Chris Hunt's blog

An angler ages

The choices we make when we're young pay dividends—both good and bad—as we age
Photo: Chad Shmukler


Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late
I've done a bit of smuggling, I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last
—Jimmy Buffett, A Pirate Looks at 40

In defense of pike

Pike don’t screw around, they punish flies
Photo: Chris Hunt

The bright yellow streamer — an oversized Slumpbuster sporting a stinger hook and an attitude fit for its quarry — pulsed perfectly through the tannin-stained water, just visible under the surface.

Fish that eat mice

Thoughts on fishing with mouse patterns, and why we don't use them more often
Photo: Chris Hunt

I’ve been thinking a lot about mice lately. And not just in the general vermin sense. Yes, it’s true that my girlfriend had one skitter across her foot on the stairs landing this week, which sent me to the garage to find traps and such. We’re now paying for an exterminator, mostly because it’s less hassle than trying to dig through the store room to find the tiny cracks and holes the shoulderless little rodents can squeeze through.

My heart's in the swamp

Is home where you hang your hat, or your heart?
Photo: Chris Hunt

When I was 11 years old, my father moved our family from suburban Denver to the Piney Woods region of East Texas. As much as I protested — the move would take us 17 hours, with one dinner break and a couple of rest-area pee stops, from the rest of our family — the move wasn’t all bad. As we pulled into the low country around the Sabine River late one night, my sinuses opened up and I realized something that I never knew I was missing.

Fishy resolutions

It's a new year, time to make a few resolutions, and endeavor to actually keep them
Photo: Chad Shmukler

It’s a new year, and I’m doing what I do just about every January. I’m already on the plan to try and dump the holiday weight, coupled with the “COVID weight,” which has been a persistent companion since we all locked down nearly two years ago. And yes, it really has been that long. But it’s more than that. This year, a lot has changed, and that means the resolutions will change, too.

On thin ice

Early ice is dangerous ice
Photo: Andy Rogers / cc2.0.

Many years ago, I worked as the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Salida, Colo. — it was the flagship publication for a modest “chain” of newspapers stretching north to Buena Vista and Leadville and northeast, over Trout Creek Pass to the little town of Fairplay. It was the week after Thanksgiving and a buddy of mine, Dale, was planning a holiday trip home to Iowa (or maybe Indiana or Ohio — some Midwestern stronghold), and he wanted to take some trout home to share with his family.

Lodge whiskey

Yes, it does taste better at the lodge
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Does it really taste that good? Or does it just taste that good because you’re drinking it at the fishing lodge? It might be one of those impossible-to-answer questions.

My girlfriend would have everyone believe that bacon fried on a griddle outside the camper in the middle of nowhere somehow tastes better than bacon fried up at home on the stovetop. Same for hashbrowns and sausage. And anything cooked in a Dutch oven, of course.

Going commando on the flats

When wading the flats for bonefish or permit, sometimes less is more
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I’ve always had bad feet. High arches. Hammer toes. Stone bruises. As a high-school basketball player, I had horrible ingrown toenails that hurt more than any sprained ankle or buckled knee. As an angler, my feet have always given me problems. Finding footwear to alleviate the issues with calluses, recurring heel and ball-of-the-feet pain and even a bout with plantar fasciitis has been a never-ending quest that continues to end in futility. I have crappy feet. Period.

The growing horde of new outdoor goers has longtime public lands users worried

Visitors continue to descend on national parks, forests, wildlife preserves and more in record numbers, often with negative results
A park ranger directs traffic at Yellowstone National Park's north entrance (photo: Jacob Frank / NPS).

If you need more evidence that Americans are escaping to the outdoors in droves, here it is: Over Memorial Day weekend, visitation numbers at Yellowstone National Park were up 50 percent from the same weekend in 2019. The only reason the National Park Service didn’t use 2020 data is because, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a limited number of the park’s entrances were open to visitors last year.

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