Friday, September 23, 2011

What a Week - Check out my Article in NC Sportsman Magazine

Well, this has been a fantastic week.  Work is going great, I joined forces with HOOK1, the Froggy Waters tourney is coming together, and I found out this morning that my article came out in print today in NC Sportsman Magazine.  The article is about called 'Spot On' and focuses on the growing population of big spotted bass in the Cape Fear River as well as how I target big spots, the baits I use, and how I approach river fishing.  I was really excited when Dan Kibler, the editor, accepted the story and I appreciate him helping me through the process.  Hopefully it's not the last article of mine that appears in the magazine!  The article is not online yet and I am not sure if or when it will be.  However, you can get a rundown of the magazine here.



It has rained all day, which I guess makes it a good day for sitting in meetings and in front of a computer.  However, the 3" of projected rain also put a bit of a wrench in my weekend fishing plans.  Maybe it will be a catfish kind of weekend?

Check back early next week for our fishing report (hopefully with video) as well as a product reviews for Buggs Fishing Lures and my new Kayalu Kayalite!  Tight lines!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Super Pumped to Join the HOOK1 Kayak Fishing Blog Team

I got some great news last week when Chad Hoover extended an offer to join the HOOK1 Kayak Fishing Blog Team.  HOOK1 is one of the most reputable businesses in the industry for buying kayaks, kayak supplies, and fishing gear.



I am really excited to get the opportunity to blog for HOOK1 and join a talented group of writers and anglers - many of whom I have looked up to since I began participating in the sport.  Whether you fish fresh- or saltwater, you will definitely find something interesting on the HOOK1 blog.  And if you are a kayak gear junky you will really love the weekly reviews.  I am so incredibly amped!

My first article, announcing the Froggy Waters Freshwater Slam, came out today.  You can find it here.  I hope to get an article out each week on that blog.  Some of the articles may mimic content on my own blog, but others will be unique to HOOK1.  In fact, if you have a cool blog idea, want me to review a product, or want to join me in a fishing adventure, shoot me an email at drew@froggywatersoutdoors.com!

You can scope out the HOOK1 blog at www.kayakfishingblog.com and you can check out HOOK1 at www.kayakfishinggear.com.  Tight lines!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The RiverBassin Tournament Trail Finale - Roanoke, VA - September 10, 2011

It all came down to this, so to speak, as the RiverBassin Tournament Trail wrapped up in Roanoke, Virginia.  Bill and I were sitting in first place for 'Team of the Year' and I was in second place in the 'Angler of the Year' race.  The TOY competition was handled like previous tournaments - where you were assigned points based on your finish from the event only.  The AOY competition was based on your results over the course of the series as well as your results for the day.  I knew being in second place in the AOY race had me in good shape, but there are so many talented guys who fish the trail that I knew I would have to bring my A-game.

Central VA provided some of the prettiest scenery of the entire trail


The day before, Mary May and I loaded up the Escape and headed for Virginia.  I wanted to take a look at a few different rivers, because only a few days before most flows looked like chocolate milk and were running at unsafe levels.  However, they were dropping nicely and some rivers looked pretty good.  With a little help (special thanks to Appalachian Bronzeback), we settled on a tributary to the James River.  Mary May and I met up with Bill and his girlfriend Misty at the pre-tournament meeting.  The Roanoke Rec. Center was a great location and all sorts of folks were there.  As usual, Drew Gregory headed up the meeting.  Chad Hoover, the head honcho for KayakBassFishing.com, HOOK1, Wilderness Systems, etc., was there to talk and hand out goodies.  Coincidentally, I got my card pulled in the very first door prize raffle and was hoping that it didn't use up all my luck for fishing the next day.  The crowd was a mix of locals, regional anglers, and the usual suspects.

After the meeting the 4 of us headed to get some food and check-in at our hotel, which was about an hour away.  It wasn't the fanciest place (in fact I am sure Mary May and Misty had a few very different adjectives), but it did the trick for the night.  Bill and I went through the usual routine - check our lines, sharpen hooks, tie on new baits, and prep gear for the next day.  Then we hit the sack.  I probably got 2 hours of total sleep, which is about average for me the night before tournaments.  It didn't take long before we were headed for the river.  We got to our launch spot, loaded the yaks, and were on our way. 

These start of the day pictures always look darker than it really is.


We started with topwater baits and both landed fish within the first 10 minutes of the day.  However, they were both small and we were immediately worried about the quality of fish in this river.  After landing a few more small fish in the first major rapid, I had a nicer fish (13"-14") swing and miss a Lucky Craft Gunfish.  We started working downstream through an area I would rather have fished in the afternoon, but since we were doing a 5 mile float, we didn't have much of a choice.  Small fish were abundant to say the least.  Finally we came upon an eddy that looked unbelievable.  But even there, we could only manage a couple short fish and one 12.5" smallie.  This hole also stole my sunglasses, which was not the way I wanted to start the day.

We kept fishing through water that looked productive and indeed it was loaded with fish under 11".  I just kept thinking that with the cooler temperatures it was a better afternoon spot, but that thought also gave me hope that the bite would pick up as the day went on.  But, my luck was not changing.  I had a 13" smallie come unbuttoned just as I lifted him from the water and another over 12" flop out of my hand and get lodged head first in one of my scupper holes.  As I tried to grab his tail he got startled and squirmed his way through the hole and back into the river.  At this point I was in partial disbelief and was just hoping I could catch a break. 

We were getting tired of catching fish this size.

We floated a long way, admiring some gorgeous scenery and fishing some nice looking areas.  However, we just couldn't buy a bite from bigger fish.  Finally, we kind of started to put together the pattern.  The better fish were in the channel.  They weren't in the usual holes such as eddies, rock ledges, downed logs, etc.  These fished were camped out in the channel chowing.  However, this made them tough to target, because they were spread out and not pegged to visible structure.

Finally, I threw my plastic worm toward a stump in the middle of the river.  I worked it off the stump and then just let it sit for about 20 seconds.  As I moved it, a big smallie inhaled it and it was game on!  The fish fought like crazy - jumping, spinning my kayak, and just generally putting up a battle.  Finally, the 17.25" brute came to hand and my Gamakatsu worm hook was squarely lodged in his mouth.  It was a nice upgrade - now I just needed two more!

Finally - a big gal decided to bite!


We worked the lower stretches of the river and its confluence with the James, but still couldn't manage any larger fish.  So, we decided to roll the dice and try to find a spot or two on the James to fish.  We found an area with very difficult access, but made our way down the bank.  As we saw the water, we immediately looked at each other in disbelief.  It was a spot where a tournament could have been won.  In fact, it was a spot that might have produced a few really big fish, but it was impossible to fish thoroughly without the yaks, which we had left behind.

On my first cast I threw my Spro Little John MD crankbait in an eddy along some rocks.  I saw the line get hung up on one of the hooks and was about ready to retrieve it when suddenly, a big smallie jetted from the depths and swiped at the bait.  But the fish never actually hit it and immediately went back down.  I reeled in the bait, fixed the line, and threw it back out.  Two cranks later I felt a bite and was initially very exicted, but after a few more cranks I realized the fish was not the big smallie.  However, the 12" fish would help my limit.  I landed one more small fish in this spot before we decided to call it a day.  I think both of us felt a little regret that we hadn't fished that area initially, but there is always next year!

This was a gorgeous, dark smallie


I had 40.5" of bass with my biggest being 17.25".  As a team, Bill and I had 54.5".  We knew we would need some serious luck to finish on top.  We got to the weigh in and got to visit with a lot of the competitors.  We also got some sweet baits and a DVD from kayak fishing pro Jeff Little and his company Confidence Baits.

When it was all said and done, my total was good enough for 3rd on the day.  Tim Perkins of Alabama took home first place with a total of 49.25".  His brother Greg was second and Bill finished in 4th.  As a team, the Perkins brothers also took 1st, Bill and I took 2nd, and the local duo of Metheny and Davis were 3rd.  Tim also happened to be in 1st place in the AOY competition coming into the event so his top finish secured his win as RiverBasser of the Year.  I got to talk to Tim quite a bit in Roanoke and came away very impressed - he was a very deserving winner.  He is a great competitor, angler, and individual.  In fact, we both have a focus on promoting the sport we love and getting kids involved, which was great to talk about.  I hope to get on the water with Tim sometime in the fairly near future.

IMG_8732
The top 5 invidiual anglers from the day  (courtesy of RiverBassin Trail)

My finish helped me secure the runner-up position in the AOY competition, ahead of a group of incredibly talented anglers.  I was really happy to come away with that finish in one of the top kayak fishing tournament trails in the country.  But, even more excitement was on the way - our team finish helped us secure 1st place as the RiverBassin Team of the Year.  Our main goal was to win team of the year and we did it - never finishing lower than 2nd place.  Bill and I have become great friends this year and I can't thank him enough for joining me on the water.  Check out the RiverBassin Recap here and final AOY & TOY standings here.  There should also be an article out soon in Kayak Fishing Magazine.

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Ladies and Gentlemen - your RiverBassin Trail Team of the Year!

Overall, the trail had 12 tournaments in 10 states.  It brought in 183 anglers from 21 different states, 68 teams, and over 6000 inches of caught and released river bass.  Not only was this group of anglers extremely talented on the water, the RiverBassin community is hands down the nicest group of guys and gals I have ever met.  If you love to bass fish on rivers, streams, creeks, and other flowing bodies of water, check out RiverBassin.com and I guarantee you will love it!

This tournament will almost wrap up my tournament calendar for the year.  I was able to meet a lot of my goals this year and over the past two years I have shown I can compete with anyone in rivers and lakes across the country.  However, this year also got me thinking about why I love to fish and it is making me consider an early retirement from tournament angling.  However,  I don't want to pull an MJ and try to go out on top only to come back time and time again.  But, next year I think I have another goal that only 1 person (to the best of my knowledge) has been able to complete from a kayak.  I am going to keep you in the dark on that one.

Before I forget, a huge thanks to Mary May, Bill, Brett Hinson, Drew Gregory, the RiverBassin Trail crew, my parents, and everyone else who helped make everything possible for me this year.  I couldn't ask for a better girlfriend, who has supported me through some serious ups and downs this year.  When it seemed like the walls were caving in on my dreams you helped motivate me and rise above it - I love you so much!  Bill you already know how much I appreciate you joining me this year.  Getting on the water with you is always fun and I think we learn a lot from each other - definitely a life long friendship.  Brett, you make some incredible rods and it is an honor to be on the Carolina Custom Rods pro-staff.  Again - thanks to everyone!

So, I did mention "almost" wraps up my tournament season.  I have two events left - one of which I am fishing and one of which I am hosting.  On October 1st I am returning the favor to Bill and joining him for the Southern Open Championship Trail event on High Rock Lake....yes, this is an event I will be fishing from a bass boat.  However, I think I am going to where my Jackson Kayak shirt to the weigh-in!  Actually, I am really looking forward to it as it should be a fun day and good test, since a number of BASS Elite Series Pros, FLW Pros, BFL Pros, and others will be competing.

The second event is the Froggy Waters Outdoors Freshwater Slam to be held October 15th in Bahama, NC.  This event is aimed at getting youth involved in the outdoors and also providing a friendly competition.  Proceeds benefit the Schoolhouse of Wonder - an awesome non-profit who does wonders for getting youth involved outdoors.  The grand prize is a Jackson Coosa Elite kayak and the prize list is unbelievable for this event (check it out at www.froggywaters.com).  It also includes guided kayak fishing trips with some of the top guides for musky, stripers, and trophy bass!  Best of all, Get:Outdoors is allowing us to provide free kayak or canoe rentals to anyone who needs one!  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at drew@froggywatersoutdoors.com.

Well, I'll either be chasing giant bass or working on my dance moves.

In the mean time, it is time to try and put a few more 5+ lb fish in the yak...and in Mary May's yak too.  I also have a couple more exciting things happening in the near future, which I will unveil shortly.  Until then...tight lines!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Pig River Bass - August 28, 2011

After a good night of sleep, I awoke with one thing on my mind - big bass.  Granted, that is how I wake up pretty much every day, but I knew just the spot I wanted to try for big, summertime, river bass.  I switched out some of my smallmouth gear from the rodeo for largemouth baits and off I went.

I made a fairly long paddle before getting to the area I wanted to start in.  It didn't take long before I hooked up with a few 1-2 lb largemouths.  Then I spied a gorgeous stump completely underwater while standing in the Coosa.  I threw my Deep Creek Lures Razor Beetle toward the stump and let it sink.  As I picked up, I felt the weight of a fish and set the hook.  The fish immediately went airborne then back down into the stump.  While doing so, he lodged the hook onto part of the stump and managed to come free.  It was not the way I wanted to start the day - as he was easily over 4 lbs. 

I continued to another stretch where I caught two 2-3 lb bass that followed my swimbait, but didn't quite commit, by throwing a flutter worm out as a follow up bait.  I will admit, it wasn't ideal swimbait water, but I had to try it since I suspected some real giants lurked in there.  At this point I wanted to return to the stump and try it again - it just looked too good.  I threw my Razor Beetle in again and immediately felt a bite.  I set the hook and it was game on....but not 5 seconds later the fish had done the same thing as the first - wedged the hook into the stump.  I was beginning to think it wasn't my day as it was another 3+ lb bass. 

A little discouraged I headed down river, landing a couple smaller bass on crankbaits.  I saw a downed tree that looked perfect, threw my bait out, and...nothing.  I reeled it in and somewhat haphazardly flipped my bait toward a nearby bush.  All of a sudden, I felt a bite and set the hook on what felt like a really good fish.  He ran for some downed wood cover and I did all I could to keep him out of it.  Finally, I was able to fight him with one hand and paddle with the other until I got out into the middle of the river.  The fish did not want to give up and was pulling furiously.  In one last ditch effort, he managed to wrap the line around a small stick that I couldn't see on the bottom of the river.  I reeled him, and the stick, to the boat and lipped him.  He was a brute and I knew it was one of my biggest river bass of the summer.

I got to the bank and got a few pictures.  Then I put him on the measuring board and scales.  The fish was extremely thick and 22" long.  He weighed in at 6 lbs on the dot.  It was exactly why you never give up when on the water.  The picture really didn't do this fish justice, but I felt bad holding him with only one hand.

Sometimes pigs like this show up when you least expect it!

I landed one more small bass before switching to a buzzbait shortly before dark.  I landed 3 or 4 more bass fishing over downed trees with the R&S Baits Chatterbuzz rigged on one of my Carolina Custom Rods.  It was a great day for me!  But, Mary May was less enthusiastic about her day.  Her hometown and much of the northeast was getting blasted by Irene.  The rains caused flooding like never before.  Brooks became raging flows and rivers wreaked havoc on roads, bridges, and buildings.  Thankfully, she and her family remained safe and Mary May was able to make it back to NC just in time for her nursing exam...which she aced.

Shelbrune Falls, MA - photo courtesy of John Elder Robinson


This trip was the last local trip I have made.  However, last weekend Mary May and I met up with Bill Kohls and his girlfriend Misty near Roanoke, VA to fish the final leg of the 2011 RiverBassin Tournament Trail.  Hopefully I get that blogged soon!  Until then...tight lines!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The North Carolina RiverBassin Rodeo

Where do I start this one?  I guess the beginning makes logical sense...right?  About 2 years ago, more or less, I stumbled upon RiverBassin.com.  I grew up as a bit of a river rat, stream stalker, creek crawler or whatever you want to call it.  So, I was delighted to find the sight and the group of guys behind it.   I can say that the members there are some of the nicest guys I have ever met and incredibly talented fishermen to boot.

A few months ago my friend Mike, aka Catawba, sent me a message about helping to organize a RiverBassin Rodeo.  What is a RiverBassin Rodeo you might ask.  Well, a RiverBassin Rodeo is a tradition of the site and is basically a big meet 'n greet that occurs in each state.  However, anglers come from all over the place to enjoy the commraderie and fish new waters.  Last year, North Carolina didn't have a rodeo, so we were set on making it happen this year.  After a bit of discussion we roped a friend of ours, Mookie, into the planning and decided to have the event on the Dan River in north-central NC. 


We set the date for August 27th and patiently waited all summer as the event started to draw more and more interested.  As noted in the previous blog, I had been in Wyoming and was just getting back in to town two days before the event.  Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one headed toward NC.  Hurricane Irene was blowing up the east coast and wreaking havoc along the way.  However, nothing would stop this rodeo from happening and we didn't cancel the event.  Thankfully, the weather was forecasted to stay close to the coast and it did just that. 

Ready to hit the water!

A few folks had been out there for a multiple days, but I was only able to make a day trip on Saturday.  I awoke and hit the road, nervous, as I headed northwest from Hillsborough.  But thankfully, the weather that made me nervous never came.  There was some wind and afternoon rain, but nothing hurricanesque.



Lunch break

The float was gorgeous and filled with fish.  The Dan is a small river, but it packed a punch.  My first fish of the day was a chunky little largemouth, which I quickly followed with 3 smallies.  I had them patterned and would pound the fish the rest of the day - catching 25+ smallies and a couple of bream.  Most of my fish were over 12" with a few over 15".

My first nice smallie of the day

For me, the secret was setting up on current seams or deep pockets with current and drifting weightless plastics.  A few times I caught 4+ fish from the same spot and the bigger fish were committing to this pattern more than search baits.

My last nice smallie of the day

The day went fast and was a bunch of fun.  I got to meet some great people, listen to some good music, and eat some tasty food.  A huge thanks to all the guys from RiverBassin who came out and made it all possible.

Some of the RB gang

As I headed home Saturday I realized that my Sunday was actually fairly free, so I started strategizing on where to chase big largemouth.  Further north, Mary May was bracing for the wrath of Irene and wishing she was fishing.  Thankfully, post Irene conditions were good for me....but not as good for western Massachusetts. 


Tight lines!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Wyoming Wilderness Adventure Part Deux - August 2011

Sorry for the delay, but things have been CRAZY the past week.  So, let me get back to Wyoming.  It was our second to last full day in Wyoming and our last day with a fishing license.  Some neighbors had mentioned a few places we should check out, so we scoured the map looking at distances, slopes, terrain, and of course fishing locales.  We finally settled on an excursion to Seven Brothers Lakes.  Seven Brothers was located in a wilderness area and looked to be a nice day hike.  So, after a relaxing dinner and some rest, we were on our way. 

A view in the wilderness area

As you can imagine, the roads to wilderness areas can often be a little crazy.  I have been to some places with paved road right up until the end and other places where a 4x4 was a must.  This road was the latter.  We climbed over small boulders as the truck shook like an overloaded washing machine.  As we reached Solider Park, a few miles from where we wanted to start, the road divided.  Of course, the roads were poorly marked, but somehow (probably because Betty is a former orienteering national champ) we made it down the right one.  We threw dust to the wind as we rolled across the plains, with glimpses of streams and snow capped peaks in either direction.  Finally we came to the trailhead - aka where the truck could go no further without needing new shocks, a re-alignment, and a host of other things.  Mary May and I packed up our lunches, some water, and the fly fishing gear and were on our way.  Mind you, we were carrying the supplies in my over the shoulder computer bag rather than a backpack, which we didn't have.

As I mentioned, the road sucked.  And it sucked for hiking too.  Small boulders covered the road and made the walking tough.  Of course, we wanted to pack light for our trip (see lack of backpack), so we were in sneakers rather than hiking boots....a mistake we won't make again.  Even so, we made it through the first few miles pretty easily - spotting a gorgeous juvenile golden eagle (still massive in size) along the way.  We also encountered a mule train, who had been on the trail for over 30 days and had started in the Rockies....better them than me.  I think I would rather hike than ride a mule that far, but I digress.  Soon after the mule packers, we dropped into a meadow and found another interesting part of the hike - a stream crossing.  We were warned of said stream crossing, but we hadn't thought much of it.  The stream was about 20 feet across and only about 8-12 inches deep.  We decided to take off our shoes and wade it.  After being in the water for about 20 seconds my legs to started to shiver and my feet were numb.  I made it about 1/3 of the way before realizing I had no chance of making it without falling.  The cold was simply debilitating, especially when combined with slippery rocks.  So, we decided to retreat, put our shoes back on, and eat lunch.


A view from 'almost' the top

 
After getting re-energized and psyching ourselves up, we forded the river with shoes...and made it quite easily.  Laughing at our silly thoughts of going barefoot, we meandered through the low forest before beginning our descent to 9800+ ft.  This was the part of the trail that amazed us both in hindsight.  Somehow, we blazed up the incline, making short work of what was estimated to be a 45 minute romp by the local paper.  And as we crested the mountain top we could see glimpses of sun reflecting off of water....we had made it!

We were met with a stiff, albeit cooling breeze.  It echoed across the mountain top, which was covered with boulder deposits.  We took a quick look at the near side of the lake before boulder hopping to the other side, which was a little more protected from the wind.  Mary May started with her now infamous bumble bee pattern and I with a dragon fly.  Within minutes I spotted a couple of fish and had one bolt toward my fly - only to have him turn at the last second.  Apparently, the fly just didn't look right.  So, I went to plan B - a stimulator.  I spotted some more fish, but of course, they spotted me too and could have cared less about my fly.  I am fairly sure I spotted rainbow, brown, and lake trout all in the same general area.  Finally, I saw a fish feeding about 60-70 feet from shore.  I double hauled the heck out of my line to get it to the spot in the windy conditions.  No sooner did the fly land and it was FISH ON!  My 3-4 weight rod was doubled and line running hard right.  The fish went aerial multiple times and pulled some drag.  He wasn't my biggest fish ever, but he was one of the prettiest rainbow trout I have ever seen - 14" of pure beauty done no justice by our pictures.  A big thanks to Mary May, who had run over to see the fish only to have to run back to get the camera from our bag and come back again to get a few pictures.  We released the fish and started plan C.  Plan C was to use nymphs tied about 3 feet below our dry flies, since the fish weren't feeding very actively on top. 

A gorgeous Seven Brothers rainbow
As we made our way toward the gear I looked down the bank and saw something brown in the water.  Initially, I thought it was a juvenile moose, but quickly realized it was at the other end of the food chain.  "Holy $%#+" I exclaimed.  Mary May thought I had just seen a giant fish as I was looking, in general, toward the water - as I tend to do wherever we go.  I pointed as the bear stood up to exit the water.  He was only 60-70 yards away and only about 30 yards (if that) from our bag.  He dried off with a quick shake and bounded across the boulder field in no time flat.  We saw him disappear into the woods as we walked over to our gear.  I laughed, wondering where he had come from, how long he had been there, and what if we had been at our bag instead of a distance away.  Of course, it felt great to laugh because we had been holding our breath moments earlier - wondering if the small bear had a mother nearby (even though it wasn't really the season for mommas and cubs to be together).

Yogi

Or maybe Boo Boo?


Now smiling ear to ear, I could have left happy right then and there.  But of course, I rarely turn away from a fishing opportunity and really wanted Mary May to hook-up.  So, off we went with our new dry-dropper rigs and started casting.  It didn't take too long before Mary May had a violent strike.  She did everything perfectly, but the fish managed to break the dropper line and get away.  We were pretty bummed, but she admitted to being excited to see the strike - her first on non-flowing water.

We also hiked to the second lake, but it was even bigger and windier.  We decided to give it a quick go and both managed a small strike.  However, we were getting tired and it was getting late, so we decided to head back to the first lake.  We only fished another 15 minutes, before giving in to exhaustion and getting ready to head down the mountain.  The high altitude, sun, and lack of serious sleep had made a mark over the course of our trip.  We talked about how much we enjoyed the hike, our first serious hike together, as we descended.  The only thing that could have made it better was getting to see a big bull elk or moose...our fingers were crossed!

Mary May approves of this adventure!

After what seemed like twice as long as the trip up, we made it to the stream crossing, this time trudging across like it was barely even there.  We winded our way through the forest and up the hillside before coming to the final 2 miles of trail, which marked the way to the truck.  Unfortunately, our feet were killing us at this point due to the lack of hard soled shoes.  On top of that, Mary May's back was hurting and my shoulders were paying the price of taking a one shoulder bag for what was certainly a two shoulder day hike.  Finally, we saw the light penetrate the edge of the forest, giving way to the meadow where the truck parked - filled with ice cold drinks.  It was pure bliss after our 8 mile jaunt.

Betty and Martin were nearby reading and filled us in on their day.  They did some fishing in the stream, took a nap, saw a big cow moose, and just generally enjoyed the day.  We told them about our adventures as we again traversed the boulder patch road back to civilization.  As we came to the top of a small hill, we all went silent.  Ahead was a bull moose, looking lost in the middle of the road.  He slowly came toward the car, allowing for some photos and Bullwinkle jokes, before he hung a hard right into some thick coniferous brush.  Our trip to Wyoming was now complete! 



The majestic moose...not very agile

We battled sleep on the way back to the cabin where we chowed down on dinner, made a fire, and drifted to sleep to the sound of the creek.  The next day we headed to Gilette to spend a day with my sister's family.  It was great to just relax and hang out with them - particularly getting to play with my nephews.

Not asleep or drunk...but it's tiring work keeping up with them

The next day I was headed back to PA then to NC.  Mary May was headed to Massachusetts for a few days before returning to NC when school started.  For me, it meant I had a day and a half to catch up on work and errands before the NC RiverBassin Rodeo.  Of course, this was all happening as hurricane Irene crept up the eastern seaboard.  So, my next blog will be about the NC RiverBassin Rodeo and our flirtations with Irene.  Until then, tight lines!