shannon

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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Coal Burns Out in Texas Water Wednesday

| October 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Dominoes Begin To Fall In Texas

It may be a brand new day for the Texas environment, and we actually lived to see it happen. Taking three of Texas’ coal powered electricity generating plants offline means cleaner skies for Texas, less fallout in our water and healthier fish.

I have quietly railed against coal for several years now, and do believe that one of the great (maybe history will say the only great) things we will be left with from Obama’s years is – HIS positive impact on the environment, on our environment.

The closing of these plants will cost jobs, just as the horse stables and buggy whip makers lost their jobs with the coming of the horseless carriage. Families will be effected by this, and we cannot underestimate their insecurity and instability in this era of endemic underemployment, insanely low wages and people’s seeming inability to relocate to where jobs really are these days.

However, we rejoice at the idea of cleaner land, water and air – brought about by the huge growth in Texas wind power and natural gas. Texas is number one in the Nation when it comes to wind power, and we got there pretty darn quickly. Now, wind moves up in the percentage of power it supplies, and natural gas is the king of all power supplied in Texas (Yes, T. Boone, there is a Santa Claus).

The plants that are closing are:

  • Monticello
  • Big Brown
  • Sandow

Luminant still has a couple more plants open, and they are:

  • Oak Grove
  • Martin Lake

Closing the above three plants will cut 10-percent of Texas power plant’s carbon dioxide emissions, which amounts to 26-million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Coal has been on a downward trend since 2010 – more than half of the US’s coal powered plants have announced their “retirements” in this decade. In case you’re wondering. That’s a GOOD THING. Let us all just hope that President Trump doesn’t do anything else stupid – to prop up coal power, and just leaves coal as another of his empty promises, this one best left empty. Continue Reading

Monday Morning Sidewalk Oklahoma Style

| October 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

CROSS THE RED RIVER WITHOUT THE RIVALRY WHY DON’T WE

Good Monday, and welcome to the Monday Morning Sidewalk. It’s been this way for years, and there’s no sense in killing the goose now. But we are going to lay another egg of the golden variety, and that is for the Fall and Winter, Monday becomes the Oklahoma Fly Fishing Report.

Sound familiar? It probably is and that is because Thursday and Fridays have been the home of the “Texas Fly Fishing Report” for years now (yes, time does fly loop-less). So, what we’re going to do is make the OKLAHOMA REPORT part of the Monday Morning Sidewalk, and that is because my weekdays are currently FREE, and they are the most likely times (Monday – Friday) you can find, or join me in Oklahoma at this time of year – this year (and next with your support).

As we roll out this new report, I am going to base it on the successful format of the Texas Fly Fishing Report. Why the hell reinvent the wheel?

Virtually everyone I trust tells me that the conquering of BendBow is going to be quite an undertaking. The floods, the aftermath … none of which I have ever seen … make BendBow a clean slate. I hear there are Texans hitting the fishery every week since the floods, and they still haven’t figured it out.

Me? I am what I am. Imagine having weekdays to camp, and experience the change of seasons, and document that as well as the “New” Beaver’s Bend … I can think of a lot worse things, and a lot longer drives.

THE BLUE CARD

I still have this soft spot on my crown – for the Blue River – soft like one of the plowed fields surrounding that aquifer fed river cutting through the middle of nowhere. The Blue River defines a seasonal stocker stopover, a place where the trout are there and then they’re gone. If these synthetic fish are as unlucky as to be dumped in the catch-and-kill area? Sayonara. If they are dumped in the catch-and-release area, and don’t get poached? Congratulations! March first, it is open season, and then you get killed. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t in a manner of speaking.

THE REAL DEAL

The real deal looks to me to actually be the Lower Illinois River, but then we get into a heck of a haul to get there. Of course, this is the season for that little outing, and being true to the Texas Fly Caster origins, it will be a DIY that you can plug into (now literally), and replicate for your own fix. It’s colder up there, the variables are brand new, and that is another fishery in Oklahoma that runs all year (except for now of course!).

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS

The party’s over for what they called, “Clean Coal” here in Texas! The exclamation point is there not for we fly fishers, but for we who believe the environment is more important than the fisheries created by the cooling lakes for these power plants. There will be a longer story this week on the death of “Clean Coal” in Texas. Wind is now the king and coal is dead, long live the king. Funny that the one weather variable we fly fishers complain the most about – wind – is now the variable that promises a cleaner future for all God’s creatures crawling, walking, swimming and flying. This IS a big story. NOW, I need to come up with the list of closings (some were already shut down)

REEL RECOVERY EVENT

Thanks to all of you who I know and don’t know – who GAVE YOUR TIME to the Glen Rose event Saturday October 14 in Glen Rose, Texas. I attended the spring 2016 event as a participant, and did a story and photography then – and it was well received. Since then, I have tried to contribute to their needs in the best, most valuable ways I know how to, and look forward to running some photographs for you to see this week. There were slightly fewer participants this event, and there was a larger number of volunteers which is a always a great problem to have. Fish were caught, and friendships rekindled. Stay tuned for that post as well!

 

Texas Fly Fishing Report and Clyde Meets Harvey Slideshow

| October 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

Texas Fly Fishing Report Hurricane Harvey Slideshow

We’re still having trouble with the gutting of the “embed” function of YouTube (proportions may be off), but you get the picture! Thanks for watching, and let me know if you have any questions please! At some point I will be producing another audio based story from the interview I did with Captain Chuck Naiser, but it may be awhile.

Fall Weather Patterns Bring Sketchy Fly Fishing

| October 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

North Texas Temperatures Swing Fly Fishing Action Sand Bass Hotspot

I had to get out of the house, and take a break from the Finn yesterday. Somebody forgot to tell me what a full-time job it is to raise a cow dog indoors and train him to be at least a little bit civilized. We have a long way to go.

Medical problems with family in Houston and Weslaco, Texas, don’t make the static any less in my attic either. The Clyde story for Drake magazine is in the can, editor approved and endorsed — and that helps clear the charged air. The burden of what I saw in Rockport and Port A did lead me to “put my money where my mouth is” so to speak. I applied for two FEMA photography job openings, one in Houston and the other in Corpus Christi, Texas. Does a 56-year-old white male stand a chance? Hell no, but I just keep trying for some strange reason (you photographer-readers hurry to the .GOV site now and apply!). If you are FEMA connected, how about a little real help here?

I ran a post on the Texas Fishing Forum – Hurricane Harvey on TFF – discussion boards, and guess what? There’s no discussion on the disaster, and as of this writing, not a single comment. I now pause to scratch my head and wonder … Is there something wrong with these folks, or is it me?


It is pretty obvious I am still jazzed by the adrenalin of photojournalism. Heck, I chased a house fire the other day on instinct. And I felt the adrenalin kick in just a little … actually, it felt good to roll back to my professional zero, where my photographic journey began. Why not start over? We do it almost every time we fly fish – on a small and large scale, don’t we? Every cast is a new beginning. Every change of fly starts us casting in the same spot we last casted. One day there are fish, the next they are gone.

FISH FLASH

For example, yesterday I had to run the boat, and went with a map that had popped up on the website Texas Fishing Forum over the last couple of days. It had pins for sand bass (deep) on Lake Ray Roberts. I went for one pin, and criss-crossed it using my electronics during what should have been sand bass primetime. Winds were near zero, so navigation was incredibly simple just south of a Wolf Island point. Nada.

So to beat the dark I made the run back to the Sanger Boat Ramp to work the submerged road. Low-and-behold, about ten minutes before dark the sand bass appeared in two feet of water and deep in a nearby cove – by the hundreds. Large sand bass every cast. So today, I will be doing a sundowner there (kayakers come join the armada!), and boxing a few of these tasty tacos to feed the family. Text me if you need directions. It is a very short paddle. I have room on board for one.


Reel Recovery TexasCome Saturday? I will be giving back some time to Reel Recovery. I will attend the Glen Rose event to photograph attendees and facilitators all day long Saturday, and if you are involved in any way with Texas Reel Recovery (the National organization expressed disinterest in my photography – to help them with their identity Nationally), I was the receiver of that much-needed service last year, and I appreciate all you facilitators do, your own personal sacrifices to make these events possible. Regardless of the National organization’s response to my photography (I carried the camera last year as a participant and did write a story as well), on the Texas level I did receive many compliments on my work from the Texas folks. See you there.

 


 

Monday Morning Sidewalk – Back To The Path

| October 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Fly Fishing Sidewalk Harvey Talk

What a Monday! I know you’ll be happier wherever you are than meeting with accountants and lawyers, right? Monday, it seems, can be a day for medicine of all kinds. Nevertheless, I hope you all had a great weekend, and don’t pin your happiness on the Dallas Cowboys who you should expect to disappoint you by now (unlike fly fishing in every way).

Last week was nearly a thousand-miler, and I touched on the scene at Rockport – Port Aransas, but then got pulled away for the weekend job. The burden of the scene down there on the Texas Gulf Coast weighs heavy, and I am still trying to figure out what to do, more specifically WHAT I CAN DO about it. I am pretty sure my greatest skills for contributing to their recovery are not a chainsaw (have one), or a hammer (have many) and shovel (have too many).

I am looking to employ what I call the “skills” I have here – story-telling through photography and writing – on a larger scale, to a broader audience … somehow. I want to make a public appeal to you club members who are reading this: I would like to ask for a few minutes of your next meetings to show some photographs from Rockport, tell their story as it begins, and present you with a snapshot of the problems, and inspire you to respond to the Hurricane Harvey disaster in your own unique ways that go beyond the usual giving you do to broader fundraisers for cancer and national efforts. This is a Texas disaster that needs Texans to respond with pinpoint efforts.

Cutting this morning short, and off to those meetings. I will dribble out some more about last week soon – and go big on the discussion boards to focus more eyes on the Hurricane Harvey effort — within the next day or two.