Great article. I had my son out fishing with me, or me helping him fish at around age two. Initially in fish hatchery ponds in NM where a youngster with a short attention span could catch a fish. Now a medical student with degrees in engineering and mathematics, he’s a far more enthusiastic and better fly fisherman than I am and I’m very content with that. I feel like I did my job and I love seeing the results. Glad to hear you’re okay with seeing your son out fish you too.

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A Kardashian would be an important over him. I am a fan of Trump about like I am fan of your friend Tucker Carlson. If absolute truth does not matter, what do we have left? Orwell’s 1984, 1930’s Germany, etc.?

Spoken as a still teetotaling, traditional Baptist evangelical from Texas who is 70 years old today, and who fears most of my brethren and much of the country have placed their faith in and allegiance to a degenerate, immoral, lunatic liar who intends to run our country into the ground. And people are all in for it! These are not the best of times for a natural born pessimist. God help us.

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thank you for your heartfelt words, Rick

thank you for caring so much

and allow me to wish you a belated Happy Birthday

70 is young, says this natural born optimist

who is 74 going on 16

our country, also, is young

and we will come through this

we will overcome it

by continuing to be loving individuals

who will never let anyone destroy

our faith in each other

we are all blind in some ways

God help us to always be respectful

and to find the best

in those who see things differently

than we do

they need us and we need them

e pluribus unum

united we stand

so help us God

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A finer description of the toxic byte stream has not been written. I found this one particularly refreshing since I too have recently found it necessary to retreat into more personally meaningful activities and eschew my observation of the gathering storm. It's at least a temporary respite from this maddening revival of information and political depredation so infamously fine-tuned by Adolf Hitler and his cronies 100 years ago. To hide or to fight -- that is the question. Someday our sons and daughters who we love so dearly will need a Winston Churchill.

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it is up to us to prevent the war

to do that we must build the center

find common ground with each other

instead of just dissing the "ignorant" other

we are big enough to do this

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Loved this!

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“The cost of knowing things is that you then know them.”

Truer, more painful words, you will rarely see.

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so much of what we know

we wish were not so

not only because it is painful

but because with knowledge

comes responsibility

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My son is my best fishing buddy. We moved apart, him staying in Nebraska; me moving to the fishing promised land of Washington State (pick your poison! Trout, yes; Salmon, yes; Walleye and Smallmouth, YES; and even a respectable American Shad run, AND pretty much everything else).

I miss him terribly, but it is something we will always have in common, and I will always be grateful for that.

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Mar 27, 2023·edited Mar 27, 2023

Both my kids loved fishing for about five minutes. Now that they're teens, and know everything about everything, fishing is just different shades of "gross" and "stupid." Where did I go wrong...

But all I needed today was that picture of the brook trout Matt. It’s amazing what one little picture can do, right?

My two cents: Write more about fishing, and less about politics. Or really, just less about Trump. No doubt there will be plenty to say about this human skid mark in the coming months and years. But it’s for your health, and mine, and everybody else’s. The more you write about him, the more the cholesterol starts to collect in your arteries. It’s science.

The same goes for the clown car of horribles known as the Democratic leadership, and whoever is standing in the on deck circle, waiting for Tapioca Joe to, well, you know. Sheesh, can someone just get this over with and summon Chtulhu?

And from the squid-faced god back to fish. Great segue, right? Your fishing stories stir in me the need to play hooky and get my waders on, so keep ‘em coming!

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I'd probably be a happier person if I wrote every piece about fishing, Steve. Except then I'd have about ten subscribers left. All of them fly fishermen. And seven of them wouldn't bother reading it, because they'd be out fishing. So you see my predicament........

And also, writing every piece about fishing would turn fishing into work. Many years ago, an outdoors writer I greatly admired for a major newspaper hung up his spurs. They never even replaced him, since the paper is now run by bean-counters and clock-watchers and nerds who couldn't find the great outdoors if you drew them a map. Unless they were hiking the trails in between Aspen Ideas Festival panel discussions. About two years after he retired, I told him how much I missed his stuff. He didn't, he said. It was such a pleasure to head out to the marshes with his hunting dog, and without a notebook, that he felt reborn. I took that as a lesson: we can come to hate anything - even the things we love - if we're forced do too much of it.

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Mar 29, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

Well stated. Okay okay, not 100% fishing then.

Just keep writing. I'll read whatever you write. Thanks man.

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Thanks for making my day better, Matt. What a lovely tune!

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They're great, Jody. Check out that whole album.

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Everyone knows that everyone's favorite governor, the Kirkland Brand Trump, would only ban things that touch on LGBT people's experiences. Anachronistic and inappropriate references to native peoples probably wouldn't even register on his Richter scale of outrage.

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One of your best! I have mentioned that I am a failed fly fisherman. The only things guaranteed on my long ago attempts at the sport were that I would catch my fly on every bush and tree in the neighborhood, I would catch a foot on a hidden boulder and fall in the water, and that I wouldn’t catch any fish. The fish hated me and the feeling was mutual.

Your article almost make me ant to burrow far back in the innermost reaches of our hall closet and bring out the waders, vest, rod and reel and all the rest. I say almost.

I have caught rainbows using a spinning rod on a creek in Missouri and on the North Fork of the Yuba River in Northern California. I suppose using a spinning rod is only slightly better than using dynamite. To add to the disgrace I have to admit they were delicious.

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.

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Great story, Matt. I grew up catching native brook trout here in our part of Massachusetts; some of them were so vibrant, especially in their spawning colors, I can still picture them in my mind. Many of those streams still hold fish, though a number have fallen to man and beavers.

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A decent little reprieve from the cesspool, this; from ghost-indicted free-range criminals, wackos in Waco, Meatball shadows in the Sunshine State and all the rest. That Brookie origin story was a nice touch. Too bad we can't somehow swap out that whole Genesis thing with something similar for ourselves. At least we'd all be better dressed.

But of course, if it weren't for that one little bite of forbidden fruit, we'd have no need to be dressed at all, remaining happily unknowledgeable and buck naked. This whole acquiring wisdom and knowledge thing is really overrated anyway, considering that what that Ecclesiastes fellow has to say about it seems pretty spot on. And I'm not sayin' that because I'm a closet nudist. Sorrow's just a pain in the ass, whether its covered or not.

BTW...I've never caught a Brookie, but I've landed my share of Steelhead, Kings and a few Rainbows here and there. Put back about as many as I kept. Well, not the Salmon. Caught them in the fall when they were dead fish swimmin', so what I didn't keep I gave away. They were all handsome fish, but not near as gorgeous as a Brook Trout. Still, I never kissed a single one of them because, well, that's just freakin' weird, no matter how much you love the slippery devils, not to mention probably a bit unsanitary. But it's no sweat off my bare derriere if you do, since I understand that the heart just wants what it wants, all wisdom to the contrary sometimes.

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You got me beat on the Steelhead and King front. I'm still chasing those. I'm just hoping for more than a dozen (and praying for a few dozen) browns and rainbows this year. Tight lines my friend.

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And no snags, right back at ya'. :-D

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wisdom can't fathom wonder

my heart wants to be right here

hearing Matt's poetic words

and receiving the heartbeats

of you and all our flock

who are listening

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Mar 27, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

Both this essay and the music that followed were wonderful. A real tonic for my soul. As Mr. Clark noted below, my day also got measurably better. Thank you.

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Thanks for the break from The Daily News. Sounds like y’all had a blast. And by blast I mean quietude, surrounded by nature, able to chew on your own thoughts without having to swallow whole whatever chyron scrolls past just now. Fly fishing does seem like a temporary reprieve from life’s rich pageant of absurdity. As I approach late, (late!} middle age, I think I’ll think about taking it up. My past experiences at fishing taught me that I’m mostly adept at catching a buzz. (No day on the Frederick Malkus Fishing Pier is complete without a six pack. Although I did once catch a BETTER fishing pole as a kid off the causeway at Point Lookout)

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Hey Pete, I'm no Choptank River expert - I just drive over it on my way to the beach - but isn't that the Bill Burton Fishing Pier? I read they closed it due to structural issues? Maybe I have it wrong, but sad, if so. I've had so many once-trusty fishing spots compromised in the last two years, it hurts me.


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You’re right. I was conflating the bridge with the pier. That’s too bad. Very popular spot when I lived there. A lot of fond memories.

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Blessed be the fish.

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Classic Labash! Loved that your son skunked you. What a great experience for you both.

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Easy, Christine! I didn't get skunked - I caught one!

Though when you think about it, if I hadn't given up all that choice water to my son, I'd have caught eight if I'd gone solo. That's what I told him, anyway.

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Not a big deal, but in sporting vernacular, "skunked" means Matt had 0 fish. Anyone, correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe it's just an Ohio thing.

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I agree, however 7 to 1 kinda feels like a skunk and it was mostly said in jest. 😀

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