The Wisconsin winter continues to drop snow at record levels (80 inches and counting) and the accompanying cold is not conducive to much in my fly fishing world. If I was motivated I would find my way to the basement and tackle a number of rod building / refinishing projects that sit in various stages of “almost done” to “not even close”. Not to mention the countless fly patterns that swirled in my head in the late fishing season – “just wait until the dark of winter and I will crank them out at the vice”. No such luck. It is not a reflection of sloth as much as I am overcommitted in the rest of my life. Whittling down the pile and learning to say NO are on the agenda for 2008. My hope is these actions translate into a bit more control of my universe (control = more time to fish).
In the mean time, thank goodness for another fly fishing show. The Badger Fly Fishers 2008 Spring Opener is almost here just in time to brighten the gloom. Well, given today’s sunshine and the frosted evergreens out the back window - gloom is a bit over stated. This weekends show in Madison will provide a chance to touch base with friends, make contacts for my summer course, and to study up on equipment and techniques. This should be just enough to carry me until the Canoecopia show (think amazing fishing kayaks) in early March and then on to early season fishing! Once again, hope and the occasional chance to drool over equipment trumps the Wisconsin winter.
Fish Tacos (well... it's about fish anyway!)
Despite laments to the contrary, I have enjoyed some fish this winter. I am talking about the edible variety. A recent trip to San Diego brought my bride and I face to face with a quest – find the best fish tacos. Some of our Midwestern friends still cringe at the idea of the fish taco – their loss. Developed (I’m guessing here) in the Baja region of Mexico and popularized on street carts and hole in the wall shops in southern California they are simply amazing. A variety of grilled (or lightly breaded) fish (sometimes shrimp) coupled with spicy cabbage mixes and topped with “baja sauce” they may qualify as the best hand held food available. Our recent trip took us to Chronic Taco (only in California) – based on the guy behind the counter they should have called it “smoking the chronic" taco. I also had excellent fish tacos on a recent trip to the Northwest at the Steelhead Brewery in Eugene and should really give a nod to Madison’s own Tex Tubbs Taco Palace . Good eats all around. The best may be the ones you make on your own (a range of recipes are available on the web). Tacos need not be defined by ground beef and oddly colored spices poured from an envelope. Go ahead, give the fish a try.
Some of my excitement for the upcoming fly fishing show is focused on the hope I might run into Madison author John Galligan. John’s two fly fishing mysteries The Nail Knot and The Blood Knot (Bleak House Books) have Wisconsin settings and are wonderful reads. With any luck his third in the series is not too far away.
Fort Atkinson native (and family friend) Sara Roahen is the author of Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table (Norton). The reviews are wonderful and the book has so much to offer: family, food, a sense of place, and a wonderful spirit. Check it out.