Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gone Fishing

It had been much too long since the last time I’d gone fishing. My spirits were as bedraggled as a soaked kitten’s.

The fact there was a bunch of cars parked at the bridge didn’t really faze me. I knew most of the guys would be fishing north of it - where most of the fish were. I was headed several hundred yards downstream, towards the lake. I’d druther fish where there weren’t many fish as long as I had some space to myself.

Only one guy was working “my” spot when I got there. I set up a respectful 50 or so yards away and proceeded to get my first professional overrun (“backlash” or “tangled line” for you fin-impaired folks) on my 2nd cast.

Five minutes of cursing and working out the tangles later, I made my 3rd cast, and this time there was no unravelling that mass of monofilament spaghetti. I cut the line, sat on the bank, dug out some new line and started refilling my reel. And promised never to use line more than six months old, ever again.

While I was in the midst of that little chore, the other guy packed up and started walking back towards the bridge. As he passed, I asked if he’d had any luck. He replied in the negative, saying it had been dead for the three hours he was there.

Fuelled by my usual mixture of faith and foolishness, I was undaunted. I moved to his vacated spot and began drifting a small worm under a float.

The sun was warm - though the wind found gaps in my clothes and reminded me it was very early spring. The worm wasn’t working so I switched to an artificial grub. Nothing doing there either. Time to use the tried-and-true roe bag.

An hour and a half meandered by without a sign of a fish. My shoulders and arm began to hurt - in that good, fishing-caused way. The water looked perfect - high and slightly dingy. There had to be a fish or two around. They couldn’t all have moved up to the off-limits spawning areas yet.

I was watching two gulls squabble over something when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my float slip under the surface. I belatedly, but not too belatedly, set the hook and was overjoyed to feel throbbing resistance. My 11 ½' rod (it’s not the size - it’s the tricks you can do with it) bent into that oh-so-lovely C-shape.

After a 2 or 3-minute spirited tussle, I eased a 4lb. steelhead to the bank.

Usually I like to release my first decent fish of the year but I was pretty sure it would be the only one I’d catch today. As I dispatched it, I mentally promised to release the next one, whenever it might come along.

It came along about an hour later. This time a 5-6 pounder, a fine male already sporting his spawning colours.

A fishless hour after that, I packed up and trudged back to my car. My hip waders had somehow gained 10 pounds each. My back had joined my shoulders and arm in the pain department.

And my spirit soared. I felt renewed - as happy as I’ve been in months.

Tomorrow I’m gonna do it again.

The above post was written for the layperson, the non-anglerphile. For those of you who consider fish slime to be a cologne and who feel naked without at least a couple of scales clinging to your clothes - read on....

I use two rods: a 9' light-action for bottom-fishing and for casting the occasional piece of hardware, and an 11 ½' noodle rod for drifting under a float. Water clarity was only about 16" so I decided not to bother with a lighter leader and just fished straight 8lb. with each outfit. (Trilene XL, by the way - still my favourite all-round line after all these years.)

The first fish hit a drifted roe bag, tied with white mesh, tipped with a bit of a teaser - a single Berkley Power Egg in fluorescent orange.

The second came during a lull in the current flow when I used the 9-footer to lob out a small, air-injected worm weighted only with a couple of BB shot about 14" above the hook.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

This is not a new entry

It's more like a promise of one to come. I'm going to get my line wet tomorrow for the first time in ages and will likely yak about that.

Be still your beating hearts!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Odds n' Ends

Canada has 2100 personnel in Afghanistan, most of them soldiers. The allied forces there are now headed by Canadian General Rick Hillier. Our troops’ role has been expanded to include hunting down Taliban insurgents. As a result, some of our people have been injured and killed recently.

Leader of the New Democrat Party Jack Layton thinks Parliament should debate whether or not we should be there at all. Some Liberals (the folks who sent our men and women there in the first place) agree. Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded by staging an ultra-secret visit to Afghanistan to visit with our troops. He slept on a cot in their encampment. He lined up with the soldiers to eat at the canteen. He told them how important the job they’re doing is and how proud he is of them.

Finally! A leader who does more than grin and mouth empty rhetoric while picking the taxpayer’s pocket.

“But we’re a nation of peacekeepers, not soldiers,” some hand-wringing left-libs cry.

Policemen are charged with keeping the peace too. That means more than helping little old ladies across the street, directing traffic and manning a radar gun. Sometimes it means protecting us from bad guys. Sometimes it means acting instead of reacting. Sometimes it means doing scary, dangerous work far from home.

I’ve done it before and sworn I wouldn’t again but I have. And will.

I’m reading the first book in a series and the next won’t be out ‘til godknowswhen. It’s Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch and it’s terrific. I only have about 50 pages to go and I’m trying to read them very, very s-l-o-w-l-y. My lips aren’t even tired.

Hurry up Tad! Get Shadowplay on the shelves tomorrow!

We just had an enjoyable, albeit brief, flirtation with Spring here in southern Ontario. For a couple of days we had sweater/light jacket weather. Today the temperature is hovering around freezing again and gale-force winds make it feel much colder.

It’s depressing. Like eyeing a pretty girl for a moment, wiping the crumbs off your shirt while rehearsing what you’ll say to her, then watching her climb into some rich dude’s sports car and drive away.

Late breaking news! The Trailer Park Boys are coming to a theatre near you! Watch the teaser and get a glimpse of the most intelligentest and more smarter tv show that probably could ever be! (Thanks to Adam on the AW board for the heads-up.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Opinin' on the Oscars

I sort of watched the Oscars last night for the first time since Dave ("Uma-Oprah") Letterman hosted. I was semi-interested this time in seeing how Jon Stewart would do in that role. I haven't been a regular Oscars watcher in over 20 years. Maybe 30. The production numbers annoyed me. The insincerity of the glitterati and their exaggerated sense of importance rankled. I also pretty much stopped going out to movies during that time, content to wait until they were released on video. Hence I often hadn't seen any nominated movies until well after the Oscars were presented.

What I tended to do over the last couple of decades was tune in to see the host's opening bits and then let my attention drift. Thinking back, Johnny Carson was pretty good. Steve Martin - ditto. Whoopi Goldberg - not so much. Billy Crystal was probably my favourite. Being part of the Hollywood crowd, he knew how and where to insert a playful needle.

I figured Stewart would be well-received by the audience in the theatre, being as they largely shared his left-leaning politics. His early jokes got a lukewarm response though. I got the impression the crowd was nervous. They seemed to come around when he delivered the Cheney-shot-Bjork joke.

If there was a production number this year I must have dozed off and missed it. I confess to picking up my newspaper now and again and I was on the phone for a while too. Ben Stiller's bit was funny. I liked how genuinely gobsmacked the large cast of Crash appeared when they learned it had won Best Picture. I guess Brokeback Mountain was considered the fave.

Despite the fact one woman in the crowd's breasts kept threatening to escape the confines of her dress as she bounced with delight when her movie won something, it was a ho-hum affair. Perhaps if they had managed to escape I'd feel differently.

Letterman's stint as host was largely panned by the critics. I have a hunch they won't be too kind to Stewart either. Both men have a cool, dry, cerebral wit that serves them well in a smaller, more intimate setting. A great Oscar host needs that wit but also needs to be part clown. And it would help if s/he knew, truly knew, the intimate workings of the movie business.

In other words - I vote to bring back Billy Crystal and tell him the job is his as long as he wants it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stephen Colbert

Do I write about the Man? Or the Legend?


They are as one.

Stephen Colbert is the host of The Colbert Report ("report" is pronounced "reh-pore" - as if en francais) seen Monday-Thursday on the Comedy Channel at 11:30 pm, EST, following Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

Stephen reports (pronounced "re-ports") on the day's events (primarily USA-based) from a hard right perspective.


But it doesn't take too-too much reading between the lines to see where his sympathies lie.

His, (or rather, his character's) ego is as big as all outdoors, vaguely reminiscent of Peter Seller's Inspector Clouseau. There's no indignity of his hero, George Bush's, that he, Colbert, can't rise above.

The show is wickedly funny. Kudos to the writers and kudos to Colbert for pulling it off in the first place, and sustaining it night after night.

And kudos to Son #1 for getting me to watch it in the first place.

Here's a link to a site devoted to Colbert. Watch some clips if you want a chuckle.