RiverBums: The adventures of a daughter-daddy duo

RiverBums: The Adventures of a Daughter-Daddy Fishing Duo


Sunday, May 18, 2014


We have moved! While we figure out how to  automatically transfer from this link to our new one we want to let you know that we have a new site...


Come check us out this year!

Cast away,

The Riverbums

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Last Cast

We would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As is tradition, for our third year in a row please enjoy the Last Cast...

The Last Cast
Written by: Dad

Each pressing feeling of fall, the colors now reminiscent
of pursuing winters, nurtures my growing suspicions.
The sharp reminder of fewer catches brought by cooling waters,
and colder winds with natures submissions.

Once, one spring’s anticipation now looms as frosty fears.
Shall my feathered tackle now be found of
thirst and coated dust and distant years?

Will it flow? Shall the fish swim and eagles soar without me?
Could this be, must it be, as it shall be, one day past?
Oh that final flip, jerk n spin.
Will I ever know…or just remember,
that last cast?

The Mouth of the Oconto river as it meets  Lake Michigan

Cast Away,

AC & Dad

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Bridge Too Far

 How far would you go for a fish? Let me rephrase that, how far would you go for a smallmouth? Would you risk your rod? Your life? Your partner? Would you risk everything for one smallmouth?

Well it just so happens those were questions we asked ourselves on a sunny but chilly September Saturday as we fished the Menominee River in Northwestern Michigan. The Riverbums going for the last good weekend of smallie fishing in this particular section of the river. Little had we known that this would be a day that we would never forget.

A heart set in stone... or Mickey Mouse

Ever thought about the odds of being here? Here in time. Being you? The conscious being of you? The entity that dwells within your thoughts and is self aware? Throughout all of time, past and future.  Throughout endless space and all the places it holds...what are the odds of "you" happening here and now...or for that matter happening at all?  Ok, I know, philosophy is a bitch but this is the way my father looks at his life and the lives of others.  I think he sees fishing as the embodiment of this.  Always trying to get to the other side to see what lies beneath that limb or ledge or riffle, because the chances of the greatest cast, fight and fish being there are as remote as us being here...but here we are so there he must go.  And of course, as his partner in crime, I must follow for I have found myself inundated with the very same compulsion of chance, time and opportunity and the fleeting of all three.

Yep, chance, time and opportunity. As fishermen you know those words all too well. So you’ll understand that after 7 hours in the river with only a few bites here and there that when our watches hit 3pm we had a chance at that time for an unexpected opportunity. We had just waded under a bridge, a big bridge mind you. I took a breather and went to fix my line when I noticed Dad send a whale of a cast across the river to this little pool. Practically on the other side of the river his lure landed as he began to reel in. A hit. Something hit it. Dad worked it in and I grabbed my camera preparing to catch a nice fight in action. Now the Menominee is no minor stream. It’s 116-mile flow and averages about several dozen feet wide. So when he cast again across river, I was in awe at his ability and how he was able to put it right where he had it before. Another hit. The smallie had the bait. But, now the tough part. Wading across the deeper water in the middle and the sharp jagged boulders in the last 20% to the other side so famously known scattered across the Menominee River. Not an easy feat when hooked with a smallie. So, he began the trek. And I was not far behind. We were almost near the deep section, sweating from keeping our legs steady against the current, our rods balancing us as we lunged and glided around and over every boulder and obstacle. When suddenly the line loosened. LOST IT! I won’t begin to list off the words that came out of my conservative catholic father’s mouth, but I will say I enjoyed every second of it. He wanted that bass and luckily the bass wanted that lure. Dad was convinced he hadn’t felt hook as evidence of the tail missing off the soft belly. And then I saw it, that glimmer in his eye. There was no way we could get to the other side without scuba diving for the latter half. He turned to look at me, then at the bridge, then back at me. I turned to look at the bridge and the insanity hit me, “No way! Dad, like dude, get real! Riverbums, we are the Riverbums, not the bridgebums.” But he wasn’t listening, we started to wade towards shore and of course, like the lemming I am, I followed.

Dad motions for me to exit this side of the river and follow him.  "Where we going?  We just got in!"  
“You'll see, let's go" as he seems to be totally void of any caring thought of how long it took me to get to where I was.  Suddenly struck with that really obnoxious singularly minded, overly focused walk of determination that half the time turns into a cliff that can't possibly be traversed to bottom with out six months of total body traction. Or surrounded on three sides by some black mosquito filled swamp with the partially decade carcass of something that resembles Yoda.  Or those ever so familiar words "Shit, go back this was a bad idea!"  So why, you say do I ever follow? Well cause the other half of the time something wonderful happens and he nor I can ever determine which side of the coin will land face up in the bear shit pile...so I follow.

We climb the hill after exiting the river to the top of the tracks. And there we stood, 2 anglers facing an environment of metal, wood, nails and gulp…heights. Dad inspects the rail a bit and we determine that in-between each panel of wood is well, space. Empty space. Meaning you misstep once, place one inch of your boot accidentally between 1 railroad tie and it’s adios Riverbum. But what do we do? What any angler would do for a fish he knew he could catch. The possibility that there was a great catch waiting to happen. We bum on. We take the chance. We decide to do what Indiana Jones did best in the Last Crusade and take that first step of faith. So, we begin to cross the creaking, still active train tracks. He tells me to be really careful and not to walk on the timber that hangs over the edge, as it looks rotten.  Is he just saying this to make it more of an adventure fearing that there is no cosmic black hole mathematically uncalculatable fish entity on the other side? Or to get me back for leaving my waders in the back of his car for 4 days after one muddy wade?

So I test the overhang and just as it cracks under my foot he tells me again not step on it. It’s like being 5 all over again and being told not to skate on the thin ice though I do it anyways because it’s just that more fun. Come on, I got to test it. It’s just in my nature. Then he yells at me to be careful and take it easy just as he looks back and says "You better hurry up, if a train comes we'd have to jump 60 feet into the rapids cause it won't be able stop and it would hit us" Train? TRAIN? I suddenly look back as if I were expecting it to hit me already. I thought this was abandoned.  Is he bull shitting me?  Then as if he was Butch Cassidy (cause he thinks he is) He says " Don't worry about drowning the fall will probably kill us.” Oh thanks Dad. And here is the same guy who said I couldn’t date a guy who owned a Harley because it would kill me. Now here I am tiptoeing on an old bridge with cracking wood railroad ties and a train is scheduled for sometime that afternoon. Sometime.  Yeah, just tell the morning rush commuters on the red line that their train is schedule sometime and most likely you’ll find yourself laying on those tracks!
            There comes a point as you are concentrating on keeping every foot in line with the wood, using your rod to balance you, that your mind begins to play tricks on you. In your peripheral vision you see the river. Oh how if you had time and a stable footing you could admire it’s beauty. Instead the water finds it amusing to tempt the train TRAPEZING angler by letting a fish jump to your left or suddenly allowing an eagle appear to your right, like some calculating river nymph. You try your hardest not to look but you could have sworn you saw a fish jump so you steal a peek, but lose balance a bit as you swallow your heart and focus back to your footing and thanking God you did not just plummet to your death. I knew the same thing was running through my father’s head just a few feet in front of me. I could see him every once and a while trip up a bit but return to his poise and suave stature as to not give away that he was sneaking peeks too. We were only 10 feet from the end of the tracks when suddenly one of the panels that Dad had just stepped over came loose and we noticed a nail was missing. We both stopped dead in our tracks, pun intended, and took a breather. If I had stepped on it most likely my leg would have fallen through and worst, my rod would have dropped. Oh the horror! Dad motioned for me to give him my hand and he safely pulled me over the loose panel. Whew! Close one.

When we reached the other side, we did not even have time to kneel and kiss the beautiful dirt and grass. Oh land, beautiful sweet land. We hurried down the banks to where we had remembered the pool. I stepped aside to let dad cast when he noticed, “Girl, you crossed those tracks too, this fish is just as much yours as it is mine.” I smiled and we both began to cast. One, two, three, four casts. Side by side. We were eagerly awaiting our prize. But, nothing. Nothing was hitting. Shoot. We took too long. We didn’t hurry across those tracks fast enough. “And all that for nothing.” I said.
            “Nothing?” Dad belted. As I listened to what was about to come, reeling in what seemed to be an uneventful cast “Look around you girl, look where you are. You crossed those tracks like a marine. You followed me into battle. You went after a possibility. You took a risk and gave something a chance. That’s always something.” And just like that I was hooked. No, I mean it, I had a fish. We both suddenly looked and a beautiful sized smallie came leaping out of the water with my lure firmly set in his mouth. Our eyes brightened and dad was even more excited than if he had caught it as he cheered me on. I reeled in that smallie with the pride of 2 fishermen. We had worked hard for that possibility. We took a risk and by God it was worth it. And so was the proud look on my Dad’s face.

Now crossing a simple bridge 60 feet high may not seem as risk taking as fishing in a tornado. But, it’s not about how dangerous or risky something is, it’s about how faithful, hopeful, dedicated and just straight up crazy you are to take the chance. To move forward. To believe in all possibilities. The funny thing is that I'm sure someday (not too soon I hope) when I first look into my new born baby's eyes and think of calculating the uncalculatable chances of us being here together, that I’ll feel the countless opportunities that await him on his tracks to the other side of whatever river he chooses to cast his fate.  Or her!  At least that's a flip of the coin.    

Cast Away,

AC & Dad

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Bum Match Indeed

It wasn’t even her tenth cast in the Milwaukee river on a late October day when AC felt the bite as she set the hook. A perfect set as she leaned back preparing for the fight....

LADIES, ladies, ladies AND and and GENTLEMEN gentlemen gentlemen. WELCOME welcome welcome  TO to to WWF. Women's World of Fishing is proud to have in this corner. Weighing in at 115 lbs, 5feet and 2 inches, known to wear wading boots too big for her because of her incredibly petite feet, Feared by all boulders, The baker of the Northshore where sugar is a main food group, Known as the rock skippin queen of Duluth, the tent pitching bitch of the North, Where one minute she struts her stuff in BCBG down the office hall and the next she is knee dip in some river adorned in her Simms waders, the keeper of a thousand bandannas that decorate her backpack like some Aerosmith lookalike and enough tees to rock your world, Brandy eat your heart out this girl has all the sailors hearts singing. Let’s hear it for…..AAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCC!

And in this corner. Weighing in at a little over 32 lbs, but we’ll say 34 because all fishermen lie, known as the migrating son of a fish, from Chile to Norway, he’s high in omega 3 fatty acids and served in every Japanese restaurant across the US.  Feared by all those with high cholesterol, Known to throw a grizzly for a loop, dubbed the leaper of the East, where it’s famous relatives are known among the elitist of the celebrities, like Larry KING and Jerry SPRINGER. Let’s hear it for….THE SALMOOOOONNNNNN!

Oh this one is going to be a real Barnburner. A catch weight yes, but that salmon has quite the chin on him. Able to throw punches, she’s never seen before. It’s a tight lined match indeed. He throws the first punch. Ohh, that was a close one as she avoids the hit. He goes for a second punch, leaping out of the water. Ahhh, she survives that one. She goes below the belt as he pulls her deeper into water. Farther and farther down river he pulls her, taking out line and working side to side as if taught by Cus D’Amato himself. And this salmon thought he had a bum rush on his hands. Oh no mister Saturday night special, this fisher lady is going nowhere but to the net with you. 

She’s down for the count, she’s down for the count. Rod bent, knees planted, will she over come too? Get up Get up! Net it! He fakes left, she sends her line right. He’s throwing her feints up and down, pulling her down stream. 1st round, 2nd round, will this match ever end? He’s pulling out line dodging side to side. And here comes her haymaker, the wild reel, she reels keeping her rod high. Can she make it? Will she survive this second round? She makes her jab, reeling and pulling, reeling and pulling. She is on the ropes, she’s on the ropes.  That fish has one mighty peekaboo face. She can’t see what he’s going to throw next. Oh she allows the rope a dope. That’s it, tire him out. 15 seconds to go in the round. Oh how she wishes she had skinned those gloves beforehand. Her freezing small fingers grip the rod, praying for the strength to fight on. Don’t you dare take the dive you salmon, don’t throw this match. And that's it, a sudden last reel and she nets him.  Salmon goes down Salmons goes down. Ac beats salmon...

32 lbs Salmon
:) Sorry we had to pull a boxing theme. It was just time. After AC's salmon catch she released her back in the water to let her eggs live to see another day. Shout out to Dad who helped AC chase the beast for a good 20 minute fight...

A beautiful late October day in the Milwaukee river

Dad found a salmon left to die with some live baitmen's stringer

Always the gentleman, he set it free! RiverBum Karma!
Be on the lookout for our BRAND NEW BLOG launching in 2 weeks just in time for the worst fishing season :)

Cast away,

AC and Dad

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Reel Good Fishing Partner...

A fishing partner is a good find. A good fishing partner is hard to come by. A real good fishing partner is rare. 

You may think you know you're friends and family. But, it isn't until you are stranded in the wilderness with a tornado at your back or a bear at the point or a foot caught in a sink hole, that you realize just what they are made of. A great fishing partner, a true wing man is not just suddenly born. He or she is groomed through the travails of life. Overcoming obstacles of colossal stature with dignity, passion, and pride. Learning to be loyal from their first sandbox encounter with the juicebox kind to their dying day. A real good fishing partner is truly a rare find. 

Of course, defining a great fishing partner is the key in discovering one. The credentials vary from fisherman to fisherman. But no matter what, the criteria should include the following three...Determination, Assets and Compatibility. 

Determination: This encompasses skill and passion for the hobby, nay the sport of fishing. And because it is a sport, having a good team on your side is key to winning the game. You don't want just anybody on your team. Think back to your dodge ball lineups where you were “forced” to choose between Tray, the 6 foot 3rd grader with arms the size of tree trunks or Riley, the premature brainiac with arms the size of twigs. Your answer would be Tray. However, in the long run, I'd choose Riley. Because we may lose at dodgeball, but groom that young, loyal smarty pants and you've got yourself a life long friend. Riley will find new and cool spots to fish, calculate river specs for you to benefit from and of course, buy lunch cause he’s just a nice guy. Tray most likely will go on to be some college drop out with an alcohol addiction who moves back to live in his mother's basement selling weight lifting equipment on the side to pay off his parking tickets. Sorry Tray. 

As for the passion, your fishing partner should have at least the same amount of fishing skills as you and enjoy it just as much. Someone who can keep up on the river in either blazing hot conditions or the blizzard of the century. Work a boat, rig a line, tie a lure/fly, wield a weapon (and well), carry his/her weight (and yours at some point). Can hide like Schwarzenegger in Predator, and fight like Rambo from 1, you know what we mean. The kind of passion that comes honking through your driveway at 2:30 am with a fresh cup of brew and a car loaded with gear screaming, “Get in slacker, the fuzz buster is on, the joe is hot, and the river is callin…” A devotion so strong to fishing, that if you were both captured by spot steeling river pirates along the banks of the Milwaukee river that your partner would chomp on the cyanide pill you hide in the bottom of your rod before ever giving up the best spots. 

Assets: So if you haven't figured it out already, fishing is an expensive sport. Waders, boots, rods, reels, lures, boats, weapons, gas, gas and more gas. The only reason we work is to fuel our fishing needs (duh) and therefore work is a given in any fishing partner. Unless of course they are a trust fund baby and then you're good for life or until the third wife comes along and takes it all. So it's crucial to have someone who can use their car every other trip, pitch in for half the gas, cover half the hotel or pitch half the tent and need no bribe for supporting the lie to everyone at the local tavern that you caught a 6.3 lbs. smallmouth when in fact it was a blood sucking red fish you foul hooked and will eventually go home and photoshop it into a bass. We're not saying your fishing partner needs to be rich. He/she just needs to be able to say half the time, "dude, I got this." Like any good partnership!

Compatibility: And finally, the most important piece. The holy fish spirit completing the trinity. Being comfortable with that person. Think about it. You are spending hours in the car and days in the woods with this person. You better make sure they have...1) Good taste in music, 2) be able to drive at odd hours of the day and night, and 3) turn out not to be some creepy backwoods serial killer. That would be bad. You don't both have to love the same exact songs, just the same genres. Although something new will come along and spark your interest. Ok, yes Dad! The Moody Blues and the Blues/Country line of the Rolling Stones rocks. You were right! Having each other's backs is key in compatibility. AC prefers to hit a spot for longer periods as her optimism and ability for catching a fish after 60 casts or so grows more intriguing every trip. So, Dad takes his time wading, making sure not to leave her miles behind for safety precautions. And AC is a both a morning dove and night owl. She can drive in the dark like nobody's business so she takes the helm when Dad needs a breather or can't see through his Benjamin Franklin 5th addition bifocals. And of course, when AC isn't out meeting new people and making friends in the hotel lobby, gas station coffee machine, camping beach site, local piggly wiggly fresh foods aisle, rafters entrance at most every river, and bikers bar (she had to pee, walked in with a full bladder and walked out with some college biker's phone number, which was quickly destroyed by Dad) then she is spending time with her biggest and baddest buddy, her dad. Getting lost looking for camp sites, getting stuck in the car during a rainstorm, playing poker in the tent on a windy Canadian hill on the side of the road, or stopping to shop local antiques shop as she forces him to reply to stuff like, "Oh isn't that cute?" or  "Wouldn't that look adorable in my house?" Yep, compatibility is everything, of course you can't both like all of the same things ;).

So why bring this topic up? What made us want to start talking about fishing partners now? Well, maybe it was the 95 degree heat. Or it could have been the fact that we ran out of water by the 7th hour and still fished 11. Perhaps it was the abundance of fish that seemed to magically find our lures at every cast. Whatever it was, some mystical force happened upon us just 2 weekends ago in our favorite of rivers that shall go unnamed. Because just after a cock crowed half past 3, Dad turned to AC and said, “You’re the best fishing partner a guy could ask for.” Had the stars suddenly realigned? Had the second coming arrived? Surely it was sun poisoning or early onset Alzheimers.  Wait, who we kidding? Definitely not early onset, he’s too old for that. AC had made it! Reel good fishing status. Her dream of ultimate fishing partner was half complete. Because despite Dad being a great fishing partner, someday she will have to find a new one. Some lucky guy out there to complete her wading duo, her other bum half, her river soulmate. And these credentials just may come in handy. But for now, she'll stick with the old man. He's still got a few good casts left in him...

Top Water Action

Twist and pose...works every time!

Slowmo Release

Off the flats

A Bass spit up a mole...holey moley!

We didn't make it in time, but we couldn't pass up a good fishing sign!

So when you stop to think about the best fishing partner you have ever had. Ask yourself this one question. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?

Until next time, we'll see ya on the other side of the river...

Cast Away,

AC & Dad