Chris Hunt's blog

Florida man

Heading south
Photo: Chris Hunt

Several years back, I had three vertebrae fused in my lower back, the “solution” to nagging sciatica that, when the surgeon reported to me, post-op, was caused by my S1 vertebrae cracking and slowly splitting.

“I bet you didn’t know you’ve been walking around with a broken back,” he said, noting the crack and split hadn’t shown up in the pre-surgery imaging. “Probably for a few years.”

The roadhouse

A good roadhouse is a gathering place for people from all walks of life
Photo: Chris Hunt

As I pulled into the parking lot of the little dive bar located on a lonely country road outside the idyllic community of Live Oak, Fla., I was suddenly transported back to my early teens, when one of the most illicit acts for which I was ever punished was sneaking out into the living room late one night and watching the movie “Porky’s” on HBO.

The saltwater curse

The first taste is free
Photo: Chad Shmukler

They say the first taste is free, right?

It doesn’t matter what it is. Could be that first bag of jalapeno potato chips or a spicy bowl of perfect Cajun gumbo. Or it could be something more insidious and life-wrecking. There’s always going to be somebody out there who will do whatever it takes to set that hook and send you down a lifelong spiral of hopeless addiction.

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.


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