lawnmower wildflowers
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Green menace

The futility and stupidity of the American lawn

Man versus nature is a common theme in America. The idea that Europeans whittled a civilization out of wilderness is one of the tired old narratives crammed full of erroneous assumptions and misinformation that has reinforced this idea. Even an education can’t turn back the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, message pumped into our brains from an early age that we are supposed to subdue nature; bend it to our will. And this is often motivated purely by ego. Lawns are the perfect example.

plastic marine debris
Plastic bottles and other marine debris wash up on beaches like this one (photo: NOAA).

Whiskey and steel

2 out of 3 fish test positive for plastic

We live in an imperfect world where the problems we face as anglers — what fly to use, where to fish, what rod to buy, how to fix leaky waders — are dwarfed by a whole litany of issues that impact not only our fly fishing but also our day-to-day lives. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our economy is held together with balling wire and duct tape. Free market fundamentalists and rapacious profiteers are trying to steal the public lands where we fish, hike, hunt and camp. Our oceans are filling with plastic, and growing ever more acidic.

A native Alaskan arctic grayling.
A native Alaskan arctic grayling (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Guilt

Killing natives

I’ll never forget the look on my buddy’s face that fateful September day on the South Fork of the Snake River several years back, when I unhooked the little hybrid that had sucked in a small nymph and, without ceremony, knocked it over the head and tossed into the willows. Had it been just a bit bigger, I might have pocketed it and brought it home for the frying pan.

largemouth bass on fly
Photo: Cameron Rhodes

Trans-Angler: Old habits

Trouble getting stuck

In the journey to refinement of my piscatorial pursuits, I’ve fundamentally changed everything I knew regarding, rods, reels, casting, lures, and giving life to lures. Casting was the first hurdle and, though there are still acres of room for improvement, laying a fly in the water is not the voodoo art I once thought it was. Even the dreaded Clousers are becoming more responsive. And I’ve started to experiment with different casts. Roll casts aren’t too tough as long as line is in the water, providing just the right amount of drag.

fishing rv
Photo: Chris Hunt

That guy

Because toilets and showers are all they're cracked up to be

We’ve all been there. It’s summer. We’re headed somewhere fishy and the sooner we get there, the sooner we can assemble the 4-weight and hit the water. We’ve squeezed a weekend’s worth of beer and grub into the back of the SUV, and we’re ready to stand knee-deep in a trout stream and wash away all that’s wrong with the world. We’re on some two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere, and the speed limit is merely a strong suggestion.

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