Wild places live few and far between.
You, no doubt, traveling on iron wheels and wings
can find one tomorrow before the sun touches the trees.
Curse it’s ease.
Search the dark spaces for glowing eyes.
Wash your forehead in icy falls and streams.
Get lost in stars not yet silenced by your home street,
And let the trees grow wild.
Let the waters run cool and clean.
Admire the beast that live in wild places,
For beast we too can be.
If I had done an entry for the Outdoor Blogger Network’s Trout Unlimited summer essay contest for a trip to Tongass National Forest, it would have gone something like that.
Page 24-25 of James Prosek’s “Trout: An Illustrated History” shows the perfectly named Long-Finned Char. I really like how dark the back is on his painting as well as the few photos I could find online.
Unfortunately, the edges of the painting got roughed up when I tore off the painting tape. A bit of a bummer, but lessened learned. I may start straying from the hard edge square painting.
Next up is the Brook Trout. I painted this a little early. So I’m going to head straight to Prosek’s variation, the Labrador Brook Trout.
Okay, getting a little tired, here. We woke nice and early to go diving with Quiescence Divers. We dove twice. The first dive was at the South Edge is the Elbow Reef. The second was The City Pf Washington. That was a wreck dive. The boat sank in 1917 and has been creating habitat for fish ever since.
Afterward, we were hungry and tired. We took care of the first problem by eating at Ms Macs. We took care of the second problem by by taking a nap in our car at the Starbucks parking lot.
Next we had a short trip to the Tamiami Trail where I spent about 30mins casting at nothing.
Then it was off to miami where apparently it is “Urban Beach Week.” Who knew?
For us, that essentially means most restaurants we wanted to visit are closed.
Fortunately we still you….. This is where I I fell asleep. We had fun getting pizza. Today should be good too. I’m giving up on this post to enjoy the sun. Talk soon!
After failing to find an elusive flat this AM where Sara could practice sleeping in the sun and I could find some fish, we made our way down to key west for breakfast at Blue Heaven and split the BLT Benedict (bacon, lobster, tomato) and filled up on coffees followed by a tour of a house filled with six toed cats. I guess it was some writer’s old house (Hemmingway’s place, but my point is, I think most people enjoyed the cats more than the Hemmingway’s paraphernalia.) Next we wandered to the southernmost house, point, beach, hotel, etc in the US.
We swam at South Beach.
We walked Duval street and ate a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick.
Shopped and walked some more. Got hot, tired, and thirsty and I started to fall asleep on a bench.
Then we drove to Stock Island and ate some great fish tacos and conch fritters at Hogfish Bar and Grill which was on this cool marina. I notice some big splashing around while eating and came to find there was a school of big tarpon just hanging around the boats.
We took our time there then made it back for a swim/cast at Smathers beach where I had a nice run in with a good sized permit that wanted nothing to do with my fly. We did find a lot of live conchs and that was neat. Then we headed to Mallory square for sunset and street performers.
Now we are hot and sweaty in our tent trying not to get eaten alive by the “no-see-ems.”
It is hot and humid here. Even the Ketchup bottles sweat.
Today was a total beach day. Probably too much sun. Even shirts and repeated sunscreen applications didn’t seem to stave off the slight burn I’ve got. We head home tomorrow night. I had thought about trying to get out in the early AM to cast at some peacock bass, but I think I’m going to give the fly rod the day off instead and just relax. I’m hoping to get a bit of reading done as well.
“A walk in the woods” by Bill Bryson is the book if choice right now.
Enjoy the photos! Jonny Cash was staring at me from above the urinal at the awesome restaurant, the Yardbird, so, yes, that photo was taken when you think it was taken….
The Plan was to get to long key state park in the morning to fish. This was supposed to be the place where id have the best shot at anything. That being said I had my tides flipped and it was high tide leaving sight fishing a bit more difficult….
We grabbed coffee and breakfast at a cute place called Leanne’s Coffee… something and the hit the water.
In comes Canadian Bob. This random guy floats up to me and says, “hey there. You fishing alone?”
Him: I’m looking for a fishing buddy. You want to jump in.
Me: well, my wife is sleeping in the car so we should at least tell her.
Sara ended up coming along. we were on the boat until about 4 with Bob. We saw 39 single or multiple groups of tarpon and had about 20 shots with about 8 follows. No takes. We also saw a sea turtle and we scooted around some shallows and spotted some barracuda, red drum, and snook. Caught no fish but had a great time.
We were pretty tired from all that sun afterward so we decided to take it easy for the rest of the night. We made our way back to sparkys for happy hour and live music from the former mayor of marathon who was playing selections of bob Dylan for bobs bday. Ended the night with more key lime pie and a sunset.
Tomorrow, SCUBA and possibly the Tamiami Trail.
Ps. Sorry no pics from fishing. It was all video.
We woke up early an snagged the 5 am flight to Miami by way of Charlotte and were in our rental car by 10am. We are planning on camping three nights at Curry Hammock State Park near Marathon Key followed by two more nights in Miami. With plans to explore some flats on foot as well as a few other possibilities, there is potential for some good fishing. Regardless of the fish, Sara and I never fail to make the most of the food and sites. Today we hit up an awesome mangrove surrounded place for tuna nachos and then made it to our camp site where Sara slept on the beach while I got the rust off casting at the water. No fish, but I think I’m ready now:)
Enjoy the smattering of photos while I enjoy my “Rip Roarin’ Piña Colada.”
Sara and I are officially on vacation! We are heading down to Florida tomorrow for some relaxation, food, fishing and more. On the list of things to do, 3 days of camping in the Florida Keys, fish the Tamiami trail, and spend two nights in Miami. The fishing gear is ready. Wear are packed (if by packed you mean we have talked about what we are bringing). It should be an awesome time. We will see if I post while gone. We will also see what happens with the video….. I figure there will be one whether we catch fish or not, but of course, I hope we do.
okay. good chat.
I skipped a page, but with good purpose. I might be swapping this piece in exchange for a painting by someone else. An art swap, if you will.
Here is the Brook Trout (Prosek uses the Labrador Brook Trout as his example). Brook Trout tend to be a favorite of many people. They have a jewel-like appearance with rich, complimentary colors.
I painted this one a little larger, again, just focussing on the patterns. No fins, yet.
*** This is a repost from Winona Fly Factory. I’ve copied the entire thing here for those of you who don’t want to simply follow the link. I love the Driftless Area and thought this was another awesome post and video sharing what the Driftless is all about. ***
Via: Winona Fly Factory
“The beauty and awe of the Driftless area is in part due to the numerous springs that are the primary source of our coldwater, without it we would not have the wonderful place I call home and my back yard. I am possibly one of the most fortunate people on the planet and this video will hopefully put you in my boots for a minute. My creek comes from the ground, in the world of trout streams there are very few that originate this way. Driftless Love.
Music by Winona native Mike Munson, I ran sound for his set at the Midwest Music Festival this year and this song really caught my ear, it just felt right for this video.”