Middle Aged Men And The Sea

I love to fish. Always have. Mom taught me to flyfish when I was really young. Like a lot of other things these days, I don’t get a lot of time to do it, so I gotta make time. But every now and then I get to at least photograph other people who are fishing.
But these guys are not fishing for fun, they are fishing for a living, and as you can imagine, there is a huge difference.

These guys live and work near Bahia Kino on the Sea of Cortez. I was initially drawn there to see if I could photograph the abalone divers who work off of Isla Tiburon(Shark Island), and hopefully one day I will be able to return and do this. But on this trip we just didn’t have the time required so I ended up spending what time I had with the guys who fished for fish.

These guys were great, allowed me to do whatever I wanted. I got up early, before sunrise and made my way down to the water. They were making their way in and I took a few moments to snap a few images. I like these images, these rounded corner, Kodachrome images, simply because they represent a lifestyle I admire and they remind me of the fragile nature of our world, our sea and our future. For me there isn’t anything better than getting up with the sun and making pictures. The noise of the day hasn’t begun and the light has direction and color and there seems to be a permission to enjoy this time, and to make pictures.

These were done many years ago and I wonder where these guys are now. I wonder how the catch is today. I wonder what their future holds.

Maybe one day I’ll drive back down and bring these images, see who is around and how their life has changed.

Hook, Line and Sinker

Look, I don’t want to brag. But I have to.

I can’t show these images and not talk the talk.

Most of you know me as a photographer, and I’ll let you decide if I’m good at it or not.

But one thing you can’t dispute, deny or pass off is my ability to fish. Just look at the evidence.

Look at my nephew in the background. Stunned. Stunned by the fact my fish is HALF HIS SIZE. Right after these photos were taken we actually put his entire head INSIDE the mouth of the fish, which is totally legal in the county we were in.

They weren’t kidding when they named this species the “largemouth.”

Look, I’ve always been good at fishing. Just like I was always good at shooting, pistol, rifle, shotgun.

You see my dad was a competitive shooter, traveled around the US competing, but he had to work at it, nothing came easy. But for me, I could just do it from the first time I picked up a gun.

Same with fishing. I’ve been doing it since birth, and consequently I’ve become the ultimate badass when it comes to landing our scaled little, or not so little friends. Again, this proof is undeniable.

Just to back up my claims, here is a list to shut up anyone not already professing their fish envy.

I was born with gill slits.

I caught a 40-pound grouper before I could walk.

I caught a 20+ pound northern pike on 4 pound line with no leader, while fishing in a blizzard.

I’m officially listed as a “Canadian Master Angler” for smallmouth bass (We actually ate my record fish by accident.)

I once went “fishing” for an alligator with a whole chicken from Whole Foods.

I once caught over 100 fish in two days, and caught sunstroke at the same time.

Okay, and if that isn’t enough. Check the beard. I don’t think you can be a serious fisherperson without this kind of beard. I can hold flies, lures and line in my beard while I fish.

And check the vest, all seventeen pockets of it, and of course my stance, which is critical for any fish outing.

And just to keep the blogging experts from yelling at me for not posting ONLY about photography, that is a Fuji 6×9 on my shoulder. So there.

If you listen carefully when I approach a body of water you can hear a faint, high-pitched whine which is actually fish giving up. Surrendering and looking for my line.

I can’t help it. I’m that good.

I caught his thing on an Orvis flyrod, topwater popper and a trout leader, which was all I had with me. I could have thrown my car keys in and caught fish.

The problem is now my little nephew will feel the burning desire to follow in my footsteps, but in the words of the Highlander, “There can be only one.”

Two Minutes


Look closely in the middle, spotted perch.



Saturday morning. Making my weekly phone calls.

Mother, brother, sister, a few others. Walking on the beach, light has already gone, camera still in my bag. Not even thinking of shooting.

And then I turn south. A haze that stops me. Light is harsh but filtered. A depth is happening in front of me. Foreground, midground, background.

“Gotta call you back.”

Poof I take picture.

Two minutes later I’m done. Camera back in bag, move on.

How to Land a Monster Fish

Okay, I know by looking at these images you will quickly realize my prowess as a master angler. These fish were HUGE, regardless of what the pictures look like. My hands are HUGE, did I mention that? Throws off the scale. Get it…scale????

Oh, and these wonderous snaps were made by another Milnor, this time sis checking in through the viewfinder. She might have been slow to process, scan and transmit, but they are finally here.

This little piece of water is a grand place, so peaceful, and nobody else around for miles.

All fish were returned to the glassine green to swim another day.

One of the Worst Photos of Me Ever

So, it takes a special guy to wear a hat like this. But, it is even more special to pair the hat with those stylish glasses. The fish just puts the entire photo over the top.

Taken in Canada eh, way up north way, in the Territories I believe. Fishing with pops, back when we used to do this type of thing.

The fact that my dad took this picture is remarkable in itself as he was not a huge fan of photography. In fact, he was the king of turning up with a roll of film, out of nowhere, and demanding it be processed as soon as possible. Then, we get the prints back and they were of multiple Christmas mornings, etc. The same roll in the camera for several years, but for some reason, after waiting two, three years, with the same roll in the camera, he suddenly needed to see the prints as soon as possible.

He would spend at least eight seconds reviewing the prints and say, “These are terrible.”

After he died we found an very strange, Russian camera in his car, buried in the center console. Nobody else in the family had ever seen it, and I personally have never even seen a camera like this. It was empty. Why he had it is still a mystery.

Maybe I should phone Moscow?

Anyway, back to this beauty of a snap. A perfect picture. Splendid. A portfolio image for sure.