My first hunting knife was a Christmas gift from my father. I was only ten years old at the time, which according to my dad is the age when boys should start owning and caring for their own hunting gear. It had a 4-inch fixed blade and was sheathed in an embossed leather carrying case—perfect for any future deer I may need to field dress. Read More
Comedian Henny Youngman once said, “A self-taught man usually has a poor teacher and worse student.” After fly-fishing with a local guide, I would have to agree.
I have always described myself as self-taught fly fisherman. It was through trial and error that I learned how to tie a blood knot, cast a line and convince a trout to take my fly. Somehow, I managed to catch my fair share of fish over the years.
As it turns out, I have been doing a lot of things wrong. Read More
A long, long time ago, I was an avid skier. As a teenager living in the Black Hills, I spent my winters racing down Deer Mountain pretending to be Franz Klammer in the ‘76 Winter Olympics.
It was what I did and who I was.
At the time, I didn’t understand that life is a book comprised of many chapters. I thought I would always be a skier and that my obituary would include the words, “80 years old” and “tragic ski jumping accident.” Read More
In today’s hyper-connected world, it is comforting to know the Internet will never be as reliable as the local bait shop.
Sure, the Internet is a great place to find out where the fish are biting, in a general sense. But you are not going to get the kind of specific, practical advice bait shops dispense on a daily basis. Read More
Labrador retrievers do not understand the concept of waiting. Patience is not a part of their doggie DNA. I don’t know if this is true with all Labs, but my dogs will explode if they have to wait longer than two barks for anything—especially if… Read More
If I have taught my children anything, it is this: Never buy a boat that you find by the side of the road. To most people, including my children, this may seem like an obvious nugget of wisdom. For me, this was an important life… Read More
I want to ride to heaven on a trout—just like the one at the Great Northern Carousel in Helena, Montana. I know this may seem like an odd request, but let me explain. The Great Northern Carousel isn’t just a ride; it is a revolving… Read More
Long after the last day of deer season and months before open water walleye season begins, there is Oscar® season. This is the time of year when Hollywood pats itself on the back and celebrates the best films that the fewest people actually paid to… Read More
I can’t remember how to tie a fly. When I lived in the Black Hills and fly-fished regularly, I could (almost) tie a woolly bugger blindfolded. Now, I need an instruction manual with large type and easy-to-understand diagrams to guide me step-by-step.
Of course, it has been nearly 20 years since I lived in a zip code with a trout stream. Forgetting how to tie flies was probably inevitable. Still, it pains me to think I lost something that was once so important to me.
If you don’t understand how tying flies can be “important,” allow me to provide a quick overview: Read More
With every new year, the calendar resets and gives us 365 more opportunities to be outside—hiking, hunting, fishing, camping or whatever it is we enjoy doing in our free time. If your calendar is like mine, most of those 365 days are already accounted for.
Between work obligations, family responsibilities and one or two unexpected home repair projects that demand attention, I estimate the average sportsman has approximately 21 good days to enjoy the outdoors. And that is if the weather decides to cooperate.
So, before my calendar is filled with commitments, I resolve to make a few of my own for 2015. Read More