Boat Trailer “Fun”

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Boat trailers! When you have something made of metal, wire and rubber, and you continuously dip it in and out of salt water, the effect on all things mechanical, electrical and structural should be expected. Compound that with lack of use over the last few months due to work, coaching and book stuff, and well…you are spending the crab and salmon opener skinning knuckles and muttering four-letter words.

But it’s not too bad, really. Mostly what my buddy Sweeney would refer to as “deferred maintenance.” Couple of tires, a few trips to town, some hub maintenance and a little electrical issue. A few more choice words. Some small victories.

Once I have the trailer squared away, I can move on to making sure the boat itself works… All in all, I’d rather be fishing.


Hidden In Plain Sight

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All these years, I’ve been jogging, walking, biking and driving up and down the same road that leads to our house. And other than looking for ripe berries, potential chanterelle spots and the occasional windfall tree, the roadside foliage usually passes in a green blur of underbrush and tree trunks. Mostly salmonberry, thimble berry, salal and ferns.

The other day, as I was suffering through my couple-times-a-week jog, something caught my eye. Something a little out of place, a kind of frilly bud or something hanging from what I suddenly realized was a hazel tree. I looked closer. Hazel nuts! Green, but definitely hazel nuts.

Then I thought I should look for more, and realized, somehow in my subconscious, I knew exactly where every hazel tree along the road was. My brain had been recording the information, but I didn’t know to even access it. Once I started following that stored information, I realized the hazels were everywhere. Probably 10 or 15% of the roadside shrubbery was made up of hazels. And they all have nuts growing on them. Not a lot, just a few per tree, but if the squirrels don’t get ’em all first, I’m going to attempt a harvest in late summer or early fall. Amazing how easy it is to miss things purely because it hasn’t occurred to you to look for them.


Tastes Like Chicken

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Something’s fishy in West Seattle: Freelance conservation advocate and webmeister, Paul Moinester; The Flyfish Journal Editor and occasional Santa impersonator, Steve Duda; and Patagonia rep and Wild Steelhead Coalition boardie, Brian Bennett digging  in and grubbin’ down. Just part of the crowd at an impromptu, pre-Writers-On-The-Fly feast at West Seattle’s famed Ma’Ono. Did I mention the fried chicken? Or the Spam musubi? Or the saimin noodles? Holy smokes.

Any visit to Emerald Water Anglers should include a meal at Ma’Ono. Hey, McCoy…how ’bout a package deal: Buy a rod, get fried chicken free? Sales through the roof. Aloha!


Where Have All The Cherries Gone?

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Here we are, just a few days before our delicious, sweet Rainier cherries are ripe enough for human consumption…and this happens. I spotted the little furry bandit after he’d cleaned out an entire tree except for one last bunch hanging just out of reach. Every time he reached for it, the branch he was standing on would start bending and threatening to break; the little guy was clearly in a quandary.

Weston came out and we tried scaring the “rat-coon” away by yelling and making threatening gestures. He glanced at us over his shoulder, rolled his eyes in disdain, and continued trying to solve the puzzle of good eats on a branch too thin. I threw some driveway gravel at him, and again, the look of disdain.

Weston brought out the slingshot. He loaded it with a little rock and fired. Miss, low. No reaction from Mr. Furball. Another shot. Miss, high. Still no reaction. Finally, Weston reared back and let fly right in the middle and the rock found furry forehead. THWACK! Ol’ Fuzzy leaped up in surprise and landed farther out on the branch, which promptly swayed downward, cracking. He shot us a dirty look and let go, and as he dropped through the air, he reached out, snagged the last bunch of cherries, and hit the ground on three legs. He paused there, looking right at us, then stuffed the cherries in his mouth and sauntered into the woods. Have a nice day!


A Father’s Day Wish

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What do I want for Father’s Day? Many things, really. But I will try to keep it simple. I would like my children to find a passion for something the way fishing consumed me and shaped my life. I would like to have the patience and time my own parents gave me in support of whatever those passions might be. But mostly, I wish for my kids to grow up in a world that’s at least as good as the one I had, if not better.

Yeah, that’s a big one. It would take some serious change. It would mean learning something from the Mt. Polley Mine catastrophe, the Kulluk running aground, BP’s gulf oil disaster. It would mean saying no to Pebble Mine, the Enbridge Pipeline, fracking, old-growth logging, genetically modified crops and open-water salmon farms. It would mean citizens forcing politicians to offer something more than lip service to stop global warming. It would mean tearing down useless dams and hatcheries that destroy wild fish populations. It would mean altering our way of life to reduce toxic runoff and suburban sprawl. All of this would require a sea change in how each of us thinks about our lives.

Is it too much to ask? On a personal level, it would mean learning and thinking about everything I use, buy or consume. It would mean committing time, money and energy–and fighting tooth and nail–to protect the natural world. The change would have to start with me. Am I wishing for a miracle? Perhaps. But the tide is turning. I can feel it. And I believe this is more than just wishful thinking for one, simple reason: I know I’m not alone in these wishes. So here’s to a world for our kids as good as the one we grew up in, if not better. Happy Father’s Day.


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