Saturday, May 26, 2012

Puttering and Sputtering On Belfast Bay

It was a lovely morning. 
The tide was just right, half up and coming on. The temperature was perfect. Blue skies, bright sunshine with just an easygoing southeasterly raising a slight chop. This was going to be a fine morning for our first briny boat ride on Belfast Bay.

As we eased out from the boat ramp the floats at the public landing were starting to collect their summer mix of work boats and pleasure craft. 

It was clear to see that the harbor was coming back to life, awakening from it's winter hibernation with many boats swinging at their mooring balls. Soon there will be a forest of masts and spars with there attendant pennants and flags. It was great to be back... 

We were starting to clear the inner harbor markers. Past the location of the old steamboat wharf which now sports the city owned "Boathouse".

Things have been going well, too well, and soon start to fall apart..quickly. 

Motor boats are great as long as the motor is motoring properly. But ours wasn't, coughing, skipping and belching exhaust, barely making headway against a now building southeasterly. Our top speed was just right, allowing the newly formed whitecaps to send a cold spray into the cockpit. Good thing my wife was at the helm as I could find shelter, hunkering down behind the windshield. Things were just not getting better with either the motor or wind so we decided to come about and head back toward town,

past the tow-boats and into the lee of the inner harbor.

On our port side, we came upon the latest attraction for the upcoming tourist season..

the 101 year old.. "Prudence".

(My friend and once co-worker, Tom Groening,  recently wrote a nice piece on her for The Bangor Daily News. Be sure to check it out at..

As I've blogged about in the past, the big news around Belfast has been the new Front Street Shipyard that has literally set the waterfront buzzing with it's non-stop activity. Including an awesome traveling boat lift with amazing lifting capabilities...

In addition to this lift, new buildings have been going up at an incredible rate. 

This one is located on the site of the old Stinson Canning Factory and is the second such structure newly built since last winter.

By now the rough water was now finding it's way back to us, our motor was still sputtering so we declared our initial bay cruise a partial victory and headed back to the boat ramp where we enjoyed the launching of a local vessel. 

All in all it was a wonderful shakedown cruise regardless of the problems we encountered. 
It's great to be back on the bay.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Turning Tail For Atlantic Salmon

     I was talking with one of the staff members at Mt View High School where I work and found out the he will be on the Mirimachi in New Brunswick this weekend fishing for Atlantic Salmon. For those of you who read this blog, you man know my father had a very special relationship with The Leaper so our conversation struck home with me..I came across this video  and found it to be very interesting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Up-Stream...Down-Stream...In Between Stream...Searsmont Pays Off

Celebrating on a Tuesday afternoon for success on a Tuesday morning.

I've tried to keep a positive attitude this spring. Regardless of all the tribulations that I have perceived to be against me, the unfair forces of nature, the responsibilities of work, the chores of home and the increasing affinity to my recliner that overcome me more as I get older, I finally broke out of the 0 for whatever (whose counting?) run I've been going thru this spring, trying to catch a freaking brook trout.
On the spur of the moment, the lawn being too wet to mow and with clouds in the sky offering more rain,  I decided to gear up and head out to my brother-in-laws place in Searsmont. With all the water we've had raining down upon us in the last few weeks , chances where that the Q Stream would be high. And it was with water about 2 feet over it's banks. With the lower part of his property basically a floodplain,  and with the convergence of said stream and another flow, it would be necessary to use my waders, and I just hate waders. Too confining , too cumbersome and just too much work with suspenders, boots and belts.  I would so much prefer to wet-wade but it has been just too chilly for these old bones.
I arrive at the Q-stream 
Looking upstream...

with a totally in-appropriate wet fly that I last used but was too lazy to change out.  Maybe there was a dumb brookie that would fall for it? Not really..So after a considerable amount of futile casts, I start to notice that the trout are starting to rise.
Looking downstream...

And they are rising for the little black wing-ed buggers that are buzzing all about. Maybe I have something like them in my fly box?
One of my fly boxes...

As you can see I do have a fair amount of what I thought I needed, and after a few casts, a strike. But this one dropped off as I was reaching for my net. However my waning enthusiasm for fly fishing immediately received a large boost.
With my excitement building, I cast the black beauty up stream and let it drift down with the current..and as Emeril says..
With my ultralite bending and straining under the load of the behemoth at the end of its line, I nurse, what would turn out to be, my first catch of this year. 
It's a wonderful thing...

Within the hour, more hits and another brookie brought to hand.  
Poor photos as I discovered that my camera was on the wrong setting

And then it's over. The little black flies disappear and so do my brookies. 
Such is the nature of trout fishing I guess.
Anyways I'm psyched to get back out there when the water level drops a bit and more bugs break out..just like I did.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tippy Canoe On Bottle Lake

Been thinking about getting our canoe out from behind the garage. It needs some work such as a new thwart and some serious cleaning but it's been way too long since we've used it for either pleasure paddling or fishing. I've always been a little shy about canoeing, not scared but edgy. Maybe it all goes back to my "canoe experienced" boyhood friend Mike and his demonstration on how to properly and safely use a canoe with a small outboard hanging off the side on an outrigger. We were at his family's camp on Bottle Lake for some fishing fun and we needed some power assistance in order to get thru the thoroughfare and into Junior. 

So Mike carefully leans out just a bit to adjust the motor and the next thing you know he and the canoe are upside down. This happened not once but twice and our motor very seriously sputtered for the entire weekend. I guess it is a testament to the simplicity of the old outboards back in the day that it ran at all.

Maybe that's where my edginess comes from. Luckily my wife Pat is a seriously fine canoe-er but I'm not sure about our two dogs...

I just have to keep this in mind...

There is no such thing as a tippy canoe..only tippy paddlers 

And there is..
a right way.

And a...
wrong way.

So I'll just have to take it one paddle stroke at a time and make sure my fly rod is securely know, just in case.
Wives and dogs are on their own...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Different View Of Belfast..East Side, West Side

I was out and about in my hometown of Belfast yesterday, doing my rainy day Tuesday chores, when I started to reflect upon how strongly Belfast has rebounded from the "crash" that began with the death of the chicken plucking industry, many years ago.
The two processing plants dominated the waterfront with their imposing , scattered architecture
and with their "gut pipes", spewing the unwanted refuse that was produced by processing millions of broilers.  Blood, guts, heads, legs and feathers boiled out of the submerged ends of the pipes coating the bay's shoreline and my dad's boat, a beautiful mahogany, Chris-Craft ski boat . The smell was terrible but the fishing for bluefish and stripers  was grand. The pipes provided a constant supply of chum that drew these fish into the harbor to feast. They were everywhere and were caught everywhere, from the side of fishing  boats, to the few floats that were around at that time and even off the old footbridge.
Stopping by our public landing where there once stood a large poured  concrete block of a  building that housed grain to be used in the feeding of the many chicken farms around the county, I was treated to our hardworking city crew installing floats for the upcoming boating season.
I started to marvel at the metamorphosis of our waterfront, particularly with the recent addition of  the new shipyard and decided to take a ride to the "other" side of the harbor..the "eastside" for a different view.
From this perspective, looking down the southside of the footbridge, you can see just a portion of the new shipyard that now sits on the former site of Stinson Canning Co. The green buildings were used as warehouses for Stinson but now are workshop areas for the shipyard. There is also a bony, skeletal appearance to the new building being constructed on site at the foot of the bridge.
Here is the remainder of our waterfront and how it looks on a cold and drab Tuesday afternoon.
And now that the floats are out, with the weather turning better, soon the harbor will be filled with boats, lobster pots will be set and the mackerel will start to run. But with the chum long gone, the blues and the stripers have deserted our fair shores.
For everything lost, there's something gained....