My “fishing car” (which is actually my actual car), affectionately named the “Jay Ford Thurston”, has bit the dust. It all happened in a flash after midnight over the weekend. I was asleep in my bed when I heard a knock on the door. I hoped it would go away but it didn’t, as another flurry of knocks was heard. I turned on the bedside light, looked over at my wife, then sauntered downstairs wondering what the hell I was going to find.
On my porch stood a young man. I spoke with him through the glass, asked him what he needed. He asked if that was my “car parked out there on the street?” I said yes and he said “I just ran into your car.”
We went outside to check it out. The stink of coolant was in the air. The night was chilly in my t-shirt. This dude certainly had run into my car. I figured he’d rear-ended the JFT but saw that he hit it head-on. He said he was texting. He said he’d take care of my car. We exchanged information and I went back to bed.
The next morning, here’s what I found.
The JFT took one to the chin
The car was pushed about five feet!
The texter’s airbags deployed. No one was injured.
So now the question is, will the car be totalled? Yes it will, according to the Progressive Insurance agent. I can expect to receive compensation in the amount that would allow me to buy a similar vehicle in similar condition to this 1994 Toyota Previa with 232,000 miles on it. Great.
So what do you do with that kind of money? Well, if you’re me, you look for other Previas. That’s my task now, to find another “cherry” Previa to call my own. I’ve got a few leads.
In the meantime I’ve got a late model Chrysler rental to get around in. I figured it would be great to have a new car to drive around for a while, but you know what? I don’t prefer it to my Previa. It’s not boxy-yet-aerodynamic. It certainly isn’t as roomy. The transmission is not perfectly married to the engine like it is in a Previa. It’s front wheel drive, so you can forget about spitting gravel on dirt road turns. And where in heck would I put an 8’9″ 4-wt in this rental car? How would my muddy wading boots look on that nice black carpet? Where would I put the console cooler?!
I’ll find another vehicle, fingers crossed it’s a Previa. I’ll name it Jay Ford Thurston Jr. But geez, you never forget your first Previa.
I took a little time to get out to my home waters and I didn’t see a lot of action, but there were beautiful swallows swooping all around, the trees were flowering and smelling like honey, and the air breathed crisp and fresh.
I hope you can get out to catch some trout this weekend. I’m likely to be seen on the shores of Monona Bay, chasing down a hunch overheard by my ten-year-old son at school about big bass being caught at sunrise. Hopefully I can convince him that Sunday will be the better day to fish. Saturday morning looks like rain and cold. I’d prefer to read the paper and drink my coffee in that kind of weather. But it ain’t easy to make an eager kid wait.
Last weekend Stephen Rose and I took our boys on another close-to-home road trip to see if we could find some reptiles and amphibians. Our first stop was Spring Green Prairie, a dry hillside full of Prickly Pear Cactus and, if you’re lucky, Box Turtles and Bull Snakes.
We walked along carefully, trying to spy a living creature, but didn’t have any luck. It’s a wonderful place though, with a landscape unlike any other in Wisconsin. I highly recommend you go check it out.
Our second stop was Otter Creek in the Baraboo Hills, a sure bet for frogs, creek bugs and wonderful plants. And sure enough, we found lots of frogs, lots of creek bugs, and lots of plants. I wish I knew the names of most of the things I’ve taken pictures of below, but I don’t.
Maybe my friend Stephen, or perhaps one of you, would be kind enough to post a comment if you know the name of something you see in the pictures below.
Spring is springing and it’s a great time to get out and explore.
It’s the regular season trout opener today too. For those of you heading out, good luck!
Spring Green Prairie
A Boring Insect found in a dead tree
Spring Green Prairie
Four boys in a cave, Spring Green Prairie
The Wisconsin River Valley
Boys in a big landscape
Flowers at Spring Green Prairie
Shepard at Spring Green Prairie
Prickly Pear Cactus, Spring Green Prairie
Skunk Cabbage, Otter Creek
Wildflowers at Otter Creek
Shepard at Otter Creek
Sawyer in rubber pants at Otter Creek
A frog, a trout, and a tadpole walk into a bar…
The boys share their findings at Otter Creek
A juvenile predaceous diving beetle?
A wildflower at Otter Creek
Otter Creek in the Baraboo Hills
Big frog, Little frog
Shepard checks out the “kick net” full of creek bugs at Otter Creek
What’s that? No, I haven’t been hanging out with the Rastafarians. I’m talking about the water being too high to fish.
Take a look at this picture of little Vermont Creek. Tough going if you’re a trout fisherman right now.
Vermont Creek after a month of snowmelt and rain
Even though no trout were caught, I did catch my personal best Sculpin today!
Mottled Sculpin on a wooly bugger, Vermont Creek
I have a few days of vacation that’ll expire in May unless I use them up, so every time I glanced out the window at work yesterday morning I thought to myself, “Self, it is a beautiful, sunny day outside, and it would be nice to go fishing this afternoon, out in that beautiful sunshine.”
I notified the boss-man of my intentions, called up my fishing buddy Stephen, and walked out into that sunshine at the crack of noon to go chase fish.
Stephen and I started fishing on BEC in the upper part of the drainage, but found the water a bit high and dirty, though Stephen did have a strike on his nymph.
I suggested we move to Vermont Creek to see how that trib to BEC was looking. So away we went to a nice meadow section of Vermont Creek. The water was colored but not torrential, and I felt good about our chances.
I fished a deep pool just off the road while Stephen walked a couple hundred yards downstream to find some nice bends. I didn’t have any takers for a while, but I stuck with it, roll-casting to avoid the tangles that come with false-casting in 20 mph winds. If you’re not using the roll cast as a regular part of your game, I would like to recommend that you start. Here’s a video that describes the technique well.
OK, now that you’re up to speed on the roll cast, you can paint a picture in your head of me standing in a field with a five foot wide trout stream running through it, wind whipping from right to left, and me roll casting halfway up a pool into stained moving water.
After a few dozen casts my biostrike indicator twitched. I lifted the rod tip and felt a pull, stripping in line to take up a little slack. I tried to strip more line in to raise the fish, but it wouldn’t come up. I held the line against my rod grip with my right index finger while my left hand reeled in the loop of line between my reel and my right hand. I now had the fish “on my reel”, so I could play it using the drag clutch on my reel. And to my surprise, it ran away with some line, making my reel buzz. It didn’t run far, maybe only ten feet, back and forth in the deepest part of the pool. But what fun it is to get a fish on the line in a little creek that has the power to take some line off your spool!
I hollered at Stephen that I had a nice fish on!!! And he walked back upstream while I played the fish enough to get it to rise. It was a nice fish. Not a monster. Not a twenty-incher. But a nice fish, bigger than most you’ll catch day after day in little spring creeks.
I scooped it up and posed for a photo. The best trout I’ve held since last March. Hopefully there’ll be more, and if I dare to dream, hopefully there’ll be bigger too.
Vermont Creek Brown, Sixteen and one half inches
Sunday, by all accounts, was a day everyone should have stayed inside. It was 34° and raining. A friend of mine cleaned out his gutters on Sunday, so I suppose you could do worse than taking a hike through the woods.
That’s where our troop was, tromping through the woods enjoying the sights and having a good time.
I hope you enjoy the photos!
Skillet Creek runs through the gorge at Pewitt’s Nest
Pewitt’s Nest pine bough
Water drips off the limestone at Pewitt’s Nest
A crew of buddies in the woods at Pewitt’s Nest
Shepard on the slide at Pewitt’s Nest
Sawyer on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest
Bode on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest
Heron and Joe on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest
Bracket Fungi reaching for the sky at Pewitt’s Nest
The work of large woodpeckers was everywhere at Pewitt’s Nest