Mike Sepelak's blog


Finding a way back
Photo: Mike Sepelak

He slips quietly into the water and gazes upstream. His shoulders slump with a grave weariness that resonates in the wispy mist that clings to the water's surface, the numbing hush of distant whitewater, the dark edges of this secluded sanctuary. It’s been hard times.

A train of loose cabooses

But for the vegetation, you’d swear you were in the Bahamas
Photo: Mike Sepelak

We drift quietly to the lee side, set the anchors, and slip over the aluminum gunnels into the cool turquoise water. Crystal clear. Rocky bottom. Surface slick as glass. Smallie haunts. But being a day short of the smallmouth season opener, we wade instead to shore and dive into the dense, hardy cover that keeps this thin spit of island from blowing away in the Lake Michigan winds.

The elephant

No one will look at the elephant. No one will speak of it.
Photo: Mike Sepelak

No one will look at the elephant. No one will speak of it though it sits just outside the front window of the Dalwhinnie, all gray and dank and dour, staring in at us as we gather for breakfast. Heads down in our eggs, our coffee, our phones, we try to ignore it, knowing full well that every man around the table knows that it’s out there and that knowledge is killing us.

Unpacking is where it's at

Some folks love the anticipation of packing for a fishing trip, I like unpacking better
Photo: Mike Sepelak

It’s a common sentiment, written about with great regularity, that the packing for a trip is often as exciting as the trip itself. The suspense, the planning, the first steps into what one eagerly anticipates being a glorious adventure. The rod selection, the preparation of flies, the compilation of outerwear, footwear, underwear, and where the hell’s that bug spray. It’s heady stuff, anticipating the trip as one counts down the days to departure, but I have a confession to make. I like the unpacking better.


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.

Photo: Justin Hamblin.

Editor's note: Our Mike Sepelak has made an annual tradition of sharing on his always entertaining and well-read blog, Mike's Gone Fishin', his home waters version of Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, which Mike calls as "awful as Grandma's fruitcake and Uncle John's reindeer tie." This year, Mike's has offered to pass on his holiday habit of "squeez[ing] in a holiday post without having to actually work for it" to us, and we're inclined to accept, awfulness and all.

'Twas the day before Christmas and down on the Haw
Not a fish was arisin', the weather was raw.
The water was frigid and brisk was the air,
Too chilly for fishin', but I didn’t care.

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