Journal Entry December 5th, 2016

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

-Winston Churchill-

     This quote by Winston Churchill can be applied to so many aspects of our lives. Whether we are talking about success in our career, lives, or passions we pursue, this quote is extremely relevant.

   As an educator I sometimes find myself being caught up in what others, faculty, think of me. While this is important, it is not the end all be all of my job. The students I serve are who matter to me. Their opinions of me mean more to me than anything. Their ability to feel safe, comfortable, wanted, and a sense of accomplishment in my room are what matter. I am in the business of education. Education of young people. People who are beginning to form their identities. They are in a confusing time in their lives. With friends, with family, with life in general. I choose to be that guide through a difficult time in their lives. Someone to look up to, to be a confidant, and to be a mentor.

   I try and approach my life in this way. I try to learn from those around me and to not measure success in tangible ways sometimes. At times, we find ourselves looking for an answer. When in fact the question we have developed is the real success. When we question things, we are analyzing the world around us. This is why I use fishing as a metaphor for life. What worked for me today? is a good question. But an even better question is, What didn’t work for me today? Approach your life in a way that you move forward from your successes and get better, reflect on your failures and get better, and always realize there is something to learn, even when we consider ourselves successful.

Rio Gallegos Update

Well, I have had the opportunity to test these waders out for a few outings. Nothing crazy, but a lot of walking, covering lots of water, and battling cold temps. I have to say that I was pleasantly more impressed with these waders after wearing them, than I initially was. Being a die hard Simms fan, I wasn’t sure how I felt about switching brands of waders. These waders are comfortable, warm, and shed water fantastically. I can layer up very nicely in these wader, due to their larger size. The large bootie option is unmatched, in my opinion. That alone is a day saver when it’s cold out. My coldest trip so far was Wednesday November 23rd. It was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit air temperature with 38 degree water. Needless to say, your feet get cold regardless. What can’t complain about is the amount of time it took for that to happen in these waders. It took nearly 4 hours of being in the water for my feet to start getting cold to the point that I needed to start walking around to warm them up. That is pretty much double the amount of time it took in my Simms. The smaller bootie on the Simms really does restrict blood flow to the foot. Which in turn makes them much colder, much faster. The bootie on the Patagonia’s alone are worth the investment. The H2No technology is, in my opinion, comparable to the Gore-Tex on the Simms. Extremely comparable in that respect. The waterproof pocket is a huge plus on the Patagonia’s as well. The major flaw I have with them is the strap system. I like the fact that the straps are integrated and are easily converted to hip waders. However, the loss of the buckle makes putting these waders on, kind of annoying, especially when nature calls and they need to come down. The locking system in the straps is also a little annoying. Not so much the front locks on the straps, but the back lock. It’s hard to get to and you may need an additional person to get the lock to stay.

You can’t beat the features on these waders. I still love my Simms, though. My Simms will probably be my wader of choice come late spring/ early summer. I’ll keep my initial review rating of 4.5/5. Just for the simple fact that straps are annoying. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s a minor detail. These waders are rock solid and get the job done, especially in challenging conditions.

Forgive Me

Dirty Fingernails: For mechanics in Afghanistan filthy hands means finished repairs

The wind is cold and brutal against my face. It blows with such force that it feels like small shards of glass are being brushed across my skin as the snow hits it. I can’t move. In a way I feel if I move and do not give you a moment, my respect has gone. I’ve been reverting to my early ancestral roots to outwit you. It feels as though I haven’t really won this strange competition we’ve been in. I am ambivalent. I feel a sense of relief that the deed is done, but cannot escape the sorrow that fills my heart. I stand and look at your impermanence and come to the realization that we are all transient in this world. We all have a purpose, one way or another. We all have a primal need to feel life, in some way. My pursuit has allowed me to feel life. A struggle between predator and prey, man and beast. My feeling of life does not come from the taking of another life, but rather the adventure we’ve shared. My primal brain has shone through in our exploit. A need to appreciate that which fuels me. Without you I cannot survive. It is most unfortunate that such a thing must end with sorrow. Sometimes I wish I were not created this way. A need to take the life of another creature of this world to help me push on. Know that you are forever in my gratitude. You’re still omnipresent in nature, not physically, but in every bit of nature. I just hope that your soul can forgive me now that it has left your body. My hands have done the physical work, but my mind has done the hard labor. My mind is what needs your forgiveness now.

What really matters?

A friend of mine and I recently got into a “debate”, not truly a debate, but more of a conversation about what really mattered when fishing. This specific case had to do with fly fishing and fly tying. We ranked in order of importance, in our opinions, what matter the most when fly fishing. Is it the fly? Is it the presentation? Is it the size? We both came to a settled agreement that 1st is presentation, 2nd is pattern of the fly, and 3rd is the size. I thinking, personally, 2 and 3 are interchangeable, while 1 is pretty concrete.

This can be applied to all facets of fishing. Whether you are talking about saltwater vs. freshwater. Fly fishing vs. Spinning/Bait-casting. There are several factors out of our realm of control. Weather, pressure systems, temperature, food availability, and the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is, we have fewer options of things we can control vs. the amount of things we can’t. That’s why they call it fishing, not catching. So let me break this down in my own take on how I have perceive my successes on the water and how am I am able to catch fish.

Presentation vs. Pattern

The first bit of this debate is comparing pattern to presentation. Whether we’re talking flies or crankbaits, the same rules apply. I am an avid fly tyer, I have been for a long time. I fish what I tie and tie what I’m going to fish. I am also an avid bass angler, I fish from a canoe, from shore, boats (when one is available). Let’s start with fly fishing first. I am not a perfectionist by any means when it comes to my tying. I have been around quite a few seasoned tiers and have seen what they do and how I can be a better tier. When I am tying my flies, I look at three basic things. 1.) are the proportions appropriate for the hook 2.) Are the basic parts of the insect present (tail/shuck, abdomen, thorax, head, wing)? 3.) Is the color close enough. Those are the things I focus on. I don’t sweat to many of the details most of the time. For instance, “I forgot a leg on my stonefly”, to me not a big deal. I am a biologist by trade and I know nothing in nature is perfect. More than likely the nymph missing the leg is going to be eat first. Remember that thing Darwin said, “Survival of the fittest”, missing a leg isn’t all that advantageous and trout are generally lazy. I think pattern is more crucial on dry flies rather than nymphs, but that’s my opinion. The same holds true for bass fishing or any freshwater fishing for that fact. Does my bait resemble the natural food of the fish I am targeting? This is when presentation becomes and overwhelming factor in your success on the river, ocean, lake etc.

I can tie the prettiest fly in the world. I can have the most realistic lure and fly out there, but if I don’t present it right? All the doesn’t matter. Let’s talk about dry flies really fast. Some rivers, you can cast a dry fly and it gets whacked immediately. Other rivers, if you don’t have the perfect drift, you’re essentially screwed. I’ve caught plenty of fish on a poorly tied fly that was presented nicely. Trust me, some of my first flies were garbage compared to what I’m tying today. Those early flies still worked though. A bit of luck was involved, but they we presented properly and gave the fish an opportunity to strike. For arguments sake, we could tie a fly that looks great on the underside, but horrible on top. The fish only sees the bottom of the fly thats floating, right? I’d like to do an experiment about this, maybe that’ll be a later post.

Back to presentation. I have had plenty of success bass fishing to. The action of the lure is super important in bass fishing. You and I can throw the same lure in the same hole and work it differently or not at all and one of us is going to elicit a strike. It comes down to how the fish sees that lure. If you’re working a bait pattern there are 3 ways to ignite a strike. 1.) Working the lure as if the bait is injured. Injured bait is easy bait. 2.) Show a fleeing bait, fleeing bait can cause strikes. A fleeing bait doesn’t give the fish enough time to analyze and sometimes they will strike out of instinct. 3.) Drop the lure right in front of them eliciting an instinctual strike. The 3rd is  particularly affective when throwing heavy jigs into deep cover, such as lily pads. Most of the time, fish that are holding in heavy cover will hit the heavy jig or bait on the initial decent or after 1 jig. If they don’t hit by then, take the bait out and plunge it into another section.

Art Lee wrote the book Fishing Dry Flies for Trout on Rivers and Streams . In this book he discusses the differences between “Matching the Hatch” and “Presenting the fly”. He stated “No fly is right unless it’s fished properly”. I’m not saying never match the hatch, but you can’t live and die by that outlook on fishing. Thus the development of attractor patterns. These flies are made to standout and do not necessarily “Match the Hatch”. Sometimes a fly that sticks out of the crowd gets eat.

A perfect example of when “Matching the Hatch” can be a downfall is looking at the Palolo worm hatches in the Florida Keys. The palolo worm is a worm that lives in various water. During the spring and summer these worms spawn. This in turn causes a Tarpon feeding frenzy. It’s hard not to get excited when you see numerous tarpon breaching and rolling on the waters surface as they eat these worms. They gorge themselves. You’d think that throwing a palolo worm pattern would be easy pickings in these conditions. It’s not! Think about it. You’re asking a fish to pick your fly out of thousands of spawning worms in the ocean. The pattern isn’t going to catch the fish. How you present the pattern is going to catch the fish. Working the fly in a way that makes it stand out from other worms is what gets you hooked up. Same same can be true during large hatches of mayflies. Out of all those flies to choose from on the water, the odds of your fly being picked out diminish. You have to work the fly pretty much perpendicular to the rest of the group.


Pattern and Size

It’s tough to make a distinct distinguishing element between the two, when talking about their affect on fishing of course. I think these two things are interchangeable in respect to their importance in successful fishing. One day, the color of your fly may be crucial, while on another day, the size of your pattern may be crucial.

This is one of those situations where you need to take into account the conditions surrounding your fishing. If water is calm and clear, you probably should throw something to flashy or to big. Fish are especially choosey in these conditions. They’re vulnerable and susceptible to being preyed on. If it’s easy for you to spot them, it’s easy for other predators to spot them. Trout will most likely be feeding on natural colored patterns of appropriate size. This is something any steelheader will atest to. I fish winter steelhead. During low water conditions when water becomes more clear, the steelhead are less likely to strike bright colored egg patterns. I find myself switching to smaller nymphs of natural colors, usually brown or black in a size 12-14. During times when water flow is up, I increase my nymph size and am able to play around with the color a little more.

The same is true about bass fishing. Color is more of a factor than size when bass fishing, most of the time. You usually pick natural colors in clear waters and brighter more vibrant colors in murky water. This is particularly true with crankbaits and most other hard baits. I have had better success in deep cover using the opposite. Murky water I tend to use more muted colors. Fish are generally reacting to vibrations and silhouettes at this point. The color is the last thing on the fishes mind. Heavy baits that move a lot of water are going to help you get strikes and land fish, in my own experience that is.


Saltwater is a little different. In freshwater, you have a hierarchy of predator and prey. Generally you’re able to target the predatory fish relatively easy. Saltwater is a different story. Everything in saltwater is food for something else. The lines tend to be blurred in saltwater at what is predator and what is prey. Predators are prey, and some prey of other fish are predators for others. It gets really crazy out in the ocean. The other factor that affects success in saltwater is conditions. Fish are either on or off. It can range from water temps to the phase of the moon, to the movement of the tides, to the amount of wind in an area. A well placed, well tied, perfectly matched fly can be flat out refused in saltwater. It’s frustrating to the point of madness.

I would have to stay the overwhelming front runner in saltwater success is presentation. At least from a fly fishing aspect. A fly has to be presented properly and in a short amount of time. You have seconds, not minutes or hours, to present your fly and make strips an tics to entice your trophy. That’s just get to going. Hooking up is another feat in and of itself. Hook setting is an art of it’s on the flats at least. Trout setting is a no go, strip strikes are the name of the game.



I’d have to say that I stand by my scientific background when I say how ugly your fly or how pretty your fly is, in the grand scheme of things won’t make as nearly as big of an impact as to how well you present the fly. Also your lure, if not worked in the proper way, may not elicit  strike. Feel free to comment, share, and discuss. This is how we change tactics and learn new things. I learn new things all the time to better improve my fishing. Neat tricks and techniques can help anyones game.

Journal Entry November 29th, 2016

“Family is not an important thing  it’s everything”

-Michael J. Fox

      With the holiday season upon us and the conclusion of another Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember those around us. I spent my Thanksgiving break from school surrounded by family and friends. It was a time where I could catch up with family members from other states, create new traditions with my immediate family, and welcome my two new nephews into the warmth of family this holiday season.

    Take a moment in the coming weeks and take a deep breathe. Appreciate all you have, however much or however little that might be. Enjoy the time with those around you. If you don’t think you have time, make time. Regardless of how tired you are. Family is forever, not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Take a moment to pass down traditions, however simple those are. Tell the next generation how important they are to this world. Help your family grow. My wife and I do not have children right now, but I can assure you that when we do, they will be surrounded by loving friends and family.

   Teach those in your life compassion. Teach them humility. Teach them to be a better person, even if they are already great. We all have room for growth. We all have the ability pass down our values.

Beautiful Chaos


It’s morning; early and humid. I starred out my hotel window to see the haze already settling in. She decided not to accompany me on this final day. “Where’s my gear?”, I said. That’s right, it’s on the skiff. The skiff that I have grown to love and hate all at the same time. Two days of disappointment, beauty and self-loathing all wrapped into one.

She rolls over and looks at me, “Why do you do this to yourself? We’re on vacation”. I look back at her with a smirk, “Sometimes, I don’t know”. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, at least that’s what I’ve come to conclude. In a way, I’m kind of like Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick. He never learned. It killed him, literally. He chased that whale at all costs. I guess that’s what I’m doing, chasing my own white whale.

I put on my clothes, covered head to toe with gear to help shelter my skin from the unforgiving sun. I meet up with Luke at the skiff. He looks and asks, “Fly or Die?”. I respond with a “That’s the plan” and a nod. We set off into the backcountry. A cruel, beautiful, unforgiving, bitch. Typical, I think to myself. Aren’t all the most beautiful things, the biggest pain in the ass? It wouldn’t be adventure without obstacles. We skate across the water like a dolphin gliding through the sea. Nothing but crystal blue ocean as far as my eyes can peer through the thick Florida haze. We find a spot. “Get set” Luke commands. I take position at the bow, sweating already from the heat and humidity in the morning sun. The current slides by the boat, “Perfect”. It seemed as though the stars were aligning. “This is it” I think to myself. Two days of emptiness, bad wind, horrible casts and hot days; all leading up to this.

A ghost maneuvers toward me. “You see it?” Luke whispers. I hold a thumbs up in response. “Cast” he demands. I oblige with a myriad of false casts. “Drop it now!”. My line shot out of the tip of my rod. I begin my strip as my line hits the water. Like a sniper hitting his target, my fly hits with precision. Tick, tick, tick. My rod bends and my reel erupts with energy. Line tearing off like a drag racer heading for the finish line. “There you go!!!” is all I hear from the poling platform. Like a love struck teenager I grin from ear to ear.

The fight is on. Like a back and forth battle between to opposing forces. The heft of the battling creature on my line is felt with every run. Two steps forward, twenty steps back is what it felt like. “I’m gaining line, I think he’s done!!”. I haul my trophy over to the skiff. My forearms are throbbing, my hands hurt, and my eyes are stinging from the sweat. “Bring him here” he says. “Where is he?” Luke asks. I look out and a sickness overwhelms me. I watch as my quarry swims slowly into the distance. “What happened?” we both ask ourselves. We inspect the shrimp pattern to see what went wrong. “Did the hook straighten?” I asked. “No” with a long pause from Luke. “The fly was de-barbed”. My face flows with blood in anger. In my hast to get out there, I tied on a barbless bonefish shrimp. The permit swimming way as if mocking me in victory.

On this day he won. I was the loser, in more ways than one. As I watched my rival move back to his school, I thought to myself, “I’m obsessed”. This creature is still pulling me back. I dream about it. It’s beautiful chaos calling me back. Like drug addict, I need another fix. It’s like a siren singing to me, luring me to it’s domain. “One day”, I think. “One day, the two of us dance again”. Dance again, like a twisted waltz where neither one will lead.



Current State of New York Hunting.

I am a subscriber to the New York State Department of Environment Conservation’s magazine, “Conservationist”. This past fall they released an article talking about this years deer harvest. This year’s current campaign is, “Let young bucks go and watch them grow”. I am a science teacher. My undergraduate studies included a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, with a heavy focus in Ecology. For the average hunter, they are able to recognize the ecology of their area rather well. They can give you a summarization of the population of the area, doe:buck ratios, how many fawns they’ve seen and so on. They can even tell you where most of the deer are located based on their food source. As a hunter gains knowledge of their game, they develop a good sense of when to let something walk, and when to take their game. However, this for some is not the case.

Hunter’s in New York have a tendency to mainly claim to be “meat” hunters. They claim to not give thought to the size of the rack of an individual and strictly care about “filling their freezer”. This is a contradiction, if they paid attention to antler size, they would most likely fill their freezer with more meat. Larger mature deer yield more meat than a immature 1.5-2.5 year old buck. There are very few Pope and Young/ Boone and Crockett bucks that were taken in New York. Hunter’s are not the main reason for that.

The DEC needs to do a better job of managing it’s deer herds. New York is a very heavily wooded landscape. Deer generally feed in open fields on protein rich foods, such as soy, corn, etc. Mainly why you find larger deer near farm land. They have a greater more nutritious food source. As a state, we have a lot of female deer. In some areas, they are very densely populated, especially in some of the Norther areas. This creates a problem of space. Something all organisms need to survive. Lack of space causes a decrease in the survivability of fawns. Fawns, that may be at one point a large male buck. Food is a major area of concern I have with the current deer population. Most deer live in what is considered and “Old Hardwood” forest. This means that most of the trees in an area are “old”. Very few samplings survive long enough to grow to a mature plant. This is due to increased deer herds in an area. The deer eat the samplings because they contain a lot of nutrition they need. Especially in Northern New York. Southern New York, on average has larger male deer populations, due to the abundance of farm land with more nutritional food sources.

I am not saying we need to start cutting down our trees and making more farm land. What I am saying is, we need to try and knock down the female deer population. Currently, there is a lottery for female deer in New York state during rifle season. Some areas with the highest female deer populations, do not have tags available for female deer. The DEC needs to provide more female deer tags in areas with a lot of female deer. I think in some areas, there should be a lottery on bucks, to help get the population back on track. The DEC needs to start having check in stations for game and get a better idea of the deer being taken. Currently you report the harvest online, which is convenient, but not necessarily efficient at collecting data. Population ecology needs to be done in the field observing what is going on.

Another major issue fawns face in New York state are coyotes. There are increasing numbers of coyotes in New York state. Not a lot of people predator hunt in New York state. This is something that needs to be done. Adult deer do not have any natural predators in New York state anymore. While you may have the occasional coyote take an adult deer, with some help (disease, injury, etc.), they mainly target fawns. Why? it’s easier and reduces the risk of a life threatening injury.

Our state needs to start modeling itself after states that are doing it better. Think of the states where bucks are in large numbers and are large in size; Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, the Dakotas. All these places take their game management very seriously. They have implemented practices that provide their herds with nutrition, ability to reproduce etc. I look at it as the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. These states are doing it and doing it better than we are. The DEC asks hunters to do their part, but they need to do theirs as well. Hunting is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Something these states have cashed in on. I have not heard one person in my travels say “I want to go hunt in New York someday”. Which is sad, because we have a beautiful state. We just need to manage it better.


Journal Entry November 21st, 2016

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

-Abraham Lincoln-


As we are approaching this year’s Thanksgiving, I have reflected on people I have lost over the short life I have had. I reflected on where my passion for life came from. I have pursued a career where I interact with teenagers on a daily basis. I sit and ask myself, what drew me to this. I think it’s because in a world where most doesn’t make sense, especially for today’s youth, I want to be a guide for them. I think that after being guided, for the most part, down the right path for me, I realized I had great guides in my life.

Former teachers, coaches, family friends, and grandparents have all done there part to help mold me into the person I am today. I have recently been thinking about a man who I considered my grandfather. He was not my grandfather biologically, but by marriage. His name was Bill. He was a great man, someone my grandmother met late in life. I knew him for most of my life, from about the age of 5 until he died in my first year of college. I took it pretty hard. He taught me a lot and really gave me that nudge out the door to go and fish. He taught me how to cast, work a lure and how to be patient.

Bill died only 3 years into his retirement. We had big plans to travel to different places and catch several different kinds of fish. He wanted to hunt with me as well, something we never got the chance to do. Died when he was in his early 70’s. Aged, but not old, not by a long shot. Cancer took him and it took him fast. I remember one of the last things he told me. He told me to enjoy life, because one day it is taken from you. I try to make everyday count, I try to give my daily dose of advise to students I teach. As a teacher, I take my job very seriously. I am a teacher of science, but also about life. I try to guide my students down a steady path.

So, as we approach this coming holiday and Christmas, ask yourself; Am I really living life? We have a tendency to remember what life is. Life isn’t about bills, work, and pleasing people. Life is about experiencing whatever it is that makes us happiest. For me, that fishing and hunting. For my wife, it’s sitting outside playing with our dogs, or reading a book. As long as your happy and enjoying every minute, you’re living life. We are here for a short time, we need to make the most of it.


Save the Glades

everglades_national_park_31_aou%cc%82t    For those who aren’t aware, the Everglades and it’s surrounding waters are in danger of being extremely polluted (Though they already are quite polluted) and the Everglades themselves being greatly reduced. There are two ways to look at the growing problem in the Everglades and it’s surrounding coastal waters. 1st, the quality of the water entering and leaving the Everglades. 2nd, the quantity of water entering and leaving the Everglades. Let’s talk about water quality first. Pollution of the Glades and surrounding coastal waters happens from agricultural runoff that is dumped into lake Okeechobee. When the lake floods, the water overflows and drains eventually reaching Everglades further down into the Keys. This runoff brings and unhealthy abundance of nutrients, such as phosphorus, toxic sulfides and nitrogen. Which in turn causes dangerous algal blooms and kills resident plant life. These algal blooms can choke out the waters fish, amphibians, native reptiles, insects and so on. Also, the flow of the rivers and other bodies of water has been altered so much, that the Everglades is actually shrinking. It is not receiving the runoff it once did, at least not in the volume it did. What runoff it does receive is polluted by agricultural fertilizers and other chemicals. Now, lets talk about quantity. The Everglades was covering almost 3 million acres. That number has been greatly reduced; about half the original size to be exact (

How did this happen? Well in a simple answer, we did it. Throughout time, humans have created canals to drain water from the Everglades. This was done to allow more land to be used for agriculture and housing developments. This is a growing issue in more and more locations throughout the world. As a species, we have a tendency to build outward, not upward. Three key pieces to a stable ecosystem are, space, resource availability and an ability for organisms to perpetuate their genes. The Everglades is host to thousands of species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate). We’ve greatly decreased the size of the Glades, which limits the amount of space these species need to grow and reproduce. We are damaging an ecosystem that was already fragile to begin with, like most wet lands.

What does this mean for fishing? Like all ecosystems, there is a nutrient cycle from beginning to end. The runoff from the Everglades supplies the coastal waters with nutrients, which in turn feeds to marine organisms near by. However, when this runoff is polluted, you create a bigger problem. Some organisms thrive on an abundance of incoming pollutants, such as phosphates and nitrates. Organisms such algae. This abundance causes algal blooms. These algal blooms can cause acidification of the water, not through a release of toxins from the algae themselves, but rather by using up a good share of dissolved oxygen in the water and also through death and decay of the algae. This causes an acidification process and harms fish and other marine life. If you’ve ever had a fish tank, you have to keep track of the pH of the tank. If the pH becomes to basic or to acidic, the fish die or get very ill. Essentially this is what is happening in the coastal regions surrounding the Everglades. Couple this with climate change, whether you believe climate change to be real or not, that’s not the point. It’s happening, it’s here and you can’t deny it. 2016 has been the hottest year on record according to overall average temperatures. If you don’t believe, research it on your own. I assure you there is no conspiracy afoot. Rising ocean temperatures and acidic waters are a causing a plethora of issue, and also impacting the sport we love.

If you care about this world and the activities we do, do your part and stop the nonsense. We have a voice, we should use it. If you want to try and help the cause in the Everglades, follow the link at the bottom of the post and sign the petition.


Journal Entry November, 15 2016

“We do not remember days, we remember moments”

-Cesare Pavese-


I was at my wife’s cousins birthday party this past weekend. She’s turned 3. She is an amazing little girl. She has such energy and emotion for everything she does. Dramatic? Yes, but in the most amazing way. I am a pretty emotional, passionate, enthusiastic person. However, as I get older I find myself not enjoying some of the simple things in life.

I watched this little red head run around her living room playing with her birthday balloons. The joy in her face and sounds of excitement that we echoing through the house made it hard not to smile. Something so simple as a balloon made her so happy. She is nonjudgemental, pure, and full of life. That moment in time I saw happiness in it’s purest form.

I think that’s what draws me to fishing and hunting. It is a basal instinct in our genetic code. Something we can’t deny. My wife, who generally doesn’t fish, can’t deny the sense of joy she feels when she has a fish at the end of her line. She tells me time and time again, “I hate fishing”. Which is a complete and utter lie. I tell her every time she’s gone with me and hooks up, she enjoys every minute of it. These are the simple things that bring me the most joy. Time spent with family and friends. Time outside. Some of my fondest memories involve being outdoors, one or another. Nature, like that cute little red head, is pure, nonjudgemental and full of life. If you take a moment to enjoy the simplest of things, you may find that pure joy can be found easily.