Fall Color and a Few Things That Fell

The foliage this fall was lovely enough that some of the locals commented on it and a few of my photos even came out. Impatient people may scroll down to the slide show of pretty pictures any time they wish, but there is some important documentation to get out of the way first.

With a long, rich angling history, the shallows of Fish in a Barrel Pond were certain to reveal treasures as the level was drawn down this summer and I made sure to document them as they appeared. I’m afraid there was no bonanza of dropped reels or rods that had been thrown in frustration like 9-irons; nothing of much worth turned up in the muck, but that doesn’t mean it’s without value.

When someone hands me a drink and asks what the heck has to be done in order to catch a fish around here, I raise my glass and tell them I’m pretty sure that this ain’t it. As I have mentioned before, the situation is a little more complicated when that person is in their underwear, but my answer remains the same. Unless, of course, that person is fishing at the time.

I’ve not seen it often, but it is absolutely possible for a person in their underwear, sipping Glenmorangie and waving a rod, to catch a fish. Apparently it is more common than previously thought, judging by a sampling of things found during the draw down.

Diluted, perhaps, but it did not spill!

Diluted, perhaps, but it did not spill!

That was not the only highball glass that surfaced, along with a couple of tumblers and the remains of a martini glass. You know, typical fly fishing gear.

What those tipplers were wearing at the time is anybody’s guess but at least one of them was evidently not wearing their underwear.

Tasteful Black

Tasteful Black

I’m not sure where they locked their hemostat, but it didn’t work.

You pinched your what?

You pinched your what?

And in broad daylight, no less!

And in broad daylight, no less!

Maybe the rods are in deeper water.


One afternoon in October, while the colors of the trees and angle of the light were breaking my heart, three cars with out of state plates skidded to a stop at the roadside. Twelve loud people and three yapping dogs scrambled onto the dam, I assumed to take in the view. After carefully positioning themselves, they turned away from the view and took pictures of themselves not looking at it. Then they sent each other the pictures and showed them to each other. Hunched over their phones, shielding the screens from the scarlet and golden glow all around, they sent the pictures to other people and headed back to the cars, giggling as the likes and the tweets came back.

They seemed to have enjoyed themselves but somehow I think they missed something. I don’t try to photograph foliage when it is at “peak” because I’ll miss seeing it and there really is no point in trying to capture it. I would fail to do it justice. I still watch it, though.

That said, here are some pictures from a few days that weren’t half bad:








Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Draining Season

Last seen on an early spring night, spinning down a muddy road, swigging from a jar of warm syrup, Quill Gordon did not bounce into a ditch, spill the syrup and contract a nasty case of distemper after being licked clean by raccoons. 

He did not pop an angler in the nose and wind up in rehab, nor did he find true enlightenment in a small cove on a June afternoon, skating caddis patterns one minute, disappearing in a sparkly poof the next.

If you think leading a normal, productive life makes it hard to keep up a blog, try it as the figment of someone’s imagination, always forced to crash trucks or achieve bliss against your will! Of course, none of those things actually happened so Quill Gordon is still here at Fish in a Barrel Pond, running around naked and peeing on stuff carefully putting the place to bed as one more season comes to an end — a season that was more unusual than seasons usually are around here, right from the start.

The universe did not get the memo asking that natural processes be synchronized with human calendars and the lake was still frozen when the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society arrived for Opening Weekend. There wasn’t even a sliver of open water at the spillway where they could pose for pictures, pretending to fish while wearing snowshoes.


Fish in a Barrel Pond, Opening Day, 2015

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Good Day to Make Syrup

(There have been many reasons I don’t do video, and this fiasco has added a few more to the list. Botched on G+, fouled up on Facebook, and an all-around pain, this video is hand-held and rudimentary, like me, with some free cheesy ambient music, also like me. I’ve come this far with it, I might as well post it here, too.)

April 11 was the kind of day we deserve around here after the winter we just went through. Waiting for the ice to go off Fish in a Barrel Pond, I spent it stoking the fire at Bobo’s and attempting some video. The result:

Categories: Maple Syrup, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

No Fooling, These are the Good Old Days

It may sound cruel to stand by and watch something die, but this is winter we’re talking about and there’s nothing you can do to help it along. The thing is — and this also applies to things other than winter — you don’t want to go poking at it or looking too close too soon. Under the influence of syrup, my last post did just that and winter delivered a reflexive kick to the cranium, knocking spring right out of my mind and causing me to put down the shears, deciding the beard can stay for while — at least until I get tired of it or burn it off feeding the arch at Bobo’s. One or the other; I can’t decide.

Winter and spring duke it out as they do every year and, as ugly as things get, they both end up just looking silly. Meanwhile, the rest of us wallow out through the mid-day slop and bounce home over frozen ruts at night, feeling like the punchline in some kind of big cosmic joke. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Emerges, Snarling

The curmudgeonly demeanor so essential to my charm nearly veered into the ditch of sociopathic behavior a few times this winter as the Shack Nasties made their annual bid for control. The Shack Nasties are terrible things, related to Cabin Fever but having nothing to do with the need to get outside. Cabin Fever is easily treated but the Shack Nasties are insidious and, once contracted, their cure consists mostly of endurance. Hundreds of blog posts and internet articles appeared this winter, with headlines like “Ten Quick Hacks to Beat the Winter Blahs” and I could almost relate, but my hacking was from working in the cold air and, on a good day, if I tried real hard, I could almost get myself worked up to “blah.”


When folks who are used to a lot of snow say, “That’s a lot of snow,” you know it’s a lot of snow.

Ya think?

Ya think?

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Categories: Maple Syrup, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Repeat as Necessary

Fish in a Barrel Pond, in Winter

Winter Scene (In Color), Fish in a Barrel Pond

This ain’t my first trip around the sun and we’re passing through a very familiar stretch of orbit right now. Shrouded in snow, littered with  snapped utility poles and downed trees, it is winter and we cope with the cold, brace against the wind and prepare for the occasional shredding of the network of power and communication lines that serve this neck of the woods. No one needs to be told to go home and hunker down until the storm is over, allowing plows, emergency workers and utility crews to do their jobs, and no one emerges from their shelter pissed off that they took cover from something short of Doomsday itself.

It is winter. Embrace it, endure it, or leave. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, nature, Rural Life, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Closing Up

Everyone is anxious in spring, wondering when the ice will be gone, but I don’t field many inquires as to the time of its first appearance. The ones I do are often followed by, “But isn’t that early? or, “But isn’t that late?” or some such other nonsense.

nov 18

Fish in a Barrel Pond, November 18

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Categories: nature, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

Every now and then I am struck by something that gives me pause, that makes me stop for a moment and think. It might be the serenity of a fine fall day, or it could be the top fifteen feet of a tree that was deader than it looked and folded back in exactly the opposite direction intended, but two weeks ago I was struck by the news that Larry and Ruth Daley had drowned in a pond, one apparently trying to save the other, while going about their duties as caretakers of a property in Peru, Vermont.

Both still working in their eighties, they were probably doing things they’d done for years, the same way they’d always done them, and no one will ever know for sure what happened. It was a few days before anyone knew anything happened at all.

The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond remains dedicated to those who somehow find a way to get away from it all, but most especially to those who take care of them when they get there — the caretakers, attendants, guides, outfitters, rangers, managers, support staff and others who not only make sure everyone has plenty of toilet paper and gets back home intact, but also do everything they can to be sure the places we love are still there when we come back.


Just About Wore Out

The skinny jeans of spring are now the fat pants of fall, held up by suspenders until I’m back to my winter weight, which doesn’t take nearly as long as it used to.

Another season has come and gone at Fish in a Barrel Pond, six full months of Life Among the Anglers, a fly fishing dream. They’re all back in what they call the “real world” but their presence is still felt, if only in stark contrast to their absence.


I Don’t Care if it Rains or Freezes …

Oak leaves skitter and crab across the dooryard, maple and birch molder in the woods, and now when it rains no one complains. The wind is not cursed and the sun and the clouds are not judged. The trout take their proper place in the overall scheme of things and Nature goes on, doing the things it does whether the anglers are here or not. So do I, but with a lot less wiping of whiskers and sweeping up toenails now that the camps are closed down. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Struck Dumb

Having spent countless hours watching others fly fish, I can say I’ve learned a thing or two from the anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond. More than the same old tips, tricks and “wisdom” that most of us have heard a hundred times before, a lot of what I pick up is subtle and nuanced, yet profound, and a few of these gems go so far as to challenge some of my most cherished and long-held fly fishing assumptions.

For example, in my previous post, “Halfway Through the Season,” I stood firm in my belief that when a man hands me a highball glass and asks me what the heck a guy has to do to catch fish around here, the proper response is to declare myself no expert but suggest that it probably doesn’t involve highball glasses.

My position wavered not, even when the situation was complicated by the fact that the man in question was also in his underwear, but my stance has since softened. Sooner or later, one is bound to see it all and, thanks to a kindly proctologist from the Cape, I now know that a man drinking Scotch in his underwear is just as likely as the next guy to catch a fish, as long as there’s a rod in his hand and he’s got a fly on the water.

The anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond are not the only things that leave me speechless. Here are this year’s Obligatory Vermont Fall Foliage Photos (click one to enlarge or view as a slide show):




Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Halfway Through the Season

I am willing to admit that, when a man uses “finger quotes” for the fifth time, explaining why the “rules” don’t apply to him, a quick left jab to the nose may not be the best response, even if it seems perfectly appropriate at the time.

I am also willing to admit that, when on the way to stupid, pain-in-the-ass, court-ordered anger management classes, taking it out by swerving into a group of young turkeys on the shoulder of Route 5 might come across as a tad offensive to some.

I will even concede that, when a real judge suggests a little “cooling off and drying out time,” a stay at Detox Mansion might not be such a bad idea, even if it might mean doing yard work with Liza Minnelli.

Each of those statements is true but none are applicable to this season at Fish in a Barrel Pond (so far). No one has been punched in the nose (yet) or been to court and ordered into behavior modification, no turkeys were harmed in the making up of this nonsense and, I assure you, Quill Gordon’s Steel-Toed Drinking Shoes remain laced, all the way to the top.

The ice went out and the loons returned. The large black and white aquatic birds came back, too. It’s been all anglers, all the time, following pretty much the same script as every year, except for the 18 hours I spent spiraling in the vortex of airport Hell that is United Airlines in Houston, or being struck by the thought that I, of all people, could arrive late, find my way through a throng of thousands from one terminal to another in Chicago, and catch a flight with just seconds to spare while a man from (name any city) can barely find his way around an old camp in Vermont measuring 20′ x 20′.

Six times in the last 12 weeks posts have been started and not finished, leaving three people wondering what might have happened to Quill Gordon. The truth involves discussing feelings and emotions and such so, when people ask, I just let them go on thinking I’ve been raking leaves with Liza.


Lucky, I guess.

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Categories: +Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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