Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Tech - Old Tech...What The Heck!

I guess (?) the time is right for me to make the take the move forward into the 21st century. 

One of my fishing strategies for the upcoming spring season is to do some exploring. To find some not often used water, perhaps off The Stud Mill Road in Hancock / Washington Counties or even north of Moosehead Lake. 

I dabbled in this a little last fall when in fact I did travel a portion of The Stud Mill armed only with my trusty Maine Gazetteer. But even though the lure of an unseen trout stream beckoned , I found myself not straying very far at all off the beaten path. You see I'm not real good at remembering the turns I make on logging roads and my fear of losing track of those turns and not being able to find my way out got the better of me. 

I have a basic understanding of using a compass, mainly on the foggy waters of Penobscot Bay, but no understanding of all using a GPS, except for the kind that is stuck to the inside of your car windshield. You know, the kind of GPS that talks to you in a reassuring and calm manner, counting down the distance to the next right or left turn. No, the kind of GPS that I'm going to try to learn is the handheld GPS with all it's squiggly lines, way points, flags, altitudes, contours, scrolling screens, buttons on all its sides and..bread crumb life line or, perhaps using a better term, my hope line. Like Hansel and Gretel I hope to be able to follow these electronic crumbs back to familiar ground.  In fact, I'm already well on my way to mastering it as I am now confident in my ability to turn it on and off.

As a back up of course I will be taking along some old compass. I guess if I can figure out in which direction The Atlantic Ocean lies, I can eventually reach it's rock bound shoreline rather than that of Lake Ontario.

I have a few months to get this new technology (at least to me) locked , or maybe semi-latched, into my command and control center. I have a feeling I'm going to need those months.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hemingway On Fishing and Brother Mike

"He was strong and heavy in Nick's hands and he had a pleasant smell and Nick saw how dark his back was and how brilliant his spots were colored and how bright the edges of his fins were. They were white on the edge with a black line behind and then there was the lovely golden sunset color of his belly."
...Written by Ernest Hemingway in "The Last Good Country", excerpted.

My mind wanders almost every day to the thoughts of my fishing days from the past and those of my fishing days in the future. And on this day of the 27th of December, during the beginning of a real coastal snowstorm, with the snow starting to line the branches of the fir tree just outside my window, those future days seem to be getting further and further away .

However my wife's brother Mike rescued me from my winter doldrums by gifting me this marvelous book for Christmas ,

"Hemingway On Fishing"
Edited by Nick Lyons and with a forward  by Jack Hemingway
Published by Scribner

As I work as an Ed Tech in the library of Mt. View High School, I recently discovered that my certification was very shortly about to expire. Searching frantically for the 3 credits needed to keep my job, I found an introductory course to literature. I'm QUITE positive that I would NOT have chosen this course if I had been on the ball and been searching for credits a year ago. And one of my WORST fears came true, Shakespeare was on the's been 40 plus years since I've read anything by The Bard. However to my pleasant surprise Hemingway was also one of our assignments. And one of our Hemingway choices was

"Big Two-Hearted River",

which is Hemingway's compilations of recollections, in the character of Nick,  of fishing for trout from Northern Michigan to Europe. 

I gobbled down Parts 1&2 in no time flat and quickly started to search for more Hemingway in our stacks. Of course much of Hemingway's writing has nothing to do with fishing but much of it does and this was what I was fishing for. 

And brother Mike came through for me and in a big way. 

Hemingway started fishing for trout early in life with bait and then with fly. Of course he is more known for his real love, fishing for big game tuna and marlin and the like. But trout fishing touches his writings frequently. And his love for it has touched me on this cold, snowy December morning.

Now, those early Spring, stream side days don't seem so far away at all. If you're like me and are day dreaming about an upcoming May evening, floating a dry fly on a moving current, this book will definitely help fill the winter's fly fishing void. 

Thank you brother Mike!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Puppy Christmas..Finale

When outside the house there arose such a noise,
Perhaps it was company with fun puppy toys?
And to their surprise when they looked out the door,
Were Dovey and Kylee from Christmas before. 

Our two pups from ago were now Santa's fine pets,
Bringing toys and good cheer to our pups, you can bet!

They soon got to work while both Ray and Zed slept..

And then into Santa's sleigh they both leapt.

But I heard them exclaim as they flew out of sight,
"A Puppy Christmas to all and to all a good-night!"

(Photos by Pat Webber)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Puppy Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a puppy was stirring, as quiet as a mouse.
Their dishes were placed in the kitchen with care,
In hopes that Kris Kringle soon would be there.

(Photo by Pat Webber)

Our boys were snuggled on one of their beds,
While visions of Milk Bones danced in their heads.
Their stockings were hanging, up close to their nose,
With lights to make sure that Santa would know.

(To be continued..)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Final Act…Deer Hunting With Dad

Back on the stone wall…

It was really getting quite dusky now, time was not on our side. And my toes were starting to protest the cold. Dad however was still on point, showing absolutely no indications of discomfort or lack of concentration. But his eyes were definitely showing the look of impatience when he would more and more frequently turn his gaze away from the tree line and down toward his more and more fidgety son.

By now it was just too dark to continue hunting.
“Time to go home son.”

After ejecting the round from the chamber and removing the clip from the .308, it was safe to climb down from the rock wall. 

On the way back to the pickup I feebly told Dad that I really enjoyed going hunting with him, although I had no idea if he felt the same way.  I was really fishing, fishing for a reply in kind but none came.
Great I’m thinking. He knows I’m not ready for prime time and it’ll be a long time before he lets me come along again...if ever.

Even though it was a relatively short walk from the field to the pickup, by the time we got into the cab it was really quite dark. I guess I hadn’t realized how quickly the light was fading back there on the wall.  Disregarding that small factor, I remember feeling a fair amount of guilt for my responsibility of spoiling the hunt. It just had to have been my fault that no deer had been taken on this cold November afternoon but I sure as heck wasn’t going to say anything about it. I was just going to sit quietly for the ride home in the warm cab of that  old F-100. It wasn’t long before I was surrounded, and hopefully shielded by, a cloud of Prince Albert smoke, billowing from Dad’s pipe. Maybe if I was lucky I could just melt away into the smoke like a bell buoy fading from sight in a fog bank.

After a few minutes of silence Dad decided to break the ice and asked if I was disappointed that we didn’t “get our deer”.  

Of course I was, but just accompanying him was one of my childhood dreams come true. I really didn’t know what to say, afraid of telling him the truth, afraid of saying the wrong thing and not ever going hunting with him again. But not waiting for my answer he simply said, “next time.”

And there was a next time and more after that. Some of those times Dad would bag a deer, sometimes not. But on one of those next times, even I would get one, my first. It’s one of "those"childhood memories, the ones that sear themselves into a young person's mind. And along with that memory branded into my brain is the crystal clear image of the grin on my ol’ man’s face.

Thanks Dad…..