Summer to Fall to Winter

Summer is long gone. Autumn is fading quickly. Winter is breathing down the back of your neck. The mornings are cold enough that you need to start scraping the ice off your windshield again. It snowed pretty hard for a while this afternoon, then abruptly it stopped and the sky opened back up again. Just Mother Nature giving us a tease of things to come. I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly ready for when it sets in. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I was ready for winter up here in the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, winter isn’t all bad; steelhead fishing, stripers, visiting fam for the holidays. It has its moments. Still, spring is my favorite season and summer and fall aren’t far behind. Winter, you’re cool and all, but someone has to be last.

Thinking back on a fun summer, exploring with friends, new and old. I got to see some awesome things, and bask in the natural beauty.  I feel like my soul is drained a bit in the winter, only to be recharged in the life of a late June evening, with green drakes flying around me like ephemeral pixies, little Tinkerbells so delicate you’d think they were made of dreams. When the light fades, the last thing you can see before darkness is a large white triangle, my smile competing with the stars for the limelight.

I think In the coming weeks I’m going to post a few of the summers adventures I never got around to posting.

Here was a fun one. My friends Michael and Lara came up for a visit. (btw if you’re ever in the bay area, they have an amazing Cuban restaurant, La Bodeguita Del Medio, I highly recommend visiting.)  They wanted to do some trout fishing. Unfortunately the water on the river was very low and warm, so I told them we would probably have to change up gears from normal trout fishing. Owning a restaurant I asked them if they liked to cook and eat panfish. They told me they had never had any. Well, we had to change that.  We had a spot nearby full of the invasive invaders and they were needing to be culled a bit.  The green sunfish is one of the smaller sunfish, but these were well fed and very healthy for their species.  They’re also quite beautiful. They almost remind me of a miniature peacock bass.

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We didn’t have a stringer, but a fresh willow branch substituted very nicely. After a fun sight fishing session, we quickly had a brace ready to be fried.

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I gave them a Virginian panfish recipe passed down to me from Dave Stanley. They sent me some photos from later that night. I’m thinking it probably tasted pretty dang good.

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It was a hot afternoon, so it seemed only rational to make a cocktail. Michael had brought some rum, I had a few mexican Sprites (no high fructose corn syrup) and some ice. All we needed was a little fresh spearmint and we’d have some fresh mojitos. Fortunately for us, in the summer mint grows in the wild up here almost like a weed. Any soft, loamy soil near the bank of a river, with maybe some shade should have plenty.  I knew a few places that should have some nice sprigs, hopefully not too wilted from the summer heat.

examining the pickings…

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“not bad, not bad at all”

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Considering Michael ran a Cuban bar and restaurant, I figured I’d let him take the lead on mixing, although I do make a pretty mean mojito if I do say so myself.  After I cleaned off the mint, Michael went to work. Yep, they were pretty dang good, especially on a hot summer afternoon.

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Once we were re-hydrated, it seemed only rational to try and get some more fishing in. We’d take a little drive and go do some bass fishing before it got too late in the day.

In short order Lara got her first bass on a fly rod.  It was a monster really…

ok maybe not…

Still a fish is a fish

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Her second fish wasn’t quite so tiny…

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They insisted I grab my rod and get into the action

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yep, summer, I’m gonna miss you again…

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