Second issue: comments

This is looking more and more like the Drake! What’s next, pictures of your stubby sausage fingers wrapped around an IPA?

-Tom.

The Drake is a good magazine, and I accept the comparison I guess…

But you don’t actually read the content there, do you?

I’ve gotten a lot of comments today from readers, who think Charlie’s article is hilarious, and that my essays on Stealhead Joe and Outside Mag are “redundant” and “self absorbed.”

So people are definitely reading it…

GB Mag: Jumped the shark?

John,

Its only your second issue and I think you’ve already jumped the shark. Here are my comments that you did not ask for:

If you want anyone to take interest in this mag, can you redo the layout? It is confusing, not eye catching, lacking content.  The only thing I liked was the scene in Roadhouse when that girl’s boobs were getting fondled. Damn, there was nothing like 80s boobs.

I would make sections where Fishing is actually talked about directly. I know it’s winter still, but those stories (tipi, joe steelhead? WTF) are so obscure, self indulgent and esoteric that it’s distracting.  Post some of Jon’s fly tying up there, or your trout catches from the Delaware.  What about my captain’s log section?

Stop putting up pictures and making fun of starving children!

How about some sections of all your fly tying video? Get jon and I to make some? That could be funny.

How about a fake/real guideing section?
Maybe you would even get sone business.

Some sponsors?

What the hell is with the website with no corporate sponsors, and no corporate edginess?

I know these guys are high end, but maybe set the page up something like this:

http://www.thefishingshow.co.nz

Just one guys opinion.

Ghettofly

Beck Weathers, badass of the week

I just read, on another site, that Beck Weathers is the badass of the week.

Beck’s story is gruesome.

He wrote a book about it, called “Left for Dead.” It is his account of his near death on Mount Everest in 1996.

Here is my fictional account of Beck’s return to Everest, to conquer the mountain that nearly took his life.

In the first scene, Beck falls into a crevasse…

“Helloooo down there?  Beck, can you hear me?”

“Yes, I can.  I am alive…  I’ve broken a leg, but I am ALIVE!”

“Oh, you’re alive?”

“Yes.  How are you going to get me out of here?”

Pause to discuss with teammates, what to do with their fallen friend.

“We have decided, and you should understand, that there is only a very narrow window of opportunity, to summit Mount Everest…”

“And…”

“You must understand the pressure we are under…”

“You are leaving me here, in a crevasse, to DIE?! Again??!”

“The views of everyone who did NOT fall into the crevasse are unanimous.  And we feel that our views are representative of what your views would be, had you not fallen…  We all want to continue.”

“What?!  You can’t possibly be serious.”

“Had it been one of us, we know… You would have continued.  So we’re all feeling a bit betrayed by you about now…”

Disaster journalism

This is part 2 of a series of articles about “Stealhead Joe,” and the evolution of disaster journalism at Outside Magazine.

Outside writer, Ian Frazier, went to Oregon, and ended up documenting a disaster.

All the elements were there, in the life of Stealhead Joe.

Outside has a history of this.

Of reporting human tragedy, most notably in the cases of Jon Krakauer’s stories in “Into the Wild” and “Into Thin Air.”

He is a disaster journalist, and perhaps the most famous writer for Outside Magazine.

Krakauer’s credentials as an outdoorsmen are legit. His first book, “Eiger Dreams,” was published in 1990, and documents his amateur climbing exploits, including an attempt at the North Face of the Eiger.

He is a first rate journalist.

And his writing, perhaps, is introspection. A sort of self analysis; an attempt for him to understand himself.

To be fair, Krakauer’s interest in his subject matter, e.g., mountaineering, existed prior to any financial motivations to publish bestselling disaster books. He was a risk-taking climber, and that led him to these stories, of other risk-takers, before the money did…

(That’s important to point out, because Krakauer has written some great books.)

But let’s trace the publishing history of Jon Krakauer.

ITW-horz

It started in 1990, with “Eiger Dreams.”

This is a book for climbers and not for a large audience; non-climbers really could care less about the technical challenges and routine crap described in “Eiger Dreams.”

What makes for a good climbing book is a severe storm.

On top of Everest, at 29,000 feet above sea level. So high, that helicopter blades can’t catch air…

A place that is, as Krakauer described in “Into Thin Air,” as remote as the dark side of the moon.

A very bad place to make a mistake.

So the transition from “Eiger Dreams” to “Into Thin Air” is important. Because the human element, of tragedy, is universal. And it occurred on Everest in 1996.

Tragedy has a large audience.

Technical climbing challenges that are overcome have no audience.

We readers prefer technical challenges that, well, are not overcome.

Falls.

Into deep crevasses.

These are good.

The infinite darkness of the crevasse, and the attempt by survivors to communicate with the doomed climber, who’s been swallowed whole by a small, invisible fault line, between two massive walls of snow and ice…

To be digested alive inside the belly of a slowly moving glacier…

This is the formula for a best-seller.

“Into Thin Air” has all the elements.

During the ascent, climbers can see the famous corpses of climbers from past, ill-fated expeditions.

NICHOLSON

Bodies that have been lost, perhaps from a fall from a cliff, or in to the void of a deep crevasse, and then churned up, and spit out again, several years later, on remote, inaccessible ridges…

Fully preserved.

One arm up, frozen in to a locked position, as if waving to a new generation of thrill seekers…

(Well no, this is my macabre invention… It doesn’t happen precisely like this, in the book… But close to it…)

The real life drama is more than I could invent…

A stranded dad, talking to his pregnant wife via satellite, while he’s freezing to death.

That actually is described in the book, “Into Thin Air.”

So let’s go back to the beginning…

After “Eiger Dreams,” Krakauer published “Into the Wild,” in 1993.

In it, an adventurous young man, Chris McCandless, goes to Alaska, and lives off the land.

He doesn’t bring any guide books.

So he ends up eating some poisonous potato seeds that he gathers in the brush.

The poisonous seeds block the metabolism of all other food that McCandless eats.

So even if he’s able to shoot a few wayward porcupines, it won’t save him.

Because he’s made this fundamental mistake, of eating poisonous potato seeds.

And so his corpse is found, in an abandoned bus, a few days after he died, weighing 80 pounds or so.

It’s the human tragedy that was missing from “Eiger Dreams…”

So it’s a national bestseller.

I am speculating.

Just guessing, about the evolution of disaster journalism at Outside Magazine, but let me point out a few facts…

Back in 1992, Chris McCandless was found dead on an abandoned bus in Alaska.

Jon Krakauer covered the story for Outside. It was a huge story.

Krakauer expanded the article in to a book, and the book was made in to a major movie by Sean Penn.

And so it seems plausible that, after “Into the Wild,” Krakauer got the idea that covering tragedies was good business for a writer.

So he went to Everest in 1996, with guides Scott Fischer and Rob Hall.

He could not have known that the worst tragedy in Everest history was about to occur.

But he did know that the ingredients for tragedy were all in place.

First, 1 in 8 climbers who summit Everest die on the way down.

Or something like that.

It is f’n dangerous shit that he chose to cover.

And these guides were charging 60-90k to bring inexperienced climbers to the summit, like Sandy Pittman, the rich wife of an MTV executive.

He was aware of overcrowding along the route to the summit, on summit day, and that it was a recipe for disaster.

Guides were abandoning strict turnaround times. So, if a client didn’t summit by, say, 2 pm on summit day (a preset and agreed up turnaround time) the guide often kept pushing w his client, and waiting together in long lines near ladders and other technical sections of the climb where climbers got in to human traffic jams….

And guides often had multiple clients, and so had to scramble from point to point in impossible conditions.

This was well known before the 96 expedition.

He knew this shit (I am postulating), but Krakauer took the risk for the story.

He was a somewhat experienced, and accomplished, technical climber. Perhaps the most qualified to be there. So I don’t take anything away from him….

Anyway, read the book, “Into Thin Air.” It is worth a read.

Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian climber, wrote a follow up to Krakauer’s book, slamming the journalism.

But Krakauer’s was a much better read…

Now, more than 15 years later, I have a sense that Outside was going again with the high risk, Everest formula that worked with “Into Thin Air.”

My friend, Tony, does a good job describing the amorality of this type of journalism:

Why are we uncomfortable with disaster journalism? Look at “Into Thin Air.” The people being documented, e.g., Anatoli Boukreev, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, may make mistakes, bad choices etc., but do so from a sincere perspective of being “in it,” making decisions on the fly to the best of their ability.

Meanwhile the journalist has the perspective of knowing that the elements of a potential tragedy exist, which draws their attention in the first place. The same shared morality that leads to outrage when many witnesses to a crime standby and do nothing while the crime continues, makes us distrustful of the journalist who observes a tragedy, and even more so if the journalist predicts and then observes. I’m not sure a book that documents the journalist’s reaction is valuable or not.

How about war correspondents, they predict there will be tragedy, even atrocities in a war zone. Doesn’t documenting such events serve a greater good in a way than avoiding the events entirely? In the case of the fishing guide, I’m not seeing long term social value in the telling of the story, but in the climbing story, has it affected climbing safety since the tragedy?

-Tony.

Just a few days ago, I wrote a blog entry on “Stealhead Joe.”

It is based on the article by Ian Frazier for Outside Magazine.

You gotta read that first before continuing here…

This guy, Joe Randolph, wasn’t even licensed at the time of his trip with the Outside writer.

And if their ‘furtive’ walk to the river wasn’t enough to let him know that somethin’ was seriously wrong with “Stealhead Joe,” you gotta believe that some of Joe’s antics were gonna be part of the story for Outside Magazine.

The moral handwashing, when they were stealing breakfast, was enough for me to think that this writer guy was gonna act ok with anything, and let Joe think he could pull any questionable crap that got him in to trouble, with other guides or even the law, and then report the whole thing as if it were a surprise.

Anyway, thats about all I got to say about that…

Just some speculation.

Perhaps wild speculation???

Who knows…

Trout tattoo

I’ve been wanting a trout tattoo for a little over a year–a brown trout in full spawning colors. I spent a lot of time googling “trout tattoo” but couldn’t find a pattern that I liked. One night, after a few too many, I even tried to bing “trout tattoo,” but the results were the same — cliched, and overly realistic. I wanted something more graphic, in the style of a traditional Japanese Koi pattern. 

2yvt5ci-1

I had a friend pen one up for me. It took him a few drafts, but I think he nailed it. Pictured below is the painting he did after the first couple drawings.

104rxp0-1

I had my first session on Monday and I’m really happy with it.

vxdtzb-1

We did the lining, black, grey, and the white for the halos — 

2vt1mph-1

A couple sissy boys asked me about the pain.

I was like —

I’m excited to get this bad-boy colored in — but my favorite tattoo will always be my first – 

ixfr43-1

Stealhead Joe

So the great “Outside Magazine” published an article, in October 2013, about Deschutes River steelhead guide Joe Randolph. Its another classic, Outside article, that ends in human tragedy.

The good publishers of Outside are known for this sort of journalism. Before this article, Jon Krakauer’s tragic tales of Chris McCandless, in Alaska, and Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, on Everest, made the magazine what it is today.

Joe was a natural athlete. He stood tall at 6 foot 5 inches, and played every sport, at one time or another in his life, except boxing and wrestling.

He never had a career, until he found steelhead fishing in his 40s. At that time, he married a woman named Florence Belmondo, and they settled in Sisters, Oregon, to be close to the Deschutes. Florence left Joe, and took the kids with her, for whatever complicated reasons end with divorce and the break up of a family.

Joe remained in Sisters, guiding for Jeff Perin of Fly Fisher’s Place…

How did Outside writer Ian Frazier know of “Stealhead Joe,” and what made him so special as to book a guided trip, just two months before his suicide in November 2012?

When their 6 days of fishing went down, in September 2012, Stealhead Joe didn’t even have a license to guide the Deschutes:

On my second night, he and I went to a fish hatchery downstream from town. We parked, zigzagged down a slope, passed dark buildings, crossed a lawn, and wrong-footed our way along the tracks, on whose curving rails the moon had laid a dull shine. After about a mile, we plunged through some alders and into the river and stood in the water for a long time waiting for dawn to start. This all felt a bit spooky and furtive to me.

My instinct, I later learned, was right. I had a fishing license, and Joe had licenses both to fish and to guide. He did not, however, possess a valid permit to be a fishing guide on the Deschutes. Two months earlier, he had left the Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters (actually, he had been fired), and thus he had lost the guiding permit that the shop provided him. His attempt to jury-rig a permit from a rafting guide’s permit loaned to him by an outfitter in Maupin was not enough, because it allowed him to guide rafters but not anglers. Joe was breaking the law, in other words, and the consequences could be a fine of up to $2,500, a possible prison term, and the forfeit of his guiding license—no small risk to run.

So Joe lost his job in July 2012, and the whole Outside trip was illegal.

Less than a year before the “Outside” float, in December 2011, Stealhead Joe had taken one of Perin’s driftboats and floated it down the Deschutes. Perhaps a suicide attempt, perhaps not, but whatever it was, Mr. Perin called police, and police discovered Joe floating alone down the river…

And a year before that, there was another, unmistakable suicide attempt:

I didn’t know that after his next guiding season, in 2010, he had gone into an even worse depression; that on December 26, 2010, he had written a suicide note and swallowed pills and taped a plastic bag over his head in the back offices of the Fly Fisher’s Place; that he’d been interrupted in this attempt and rushed to a hospital in Bend; that afterward he had spent time in the psychiatric ward of the hospital; that his friends in Sisters and his boss, Jeff Perin, owner of the fly shop, had met with him regularly in the months following to help him recover.

So Joe had his share of problems, for sure, before his float with Ian Frazier.

(And for whatever reason it is, Outside Magazine seems to have a nose for tragedy…)

Joe, for a short while, was married to Florence. They had kids. Lots of kids, somehow, were in Joe’s life.

Joe was a “kept man.” Apparently, that means he didn’t support his family financially. His wife did.

As Joe became a successful steelhead guide, he had less and less time for family.

But the Outside article omits a very important detail…

According to a post-mortem published in Field and Stream, Joe’s guiding didn’t provide the family with health insurance:

Guiding is one thing when you don’t have a family, but she and Randolph had a family—a pretty big one, too. “When you have all these kids, guiding just doesn’t provide enough money—and there’s no medical coverage, none of those things,” Florence says. “That was the beginning of some issues.” To make matters worse, the more popular Randolph became on the river, the less time he could spend at home with his family.

And this fact struck me as particularly important.

The value of health insurance, to a family with kids, is, well, potentially infinite.

Joe didn’t have it.

So, he didn’t have affordable access to any care, including mental health care.

Joe’s mother too had a history of severe mental health issues.

And this mental health shit runs in families.

(None of this should have been a surprise, but who, if anyone, is responsible for it?)

Another fact that struck me was, on the morning of their trip, Joe and the Outside writer met at 3 or 4 am, at Joe’s house…

On their way to the river, Joe stopped his truck at a motel he knew would be serving a continental breakfast, for its guests, and guided his client to some free croissants and donuts, and maybe a cup of coffee.

Now the Outside writer implies that he and Joe could have eaten for free, and perhaps “legally,” at his motel, but that Joe led them to the “nicer” motel down the road, where the coffee’s fresh and the bread ain’t stale.

We get in the Tahoe and take off, stopping on the way to pick up some coffee and pastry from the free breakfast spread at a motel considerably more expensive than my own. Joe assures me this is OK; no one is around to disagree.

Such a strange and striking moral nihilism there…

So perhaps only Joe is responsible, for the missing croissants, one of which ended up in the Outside writer’s stomach?

For Joe assured the writer that it was OK…

(There’s an unresolved, and unexpressed issue of responsibility here… Not legal responsibility, which is clearly Joe’s, but of moral responsibility…)

Joe committed suicide just two months later.

In November 2012.

Joe, the “kept man,” who did not provide for his family financially, was overwhelmed by life just at the moment that the steelhead season ended.

When work was over.

How are we to characterize Stealhead Joe’s many crimes, for which he awaited a court hearing before his passing?

Over the summer, Joe’s weeks of illegal guiding had caught up with him when the state police presented him with a ticket for the violation. He would be required to go to court, and in all likelihood his local guiding career would be through, at least for a good while. Joe thought Perin had turned him in to the authorities; and, in fact, Perin and other guides had done exactly that.

He guided without a license.

Sorta like selling loose cigarettes on the streets of Staten Island.

It may be wrong, but it doesn’t deserve a choke hold.

This guy wanted to work.

He also stole a figurative croissant from a motel breakfast, for himself and his client.

And on the last day of his life, he stole a garden hose.

Joe was willing to take whatever he needed, which explains the spelling of his nickname “Stealhead Joe…”

So of course Joe stole one last time from his boss.

A garden hose.

That he taped to his truck’s exhaust pipe, and through the rear passenger seat window…

Fly tying economics

John,

I just tried to buy this stuff…one half rooster neck is like 35$ and I need three kinds of them?! Plus all that other stuff?!

Caddis flies are like 1$ each, why would anyone tie them?

-Max.

Dear Max,

You asked for a list of materials for a caddis fly and a stimulator…

Elk Hair caddis:
Hook: TMC 100SP-BL or 100
Thread: Tan 6/0
Rib: Fine Copper Wire
Body: Superfine Dubbing, color of choice
Hackle: Brown Rooster Neck hackle
Wing: Natural Bull Elk Hair

Stimulator:
Hook: TMC 200R
Thread: UNI Thread 8/0 Flour. Fire Orange
Tail: Nature’s Spirit Deer Hock
Rib: X-Small copper Wire
Body: Antron Dubbing, Orange
Hackle: Whiting Farms Neck Hackle, Brown and Grizzly
Wing: Elk Hair
Thorax: Antron Dubbing, Yellow

The materials will run you over 200 bucks, and you probably will only tie one of each pattern.

By my math, and I teach it, that’s like 100 per fly.

So yeah, go ahead and buy the flies online for a buck.

The Dette fly shop still sells flies that are, by all means, American classics.

Its an option for you.

But they charge 2.50$ per fly, or some outrage, for “100 years of American, hand made tradition.”

What the fuck is that, but some bullshit to charge 2.50$ for a 1$ fly?

John,

Right on, but who should I buy my flies from, to get the best deal?

-Max.

Dear Max,

I suggest you use this charity to choose your tier.

WORLD VISION

Each of these little tiers grew up, quite literally, with flies in their eyeballs.

And their nostrils.

This little guy is called “Walt,” short for Walt Dette.

Don’t let his looks fool you.

He’s a heck of a tier.

ETHIOPIAN

Here’s little “Harry Darbee,” from the sub-Sahara.

HARRY DARBEE

And this little man, he is called “Rube” for Rube Cross, and ties ’em better than the man he’s named for, for less than a buck a fly…

RUBE CROSS

Don’t worry about Rube. He’s not an angry, beardless union chief, who might organize the others, like Walt and Harry, and thereby increase the cost of labor.

And your flies.

He’s just a wee bit uncomfortable.

Which keeps him motivated.

If you add just 1 dollar to your order, your personal fly tier will drink clean water while tying your flies.

Add two dollars and he will be deloused, with DDT, to keep his eyes clear while tying.

Tipi in the Woods: Part 1

I purchased a tipi in November. This isn’t one of those those Kifaru tipi tents you’ll see at the granola expo — it’s ninety pounds of canvas, valued at over 800 wampum. I got mine on craig’s trading post for 180 colorful pieces of corn. The guy threw in a wife at no extra charge.

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She enjoys blankets and long walks through the pet cemetery. She’s no ‘dime-piece’ — more of a ‘buffalo nickel-piece’ — but totally fuckable by GB Mag standards. Coincidentally, she also has more uses for a buffalo nickel than anyone I’ve ever met. She’ll swish it around in her mouth to aid in passing a breathalyzer before ultimately spending it on Karkaroff, or some equally cheap-sounding brand of vodka.

All incredibly racist jokes aside, I really did cop a tipi and I plan to respect the Native American tradition of getting wasted in it all summer long. Okay last joke, my bad.

Hi readers, I’m Charlie, but you can call me Po-cha-na-quar-hip. I apologize for the distasteful bigotry; I’m a comedian, and I’m writing to preview a voice I plan to catalogue here on GB Mag. I’ll be blogging about my tipi, the land I’m keeping it on, and the tremendous wild trout stream that runs adjacent to the property. As it stands, the tipi is currently a pile of canvas in the back of my truck. This series will not only chronicle my time on the water, but also the steps I’ll be taking to make the ‘tipi camp’ a reality. After all, I still need to cut the poles and get the whole thing set up before Beetle’s wife and I can turn it into a “sweat lodge.”

But before I can do much of anything, I’ll need an Indian name. I was thinking Po-cha-na-quar-hip which is Comanche for “erection that won’t go down.” It suits me.

I’ll also need a new look. I’m thinking “Caucasian stud who obnoxiously appropriates Native American stereotypes to bolster his sex-appeal.” There are many options, but I think I’m going to have to model my look after Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall.

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If Beetle ever comes out to visit the tipi he can be Anthony Hopkins’ character… after he suffered from the stroke…

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Issue #2 of GB mag?

How often will Golden Beetle Magazine post new issues?

Thanks for asking, but I don’t know.

Let’s face it. The public wants a good fly fishing magazine.

And all that’s out there is crap.

Except GB Mag.

Do you have sponsors?

Right about now I am on the phone trying to arrange for corporate sponsors. I was a cold calling stock broker in the 90s, and I know what I’m doing.

I hard sell like Zig Ziglar.

All I gotta do is get the CEO on the phone…

I ain’t no loser broker anymore.

Those days are over…

I’m the editor of GB Magazine.

What’s been the response?

If I hear “What the fuck is GB Magazine” again, from one of these CEOs, I am gonna arrange a product boycott.

That is, if I can pay the bills for long enough to publish a second issue.

Spring

Gentlemen,

The sun stands stronger, but still low in  the sky.  The ground is still locked under piles of snow and ice, and winds consider, but still hesitate their shift from north to south.  Yet being outside one cannot deny that Spring is coming. It is not quite in the air, as much as it is in the bones; a vibe, and a confidence that the worst is behind us. After all, the first stripers arrive on the Cape in 45 days. The final flies are being added to the boxes, locked and loaded.  Last minute tackle consideration purchased, and most importantly: plans with old friends being made.

So just in case we have missed anything, here is a breakdown of how the next six months look from where I’m sitting…please feel free to respond and add ideas and whereabouts.

March 6th: Bontempi in Boston, possible ice fishing Saturday
March 26th: in Florida, look to hook my first snook. 
April 10th: John Stewart lends his bamboo on the upper Passaic, NJ so I may possibly land my first home state trout.
April 11th: NJ friends join NJ fishing, dinner and drinks after.
April 18th: First crack at schoolies on Bass River?
May 15th: trout weekend in Greentown, PA 
May 22nd: Memorial Day weekend, wide fucking open! Deerfield River anyone?
June 5th: Weekend in Manomet. Stripers at dawn. Lazy freshwater poppers in the afternoon.
June 13th: Deschuttes river, Oregon
June 17-19: Flats, Cape Cod
June 19: Weekend, High Poiny, NJ?
June 26th: Weekend of Striper fishing Massachusetts
July 4th: Weekend Open!
July 10-14: Long Beach Island
July 15-18th: Truro with the lady, possible Jeremy Point?
July 31st: Flats, Cape Cod. Cousins Russ Sr. and Jr. may be attendance.

Well, that feels warmer already…

Keep you lines tight and your rod up

Ghettofly