Tim Schulz's blog

A tale of two Tims

There's no feud like a family feud
Photo: Tim Schulz

Having appropriated the title from Charles Dickens, it’s only natural to poach the story’s moral from Abraham Lincoln, Jesus, and George Costanza: A Tim divided cannot stand. This story, you see, is a tale of internal conflict, for which Confucius is said to have said, “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior”—precisely the nifty sort of circular logic that made the old bearded hypothesizer a household name.

Don't be afraid of the dark

I should avoid being alone in the dark. But I can’t—I’m a dry-fly fisherman in Michigan.
Photo: Alyse Backus / cc2.0.

In my younger days, the old people didn’t fear the dark, or at least that’s what they said. “Don’t be afraid of the dark,” they’d tell me as if it was something I could just do. Washing my hands before eating, putting my dirty clothes in the hamper, lifting the toilet seat, closing the toilet seat, and saying “thank you” when someone did something nice were things I could just do. Being unafraid of the dark was not.

Everything in between

Is it the reason you're out there?
Photo: Chad Shmukler

There is magic in between. The cadence of the cast, the poetic loop of the line, the soft landing of the leader, and the anxious anticipation of that one thing you think you can’t live without but always do. The sunlight bleeding through the trees, the aspen leaves telling jokes about the pines, and the white-throated sparrow singing the song that always makes you want to cry. The rotten smell of mud, the sour taste of wind, the warm embrace of the river, and the weight of another fool’s monkey—another fool’s circus—lifting from your shoulders.


If you can fake it, you've got it made
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Those of us who relentlessly pursue large trout with a dry fly are hopeless addicts. If we weren't, we'd take up easy chores like curing cancer, ending world poverty, or explaining how long forever is. The essence of our addiction is not complicated—when we see a good trout rising, we don't simply want to catch it. We believe that we have to catch it.

It's about time

Father Time is a heartless scoundrel who steals with impunity, and we carelessly neglect to lock our doors
Photo: Mark Coleman

In the time it takes our planet to complete an orbit around its sun, my friend Mike Sepelak goes fishing at least fifty-two times. More often if possible, but he’s set the bar at an average of once a week. I met Mike through his writing on a blog called Mike’s Gone Fishin’ Again, and, with a title like that, my only surprise about the frequency of his fishing was that he didn’t fish more.

How to catch the biggest brook trout of your life, again

Another recipe for record-breaking success
Photo: Tim Schulz

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

—George Santayana

The first time I caught the biggest brook trout of my life, I was so excited I wrote a how-to essay called “How to Catch the Biggest Brook Trout of Your Life.” Although I thought I did the fishing world a much-needed service, the reactions to my accomplishment and advice were tepid:

That's the biggest brook trout you've ever caught? You have got to be kidding me.

How to catch the biggest brook trout of your life

A foolproof recipe for success
An unnamed stream on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (photo: Jim Sorbie / cc2.0).

I don't usually write how-to essays. My way of doing something might not be the best for everyone, so I worry about feeling bad when someone points out a better way. The other day, though, I caught the biggest brook trout of my life. That made me feel good. Really good. And now that I've had some time to think about how it happened, I believe I know something so important I have to share it.

Growing older, not up

We all have to grow older, but we don't have to like it
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Much of the fun of getting to know a new fishing buddy is the slow and pleasant process of asking questions about their life and answering questions about yours.

“Where'd you grow up?”

“What do you do for a living?”

“If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

That's the routine Tom Hazelton and I worked through during our first trip together when he asked a question I didn't expect.

“Are you retired?”

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