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A great personality

The fishing is always better on another river
Casting to native westslope cutthroat trout on a river with great personality (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Several years back, my buddy Mark Taylor hosted a group of friends for a smallmouth trip out of Roanoke, Va. — we were all in town for the annual Outdoor Writers Association of America conference, and Mark worked hard to get a group of friends together to do some fishing before the conference began.

One year. One rod. One reel. One fly.

Fly rig monogamy, for 12 straight months
Photo: James Joiner

I’ve always been good at self-handicapping.

Sometimes it’s intentional, like when I head to a multi-day shoot (I’m a photographer and writer by trade) and only bring one camera and lens. Or, you know, when I decide I’m only going to fish with a single rod and reel for an entire year.

Yep. One rod. One reel. One year.

An observation on the rod market

It's been said that history repeats itself
Photo: Charlie Morgan

“There has been a decided tendency in recent years toward rods which are stiffer and faster in action than those of the past.

To a great extent this is a good thing, as the rods of twenty or thirty years ago were apt to be too slow and soft. But as frequently is the case, a movement away from one tendency has swung too far in the opposite direction. With the advent of the stiffer rod, lines necessarily have had to be increased in weight.”

Stay dry

Fishing on top during uncertain times
Photo: Chris Daniel

I’ll turn 60 later this summer and I’ve noticed a truth that seems to reveal itself over the course of a lifetime. It’s called “change.”

As the years have passed by, I’ve seen rivers reshape their banks, saplings turn into trees, and new houses spring up where I’ve never seen houses before. At the same time, my friends and family have grown older, my son has shot up like a weed, human technology has advanced, and my daily activities and routines have evolved. It’s just the way things are. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once pointed out, “the only constant in life is change.”

An empty nest

And just like that, he's gone
Photo: Chris Hunt

And just like that, he’s gone.

I remember when Cameron sprung himself onto the world on a brutally windy Idaho day in 2002 — he was sliced from his mom’s belly during a planned C-section delivery, and emerged with a surly attitude and full bladder. As the doctor held him up and showed him around, he peed on the scrubs of every surgical attendant at the operating table amid a round of laughter.