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Month: October 2012

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Tom Keer 10/12/2012 v Which means that kids are well aware that Halloween is coming up. My kids are at the age where they aren’t as interested in the candy as they are in the festivities and that got me thinking: isn’t Halloween a lot […]

Relishing a Relic

Relishing a Relic

Andy Whitcomb 10/12/2012 A friend sent me this photo of a fossilized fish in a museum. Even if there were anglers around to cast for this beast, the wire leader had yet to be invented so I’m sure any battle would have been short-lived. Amazingly, […]

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

The fall brings about wonderful changes in every part of the country. Where I live I see the most profound changes, with maples, birches, alders, and hickories becoming vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Many people come from all over the country to watch the leaves turn, and I can’t blame ‘em. I like to get a closer view of them along my favorite streams and rivers.

The trout that I catch are as colorful as the leaves. My favorites are the spawning brook trout. Their worm-like markings are jet black, and depending on their gender, they’ll have either bright red or bright yellow bellies. Their in-season light-green backs become dark, and they have wonderful light blue and red dots. For natural beauty, the brook trout are tough to beat. I think of them as the sugar maples of the river.

Rainbows get the reddish hue on their gill plates, and a similarly colored line continues all the way down their sides. Their bellies turn a different shade, too, and it is a golden yellow or orange hue. Their background color is green which makes their black spots all the more pronounced. ‘Bows are sort of a combination of maples and birches, with a little evergreen thrown in for good measure.

The browns have bright red spots that contrast sharply with their other pitch black markings. Their skin turns a unique buttery-brown color. They’re not as flashy as the brookies, and the brown trout are muted and stately, sort of like an oak.

Air temperatures are still warm, but I can feel the water rushing against my waders carrying a little chill. It’s what makes the trout hit so aggressively and the brookies and the rainbows so acrobatic. They know that Old Man Winter is around the corner, so they pull out all the stops. The high point is landing a pretty trout while a bunch of colorful leaves float down the river.

It won’t be long before all the leaves are down, which is about when the trout start to go dormant for the winter. But in terms of ending with a bang, the fall is absolutely the best way to do it.


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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.

Bridge Night

Bridge Night

Andy Whitcomb 10/12/2012 Recently, I learned that October 20th is National Bridge Day. Fortunately, this is recognition of the potential fish structure and not the dull couple’s card game. A bridge is not just a means to get to a fishing location; if it spans […]

Black Cats

Black Cats

Andy Whitcomb 10/12/2012 Halloween images typically include various night dwelling creatures such as owls, bats, and black cats. But I would like to nominate the catfish to this infamous list. There is no solidly colored “black catfish,” but the black bullhead and the male channel […]

Being a True Fishing Mentor

Being a True Fishing Mentor

A few days ago, I went and fished a section of the South Platte River in Colorado that’s now called the “Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area.” I hadn’t been able to bring myself there to fish for several years. You see, I knew Charlie Meyers when he was the outdoors editor of the Denver Post. He was a mentor and friend. We wrote the Little Red Book of Fly Fishing together. We actually fished this water fairly often as we worked on that book. And when he passed away a few years ago, it was a huge deal; Colorado felt so highly of Charlie that it named the fabled “Dream Stream” section of the South Platte in his honor. But I couldn’t go back there and cast a line without a little prodding.

The impetus finally came from my friend Scott Willoughby, who has taken over Charlie’s spot as the outdoors voice of the Denver Post (I might add, with considerable aplomb). Scott was gracious and wrote a nice story on the Meyers connection that appears in the paper this week. But the “behind-the-scenes” tale is that the more I hung out with Scott, the more I realized some uncanny similarities.

We were both cub reporters with a lot of initiative, but little experience when Charlie found us. We were both legitimate outdoorsmen, but we were writers first and foremost. On two different tracks, Charlie found the time and made the effort to attach himself to each of us. He brought both of us along on our own schedules. And now, though Charlie is gone, those tracks often come together.

When we think of “mentoring” in a fishing context, we naturally think about a father or grandfather taking a young boy or girl to the lake or river. And that is, no doubt, a wonderful thing. But being a fishing mentor isn’t necessarily tied to bloodlines, nor is it confined to certain ages. In Charlie’s case, he mentored thousands of people, some he never knew, through his work. And in Scott’s case and mine, he took a couple eager reporters under his wing and showed us everything he knew, no holds barred.

There’s not a story, nor a blog post, I write today where I don’t at least think for a slight moment how Charlie might comment on that issue, or how he might turn the phrase. The star might be gone, but I feel the warmth on my back, and am proud to make a shadow.

Being a fishing mentor can yield results in ways and shapes you might never imagine, and it can happen with anyone. Do yourself and the fishing world a favor, and find out how that happens. Maybe you’ll be around to see the seeds of your effort bear fruit. Maybe not. In either case, the ultimate reach and result of fostering the fishing ideal in one or two eager learners will extend far beyond your wildest imagination.

I am living proof of that.


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Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

5 Tips for Cleaning Up Your Boat

5 Tips for Cleaning Up Your Boat

Tom Keer 10/11/2012 The end of the boating season always brings about mixed emotions. Knowing that we’re going to haul our boats and get them ready for storage means we’re not heading out on the water any time soon, and that just stinks. There is […]

Connection Detection

Connection Detection

Andy Whitcomb 10/9/2012 I love when a fish hits so hard that it almost jars the rod out of your hands. But more often, a strike is tricky to detect. Even “power fishing” tournament pros, reeling in a wobbling crank bait, seem to have difficulty […]

The Over/Under: Fishing and Boating vs Other Sports

The Over/Under: Fishing and Boating vs Other Sports

October not only toes the 50-yard line of football season, it’s also the middle of youth soccer season, the end of baseball season, the start of basketball season, a great time to hit the trails for a run, a hike or a bike ride, and a picture-perfect month for a golf game. With these and many other sports options, everyone has a lot of choices for being active. So, why should someone choose boating and fishing?

Well, here’s a playful yet informative way to answer that question.

As you look for ways to relax and unwind from the day-to-day grind, we recommend considering the minimal cost, ease, accessibility, and enjoyment of fishing and boating. Join the 83 million Americans who went boating and the 46 million who went fishing last year. In fact, take a friend, a family member, or even your teammates.


Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.

Fishing from a Kayak

Fishing from a Kayak

Kirk Deeter 10/3/2012 A kayak can change your entire outlook on fishing, and open up a new world of opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you live near the ocean shore or an inland pond, a kayak can be the ultimate fishing ride. They’re stealthy. You […]