A bird in hand

Every decision in the turkey woods is a questionable one
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Faint streaks of pink already stretch over the mountains. I’d lingered over that second cup of coffee too long.

I shove shells into the shotgun and set off at a fast walk to my listening spot nearly half a mile away. Whip-poor-wills whistle a lonely farewell song to the night as the strengthening voices of diurnal birds fill the woods. I haven’t heard a crow yet, and that’s good news. In my experience, crows and turkeys usually clock in at the same time.

How to help fly shops and guides during the coronavirus pandemic

Fly shops and guides are the tangible heart of our sport, here's how to help them
TCO Fly Shop in State College, PA. All stocked up with flies and gear, but not customers (photo: George Costa).

With much of the country on lockdown, or preparing to go on lockdown, as part of an effort to stop the spread and rapidly intensifying growth of COVID-19 cases in the United States, small businesses are already feeling the sting of a contracting economy. Chances are, like me, you already know a handful of small business owners that are struggling to figure out how to keep workers paid or even employed, doing the math on whether to take on more debt (in the form of loans) during an economic downturn, or even those that have already made the decision to shutter their operations.

The Jameson whiskey distillery in Middleton, Ireland (photo: Meg Marks).

I love Irish whiskey. Perhaps it’s the Kearns lineage that bleeds through the mishmash of English Hunts and German Garretts and Mullers that forged the American mongrel I am today, but of all the whiskeys (or whiskies—more on that in a bit), I find Irish the most palatable.

Antique tackle collectors: Packrats and historians

Hobbyists with an obsessive taste for fly fishing treasures from the past are helping to preserve the craft and history of our sport
Exotic bird skins, materials, flies, rare books and reels from Paul Schmookler's private library (photo: Paul Shmookler).

Collectors of antique fly fishing tackle are a unique breed. Motivated by a passion for the sport and the excitement of the chase, they often search and compete for decades to acquire a single object of desire.

In doing so, they help preserve the craft and history of fly fishing history one rod, reel or fly at a time. Some have gained celebrity in the fly fishing community, reaching the status of elders in the tribe.

Going back to Casper

The things that pluck at our heartstrings often reach far beyond the river and into the community that surrounds it
Photo: Mike Sepelak

Time travel’s not all that hard if you follow your nose. Smells go straight to the emotional memory center of the brain, returning many to their mother’s kitchen by way of a whiff of freshly baked bread, to their father’s workshop by the dusty scent of fragrant woodwork, or to dreamy, long-forgotten vacations on the ozone fresh portent of incoming rain. Here, I ride the dark, luxuriant aroma of newly tanned cowhide back to the farm’s old tack room. My early childhood smelled like this. With luck, my Heaven will too.

It’ll smell like Lou Taubert’s.