Trout Stream Time Warp

28 May Trout Stream Time Warp

At this very moment I’m working in a coffee shop in a hipster North Carolina mountain town, having spent the morning fishing for trout with a traditional Southern Appalachian fly called the Yallar Hammer. The fly was once tied with the feathers of the yellow-shafted flicker—a woodpecker, hence the “hammer” moniker—but get caught with the plumage from that rare bird these days and you’ll be fishing for a quarter to call your mama from jail.


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So a couple of things have occurred to me over the last few hours. First, I am never getting a neck tattoo. The guy beside me looks like someone stitched a road-killed possum to the side of his face. And second, there are days—like this one—when I really, really like my job.

This website and so-called blog is sort of a highlight reel of my profession, I suppose. I get to put the best up here and leave the bad-hair days and rejected, red-lined prose off the air. Not a bad deal.  I’m making no promises that I’ll be posting fresh stuff thrice a week. Or even once a week. But hopefully I’ll keep things fresh enough for the occasional visit.

Two days ago I bought a handful of old Yallar Hammer flies from an 84-year-old one-handed mountain man who’d been tying those flies since he was 11 years old. He’s switched from woodpecker feathers to mourning dove quills, a nod to the changing world he’s navigated for 9 decades. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell the flies I bought from the ones he used as a kid.

I hope my place in the changing world of journalism operates the same way. These days, I’m published in tiny blips of on-screen electricity as often as old-fashioned ink. What hasn’t changed, however, is the power of a story. Yellow-shafted flicker feather or the plume from a mourning dove? The trout seem to buy it all the same. Thankfully, a good story seems to translate as well.
So thanks for reading. Or scrolling. Or watching. Or sharing. Or as is more common these days, all of them at once.

T. Edward Nickens
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