Tag: Fishy Kid

Get them started fishing. The younger the better.

I’m not sure whether it was the lack of video game consoles, the un-structured playtime (i.e. playdate what?) or the fact that Al Gore hadn’t yet taken the initiative in creating the internet, but when I was young we spent most of our free time outside. Fishing was very, very high on the list of activities. It presented challenge, competition, and a harmless direction for the expenditure of allowance dollars. No adult types asked any questions.

There is no doubt in my mind that it stuck. I still fish every chance I get, albeit only with fly gear now. That, in turn, has led to my looking at the household budget with flies and lines at the top of the non-discretionary list. Nobody is asking any question, still. And while I don’t have children of my own (a debate on that particular point may well lean towards the general benefit to mankind of not having my progeny walking the Earth after I’m gone), most of my friends do. Those friends, for the most part, fish as well, and many of them are already getting their kids started.

Remember these little tykes? They’re not only fishing – they’re getting publicized (see here and here)! Those boys are six and four, respectively, and I doubt their barely two-year old sister is far behind. Pete McDonald’s little gal is out on the boat, and her favorite word is “fishy”! My personal fly tying instructor David Luna has been taking his boy out fishing too. Little Diego is 3 1/2 years old, and I’ve heard he can already outcast me. I love it.

I’ve got a point here, but I just can seem to get to it. Oh yea…get them started fishing! And the younger the better! They’ll be happier, healthier, more full of wonder. Teach them about catch and release – they’ll quickly grasp the idea of conservation that way – kill only what you plan on eating. And show them how to cook fish too. (Editor’s quick-note: Don’t ever engage in cooking a trout, wrapped in bacon, in the Desolation Wilderness, when there’s a bear alert on. Trust me on this one.)

You don’t need expensive equipment, and you certainly don’t need to start off fly fishing on day one either (goodness knows I don’t need the competition). Just get them out there, and do brag about the fun. Fishy Kid, an organization created by two very fishy (in a good way) dads to promote the idea, is running their Three Months of Summer Fishing Contest right now. That’s as good a place as any to show off what your kids are doing with a rod n’ reel in hand, and they might even win some sweet gear to boot.

MG signing off (still full of wonder, just with a never-dwindling supply of smack-talking capability)

What does fly-fishing mean to you?

To me fly-fishing means…

  • Friendship: I love fishing with my friends because I get a chance to pummel them into submission, and hoot and holler a lot. At their expense, of course.
  • Method: Fly-fishing is the only form of angling you should consider, and my casting, water reading, and fighting skills are par excellence. Or at least that’s what I’ve got people believing.
  • Accountability: Exchanging flies is the ultimate form of camaraderie. I have an extremely fine selection which I will let you pick from, but I’m damn good with numbers. Each will cost you a pilsner.
  • Conservation: The river is running kinda low and clear, the tide is doubled up, and the wind is awfully light. The fish will be spooky, so save your gas. I’ll go scouting for you.

I suspect most anglers will not possess my clarity of thought (read: utterly selfless mindset resulting in infinite nirvana), but Ted Nugent’s adopted little brother is running a contest to see who might be worthy of carrying a brand new LL Bean 5-weight on their next business junket. Just tell Ben Rioux what fly-fishing means to you. You won’t achieve my level of self-actualization, but you might wind up with some fresh new gear.

On a similar note, Fishy Kid also started a writing contest a few weeks back. All kids (not you, Teasdale) have to do is answer the age old young question..

Why are the outdoors and spending time on the water so important to you?

..and a hot as Talledega pavement fishing canoe could be yours (after you tell your kid you didn’t take my advice to conserve gasoline during those bad conditions).

Forget slaving over the vice…get ready for spring with your keyboard or pen!

MG signing off (to write something worthwhile…just kidding)

Everyone can be a Fishy Kid

You cast. You catch. You land. You smile.

You color. You lobby. You lose. And you still smile.

This afternoon I checked the mail, and smiled yet again.

A pile of schwag compliments of the folks at FishyKid.org.

Included in the consolation package was a piece of Buff headwear, a Moffitt Angling System, a copy of Rivers of a Lost Coast, and a bunch of sweet stickers. All I can say is…thanks Cameron and Kevin.

MG signing off (to brush up on my coloring skills for the next contest)

Get Out The Vote Drive For The Fishy Kid Adult Coloring Contest

FishyKidThe Fishy Kid Adult Coloring Contest voting is now underway. There were twelve finalists out of more than forty entries, and they represent the finest that the flyfishing art world has to offer. I’ll bet you didn’t even know there was a flyfishing art world, and I’ll toss an almost onto that last statement just to be safe. And believe you me, this is about being safe.

Many contestants will ultimately rely on pure coloring skill to garner votes. However, yours truly knows how the game is played, so I hired the law firms of Jones Day, Greenberg Traurig, Duane Morris, Fulbright & Jaworski, AND Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to review the contest rules. These powerhouses of the legal world have determined that what I’m saying is within the bounds of said rules – in other words, I’m going to push the envelope as far as I can. You, my constituents, wouldn’t expect anything less!

My entries are the finest in the world (debatable, but bear with me – this is a campaign speech for goodness sakes). It might be hard to believe, but the Made in America moniker, when combined with international diplomacy (and the fact that I accidentally got two entries slipped into the contest), means winning is pure destiny. It is undeniable, although whether I actually need a new Osprey backpack is subject to speculation. Nevertheless, if you vote for me I promise to…

[cue Cheshire Cat grin]

  • Give you a big hug when I see you; or
  • Buy you a beer sometime between now and June 30, 2014; or
  • All of the above.

Fair is fair. And all’s fair in love, war, and adult coloring contests. Hell, I even talked to Diebold about tweaking their voting machine software (at least until I found out Fishy Kid was using another vendor). You gotta give me an “A” for effort. And that means…

Vote Early. Vote Often. Vote Michael Gracie!

MG signing off (to hire some K-Street lobbyists, or maybe become one himself)

Fishy Kid says get your Gauguin going

Fishy Kid, the coloring contest collaboration by Cameron Mortenson and Kevin Powell, is coming to a close soon. There are plenty of great prizes available for the kiddies, and the adults haven’t been forgotten either. That’s right – adults can participate too!

In certain circles I’m not considered an adult, but I decided to enter anyway. Knowing my drawing skills wouldn’t pass muster in even the Age 1-5 category, I tossed in some international flair hoping for originality points…

Canada  Chile  New Zealand  United States

The series is entitled Hot Spots, and after toiling for hours I know I it’s my ticket to fame – I’m certain to be regarded as the George Seurat of the fly fishing art world. That does not, however, mean you can’t take the Monet, Cezanne, or Renior slots. You can check out all the competition here.

The contest closes to new entries on November 30, so get cracking Van Gogh.

MG signing off (to send out invitations for my upcoming Edgar Degas look-alike party)

I believe the world would be a better place with more kids fly fishing

Hark back to days of yore

Transport for youthLast year’s model DG, equipped with the Tuff wheels and long cranks, was the neighborhood’s standard-issue implement for the attainment of glory. A three foot by two foot piece of weathered plywood propped against spare cinder blocks, in a driveway cleared by the adults for jump hour, drew challengers from far and wide (or at least within an earshot of their own front doors). The queue would form along the runway, most onlookers determined to outdo the prior contestant. There would be cheers and jeers, and maidens would swoon. Then some spoiled punk (who’s parents owned a persistently bankrupt parking lot resurfacing business) would show up in a shiny new gold FMF and momentarily steal the show with a single, perfectly executed table-top maneuver. We knew that’s all he had, but we’d feign impression, and then like clockwork the crowd would disperse.

To go fishing

South FloridaThose BMX bikes could fly, then so could the casts. The knobbies would morph utilitarian, carrying bands of brothers (and the much welcomed, curious sisters) across plots of land that would later, much later, be labeled suburban sprawl. To a dark canal, constructed in the duality of road fill and flood control, and home to freshwater shrimps and a lifetime supply of pet turtles. Or a lesser known, sparsely hyacinth-ed pond, tucked away behind a seldom used stable, an electrified fence, and the occasional moo-cow. And misplaced, juvenile alligators.

Our adventures were always enveloped in discovery. We’d cross paths with red and yellow rat snakes, and if really lucky, a king snake. On the travels back all the better, a new found addition to converted aquariums (after all, it just didn’t seem right holding fish captive). A pile of discarded wood fencing often held scorpions, and we were certainly not afraid of them. They’d be harassed and harangued for an amusing dance, and some fool would always be carrying one of mom’s Bell jars to guarantee an “A” at school show-n-tell. Spotting a panther, preferably a black one, would capture our hearts and our minds for a moment as fleeting as the cat’s own legs. The end-game was fishing.

Boxes contained but a few token baits, and leaders were an item valued in terms of the number of lawns one had to mow to afford them. Nevertheless, fish were always caught. Call it a benefit of the fish’s own lack of education back then, but it reminds this angler that he probably has more flies that he needs now. And has taken too much for granted.

I would not trade the memories of my youth, growing up an outdoors person at heart, for the world. Well, maybe the world, at which point I could do whatever I want and promptly renege. However, I’d be amiss by saying those days are gone forever – they most certainly are not. I stand by the water (probably more often than I should), feeling all too fortunate, but making the best attempts possible to remind myself that it wasn’t just luck. My soul was shaped by my youthful endeavors, a fervent appreciation for the outdoors taking center stage in my life as a result. Being charming, handsome, and a self-aggrandizing but undeniably superb a decent angler? That was luck.

fishy kidA fabulous endorsement of youth

Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto and Kevin Powell of Red Dirt Studio have joined forces to create Fishy Kid:

Fishy Kid was inspired by two fathers who enjoy the sport of fly fishing and want to do our part in passing along the virtues of the outdoors to our children as well as to families within the online angling community.

Mr. Mortenson expounds:

The first project for Fishy Kid is a children’s coloring book and contest with over 30 pages from premier angling artists such as Derek DeYoung, Jeff Kennedy, A.D. Maddox, Kevin Powell, Paul Puckett, Kirk Werner, Bob White, and Mark Yuhina. This coloring book is quite impressive and so good that when we’re done with the children’s coloring contest we’re going to run an adult contest too. Sharpen up those crayon and colored pencils since I’ve already got a couple of cool prizes lined up.

At first blush, cute. On second pass, genuine, and brilliant. Start them young, and while full of wonder.

When I heard about these gentlemen’s efforts it instantly reminded me of a humid summer day by that first dark canal. My own father handed me a old bamboo rod and beat up reel. The first course wasn’t a fly but a bread ball. It was fruitful – I caught my first fish ever, a bluegill. Everyone has points in their life they would soon soon forget, particularly from childhood, myself included. But this introduction has remained etched in my mind, brilliantly technicolor, defying my age. Defining me now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can hardly wait to see what beautiful creations the children of Fishy Kids cook up, and with hopes they fulfill some of those dreams at the water’s edge. Brought there on a DG bike.