Tag Archives: Rick Bach

In The Depths of Winter….

CamusAs we embark into February, many anglers are thinking: “This is as far from the beauty of short-sleeve, carefree, see-your-reflection-in-the-water fishing as we can get without coming back.” And you know what? You’re right.

My father was a philosophy major at Syracuse University, and I followed in his footsteps. We were both likely thinking the same thing: Examining the ideas behind ideas is fascinating and gives us a foundation for further critical thinking as move through life’s challenges and unexpected experiences… AND… this might serve as a good undergraduate degree for law school.

His favorite philosopher was a man named Albert Camus. Camus was famous for espousing existentialism, which focused on the absurdity, or absurdities, we encounter in everyday life. I recently purchased The Myth of Sisyphus at Barnes & Noble, in an attempt to greater understand the philosophy that drew my father in at Syracuse. Camus’s existentialism basically touted that life was a meaningless struggle unless… unless… we were devoted to cooperation, solidarity, and joint effort.

Camus concludes that to look elsewhere for meaning in our everyday lives is pointless, but we can find the exact, precise hope and meaning we are searching for in ourselves, in one another.

It is a strange paradox that years after his passing, I understand my Dad more with each passing day. He found his meaning in helping others, namely, those who were fighting uphill battles in courtrooms. He defended and supported people who almost no one else would.

Fishing the entire country showed me that our nation and the world that we live in is a an inherently good place, full of beautiful souls, and you only need to open your front door and find the courage to explore it to realize that reality in its fullest. Raising money for melanoma research deepened that faith in me more than I could ever articulate. People helped me on a mission through a tunnel where the light at the end is, right now, faint at best. The hope for a cure, like the hope to start a fishing magazine from scratch that readers all over the country love, read and contribute to, is existent, but it necessitates work and faith before we have something concrete to continue to build on.

One of the quotes most famously attributed to Camus is one that I think is appropriate as we head into some of February’s darkest, coldest, days.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned  that within me there lie an invincible summer.”

That invincible summer, in me, was created and maintained by hope and help from so many of you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

 

Happy Wonderful Weirdos Day

weird
I’ve been told that I look weird in most photos, but in this one especially. 

Yep, it’s a thing. You can be guaranteed with the growth of social media that every single day will hold some significance or have some reason to celebrate, and today, it turns out, is “Wonderful Weirdos Day.”

I’ll not attempt to describe the day or its purpose, I’ll leave that to Daysoftheyear.com, where you can find a purpose or reason or significance for every single day. Here’s their definition:

“Nothing’s quite as dull as being normal, boring and average. Celebrate being weird, and celebrate the weirdos in your life on Wonderful Weirdos Day. Make an effort to be weird by dressing weirdly, doing weird things and encouraging weirdness with your friends and in the workplace!” 

For those of you who would have used this reason to behave oddly, and are disappointed that there are only four hours left to take action, I apologize. Feel free, after reading this, to behave weirdly throughout the weekend, and even on Monday should you feel so inclined. Just have this blog ready to pull up on your phone for justification.

I’ll confess that for most of my life, I’ve been fairly normal. I followed the rules and got pretty good grades in high school, went to my fathers alma mater, Syracuse University, because they offered the most in scholarship money and had a great journalism program, took an internship and then a job as a copy editor out of college, was paid to create content for a website full-time for a few years, and am now working on my Master’s Degree at Emerson College.

There are, however, seven months of my life that I think would fit the description “weird,” by most any standard.

In 2010 I did a project for Outdoor Life called Fish America, where I attempted to fish the entire country, sleeping in a Jeep.

That, I can testify, is a weird experience. You’ll never see as many double takes in your life as you will when you wake up in a Walmart parking lot, open the door, and strangers stop and stare for a second, trying to figure out just how long you’ve been in there.

You will never find an answer to the question: “Where are you staying?” that’s addressed to you by guides you’re hoping to fish with, or people that you meet along the way, that doesn’t have people scratching their heads. Eventually you’ll just point to your Jeep and wait for it to sink in.

Sleeping in a Jeep takes some practice and getting used to, like anything new and foreign. At first you will find all the sharp objects that you packed for the trip by sleeping on them. Eventually you will move said objects to the opposite side of the Jeep, and sleep only on one side.

You will learn what areas are, and are definitely not safe to sleep in. I’d suggest, to anyone crazy… er… weird enough to try this to… just be careful around the Texas/Mexico border and tell your story to restaurant owners where you might grab a snack. Many are more accommodating than you’d imagine, although some are not.

In theory, and I say this only from reading and from a few nights of experience, your body should shiver itself awake before you freeze to death in your sleep… if you’re say… in Idaho in December and the temperature drops to -17. And, while again I’d not recommend this, in my experience you will awake to the sound of your teeth chattering, you’ll crank the heat until the convulsive shaking stops, and you should be able to get a few more hours sleep. Again, I’d not suggest testing this theory, but it worked for me.

Lying on top of that Jeep, in places like the Carolinas, Texas, and California, can be a spectacular way to take in some breathtaking stars. If, however, you misplace your phone… look on top of the Jeep FIRST… before driving to places you’d been the day prior. You might be incredibly lucky and your phone might stay on top of the Jeep while you drive around beneath it looking for it… but “prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.”

The weirdest thing of all that you will encounter if you attempt such a thing is fairly simple, and maybe something many of you have already discovered.

We’re raised to keep our doors locked, not to trust strangers and be sure of where we are at all times. We’re taught from an early age to fear the unknown.

So the weirdest part about the entire experience… is just seeing firsthand how incredibly kind, outgoing, genuine, honest and helpful almost everyone that you meet is.

Weird, right?

 

Catch a Cure II Gets its First Sponsor: Sunology

Good people, making a better product.
Good people, making a better product.

On Sunology’s website, their mission statement reads: “We’re committed to supporting causes that are reflective of our brand values and progressive nature.” That’s an easy sentence to write on a webpage, and one only need to look at Facebook or any social media forum to see that writing about yourself in a positive fashion isn’t all that hard. The other day a UPS truck arrived at my apartment, and I was delivered a box full of Sunology sunscreen and gear.

Why? Sunology is donating a dollar per pound of largemouth bass caught on Catch a Cure II to the Melanoma Research Foundation this coming winter. Opening your wallet for a good cause… That’s decidedly much harder to do than writing or talking, and these people are doing it.

Their sponsorship, during a time when I’m trying to put together partners for this second venture, means more to me than I can express here in words. It’s not the expensive Christmas presents you received at 19 or 20 that you remember, it’s those first ones that lay mysteriously beneath the tree throughout all of Christmas eve, and probably cost less than anything you’d be given in years to follow.

It’s still October here on the North Shore of Massachusetts, but the other day felt decidedly more like Christmas, for me and the cause I’ve come to care so much about, too.

I have every hope, like a kid on Christmas at 5, that there will be years to follow in which Catch a Cure becomes something bigger than it is now, something more than I can make it during this period of my life. But I know, without a doubt, that I’ll remember opening that box on that October day like it was Christmas, no matter how many times I repeat Catch a Cure for the rest of my life.

If you’re in a store and looking to grab sunscreen anytime soon, remember that many are made by large corporations who know you need their product to stay safe and that they don’t need to make any effort whatsoever to encourage you to purchase it. But there’s one sunscreen, at least, that does care… about you, about our health as a species and about their customers. And if you see me on the road this winter, and want a free bottle (or want to give to the Melanoma Research Foundation in exchange for one), flag me down and ask. Unless I live to be a thousand or put on a lot of weight, I won’t be able to use the sunscreen they’ve so generously sent me, and I’d like nothing more than to share it with you.