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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.

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!"

Two bottles

I don’t fish with people who waste the mountain air talking about work
Photo: Chad Shmukler

A few years ago, I got a job at a local exercise equipment company. Always on a quest to work off the occasional pint, I figured that I should avail myself of the on-site gym, starting on Day One. I was doing cardio and reading Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine when an older gentleman came up, introduced himself as Paul, and asked my name. After exchanging pleasantries, he allowed as my name sounded familiar and then nodding to the magazine asked if I wrote for it. I begrudgingly admitted that I had written an article, one on fishing in downtown Seattle.

Shut up and fish

Your guide is your guide for a reason
Antonio, a guide at Mexico's Palometa Club, hoists a client and guide-earned permit (photo: Chad Shmukler).

A decade or so ago, my buddy Kirk Deeter, now a colleague of mine at Trout Unlimited, flew north to Lake Athabasca for some serious late-summer pike fishing.

Deeter, in addition to being an author and the editor of TROUT Magazine, is also a fly-fishing guide, so it was interesting to watch him interact with the native Dene First Nations guides we fished with over the course of a week.

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