Chuck C.

The greatest aspect of publishing an online magazine is getting writing, inspired and good writing, from teachers and regular folks who have good thoughts to share. Friends of mine, really.

Wiser than me.

GB Mag is a tiny publication, but its read by nearly every fly fisherman in the northeast.

Our readers probably total about 200.

Or 300.

(So perhaps not every fly fisherman reads us, in the northeast…)

But these are real readers, who read the articles. I am very proud of the quality of our writers. Authentic, real, good and most importantly, thoughtful people.

Hopefully after you read an issue, you are better for it.

Chuck is a teacher, like me. So summer means time for writing, time for family, time for fishing, time for friends.

He sent me this email today, and a story for publication in GB Mag:

Hi John. The story is ready and attached. The document looked good in terms of spacing and spelling when I edited it as a Word file, but I know that the spacing often changes when files transfer to other programs. Do what you think needs to be done with it. 

I don’t know how a straight 5-page story without pictures plays out on an online magazine. I didn’t have a digital camera at the time of this trip, so I don’t have any pix. I’m confident that all of the facts and historic events I used are true. 

It’s your magazine, so however you want to use my name is fine. I’m OK with Chuck Coronato, Barleywine, or Chuck “Barleywine” Coronato. Whatever you think works best for the nature of your publication.

Let me know if you have any questions. This story was kicking around in my head for a long time, and it was a lot of fun finally putting it together. GB Mag and your push definitely helped.

Chuck

Here’s my reply:

Chuck,

I’ve fished 3 times w you, I think.

Once at India Brook, in the parking lot.  I cast your tenkara rig.  You gave me a fly.

We also met at the headwaters of the Passaic.  You also gave me a fly, because the fish were keyed in on a prolific hatch of stoneflies.  Tiny black ones.

That may have been the only time I’ve fished a small stream in Jersey, and fly selection mattered.

Then at boo fest with Ronbo.

This, Chuck, is a lot of chance meetings, but long odds usually have simple explanations if they keep repeating, over and over.

I too disdain those stocked fish, and NJ has a few wild trout streams. 

Perhaps we’re both looking for the same thing?

Not sure of your demons.  I know mine, they are plenty.

At my best, I look for peace outdoors, and in water.  Wild water.

You can also find peace in the wisdom of an old man.

Who is comfortable with his meager lot, if it still allows for time on the water, whatever fish it has.

If they get him outside, he has enough I guess.  No need to ask for more.

And if its good enough for him, its good enough for you to see him living well with less.

Good story.

-John.

The problem with John Stewart

An interesting postmodern, philosophical critique – of me – from 2weight. Just another likable loon – like me.

This is to voice my dissatisfaction with John Stewart’s conjectures. Let’s start with my claim that John decries or dismisses capitalism, technology, industrialization, and systems of government borne of Enlightenment ideas about the dignity and freedom of human beings. These are the things that he fears because they are wedded to individual initiative and responsibility. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s say that he often expresses great interest in, and approval of, violent acts reported in the press—spousal abuse, shooting sprees, capital punishment, and so forth. So don’t feed me any phony baloney about how scapegoatism is a be-all, end-all system that should be forcefully imposed upon us. That’s just not true. 

While we all despair over John’s deceitful strictures, we must also remember the principles that will guide our better behaviors and higher aspirations. I feel sorry for John’s rivals. John demonizes them relentlessly, typically reciting a laundry list of character faults and random insults without an intelligible word about the substance of what they have to say. I guess that shows that John plans to manipulate everything and everybody in the coming days. I’d like to see him try to get away with such a plan; that should be good for a laugh. You see, most people have already observed that griping about John will not make him stop trying to reduce us to acute penury. But even if it did, he would just find some other way to terrorize the public. 

John says that he wants to make life better for everyone. Lacking a coherent ideology, however, John always ends up persuading many of his detractors to enter into a one-way “dialogue” with him. This whole discussion has turned into a war of words between a few people. I put that observation into this letter just to let you see that it’s sincerely astounding that he has somehow found a way to work the words “honorificabilitudinity” and “cinematographical” into his insinuations. However, you may find it even more astounding that he has long wanted to prevent anyone from stating publicly that his foot soldiers work behind the scenes to subvert time-tested societal norms. Why do I bring that up? Because by studying John’s repression of ideas in its extreme, unambiguous form one may more clearly understand why if he truly wanted to be helpful, John wouldn’t indoctrinate wily schmendriks with ready-made conclusions on controversial subjects. 

That’s a very important point; John extricates himself from difficulty by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. He would have us believe that big emotions come from big words. Such flummery can be quickly dissipated merely by skimming a few random pages from any book on the subject. I call upon John to stop his oppression, lies, immorality, and debauchery. I call upon him to be a man of manners, principles, honour, and purity. And finally, I call upon him to forgo his desire to create a mephitic world of guilt and shame. Is he a pious person? Yes, although John’s “piety” unerringly leads him to whichever dogma is best for business. Speaking of which, the central paradox of his wisecracks, the twist that makes his values so irresistible to sleazy parasites, is that these people truly believe that he serves as wisdom to the mighty and succor to the brave. 

Regardless of what John seems to aver, he once said that society is supposed to be lenient towards temperamental demoniacs. Oh, please. I’m just glad I hadn’t eaten dinner right before I heard him say that. Otherwise, I’d probably still be vomiting too hard to tell you that we obviously can’t afford to let John shove us towards an absolute state of vassalage. What I’m suggesting is that we remove the misunderstanding that he has created in the minds of myriad people throughout the world. That’s the key to dealing summarily with perverted boeotians, and it’s the only way that most people will ever learn that a man is known by the company he keeps. That’s why I urge you to consider the Chaucerian panorama of beatniks in John’s coterie: vindictive ditzes, out-of-touch witlings, and repulsive swindlers of one sort or another, to name a few. It’s almost as if John wants us to think that I recently checked out one of his recent tracts. Oh, look; John is again saying that despotism is a noble cause. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Seriously, though, if anything will free us from the shackles of John’s daft, froward blanket statements, it’s knowledge of the world as it really is. It’s knowledge that he’s both literally and figuratively promoting extremism’s traits as normative values to be embraced. No, scratch that. Let me instead make the much stronger claim that those of us who are too lazy or disinterested to educate the public on a range of issues have no right to complain when he and his faithfuls impose a one-size-fits-all model on how society should function. 

It is my personal opinion, based on years of observation, that John says that he is the ultimate authority on what’s right and what’s wrong. Such verbal gems teach us that John’s thesis is that he’s renowned for his racial and cultural sensitivity. That’s absolutely hideous, you say? Good; that means you’re finally catching on. The next step is to observe that if one dares to criticize even a single tenet of John’s proposed social programs, one is promptly condemned as maladroit, domineering, officious, or whatever epithet John deems most appropriate, usually without much explanation. 

John’s tender and delicate adjustments and readjustments of his convictions may succeed at convincing a few vilipensive, lazy brownshirts that he has mystical powers of divination and prophecy. Nevertheless, I strive to be consistent in my arguments. I can’t say that I’m 100% true to this, but John’s frequent vacillating leads me to believe that his use of the term “microclimatological” displays, at best, a tone deafness. The term drips with echoes of cynicism and warns us all that John has, at times, called me “impulsive” or “shallow”. Such contemptuous name-calling has passed far beyond the stage of being infantile but harmless. It has the capacity to revile everything in the most obscene terms and drag it into the filth of the basest possible outlook. 

If John wants to be taken seriously, he should counter the arguments in this letter with facts, not illogical panaceas, personal anecdotes, or insults. Is it important that he’s the scourge of all that is good and true? Of course it’s important. But what’s more important is that we must weed out people like John who have deceived, betrayed, and exploited us. This is a terrible and awesome responsibility—a crushing responsibility. However, if we stick together we can can show the world that if John were allowed to use mass organization as a system of integration and control, that could spell the wholesale destruction of countless lives. The only rational response to this looming threat is for all of us to criticize the obvious incongruities presented by John and his minions. To be more specific, I believe I have found my calling. My calling is to make him pay for his crimes against humanity. And just let him try and stop me. 

The problem as I see it is not a question of who the skybalds of this society are but rather that John’s recommendations are the low-hanging fruit on the rotting tree of chauvinism. This issue is coming to the fore because John secretly has been scheming to exercise control through indirect coercion or through psychological pressure or manipulation. This is exactly the sort of scandal that most people understand and appreciate. It’s what opens people’s eyes to the reality that many people respond to John’s antihumanist plans for the future in the same way that they respond to television dramas. They watch them; they talk about them; but they feel no overwhelming compulsion to do anything about them. That’s why I insist we establish a supportive—rather than an intimidating—atmosphere for offering public comment. Why am I so fascinated by each new incarnation of John’s positions? It must be morbid curiosity. Even though I know his latest positions are going to be as entirely irresponsible as the previous batch, I feel I have to find out just how irresponsible they are. What I’ve found so far is that the best way to come to the aid of justice is to contribute to the intellectual and spiritual health of the body politic. That’s the sort of statement that some people avow is stuck-up but which I believe is merely a statement of fact. And it’s a statement that needs to be made because John deeply believes that he’s a living bodhisattva of peace and nonviolence. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the truth is very simple: John’s revenge fantasies are geared toward the continuation of social stratification under the rubric of “tradition”. Funny, that was the same term that his bedfellows once used to eat our nation to its bones. 

Time has only reinforced that conviction. Regular readers of my letters probably take that for granted, but if I am to embrace diversity, I must explain to the population at large that if it were up to John, we’d all be grazing contentedly in the pasture of isolationism right now. We’d be thoroughly unaware of the fact that what I have been writing up to this point is not what I initially intended to write in this letter. Instead, I decided it would be far more productive to tell you that a great many of us don’t want John to monopolize the press. Still, we feel a prodigious societal pressure to smile, to be nice, and not to object to his meddlesome theatrics. It is similarly noteworthy that John alleges that teachers should teach our children that tammanyism is the key to world peace. Interestingly, rather than use the word “teach” John substitutes the phrase, “apply strategies for facilitating learning in instructional situations.” I assume this is to conceal the fact that if we take his slogans to their logical conclusion, we see that sometime soon, he will sow the seeds of discord. Now that you’ve read my entire letter, I hope you’ve concluded that my plan to push the boundaries of knowledge ever farther is deserving of serious consideration.

From the editor’s desk

Dude, remember when I told you that I ordered a Helios 2 online?

And Orvis offered me free shipping?

Yes.

Well, I’m getting more free shit thrown at me, and deals.

Dude, you get half price on flies, from the half price bin. And free backing on a new Hatch reel.

Like everyone else.

You thought the backing was free bc you’re editor of GB Mag.

Not this time, Charlie.

Look at this:

20150711_103229-1

I got a special discount rate.

My name is on it, Charlie.

What more evidence do you need, to say that I’m a major player in the industry?

I’m gonna check my mail now, to show you up.

I bet I got it too.

No envelope I bet?

Otherwise you’d be crowing.

The empty mailbox shut you up, didn’t it?

It’s my deal, Charlie. You couldn’t get this price.

Gonna check around to see who else got this deal – maybe Gierach and guys like Lefty…

Captain’s Log:  August 28th, 2014

This morning, I was laying in bed after the alarm went off and decided not to fish the Ghettofly alone, so I meadered down to the side of the Mystic to try some casts.  My big bottle neck popper that was tied on and looked so intimidating, shrunk up on the line when I walked out to the river and saw a boat trolling tube and worm, a kayaker, and two guys from shore.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I miss the cold November days on the Mystic when I can’t feel my hands, and can’t see another fisherman.  I popped the popper anyway, just for hope and fun, and then reached into my bag to try out some other lures.  So, I realize that with my feet on shore this is not technically a Captain’s log, please stop reading if you are offended by generalizations and grandiosity.  

Now, if you’re still reading, and you’ve chucked anything artificial at Striped Bass for more than a dozen outing in a year, then you will have heard of, and probably own the Atom Popper Lure.  Everyone knows the history: Mr. Pond was down the Cape Cod cannel after WWII and saw fish feeding on top and starting producing his lure of out wooden curtain rods and named it after the Big One dropped on those folks who now bring us wonderful, Shimano products and Gamakatzu hooks.  It quickly became and still is, in the top 10 of every surf fisherman’s bag up and down the East Coast.  My questions is:  Why?  What is the deal with these things?  They are obviously a legend, but I have never, ever, never, even seen a fish sniff at these things! If anyone has caught more than one fish (accounting for dumb luck or dumb striper) on these please let me know.  Better yet, since we all know how fisherman lie, please get your “go-Pro” out and let me see it in action.  Because, I also do what all fisherman also do when they are not catching fish, and that’s look for fish porn on you tube.  So just go and try and find a video on google that shows someone teaching you how to fish a Atoms lure and actually catching something.  I couldn’t even find anyone fishing these things let alone see a fish hit one!  Ghettofly charters has an opinion on all this, of course.  First of all, kudos to Mr. Pond, his design is beautiful and I buy these things just on their ascetic appeal alone.  But what the hell kind of popper sinks!?  I know the pros say that sinking poppers are better because you can impart different action on them, but I say phooey on that.   A popper always needs to float, otherwise how the hell can you fish it super slowly the way the Sideliners often like it?  How do you pop it and see where it is when you want to pause it?  How do you guarantee that your 10$, 15$ or even $20 lure doesn’t get snagged on some rock and leave you thinking, “There goes another lure I’ve lost and I never even caught a fish on it.”  But at sunrise today, I tried out my beautiful white Atoms Popper that really sinks and doesn’t pop unless you twitch it just right, which I think I can do, but I also realized that making it look good on the water also hurts my elbow, and caught nothing.  I’m too old to have to pay that high a price for style.  Please see the culprits below (with switched out single hooks, re: Captain’s Aug 25th), and feel free to offer up a trade with any of your actual floating poppers that float, cause I’ll take those any day!  

Keep your lines tight and your rod up,

Ghettofly

PS:  I do hear that Atoms are effective in rough surf, so out of respect to Mr. Pond, I am going to try them one more time, maybe in Montauk this Fall.  Stand by for report.  

downloadfile-24

Notes from the Editor

Please, pour yourself a drink, open a window, curl up in your favorite chair, listen to the rattle of the wind, to the unyielding press of time.  Time has a language all its own.  To me, it is more like a song, as simple as a nursery rhyme that pulses in the blood, whispers in every muscle and bone.  The rhythm of things as they are.

Ebb and flow.  The rhythm of things that come and go, come and go.

-Harry Middleton, The Bright Country

Finding writers is difficult.

It takes some effort.

You think you could write an article for the next issue?

-Yes.

Very difficult to maintain the high standard that Charlie set with his article, but you could do it.

-No problem.

-When does it go to press?

Mid July

Or thereabouts.

-Ok. I’ll have it for you within a week.

Losing what you know will be a great article hurts like losing a big fish.

You gotta play it cool. You can’t panic like a bitch.

Just checking in bc if you have something ready, I’d like to read it… But no rush.

This is GB Mag. We got lots of writers.

Mike can go a few days without responding to a text.

But when you sense you’ve lost your quarry, you cant help but panic.

No word is worrying me… I want an article, pllleeeeeaaase!

This time it worked out.

-Ok ill make my wife drive tonight and scribble something in the car, send it to you tomorrow morning. I know what I want to write about, just haven’t had time to put it together.

Ok. You’ll get top billing and heavy promotion. I guarantee at least 150 readers. Not quite Field and Stream, but thats why I’m not such a stickler on the deadlines. That and I pay nothing.

Last month Charlie, and this month Mike, wrote articles better than any in the fishing mags that pay their writers.

There are a few of those still left in the world, mags that pay, and Charlie and Mike write better than all those paid professional fishing auteurs.

Just about a week ago, I asked Tim Travis if I could publish a story he wrote to Facebook, about an old man he met on the Cheakamus several months back.

A 96 year old man, on his last fishing trip.

Tim said yes, publish it.

So I messaged him a few times. To say that his article is on GB Mag, and that he should give it a look.

He responded a few days later:

“Thanks, John. I still haven’t checked it out. But I probably will, just don’t keep reminding me.”

Not even the writers check in to see they’ve been published here.

Which isn’t all bad…

The greatest thing about GB Mag is that I can publish an article, like this one, saying that my writers should (and could) be getting paid.

And there ain’t a chance in hell that they’ll read it.

The last issue got a fine response. It was great.

So I wrote my friends who contribute to this thing and thanked ’em:

The latest issue is published, and it is great!

My contribution is the same really every time, and doesnt make this thing great.

It makes it good, really good.

I AM DAMN GOOD.

11-daily-afirmation-stuart-smalley.w1200.h630.2x

But not close to enough by myself for the site to get traction.

You guys friggin brought some serious awesomeness, and let me say what I think the formula is…

Get out.

Be with friends.

And build whatever it is that’s your vision.

I have been happy with other issues.

Here, the mag is actually a work of art.

From the writing to the photography.

Anyway… we got almost 800 views for the new issue.

So people are clicking on the blog to look for more original content.

They are staying longer and reading more.

The collaborative effort is f’n great.

And cultivating friendships now, like I did in high school is great too.

In addition to Tim Travis, we got our regular contrubutors: Max, Jon and Charlie.

High quality stuff, greatly appreciated.

I don’t want to take my closest friends and reliable writers for granted, who are the backbone of this project, as I try to expand it.

We also got Mike for this issue.

He sent me the article by email yesterday.

I read it and wrote this reply:

I have to say I am shocked at the story and never expected to publish such high quality writing to my magazine.  I have the fever to publish immediately and I probably will within the next 48 hours or so.  I did laugh but it was thoughtful.  I spent my days growing up wading through ponds and brooks, catching crayfish under rocks and casting bread to catfish.  We caught cicadas and salamanders, frogs, and whatever we could.  I was something of a dr. mengele to the bugs.   Those that were caught and released were typically dewinged in between, or something terrible.  Not sure why I reflect so much on this, but perhaps I hope Andrew turned out ok.  Chris, the neighborhood sociopath on my block, would catch catfish, bucket em, and then pin em up on walls and shoot em with bb’s.  That happens in every neighborhood.  I dont think Chris turned out well, but, for all I know, he went Wall Street or something.  Its all a big mystery….   Anyway… Great stuff.  Thanks.  

Ode to June 20th

There are times when I wake up from my narcissism and look outward.

Not often.

But every once in a while.

Usually due to some disaster.

Because I am foolish.

When I need someone, because I can’t stand to be with myself at the time.

When I broke my hip there were some in my life who were scared.

And told me all I did wrong.

And what I must do differently from now on.

So as not to make them ever worry again.

Which is inevitable.

And so, much more painful and enduring than any injury.

And there were those who made me well.

And talked with me.

And took naps with me.

And came fishing with me.

And offered me understanding and hope, and with that,

perspective.

A repair of the healthy components of my narcissism.

Thank you, my friends:

IMG_9394

IMG_1798

FullSizeRender-5

downloadfile-20

downloadfile-15

IMG_1767

IMG_1790

IMG_1794

IMG_1796

IMG_20150705_083134

IMG_20150705_083153

-JK.

Tim Travis, writer

March 28, 2015

There are times, when you are out on the river, that you meet what I think, are some truly extraordinary people. Today was one of those days. Walking down the railroad track, I saw, sort of lodged in between two rocks on the river, an elderly man, who appeared to be having some difficulty in getting up the bank. I stopped and asked if he needed help. He started laughing and said, “Young fella, I never thought I’d see the day when old Frankie needed help.”

With the help of his cane we got him up the bank and sat down to rest. Now, here is the truly extraordinary part: he told me he was ninety six years old, had been fishing the Cheakamus, and the Squamish, since he was a teen. Had got here in those days by week long horseback trips, then in later years by steamship up the coast, and then horseback again.

This was his first trip back here in 18 years. Said it was probably his last and then laughed. He told stories of the huge, prolific runs of salmon and steelhead, watching eagles fish, seeing nobody for weeks at a time, having the land all to himself.

He met his first wife on one of his many steamship rides up the coast, her love of the forest and fishing kept them together for 35 years and 3 sons.

He came today to fish an area that holds many great memories for him. To relive a part of his life that in his words “shaped him forever.”

One last thing, he fishes hookless flies; for him, the tug is truly the drug. I walked with him back to his vehicle, where his son was waiting for him. His son told me it was important that his dad did this trip and spent some time by himself on the river.

I consider myself privileged, that I was given the opportunity to sit and talk with “Frankie.”

June 28, 2015

Some of you may remember, a little blurb I wrote, a few months back.

A man in his nineties, who fished the Cheakamus, back in the day when a two week horseback trip was necessary to get in here.

When I met him, Frankie was making, what in his words, was his last trip to the Cheakamus before passing on. A jolly fellow, full of memories.

I spent a good hour or so that day, chatting with him on the riverbank.

A phone call today let me know that Frankie had passed on. His son drove up from Vancouver to give me this rod. He said his father wanted me to have it, as it was the last rod he had fished the Cheakamus with.

His son thanked me for having spent some time on the river with Frankie, for letting him relive his memories, if only for awhile. He said that so many people dismissed Frankie as just another old man.

Well I guess I’m writing this to say, he wasn’t just another old man. He was a man with a story, in my mind both personal and historical. A man with knowledge and a man with dignity.

Thanks for letting me talk with you Frankie.

-Tim Travis.

11649295_10203184685377719_84296390_o

Tidal creeks

20150701_112606

20150701_112535-1

Stripers in here.   I will fish it, but need to watch for PCBs in the water and golf balls in the air…

Passaic?

Hack.

These are tidal marshes.  The portion of the Hackensack River here rises and drops w the tides…

It is close to the confluence of the Hackensack and the Passaic.

20150701_112802-1

20150701_112812-1

These are tiny tidal creeks that fill at high tide.  Heron everywhere here means bait in the creeks, and hopefully stripers follow?

20150701_113306

20150701_114127

Across the Hackensack, that’s an old power plant that closed about 10 years ago.  I’m told that the warm water outflows from the plant meant holdover striped bass there back then… I’ve seen pictures of guides with their clients in front of the power plant, with stripers.

I’m wondering for now if the bass run into those little creeks.  Would prefer short casts into the creeks, with light gear, than long bombs in to the river, with a two hander.  Need to get you guys here if you’re willing to fish in these designer waders, specially made for the Hack…

Screen-shot-2012-08-14-at-9.44.07-AM

Know the Hackensack well. Would love to check it out…

20150701_115100-1

Yes!!!  Can you see the little tidal creek there?

20150701_110826-1

Talk soon… Gonna do a half mile run!!

Then a plateful of lasagna and a 6 pack of beer.

Now that’s a great day.

Fish that creek at sunrise or set, sunrise better, whenever the tide is flowing. Go at different tides until you figure out when the fish are there.  Then it’s game on.

And celebrate with more beer and lasagna, each time, fish or no fish, because you’re figuring out the pattern.