Big Sky Journal Email Image

by Fire Girl Jess on December 16, 2014

BSJ_ChouinardHat tip to the (very) good guys over at Howler Brothers for forwarding me this marketing email that went out today from The Big Sky JournalBrings back good memories of fishing with some of the humblest people in the business. This piece has been a long time in the making.

Look for the full article this spring in the magazine’s fly-fishing edition!


Chi Wulff’s The Vermont Chronicles: Grey Mornings

by Fire Girl Jess on December 14, 2014

A bit of a tribute to the grey months. Read more on Chi Wulff.

Justin Waters wades into the Puget Sound's layers of grey, rod at the ready.

Justin Waters wades into the Puget Sound’s layers of grey, rod at the ready.


On Breaking the Routine

by Fire Girl Jess on December 10, 2014

Writer’s note: This piece evolved from a train of thought that may or may not have spiraled off the tracks while I was stranded overnight in Washington Reagan International Airport a few weeks ago. I was still in Belize clothes—fishing pants and flip-flops—and spent the night napping on top of a heating vent, curled around my Pelican case while sleet came down outside. I was exhausted and sick and, yet found it an oddly good experience. Sometimes you are tired and happy and know the assignment is finished and life is good, despite peculiar circumstances.

At any rate, the words below evolved from that mental train of thought, and solidified once I made it back to Vermont and began to look around. Take it for what it is: a bit of a rant, an exercise in mindless writing, a modicum of soul cleansing.

Office spaces in odd places. Grand Slam Bar, El Pescador, Belize.

Office spaces in odd places. Grand Slam Bar, El Pescador, Belize.

They say routine is settling, comforting. It’s the rhythm of life, day in and day out; the soothing familiarities of a smooth life. A dependable schedule, being able to plan your life out months at a time, perhaps even years.

Being able to book a plane ticket six months out and knowing which airport you’ll be flying out of.

Familiarity with the aisles at the grocery store—no more wandering around on a mission for coconut milk and soba noodles.

Having a favorite drink at the local pub and knowing when to go to avoid the crowds.

Routine is comforting. It’s also numbing.

Too much of a routine means questions stop being asked. Problems cease to be approached from different directions—this worked the last time, why bother changing something that isn’t broken? “Normal” is comfortable. It’s familiar.

We can become numb, complacent. Why bother stretching ourselves when the here and now is just fine?

Get out.

Go. Change the routine. Go for a hike. Get in the car and drive to a place you’ve never been, even if it’s just the next town. Hop a plane and explore a culture you’ve never seen.

I promise it will be worth it. 

It will be uncomfortable. Unsettling. You’ll see things maybe you wish you hadn’t, and hear even more. You’ll have to think on your feet and lose the fear of moving—if you’re mot moving, you are standing still, and what, dear friend, is the point of living if you are standing still?

Go. Explore. Get your hands dirty. Learn. Seek. Experience.

And, you know what, you’ll find that “normal” becomes an entirely new state. The trivial ceases to matter. Your scope is broader, and priorities have shifted. You’ll discover those people far away from your routine—be they in the next county or the next continent—they are pretty damn similar to you. 

Living their own routine.

So get out.


Belize in Black and White

by Fire Girl Jess on December 7, 2014

Joseph, from Orvis Adventures, logs a bit of casting practice at El Pescador.

Joseph, from Orvis Adventures, logs a bit of casting practice at El Pescador.

After the vivid, memory-searing colors of Belize—even underneath the persistent rain and dreary conditions we had for much for the trip, the colors managed to pop—it’s been a a bit of a shock to come back to the land of brown and white here in Vermont. It’s made me take a deep breath, reassure myself that winter is alway tough and it’s about time I up my snow photography game anyway, and plan some upcoming trips.

That doesn’t mean I’ve not enjoyed delving through the colors found in the Belize edit. The images have gone to a wide variety of clients, including Orvis, El Pescador, and a host of editorial partners. I’m excited to see them start coming to print and web in the near future (more to come on that.)

As I look through the edit, though, I’ve been stunned by a few images that simply demand black and white. Sometimes the subject is too strong, the lines too bold, to worry about color. They demand a more direct approach.

So head on over to Chi Wulff to see a few B&W selects from the Belize edit.

And a huge thanks to everyone who made this trip possible—especially Orvis and the entire, lovely team at El Pescador. It was an incredible experience, and I look forward to the next time I make it to the flats off Ambergris Caye.

These locals were waiting for the rain to abate before they could go work at the dock, repairing boats.

These locals were waiting for the rain to abate before they could go work at the dock, repairing boats.


Grayl Water Filtration Review on Chi Wulff

by Fire Girl Jess on December 4, 2014

CW_Grayl-2Everyone who travels can appreciate the simple value of having water available. While here in the States often we are never far from a safe source of drinking water, sometimes on the road it is a bit harder to find. Without proper hydration our bodies don’t function as well—we get tired, sloppy, and just generally feel nasty. Not to mention imbibing water is crucial if you’re having a drink or two (or four…).

It’s not rocket science. Basically, drink water to feel good.

In the spirit of dependable water, the good folks over at the Grayl sent over their new Quest water filtration cup for me to come along on the recent Belize assignment. The system performed admirably, and looked pretty darn cool to boot. ( I still defend that rods and reels make pretty good accessories for nearly any kind of product shoot.)

Read the full review here on Chi Wulff.


Guide's respite at El Pescador.

Guide’s respite at El Pescador.

Slowly wading through the edit from last week’s trip, and madly wishing I was still barefoot in the sands of Ambergris Caye.

Chi Wulff ran a little post today about the familiar people you meet in the strangest places. Head on over to give it a read!


Check Out the Hatch Magazine Fly-Fishing Photo Contest

by Fire Girl Jess on November 29, 2014

I was pretty stoked when Chad over at Hatch Magazine asked me to be a judge for the 2014 Fly-Fishing Photo Contest over at Hatch Magazine. It was quite a task to sort through the plentiful entries—there were some stellar images! Always fun to see how creative people can get when capturing the awesome places we get to fish and play.

Head on over to Hatch and peruse the entries.

And, on a side note, the Belize edit is now at full throttle. Despite uncooperative weather and a bomber flu, pretty happy with what I’m seeing thus far. Stay tuned.