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Thanks for a year of angling unaccomplishments.

On September 13, 2009 I published the very first web log entry on the Unaccomplished Angler. Being new to the whole blogashere, I didn’t know where to start. Advice from others who knew these waters was fairly simple:  “Just start posting.” And so I jumped right in without a plan or any idea what the Unaccomplished Angler would be. I vividly recall my hand quivering as I held my mouse cursor over the “publish” button. Once clicked I realized there was no going back: The Unaccomplished Angler had been launched into an uncertain future. The internet river was wide, fast and foreign. I was new on the oars, had no idea what lie just around the next bend and was adrift without a safety line or personal flotation device. Actually that’s a bit melodramatic – I could have quit at any time. However I made a promise to myself to post at least once a week for a year before deciding whether to tap out or keep fighting the good fight. I’m scrappy if nothing else, and so every week for the last 52 weeks I’ve offered up something for you all to read while enjoying a cup of coffee.  At least the coffee has been good.

Defining the Unaccomplished Angler?

When I started my blog I didn’t know what it would become. Certainly there are countless fly fishing blogs operated by folks who catch a lot of fish, take really incredible photos, post valuable gear reviews and generally share a lot of good insight.  Not so much here.  What I do like to do, however, is use a bit of humor, poke a little fun at myself (and others), employ the use of the run-on sentence and tell a story.  In order to tell a fish story, one must get out and fish.  Fortunately I had many opportunities to get out and fish this past year, and with the idea of my blog always in the back of my mind I began to approach each fishing trip in a new light:  I began to see every aspect of every day spent fishing as potential blog fodder.  I embraced the old saying, “there’s more to fishing than catching fish.”

This served to accomplish a couple of things:  First, I began to enjoy my time fishing even more because I saw each day as an opportunity to be something worth writing about. Not every day was particularly spectacular as far as the number of fish caught or the size of the fish, but began to find ways to make even the most insignificant seem noteworthy. Even a good skunking, and there have been many. Whether or not you, the reader, actually agree is up for judgment. Still, I look beneath the surface for things that made the day special, and in doing so this has made me enjoy each day fishing just a bit more. Secondly, this always-looking-for-a-story approach to fishing has made my fishing buddies nervous: They know their every action is potentially blog fodder. I hope this hasn’t cost me fishing buddies and friendships.  I value my friends, for without them I would have nothing to write about. Thanks, folks, for putting up with me.

A Cast of Characters

The friends you’ve met while reading the Unaccomplished Angler include the likes of Marck, Large Albacore, Jimmy, Stan the Goosemaster and a list of others, including my wife (Mrs. UA), my son Schpanky, and my brother Hal. The Hornet has revealed itself to be much more than simply a Clackacraft 16LP – it has become a stage for many stories. The Lucky Fishing Hat has become almost a religious symbol and while not always lucky, superstition keeps me from wearing anything else. In my writing I’ve taken you to Montana and Idaho, fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, the Big Hole, Rock Creek, and the St. Joe. Waters closer to home have included the Snoqualmie and it’s three forks, the Skykomish and the Sauk, and the Methow. And then there’s the Yakima River. The Yakima has proven to be a nemesis that I love to fish and love to hate (it’s a dysfunctional relationship). I took you along on a salmon fishing trip to Nootka Sound where plans to use the fly rod gave way to downriggers and anchovies, and I planned to tell of my sturgeon fishing trip to Hells Canyon but just haven’t had the chance to publish that story yet. This list of destinations doesn’t exactly read like an all star lineup, but that’s not what the Unaccomplished Angler is all about.

A Loyal Fan base?

The only reason I write is to bring a little weekly entertainment for you, the people. Well, actually that’s not true.  I write for myself because I derive satisfaction out of writing for the sake of creative self indulgence.  If by chance a few people read and enjoy it, then it’s a win-win for all. I track the number of hits and visits and subscribers, but all that doesn’t mean much to me. Just because someone clicks on a page doesn’t mean they stick around to read it. 48 people have signed up to receive email notifications when new drivel is posted. Of those, there are 8 who remain “unverified”. This means you signed up to receive email notifications, but never followed through with the final confirmation email you should have received, so you are not getting email notifications when new drivel is posted. I post on Facebook when new drivel is available, but never know who actually sees my announcements.  In my blog itself I don’t usually get many comments, and when I do it’s always from the same 3-4 people.  Thanks to those who take a few moments to chime in.

I’m one of the cool kids There are other, better blogs

Gradually over the course of the last year other folks who operate other fly fishing blogs have added The Unaccomplished Angler to their blog rolls. I know of a few specifically but there are many I’m not aware of who have been generous enough to add me to their lists. Being included in other blog rolls makes me feel like I’m one of the cool kids, even though I know I’m not. Thank you to those who have accepted me – I would love to reciprocate, so send me your blog and I’ll add you to my roll call.

Technical Support

When it comes to operating a blog, there’s much more that goes on behind the scenes than just writing.  Technical savvy and knowledge of things like plugins, widgets, RSS feeds, Search Engine Optimization and a bunch of other stuff are important. Unfortunately this stuff was all Greek to me. Honestly I’ve never been interested in the techie side of my creative endeavors, preferring instead to be left to write, draw and create.  Smart people always did the other stuff for me. I learned enough about the blog thing to get started and nearly get myself in trouble.  Fortunately through the comradery of fly fishing bloggers I met The Outdooress, and she has helped me with technical matters that I never knew even existed. Special accolades and thanks to Rebecca Garlock for her guidance and patience. If you need technical help to make your blog be all that it can be, contact Rebecca. Just as you may not know when your car is in dire need of a new timing belt, you may not even know that your blog is about to implode. She’s a great blog mechanic and can take a look and let you know if you need an overhaul or just a  minor tuneup.

The River Ahead

Looking ahead to the second year, the Unaccomplished Angler has no more of a plan in place than he did a year ago.  He shall continue to fish as often as he can and when he does he will continue to look beneath the surface for something worth writing about. And if that proves evasive, he’ll make something up. Or he  may just tap out – there’s always that option.

Helloooo…is anybody out there?

If you’re reading this, please chime in and help celebrate the first anniversary of the Unaccomplished Angler. Writers can be a needy bunch, so when someone comments I helps alleviate feelings of insecurity. I’m not above begging.

38 thoughts on “Thanks for a year of angling unaccomplishments.”

  1. Patrick says:

    Congrats on the first year, Kirk. With a few years under my belt, I can tell you it gets more difficult and readers fall away like feathers on a well-used fly only gets easier. Here’s to another 52 weeks! (Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee, but find that many blogs also go down well with beer.)

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for the allegiance and words of encouragement, Pat. I think what you meant to say was that “many blogs go down easier with beer 😉

  2. Albert Gaudet says:

    Hi!
    Sorry for my English – i’m from Montréal (Québec) -. It has been a pleasure to follow you via your RssFeed. I hope that you will still be writing on your blog for one more year. Always interesting to have some point of wiew from another fello fisherman !
    Thanks !

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Albert, thank you for chiming in with your excellent English my friend! And thank you for following my blog via the RSS feeds. I hope I can bring another year of unaccomplishments!

  3. Dcarp says:

    As an Angler you may feel unaccomplished, but as a writer, you have no need to feel insecure. I look forward to the “weekly drivel” as you call it – with or without coffee. Congratulations on a great first year and I look forward to many more to come.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for the supportive words, Dave. I hope one of my future accomplishments can involve a trip down your way for some ribs!

  4. Marck says:

    Congrats,
    Sorry for not chiming in weekly. I enjoy looking back at our trips with friends and our new friend we meet on the road. All the small details you remember and write about, road kill skunk that started the bad day of fishing, hooking the deer carcass, Ennis hamburger. The blog helps with Mrs, Marck she knows I was really fishing and not spending the day in the Tav only the last 3 hours. The only improvement I could see the blog needing would be, Let me quote the great Christopher Welken you need more cow bells.
    Loyal reader and friend Mark.
    PS GO BOISE STATE! Now that I’ve made my first of many payment to come for my daughter.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Marck, thanks for coming out of your hole to chime in. I hope that with our daughters now in their respective colleges we still have enough money for gas so we can continue our fishing exploits. Without you and the Hornet there would be no Unaccomplished Angler. And I’m glad that my recounts of our journies serves to appease Mrs. Marck’s doubt as to your actual whereabouts.

  5. pete hollingworth says:

    Hi Kirk,congratulations on first year. Ive been reading your blog for the last month and enjoyed it very much! Read the archives as well and its cool reading about your adventures in the pacific north-west especially as relocating out there soon! keep up the great work

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Pete- thanks for reading and chiming in with your thoughts. May the Pacific Northwest bring you many angling accomplishments- it’s a great part of the country. Word of advice: bring Gore-tex!

  6. Brett Colvin says:

    When I read your response to Mark I thought you had used the term “chime hole” and instantly began vectoring Mountain Dew out my nostrils, producing a respectable thrust-to-weight ratio in the process. They aren’t kidding when they say 10 out of every 4 people are dyslexic. I always enjoy the unaccomplished content Kirk.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Brett, if apologies for the Mt. Dewage are in order, so be it. I hope you didn’t damage yourself or any electronics in front of you. I appreciate the good word and thanks to you for coming out of your chime hole to celebrate today 😉

      BTW, glad to have http://www.flytowater.com/ in my blog roll.

  7. Kevin Breen says:

    Hey, Kirk..

    I, too feel somewhat remiss in having never replied to many of the rantings of “the Unaccomplished Angler”. Not that I’m lazy, or forgetful, or tend to lose my reading glasses more than I care to acknowledge, but, well, there really is no excuse. There, I said it!.

    I enjoy everything you write about and the way it makes me wish I were back living in the Great Northwest Fly Fishing for trout. Though I get up there once in awhile, (lastly fished with Derek Young and my Brother, Scott last week in July on the Yak) it’s never enough. Texas aint got no good trout water down here, you know, so any Trout Fishin’ I do need to do requires at least a 10 hour drive just to get out of the state!!

    So, I must fish vicariously thru you, redsflyshop.com and through various Fly Fishing Rags, I subscribe to!!

    As you can see, I tend to ramble on a lot and not say too much. (ADHD thing) And maybe my punctuation and spelling aren’t too acrit…neither..

    So, keep writing, and I’ll keep reading…and thanks for the 10 “Olive Stickers”. I’ll display them proudly on the Toyota Tundra Wannabe (my 2001 Tacoma Extra Cab), along side the rest of my stickies…

    Kevin

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Kevin, thanks for coming out of the woodwork to help celebrate one year of rambling drivel from the Unaccomplished Angler. Being that you’re a native of Yakima, Texas can’t be all that different, can it? Aside from the lack of proximity to trout water, that is. At least you get back from time to time- Derek’s a great guy, so glad you hooked up with him. I appreciate the purchase of the Olive stickers, but would caution you against slapping all 10 on your truck. Everything in moderation, right? No need to feel remorse for rambling, as you know I have a tendency to do a bit of the same so I think we may be kindred spirits. Plus, I’ve got an 03 Tacoma so I also have truck envy. Thanks for the the loyalty and for chiming in and being part of the party.

  8. the Goosemaster says:

    That Brett is a funny guy. I can’t believe it has been a year. You really are an enjoyable writer to read. When Marck asked me to go to yellowstone all those years ago. I had Know idea that it would become such an annual ritual. I have had the privilege to meet, fish with and enjoy the company of many different people. The fact that now I can enjoy the perspective and humor of someone else’s point of view is nice. Keep up the good work and don’t worry about how many comments you get. We don’t always have the time to chime in.
    Stan

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Stan, maybe we can get Brett to join us on the Chimehole Firehole next year. I appreciate the kind praise. My writing is only as good as the inspiration behind it, and I must say you’ve provided ample inspiration…the memories of your face after hoarking down that burger in Ennis will last me a lifetime. I’ll take your advice and try to be a little less needy and insecure about my writing. Be patient with me- the childhood traumas that created my low self esteem are a difficult hurdle to clear, but I shall strive to get past them.

  9. Jimmy says:

    Itchy,
    I don’t know where the year has gone, or for that matter the last 17. I enjoy your weekly recaps of outings and wished you would of started the unaccomplished duck hunter, or unaccomplished bow hunter, or unaccomplished turkey hunter, and so on to remind me of good times. But the internet was not born yet. Thanks for the introductions to some new friends, and great memories. Keep up the great insights to the joy of fly fishing. You know I am to lazy to write comments, I just call.

    DaveJimmy

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Dave Jimmy, I must say that getting you to come out of your chime hole to comment has just caused this celebratory party to reach new limits. We shall continue our fishing antics, and I shall continue to marvel at the technologies of Caller ID and screen your calls.

  10. Harry says:

    Guilty as charged! I have been reading your blog for quite some time, but I don’t think I have ever posted a comment.

    Keep the “drivel” coming. I really enjoy your writing style as it comes across like we are sitting across the table from each other discussing the latest adventure.

    Like some of the others commented previously, we don’t have much in the way of trout water around here so I get my trout fix from you and others that live in trout country and post (boast?) of your exploits.

    Keep the stories and pictures coming!

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks, Harry- for reading and finally chiming in. It’s been fun to see folks coming out of the woodwork for the anniversary celebration. I assure you, I’m a lot more palatable in the written form than in person, so be glad that we’re not sitting across the table from each other discussing matters. You can go back into hiding now!

  11. Dave says:

    Kirk,
    I’ve been reading your blog since the wader review. You’ve kept me coming back each week to read your “drivel” and to get a laugh or 3 at your (or another’s) expense. Congratulations on your 1 year mark. Keep up the misadventures, cause we all need somebody like you to write this stuff and keep us smiling!
    Thanks Kirk

    Dave

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for hanging in there even after reading the wader review, Dave- always appreciate your inputs. Sorry again, that you didn’t follow my advice re: the whole Spey thing.

  12. Writers can be a needy bunch

    That’s true, but it makes perfect sense for a group that – collectively speaking – are going straight to hell due to our narcissistic tendencies.

    Happy One Year Anniversary. Realizing I was approaching my fifth year, I foolishly installed a WordPress plugin that counted all the words published on the Underground.

    My advice to you? Don’t do it…

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for the advice (which I shall heed) and well wishes, Tom. See you where it’s hot 😉

  13. Rebecca says:

    Currently I am sitting at the top of a mountain next to my ElkCruiser (next week it’ll be the FishCruiser again) listening to elk bugle all around me waiting for the wind to change. To pass the time I just read your 1 year anniversary post (since I’m one of the lucky 48 who subscribed via email) on my cell phone. If this isn’t a sign of a loyal reader I don’t know what is…from the first time I read one of your entries I was hooked, squarely in the jaw!

    I’ve felt fortunate to have drifted across you in the big Internet river and hope you never tap out! I would miss the weekly drivel (as you call it) very much. Thank you for the mention, I’m just glad nothing imploded before I got there =) keep writing and we’ll keep reading.

    Now, I need to toss this cell back in the ElkCruiser and chase some Elk. Fly Fishing is much less work!

    Congrats Kirk and here’s to another year of The Unaccomplished Angler.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for taking time away from chasing elk to chime in, Rebecca. THAT is dedication (or some s-l-o-o-o-w elk hunting) 😉 Thanks also for following the UA for the last year. And sorry for using a hook with the barb still intact- hope your jaw heals. And, thanks for the technical support. May the wind me in your face and the path of your arrow straight and true…

  14. Hunter says:

    Thanks for the blog, Kirk. Please keep them coming. It’s good to not take this fishing thing too seriously. Now if those steelies don’t start running soon I think I’m going to lose it! Here’s to many more years of “Unaccomplished ” angling…

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Hunter, good to have you chime in and thanks for reading the weekly drivel. As for those steelfish, soon…I suggest starting the casting now so you can get 999 out of the way and hook up on #1000. I wonder if lawn casting counts?

  15. Billy B says:

    Kirk,

    I enjoy reading your blog each Friday morning, and thank you for your efforts. I’m not much of an RSS feed or e-mail notification kind of guy. I just know to check your site on Friday mornings!

    Great work, and I look forward to more –
    BIlly B

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Billy, I’m glad you remember to check for the new drivel each week- I appreciate you reading along and chiming in with your comments here. I’ll try to keep ’em coming!

  16. JHour says:

    Although I don’t read it regularly, the times that I have have , it has been enjoyable.The story beneath is good.It has triggered many memories-Good Luck, and keep going.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      J Hour: I went to college with a guy who’s last name sounded like Hour, but it was spelt different. He was a funny guy- liked pizza and farting, though not as a combination. Oh well, not sure what made me think of that. Thanks for chiming in and reading occasionally.

  17. Kim Bodnar says:

    Kirk,

    After being knocked out flat on my back for a day, I am now desperate for things to keep me entertained. In my desperation, I decided to read the Fisrt Anniversary Blog of UA. Actually, I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog, which I access via FB. Reading your stories has given me a new appreciation for Fly Fishing. True Story: We travelled to Moses Lake last weekend for a soccer game, and as we drove through Ellensburgh, I gazed at the River with fly fisherman and actually wished I was out there with them! He-he. Paul about fell out of the car when I told him;)

    In addition to learning about fish, I have learned more about you and your great sense of humor ( I just can’t look at Sear’s the same ever again)……..
    I also have learned to make “hearts” on Facebook. Maybe if I keep reading, I will learn how to do strike through text…

    So, I raise my coffee cup and say” Congrat’s, Thank you, and Keep onPpostin’ ( So I can have SOMETHING to read when I am flat on my back again 😉

    Cheers,
    Kim

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Kim, First of all I’m sorry for whatever has caused you to be knocked flat on your back (but thank God for The Clapper, eh?). I think you should follow your desires and learn to fly fish. It’s a wonderful, wholesome endeavor and outfishing him will keep his ego in check the time spent together enjoying the great outdoors will be time well spent. Depending on how long you’re down for the count, you can always peruse the past 53 weeks of archives, though I hope for your sake you’re back on your feet again soon! Thanks for reading, and for chiming in with your encouraging words of support. I wonder if Sears sells waders?

  18. David says:

    I had no idea that you had only been doing this for a year. You seemed a seasoned veteran. The Quint (from “Jaws”) if you will, sitting in the back of a crowd during some secret underground meeting for fly fishing bloggers. When the confusion of when the stonefly hatch begins and the crowd gets out of hand, it is you scraping your fingernails on the chalkboard for an excessive amount of time proclaiming, “Hey, can I just tell a story here?”.

    I really enjoy reading your “drivel”. From the androgynous fish air freshener that had no fish odor, to the wicked Yakima, to sticker obsessions. The naked weatherman just fits right in with it all. Since you have successfully made me feel horrible about not commenting, I will make it a point to do so in the future. (Plus, my posting is beyond fashionable)

    I hope you had a happy celebration and I’ll dedicate my next drink to you in hopes of another year, or 50 to keep reminding me that it is fishing and the point is to enjoy it.

    Cheers!
    David(the NM/CO guy)

    P.S. I also use your blog to pretend that I have fishing buddies and I couldn’t think of a clever way to use “chime hole”. I guess that’s why you are writing the blog…

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Welcome, David, to what I shall henceforth refer to as “the Chime Hole”…a kind of secret back room club where all the cool kids hang out. Well, the cool kids and me.
      I appreciate the good words and thanks for following along. My friends are your friends- glad to have you on board.

  19. Hal (not his real name) says:

    Hard to believe a year has passed. Just now catching up due to recent travels so happy belated one year anniversary. Keep up the good stories and I’ll do my best to provide material for your fodder. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the drivel goes very well with Dragonwell green tea.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Always good to hear from my big brother, even if he does drink green tea from a dragon’s well.

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