Easter Notes: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

“So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” John 19: 40. . . . “and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.” John 20: 5.

Christianity hinges on Easter morning; the empty tomb; the resurrected Christ.

But before the joy of Easter morning came the despair of Friday afternoon, the crucifixion and death of Christ. One doesn’t happen without the other.

We know from the gospel writer John (John 19: 38-40) that Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, an act that must have taken a tremendous amount of courage. Then, with help from Nicodemus, the two men laid the dead preacher in a tomb then, we can only assume, returned to their homes, likely fearful and confused, perhaps utterly defeated.

An empty tomb greeted the second day sunrise. We know the responses of the Peter and John and the other apostles, and the reactions from several other early followers.

Imagine when Joe and Nick heard the news.

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Turkey Time . . . Almost

Turkey season opens Saturday. I was doing some windshield scouting this afternoon.

Road follows a small creek to a low head dam. I know this place. The water spilling over the dam funnels off a little rock ledge onto a gravel spit then flattens into a pool that fills a sharp bend. The spot is about the size of a two-car garage. Usually fluctuates from torrent to trickle. Not today. Just about right. Fishy. IMG_2976

Had a 7-foot 4 weight fly rod in the truck. Weather was sunny and breezy. Cool enough for a jacket. The water temp was barely touching 50 but . . .

Pulled on knee boots and waded onto the tongue of the gravel spit. Two casts. Two bass. Not large but feisty.

Pretty good afternoon of scouting.

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Mr. Hobie Cat

The California-based Hobie Company www.hobiecat.com makes some of the best fishing kayaks on the market, including nine models fitted with the company’s almost magical “MirageDrive” peddle system. They’re good boats and I highly recommend them.

They make other stuff, too. Sailboats. Paddle boards. Catamarans. But it all started in 1950 when a 17-year-old surfing hotshot named Hobart Alter started shaping balsa wood surfboards for his friends in his family’s Laguna Beach summer home. His nickname was “Hobie,” which was understandable. What California surf wiz has buddies who are going to call him Hobart?

Four years later Alter opened a surf shop and never looked back. He and some friends/employees came up with a foam surfboard and the small company soon owned the surfboard market. About 15 years later Alter came up with the “Hobie Cat” catamaran, and soon commanded that market. Other ideas and stuff followed, including the MirageDrive fishing kayaks.

Hobie Alter died a couple of days ago. He was 80, and along with a raft of achievements – including his 2011 induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame – he had made good on an early ambition: to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

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Hobie Announces Fishing World Championship Qualifying Schedule

Hobie has released its Fishing World Championship qualifying tournament schedule, a five-tournament slate that includes kayak events in New York, Florida, Ontario, Oregon and Kentucky.

The Hobie World Championship will be held in Amsterdam in October.

Hobie World qualifiers include: the Kayak Fishing Classic, Jamaica Bay, New York, May 15-18, http://www.Captainkayak.com; the Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open, Kentucky Lake, Kentucky, May 30-June 1; www.hobiefishing.com; Kayak Tournament, Jacksonville, Florida, June 22 http://www.ifatours.com; Border City Classic, Windsor, Ontario, June 28, http://www.bordercityclassic.com; and Oregon Rockfish Classic, Depoe Bay, Oregon, July 12, http://www.northwestkayakanglers.com.

The Hobie World Championship and qualifiers are CPR (catch, photograph and release) tournaments. Anglers will enter their three best lengths in aggregate each day; winner determined by best total cumulative length.

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Fishing at Walmart

The clerk at Wal-Mart was a guy about my age. He rang up a can of WD-40.

“I use this stuff to oil up my fishing reels,” he said.

I started to respond when he launched into a story about needing to replace one of the tires on his boat trailer then swerved to a story about a bass he caught last year while fishing with a buddy at a Tennessee state park while fishing for crappie before coming back to the trailer, which he apparently got from his brother-in-law in some kind of a trade. Details of the deal weren’t revealed but the brother-in-law was sorry that he got rid of his boat trailer but he didn’t really need to be sorry because he could use it anytime he wanted all he had to do was ask.

He scanned a package of ground beef and a 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes.

“Making chili tonight?”

“Maybe.”

“Got it on a Roadrunner.”

“Got what on a Roadrunner?”

He looked up from the scanner. “That big bass I caught while crappie fishing.”

He scanned a can of black beans.

“You put these in chili?”

“Sometimes, yea.”

“I’d use real chili beans. You don’t want to use too much of that stuff on your reel.”

“What stuff?”

“That WD-40.”

I’ll be careful.”

He sacked the rest of my items and I paid the bill.  The story continued.

“I really like those Roadrunners for crappie. I like white. They sell ‘em back in sporting goods. That’s what I caught the bass on. I catch a lot of crappie but not to many bass. Not much of a bass fisherman. Never really done it much.”

The lady behind me was growing visibly impatient.

“Well, good luck,” I said, as an exit strategy.

“With what?”

“Fishing.”

“Don’t need luck for that. I always catch fish.”

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Arkansas Notes: Wading the mighty White

Big rivers have no regard for fishermen and will kill them given the opportunity. They should be approached with a heavy dose of respect.

Even when it is in a passive state; when the Corps of Engineers have quieted Bull Shoals Dam to a trickle, the White River remains formidable, powerful and restless.

That was the White’s condition Wednesday; accessible to wading, but barely so.IMG_2919

At the downstream end of the Gaston’s www.gastons.com property the White at low flow splinters and swirls and sluices into a football size patch of nervous water. The two guys down stream from where I was working a piece of promising water with a fly rod  were plucking trout from the river with regularity. When I recognized my fellow anglers - Jeff Samsel www.jeffsamesl.blogspot.com and his son Nathaniel (pictured) – I became a bit dismayed.  Not because I was sharing the river with the Samsels; I treasure fishing with Jeff and Nathaniel any time, any place. But Jeff is an excellent angler and Nathaniel is quickly becoming one. Fishing behind the Samsel men is not a good idea.

Still, I waded carefully, caught a few, missed as many and only suffered a minor sunburn. A pretty good afternoon.

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Arkansas Notes: Gaston’s on the White

Gaston’s White River Resort has been in business since 1958. The White River has been in business as a trout fishery since 1952. That’s when President Truman arrived by train, stayed four hours, and gave his dedication blessings to Bull Shoals and nearby Norfork dams, thus forever changing the local landscape.

Truman’s place in history is secure. The White River’s place as one of the most productive tailwater trout fisheries in the country is also secure. Gaston’s reputation as one of the best resorts and fishing outposts on the river is well established, as well.

I fished Tuesday with my mentor and long time friend Larry Rea, who spent more than three decades with The Commercial Appeal, the bulk of which as that newspaper’s outdoor editor. He retired a few years ago then got into the radio business. You’ll find more about that at www.lroutdoors.com.IMG_2870

Gaston’s has everything you need; from bare bones to full service. Fishing guides, food, lodging, service, tackle, information . . . even the current “hot fly.” Check them out at www.gastons.com.

Larry and I fished Tuesday with veteran guide Ron Armagost (pictured), who has caught more fish than he can remember and guided more fishermen than need remembering. Ron has a life changing  story of his own, which he was gracious enough to share. More about that soon.

We caught about three dozen trout, which everyone except me considered a good but not great day of fishing (I thought it was terrific). The weather was perfect, the company was excellent and the folks at Gaston’s do their best to make guests feel at home.

I’m here at the invitation of Larry Rea and host Jim Gaston as part of an annual media gathering hosted by Gaston’s. There are about 20 writers and broadcasters here this week, all of whom are colleagues and many of which are friends, including Bryan Hendricks.

Following Tuesday night’s Gaston’s hosted cookout Bryan asked if I wanted to try some nighttime fly fishing. Fishing in the dark does something evil to my casting. Still, I managed to catch a fat nighttime rainbow. Luck again trumped talent.

The weatherman is promising cold and wind on Wednesday. I don’t think the trout will mind.

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