Sep 29, 2013

Personal Space, Who Needs It

We're in the waning days of my work assignment in China. The final count down hasn't started yet, but I'm trying to change my returning move date from "between Thanksgiving and Christmas" to... you know... an actual date we can count down to. Taking some time off from Lunkerhunt has been nice - so nice in fact that I'm not sure I'll write any more posts after this one.

Part of the reason there hasn't been much activity is the fishing has been far from excellent. At best, I haven't been able to crack the code. At worst, there are no fish. I've been able to play around a few times with these little guys, but I haven't found anything else.



Those little fish are actually somewhat challenging to catch. They live in the still canal waters around my home and find a way to act spooky and aggressive simultaneously. I won't bore you with the details because the best fishing stories aren't about fish and only slightly about fishing. So here are four good fishing stories not about fish.

Part I: Hanky Panky
Across the canal, at distance of around 30ft, a young couple sat down on the park bench and started to cuddle. That alone isn't surprising, the parks around here are full of young love snuggling on park benches and blankets. After a while I noticed these two were snuggling pretty "aggressively." At first I tried to divert my eyes, but by the time they rounded second base I couldn't stop staring. These two were going at it on a park bench in the middle of the city.

Whenever other people walked past, the lovers would take a break but the foreign guy fishing 30 feet away was no deterrent. I might have seen a nipple if his hand wasn't palming her breast like a basketball. Things were on pace to go much farther, but the fun ended when another couple set up shop on the adjacent bench.



Part II: Nature Calls
In this city, the government employs workers to clean streets and sidewalks. There seems to be someone assigned to each block and they tend to be older people and they wear a uniform of blaze orange. The guy assigned to my fishing area is really old and really bald, he walks hunched over and works hard nearly every day. I feel a certain amount of respect for this guy, and a certain amount of pity.

While fishing the same spot I described in part one, I heard the distinct sound of flatulence coming from across the canal to my right. I looked over and there was the worker in his bright orange jacket with his orange pants around his ankles. He was amongst some brush, but the only thing that blended in with the background was his bare ass, which was noticeably not white. He'd apparently had some cheap Mexican food for lunch.

So there he squatted for a few minutes, looking directly at me as I fished and he shit. We both had something interesting to tell our wives that night. He saw the "laowai" fly fishing, and I saw the man doing that which ought not be done in public.



Part III: Spectators
Being a laowai means you get a certain amount of extra attention all the time. For example, people take our picture while we're grocery shopping and the gossip mill at work seems to focus mostly on the personal lives of foreigner workers. If you put a fly rod in the hands of a laowai you'll see the attention level ratchet up a notch, people will stop and watch - usually from a distance and usually for a long time. It's just honest curiosity and it doesn't bother me much... usually.

While fishing once, a passerby stopped to watch me fish. Not an unusual act by itself, but this guy stood right next to me. I mean close enough to hold my hand or smell my farts despite the breeze. He didn't say a word and neither did I, we just stood side-by-side for about 20 minutes. I fished and he watched me. I took an awkward step away, and he followed.



Part IV: Electric Boogaloo
I wasn't fishing, just walking and happened to see a guy with two long bamboo poles walking along the canal. He had a homemade backpack made of sheet metal, it was about 2 feet tall and 6 inches deep. This time curiosity grabbed me and I became the spectator.

On the end of one pole he had a big metal spike, and on the other he had a metal kitchen strainer. Each pole had a wire connected to two car batteries in his backpack. The spike and strainer were the electrodes. He would dip the rods into the water and scoop the stunned fish with the strainer. He then dumped the fish in a bucket and walked about 10ft down the bank to do it again. Even this guy was only catching the little ones, so I felt better about my inability to find big fish.

May 10, 2013

A Brief History of Forks and Reels

It's been well over a year since I moved to China and shuttered the windows at Lunkerhunt world headquarters. You're probably excited about finally reading something witty, but I'm sorry to say this is a history lesson. Something to remember until next week's trivia night at Marge's Cue 'n Brew.

Fishing here is still nothing to write home about, so I won't. This post is about fishing history, with a side of silverware.

Recently someone told me the Chinese people invented the fork. For reasons known only to Buddha, Confucius and Mao, they decided to use chopsticks instead. So I spent today's lunch hour doing some internet research to confirm the statement. Results are mixed, it was either the Chinese or the Egyptians, maybe both - but I digress.

While researching I stumbled upon this page about Chinese inventions, which is extremely interesting for a guy like me. Before China started copying things, they were hard at work inventing things. Legitimate world changing inventions. Stuff like printing, cast iron, steel, gun powder, paper and the compass. In the list something piqued my interest:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, who no doubt stole it from someone else.

The above image is of Ma Yuan's Angler on a Wintry Lake, circa 1195 AD. The painting is significant because it is the earliest known depiction of a fishing reel. Chinese people invented the fishing reel. Interesting, no?

It reminds me of a picture I uploaded to Facebook last year. I don't remember the caption, I'm sure it was priceless...something like "Screw Tenkara, this is the new old way to break off a fish."

In comparing the two specimens, I find not much changed in 800 years.

"Short and stout wears 'em out"


Feb 19, 2012

Turn out the Lights. The Party's Over.

They say that all good things must end.
Call it a night. The party's over.
And tomorrow start the same old thing again.

In this world of fiber optics and instant gratification, eighteen months seems a long time to shutter the door at Lunker Hunt global headquarters. If you consider the same duration in reference to your lifespan...well, it's not such a long time after all.  My wife and I have decided to spend that amount of our life embarked on an adventure sure to excite and terrify in equal parts.




A few months ago we were knocked off balance with an option to move, but we're hitting our stride once again. Uncertainty will be certain in our lives from this day forth, of that much I'm sure.
It is a brief moment in time really. Lengthy enough to expand our world view, develop new friendships and provide a story for the twilight years. Short enough to miss little back home and enable stepping back into "real life" at full speed - by then, all the more stronger.

And when this next party is over we will look back, appreciate the amazing opportunity and set sights on the next big thing. Until that day, my friends, when we meet again.

Jan 29, 2012

Salt Crystals Sparkled on Your Sole


You became a bit of a novelty...a conversation piece at times, but you had a special place in my heart and mind. You always will. Standing between you and shoe heaven was a simple decision to act, a switch in my head.

Once clicked, the switch can not be reconnected and I undertake such thoughts solemnly.


 We were young when we first met. I, a high school sophomore, and you still in a box - fresh off the slow boat from Asia. I was starting track and needed practice shoes. My parents obliged. The early years were filled with highs and lows. You helped me through grueling ladder runs but I always ditched you ahead the gun...and glory...in favor of flashy pink and white sprinter's spikes.

Always there for me, nonjudgmentally on the infield and an excuse to catch my breath.




Then came college and we really hit our stride. You took me to the rec for jogging, weights and wallyball. We went down to college street and helped "take the strip." We cheered the Salukis before Coaches Weber and Kill got paid for Big 10 upgrades. You strolled across the prettiest campus in the world. You saw me through it all and I apologize for getting sick on you...twice.

We learned about life together. We learned about love.


One day much later, a pair of Adidas came and took your place. No big deal, you were having a rough time keeping up and needed a slower life. Still stretching your laces behind the mower and odd jobs from time to time. You knew my foot well and I need not untie you...ever.

All summer long you wore a grass stain proudly. In winter salt crystals sparkled on your sole.


 Today I flicked the switch, you successor has been succeeded and shit rolls down hill you know. I held it back as long as possible but you are not even slippers now. They'll pick you up before first light at the curb. Fifteen years is a pretty good run but...

I'm sorry it couldn't last forever.

Jan 26, 2012

Sunfish Identification, Know Your Stuff?

A dude named Wayne shot me an e-mail recently. He was building a sunfish identification quiz and was interested in using some pictures of mine. After I saw his work I got excited about being included in such a project and granted immediate permission. Click here to take the sunfish quiz, it ain't easy but you'll learn a couple things...and no, I will not tell you how poorly I scored.



Next he needs to build a quiz to help me keep remember how to ID stripers, whites and "wipers."