Waterdog Journal – Fishing, Hunting and Wandering
The Waterdog Journal started as a collection of fishing stories of where I fish and fishing reports of the days events. These stories and reports tended to be more about the experience of fishing than the catching of fish. The details of where I fish, how I fish and what I use are all there, but sometimes you have to read between the lines to figure that out. I've always found the "why" of fishing a lot more interesting than the "how" of fishing.
This same idea can be applied to the hunting and the wandering.
Before 1996 I hardly ever fished and had never hunted. But something changed that year. Besides turning 40, I discovered river fishing. I recently put up a post here on my blog that does a decent job of describing how it all went.
Also in 1996 I started leaving posts on internet fishing forums that focused on fishing in the Chicago area. Ninety percent of my posts concentrated on the Fox River, which flows through the far western suburbs. But just going out fishing as some would say, all the time, wasn't enough. I started giving away all my spots. I had my reasons for this, which I recently put in another post.
Giving away my spots has never bothered me. When I first started fishing these areas 15 years ago, there was nobody out there. I pretty much had the river to myself. The dams were the exception, but I quickly gave up on the dams to go explore the many more miles of river that were available. At times I did quite well.
Since I was teaching myself the river and river fishing, I thought I may as well write my adventures down and put them up on some of the first of the areas fishing forums. It seemed like a shame that I wasn't running into anyone out there and I figured if I could do this and figure this out, anyone can. Then I started getting involved with conservation efforts on the river and it seemed like a shame that anglers weren't participating in these efforts. So I wrote that stuff down and hoped that anglers would jump on the band wagon. That seemed to work a little bit.
The theory was simple to me, the more people I could convince to get out fishing and wandering around the river, the better the chance they would do what they could to protect it. So I started guiding, then fishing classes, spoke to a variety of fishing clubs, all in the hopes of getting more anglers out there. Fishing my spots and fixing the river.
When I was 44, a friend handed me all his guns and basically said, here, put them to use. So I did and wrote about how that went. Hunting has been on the back burner for the past few years, except for my hunts for squirrels, but that will change.
Since 1996 I have probably left a couple of thousand posts on different fishing forums. I must have said something right. Dale Bowman, outdoor writer for the Chicago Sun Times, has been using me as his Fox River source on a weekly basis for the past 11 years. He even publishes what he calls my ramblings, when a fishing report seems to go someplace else. I think he likes those better.
I've also been running my own forum on and off for years. I'm going to be shutting off the interactive feature of the forum soon, but I will be leaving what's posted up there as an information source and archive.
So why bother with a blog? People get lost on forums, too much information and too many layers to wade through. Also, after all these years, they just aren't visited much.
With a blog, I thought I would see if I could expand my audience, even a little. Maybe some of the things I write have some common thread with others outside of the immediate area. Though I'm writing about my wandering around the Fox River, maybe I'm not really writing about the Fox River after all. Same goes with the hunting, does it matter that I'm within 100 miles of Chicago?
After all, it could be anywhere.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org