Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflections for 2009 The Good Bad and Ugly

Well here we are. 2009 is just about over, and what a year it has been. If I could sum it up with one word it would have to be "Hysteria" (behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess). Emotional excess being the key part of that definition. For me emotions ran wild during 2009.
It started with some ice fishing in January. I was working over 70 hours a week and pulling double shifts. I would go in at 4:00 A.M. work til 4:00 P.M. go ice fish for a couple hours and work til midnight and do it all over again the next day. It was tiresome but I am always told by older and wiser people "your young, you can do it." Well I did it until I was permenantly laid off in February.

I took up fly tying in the winter to add another weapon to my fishing arsenal. Talk about getting addicted. I learned to tie from Jac Ford who guides on the PM (Pere Marquette) as well as Montana. This is one heck of a guide who isn't afraid to share his knowledge with anyone. He is a great teacher and I was thankful to learn from someone like him.

Then came the spring and I was on the road all the time. I was chasing spring steelie's (steelhead) and getting ready for the trout opener. Well the trout opener came in April and started off just like years past. WET! It always seems to rain when the opener gets here but oh well you just have to put on your big boy drawers or for you ladies reading, big girl panties and play the hand your dealt. I had a guy come up that wanted to catch his first brook trout so I was on a mission. After letting the rain subside we got after it and by the grace of God he got it.
Hunting for trout continued throughout the summer. I had a buddy Art who was able to go with me and man it was a blast. I caught a nice trophy brown trout one June evening that came in at just shy of 22 inches. What a great time. We had a newbie (someone new to the game) along who didn't believe that fish got that big in this small a stream. Well we proved it to him as Art also caught a nice 19 inch brown before dark.
I was able to get my wife her first pair of waders so she could get out and see what makes me tick. The day we went the water was gin clear and low. This makes for some tough fishing. We gave it a shot and only had a couple hours before we had to go get our son so we moved at a brisk pace. At the last bend we were going to be able to fish I told her to cast under the the log and "Fish On!" Her first brown came to net and was sent back to catch another day.

Then we took our vacation up to Burt Lake. We go the same time every year. The hexagenia limbata (hex hatch, big mayfly) happens at this time and there is nothing better than seeing those things. Except if your fishing for something other than trout. We fished for some walleye and pike and managed to catch enough for some tasty dinners. I didn't get the big pike this year. That honor went to my wife.

Well summer went on and fall was here before I knew it. September first I was in the field for some early goose action. That week was total chaos. We hunted all over the state. This is when I hooked up with UNJ. We filmed non stop for the two week period and got no sleep. I wrote down that I got about 18 hours in that first week. Whew! We had a great time and got a lot of new people out in the field. All I can say is a good time was had by all.

Then came the early doe season. I was able to have my compadre (n. Chiefly Southwestern U.S.A close friend or associate; a companion.) Art along to video my first ever doe harvest on camera. What a great feeling that was and to be able to have a great friend along for the ride was even better. (You can check it out at http://www.upnorthjournal.com/ Episode 5) It was his first time running a camera and he did a great job. Maybe next time he will turn it on sooner when I tell him I hear deer coming!

Then we segway into October and the start of archery deer and duck season. I was fortunate enough to take a ten point with my bow. This was the first one taken with my bow and it was a rush. I thought I missed him when he acted as if he wasn't shot but he only went 15 yards before he piled up. Then came the worst duck season I have ever had. It seemed as though the ducks we hunted day one we were still hunting at the end of the season. They all were schooled (educated) at the game we were playing and let me tell ya they all seemed to have Ivy League degrees for sure. All but 3 days in the field the UNJ crew and I had someone either new, a youngster or cameras over our shoulder. Let me tell ya we put in our time. I also had my ten year anniversary opening weekend of duck season and well ya guessed it, I kinda lost focus. On my anniversary. Yeah not a wise move at all.
November came and with it came the opening of Michigan's gun season for deer. I was able to harvest another buck and video'd it myself. It was quick and let me tell ya I still don't remember hitting the record button. That was something I will remember forever. Stay tuned to see if it makes the cut for one of our episodes. I also was able to take my son Drake out for his first ever deer hunt. At 2 years old. That was by far my most memorable hunt. We saw some deer but decided not to shoot and just enjoy watching them. I don't know that I will ever top that hunt.

Thanksgiving came and with it came the bombshell that rocked my world.

I left the following day to chase some chromers with fellow UNJ crew members Mike, Mikey and Jurgens. We had a great time until my ride home. That is when I got the voice mail. My wife told me she left me and we were thru. Yes folks I came home and the realization had hit me that the message was true. I am sure that there was a lot of thought that wnet into her decission and can understand some of her points. It doesn't help but at least we can talk about it. 10 years about to go down the drain with only having 2 possible fights. What an eye opener. The saying is true though people. "You don't know what you got, til it's gone." Let me tell ya it was a hard month after. A lot of thinking time for sure. She is a great person, a person I hope not to lose. Only time will tell.

Christmas came and I was able to have my daughter up from Illinois to celebrate this joyous holiday. Well I wished the circumstances would have been better but the family time was great. Then came another blow when I had to explain her grandfather had passed away. We talked and I let her know he is in a better place. We celebrated on the 26th and my sister Jaime was able to come over. My sister Jodi and her family came and so did Angela and Drake. It turned out to be a pretty good day. I enjoyed that as much or more than anything else this year.

Well as I look back at the year there were a bunch of high's and some low's. If you have learned anything from me and my life this year, I sincerely hope that you remember to never take anything for granted because you might wake up and not have it anymore. I hope you have seen that I am a real person with real emotions who doesn't hide how I truly am or feel. I am an open book. I try to give an insight as to what goes on in lives of people who do this and some sacrifices that are made. It can be a tough task and we sometimes loose sight of trying to keep family time and outdoors time in balance. We all have choices to make.

So there you have it, a view in my rear view mirror from this past year. I am looking forward to a lot of cool things that are gonna happen in the first quarter of this year. I am also looking forward to working on my personal life as well as my outdoor life. I am pumped up about the opportunities that I will have this year. I can say this that thru all of this I have learned that I have some great friends and have surrounded myself with good people that have been there in the good times but also in my hard times and for that I am thankful.

So until next time, be safe, appreciate what you have and get into the great outdoors.


  1. It was a wild year that's for sure

  2. Chico,
    What an inspiration. Loving the outdoors.

  3. Buddy, thanks for taking duck hunting on one of the "good" days!