A Tip For Individuals Involved With Nonprofit Organizations

Lets say, hypothetically, that you belong to a nonprofit organization. Maybe it’s a group that wants to raise money to help kids avoid the dangers that come from listening to gangster rap or an organization that wants to make sure that a specific species of animal is properly protected within a specific environment. Lets go with the last one. We’ll say they want to protect, oh I don’t know… maybe trout. And specifically this hypothetical organization wants to protect these trout and their habitat on a particular river. We’ll call this river the “Baluda River” and the organization “Trout Limitless”.

So say you belong to the Baluda Chapter of Trout Limitless and there’s an event that includes fishing and BBQ for members and guests of members to help boost involvement. You, as a member, come rolling up to the parking spot for this event in your white jeep looking like the illicit love child of John Gierach and Count Dooku (from the Star Wars prequels) and wearing your stupid fucking “look at me and how old school fly fisherman I am” hat and see two individuals you don’t recognize. Do you:

A. Give these two the third degree about who the hell they are, what they’re doing there and once those two things are established start making fun of ones waders and speaking to the other as if he is completely ignorant of all things fly fishing causing both of these individuals to feel so unwelcomed that they just leave. Or do you:

B: Politely introduce yourself, ask in a nonchalant way if they’re here for the event and make friendly small talk about fishing, the weather and other non confrontational subjects.

Well, if you belong to a nonprofit organization that relies on donations and volunteers to get things accomplished the correct answer is B.

If you chose A, you’re a dick.

Just saying…

Crowds and Loathing on the Chattooga River

That’s a nice looking brown isn’t it?

Yep, a real nice looking fish…

I had to lift that pic from google images.

The fish I caught this past weekend might have averaged eight inches.

Maybe.

And there were only two of them.

They were wild fish though. Rainbows to be exact. And I caught them on top with dry flies, so that was pretty cool, but they weren’t the big browns I was looking for.

I have many, many theories why I didn’t catch a big hook jawed slab of speckled brown and yellow, but I believe the main cause (other than the fact that I might not know what the hell I’m actually doing) was the massive amount of people on the river this weekend.

I tried to out walk them. I really did.

I went way down the river to fish, past the crowds tossing their Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, only find bank sitters soaking night crawlers in all the deep dark holes where my fish were most likely laying in wait for a big nasty streamer to come stripping by.

I hiked way up river where all the fish are wild and only the most hardcore anglers venture. A lot more people than I thought are hardcore I guess, because if someone wasn’t already stationed in a good-looking pool, there were footprints making it clear that any stretch of water I was interested in fishing was recently used.

I fished at sunrise. I fished till sunset. I was surrounded by people at both times.

Aside from the fishing, there was the camping, which was one drum circle away from being the noisiest camping experience of my life.

I’m beginning to wonder if I somehow wronged a gypsy at some point in my past…

The Terrible Too’s

The weather’s been too hot.

People have been too sick.

There’s been too little money.

Too little time to fish.

Too little time to tie flies.

Too little time to prepare for the upcoming hunting season(s).

There’s been too many dirty diapers.

Too much fighting and screaming. (From the children. My wife and I get along splendidly, thank you very much.)

Too many cuts, scrapes and bruises.

And way, way too little sleep.

Here’s hoping for a future with too many caught fish to count, too much money to spend, too much meat for the freezer and children too happy and optimistic for their own good. (Hey, a man can dream can’t he?)

DuBose Heyward Was Full of Sh**

DuBose Heyward penned the lyrics to George Gershwin’s famous song “Summer Time” from Porgy and Bess. He was a liar.

So far my children have made the livin’ in this particular summer less than easy.

The fish seem to only be jumping for other people, including my buddy who I’m teaching to fly fish but who completely schooled me when we went out for smallmouth last Sunday. To make myself feel better I’m saying it was home river advantage. And I picked his flies…

The cotton in the local fields is only ankle high at the moment.

I, the daddy, am not rich, though I do think the mamma’s good looking.

And the baby… There ain’t no hushin’, just the cry.

If it Wasn’t For Bad Luck…

I’ve been avoiding posting anything lately due to the old “if you don’t have anything good to say…” adage, but I remembered that I gave myself the moniker The Agitated Angler, not the Happy Fun-time Always Say Something Positive Angler. So this post is going to be nothing but a married, over-weight, middle class, white American male, in his mid-thirties, bitching about how bad his life sucks.

If you don’t read past this point I won’t blame you. Being somewhat of a liberal I realize the ridiculousness of someone like myself complaining about his lot in life when there’s the horrible plight of the who ever, where ever. But you know what? Fuck it. If I can’t bitch to strangers over the internet, who can I bitch to?

If you’ve managed to read this far without rolling your eyes, clicking off my site and looking for something useful to read, you may be asking yourself, “Agitated, why do you seem so agitated?” Well, like most things in my life it revolves around fishing and family. Or more specifically the lack of fishing and maybe too much contact with family.

It wasn’t all that long ago that in my life that I was the guy who had a line in the water at least two days a week. I didn’t need to look at a tide chart to tell you when grass would be flooded or when the mud flats would be dry, I knew the spots, and I could tell you what species a fish was just by the way it fought.

Now? Well, now I’m lucky to go fishing once a month. Hell, I haven’t caught a decent fish since June. And it’s not for my lack of trying.

See, I keep planing fishing trips, but things just keep happening.

The latest was (not)fishing the mystery river I wrote about here. I was told there was a river within walking distance of the cabin my friends and I were staying at for my buddy’s bachelor party. The “river” was little more than a glorified ditch and it was posted.

Okay, no big deal, I had a really good time anyway and found out that trout fishing could be had within a couple of hours of my home. So when I returned from said trip I made plans to head back up that way later in the week all by my lonesome and actually get some fishing done. My wife was totally cool with that. Her sister was down from New York to help with the kids and new baby, so a fishing day would be no problem. I tied up some more flies (because you never have enough flies), made sure I still had all my gear in order and my sister-in-law gets sick.

Terribly sick. Hacking, snotty nose, running a fever, stay the hell away from my two-week old baby kind of sick.

And that was the death of that fishing trip.

Remember, this was just the latest fishing trip that never happened. I won’t get into the long list of failed missions but let’s just say there have been a lot.

Then there’s the fishing related activities that I haven’t been able to do. I was planning on joining a fly fishing club but the birth of my newest addition has kept me from going to the meetings and a complicated set of problems involving the IRS is keeping me from going to a fly fishing show this weekend in Raleigh, NC.

I know that things could be much, much worse in my life but damn it, I want to go fishing. No, I need to go fishing. It has become a necessity for my sanity and for the safety of my family that I go out and try to catch some fish soon. I count myself lucky that I’m not at the point that this whole post isn’t me repeatedly writing “All children and no fishing makes a very agitated angler”.

Oh, and the very worst part? The thing that’s really killing me? If I have the shack nasties this bad in up-state South Carolina, my dreams of living in Alaska are dead.

Experience Needed

I need to go fly fishing. Seriously, I need to wet a line, sling some string, throw some tight loops, what ever your preferred colloquialism is, I need to go do it.

It’s been getting bad. I’ve been snappy with my family (my wife would say snappy-er). I’ve been twitchy. I occasionally find myself watching our pet beta in an unwholesome way. Even most of my dreams have been about fly fishing lately.

Some are wonderful dreams featuring tropical islands, thrashing tarpon and clear blue water. Most though are nightmares of Lovecraftian proportions. In the last one, I went to fish a fast, clear mountain stream that morphed into a muddy pond as I watched. I remember thinking in this dream that I could still salvage the trip, all I had to do was find my streamer box. I rummaged through the cyclopean depths of my bottomless pack for what seemed like aeons until I pulled out a tattered and broken foam fly box that had one unraveled, black woolly bugger in it…

Now, I won’t claim that I woke in a cold sweat, screaming over this nightmare, but it sure as hell wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

The worst part of all this is that I can cure my affliction with a simple formula: me + fly rod + water = a much less agitated Agitated Angler. But, and there’s always a but, this formula won’t work without time + $$$$$, nether of which I have in great abundance at this particular moment.

There is some relief in the foreseeable future for my ailment though. My buddy who wants me to teach him to fly fish is coming over this weekend so at least I’ll get in some casting practice.

I also get to go to Charleston, SC at the end of February for a wedding. The redfish will be schooling on the flats and I get the mornings to work on catching some of them.

Not to mention that I found someone who wants to float the upper Broad river with me, which is one of the few bodies of water here in South Carolina with a population of smallmouth bass.

And in May I should be heading up to Wisconsin, where my wife will attend WisCon, “the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world”, and I will spend time floating, drifting and swinging flies throughout the driftless region.

So, with these planed trips and the spur of the moment trips that I know I’ll make to local ponds to hit the spring spawn(s), I should be able to shake off this nasty case of what-ever-you-want-to-call-it and get on with my life. Unless the waiting kills me first.