Tuesday, March 27, 2007

clear creek

I thought I'd make a run at fishing in southern Indiana. Try my luck at some smallmouth bass fishing. Zack, the fly fishing guy at JL Waters, told me Clear Creek has some good smallmouth fishing and I read a good DNR report that confirms this. So I went to check it out twice this week and I think I'll head back tomorrow. I got skunked the first day but yesterday I picked up two Long Eared Sunfish and a fat shiner. Hopefully I'll get some smallmouth tomorrow. I'm fishing the section near Ketchum Road a couple hundred yards upstream from Cedar Bluffs. It's a nice creek. Smells like the Brandywine. Reminds me of my youth.

Click for bigger.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

it's a bonanza!

Sometimes you just find a lot of good stuff on the internet all at the same time.

There's a lot of crap on Youtube, but these movies are great. They're mostly bluegrass and "old timey jazz" performances and jams, but there's also a fantastic rendition of Folsom Prison Blues by some young looking folks.


This is a great article about free will and philosophy's relationships to the sciences. I seem to remember that it was this kind of stuff that got me interested in philosophy. My sophomore year in college I think. I was pretty intrigued by a passage in The Brothers Karamazov where one of the characters claims that all our actions are just the wiggling of nerves in our brain. I wish I new philosophy of mind and metaphysics better. And The Brothers Karamazov.

I got the link at Leiter Reports.

Friday, March 23, 2007

stunt pilot buck jones

Tell me Mr. Buck Jones, where is it that you go? You and your flap, flap, flappin' little leather wings, dipping and diving and swerving and flying around my head at noon. Don't you know little buddy, don't you know that bats aren't supposed to fly around during the middle of the day? You probably have rabies. I'm glad you don't bite me.

I hit up Gravity Head on Friday night with Ryan, Yaniv, and Chris then left directly from New Albany on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, yet again, I decided to take 441 straight through the Smokies because I wanted to go to the fly shop in Cherokee. I knew it was a mistake but I always forget about how bad the stupid fucking traffic is in the Gatlinburg area. Sean and I hiked into the site at the bottom of Forney Creek, slightly less than 3 miles from the end of the Road to Nowhere. Luckily I had packed steaks and a growler of Bell's Hopslam to ease to my frazzled nerves. Sean had a good bit of single malt and we got pretty tight that night. We cooked the steaks on sticks over the fire.

The wild pigs were real bad in camp. The ground was all torn up throughout and the little bastards even had the nerve to come rooting around while we slept. The rooted up the area where we cooked and where I was laying next to the fire.

Sean I explored the area on Sunday, walked down to where Forney Creek empties into Fontana. Pretty weird landscape. Ran into a group of backpackers that were on the wrong side of the river and too chicken shit to cross it. Who knows how they got there.

I did a good bit of fishing that day but only ended up with a 6-7" rainbow under the bridge at the junction of Bear Creek trail and Forney Creek trail. But I did catch it on a Hares Ear nymph I tied myself. Which was pretty cool.

After a couple pulls on Sean's signature backcountry whiskey vessel (a metal fuel bottle), he set off down the trail and I hit the creek again but came up fishless. There was a pretty serious hatch on, maybe Blue Winged Olives, but the fish just weren't feeding on the surface.

The next day I hiked up Forney Creek about 4 miles to the confluence of Jonas and Forney Creek. It's a neat hike which goes past some old logging camps and early white settlements. I spent the mid-day with a bat I named Stunt Pilot Buck Jones. I seriously think it had rabies. I also spent about 2 hours fishing up Jonas Creek which was extremely brushy. It was tough making my way upstream. But the little fish were hungry and I missed a lot of strikes. I think mainly because they were so little they couldn't get the hook in their mouth. But also probably because I'm slow.

Daniel showed up sometime in the afternoon and we fished a bit I think but not too long. He had stopped to see Sean on his way up and Sean told him about the steaks so lo and behold he packed some in too. That was cool. So we cooked steaks (on a grill this time) and shot the shit about his new life as a PhD student at Clemson studying fisheries biology. He told me some cool stuff about Shad and fish ladders.

The next morning we headed down the creek a couple hundred yards to a big, deep pool I found the day before and fished around it for a couple hours with no exciting results except that I lost 4 rechargeable batteries out of my camera in the creek. They went deep down under some rocks and I couldn't retrieve them. Nothing like pollutin' to make you feel good about yourself.

We decided the fishing in the Smokies sucked and that we'd head down to Panthertown where I knew the fishing would be better. The hike out was on the longish side for a fishing hike, ~7 miles, and the first bit was pretty uphill and the last bit was pretty down hill. The worst part was that Daniel had to hike the whole thing the day before going the other way. But we did run across Silas the Horse Wrangler.

We were seated on the trail after the long uphill having a drink and a snack and we hear something loud coming around the corner. I yell "HEY BEAR! HEY BEAR!" Thinking it might be a bear running down the trail at us. It turns out if was a dude on a horse with a pack horse in tow. He laughed at me. He says, "You thought I was a bear? That shit don't work man. The Park Service tell you that's what you're supposed to do. But it don't work."

He had long gray hair and long gray handlebar mustache. The rest of his face was very freshly shorn however. He wore denim overalls and no shirt. His small but obvious gut hung out. He was quite good on the horse though. There were trees across the trail ahead. He noted that the trail crews were lazy and that he knew because his brother worked 'em. He rode his horses down into the hollow and up the steep side around the trees and back onto the trail. He might have been Eustace Conway for all I know. I'm just going to call him Silas the Horse Wrangler.

Daniel and his serious vehicle.

Act II sometime soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

on my way

I haven't slept well in a week. I've been too busy. I've been too excited. For Spring Break! Show me your titties baby! Panama City Beach! WOOOOOOOO! Just kidding. I'm going to North Cackalack. I'm going to the Smokies. To Forney Creek. For a week. With Daniel Hanks. And Dr. Séan O'Connell. I'll be in the woods for one whole week and it will be incredible. The forecast is good, highs near 70. That probably means good insect hatches. Blue Winged Olives, Quill Gordons, Blue Quills even. Many a trout will be deceived. And that's not all. I kick the whole thing off tonight with a visit to the opening day of Gravity Head 2007: Gravity Madness, March isn't just about basketball anymore!, at, of course, Rich O's in New Albany. Where I will sample many high gravity beers and after hours of tedious deliberation with myself, will select a favorite of which I will purchase a growler. I will then pack that growler into the woods on Saturday night and Dr. Séan O'Connell and I will drink it down and cook steaks on sticks over a fire.

See you in a week. I will return with pictures a plenty and hopefully zero Rattlesnake bites.

Friday, March 02, 2007

the session #1: stouts

Stout: the beer that means something. That's my motto at any rate. And it's a damn fine motto if you ask me. We all search for meaning in this life and when it's found you should make it clear to the world, OLLY OLLY OXEN FREE. Shout it out from the top of your lungs: I LOVE BURNT BARLEY BABY.

Searching for good craft beer in the Midwest is kind of like playing a giant game of Capture the Flag. Sure, there's good craft beer to be found, but you're not exactly walking on roads paved with golden malt, verdant hops and crystal clear spring water. The roads are paved with corn. Literally. One hundred bushels crushed for every linear mile. It's a kind of earth-friendly filler. We power our cars with it. We make our roads with it. Hell, I wash my hair with it every other day, gives it that wholesome Midwestern shine.

But look long enough and hard enough and you can find the flag. Soar through the cornfield with eyes peeled wide. Hark! A settlement! Perhaps their victualers brew a strong and dark drink, roasted and toasted to keep our bodies strong. OLLY OLLY OXEN FREE I scream from the top of my lungs. I've found some stouts and I drank them down and here I will of them write about.

Dr. Stan Hieronymus thought it was a good idea to have a beer blogging carnival and I couldn't agree more. So this is my little piece of participation. Click the pictures for grand versions.

Chocolate Stout

The head fades quickly and a sharp, shiny, metallic scent wafts up to slice at my nose. Dry, grainy, chocolate malt asserts itself and I feel cheated. Plastic chocolate pinches my mouth and lingers unwelcome.

(Noblesville, IN)
Black Majic Java Stout

"I won a silver medal at the GABF this year in the 'coffee flavored' category, naaa naa na."

"You're an idiot. You don't know how to spell magic."

"It's a clever play on words. And it's trademarked."

"You are made of too much coffee. At first you appear to be rather viscous. But you're not. It's all lies. You've always been a lier. It all started at the hotel in Key West. You weren't going to the store to buy limes. You were doing unspeakable things for a fix in the alley behind the Lazy Gecko. More or less in plain view. People staring in disbelief. WHY DIDN'T I END IT THEN? You're not a bad beer, you just need to beef up a little bit. Fill out in the hips. In the butt. A little bit of body and a dash of residual sugar would go a long way in combating your acrid java ways."

"I don't even know who you are."

(Comstock, MI)
Kalamazoo Stout

Dear Kalamazoo Stout,

You smell like the wedding cake of King Edward the VIII. Delicate yet sumptuous. Creamy yet nimble. I wade through your waters in ecstasy. I dream of taking you away on a romantic trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country where we can lay nestled in each other's arms until daybreak.

With love,
Matthew Daniel Dunn, Esq.

(Grand Rapids, MI)
Black Rye

This is definitely not your father's stout. Mainly because I'm not sure it's a stout at all. But I bet you father would enjoy the way the spicy spicy spicy nose slaps you around like a stripper's tits. That sweet stripper smell. Mysterious yet comforting. Picante! Again, unfortunately, much like our friend Black Majic (sic), Black Rye needs to put on an extra pound or two. She kicks so much game that she needs a little bit of junk in the trunk to give her a solid foundation. To kick all that game.

(New Holland, MI)
The Poet Oatmeal Stout

Not very stout
Sweetish nose about
to shellac my tongue.

It smells like candy to me- too smooth
Ryan thinks Carafa malts are the culprit.

(Warrenville, IL)
Northwind Imperial Stout

Fruity. Diacetyl I dare to conjecture? Do you contain anise? Licorice? You are strange.

Ryan, Brian, Yaniv, the Stinks... without you, none of this would have been possible.