Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rock People: Volume deux.1

Today we meet two more of the rock people, possibly more of an anomaly than religious rockhoppers, but unbeknownst to all of you (until now) I have accepted them into the community.  Besides, we can't be supremely exclusive grinches of the granite, now can we?  For aren't we all accepted as one in the baptismal waters of the breaking waves?  Do we not all delight in the resplendent beauty of the jetty-rock snot though our tailbones shatter, knees blow out, and ankles wrench outward, inward and in between with reckless abandon?
Just me?  Oh well...
No, this isn't the runner.

The Jetty Runner:
Ever vigilant at my post; meerkat sentinel-style; I see everything and the same time...

*skiff-skiff-TICK-scuff-tictic-scuffscuff*..*.repeat*...Heavy breathing.....*repeat*...altogether now...

I'm a half mile out in the Gulf of Mexico...
Half of me is thinking, "I'm either about to hear some one scream 'HEY! GET OFF THE JETTY!', 'SHARKNADOOOO!!!,' or I am being attacked by a cyborg.

I whip around, and luckily, neither one of those things happened, but I was still pretty taken aback by the sight I saw.

This guy was full on jetty skiing.  Two hiking poles and some sweet looking cross trainers, this cat was pulling off an easy 9 minute mile across granite chasms lined with razor sharp barnacles on salt and slime covered boulders.  I had no other choice than to be thoroughly impressed.  I didn't ask the guy's name, or why he did it, or what gave him the idea or even take a picture.  I just kinda sat there, statuesquely indifferent, putting off a vibe of, "Just waiting for something to happen."  And off little tik-tik ran, just like on the roughest terrain in south Texas. I might have to try it someday.

By the way, Don't Google search "Jetty Runner"

"" Yep. That about sums it up
One Love
It's 06:30 and, despite having forgotten to notify State Park officials that I would need access before regular hours, I have successfully rendezvoused with my Creel Survey Cohort and am at the base of a discreet jetty-fishing location.  Readying for the day's punishment with a healthy dose of powdered sugar doughnuts, I notice headlights almost a half mile down the beach.  The vehicle remains parked for approximately 5 minutes, then proceeds to back up and jet back down the beach access road.
As if from nowhere in the dawn's early light, the apparition of the cousin of the nephew of Peter Tosh.  Forgive me, but I rarely encounter true Jahmaican nationals. "Ellooo Mahn."
"How's it going?"
"Heveryting is goood braddah. What kine na fish can dem keep heer mahn?"
So I give this guy the run-down of trout, reds, whiting, the occasional pompano, hardheads, the usual; give him a regulation card...
"HAHA, mahn, dis heer means notting to me. I doon't know what dey are"
" Oh yeah, hold on." I says, and hand him one of the precious few Pocket ID guides I have left.
"Ahlright! One loave braddah!"

So this guy takes off down the jetty, finds a suitable rock, and sits down to admire the view, and I assume my post on the most comfortable rock I can find.  Oh yeah, we forgot chairs that day.
Next thing I know, Roots, Rock, Reggae  is up doing Tai Chi!
I've seen more out of place things in my life, but this was up there. Upon further inspection, however, I notice that the guy is handlining.  A wad of monofilament, a weight, a hook  and a piece of shrimp. For 6 hours, I watched this guy pull in fish after fish, while the rod holder rangers caught nada in comparison. Artfully conducting the symphonic battle of centripetal and centrifugal force, our handliner releases the line, allowing centrifugal force a flying victory.  It was really an artform in its simplicity.
Again, I wish I had a picture. Some things are better left imagined, no?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rock People: Volume deux

Now that you have had ample time to study the first batch of rock people, I shall introduce you to some of my favorite jetty junkies.  Seeing as our jetties are currently growing that snot-slick algae we so love, what with these 100 foot swells coming in from Tropical Low Pressure Disturbance Area 93.

Photo credit G**gle Image nab
The Tarpon Watchers:
Now here's a fairly unique lot. One hundred random jetty fisherman were randomly surveyed at random, and randomly asked, "What kinda fish are you after?" what did they respond?  "Redfish", 'SHOW ME REDFISH! '  (DING!) 32.  SHOW ME TROUT! (DING!) 12.  SHOW ME 'Whatever bites!'  (DING!), I know what you might be thinking, 'That's it, that's one hundred and nobody said Tarpon.'  Well, you are wrong, and I know so because you had to go back and double check the numbers.  And even if you didn't the first time, you did just now.  You see, the tarpon watcher is much akin to the Barnacles we talked about earlier.  He sits there on a rock, not casting, not baiting a hook, just sits there staring out at the water, at nothing and everything all at once.  And in all fairness, I guess he's not really just a tarpon watcher, rather he's on the lookout for any mighty pelagic that might show itself within range of that fairy wand this guy insists on carrying around.  Oh yeah, that's right, this guy fly fishes. On the old Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario Brothers 3, there was a highly sought after gem called the Tanooki Suit.
  The tarpon watcher has down and B pressed at all times, a statue, unnoticed.  Then, all of a sudden, some bait gets sprayed, or that overgrown threadfin shad rolls close enough to the jetty to warrant a cast, and this statue now becomes something just as goofy looking as a squatty, bearded Italian plumber wearing a raccoon-dog costume.  But, it can fly...
Photo Credit:Austin Orr of

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rock People

Last weekend I was forced to sit out on the jetties against my will. No, really, those torturous fiends at work put me out on the jetties to do harvest surveys (i.e. watching other people fish) which is cruel and sadistic and should never be done again.  I can only watch so much of a bad movie, and watching folks continually get hung in the rocks, getting whipped by a fish, and other such acts of debauchery is equally as cruel.  I guess, though, one could compare it to Mystery Science Theater 3000, what with the constant heckling and all.  That's right.  If you should ever see me watching you fish on a jetty when I can't, you bet your sweet buns I am criticizing every move you make.  I can't help it.  Oh believe me, I want to come out there and help you, but I am relegated to my post for fear that one angler might give me the slip and leave without me questioning the ever loving crap out of them, then putting my dirty mitts all over their precious fish.  So I resort to heckling for sport.  I'm bored, it's hot, so you understand.
So I'm sitting there, just waiting on some poor fool to make a run for his truck and get his gear put away before I tackle him into the sand and say, "On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being the least and 10 being the most, how satisfied were you with today's trip!?!!" to which he answers "A ten up until you fractured my rib cage, you psycho!" And I gets to thinking about all the characters you encounter whilst on the jetties, or anywhere for that matter.  But for the purpose of not deviating from the more important things in life, we'll stick to fishing the jetties.  So come take a walk with me, down the rocks, through the spray, across the snot-slick algae and try not to get eaten by the jetty rats that are lurking in the cracks, and let's meet some of the Rock People:

The Crusties:  We'll start with these old farts that have been here as long as the jetty rocks themselves.  Why, when they were your age, there were no limits.  You could catch a trout on a rusty pop bottle cap and a piece of whip coral on a cane pole.  They remember back when every rock was placed on that Jetty.  Hell, they helped build it.  They had their own limits, and never kept a redfish that was under 18 inches, even though back then, they were all as long as your leg.  From years of watching it happen, they can tell you right when the brownies will migrate, and the hoppers (pink shrimp for all you who haven't met this guy) are so thick you can snag 'em by the dozens on a crappie hook.  I personally love to talk to these guys, because even though you might know the answer to everything they are gonna say, they have a different way of telling it all.  Some of them have even been there long enough that if you look real close, they have barnacles growing on them. Which brings me to my next subject....

The Barnacles: Sometimes you wonder if they are even still alive.  On the jetty for 14 straight hours in gale force winds, lightning and waterspouts, these guys hardly seem to move at all except to occasionally pull up their lemon rigs and put on another shrimp.  They know the spots, and they know exactly where that 32 inch red lives, because they have caught him in that same exact spot... just to the left of that jagged, the one to the left of that one...about five feet further out than that one that has black flecks in it that kinda look like the face of Don Knotts if you're sitting in the right spot, which you aren't because he is....every day of the last full moon in September for the last 5 years.  As you can imagine the Barnacles are very closely related to the Crusties.  They just aren't quite as old or likely to be as talkative.
The Barnacles might well have evolved from our next subject, one of my least favorite of the Rock People....

The Bird Dogs:  You ever walk out on the jetty and just see a spot where the current is hitting a rock formation just right, creating a nice little eddy and just sit down and start pulling in fish left and right?  This is when the Bird Dog takes notice of you.  The first fish is okay.  The second fish, now, that is a cause for investigation.  So the Bird Dog shifts ever so slightly closer.  It really depends on the Bird Dog's temperament how quickly he jumps in there and flushes you out.  A good Bird Dog will creep up closer and closer until he's almost on top of you, in that magic spot that you just so happen to be sitting before flushing you out when you get up to grab something out of your tackle box.  There are some that lack such finesse and will spot you from 100 yards away, pick up all their gear, making a dead sprint right at you to plop their gear right in with yours, sit on your lap and ask you what they're biting on.  It's times like these that you just gotta break out the newspaper and swat the ever loving piss out of them and holler "BAD DOG!  NO!"  Or, as I like to do, send a lead-eyed clouser whistling about 90 miles per hour right by their head.

The Sorrys: Sorrys and Bird Dogs are very often one and the same, given their love for being in close proximity to any action that happens to be taking place.  One Bird Dog gets a little too close and instantly becomes a Sorry Bird Dog.  The Sorrys that keep a respectable distance are the ones that probably should have paid attention in casting class.  He winds up, he rears back, and he hurls that 4 ounce spider weight!....45 degrees to the left of where that cast should have gone, right across your line, causing a godawful tangled mess!   "Sorry, gosh, I'm so sorry! Boy it's sure windy out here." he says over the 1 foot swells and through the howling winds that are probably topping the charts somewheres around 5mph. And if you think that's bad, wait til one of the Sorrys hooks a fish.  Up the jetty he goes, over lines and under lines, breaking rod tips, kicking over bait buckets, and otherwise causing all kinds of minor catastrophes.  But wait, now that red is making a run back to the beach.  And here comes the Sorry making his way back down to break those rods that he forgot to on the way up. As my dear friend, Lieutenant Shiddy Britches would say, "There's nothin' more worthless than a Sorry Bird Dog."
Except for our next subject...what I like to call, the Indaboxes.

Stay tuned for the next Shiddy installment of Rock People.

Oh yeah, and if any of you ever come across this guy....I've got no name for this type of  Rock Person yet...

Stay Shiddy my friends.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Here kitty kitty kitty kitty OW!! F*&#!!!

Who is the dumbass that first decided to go noodling?  And who's the other dumbass that decided to call it noodling?

Before I dive too deep into this rambling, I would like to be serious for a moment and congratulate my little brother on graduating high school.  Pretty sure everybody figured Pops would have strangled ya by now.  Hell, escaping that is a feat in and of itself.  But I am damn proud of ya.

So now all 3 of you folks that are gonna read this know why I headed up to Nacogdoches the first weekend of this month.  Not like it's any of your business anyway.  Ya nosy busy bodies.  Go on, GIT!
Where was I?..Oh yeah.  So Shaunita and I loaded the mutts into the little Honda Egg, and blasted off north to the town of my birth.  Aside from a flame engulfed tractor trailer, a hotel bonfire gone wrong, and an invisible major accident all in H-town (I'm pretty sure that H stands for "Howthehellcananyonestandtoliveinthisgodforsakenwadofbuildings,crappystreets,andhoardesofpeople") the trip was an overall breeze.

The family is all good, thanks for asking. Everybody is getting on in years, the little cousins are getting big, the older folks are getting wrinkles, you know the routine.

So on to the real story, the one you (yeah, the one person that will read this) came to see.

"Let's go noodlin'" says the once little, but now towering brohemoth.  So, I thinks about it for a, do I really want to go out there and wallow around sticking my hand in random holes I can't see into.  Insert crude joke here. :)  But what I really needed was to spend time with the bro.  Just a good, quality bonding experience, as our last few visits had gone a little too quickly and time was spent at opposing leisurely activities, myself being in bed just as the young 'un was rising.  So, we load up and head on out to the lake.  I must remind you that it has been years since I last noodled and this was likely prior to the development of completely rational fears, such as checking the bite strength of a snapping turtle, playing footsies with a gator's mouth, or getting my nipple bitten off by a beaver.  I mean, could you imagine going through life with one nipple?  So the young 'uns are in the water, splashing around, going under, and coming back up empty handed.  Things aren't looking so good until Blake hollers "fish!" and comes up with a respectable little blue cat.  On the stringer that one goes, not before I managed to lose my grip on it and slice my palm with it's pectoral spine.  ALL of the freakin' gafftops, hardheads, and other manner of toothy, spiny, and otherwise razor sharp fish I handle every day, and  I get sliced by a spine...AMATEUR!!!!!!!

Finally I can't take it any more.  Nipples be damned, I gotta get in that water.  Within minutes, I become the catfish radar.  I can feel their presence before I even touch 'em.  Sometimes you get to where you find a hole, and you can just feel that it's right (Minds out of that gutter perverts). Belly crawling over the rocks, I'm finding fish left and right, but they continue to elude me, escaping from one of the 2-5jillion exits.
 Meanwhile, I  think Blake had found about 2 or 3 and strung them up, when finally I get my chance.  I reach off into a hole, and I can feel that cooler water, then a slight movement.  "A WHISKER, I FEEL A WHISKER!!"
So as I am gently caressing this mystery fish, telling her everything is gonna be okay, I call in the reinforcements.  "YOU! Block that back hole!  You!  Cover the sides!  This kitty's not getting away!"  I take my time and gently maneuver my hand around, trying to locate her mouth.  A belly, a rib cage, a whisker....there she is...CHOMP!!!!!!!!  I'm not sure what I expected.  Everything was going fine. I stick my hand in the hole, feel the fish, fish swims away.  No biggie.  Now, I've got one vised down on my fingertips and for some odd reason, she ain't happy. Betwixt the tears and the snot bubbles, I managed to inform my noodling SWAT team that I was ready for extraction.

 Like any pro fisherman, I had her lipped perfectly.  There was only one problem.  When I put my hand in the hole, it fit.  Now that I was trying to take it out, the hole had gotten too small.  Simple solution, I just get my crew to remove a few rocks, and out comes fishy.  Rock option #1 was slightly too large to extricate.  Rock option #2 then sent rock option #1 settling into place, thus making a too small hole even smaller.  The good news is, my head was above water, so I had full capability of letting loose every curse I could think of to express the excruciating pain that was exuding from my now crushed metacarpals and phalanges. The OTHER good news is, I still had a death grip on my prize whose bubbles of laughter were popping in my face.  One, Two, Three, and open comes the hole just enough to bring the cat up. And as soon as she saw daylight, all five pounds of her set to writhing, and my pro bass grip was rendered useless.  Up she came and down through my bear hugging arms she went.....I was heartbroken.  Defeated.  Awash with shame and agony. "It's alright, you'll get another one" wasn't going to replace what I had lost. The day was ruined.

But later came redemption.  Meanwhile, we continued to prowl around the rocks, each one of us in turn yelling the top secret code word "FISH" upon the discovery of a holey inhabitant.  Blake was pulling them out left and right. 
 The boy's got talent, and a reckless confidence that just makes you feel like you're not doing your part.  My next fish was much like the first. A cool confident search for all exits, blocking them in turn and feeling for a mouth.  Well, I found it.  Should have called that one Bam Bam, because she had a vise grip on my thumb and was not letting go, rather chomping repeatedly as if to chew it off.  At one point I wasn't even holding her, just pulled her out with my thumb firmly clamped in her jaws.  It was kinda like a sick version of a chinese finger trap.  The one thing I can say is that since I gently maneuvered her out, she didn't have a mark on her.   Blake's fish looked like they had been run through a meat grinder.  

It's getting later on in the day, so we start working our way back, covering all of the holes that we might have skipped before.  Suddenly, I come upon one that just has that feel.  A nice concealed entrance that goes back a little way before opening into a large cavern.  I reach in, waving my fingers around further and further into the cooler water, feeling for the slightest sign of a BAM!!!! OW S#&$!!!!   My right ring finger had been cleanly bitten off at the first knuckle!  I had found a snapping turtle, pissed it off, and it ate my finger with the ferocity of a cornered tasmanian devil!  My gawd, what am I gonna do without a right ring finger!?
Well, I pulled my hand out and there was the finger, minus a little bit of skin, but Christ almighty, that little fish hit it like she wanted to take it right off.  I didn't catch the fish, thus claiming the redemption that I truly wanted, but I was reminded of exactly how stupid this whole noodling thing was.

On to the next hole.

Then I hear our cousin Chase holler "FISH, OMYGAWD ITS A BIGGUN!" as no other Okie could slur it. Blake and I fiercely dog paddle to the scene and secure the perimeter.  I follow chase's hand down and feel around for other exits, find one and stick my arm in it, whereupon I feel the fish right away. Her body was as big around as my leg!  Alright!  I make quick action to press her up against the side of the hole so she can't escape, while both the other two boys are feeling around for a mouth.  Chase finds it, and she clamps down. I can feel the tremor of the bite, but oddly enough, when he pulls her out, my fish doesn't move...."THERE'S TWO!! THERE'S TWO!!!!!!"  Blake is promptly back in the hole and extracts another 10 pound flathead.
It was around this moment that I got that warm fuzzy feeling of the comfort of knowing that quality bonding time was being well spent, and that even if I didn't see another fish, I know that I saw my little brother for the man that he was becoming, and I could not have been more proud.

I won't tell ya about the big one that got away, or the trophy photos at home.  I figure this is as good a place as any to end this ramble.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cobia de Mayo: That's not a Spadefish!

Alright, so everything you migh have read in Salt 396's blog...all lies, the filthy pirate.  Lemme tell you what really happened...
9 a.m. and no compadres to fish with.  They says "9 a.m. the train's leaving"  so after chucking the chickens a little bit of grain and violently throwing all my gear into the camper, I'm running red lights to get to the station on time. I even drag raced a B-line bus (totally beat that sucker off the line) just so I wouldn't miss out on this once in a lifetime trip.  Alright, so maybe we were just trying this setup out for future trips, but I damn sure wasn't gonna miss the maiden voyage of the SS Innertube. These boys come dragging in around 9:15 while I'm cramming down the last half of my chorizo and egg taco and washing her down with a little 99.9 FM the Tejano central, and I gave 'em the cussing of a lifetime.  When it's time to go, bigawd, it's time to go!  There's fish to be caught!
Maybe I was a little rough on them, youngsters as they be, but you promise me a shot at cobia, jacks, and sharks, and I am bound to get a little antsy.
Mine eyes then beholdeth our vessel for the day, and majestic she was.  So we go through the usual strains and struggles, getting everything loaded just right, clamping the motor down, unloading everything and reloading it again because it just didn't look right, eat lunch after repositioning all the gear a third time.  You get the picture.  And we're off like a herd of turtles, myself in the bow, The Bandit riding shotgun, and Salt on the stick. Now, we had some pretty calm conditions to work with, but I want you to imagine putting an outboard motor on an innertube and then hurtling out into deeper and deeper shark infested waters with a few sticks, a 12 inch long louisville slugger, and a couple of gopros to defend ourselves.  I'm sitting here thinking to myself, between frequent baptismal dousings, "I'd be better off hopping in the chum bucket and paddling out."
After a long night of restless sleep, we arrive at the first rig.
Salt did get one thing right.  You remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the herds of Brachiosaurs are bugling to one another.  Cross that with the AT-ATs from Star Wars, and that's the scene you get out at the rigs.  Each four legged monster calling to the other, and coupled with the waves, they do appear to be migrating together.
But enough of that sissy crap.  Here comes the action....Wait for it....Here it comes....Just a few more seconds.....any day now.....................................

Yeah, the initial wait.  we're diligently frothing the water with torn up Spot and Pinfish, and all we get in return are some ghostly silhouettes of spadefish.  Every new one that showed up was a jack at first.  Tensions were high.  And we waited.  And waited.  So I says, enough of this crap.  Time to drown some squid and get this party started.  As soon as that 2lb lead egg cratered the bottom, BOOM!  SNAPPAH!  Too small, so I throw 'er back.  SNAPPAH! Again, too small.  SNAPPAH! SNAPPAH SNAPPAH!

I swear to the almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, I think I recaught the same fish about 20 times. Woohoo! Lane Snapper!  Still a little undersized, but hey at least We're having fun.  "Hey look, a turtle" Says ol' Salt. "And those ain't brown trout circling that sucker...LINGLINGLINGLINGLING!"  I'm here to tell you, it sounded like a firehouse bell out there.  I'm screaming Ling  with the intensity of a 14 year old girl trying to win front row seats at a Justin Bieber concert, I'm pretty sure Bandit fell out of the boat at some point, and ol' Salty lays the biggest, gaudiest fly you've ever seen right in that ling's eyeball! Now, I will take credit for the flourescent pink and chartreuse monstrosity that might as well have been a Nudie Club Neon sign...hell, I think that fish might have responded a little better to the neon.  Snubbed.  Bigger than Dallas.  If that ling had fingers, I can guess which one might have been lifted for us.
To say we were devastated would be a gross underestimation.  I know we've got time, boys, hell I'm kinda dreading the putt back in, but that was a perfect shot.  A broadside on a whitetail at 15 yards, and we shot the damn feeder!
So we put that all behind us, unhung the 200lb lead pipe of a rig hook, sanded a few barnacles off the rig legs, and purred our way to the next rig.  Long story short, there wasn't a damn thing here.  A few bermuda chubs, a couple of spades, no snapper, no ling...Screw this, we're hopping to the next one.  Same old shit, different day.  After a brief powow and a couple quaffed shots of Campo Azul and chum juice for luck, we roll on back to rig numero uno.  We've got one fly drifting in the current, Bandit asleep in the bow, and we're wearing those mini snapper out.  I did manage to boat one keeper, so at least the trip wasn't a total loss.  "I'll have snapper, you boys can eat the chum,"  I says.  A few more shots, just to pass the time while watching the sunbathing pods of spadefish, when out of nowhere, a spinner rockets out of the water, just behind the boat.  I put down the squid rig and grab a fly rod.  It ain't a ling, but I'll take a shark.  Nada.  So I keep blindly casting up current, letting the fly sink as far as I possibly can, letting it drift down and under the boat, and slowly stripping it from the depths on the other side, when what should be behind that little E-Z braid squid, but a little 4ft blacktip!  I stop, she ignores it.  I strip and she swipes it.  "Oh, you b*&$#, eat that squid!"  A little closer to the SS Spare Tire, and it's adios charky!  Oh well, back to watching spadefish, chucking chum, and trying to disable the child saftey lock that is preventing me from downing the whole bottle of tequila.
What, ho?  What be this?  Doth mine eyes deceive me?  "Hey Salt...I don't think that there is a spadefish."  You gotta understand, at this point, I was so tired of crying wolf, that I was gonna wait until I could smell the difference between a spadefish and something else. Those slow slurred words might as well have been like yelling "FREE ICECREAM!" on a short bus.  We kept our cool, all standing up at once  and subsequently falling into the chum bucket, onto the gas tank, and I'm pretty sure Bandit fell into the water again. Lucky for ol' Salt, I had tied my special squid onto the broomstick/winch combo Bandit brought.  "Fish on" Unbeknownst to Bandit and myself, Salty had already laid out a beautiful cast to an equally beautiful ling, who, as is to be expected, inhaled that squid with reckless abandon.
Okay, here's what we gotta do boys.  Scurry and scramble to unhook from this rig and get as far away from those razor sharp barnacle encrusted legs as possible.  So we tied Salt's life jacket to the bow line (I figured if he lost this fish, he was of no use to us anyway), and drifted away.  And that's about the time he put the heat to her and she tried like hell to bury that broomstick of a fly rod in the gulf mud. After some grunts and groans and general cursing at the size of this little fishy, The Bandit decides it's time to piss her off a little bit. Now, I'm all for a little excitement, but for some reason, sticking this old girl with a gaff was like telling the old lady her feet stink and to get her ass back in the kitchen.  It seemed funny to tease her at the time, but man oh man did we nearly catch the frying pan upside the head.  That fish went ape shit and dove for the bottom, but not before wrapping the fly line around the gaff.  So here I am, holding Bandit by the ankles as he leans waaaaaaayy out over the side and frees up the gaff.  Round 2, and so far ol' Salt is in the lead, as he puts the winch in full gear.  Gaff attempt number two went swimmingly, with a left hook under the chin...(ha, get it?  left HOOK)  and we pull her along side to give her the old treatment.  When they're misbehavin', club 'em over the head. We did it, got her in the boat and took all the trophy photos we could, and went back to the rig for more.

Well, there was no more, and to avoid dragging this out any further, we decided to call it a day and putt our way back home.

That, boys and girls, is the real story.  No fluffy edges, just hardcore, in your face live action.
Hey, if I'ma lyin' I'ma dyin'.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Help Me! I'm trapped in a Chinese fortune cookie factory!

Is it strange that I have always wanted to find the title of this post written on a fortune cookie?

Oh yes, ramblings, adventures and whatnot...I digress.  The best I can figure, I have broken into the illustrious world of the politician.  Lots of peacocking and empty promises and generally keeping my faithful followers dangling at the end of my silver tongue.  Well, I got news for ya JACK! (and Boris and Natasha, my faithful Russian Readers!)  the wait is OVER!  From now on...a few weeks from now.... I will once again rise to that most glorious masthead of a bonafide blogger! (Now if you're not already there, take on a boisterous voice, kind of a cross between a black southern gospel preacher and Captain America...That's it!)
where was I going with this....
oh yeah.
I'm gonna try my best to post more. ( and now I bet you are laughing at yourself, because you did the whole voice thing)
Alright, so yeah, I've been behind.  After facing such utter disappointment with the last attempted post, I gave up.  I quit.

Morning came all too soon.  2 a.m. and I'm wide awake, staring that imaginary marauding bear down the throat!
"I'll just sleep on my tarp," I says.  "Sleep under the open starlit sky," I says.  It all sounded all well and good when I was half dead from like how there was absolutely NO transition? :)  well, sit down and keep reading!

So there I was.  10 foot grizzly snarling in my face, and I put my cigar butt out on the sumbitch's nose...I was literally on the verge of pissing my pants when I heard old Mainerd start snoring, and from then on anything so loud as a squirrel fart woke me up in a near panic.  The good news is, the snoring let me know I wasn't the only one who was beat to hell and back from a hard day of travel. One species down, two to go.  And then I began to find peace with it all, settled back into the dirt and accepted everything for what it was...good.
4 hours later, the sun's cracking, and so is the ice on my sleeping bag; if there was any moisture up there.  Place was like a powder box. But man, that warm oatmeal went down and sat like a champ, and I was ready for a new day.  We milled around camp for a bit, had some coffee, filled the water bottles, pulled our straps and strings as tight as we could get 'em  and pushed on.
The valley leading from the Little Kern to the Kern is magnificent.  It's not quite deep enough to be a valley,  more like a pass, but the 700-800 ft. high rock slides on the north side are a mighty sight.  When you hear loud cracks in this boulder field that slopes upwards at a 60 degree angle, and you are at the base weaving on the grass paths between house sized boulders, you start to wonder, "Will this boulder be big enough to hide behind?"  Perhaps it wasn't as wild feeling at the time, but I sure would have liked to witness one of those boulders careening down, from a distance of course.
So we get past the minefield, sloping steadily down, and we come upon a vast canyon.  All we could see, in any direction, was valley.  The Kern River valley, though not more that 1000-1500 feet deep , nor more than a few miles wide, offers spectacular views in a 360 degree panorama of pure wilderness.   One could easily see how the river shaped this valley.  Each spur rolled in upon the other in a flowing, swaying, dramatic dance from east to west elegantly weaving its way down behind the other.  Scattered conifers dotted the rocky slopes that were the least bit inviting for a tree to take hold.  It was a breathtaking view, made all the more awe inspiring by the fact that at the bottom lay a trout stream.  And in it, the 2nd third of my purpose on God's green earth that day.

Onward we marched into the valley, skirting our way down the ledges to the valley floor, all the while cursing the elevation we will have to regain on the return trip. It was a steady grade, probably no more than 20 degrees in grade for most of it, edging your way down and north along the wall for a mile or so.  You could see the giddy-up in Mainerd's step, as the faintest rushes of water started to disturb the dust on our ear hairs.  It's time to fish.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I had a glorious post ready for you, and somehow unintentionally highlighted the entire thing, typed the letter m thus deleting everything I had been writing for two days....and the bastard blogger saved a copy of the blank FUCK! is the word of the day.

But, no matter, here is something to make the day a little better.  From the Back Porch Sessions, here is Daniel Driver and Jeff Mac live with The Greatest Catsquirrel.