+. It's the first new installment in a little over two years, and I couldn't help but smile watching it last night. It was good catching up with the gang - (from left) James "Bobo" Fay, Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, and of course, Ranae Holland. 

Did they find Bigfoot in this episode? Spoiler alert... no, but that's not really the point. It was just fun to watch, at least for me.

Recently, cryptozoololgy and my fishing intersected. Unfortunately, not on a stream, but online.

Japanese Cryptids

I'm fairly certain I've documented Tsuchinoko before, a sort of snake-like, (and alcoholic) wrongdoer that is a part of Japanese folklore. I first learned about the creature at the 2012 Tenkara Summit, when visiting Japanese anglers spoke about how their fishing club (the No-Tarin Club), inspired by famed author/angler Soseki Yamamoto, seek out the legendary creature. There was also a mention of a wolf in the presentation, one I never really paid much attention to... until now.

Well, fast forward to today, and the moderator of the Japanese fishing group I'm a part of on Facebook started posting liberally about the quest for proof of the Japanese wolf, which is a legitimate historical animal, but was believed to have gone extinct in the early 1900s.

Much like the also extinct Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylacine), there are evidently frequent sightings of what people believe to be the Japanese wolf, and there's even an organization formed whose primary objective is to find a living specimen of the animal.

That organization is seeking the aid of local outdoorsfolk, including anglers, to relay stories, report sightings, or provide evidence of the wolf. If only I lived in Japan, I'd be spending every weekend fly fishing and searching for Tsuchinoko and the Japanese wolf! I mean Lilly & I tried our own "Finding Bigfoot" while in central New York back in the day, but alas, we never found him.

There are just so many layers to this I find intriguing. Language barriers and joking aside, I'm finding myself looking more and more into cryptids each and every day. However I purposely stay away from the Michigan Dogman. That thing is just scary.

And yeah, I know I'm weird.


If you're into Bigfoot as well, I highly recommend Cliff & Bobo's Bigfoot & Beyond podcast. The episodes aren't too long and it's really entertaining. Plus, you just learn a lot of new things about the natural world. Some day I'd like to visit Cliff's museum, the North American Bigfoot Center located in Oregon. I support it on Patreon and the perks they provide to members are amazing. 

I do plan on hitting up Expedition: Bigfoot! in North Georgia the next time I'm up there chasing trout. There have been many sightings in the area, not by me (yet), but you never know what the future holds...

January 12, 2021

Dragon Tails and Wœrms

So my attempt to rediscover fly fishing blogging started off ok...

But then last Wednesday happened, and kind of knocked me off my game. You know, January 6th... yeah, that was pretty, well, you know.

Anyway, I'm going to ease back in this week. The goal is to keep the lights on over here, whether I'm actually fishing or not.

Last weekend was chilly by Florida standards, in the 40s, so I didn't bother getting out. The bass just aren't that frisky when there's a chill in the air... and that's okay, just sort of need to know one's limits.

Enter J. Stockard...

Instead, I paged through some of the mailings I received. Most notably, the J. Stockard fly tying catalog. As when it comes to fly tying, and all of the little doodads and widgets that can go along with it, I firmly believe a print catalog is the best way to peruse the merchandise. An internet website just doesn't do the shopping experience justice in my opinion.

I don't tie particularly complex flies, but I think I might play around with two things this upcoming year. 

The first is UV resin. Back in the day I used to know the stuff as Clear Cure Goo, but I guess that brand name went under at some point. I still haven't taken the plunge, and I think I want to finally give it a try. Don't really have any patterns in mind, but seems like it'll be fun to mess with.

The second is what this catalog calls "dragon tails." My daughter calls them worms, or more appropriately "wœrms." She buys them like 5 for a dollar or something at Dollar Tree, ties them to strings and makes them move around like a puppet for Instagram movies. Shoot, I had these as a kid and I think it's something the younger teen set is doing as retro, quirky humor. There's memes and that stuff too.


The fly tying industry is taking those worms, adding  a 1000% markup, and selling them as tails for flies for those seeking warmwater monsters. Sounds good enough to me. Lilly doesn't know it yet, but some of her wœrms may be going missing very soon.

Looking forward to taking that first grip and grin photo with my version of a worm on a string... and a hook. Perhaps I'll even keep the googly eyes intact. Can't hurt, right?