Syvalene Gaylor-Unwer and Jason pose with the fat catfish she caught out of Jason's pond in May 2022. Syvalene was a lifelong angler, and loved being on the water watching birds even if the fish weren't biting. She died October 21, 2022, after a long life inspiring me and many others to enjoy the natural …
The first rule of hitchhiking is simple: Don’t walk when you can ride. That means never use your feet to walk while searching for a ride. Instead, find a place with frequent vehicle traffic passing – shade tree preferred – and start thumbing. Vehicles come to you and so will rides. Many novice travelers fail to obey that primary rule, and wear themselves out needlessly walking toward destinations, rather than waiting for rides to materialize organically.
Although rumors may conflict with reality, but I assure you that newspapers are not entirely defunct and are still printing stories about fishing in Arkansas. The Arkansas-Democrat Gazette (where I worked as a journalist about 20 years ago) recently published a fine story about my guide business and Spey casting instruction. The link is below. …
I was afraid to open the package when it arrived. An ominous star image was emblazed on the front, and the words “Sheriff’s Dept., Grand County, Colorado.” The return address label read, “Rodney P. Johnson, Sheriff.” Slowly, I slid it open and inside found my blue Guatemalan-made fanny pack along with my Arkansas driver’s license. I’d lost them the previous week while hiking and fly fishing in Colorado.
Fly fishing adventures often teach important life lessons about people, not just angling. For example, I thought I knew how to eat a mango and catch trout on the fly rod, but I learned lessons about both long ago on my first journey to Missouri’s Montauk State Park.
Sockeye salmon have become functionally extinct in Seattle, Wash. Last week, the final remnants of that city’s once-famed sockeye run were scooped up in hand nets, loaded onto trucks and driven to holding pens. There they will be milked for eggs and milt in hopes that science can save those few remaining fish that have thrived in the Pacific Northwest for 6 million years.
The giant grass carp had to die. I pondered a well-placed .22 bullet to its skull as it swam just under the surface of the pond, nosing its snout into the air to pluck fresh-fallen leaves from the water’s surface. Or I could try and net the monster fish and hope to bash its head with a rock as it flailed on the shore. No matter the method, it wouldn’t be easy to murder the venerable carp, but it had to be done.
Fly fishing can be a dangerous obsession. Anglers are compelled to travel down unknown roads and rivers while on the quest for ever-more elusive fish. In fact, some wise fishing writer, whose name is long gone from my memory, once identified five stages that all fly fishers pass through on that often-perilous journey.
After more than 30 years fly fishing, I’ve learned that the White River does not need any more gasoline motors. Besides being loud and disruptive, motors use both gasoline and motor oil. Every gas-powered motor trickles a steady stream of oil into the river as the engine runs. Water is pumped through the engine for cooling, and the water expelled leaves an oily sheen on the surface behind every boat.
Tony hated his hole getting banged so hard. Who could blame him? That’s because Kyle Faulkner and I had just caught nearly every trout trapped in a shallow, White River side-chute near Tony’s house. Helplessly, Tony watched from the shore, and paced back and forth as our rods bent repeatedly with heavy trout on nearly every cast. “You don’t have to keep them all,” Tony cried from the riverbank.