These are just a few of my favorite things I crave and they all share very similar, powerful effects: they're relaxing, stimulating and addictive. They awaken your senses and keep them alert. Being in the outdoors, the quiet away from people, the water lapping on the shore, the spiritual peace I find only out in nature where there is water and solitude is like the relaxation and contentment I feel when I'm enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee or enjoying the scent from a batch of chocolate chip cookies I just baked. For me, a good cup of coffee or piece of rich, dark chocolate involves being mindful, wherein you sip or eat slowly, focusing on all the flavors and scents within and the powerful, therapeutic effects they have on relaxing and also stimulating the senses. I take this same mindful approach of being aware with me on the water, focusing on all the sights and sounds that can calm and excite the senses simultaneously. No thoughts, fresh air, water, sunshine, nature just makes the mind and body mellow. Whether it be witnessing a vibrant multi-colored sunrise, hearing the harsh, croaking sounds from a Great Blue Heron when I've paddled a little too close for comfort, or the excitement when you catch a fish and think, "maybe I can find a bigger one!", it's just you and the water and the admiration for nature and the way things naturally work. It's a good thing that when it comes to fishing, I don't have to exercise control like I do with coffee or chocolate or I'd be in real trouble!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I don’t spend enough time reflecting on how far I’ve come over the years with my angling prowess. As I was straightening up this evening, I came across some old photos spanning my early teens to early twenties that always make me smile when I need a lift. The reel on top, rod guides pointing upwards skill was something I was proficient at in my early teens as illustrated in this grainy picture. While I will agree the upside-down backwards spinning reel is hard to beat, the fishing attire was just so wrong too. Sooner or later I guess I must’ve noticed how other people were fishing and corrected it though it was working for me at the time. It was simply my personal preference, like wearing my socks inside out which I’m still guilty of.
I owe my love of the outdoors to my parents who instilled it in me at a very young age. My mom with her old Shakespeare push button reel.
My first kayak that I was so excited to get when I moved to FL. I didn’t even care whether or not it was seaworthy. I was so excited this day to stand next to something so magnificient. It certainly covered a lot of miles in all the years I had it!
My first snook I ever caught on our old 17′ Scout Sportfisher. I was new to saltwater flats fishing here so it was a really, really big deal to me!!!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
They are a lift and a gift. They are small and easy. There are so many simple, meaningful moments in a life that are beautiful like sharing a laugh with someone you love or walking on the beach. When I witness an anglers excitement catching their first fish on a fly rod or watching their faces light up when they experience that initial tug on their line and see that underwater flash as the fish fights with all its might to get away from them, it's a feeling like no other. Watching another person catch a fish is even better than catching your own fish. The ear to ear grins say more than words capture. It's these simple kind of moments that bring me tranquility, happiness and gratification.
Monday, January 7, 2013
There's something to be said about taking part in something which I'm good at, familiar with and being in an atmosphere that makes me feel so content and excited everyday. I feel I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing and being who I'm meant to be. Finding my passion definitely changes everything. The places I get the opportunity to experience inspire me and I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing. The water is that place where my passions and my skills collide. It's essential for each of us to find our own 'element'- the things we love to do and what we're somewhat decent at.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
We just finished up the season of giving and now it's time to think about throwing out all your old stuff. At the start of a new year I regroup with all my tackle and that usually means out with the old and in with the new. It's usually difficult making that change and I always reflect back on all the wonderful memories I made using a specific fly or spinning reel combo . My first reel as a child 30 years ago was a Shakespeare cardinal closed face spinning reel which I caught my first salmon on in the Klamath River. I'll never forget how that fish peeled out most of my line and snapped my rod in half. It's funny how I caught as many fish and had just as much fun using a cheap dime store set up as I do now using expensive gear. Some of my fondest memories of growing up were made with that rod as it almost always never left my sight. This past year has been good to me in my personal life and on the water and I sit back and reflect with a smile on my face how I went from a $10 spinning combo to finishing up the year using gear I never dreamed I could afford. There's something to be said about that old jankity reel I had for most of my childhood.As much as I enjoy getting new gadgety tackle every year, I'll never come close to making those same memories as the ones I made with that old clunker that barely held enough line to bring in a bluegill:)
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Fishing can be extremely addictive. When I'm not out on the water, I'm thinking about it. In the past three days out on the flats, I must've seen over a hundred redfish. There's something to be said about seeing a redfish waking on a flat or waving it's tail out of the water in mere inches of water on a calm, quiet morning. Your hands start shaking, your heartbeat becomes erratic, and all you can think about at that moment is how blessed you are having experienced such a wonderous act of nature. The solitude and peace you feel at that moment on the flats pursuing these beautiful sightfishing targets is unforgettable and it's a feeling I take home with me every time I go.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
One of the neat things about fishing in South Florida's freshwater lakes and canals if you never know what type of fish you might catch. Anglers who target largemouth bass can be pleasantly surprised when they catch peacock bass which are native to South America. Those who target panfish like bluegill often catch oscars and Mayan Cichlids, which provide great sport because of their hard fight. I spend a majority of my time on the water targeting inshore saltwater species like snook, tarpon and redfish so it's nice to change things up on occasion and pursue exotic species found in the brackish canal systems of the Everglades backcountry ; an environment that is so different from the flats but definitely worth checking out!