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Clean it with your mouth

Adventures at the 2019 Cheeky Schoolie Tournament
Photo: James Joiner

I live on Cape Cod.

This means I have a higher than average chance of becoming an opiate addict, and it takes me way too long to drive anywhere in the summer. Also, I’m lucky enough to have world class fishing right out my front door. Putting aside the ‘Salt Life’ ‘Bloody Decks’ bro culture that comes with this, it’s amazing living somewhere where you need a rod in the car at all times in case you pass blitzing stripers while driving around.

An ode to the stocker

Do hatchery trout—with their snubbed noses, tattered fins and inferior genetics—still have a place?
A hatchery-reared rainbow trout (photo: Chad Shmukler).

It was a cold, rainy day in April in the southern suburbs of Denver. I looked out my bedroom window, anxiously hoping the spring squall would go away. I’ll never forget my mother coming downstairs with the bad news.

The missing mojo

You don't know what you're missing until it's gone
Photo: Chad Shmukler

That old saying, “You don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone” is so accurate it’s cruel. You really don’t yearn for the routine until the routine is all screwed up.

Earlier this winter, I finally dealt with some nagging back pain that was getting worse by the day. By the time I walked into the hospital for pre-op, I was dragging my left leg behind me.

Never leave fish to find fish

Does the old adage ring true?
A boat speeds across Laguna Madre in South Texas (photo: Thomas Cutrer).

I was crashed out cold in a surprisingly cozy bed, tucked into the corner of a sweet little shack on a Laguna Madre spoils island. We'd been chasing fish during an ill-timed brown tide, an algal breakout that tarnished the normally emerald green waters of the bay, but nothing really toxic. We'd seen some fish, but it wasn't lights out.

Numerology

Twelve is the luckiest number
Photo: Mike Sepelak

The twelfth time's the charm.

I know it's the twelfth because it wasn't the eleventh. No, it most certainly wasn't the eleventh.

I was trying to remember the right number. I thought, at first, that it's the third time that's the charm, but the third time I only hooked my first White Oak bowfin. It came unbuttoned in a decidedly uncharming tarpon-like cartwheel. So the third time's actually the tease, not the charm. It's the twelfth that's the charm. Yes, now I'm sure of it.

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