Saturday, December 12, 2015

Save Money on Taxes by Supporting Fisheries

With comfortable fishing temps lingering longer this Winter, I hope you've been on the water. Whether you caught anything or not, your odds of encountering fish and enjoying a bountiful ecosystem were enhanced by the tireless work of conservation organizations and their members.  Please consider becoming a member of the following organizations. And, regardless of your membership, donate what you can to help them out. Since these are 501(c)(3) non-profits, you can deduct the donation from your taxable income.  Learn more at the links below and give back to the resources you enjoy.

Warmwater gamefish need healthy homes, too. The ISA is an action-oriented non-profit dedicated to keeping smallmouth bass populations healthy through angler education, stream habitat restoration, and policy advocacy. 

Despite the press coverage that flats fishing for bonefish, tarpon, and permit receive in fishing media and the economic impact it has in the Florida Keys and Caribbean nations, much is still unknown about these important gamefish. BTT is leading the way in scientific research on flats fisheries, including fish tagging programs, fin clip sampling, as well as angler and guide education.  BTT gives you some great, functional freebies when you donate.

"Oysters are the Mid-Atlantic Coral Reefs"
-Tommy Leggert, manager of CBF's Virginia Oyster Restoration Center

Chesapeake Bay is the most important spawning grounds and nursery for Striped Bass that end up swimming all along America's East Coast.  CBF is making substantial gains in restoring the Bay's ecosystem.  If you donate by December 31, 2015 your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar to make your generosity go farther. Click the text above the logo for more info.

The Everglades Foundation brings awareness to issues facing Everglades National Park and the ecosystems dependent upon its health. It also helps fund scientific research conducted by budding young scientists interested in helping the Everglades.

Sloppy engineering, even on a small scale, harms fish habitat. Throughout the Western United States, many culverts have been built in ways that impede trout mobility upstream. Otherwise miles-long stretches of creeks that trout could call home have become tiny constrained environments between poorly-constructed culverts. TU is teaming with Orvis to rebuild these culverts over the streams' natural flows so that trout can move about. If you donate by December 31, Orvis will match your donation dollar-for-dollar. Click on the link above the logo for more info. 

I once heard someone say that if a street musician's talent made you stop in your tracks, you owed them at least a dollar from your pocket. Why don't we apply the same rule to the beautiful places we traverse to find fish? If the beauty of a river or grassflat or mountain stream has ever made you stop in your tracks--if you've ever taken a picture of a landscape or a seascape or one of its piscatorial inhabitants--maybe you owe it at least the money in your pocket.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Transience: 2014

Obviously, you can't literally live in the past. But sometimes you need to look back and reflect in order to move on. We're sprinting into the 2015 season; but before I can go full-force, I need to close out 2014.  Despite the melancholy of my last post, the past year brought me so much laughter, smiles, many hours on the water, some new friends, and tons of fishing and life lessons. This time last year, I thought 2013 was my best fishing year yet. 2014 blew that away. Let me show you a glimpse into my 2014 with some of my favorite scenes. These are the highlights of a year in the life. 

Thanks to Tiffany, Zeph, Adam, Dave, Kurt, Tom, Sean, Javier, Jordan, DJ Dan, and Chris for being a part of it.

All photography on this page is original and the author reserves all rights to these photographs and written content. 

Monday, March 23, 2015


Hot water flows over my scalp and down my face as steam clouds the room.  The cheap tile, flexible under my palm, without substance or support, is covered in uneven amounts of caulk from prior attempts at a superficial fix. Then the panic sets in. It erupts from some unknown place, insatiable and wretched. I don't know if it's the narrow confines of this shower or just the daily recognition that I am here, I am flesh, and I have a little more time.

This used to be my favorite part of each day--the warm, clean sensation of water on my skin. What a privileged existence we have. It's a tired and useless idea to imagine that in any time in human history, I would have been drawn to the water and made a ritual of bathing myself in it. All I can know is that I am here now and I have the complicated relationship with water that many of us share. But how did I get here? How did I arrive at a point where my morning shower is a source of stress, an awakening of desperation, a reminder of my internal conflicts and fragile mortality? And how can I be so unhappy when I have it so good compared to so many others across time and place?

I'm caught. I have so many passions and I can't say no. I'm ambitious. I always want was is just beyond reach and I never want the same thing for long. For years now, I've worked multiple jobs simultaneously to not only afford my impulsive desires but to fulfill my eager and unstoppable quest for more knowledge, more experience. 2015 is still young, but I've already been offered multiple jobs and have had one of my current jobs threatened. Over the years, I've invested a lot in myself in multiple fields, and I excel in each. I struggle with the notion of leaving an entire side of myself at the curb to propel myself fully into one field or another. I shudder at the thought of leaving something unfinished when I'm so far ahead.

More than anything, the constant exploitation wears me down. I find myself unfairly compensated in all my endeavors. I am good at what I do. I haven't found myself in an activity yet that I haven't gone above expectations and turned a few heads (with the grand exception of this shoddy blog!). I am a quick study. And I have the qualifications. But the problem I still run into every day is that everyone wants a great product, and no one wants to pay for it. I am constantly fighting for fair pay. I get satisfaction from my work, and I would love to give my employers or clients my best. But I refuse to do my best for their worst. When labor is all you own, and you know yours is top-notch, you don't give out more than a few samples. Then again, when labor is all you own, this world has you by the short hairs and doesn't feel the need for what they consider benevolence. They want you to give, but they won't give themselves. It's not an ego that I have. It's a tested self-awareness brewed with a healthy amount of empirical knowledge of how organizations screw their workers. Yet, I'm still willing to learn more from those who have been at these things longer. I'm not asking for much, in the scheme of things.

"Everyone wants a great product, and no one wants to pay for it."

Alongside my daily gear-switching from grading papers to guiding anglers to writing social theory, from teaching statistics to one group and fly-tying to another, that I have the other issues of contemporary adult life--yes, bills and marriage, but also family deaths and suicidal friends. You can plan your day or evening all you want, but everything collides and smashes and escapes your grip and self-proclaimed mastery when a close friend with whom you've shared so many laughs sends you a "goodbye," message.

I suppose what I'm getting at is entropy. To botch paraphrase the second law of thermodynamics, order moves toward disorder, and to achieve order requires more energy to be put into the system.  Life has shown me entropy lately. It requires immense amounts of energy to keep up, to meet expectations, to keep your affairs looking tidy. It's a messed up game. Because whether things are good or falling apart, in order or in disrepair, in bonding with a friend or grieving another, all I can muster is to go stand in the water.

Here's to cleaning up in 2015.