Tamp down those thoughts of Sugar Plum fairies and let’s get back to what really matters. The glass half full portion of the equation tells us that we can be mining some of our favorite runs in just under two weeks. Can I get an Amen? With that in mind I’ll take you back to a warmer, more comforting time. A time and place where tall weeds, and even taller egos rule the roost.

I sacrificed a good month of prime summer trout fishing with my Rocky Mountain distraction. It’s not that I wasn’t fishing locally, on the contrary I continued my saga at a reasonable clip. But strangely enough my heart just wasn’t in it. I put the lion’s share of my efforts into planning, tying and dreaming of high elevation elation. It pretty much derailed my grandiose plans of a  2013 Brook Trout exposéMy angling escapades usually have a very specific agenda, and rarely is about just catchin’ some fish. It is a case of collateral damage that I can no longer just casually wet a line. But that’s how far down the rabbit hole I am. Is hindsight always 20/20? Who the hell knows?  I selected a smattering of pics from late summer Brook Troutin’ to give you visual relief from your meager subzero existence.  

I continued to amass stream miles at a healthy pace in a fairly broad range of destinations. Generally I’m the most laid back of fellas, except when it comes to planning, departing and driving to a chosen locale. My mind is like a steel trap, emboldened by dawn of the information age. Online mapping and GPS capabilities have turned the whole thing into an episode of high school math class. A prime demonstration is exemplified in the photo above. There’s no finer way to rain on my angling parade than being stuck in traffic. Tempers rarely flare in my universe. I tend to operate with the restraint of a whippet peddler at a Dead Show. When unexpectedly being kept from a round of fishing, I do not shy away from dressing down humanity.

 


After promptly taking the youngsters for a round of troutin’ I felt ready to get back on the saddle. I ambitiously doubled down on my Shirley Temple micro streamer. If one is good, why isn’t two better? An articulated version clearly removes this thing from the micro category and squarely puts it into the mini, if not into the normalcy realm. I could go into blow by blow accounts of bringing fish to hand, but this is Brook Trout after all. I can say with great confidence that this pattern is a clear cut winner. Why should we let the Brook Trout Rapala have all the fun? The fish will attack this thing with reckless abandon. What do you suppose they think this thing is anyway? These little fish are either cannibals or perverts, you be the judge. I’ll admit that this streamer really isn’t any different than a Crappie jig, and I know that is a tough pill for some to swallow. Let’s face the facts folks, the difference between a Woolly Bugger and a Maribou Crappie jig tends to only be in the amount of love that is put into it’s creation.

 

 

Have I mentioned that I hate snakes? My mother was deathly afraid of snakes and somehow passed the gene on to me. The running joke was to pretend that you see a snake on any outdoors occasion. She’d scream and practically have a heart attack and we’d all get a good chuckle out of it. I partially blame Indiana Jones for my illogical fear, but my phobia never prevents me from bushwhacking with the best of them. Let’s just say that the best snake is of the harmless roadkill variety. If snakes are bad, a rubbery gas station breakfast bagel may be worse. You would think by my last few posts of McDonald’s, DQ and now shitty gas station food that I live off this stuff. The reality is that I don’t frequent fast food with any regularity unless I’m on the road, and even then it’s a simple case of priorities. If I’m alone on a trip I often eat as fast as possible, and it’s little more than a functional necessity. If the choice is to sit and eat, or fishing. I’ll take fishing everytime. There will be plenty of time for opening and closing one’s mouth as soon as the fishing is done.

 

 

 I hit one of the finest creek chub “hopper hatches” that I’ve ever encountered while searching for Brookies. Conventional wisdom might tell you that it’s a bad sign.  As I’ve stated in the past, my kids principal regularly reminds them “if it’s not hard, you’re not learning.” A rule that is useful in academics and angling. I’m fascinated by the habits and tendencies of my fishing brothers and sisters. Some people love to fish the same holes using the same methods over and over. I’ve got a buddy that is a fly fisherman, but 99.5% of his trips are dragging leeches on a Lindy Rig in deep water for Walleyes. Another guy I know chases giant Muskies non-stop, it’s what keeps him up at night. You regularly see locals pulling up to the same spot, repeatedly working the same turf waiting for their “lucky” day when the big one will arrive on the end of their line. Many people I encounter are obsessive about one specific microcosm of fishing. There’s often one definitive trigger that satisfies their lustful need. I enjoy hearing about and respecting everyone’s ailments. I listen with great empathy.
 
 

The percentage of trips that were duds this year was fairly high. My quest to search far and wide for new Brook Trout water often reduced my ability to catch fish. Searching doesn’t always equate to catching, but that’s okay in my book. Sometimes other diehard anglers don’t even understand my approach, as they are birds of another feather. I brought quality fish to hand, but no real trophies were had. The distance between success and failure can be shorter than you think. While I’m reluctant to give specifics, I got direct evidence that just I missed mark on finding some truly monster-sized fish on more than one occasion. That’s the kind of thing that keeps us coming back for more.

My Eastern Iowan homeboys from American Pickers regularly celebrate and extract goodness from those who choose to obsessively collect junk. A&E’s Hoarders on the other hand treats the collection of objects like a sickness. These people are one step away from  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Is it a simple case of one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, or is it something much deeper?

I often find myself discussing fishing with others who know nothing about the sport. It’s almost as if we are speaking in two different languages. They have no concept of what it’s all about, and sometimes I don’t feel compelled to let them in on my secret. After many fishless hours walking back to the car or returning on a road trip I question my faith in the pursuit. On which side of the disorder equation do I belong? At the end of the day it matters little, as I have no immediate plans to stop hoarding.