Down here where there isn’t a lot of fly fishing or fly fishers, you probably aren’t aware that we of that particular bent are often considered elitist snobs by those who cast bait and lure rods.

There’s probably some truth to that, up in the frigid north. Myself, I always tell people, “Fishing is fishing, it doesn’t matter how you do it.” Same thing about boats: “A boat is a boat, it doesn’t matter what it’s made of.”

But the dirty little secret I’ve been hiding for many years now is…it does matter to me, at least a little.

My friend Pete Cooper Jr. recently had a fine article published in Louisiana Life magazine entitled “Rednecks and Fly Fishing” in which he credits the introduction of a fly rod at a pool on a Texas Hill Country creek for saving him from redneckdom. Pete got me to thinking – as Pete very often does, that’s why I call him Jedi Master because he’s my fly fishing Obi-Wan Kenobi – about how I really feel about some things.

Someone once said – it might have been me, but I’m not so sure – that fly fishing is one part science, . . . → Read More: Elitist?

Old Dogs and Puppies

“Watch the old dog. She’ll sense a change far earlier than we do. She’ll raise her head from a nap as if she’s been called, when no one has called her. She’ll go out in the side yard and point herself north and raise her nose and half-close her eyes and stand there a full minute, reading the air, finding out things, things that are far away and won’t happen for days.” – Leon Hale, Home Spun.

The saddest thing in my life as a human being is that our dogs don’t share but a fraction of it with us.

Their lives are so incredibly brief, they remind me of an ember shot from a bonfire: Growing softly, flaming brilliantly and just as quickly gone. Those who do not love dogs can’t imagine the vacuum left behind. Certainly it’s not a fellow human kind of vacuum, but it is every bit as deep and empty.

It’s nature’s double-edged sword. To survive in nature, they must grow quickly, racing toward adulthood at breakneck speed to mature and fend for themselves. The price for this is that their time on this earth is unmercifully short. If we had never, as humanity, . . . → Read More: Old Dogs and Puppies


You may recall a year or so ago I admitted that I had fallen for the slick advertising and upgraded my cellular phone to one of those fancy-dancy, gosh-wow-did-you-see-that-Ma? touch screen phones.

It wasn’t an iPhone. It was a knockoff. But this bad boy had Internet and email capability, a full touch-pad keyboard and more bells and whistles than I could count or surely comprehend.

As a self-confessed Luddite and Walden-esque follower of Brother Thoreau, I admit a certain amount of shame on the acquisition. But time always reveals that leopards do not, in fact, change their spots: I have grown to hate it and everything connected with it.

First of all, I concede that texting is a remarkably useful thing. Most of all, texting is simply divine when you just want to send a quick note or question to someone without risk of getting into a lengthy conversation on a phone call.

“Hey, who did ‘China Grove’?”

“Doobies. How’s the fishing?”

You know what I mean. Also, my fingers are too clumsy, calloused and fat to use the touch screen keyboard and I often hit the letter next to the one I intend, so I use whatever’s handy . . . → Read More: Downgrading


There’s been an ever-present tightness in my chest, a slight nausea in my solar plexus for months now. I am anxious yet lethargic; apprehensive but careless.

Down and out, of course. Melancholy. Depressed. Call it what you want. Harry Middleton called it “the meat bucket blues.”

I feel…lost. A stranger in a strange land. I have been tossing and turning at night when I should be sleeping, waking exhausted as if I never set my head to pillow at all.

This isn’t the place I grew up in, became a man in. The changes that have overcome these lands and waters are staggering. Most of them have been about vanishing.

I look around me, and I scarcely recognize my surroundings. So much has changed. My beloved lake is drying up, silting in, and before I die it may be gone, replaced by willows and invasive species, perhaps a few shallow channels to cut across it in a boat. The basin is virtually vanished already. I have no quail fields to pursue autumn dawns. I have a handsome yellow Lab who’ll make three years old in December. I set out to make him a bird dog, but gave up the . . . → Read More: Lost


I talk to him when I’m lonesome like; and I’m sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. – W. Dayton Wedgefarth

It is in the highest esteem that our dogs hold us; we should be humbled and grateful at their kindness.

Bogie, our young yellow Labrador Retriever, is now just past two-and-a-half. He has become quite the gentleman on almost all counts – greeting visitors calmly and bolting after other animals being his only character flaws – and is a joy in my not-so-old age.

Bogie…and that’s Boh-gee, not Boo-gee, he was named after Humphrey Bogart, not Saturday Night Fever…is quite a handsome lad, too. Weighing in at about 65 pounds, he’s on the small side for a Lab, but of such muscular build and remarkable coloration most everyone who meets him remarks on his dashing good looks. They get a good inspection of this, because Bogie is normally leaping up to kiss them, and I am frantically yelling, Sit! . . . → Read More: Two-And-A-Half