A reading of the people’s poet.
Some of the places I’ve been fishing vicariously, like the White River via Steve Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher Journal. Others, like Henry’s Fork and the Deschutes and the Fryingpan, have been rolling around in my head since my fly-fishing infancy. Still others, like the Farmington and the Neversink, are almost in my backyard. And then there are the few, like the Bow River and Lake Taneycomo, where I’ve actually fished.
So after going through all 50 carefully selected and thoroughly vetted destinations compiled by Terry and Wendy Gunn, I don’t think of 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish so much as a book as it is a call to action. What have I been waiting for and, now that I’ve been thumped in the chest by this book, how can I apply what’s been given? Because the collaborators in this book, like the aforementioned Dally or the legendary Joe Demalderis of the Delaware, have given us a lot.
Overall, 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish is an incredible reference for fly anglers, and also a reminder that fly fishing can take you just about anywhere you want to go, if you let it.
With all due respect to the famous “cowbell” skit, which incredibly mixes Christopher Walken, Blue Oyster Cult and banded bottom shirts, there is another VHL Storytellers parody involving Will Ferrell that’s even better:
And, as long as we’re going down this road, there’s another I’d put up there with any of them. As Mr. Tarkanian, the Angry Boss. (Note with appreciation the little dance he pulls off at 3:04.)
The website space.com has an article up detailing the lasting effects of the interstellar object, estimated between five and miles in diameter, that crashed into earth at the spot now known as the Chesapeake Bay Crater.
Without this epochal event, there is no Chesapeake Bay and no striped bass fishing as we know it today. Stuff to think about, walking the beach.
I work for a magazine that was once solely traditional print but now the paper mag is one part of it: The centerpiece of content delivery across many mediums.
I’ve collaborated on a hardcover photo essay book, contributed to the first two Pulp Fly ebooks and done some work for websites and paper pubs as well. Some of the paper ones are dead now but some of the websites are too¹.
Writers as a group tend to swing on a pendulum between inspired and despair, and also to complain a lot about the way things aren’t.²
But it’s not such a bad thing that there are a million ways to get words out there if you want to, whether things get sorted out the way you want them to go in this transition or not. As Stephen King says at 2:52 of this clip, “The future’s gonna be what the future’s gonna be.”
As for today, I’m going to look for inspiration from the past.
¹Most of that work is lost to the wind except for the ones I boxed up for posterity that my kids will throw out one day.
²My all-time favorite excerpt on writers and writing is this one from Charles Bukowski.
In Murray Hill there used to be an Irish bar called Clery’s that had six-dollar pitchers for happy hour. The broke 20-somethings from the publishing house would migrate there after work because you could have a good night for $15–two pitchers plus tips and a dollar for the jukebox.
The jukebox must have been upgraded with a timely 90s hit package, because it had Nirvana’s In Utero placed incongruously close to the Counting Crows. Our buddy Bob-O always put on “Scentless Apprentice” and loved how it stopped many patrons mid-conversation. It might be the best screaming song ever.
There’s an art to a good scream in a song, where it’s not just a scream for screaming’s sake and in a way it adds musicality to it. A good scream is different than a call and response or a “Hey” shout (my two favorites in that category being “Punch You in the Eye” and “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love“).
The good scream might be words but it also doesn’t necessarily sound like it is, as evidenced in here:
There’s also what would be better described as spoken word screaming, perfected by Captain Beefheart:
(Who no doubt was heavily influenced by the original, Howlin’ Wolf.)
There are a ton of bad screaming songs, so much so to give the scream a bad name, but the good ones light you up in a way that other songs can’t touch. When Bob-O played it at Clery’s it had a better effect than we could have hoped for.