Loaded for gar and other toothy fish

A look at Scientific Angler's extensive lineup of bombproof wire leaders and materials
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain
Gar hold a special place in my angler’s heart. The connection stretches back to humid summer nights of catfishing with my dad on Arkansas River sandbars.

Cats were our target, but gar were frequent nibblers of our hooks stacked with minnows or slices of shad. Dad could always tell if it was a cat or a gar that had come-a-calling by watching the rod tip. Cats often stuck with ferocity—sharp bows in the rod that sometimes dislodged it from a forked driftwood prop and even sometimes drug the whole outfit into the churning river. 

In the rower's seat

Tips on captaining a drift boat
Photo: Kris Millgate
"You look like you got ran over by a truck," my son says.

"Mom's a rookie."

My husband is right. When it comes to rowing, I'm a rookie. The black grease smeared across the front of my orange fleece is evidence of that. I tried hooking our drift boat to my truck on my own. I'm not proud of my performance in the driveway. The dirty shirt is my now my scarlet letter and I have to wear it while I learn to row.

How to cook fish in the backcountry

Smoking trout in the wild with nothing but tin foil
Photo: Spencer Durrant
For someone who grew up in the Rockies, I wasn’t all that bright on my first few trips to the backcountry. One trip, in my mid-teens, had me all but convinced I’d give up backpacking for good.

I’d packed the necessary items—a tent, sleeping bag, extra clothes, and fishing tackle—but what I’d loaded up on was food. I hated every step of that hike because of its weight and the real irony here is that I didn’t even eat half of what I’d brought.

The booze cruise

I get called a fisherman, but I don't think that's fitting
Photo: Chris Hunt
The celebratory week in Los Cabos was drawing to an end—the obligatory sunset dinner cruise out to the region’s famous arch that divides the Sea of Cortez from the Pacific was about over, and the big party boat was heading back to the marina.