Monday, April 15, 2024

A Great Show!

The 2024 Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Expo is a wrap!  I had the pleasure of running into some old friends, meeting some new friends, and enjoying the presence of folks that love the same thing as me.  I sold a few flies, sold a few books, and shared a lot of stories with some really nice people.  I'm already excited for next year because there is just something about being around people that have a passion for fly fishing.  Thank you to the Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers for putting on such an amazing event that gets better every year.  The location, set-up, and behind the scenes work is greatly appreciated by me as well as other folks.  Nathan Bettencourt and other members of the organization, if you're reading this, you do an amazing job and bring a lot of joy to a lot of folks with me being one of them.  I will see you next year and thank you again for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the show!


Thursday, April 11, 2024


I state this without any exaggeration or hyperbole; I would love to see you at the Tri-Lakes Fly fishing Expo in Clinton, Missouri, on Saturday!  It is always a pleasure to meet folks that I am familiar with on social media as well we folks that I don't know but they know me!  Regardless, I would like to meet you.  I will have a table set up and a banner as well in case you are looking for me.  I will be selling copies of my book, some flies, and shooting the breeze about the sport that we love.  If you have the time and means, please come to the show.  I don't know a single person that has ever walked away from the show and called it a disappointment or even underwhelming!


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Fishing off the Coast of The Dominican Republic

I know, I know...this isn't fly fishing or Missouri-related content.  I'm sorry.  I just had to share this story because I don't fish in saltwater very often.  Last summer, Wendy and I were asked to join a couple of our best friends at a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic.  I made sure to not bring up fishing one time prior to to the trip or even during the trip.  However, when the bride and groom brought up the idea of fishing, it felt downright rude to advise against the notion.

So we chartered a trip out to into the great blue yonder.  If you've never been on a chartered fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean, let me explain how things go.  The deck hands do all the work.  They bait the lines, watch the lines, and constantly monitor.  The captain drives the boat and is always on lookout.  The anglers sit around (some of them vomiting off the side of the boat) and take turns reeling in fish that have been hooked while trolling.  Yes, it is fishing!  No, there isn't much skill involved.  Luck plays a role but you had better be the right person at the right time.  When I describe it this way, it inherently sounds a little boring.  With that being stated, a born and raised Missouri boy doesn't get many chances at catching saltwater fish so it was actually a lot of fun.  

Wendy ended up landing a barracuda and I had the pleasure of reeling in a Mahi Mahi.  Wendy was a little bummed that she didn't catch something bigger, with more mystique.  I was bummed for her too.  She was happy for me to catch a species that I had never caught before.  I had always wanted to catch a Mahi Mahi and they are every bit as beautiful in person as they are in pictures and on video.  No, it didn't require much skill on either of our ends but the pictures with the hero poses are ones that will live on as long as the memories!


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Meet My Buddy, Bruce

Have you ever seen something and instantly knew you had to buy it?  If so, I can relate!  When I saw Bruce at a roadside business that sold concrete statues, I knew he had to come home with me!  I've always loved the myth of Bigfoot/Sasquatch and have always marveled at the possibility that this species might actually exist.  Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn't, but regardless, the possibility has always fascinated me.  

As a community of people that love and appreciate the outdoors, some folks have adopted Bigfoot/Sasquatch as a symbol.  The symbol represents the idea of "leave no trace" and I like that.  I dig the idea of venturing into the wilderness and not leaving anything behind but my anxiety.  No trash, a few footprints, and maybe even a better environment than what I found before is something that I hope I am able to give back to nature.  It's a small fee when compared to what the outdoors has given to me as well as a restored soul and sense of belonging.  These are a few of the things that I think of when I see Bruce as he stands as a reminder, near my front door, of all things good and pure.


Sunday, March 31, 2024

I Taught My Buddy Chris How to Fly Fish

Meet my buddy, Chris.  He's a heck of a good, all-around guy.  He's smart, easy-going, and always upbeat.  I think he could build anything with his hands (something I am jealous of) and is knowledgeable about as many things as anyone else I know.  He is also a military veteran which, to me, puts him in another stratosphere.  He's fun to be around, reliable, and would give you the shirt off his back.  So when I got the chance to teach him how to use a fly rod, I jumped at the chance.

One random day last summer, I invited Chris to join me on a short outing at Watkins Mill State Park.  It was post spawn for all the species on the lake so fishing was a little slow.  We weren't catching much on conventional tackle so I decided to downsize our lures to flies and see if we could pick up some smaller fish.  Chris had never fly fished before so I wasn't sure how fast he would pick things up.  Good gracious is he a fast learner.

He started off, like many newbies, just learning how to roll cast.  He mastered that concept quickly.  Next, it was on to hook-sets and how to play a fish that had taken a fly.  That too came quickly for him.  Before you knew it, the guy was casting at structure and cover and bringing in fish left and right.  He ended up catching three different species that day and I darn near had to peel him off the water.  

It's a good feeling to teach something new to someone.  It's a better feeling when they want to learn that skill and accept instruction.  It's the best feeling when a person can take the knowledge that you have given them and then become independent with what was taught.  At the end of the day, Chris had a great time casting and bringing some fish to the boat without needing any help.  For me, I was rewarded with feeling like maybe I had given him something in return for all of the things that he has done for me over the years.  It's a drop in the bucket to what I owe my friend, but it's a start.


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Wendy Fell Out of a Boat

Disclaimer, this story happened last spring while the blog was on a break.

There are good days on the water and there are bad days in the water. Then there are days that seem to bounce from one type of day to another. Wendy had one of those days. 

Wendy’s dad had come to visit us from Iowa and one of the reasons was that he wanted to fish at some farm ponds that I had taken him to in the past.  I was fortunate enough grant his wish and even got to bring Wendy along since she had been nice lately.  We had some good fortune at one pond and decided to press our luck a little by heading to a second pond.  While we were there, Wendy's dad fished from the bank while Wendy, Waylon (important note), and I fished from a recently acquired Jon boat I had bought.  

Wendy and I were both catching some fish and having a good time.  As the sun was setting, Wendy hooked into her 6th or 7th bass at that pond.  She was sitting at front of the boat and on a pedestal seat (another important note).  As she was reeling in her fish, I offered to unhook it and toss it back.  She swung the bass to the left side of the boat while I leaned over the left side of the boat to lip the fish.  Waylon was interested in what was happening on that side of the boat, so he shifted over the left side of the boat as well.  Since we were all on the left side of the boat, the boat began to pitch.  It pitched so much that water started to come over the gunwale.  As the water started to fill with water, it also started to pitch more.  

Wendy was the highest center of gravity and things went from bad to worse quickly.  The next thing that I remember seeing was the button of her baseball hat hitting the water.  After than, she vanished in the murky water.  She popped back up and quickly grabbed the side of the boat.  After securing her floatation device, she handed me the fishing rod...with a fish still attached to the end of the line.  I tossed both into the boat and grabbed her by the arm.  

I instructed Wendy to hold on tight to the boat and that I would fire up the trolling motor and take her to shore.  As we approached the bank, I told her that once she felt her feet touch the bottom of the lake to start walking to the edge of the lake and not stop until she was on land.  My fear was that she was going to get bogged down in the muck and then have a problem to deal with.  As luck would have it, she made it to the bank.  Her dad came running toward her to see what the commotion was all about.  When he realized what had happened, his first response was to start snapping pictures and uncontrollably laugh.  It wasn't to ask if she was alright.  It wasn't to ask if she was cold.  It was to document the events that had transpired.  Even while wet and cold, Wendy still mustered a genuine laugh at him as well as what had happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's my wife.  She's graceful in victory as well as embarrassing moments.  And while her day had ended in a fashion other than what was intended, she got a kick out of seeing her last fish swim off as I released it while still in the boat.  Good and bad of a fishing trip can sometimes come together to make a great story!

Friday, March 22, 2024

I Wrote a Book and It Is Available on Amazon!


I’m here with a big announcement.  It is with a great deal of joy and excitement that I share with you that I recently self-published my first book, Tangled Fly Lines and Untangled Stories.  It has been a dream of mine since the 6th grade to write a book.  Over the last few months, with a lot of support from friends and family, I have worked on assembling a collection of stories about some of the most exciting adventures that I have experienced while holding a fly rod.  Some of the places and species will be familiar to you but there will probably be some of both that are new to you.  Fair warning though, this book is a little unconventional.  Along with my account of events are some pictures to help bring the stories to life and add substance to the tales.  It is my hope that these stories will both entertain and enlighten you.  You can find my book, Tangled Fly Lines and Untangled Stories available on Amazon and I have included a link in this post as well.  The book is available in hardcover and paperback.  I hope you enjoy my collection of stories and that they put a smile on your face.  


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Not Just a Missouri State Record, But a WORLD Record!


Missouri can now claim that it is home to the largest paddlefish in the world.  This is pretty amazing and wouldn't have been possible without a good Department of Conservation as well as the Conservation Federation of Missouri.  We are lucky to have some amazing fisheries here in Missouri and this is a testament to proper management of these fisheries.  Aside from that, it's a pretty incredible story, as most record-breaking fish tend to have.


Monday, March 18, 2024

Lots of New Items in the Fly Shop


The fly shop currently has a larger inventory with A LOT of new flies when compared to the last post about the fly shop.  There are lots of streamers, some jigs, and even some poppers available.  Either spring fishing has already arrived for you or it is headed your way, quickly.  Either way, it would be a pleasure and an honor to send some flies your way.  As always, I tie every fly that I sell and none of them are ever outsourced or purchased from another vendor.  


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Expo: Saturday, April 13 in Clinton, Missouri

If you live in The Midwest and you love fly fishing, I highly encourage you to attend the Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Expo at Benson Center in Clinton, Missouri, on April 13.  There are presentations to attend to educate you.  There are fly tying demonstrations to help improve or introduce you.  There are vendors to help you fill your fly boxes for the upcoming season.  If you have attended this event before, you already know that it is full of good folks that love fly fishing.  If you have not attended this event, I really think you would enjoy it.  

I will be there with flies for sale along with a few other things as well.  If you're not in the market for any flies, I would still love for you to stop by my booth and say hello.  It is always a joy to meet followers of the site and to meet like-minded folks.  Just remember, you might know me and my face but I don't know you or your face.  For that reason, PLEASE let me know if you follow the site or social media content.  It truly is a thrill to meet folks like you.  I hope to see you there and to shake your hand!