Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bad JuJu

Forgive me.  Cause I'm bout to have a "moment".

I try to be fairly understanding.  I do.  I really do.  However, every once in a while I bump into a person (or in today's case: People) who test my resolve.  What's worse, I ran into these pricks on a trout stream.

For the record, trout streams are my sanctuary.

It went like this: my son had a soccer game in Spring Green.  In a fit of pure genius, I decided that since the game was so close to one of my favorite streams, that we should go fishing afterwards. G was on board and stoked to wet a line. So after a 3-2 victory for the Cosmos, we bolted for the stream.

On arrival, we hit the first hole, found rising fish and brought a couple to hand.  Things were going well until we noticed a car slow down along the road with 3 guys gawking out the window. They drove past slow enough to cause both G and I to say to each other "what a bunch of weirdos", but we didn't let it interrupt our fishing.

The car went past again, slowly, this time in the opposite direction and I thought to myself "Good.  Go back where you came from..." because I was starting to get suspicious.  Then, it came past a 3rd time.  This time it pulled over about 200 yards in front of where my truck was parked.  I watched carefully as I fished.

Two guys got out and noisily rigged up some spinning rods.  I relaxed a little.  At least they were fishermen.  Once done, they made their way to the water.  The problem was that they hit the stream less than 50 yards in front of me.  Never acknowledged G or I, and plowed into the water with all the stealth of a rock slide. They fouled the whole fucking stream. The rising fish were put down and silt clouded the downstream water.

Asshole #1 and #2
Frustrated, G and I decided to head back downstream a few holes to find some water that could still be fished.While there, we caught a couple more fish before we noticed a fisherman coming upstream toward us.  He occasionally threw a lure, but seemed to be in a bit of a rush as he made his way upstream.

Before we knew it, he was standing inside of my personal bubble (which is admittedly larger than most people's bubble, and even bigger on a trout stream) and jabbering about his buddies upstream and how he just really likes wading the streams. It was clear that attempts to have conversation with him was just an interruption in his dialogue as he told us that fly fishing was "doing it the hard way".  Irritated as I was, I did my best to be cordial for no other reason than to keep my son from seeing the darker side of my personality. Internally, I felt violent towards the interloper.

Then, to my absolute astonishment, he stepped into the water 20ft in front of me and proceeded to wade his stupid ass right though a bend pool with an obvious lunker structure along the right side (where I had been watching a good fish rise and had been working my way towards it).  He got to the head of the pool, and then started to cast upstream to a shallow riffle (where there the water was too shallow to allow for any fish to feed).

Asshole #3
I started to unravel.

My son noticed the change in my demeanor and in an act of pure diplomacy, quickly suggested that we go back to the truck and drive upstream to a bridge pool we have fished before.  "Come on dad, the fishing is better up there anyway".

My mood was degrading at a rate that has gotten me into trouble in the past, and I was sliding towards the dark side.  Somehow I managed to keep just enough composure to follow my boy's suggestion and we walked back to the truck and left.

Among the things I noticed on the way upstream...was that there was only one other fisherman out there. It made me even more mad since these dickheads could have gone and fished anywhere in the 1.5 mile stretch of water between where my son and I were and the bridge, but they chose (key word there...they made a conscious decision to fish right on top of us) to crowd the water in that area.

I did manage one more fish by the bridge, but my groove was gone.  In fact, all I really wanted to do was to go back down stream and shove my 5wt up each and every one of their asses.

Instead, we packed it in for the 1.5 hour drive home.

As I drove, I calmed.  I realized that in all of my years fishing I have only run into things like this a small handful of times, and I am incredibly grateful for all of you out there who have both manners and a genuine love of the stream and the sport of trout fishing.

As for the 3 amigos...Thanks to the magic of the internet and license plate look-up, everyone can know who you are.

Fellow driftless fishermen, when you see this car on the side of the road--expect to meet others on the stream who will push your limits with poor etiquette and worse manners.

Til later,


Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday? Yep.

Yeah, you'll have that.

Til later,


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bad Hooks and Angry Snakes

Sometimes, the temptation to cut corners is just too great.

Case in point: I spent a lot of time this winter tying streamers.  Instead of buying streamer hooks, I used donated bait-fishing hooks that seemed to be roughly the right size.  I have also spent most of my early season stripping those streamers through waters that should bring good fish.

The fish were there and responded appropriately.

So working off of several long distance releases (LDR's) of good fish, it occurs to me that the colors, patterns and presentation are all drawing strikes, but something is keeping those fish from making it to my net.  Despite my Illinois public school education, even I can figure out that it is most likely that final link between me and the fish: the hook.

A quick stop at Orvis yesterday on the way home from a full day of missing fish, and I am ready to spend some time in the lab re-working my entire streamer collection with the right hooks.

In the mean time, after a fella has missed as many fish as I have, it should be understandable that my attention turned to tormenting the only animal on the stream that is more angry than me.  Enjoy.  I did.

Til later,


Sunday, April 20, 2014


Yeah. I've heard that the earth's magnetic fields are going to flip why carry on the charade any longer? (see previous post if this reference escapes you)

Who was I kidding anyway? I like to write. I've missed this blog something fierce. I didn't actually turn my computer off...I couldn't do it.  I was too chicken to actually go through the withdraw symptoms of no internet, so I turned into an anonymous creeper.  Instead of writing, I aimlessly bounced from page to page and have nothing more than damaged eyesight to show for it.

And after it all; I am still as screwed up in the head as I was in January when I had my little snit and stepped out for a break. that awkward moment when a person comes slinking back after a complete meltdown and wants everything to go back to the way it was: here I am.  Back. As if nothing ever happened.

As for the title of this post: Yah. Sorry 'bout that too.  I'm not an overly religious man.  Neither am I intentionally trying to take away from, or make fun of Easter.  However. It strikes me as comical (and more than just a little bit ironic) that today is the day that I chose to resurrect this blog.

Til later,


Friday, January 17, 2014

Adjusting my compass

I recently (re)posted on Facebook an article that I initially found on The Trout Underground about how a dog will line itself up longitudinally with the north or south pole while dropping a deuce.  The premise of the article was decidedly scientific and makes the argument that this behavior is a response to the dog's sensitivity to the earth's magnetic fields.  The article can be read HERE.

While this has provided me with endless discussion, and an unnatural fascination of watching my dog shit all over the yard, it has also resonated with me on a philosophical level.

At the risk of anthropomorphism to an extreme degree, it occurs to me that most dogs are naturally "happy".  Could that happiness be a result of having a daily adjustment or re-calibration to their "compass"?

It's at this point that I should admit that I spend a LOT of time inside my own mind.  (Mrs. MacLoosh is shaking her head in agreement right now...)  It's a personality flaw, what can I say?  I have tried and failed more times than I can count to calm what appears to be a natural tendency towards a troubled mind.

A conversation with a trusted friend today led us into a discussion of "Legacy".  He seems to be fairly clear in his understanding.  I, on the other hand, have been rocked by the seemingly simple concept of "legacy".  More specifically, what will be the legacy I leave my kids with?  This question by itself wouldn't normally be enough to plunge me into the depths of such deep self examination.  I'm not THAT fragile and every parent worth their salt will ask this question of themselves at some point.  But, this question and conversation has occurred at a time when my internal dialogue has had all the subtlety of a diesel freight train carrying dynamite.

I'd like to tell you it's just the winter blues. Cabin fever induced and exasperated by the fact that I haven't been fishing for over 3 months now.  But I'm afraid this is something deeper.

Why tell you this?  Why spill my beans like this?  Because on the list of things I have taken up over the years in the name of mental health is an experiment I like to call The MacLoosh Chronicles.

While I billed it as "just a need to do something in the off season", starting this blog was an attempt to provide myself an outlet to turn some of that internal dialogue outward and hopefully provide myself with a "relief valve" of sorts.  I realized very quickly that people don't want to read about my angst.  Hell...I realized that I didn't even want to listen to myself.  So I tried to mask with fun.  If the site was to be popular at all, it could not just be me spilling drama.  (Apparently the narcissist in me took over and I thought it NEEDED to be popular???) To do that, the blog needed to be about Fishing.  Positive. Fun. Hoo Ra!  Check out my flies!  Hey, check out my fish!   Blah blah blah.

In the midst of creating this site, I have admittedly had a lot of fun.  I mean A LOT of fun! I am pretty proud of The MacLoosh Chronicles as it stands today. isn't doing what I intended it to do.

In fact, I am not confident that writing this blog and the associated manic web surfing of other blog sites hasn't contributed to my current troubled state of mind.  So much time with a computer on my lap has taken me away from activities that I used to enjoy.  Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN, Google + and all the others have also become such a time suck in my life that I find myself more restless than I have ever been.  I don't want my kids to remember me as a slouch who sat on the couch glued to his computer.  I don't want that to be my legacy.

Add to that a heavy dose of self examination, and I find myself at a cross-roads.

As such, I've decided to turn my computer off for a while.  It's time to unplug.  In a sense, it is time for me to go out into the yard, and turn circles until I am in tune with my own magnetic fields.  Hopefully I will get myself lined up with the poles again.

To my neighbors who read this: no worries...I won't shit in the yard.

To my wife: NO. I have not cracked up completely....only a little bit.

To my friends and colleagues out there in blogland...I am not closing down completely.  Just giving online life a rest while I re-calibrate.  I hope you understand.

As always, thanks for reading.

Til later,