Monthly Archives: June 2011

It Must Run in the Family

Chris Funk aka Feral-One, chasing frogs

It’s really odd the way life can scatter family in so many different directions and they end up never knowing each other. I’m an only child but my folks both came from some huge broods (the Duggers have nothing on my mom’s family).  I’m ashamed to admit I have no idea how many cousins I have.

Thanks to the way the internet has bridged miles and made our world seem much smaller than it used to be, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a family member I may never have otherwise known.  I haven’t met my cousin Chris in person but I’ve come to the conclusion that we must have been “twin cousins separated at birth” or something like that.

Chris first got my attention through Facebook with the beautiful outdoor and artistic photography he posts on a consistent basis.  I’ve always dreamed of being a photographer but have never taken the time to learn.

After watching Chris’s photos for a few weeks my jaw dropped to the floor when one day he posted a picture of him and his son, Ethan fishing from kayaks. I was elated to find out I have a relative that doesn’t think I’m undeniably insane for fishing from such a little boat!

Chris, Angie and Ethan, the family that yaks together...

Since that day Chris has inspired me to try to learn how to take a better picture. He says I’ve inspired him to break out his fly rod again.  His wife and son now have kayaks to fish from, and I think that’s a great family activity! He recently told me I was the closest thing to a female version of him that he’d ever known. Funny, I thought he was a male version of me.

Chris just posted some photos of a kayak fishing trip he took down the Flint River with Henry Jackson of Flint River Kayak Fishing of Columbus GA. It seems they had a great time. Many fish were caught and more beautiful photos snapped.

Feral-One Photography — Flint River, 2011
Feral-One Photography; Flint River 2011

After you browse the photos from this gallery, be sure to take some time to look at some of his other work while you’re there. You’ll find some spectacular outdoor photography including wildlife photos, bow fishing, hunting, hot air balloons, and airplanes among other subjects.  His “drop shots” (and I’m not talking about a fishing rig) are simply amazing.

To view these others galleries go to

I’m looking forward to meeting Chris and his family, Angie and Ethan in the not-too-distant future.  I think it will be pretty cool to meet a new relative with whom I have so much in common that it seems we grew up together.

If you think about it even our screen names show a kindred connection — Feral-One and ShesAManiYak. The two seem to imply that we’re both a little left of normal, whatever that may be.

Did I Hook the Trout or Did the Trout Hook Me?

After having bought a kayak last summer to replace my trusty old Trout Unlimited Madison I met up with the folks from The first trip they had planned was for the coming weekend on the Cumberland River, premium trout water!

I dusted off the old fly rod that had stood in the corner and headed to the internet.  I needed to know how to cast this thing and had little time to learn. As I was pouring over some websites it struck me that my rod looked kind of old so I decided to Google the model number on the reel. It turned out I had a Shakespeare automatic reel manufactured sometime around 1963. Although we’re not talking about a purist’s brand of choice, it was still close enough to being an antique that I wasn’t ready to risk it on unknown waters and fishing from my kayak for the first time!

I still wasn’t sure I would be able to use a fly rod without getting instruction from someone so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. For the upcoming trip I went to a local sporting goods store, talked extensively with the fishing department manager (who was an avid fly fisherman) about entry-level combos.  He recommended a four-piece 5 wt., 9′, Scientific Angler as an inexpensive way for me to try my hand at skating a few flies.

Saturday morning finally arrives.  After some shuttling around of vehicles we all drop our yaks in the water.  It definitely wasn’t idea conditions that September morning.  The river was high, the current was way too fast, and the water was close to the color of chocolate milk.  I let everyone drift away from me a bit, I didn’t want to hook any of my new acquaintances in the forehead since I didn’t know what I was doing.

It turned out I could actually feel what I needed to do to shoot that fly out further with each cast and wasn’t doing too bad for a beginner if I may say so myself.  About twenty minutes into the trip I had a brown jump up out of the water and come back down to take that fly!  Now I know to those experienced in fly fishing this isn’t anything new, but it was my first time to see it.  I will never forget the sheer excitement I felt and needless to say, I’ve been hooked on fly fishing since that day.  I’m hard pressed to pick up a spinning rod now.

I ended up catching another decent fish not too long after the first.

Since that trip I’ve gone on several fishing and camping expeditions with my new-found friends at Yakangler.  I’ve also upgraded to a TFO 9′ 5wt, and have also purchased a Redington 8wt.  I’m so obsessed with the experience that I’m now asking myself, did I hook that trout or did it hook me?

After doing some research I’ve learned that I have a couple of nice trout rivers in my area and believe there are more. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is working hard at finding additional places that can sustain trout populations.  In the meantime they stock several creeks and rivers for “put and take” but so far I haven’t fished any of them.

I’m very thankful to have the chance to fish for trout fairly close to home, but if KDFW hadn’t of worked to develop those fisheries years ago such opportunities wouldn’t exist. That’s why the ongoing efforts of Trout Unlimited and other organizations to revive debilitated rivers and streams, protect waters like Bristol Bay in Alaska, or stop mountain top removal in Kentucky is essential in preserving our cold-water fishing so future generations can enjoy the same blessings we have.

Gear Review: The Baker Hookout Max-T®

This a review of the Baker® Hookout Max-T.  You can find the Baker product line at  This is my first gear review for the Outdoor Blogger Network.  

A Little Background

The original 9″ Hookout was developed in 1956 and anglers continue to use it over 50 years later.  It has proven itself time after time as a safe way to remove hooks and lures.  Baker continues to develop tools to aid both casual and avid anglers alike and now carries over forty different products.

The Max “T” HooKouT

I received the Baker® Max-T Hookout and it appeared to be a tool that would prove especially useful in the practice of catch and release or in the case of a “toothy” fish.

Made of rust-resistant components, this Hookout has a 13” reach.  The tip is designed to reverse the angle of the hook making it easier to remove.  The longer shaft of this tool makes it easier to de-hook a fish without having to boat it, putting much less stress on the fish and giving it a better chance at survival after release.

I especially like the slim, straight design of this Hookout over the right angle of
the original.  Since most of my fishing is done from a kayak, this slimmer tool is much easier to store out-of-the-way when I’m not using it.  The length is ideal because it maximizes my reach and enables me to keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.

I found the Max-T very easy to use.  As the directions described I placed the tip around the hook, squeezed the handle towards the “T”, then twisted.  The hook came out quick and clean.

The only thing that would have made the Hookout more kayak fishing friendly (or wading friendly) would be a means to fasten it to a lanyard or a retractor. After I made the picture below I affixed a cord to it between the handle and the “T”  but an eyelet of some sort would have been nice.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a rating of 9 and would recommend it to anyone that is looking to buy a hook removal tool.

As with all reviews on, this review is my honest opinion.  I received the Baker Hookout Max-T free of charge from The Outdoor Blogger Network and agreed  to provide a review in exchange. is not sponsored by or associated with Baker and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.