Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doesn't It Just Tick You Off?

You know for such a little sure does cause a lot of havoc. Growing up in Maine I never knew such things existed. I spent a lot of time hunting and fishing as a child with my father and brother and we never came home with one of these bad boys, I mean bad girls, on any of our persons. 
With such a mild winter, at least here on the mid-coast, I'm thinking this spring may just be a record tick season. I guess we'll have to be prepared to tuck our pant legs into our Bean boots early on and when that gets too warm, to slather ourselves down with repellent. And of course lay in a good supply of Frontline for the dogs. 
Take a look at this map...
One of those red dots is hovering and smothering our property in Waldo County. I guess it could be worse.  We could be living in southern NH, all of Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Or, heaven forbid,
anywhere in Tick Central..New Jersey or Wisconsin.
 I don't think they've evolved enough to sprout flippers so I guess I'm still safe in my boat?
It could be very scary out there in the pucka' brush, chasing down some wild brookies this coming season! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hiking About West Grand

On those occasions that I get Downeast and enjoy the fishing on West Grand Lake and fly fishing Grand Lake Stream, there are other very enjoyable pursuits to partake, such as hiking one of the many trails located nearby. 
One of my favorite Maine blogs is

Hiking In Maine With Kelley

Kelley and John are an adventurous pair who are on the road everyday to some awesome hiking spots and they regularly visit maine-matters for which I am very grateful.

So here's a little thank you from maine-matters

Who knows maybe Big Ray and I will meet you and Kelley on one of these trails someday..I'll keep my eye out for a friendly chocolate lab!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunset at West Grand Lake

Sunset at West Grand Lake..
'nugh said.....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maine Lobster..Just For The Cull Of It

So two evenings ago I am scrolling thru our satellite TV menu of hardly ever anything to watch channels, and I settle on one of the cooking shows whose main (e) ingredient was Maine lobster. Well it sort of lit my fuse..Here I am living on the coast of  Maine, immersed (so to speak) in lobster culture. My Dad having fished for them 

and two nephews presently fishing for them, although not in February. And I can't drive 5 miles without coming across some reminder of lobster..lobster..lobster....
So since it was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and part of that means abstaining from meat, and with the lobster thing still lingering in my mind, off I go to the local lobster pound to peruse.

Once there I find a wicked good deal on culls at $5.99 per lb. Total bill $11.98,  you do the math. And for those of you who may not know, a cull is a lobster with only one paw.

 At the pound they have a huge oil fired brick boiler which they keep boiling away every day and which is exactly where my bad boy found himself  for 20 minutes.  Next stop, my fridge for a chilling and then assembly.
Now I like my lobster meat bedded down in a regular old toasted hot dog fancy flax seeded wheat or  saffron buns or Pain de Provence for me. The simpler the better.

(Image stolen from Google but ours was very close to this)
 You get the picture but I got the lobster and am ready for more...

Speaking of bad boys..check out this behemoth caught recently just down the coast from me. That's something you could really sink your teeth into...

Maine State Aquarium Director Aimee Hayden-Rodriques holds a 27-pound, nearly 40-inch long, lobster caught by Robert Malone off the coast of Maine near Rockland on Feb. 17, 2012. The aquarium named the crustacean Rocky but now Rocky , having been released, is once more free to do his part in advancing his species.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The First Real Growing Green Thing Of 2012

Such a strange it is Feb 21 and I have NO snow outside my window..just a few patches of ice and now....

 our chives have come up..
They make a second sign of spring that I've noticed. As mentioned in my previous blog entry, some of the maple trees are running sap and now the first real growing green thing of 2012. Are you buying the early spring theory or are we going to get blasted come March and April?
Snow for Easter? 
I've seen it before...
Caveat emptor!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sap..That Would Be Me

I was into Home Supply Hardware picking up some new shop light flo-tubes today and there ahead of me at the register was a woman buying some plastic tubing and other supplies for tapping her maple trees.  

Astonished and in a great rush to show my ignorance, I boldly stated.." The sap isn't running yet!"  Instantly I caught myself thinking, why else would she be buying these things dummy, and followed up with a pathetic..
"Is it?" 

And in front of the proprietor and several knowledgeable customers about such matters, I was appropriately admonished.  
Can the chives and pussy willows be far behind?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet Zed

This is Zed , a 9 week old Yellow Lab, Guiding Eyes For The Blind project,  that will be the next in line for puppy socialization. I'm not sure where Zed will end up for the training but if it worked out that he settled here with us for the next 14 to 16 months , that would be just fine with me.
As with any puppy, chewing is a big deal. And after becoming re-acquainted with just how sharp puppy piranha teeth are on fingers, especially mine, I offered him a well chewed Nylabone, that I smeared with a bit of peanut butter. Clearly Zed thought it much more tasty than any old human finger, ESPECIALLY mine . 

Of course one of the best times to enjoy a puppy is when they are sleeping
 And as my wife often says..
"A tired puppy is a good puppy."

We'll soon know what destiny has in store for Zed and I'll be sure to keep updated postings on his adventures. But I have a strong suspicion that whatever path he chooses he'll make his mark, teeth or otherwise.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We Took A Walk Unto The Shore..34 Days And Counting

We took a walk unto the shore,
My faithful dog and me,
The air was clean, and Ray was keen,
To sniff  the ocean scene.

But all at once my pup, Big Ray
Did sit.. enjoying.. sunshine.. day..
And then we moved down shore to find,
A boat of green, a canoe of kind.
And though our walk was soon to end,
We spied some ice around the bend.
Slowly.. dripping.. down ledge and sand,
Could coming spring be close at hand?

34 Days And Counting....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wild Trout And Spring

I guess I'm just getting soft in my golden's a beautiful, sunny day here on the mid coast with the afternoon temperature just about 20. 

You'd think that for a February day those two combinations would be pretty darn good. I guess it is. But just having got back from a walk with Ray, I thought it was nasty cold out there. Of course the 20 mph wind gusts were not helpful and choosing to walk in the field outside our back door rather than the wood trail was a mistake. 

Nevertheless with the aid of my insulated hoodie sweatshirt I made it through the arduous trek. Once in  I immediately started brewing a hot cup of coffee.
And once I got the coffee going, Ray started bugging me big time about his supper, even tho it is 2 hours too early. But he tells me his tummy never lies about such things, so I decided to placate the boy with a well deserved bull stick.
Having gotten Big Ray settled down I decided that it would be a great day for one of my favorite comfort foods,  pot roast. So being that Pat is away for a few days and it's definitely not one of her favorites, I threw one together.
Well the coffee is done, supper is cooking  and it's very pleasant with the sun streaming in on me, sitting at the table in our dining room listening to some music..what else?. of course..research some unexplored, small trout stream to fish come April. So I gather up three of my favorite reference books 

and start dreaming of heading out, with Ray and my 3 wt fly rod, to one of those hidden, trout filled brooks..... The anticipation of fishing where I have not fished before.....
 The anticipation of wild trout and tight lines....
The anticipation of spring which can't come soon enough.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's a family tradition....

I'm lucky to be part of a fine, family tradition such as fly fishing. My dad, as I've mentioned many times in this blog, was absolutely crazy about it. It was a huge part of his sporting life and I'm very thankful for that. How could one not get excited about it when he would bring home a great catch like this Atlantic Salmon from the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. We heard stories about that fish for years.
Good going , Pop!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Best Fly? Choices, Choices, Choices!

 "You ought to know that there are twelve kinds of artificial flies, made flies, to angle with upon the top of the water." - Sir Issac Walton 

I only wish that were true.

How do you choose the best fly from all the varieties and sub-varieties of wet flies, dry flies, streamers et al. The possibilities are almost endless. Given the fact that the most successful flies are those that most closely imitate the trout's or salmon's food choices,  then the choice of best fly should be less confusing. However there are so many flies that have been tied and/or created by amazingly skilled craftsmen as to become almost works of art. In this case does functionality take a back seat to artistic approach? I guess it all depends... In my mind if it's pretty and catches fish then you've got a winner. As for myself, I can barely tie a simple beaded headed nymph, let alone a beautiful multi layered streamer like my friend Brk Trt over at
Small Stream Reflections

But I digress...

I guess that if I had to choose the best overall fly for my skill level I would go with the following:

This is probably my least confident selection as I really like dry fly fishing the best but a bead headed nymph or caddis, as my research seems to yield, are way up on the scale of popularity. Then there is the Parmachene Belle. Is it a popular choice out there in the fly fishing hinterlands? I don't know. But besides having a great name, it's origin can be traced back to Maine waters.


Here's one I like a lot, the Adams and it seems to be considered a universal fly. I use its different varieties a lot and consequently have left a lot of them hung up in tree branches. And yes the Elk Hair Caddis is right up there too. However some caddis flies are wet flies as well..I'm so confused....


Being from Maine how could I not choose the Grey Ghost. I love being out early in the morning dragging one of these behind my boat hoping for a landlocked salmon to strike. Yes trolling with a Grey is fly fishing too. I know a lot of fly fishermen would vehemently disagree. So be it. But even I have been known to cast a few of these into a stream or two.

By the way, the bottom two images I'm using have been taken from one of my father's "Family Circle's Guide To Trout Flies" published in 1954. I can remember well him sitting at his fly tying vise with this publication at his side and I feel very fortunate to have it even if it seems a bit dated.

So I guess the only good answer to the question of  "Best Fly" is which ever fly is catching trout or salmon at any given moment.

All I know for sure it that there's a lot to this fly fishing thing and hopefully I can learn a little more this coming spring