Monday, June 11, 2012

Adventures Afield Hits the News Stand

That's right.  After a short year and a half, Adventures Afield is making the transition to newsprint.  Of course, essays, occasional fishing reports, and the deeper tracks will continue to be posted here; but for weekly outdoor news and topics, check out the Adventures Afield column in The Rural Virginian.  The initiating column was printed the week of June 6.  Hopefully, many more will follow.  


Anonymous said...

Matt, Congratulations on your transition to the Rural Virginian. I just read your article The Fisher in Virginia. Well Done.
My wife and I have lived in Palmyra for the past ten years. Over that time our Summers and vacations are spent outdoors and primarily revovle around catching (and releasing) smallmouth bass. We have been up to Maine and as far west as California on smallmouth bass excursions. In all of our travels and countless trips on the James River, Rivanna River and the Maury we have seen many things. Bobcats in Kentucky, Minks in Missouri (that's funny), Countless otters in the Rivanna. We were even lucky enough to see a Marten on the way to whitewater rafting on one of our many trips to Maine. It was explained to us then how rare this was.
Here's the deal Matt. I live directly on Fluvanna Ruritan Lake. I'm sure you have seen my house from the water. About a month ago I was coming home down North Ruritan Road when something crossed my path. It was not a fox (we have plenty of those). I got a good look at it but was not sure what I had seen. I wen't to the VDGIF website and explored to Mammals of Virginia. You might debunk what I am about to tell you. No one was more suprised then me. It was a Fisher. Right here in Palmyra. Not kidding you one bit. All pictures I looked at online match the creature I saw 100%.
For the life of me I dont know why it was where it was but there's no denying what I had seen. If this sounds like a bigfoot sighting to you I assure you it was not. I carried my camera in my truck for a while after that in the hopes to catch a photograph of it and the albino deer that has been hanging out way to close to route 53. I have not seen the deer nor the fisher since.
We'll that's about it. I just saw your article and thought, Wow! I just saw one of those and it had no business being where it was.
If your ever on Ruritan Lake again and want to discuss it I'm the green house near the dam with the little plastic Tracker boat on the bank.
Thanks for your interesting article
Scott Gillies

Matt Reilly said...

Thanks, Mr. Gillies! I appreciate any criticisms/comments I can get. I started the blog following advice from a friend of mine, Chris McCotter--a guide on Lake Anna and the Editor of the VA/MD outdoors magazine "Woods and Waters"--whom I later did some writing for. He said that it was a good way to sharpen writing skills, and it proved to be, at least in keeping me interested. I won a high school writing contest in March and remained on a high over spring break, when I contacted several publications seeking submission guidelines and other information. The editor of The Rural Virginian contacted me some three months later proposing a contract as the outdoors columnist. I was excited!

It sounds like you and your wife really have an affinity for Bronzebacks! Though my experience with them is fairly provincial, I consider them to be my favorite fish to pursue. Over the summer, when school is out and work is done for the day, I can be found on most days soaking in the Rivanna and waving my fly rod for Smallies. I've also spent a few summers in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont pulling them from the cold-water lakes and ponds that dot the mountainsides near my grandparents' home.

As for the fisher sighting, I don't doubt it one bit. How can you? To do so with certainty would be to claim a supreme understanding of nature, which, I believe, is fallacious. I have known people in Pennsylvania who have woken up in the morning to see a 200-lb black panther in their yard, guides who have had clients catch trophy rainbow trout from the James at Scottsville, and have personally found longnose gar in the inshore waters of Hatteras Island. Fisher are known to be present in Augusta county, so the possibility of encountering one in Albemarle, or even Fluvanna County cannot be dismissed. Wanderers happen in the wild; and I don't doubt your claim at all. As for bigfoot, I think the lowly fisher has some growing to do in order to be comparable in stature physically or legendarily.

And...I strongly encourage you to continue to carry your camera! The wildlife department relies strongly on public observations, and photo evidence of a fisher as far east as Fluvanna County would be of great value to them, not to mention as a conversation piece. The last photo of a fisher taken in Virginia (by a trail camera in Page County) was featured in the DGIF's bi-weekly Outdoor Report.

I assure you, I will be on Ruritan sometime in the near future. You may see me sometime. I'm likely to be the kid with the overloaded, green fishing kayak. Thanks again for the shout!


Matt Reilly