Over the weekend, my friend Ronald and I took an overnight kayak fishing trip down North Alabama’s Flint River. The water was high from heavy rains a few days earlier, and the fishing has been better. Still, the weather was nice, we caught a few fish, and it was great to be outside.
My best friend, growing up on Oaklane Drive in tiny Theodore, Alabama, was a guy named Joe. Among the other assorted exploits young men get into (shooting anything that moved with a 22, riding bikes everywhere, blowing up fireworks, etc.) Joe, my brother, and I used to regularly ‘camp out’ in his backyard. By camp out, I mean we’d stay up all night and run around the neighborhood, wreaking havoc and, occasionally, trying to work our way into the hearts of the young ladies living on our street.
Yes, I said hearts – not what you were thinking, you sick twisted freaks.
Anywho, on one notable evening Joe had decided we needed to ingratiate ourselves to the fairer sex, who happened to be having their own sleepover type fest at a house just down the street. I’d go into the various attempts he made that evening to get their attention and, eventually, get to their window, but suffice it to say while it initially seemed to be lost on our targets, it did seem to get everyone else in the neighborhood’s attention.
Lisa’s dad sure noticed.
Undeterred, we kept at it until, finally, in the wee hours of the morning, we were summoned to the window by quiet whispers and gestures. All that running, all the hiding, all the praying the shotgun really wasn’t loaded finally paid off.
Which brings me to my point – never give up. On women or fish. Continue reading Never Give Up
A black and white shot of a small Alabama stream I’ve been haunting for the last few weekends.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a trip to a small stream here in North Alabama. I had such a good time that I couldn’t wait to get back. So on my next Friday [...]
I’ve never been at my best in any sporting event when I’m being observed. For example, out on the golf course I may actually hit some nice balls every now and again. However, I can guarantee the two worst shots I’ll hit all round are at the tee box for #1 and #9, where I am in full view of everyone in the clubhouse.
Call it ‘performance anxiety,’ if you will.
I wish I could rocket a 300 yard drive right down the middle of the fairway, with everyone looking on and providing the golf clap in recognition of my athletic prowess. However, assuming I actually make contact with the ball – not always a certainty – I normally send it in a physics-bending slice directly into the woods 50 yards down the fairway. I have to attribute this to the fear of others watching me perform, as my play always seems to improve when I’m well away from the peering eyes of the masses.
What I’ve never really given any thought to, though, is how it would affect my fishing. Were someone to sit on the bank or in a boat nearby and study my technique, would it make me nervous? Would I freeze and whiff on the strike? And if so, how does one call for a mulligan in fishing?…
The Bass Pro guys seem to have no problem with it at all – they have crazed yahoos in boats all around them, cheering every hookset and strike like a fourth quarter TD – but I’ve never had anyone watching ME out on the water, eagerly anticipating my next move.
In some instances I could probably count this as a blessing – especially in regards to fly fishing. Sometimes the ineptness of casting, falling in the river, or missing obvious – and easy – strikes would cause embarrassment and shame. Sometimes, a little boredom creeps in when the fishing is slow (or non-existent) and an audience may bear witness to some extraordinary ‘What in the heck is he DOING?’ moments. And sometimes the angry little man syndrome raises its ugly head, with the ensuing cursing/rant/raging inferno of activity – while entertaining to the viewing audience, I’m sure – doing nothing to promote the aura of a man under complete control of all his faculties. Continue reading Fishing for an Audience