+The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society

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.

A small cosmic joke, I suppose, would be that after relating the tale of nearly kicking a lady wearing yoga pants and Ugg® boots at the grocery store (see link above) I looked out the window yesterday and saw a lady walking up the road wearing yoga pants and Muck® boots.

Regular readers of these pages know how averse we are to jokes (cosmic or otherwise) here at Fish in a Barrel Pond and will understand our desire to keep things serious while everyone else is yukking it up this April Fools’ Day.

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The cold this winter was not especially extreme but it was unrelenting and it settled in deep. The “January Thaw” took place one afternoon (the 19th, I think) and there was not a single minute in February above freezing. Well into March, the sap run took a ten day break and the few woodland creatures that have been seen look a little worse for the wear. Even the fish are showing signs of the cold; this beauty was caught by my friend Eugene and his pal Purly:

Fur-bearing Trout

Fur-bearing Trout

Taken on the last day of beaver season, they’re hoping the Game Warden will let them tag it as an “incidental, miscellaneous fur-bearer” because trout season is still a couple of weeks away. It may not help their case if someone points out that the Catholic Church declared the beaver a fish in the 17th Century.

(Using many of the same technologies developed for their Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods, Eugene and Purly have been hoping to announce the release of their new line of Vermont Hand Crafted Selfie Sticks. An unfortunate deluge of legal actions prevents us from even mentioning the product at this time.)

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One thing the members of The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society do not joke about is the general desire for a return to “The Good Old Days”. You know, back when no matter what fly you tied on, the fish were as long as your leg and just jumped in the boat as you passed by.

They talk a good game, those intrepid anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond, but this ain’t my first fish shoot and I insist on proof. Fortunately, at least one of them is honest enough to submit an actual photo taken back then, although he admits it was a slow day and most of the fish were small.

A Slow Day, and Most of the Fish were Small

A Slow Day, and Most of the Fish were Small

An exceptional day in a good season is one thing– we’ve all had one or two ourselves– but were those Good Old Days really more than a few epic afternoons here and there, the mist of time diffusing their glow and bathing even the slow days in their warmth? Every fishery hits a point where all anglers are satisfied as to size and quantity of fish caught but that point can be but an instant, related over time and passed down over cocktails (because no great story has ever begun with a salad) and burnished to the point where it becomes the standard to which all fishing tales are held.

And, by Jove, if the biggest fish a guy ever caught here took a hot pink #4 Zonker, he won’t care who says it was foul-hooked and a hot pink #4 Zonker will always be his go-to fly. You’ll see, it’s going to pay off again one of these days.

My mind can be changed and, just as I can be dissuaded from kicking women wearing yoga pants (them, not me), I can be convinced that the Good Old Days lasted a lot longer than I thought. As it turns out,  guys really were hauling out big fish way back when, as shown by this actual photo from 1912, before the days of digital manipulation:

Back in the Good Old Days

Back in the Good Old Days

It can feel like we’re the butt of a joke, flailing away the way we do sometimes in pursuit of trout, and it doesn’t help to see actual photographic proof of the way things used to be, before whatever happened happened. But we can fix it, us humans, because we are smart and powerful and can do no wrong. Some day soon ,we will all hook fish on every cast, no matter the conditions or choice of fly, and the fish will thank us for it.

In the meantime,

This Way to the Six and a Half Foot Man Eating Salmon

Happy April, fools!

 

 

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

Here We Go Again

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 20, 2014

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 20, 2014

An entire winter’s worth of snow slowly condensed into a thick layer of ice, sitting on lake ice that formed in December. With less than a week before Opening Day, there was nothing to be done about the ice but hope it would go out in time. Meanwhile, there were camps to prepare, repair, and otherwise make ready for the upcoming season.

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April  21, 2014

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 21, 2014

Woodland creatures were evicted, floors were swept, and beds were made, as if there were no ice at all (other than in the usual low spots in water lines) and, while anxious anglers left messages asking about the lake, cussing and banging gave way to sighs of relief at the sound of trickling faucets. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Flashback Friday: Phoning It In

Some people think the most important day of the year for the anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond is Opening Day, in late April, as long as the ice is out.

Those people are wrong.

Seasoned members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society know the most important day of the year is the second Saturday of February, the day they can start making reservations for the upcoming season.

It's Easy to Call Ahead!

Call by number! It’s twice as fast!

Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

From the Editor: A Clarification

Quill Gordon’s recent post “I Hear the Fishing’s Been Pretty Good” included a photo of a less than clean bathroom floor, which he believed to have been peed upon. Several individuals (none of whom were suspected to be the pee-ers in question) have suggested that this may not have been the case. In the interest of fairness we have given their theory careful consideration and feel obligated to admit that perhaps someone did not actually pee directly on the floor.

We agree it is entirely possible that a group of men, over the course of several days, merely splashed or dribbled on the floor. Then, maybe, they stepped in those splashes and dribbles and the dirt from their shoes mixed with those dribbles to form “a little mud” which someone forgot to clean up by throwing down a towel and swishing it around with their foot. It has been further suggested that “Quill Gordon should lighten up and stop sounding like my wife.”

Accepting the theory of splashes and dribbles, we regret the implication that the floor had been directly peed upon.

~The Editor

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Hear the Fishing’s Been Pretty Good

Winter’s stark grays softened beneath a gauzy green veil as spring returned to the slopes of Nonesuch Mountain. A last toast to winter drained the dregs of that bitter keg so I took up the cup of spring with a nod to the transition of season, acknowledging an important milestone along our planet’s annual journey around the sun. I lifted the vernal chalice to my lips as for a kiss, and imbibed the essence of the season with intemperate relish as spring flowed like syrup, at its own leisurely pace.

Another cup appeared, brimming with the prospect of the return of anglers to Fish in a Barrel Pond, top shelf stuff, and you know I simply couldn’t resist. But I took a wide stance and held onto my hat as I quaffed because, Dear Readers, drinking from that vessel is like drinking from a damn fire hose.

ice monday

Monday, April 22

Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Loons, nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Meltdown

So there I was, ready to wax rhapsodic as spring returned, but winter threw a hissy fit.

April2

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Maple Syrup, nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Flashback Friday Rides Again! Russian Tiger Catchers, A Story Not About Fishing, and Then I Get to the Point!

It’s easy to get distracted while thumbing through my old magazines, looking for something in particular. Mixed in with the mundane and everyday aspects of the outdoor life are exciting stories filled with danger and daring, told by those who survived them, offering a glimpse of rugged days gone by. Like these 1950’s Russian tiger catchers, restraining a wild beast with not much more than stout wooden poles!

tiger catchers

Brought to bay by dogs, this tiger was destined for a zoo or a circus and had to be taken alive. One man has a line around a paw and, according to the article, the tiger was in a bag and headed for the truck within minutes. I hope these guys made good money, because I can’t imagine grabbing tigers for fun, although I guess you never know. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Bacon Grease and Rainbows

Seemingly endless months of partisan bickering, accusations and denials, half-truths, gossip, innuendo, and lies have finally come to an end. The mud that was slung has barely dried to dust, and some are already hatching schemes for the next time around. Some are angry, some are too stunned to speak, and others would like a chance to catch their breath and clear their head before tackling the hard work ahead. A few small voices have even been heard crying out for a time of healing.

That’s right, folks, another season at Fish in a Barrel Pond is in the past. (Surely you didn’t expect political commentary from Quill Gordon, did you?)

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A fly fishing magazine left behind in one of the camps this summer had a section titled “Fly Fishing Dream Jobs” or somesuch nonsense. Since I hear so often how dreamy my job must be, I flipped through the pages in search of myself. At first, I thought there must be some mistake but a second perusal convinced me there was no mistake about it. Nothing but a deliberate editorial decision could explain the absense of Fishing Camp Caretaker from that dream job list and for a while I was a tad more than miffed.

I like to imagine there is more than one Fishing Camp Caretaker in the world and I believe he, she, or they would have been miffed, too, but then I gave it some thought and not only understood the omission, but was also glad for it. I am sure my imaginary comrades would agree, it would just jerk our tears from their little ducts, against their will, to see the looks on the faces of some people who think it sounds like an easy gig, after they’ve done it a few days. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor, Rural Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Quill Gordon Wears Steel-Toed Drinking Shoes

The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society has 100 members and 1 employee, which in itself could explain my desire for an occasional snootful. Sometimes, though, it seems the issue is not as much that I partake of volatile spirits from time to time but rather the company in which I do so. Why, just the other day, someone asked me, “Gil, why the heck do you hang out with that bunch of drunken ruffians?”

My interrogator was Dr. Calvin Butz, and the drunken ruffians in question were my friends Milt, Wally and Stinky, whose combined age is 274.

“Because I like old-timers, I guess. Why do you ask, Calvin?”

“Call me Cal. I think they are rude, offensive, and downright dangerous, that’s why.”

“They’re not so bad, Calvin. Come on, they’re old, give ’em a break. Besides, Wally’s pretty upset.”

“That may be, but he doesn’t have to take it out on me! What’s he so upset about, anyway?”

“Well, for starters, some Nazi shot a tank out from under him once. Need more?” Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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