Tom Davis's blog

Brook trout trouper

Circling back to fly fishing
Joan plies the waters of Grouse Creek in search of brookies (photo: Tom Davis).

The sound of air being forcibly expelled from the human body, usually represented in print as oof or umph or something along those lines, is unmistakable. And when I heard it from the area close behind me where my wife, Joan, was picking her way towards the happily murmuring waters of Grouse Creek, I had a pretty good idea, before I turned around for visual confirmation, of what had happened.

One and done

My one-day career as a fishing guide
Photo: Kevin Jones / cc2.0

The novelist John Gardner posited that there are really only two stories: a man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. With all due respect to Gardner’s memory, however, I’d like to add a third: The telephone rings, and you answer it.

To a golden retriever

To them, she was as perfect as a dog could possibly be
Photo: G. Sawyer / cc 2.0.

As golden retrievers go she was utterly typical—even stereotypical. She lived in a middle-class suburban neighborhood: tree-lined streets, neatly clipped lawns, fenced backyards. She was a good-looking, athletic, robustly built dog, and while she wasn’t a hunter I have no doubt that given the right opportunities she would have made a splendid one. And I fancy that she gazed with something like longing at the flocks of mallards and Canada geese that frequently flew over, enroute to the nearby river.

A woodcock in the yard

Woodcock play by the rules, and we love them for it
Photo: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren / cc2.0.

Shortly after sunrise on a dank, damp, dreary first Saturday of April in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I looked out my kitchen window and saw a woodcock in our backyard. She—her size revealed her gender—was standing at the edge of a skiff of fresh snow, her pear-plump, needle-billed silhouette jumping out unmistakably from that white backdrop. I'd been on the phone with a friend who'd retired to St. Augustine, Florida, and I interrupted whatever we were chatting about to exclaim "Oh my god, there's a woodcock in the backyard!"


It’s a small world, and by probing the hinterlands we only make it smaller
Photo: ABC Television

As we stumble down the sporting road, we never know what hidden doors we may be opening, what unimagined connections and confluences our pursuits with rod and gun are making possible.

It’s a small world, as they say, and by probing the hinterlands we only make it smaller.

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