Sunday, August 19, 2018

For The Fish, or For The Angler

Who do you tie for?

Listen to this episode of  This American Life about some Ocean's Eleven level heist of  fly tying feathers!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cancer Sucks

I have been working on this Top Ten Albums of 2016 post since December, but that took a back burner.  Within the past month I have lost two fishing buddies to cancer. January 20, my Uncle Paul was taken, then February 4, my good friend David.

Paul was always at the cottage we rented annually.  The man loved his Old Style beer, and his cigarettes. He was an avid fisherman, usually outfishing all of us while so tipsy, his boat would just be blowing in circles out in the lake. He was a character like none other. I never met anyone that was anything like Uncle Paul, truly one of a kind.  He'd always find something to criticize me about, whether it was some "fancy beer" I was drinking (you know, like Fat Tire) or that I was using fly fishing gear, or just that I was wearing all black.  One time, he tried to get a rise out of me by asking if I was wearing black underwear too.  I revealed to him that I was in fact wearing black underwear! Laughs all around!  There was a time I caught a massive rock bass off the dock on fly gear.  Uncle Paul said, "you caught it on that?" like he was in disbelief that fish could actually be caught on fly gear.  I think the photos below are from 2013
Uncle Paul, my brother Kyle, and Aunt Lolly

Nice bass, Uncle Paul

David lived right up the street from Hubbard Park.  Hubbard park is one of my favorite places in the world.  A beautiful park on the often overlooked Milwaukee River.  I fish there often, and any time I'd be fishing there over the past couple years I'd send Dave a message.  He'd usually come down and we'd hang out for hours.  Dave was not a fisherman, but we spent a lot of time together while I was fishing.  The fishing would take a back seat, becoming an afterthought when Dave was around.  I think I only caught one fish in his presence.  I'd often have one, or both my kids. Olive wrapped up in a Moby Wrap on my chest, while Cleo ran free and terrorized geese.  He loved my kids and was great with them.  He was one of those people that I had an instant connection with. We listened to the same kind of obscure music, watched the same kind of movies and TV shows, enjoyed an occasional shot of whiskey. I had some great times with him and his wife at Cards Against Humanity parties or bonfires, or at their house where we'd talk until the sun started to rise.  Life got in the way over the course of the last year, I never even knew he was sick.  I moved out of town and found myself spending less time with those I was closest to.  It's easy to think that your friends will always be there.  It was just last Thursday we learned the cancer in his brain was not treatable. he left us two days later.

Don't take those who are special to you for granted.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


 It's been over a year since I have written a post. I'm sorry to my few regular followers for my long absence, it has been such a busy year.
I live in West Bend now, which is about 30 miles north of Milwaukee, and haven't found quite as much time to fish as I'd have liked, but the Milwaukee River flows through town and offers plenty of opportunity.

 I have a new little girl, she's just over a year old, I will call her Olive.  She's been fishing with me since she was less than a month old.  Her and Cleo get along so well most of the time and Cleo has been such a good big sister.  I love these girls so much!

I also met a girl that I have been dating since April.  I helped her catch her first fish this summer, and I hope to catch many more with her.  She currently lives in Michigan, which makes things hard, but Michigan isn't that far. We had many great times over the summer. I call her Panda.

I have been wanting to post more for quite some time now, and hopefully I'll be able to find more time to update in the near future.  I'm going to post some of my favorite pictures from the end of 2015 to the present.  Thanks for following!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fishing Is Temporarily On Hold

Last Sunday, I experienced one of the scariest things in my life.  I did something stupid, something I've done dozens of times before.  I ventured into an alley after dark, by myself to look for firewood for a backyard bonfire I was attending at a friend's house.  I had just turned around to begin to head back when I saw three kids behind me all wearing black sweatshirts with their faces covered with bandanas.  It was one of the warmest weekends all summer in Milwaukee, not sweatshirt weather.  I knew I was in trouble-and about three seconds later, one of the kids pulled a gun from his waistband.  I tried to run, but I was tripped, or shoved, or I just tripped over my own feet, still not sure.  What I am sure of is that I quickly had three kids surrounding me and pounding my face in and taking everything I had on me, which wasn't a lot.  They took my wallet and my keys, and beat me until I told them where my car was parked, then they let me go.  I think the police picked the kids up before my friend even had a chance to call 911 because they had robbed someone right before me. 

how i looked after getting mugged

I had been pistol whipped above the right eye, kicked in the face while I was on my knees, and punched and kicked many times. 

Somewhere in the attack, my right wrist sustained an injury, my casting wrist.  I can hardly turn a doorknob, or start my car (I got my keys back right away).  I have been just waiting for it to get better on its own, but it's been slow to heal.  I think I may need to seek medical attention before I try to cast a fly or play out a salmon.  I've been told I'm having PTSD too, some sleepless nights for sure.  I thought I was going to die in that alley.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mid Week Milwaukee Area Day Trip

A couple weeks back, I took a day long fishing trip, visiting two streams in three different towns, stopping for sustenance and spirits in each town.  I got up early and I needed caffeine, so my first stop was a local one.  I stopped at the almost legendary Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee's eclectic Riverwest Neighborhood.  They have great cafe food, better coffee and several local bottled beers to offer.  I really enjoy the El Gato Mexican Mocha, and when I really need a boost, the Kevorkian Crush.

Fuel Cafe Milwaukee
Fuel Cafe
From Fuel Cafe, I got on I-43 north and drove up into Sheboygan County to fish the Onion River.  I got a little lost when my phone lost connection and the GPS failed.  For this reason, it's always a good idea to have a map and understand how to use it.  Most of the good fishing destinations are probably far from a cell tower.  I found an alternative route without having to backtrack ten miles to the county road I missed.

wisconsin country road
Sheboygan County Country Road
The Onion River doesn't have a lot of access points, but they're well marked as public fishing waters when you find them.  The particular spot I went in is very close to a maple syrup producing facility with plenty of chickens running free.

I am always shocked at how cold this tiny little stream is.  I don't regularly wear waders in the summer months, and the Onion made me question that decision.  With my 5wt in hand, I stepped into the frigid spring fed water, working my way up to the next overpass. 


 I have not had a good day on the Onion, but I know they're in there.  I saw one really nice sized brown trout come out from under an undercut bank to investigate a dead drifted Bugger .  He came so close to taking it, then disappeared back under the bank and refused to budge.  My only fish on the Onion was the tiny creek chub below.  It beats getting skunked, but not by much.

 After leaving the stream and walking back to my car, I drove into Sheboygan for a light lunch.  The first place that caught my eye was Black Pig.

Black Pig had reasonably priced food and an interesting beer selection.  I was more interested in a drink than food.  I had two beers and an order of White Truffle Oil and Black Pepper Bacon fries.
 I had a Dubbel by Une Année, and a Rübæus Raspberry ale by Founders.  The Dubbel was good, the Raspberry ale was remarkable.

After some lunch and rest, I hit the road for Cedarburg.  There is a roadside park at an overpass of the Milwaukee River called Garrison's Glen.  I guess it's technically in the town of Mequon, but these are small details.  Garrison's Glen is no well kept secret, and I have never had the river to myself at this location.  Spinning gear with bobbers and worms, fly gear, centerpin guys, all in vehicles ranging from massive Ford F-350s to tiny Volkswagen Beetles all crammed into a parking lot that is meant to hold about six normal sized cars.  Be respectful and have fun out there.
I always go upstream at the overpass, casting streamers toward the submerged boulders.  There are some nice bass in  here, but they see a lot of angling pressure.  I only landed one fish, the smallmouth pictured below.  Not the largest fish, but these little smallies really put up a fight!  This scrapper gave my 8wt a great workout!

 I probably walked close to half of a mile against the current of the powerful Milwaukee before heading back down to the overpass and driving into downtown Cedarburg.  My first stop was Morton's Wisconsinn.

  Morton's is a strange place.  There were families with children there, Fox News was on in the corner, the bar was full of anti government propaganda and corny little knick knacks covering every square inch of space on the walls and ceiling.  The only beer they had on tap that I had never had was Bud Light.  When in Rome...
I was actually sitting next to the owner at the bar. A kind man, whose name i don't recall.  We talked fishing and beer, he gave me a shot of Jägermeister
Remember the bar fight scene from Terminator 2?  The whole place reminded me of that scene.  Just as I decided to get out of there before the T-800 burst through the front door and asked me for my clothes, my boots, and my motorcycle; The Dwight Yoakam song "Guitars, Cadillacs" came on.  I swear I can't make this up!  I got out of there right away!

I walked a few blocks to Maxwell's.  Maxwell's had a better beer selection, and seemed to be a local favorite.  I took the only open spot at the end of the bar and ordered a New Belgium Skinny Dip.  I only planned on one, and just as I was about to leave, I heard mention of their $1.00 taco Wednesday special! I ordered a beef and a chicken taco and a Rebel Kent The First by 3 Sheeps. The beef taco is the way to go, but for a dollar you can't really go wrong.

I originally planned on driving back to Milwaukee to fish the river in town and hit up some night life spots, but it was dark and I was exhausted before I made it into town.  Really, there is so much to do in Milwaukee, and so many overlooked fishing spots, I'll have to do an entire blog post on what to do in Milwaukee for a day.  But if you want to hit three spots in one day, the Milwaukee river provides great summer smallmouth fishing within the city limits from the Capital Drive overpass down to the North Avenue dam with many access points and very light pressure.  There are other species too.  I've caught carp, all sorts of panfish, northern pike, and even an occasional walleye.  In the fall, the anadromous species will start to run, with chinook showing up in good numbers starting in October and mighty steelhead showing up in good numbers (from my experience) in April and May.