Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from 'The Princess Bride'

Sorry, folks.  Nothing about angling or degenerative diseases in this weeks contribution to universal Entropy®.  Instead, something a little lighter that's been on my To-Do list for a while.

Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from 'The Princess Bride'

  • Most things can be made better if you just skip to the end
  • "As you wish" means, "I love you."
  • "As you wish" also means, "I will be captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and most likely killed in the morning."
  • Never get into a land war in Asia. It's a classic blunder.
  • A chocolate coating helps things go down easier
  • If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything
  • Help people feel they are doing well
  • Never ride horseback alone
  • You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles
  • People in masks cannot be trusted
  • Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line
  • There's not a lot of money in revenge
  • It's good to have a friend on the Brute Squad
  • Get used to disappointment
  • Have fun storming the castle
  • You'll stay alive longer if you always think everything could be a trap
  • If all of your professional obstacles were inconceivable, perhaps you'd best consider a career change, no matter how prestigious the line of work
  • Mostly dead is slightly alive
  • Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
  • When there's too much to explain, sum up.
  • Keep a thorough list of your assets handy
  • Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
  • When the job goes wrong, go back to the beginning
  • If you buy a miracle pill, for Pete's sake, wait the entire 15 minutes for full potency
  • There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world

Friday, October 9, 2015

Trip Report: Piney Creek


Saturday, September 19.  This was a challenging day of fishing.  Since I’ve already pontificated extensively on how Parkinson’s Disease, inflicted insight, and a little humility shaped this day of fishing, those aspects will be omitted.  This one’s about the fishing.  Also, this was Day 2 of the trip.  I've written elsewhere about Day 1.

Hay meadow adjacent to Piney Creek

But First, A Little Philosophy…

If you don’t care to read about or ponder the moral or ethical aspects of stream access, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.  Where I grew up in Wyoming, land ownership and access are sacred to most (except for oil, gas, and minerals companies.)  You just don’t walk onto someone else’s land, period.   There is no stream or river access without landowner permission.  If a waterway is big enough to float, the spirit of the law goes something like this:  The State owns the water, but the land on both sides and under the waterway are private property.  Ergo: you can float on the water because it is public property, but you cannot anchor, and you cannot wade without permission, perhaps unless your name is Thomas or Jesus.  Sorry, John, you may be the favorite among the “fishers of men,” but you’ll have to stay in the boat unless you want a citation from the Sheriff.  So I grew up fishing public waters.

When I moved to Montana in 1998, I discovered something both wonderful and disturbing:  Montana’s Stream Access Law.  From the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website:

“Under the Montana Stream Access Law, the public may use rivers and streams for recreational purposes up to the ordinary high-water mark.”

So, in spirit, if you can legally access part of a waterway, you can wade it, float it, and anchor in it for its entire length.  Very cool for anglers.  Not so cool for folks whose private property is now not-so-private.  While living in Montana, I enjoyed the former and pretty much ignored the latter.  But let it be said that I believe those who fail to treat other people’s land with the utmost respect, even though they have legal access rights, should face painful consequences.  “May he catch three doses of clap.”  They ruin it for the rest of us.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trip Report: It Wasn't That Cold Outside

As usual, I didn't respond well to the alarm on Saturday morning.  Ambition was still fast asleep at 5 AM, and didn't stir until 6 AM.  I puttered about the RV gathering my angling things, piling them near the door.  After brewing a tumbler of coffee for the road, I dumped my gear from the RV and hit the road at 7:20 AM.  Arrival at Trout Run Creek was sharply at 8 AM, a full hour behind schedule.  Looks like some of the 13 Habits of Unaccomplished Anglers are shining through.

Outside temperature when I limped into the kitchen area was 31 F.  Add a little sunshine at Trout Run Creek: 37 F.  I pulled on waders and a tech vest over my long sleeve PFG (gasp!) shirt, and decided that was sufficient in the absence of wind.  I never felt chilly the rest of the morning.

I've only fished Trout Run once before, and that was with the assistance of a guide. I had a basic prospecting strategy, hoping for some kind of hatch to develop.  No hatch.  The strategy was mildly successful.  I missed several solid strikes while fishing wet flies under an indicator, but had no takers under caddis, blue wing olive, or stimulator dry flies.  So, for me, the secret to feeling really good about fishing is simple: low expectations.  Missed strikes are still strikes, meaning that I had offered something attractive to the fish.  If I'd had more time, I have little doubt things would have improved.

I "caught" one fish, but it didn't count.  The little nine-inch brown trout fought hard.  In fact, I thought it was a much bigger fish from the feel of things, something in the 12"-14" range.  As I pulled it in, it appeared that I had foul-hooked the fish just behind the dorsal fin.  Fish in hand, I grabbed my hemostat to carefully pull the hook out of its meaty little back, but found the hook had not even punctured the skin.  The hook had looped over the line, and I'd managed to lasso the fish when I "set the hook."  Feels too much like dumb luck.  Noon arrived and I high-tailed it back to my family.  Beer, brats, and s'mores around the campfire concluded the day.

This was a bittersweet trip.  I got some angling time with some mild success, but it was also the final camping weekend for the year.  I'm hopeful that I still have more angling time before New Year's Eve, but not confident.  So, I have a feeling I'll write something soon, in a reflective perspective on my adventures and accomplishments for 2015.  But it's not over yet.  And I have a writer's To-Do list:
  • Finish part 2 of my trip report for the mid-September 2014 trip to Montana and Wyoming. (DONE!)
  • Conclude the "Opportunity Knocks Twice" series. 
  • Sage 5-Weight Rod "Shootout" - My family now owns 4 different Sage 5-weight rods (plus a second Sage Grace for my daughter and my wife.)  I've yet to take the time to try them all side by side.  When I do, I hope somebody finds some use in it.  If not, that's okay.  It's something I need to do anyway.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's Gonna Be Cold

I had hoped to be spending this weekend watching a Pink Floyd cover band, Wish We Were Floyd, just outside Denver.  Alas, twas not to be.  Instead, I'm staged for a morning of small water fishing in southeastern Minnesota.  We parked the fifth-wheel RV just after sunset, started a fire, and finally retreated into the heated space when the outside temp hit 42 degrees.  Fortunately, the propane tanks are fully charged.

The plan is to get up at 5 AM, leave the RV at 6 AM, and be on Trout Run Creek from 7 AM until Noon.  Forecast says it's likely to be under 40 degrees F for most of the morning.  If I can handle a morning of wind, rain, and snow on the Missouri River in April, this is a cake walk, right?  There were a couple of large caddis fluttering around the RV this evening.  Very dark specimens.

Tonight was officially "Eclectic Beer Night."  Coors, New Belgium 1554, and now finishing a Summit Oktoberfest.