On the Katy Trail; Surviving the Heat, Garvin

If  you enjoy biking, travel, adventure, wine, history, train rides and more check out my recent story for USATODAY.com about Missouri’s Katy Trail State Park at http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2016/06/24/katy-trail-statepark/86294304/. #KatyTrail #biking #VisitMo #outdoorsIMG_6680

Summertime is fun but the heat can be a killer. Don’t be a victim. Learn how to avoid (and treat) heat-related problems at The Courier-Journal Kentuckiana Outdoors http://www.courier-journal.com/topic/885cfea0-d87f-4f3b-ac8c-56edb8b184e6/kentuckiana-outdoors/. #heatdangers #CJoutdoors

Good fishing friends are hard to find. Don’t take them for granted. My friend Terry Garvin was one of a kind. More at http://www.kentuckymonthly.com/explore/field-notes/fishing-with-garvin/. #flyfishing #onthecreekIMG_8059

Get outside. Be Safe. Have fun.



Father’s Day; Up Close

My father, Archie Garth, Sr., has been gone for many years but I think of him often and see his reflection in my older brother, my children, and, of course, in the mirror. That’s him in the photo,Leslie Garth, Archie Garth, Leroy King, Shorty and Frank Garth looking dapper, and much  younger than I remember him.

I occasionally wonder how  my life might have been different had I known my father in adulthood (he died with I was 17). His influence certainly would have been felt in ways I cannot imagine. To speculate about such things is foolish of course but still, it remains a curiosity.

Fatherhood is the world’s largest fraternity and one in which I am an active member. I am the father of two daughters – a continuously dazzling experience to which nothing compares nor which anything could have prepared me.

Some of us become fathers early; some late; some multiple times. In the Dad World we all do our best; we all make mistakes. But we would trade being a father for nothing. None of us.

Happy Father’s Day to all: Those who are dads and those who call us dad.

Home and Away: Stories that Ripple

Today (4/11) at 6 p.m., Murray State University will host a minor literary event in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center. For those unfamiliar with the Murray State campus the CFSB Center is the basketball arena. It’s located near the intersection of highways 641 and 121 in Murray, Ky.Home.and.Away.Cover

I say a minor literary event because of the venue and probable local and regional attendance. The work being released is anything but minor.

Monday night marks the release of Dr. Duane Bolin’s new book Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal. It’s being published by Acclaim Press www.acclaimpress.com.

I’ll tell you a bit about the work and its author.

Home and Away is a collection of essays that grew from Bolin’s weekly newspaper column. The book has been more than a decade in the writing. I know from my friendship with the author that it has been a struggle at times, a frustration at others, but mostly, a joy. The tone is homespun, but in a quiet, polished sort of way. The essay is one of my favorite literary forms and done correctly, it is akin to a small pebble tossed into a still pond on a summer evening: not much plunk but far reaching ripples. These stories ripple.

Most impressive, however, is what you won’t find in Home and Away. You won’t find sarcasm, cynicism or profanity; hate, bitterness or ugliness; jealousy, resentment or revenge. The stories are about family and friends and places and the things that get us from here to there. In many of these essays the people and places are local; the themes are universal.

Duane is a husband, father, brother and friend. He’s also a scholar, a gifted teacher, and a skilled writer. He talks about Home and Away with his local public radio station, WKMS, here. It’s worth a listen.

See for yourself Monday night. Come if you can. Check out the book if you can’t.


Jim Harrison

I’m a Jim Harrison fan. The writer died Saturday, at age 78.

“Legends of the Fall” is probably Harrison’s best known work but it is hardly the only one. Fiction. Poetry. Essays. Even a children’s book.

Harrison lived well and obviously wrote well. When you can write prose with a poet’s heart, you have something.

I doubt Harrison ever got his just due from  American readers, although that might now change. He is apparently hugely popular in Europe, especially France.

Chris Dombrowski recently did a nice piece featuring Harrison in Anglers Journal. It’s worth your time. Read it at http://www.anglersjournal.com/people/the-gospel-according-to-jim/.


Fishing with Garvin

Casey Creek is a nothing trout stream but it was one of Garvin’s favorite spots so here I am.DSCN0610

Barely a rivulet with a sand and gravel bottom that generates a cloud of silt with nearly every step, Casey Creek is a stream that’s often choked with blow downs and root wads strewn about from the occasional thunderstorm-generated torrent. It rises in Tennessee before spilling into Kentucky and winding northward, eventually feeding Lake Barkley, the final Corps impoundment on the Cumberland River. This is not exactly classic trout country. But the creek is spring fed, clear and flows surprisingly cold for about three miles. Eight times a year the state dumps 1,000 or so fresh-from-the-hatchery trout (mostly rainbows along with a handful of browns) into the creek from a county road bridge. The few trout that aren’t caught immediately by the locals quickly acclimate to their new surroundings. It was for these trout that Terry Garvin preferred to fish.IMG_3843

Garvin and I began fishing together more than 20 years ago, not long after we met. He wasn’t much of a fisherman then, but became one by way of a curious, sharp mind that he could focus to unusual purposes. He’s the only person I’ve known who could render trout fishing into nearly a purely intellectual contest of wills between fish and fisherman. This may sound silly but you wouldn’t think so had you ever fished with Garvin. It was remarkable to witness.

I am alone on the creek, which is not unusual for a weekday afternoon unless it is stocking day, which it is not. The last trout stocking was nearly three weeks ago.

The first pool upstream from the bridge was Garvin’s favorite spot so that’s where I start but a recent storm has wedged a cottonwood against the mud bank, clogging the run and pushing the current into a queer dog leg that plunges under the root wad. Garvin would have figured it out but after hanging up and breaking off on successive casts I move upstream, crossing the creek to reach a narrow chute that empties into a long pool that is big for this stream. A roll cast drops the gold flecked nymph at the head of the pool, where it sinks slowly, attracting a swarm of minnows.

I last saw Garvin on a Monday in April in Little Rock. We’d planned to fish the White River a couple of days that week; a trip that had been scheduled for months. But he’d been felled by terrible medical problems no one saw coming.

“Better reschedule,” he’d said and I’d agreed, although we both knew it probably wouldn’t happen. The following week I spoke at his memorial service.

On the third drift the leader darts and I set the hook. A buttery colored trout comes to hand. One is enough. I do not think I will fish here again. DSCN0608



Peterson Wins Hobie Bass Open

Tyson Peterson caught more than twIMG_3832o dozen bass on Kentucky Lake Saturday and Sunday, most off ledge cover in the 15 to 18 foot range.

He couldn’t keep any. That was against the rules. But he measured and recorded his six longest (three each day), caulking up a total length of 116 inches, or about 19.3 inches per fish. It was enough to win the 2015 Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake and earn  the Lexington, Ky., man a spot in the 2015 Hobie Worlds Championship later this year in China.

The Hobie Bass Open was a CPR (catch, photograph and release) tournament. Anglers could fish from a kayak or paddle board. The field included 73 adults and six youth anglers.

Peterson began kayaking about five years ago and soon started fishing from the versatile boats.

“It was a different way to get on the water,” said Peterson, recalling his early kayaking days  “And it’s a lot more relaxing way to be on the water. Then it became a fishing sport so I grasp it. I’m an avid fisherman. I like the peace that it brings. It’s always a good time out on the water.”

Peterson beat second place finisher Tom Michael by 6 1/4 inches. Michael, who is from New Jersey, won the event last year.

The victory qualifies Peterson for the Hobie Worlds 2015 Championship in November in China and earned him a spot on Team USA.

“I’m going,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”