60 Miles, 1 River, 1 Friend

60 Miles, 1 River, 1 Friend

So, my best buddy from high school built a house nearby a few years ago.  It was awesome news.  I envisioned hanging out late night when he was in town and reliving old memories revolving around quotes from Fletch and Caddyshack.  With him living thousands of miles away, this news was well-received and plans were made (in my head at least) for endless nights and days of fun.  The band was getting back together. Then reality hit.  When people build a second home and spend their vacation times in the same place, they create their own existence in that place.  And that means it doesn’t always include you.  It means they will have their dinner parties with visiting friends or locals they know better than you. The band, it turned out, wouldn’t have as many gigs as I thought. In February, after another one of his visits where we didn’t hang out much came and went, he put his foot down: “I am coming back this spring and we are going fishing.  Pick the dates.”  That was welcome news, of course, and I quickly chose my favorite time of year in Montana–late April/early May.  As the time approached, the four days of fishing was still undecided–where would we go?–and I needed to put the search in high gear.  What is a perfect four-day fish? Their are several answers to that question in Montana, thankfully, but only one really good answer that time of year–the vaunted Smith River.  If you haven’t seen or floated or fished or kayaked or canoed the Smith River, please do it.  This river is well-known...
Being Lousy Again (or…why do I need to spey cast?)

Being Lousy Again (or…why do I need to spey cast?)

Fly casting was once my biggest passion.  Learning new casts and trying them over and over again was so much fun.  I can remember spending an off-season in Los Angeles (Pasadena to be specific) and it was quite tough.  Thankfully I was chilling with my best friend, but even my job at Bob Marriott’s Fly Fishing Store–then the largest fly fishing store in the world–wasn’t enough to feed my fishing jones.  I missed Montana and the large rivers it called home. The best part of living in Pasadena (outside the great times with friends) was spending my days off casting on the grounds of the venerable Rose Bowl.  Despite the fact the Rose Bowl is home to the UCLA Bruins (my least favorite college team), it is an awesome place.  The grounds around the stadium are strewn with joggers, people enjoying casual family days and the occasional lurker.  And during that winter, there was one forlorn angler practicing his fly cast for hours on end. I am still just an average fly caster, but that winter was tremendous because it put me back in school.  I was only a little over a year out of college, but I missed the learning.  This gave me the chance to try and hit targets far and near with a variety of casts.  To this day, I don’t think anglers spend enough time casting without water.  The incessant obsession to catching fish is too powerful a force to put aside for a moment in favor of a docile practice session. The result of that winter was that I returned to Montana a much better and...
The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

Fly fishing is tough and anyone who tells you differently is misleading you.  While it is my passion and passion of many of my peers, it is not the easiest sport/hobby to learn, let alone master.  In fact, the barrier to entry in fly fishing has been one of its most difficult obstacles to growth.  While A River Runs Through It captured the mystic of the pasttime and the River Why captured some of its romance, very few books have been able to make it easier to learn.  And countless have tried. But if you look back to 1978, you might just find the best attempt yet to spread the gospel of fly fishing and it was a 48 page hand-drawn book on learning how to fly fish called Curtis Creek Manifesto: A Fully Illustrated Guide to the Strategy, Finesse, Tactics, and Paraphernalia of Fly Fishing by Sheridan Anderson. For the record, I have gifted this book more than any in my life.  And I have done so for two reasons–one, to encourage a friend or family member to learn how to fly fish; and two, because it is fascinating to watch people’s expression after you give them a hand-drawn book on how to fish.  The first look from them usually denotes the following comment: “what am I, 12?”  And that look is priceless, because they don’t know I just handed them something incredibly elegant and profound. You see, to learn anything new, you have to start with the basics.  If you want to build a website, don’t start reading about Ruby on Rails or Javascript.  That may (or may not) come later. At...
Fishing With An Outlaw

Fishing With An Outlaw

Last week I was, fortunately, in the Bahamas on a fishing trip. That’s the good news. The even better news is that on my first day of the trip I was paired up with Josie Sands—the most notorious fishing guide at Andros South. Josie is, quite frankly, a heck of a fishing guide. He works hard, he teaches throughout the day and you feel like a better angler after fishing with Josie. All of those are must haves for a fishing guide, in my opinion. A fishing guide’s role isn’t to affirm you are a good angler—he or she exist to motivate you to be a better one.  And to push you just enough to be better than before. Much has been written about Josie Sands.  His demeanor is that of a loving father–who wants you to take the task at hand seriously.  He doesn’t pander…he doesn’t care about your ego.  He cares about catching fish. Much like my own father, he is quiet, but smart–and he wants you to conquer bonefishing. The lists of things learned from hanging out with Josie are numerous, but here are a few universal principles the mad guide of Andros taught me. Slow down when faced with your opportunity. When the time came to cast to the biggest fish of the day (and what could have been my biggest bonefish ever), I rushed to cast to the fish. Get the line out faster…cast now!  Instead, as Josie told me after I completely ruined my opportunity, what I needed to do was slow down and let the action come to me. In fact, the fish was...
Fishing The Concrete Abyss

Fishing The Concrete Abyss

I am from LA. And I liked to fish when I lived there. But even I had no idea, nor any inkling of a possible idea, that anglers would ever cast a fly into the LA River. This reminds of the times in my youth where I would ask my father “Are there fish in there?” at every site of a lake or river.  My dad always answered, “If there is water, there are probably fish.”  Maybe that’s why I love fish (and fishing) so much…give the creatures a bit of water and they will be there.  Even in the LA River. I only wished when I crossed it hundreds of times in my youth, I would have thrown a line.  But maybe that would have kept me from moving to Montana (doubtful)! This does go to show that there are hidden markets everywhere–even for urban concrete river fishing. L.A. River Fishing from Meghan Mccarty on Vimeo. Sign Up For Updates: Hit us with your email and stay in touch...we never share it (but we do share great...
Find Your Muse (and Why He Might Be in Lake Elmo, MN)

Find Your Muse (and Why He Might Be in Lake Elmo, MN)

As you might know (or, hopefully, not) I just started cranking on this whole blog deal after a long hiatus.  It has been really fun and I do appreciate you stopping by.  But, like all startups, I have been curious as to how to grow my audience.  Now, I am in marketing, but usually behind a brand and not myself.  I know have to read about how to grow my own audience.  And it is quite fun. So…back to the story.  I read this article about how to drive new readers and it referenced the age-old wisdom of finding your muse.  It seemed so easy…just like when placing a ad or writing catalog copy, write for someone.  Now this could be an archetype or could be an actual person. In situations like this, I would consider picking a person.  Not an amalgamation of a person, but someone–some dude or some woman.  Stephen King reportedly wrote all of his novels for his wife…he didn’t care what everybody else thought.  If she like it, that’s all he needed.  And, I do believe Mr. King went on to sell quite a few books.  Just sayin’. So I looked long and hard and there he was.  Robert Hawkins.  It was quite easy.  He is someone I know well, he is smart and he looks for advise on all sorts of things for his shop, Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.  It helps that Robert is a buddy and it does seem weird to think of him as my muse, but also comforting because I know how to speak to Robert.  And I...