Posts Tagged With: fish in a barrel pond

11 Best Holiday Gifts of the Year for Outdoorsy Types on Your List

(Before someone gets in a snit because they expected something else, I would like to point out that the year in the title of this post is 1958 and the images are from the issue of Sports Afield magazine published in December of that year. Also, I apologize to the anglers out there for the lack of fishing-related gift items but, I’m sure you’ll agree, these are gifts that everyone can use! ~QG)

Who among us hasn’t awakened feeling certain urges, knowing that the nearest bush/outhouse/privy is just too cold/far away/full of splinters and/or spiders to consider? Or that we’d feel better about ourselves if only we had a good old-fashioned status symbol to show off?

“You’ll have to go some to beat this gift!”

There is no indication as to just what kind of fur this pot to piss in is lined with but, of course, it’s real. Personally, it looks a little small, not much larger than a decent coffee mug, but what do you want for $3.95?

The same folks that brought us the $3.95 fur-lined chamber pot also offered up a tiny little outboard motor, just right for powering model boats or mixing drinks. At 1850 r.p.m. you can be sure your whiskey sour is well blended but keep your finger near that shut-off switch — whiskey sprayed in the eye burns like the dickens!

“Has shut-off switch…”

Enough of that silliness. Serious duck hunters required serious gear and if only there were a camouflage mask that didn’t cause game to flare as you scanned the skies. JVS Products of Council Bluffs, Iowa, had a two-dollar solution to that age-old problem, with their mask made of “tough, molded plastic” which had plenty of room to be worn over glasses and came in “variegated colors.” The grid-work, I assume, was either for ventilation to prevent condensation or for straining soup.

“100% effective…”

Of course, a majority of hunters surveyed indicated that they would rather receive a nice Browning shotgun than a cold plastic mask, though a man in a mask, carrying an automatic shotgun, would certainly receive a certain amount of attention in some quarters.

Automatic Pistols Starting at $29.95

To keep that new firearm in top condition, you could stuff someone’s stocking with a gun cleaning kit from Hoppe’s. You still can and, from the look on Santa’s face, you probably should.

Hoppe’s Famous Gun Cleaning Outfit

My favorite beard balm smells of patchouli, which for some reason seems to bother my more conservative friends. I also happen to like the smell of gun oil but some of my more progressive friends do not. When I mix a little Hoppe’s No. 9 with my patchouli, no one knows what to say.

Some folks are harder to match with a gift than others, especially those who yearn for the outdoors to the point they sit around in their undergarments and smoke pipes. Only quality craftsmanship can give us words like “RefrigiWear” but, by golly, they did it. If you ask me, though, these insulated undergarments look both heavy and bulky, not to mention sweaty. And quite possibly flammable, so watch that pipe, Bub.

It takes a certain kind of guy.

And for a lot of smoking pleasure while in your undergarments, why not get yourself a tin of Prince Albert, once the subject of many a crank call (“Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Better let him out!”) that somehow seemed funnier when I was a child. “Mild,” “fresh,” and “tasty” are no doubt relative terms used by ad men.

“Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”

Am I the only one with vague memories of bouncing pellets off the tile floor and knotty pine paneling of the rumpus room? Possibly, maybe, into a couch cushion but I don’t know anything about the window? Home shooting ranges have gone the way of lawn darts and Wacky Clackers, another indication of how times certainly have changed.

Gun Fun for Everyone

Handy for both hiding pellet wounds and those times one just doesn’t feel like putting on a shirt, nothing beats the feel of a wool dickey against bare skin. If that’s not itchy enough for you, wear it under a wool shirt. Men, women, and children all choose from the same one size but colors include “dead grass” and “grey.”

Nelson Turtle-Neck Dickey

Some folks might desire a less rashy and restricting way to conceal wounds and wattles. Preferably in silk, a nice ascot is always classy, especially as gift-giving attire if you’re Jack Benny and giving your friends cartons of cigarettes. (What is that thing he’s holding?)

With the festive holiday cartons, he saved a ton on gift wrapping!

Perhaps you think it would be nice to deliver all these gifts yourself but are afraid of getting lost on the way. That may not seem like such a problem in this modern age, with cellular technology and GPS built into everything, but batteries can run low and cell phone coverage can be spotty, putting intrepid wannabe Santas at risk. Why not grab yourself a hard copy of all that data (called a “map”) and navigate your way with this handy device, once used by operators of planes, boats and automobiles the world over? Always working, and easy to read in any language, a “compass” did the trick for millions of people for hundreds of years. In 5 colors, with “modern” styling.

Pre-GPS Technology

Christmas gift giving just isn’t the same these days but one thing remains constant and that is the wish from all of us at Fish in a Barrel Pond that all our readers be comfortable, safe and warm this holiday season and every other day of the year.

Merry Christmas, wubbas. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em!

 

 

Categories: Humor, Product and Gear Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

To Hell with Fishing

“When a fisherman gets to the stream he looks it over and decides where he would go if he were a fish. Then he takes out his worm can or fly box and decides which worm or fly he would prefer if he were a fish.

Then he drifts his worm or casts his fly into the spot he has decided on. If he catches a fish he is very proud, because he knows he thinks like a fish. And naturally, fishermen who think like fish catch more trout than fishermen who think like armadillos or duck-billed platypuses or mongooses.

Of course, the reason a fish thinks the way he does is that his brain is very tiny in relation to his body. So the tinier the fisherman’s brain the easier it is for him to think like a fish, and catch trout right and left.”

~ Ed Zern

Many an angler has one or more shelves full of, or tables leveled with, books containing some of the finest outdoor sporting writing ever produced — theĀ  literature of fishing. Names like Haig-Brown and Halford, Maclean and McGuane, Skues, Ford, Walton and a hundred more fill the pages of collections and compendiums, readers for fireside and bedside, as well as books pocket-sized and absolutely gigantic. Some writers are represented with snippets or single pieces, while others justify entire books of their own. Writers like John Gierach, for example, who I appreciate for several reasons, including the fact that Still Life with Brook Trout has done more for me to keep things from sliding off this table than any other fishing book in my collection. Continue reading

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Fishing Indoors with Cocktails

There are those among us who believe they are not properly admired when they catch a fish, nor are they showered with proper adulation. No crowd goes wild and no drums are beaten when they bring a fish to net.

Nimrods who release their catch might get a photo or two, nearly identical to the thousands of others floating by on social media, and can spend the rest of the weekend hounding their friends for “likes” and their friends can spend the rest of the weekend avoiding them.

Under some circumstances, fish may be kept and consumed. One of the most iconic images associated with fly fishing is that of fresh fish, fried over a streamside fire. Brookies for breakfast beneath pines dripping dew.

Sometimes, where it is allowed, larger fish are brought back to camp and laid out on a table for all to see before being prepared in such a way that they become unrecognizeable. Pieces of skin adhering to the hard crust of burned corn meal stuck to a cast iron pan are sometimes the only clues remaining as to why the pan was in the trash. Continue reading

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cremation of MMXVIII

We’ve used fire in the past, as a symbolic cleansing of the year gone by, and also as a welcome to the year ahead. A good fire also provides entertainment, along with the possibility of excitement.

MMX. Don’t worry, the excited-looking man in the foreground had no hair to begin with!

Continue reading

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1000 Words + 1 Picture

Startled awake by who knows what, Quill Gordon came-to face-down at his fly-tying bench. Slowly, he realized the wail he heard was not banshees at the door, just cold wind in the chimney. In the thin, feeble light of dawn, on the first day of the new year, he saw in his hand a Mason jar, the one in which he stored head cement thinner, now empty. Belching, he came to grips with the fact that, apparently, he had consumed the entire contents, no doubt in some sort of shack nasty-induced rage.

Shaking off a shaggy coating of cobwebs and dust, he sat up. Clipped deer hair covered the floor like whiskers in a sink. Afraid it might not actually be deer hair, and fearing the influence of such volatile fluids as blackberry flavored head cement thinner, he felt with his hands for his beard. It was festooned with hackle feathers but, much to his relief, largely intact, though noticeably grayer and longer than he remembered, as if an entire decade had passed. Continue reading

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Even More Macro Mayflies and Musical Mayhem (But Is It Art?)

Some say a well-cast fly line is art. The graceful flex of a rod and a tight loop unfurling is exquisite unless, of course, someone is using their “art” to poach your hole while you’re still fishing it; then those 80-ft casts are something else entirely.

Some say a well-tied fly is art. There is certainly skill involved, getting everything just-so but, from personal experience, I say the fish don’t give a fig about thread wraps or the number of tails an imitation has. There is also the question of “imitation of what?” but even so, you have to hand it to folks who can wrap some feathers, tinsel, and what-not onto a hook and create a marvelous thing of beauty.

I, myself, tend to rely on rough deer hair, bunched-up dubbing, and tufts of AntronĀ® to achieve my results, choosing representation and function over beauty. Some people go the other way, creating as close to an exact copy of a food item as they can produce. Still, even the fussiest among them probably leave out little details in their replicas.

Details like the moustaches of mayflies.

Mayfly with a Moustache

They are actually antennae but their position, in front of those compound eyes and above that (non-functioning) mouth, makes them look like a moustache to me.

Another Mayfly with a Moustache

As adults, mayflies don’t generally live more than a day. There are some exceptions (not by much) but, by golly, you’ve got to admit that they spend the time they have looking good. There might just be some art in that.

Not Around for Long, but Looking Good While I’m Here

There might even be some art in these photos but who am I to say? They do, however bring art to mind, especially when I realize what those mayfly moustaches resemble.

Salvador Dali

Say what you will about his paintings, that moustache is art.

A surrealist in life, in death Salvador Dali has become the subject of a nearly surreal court battle in Spain, with Madrid’s Supreme Court recently ordering his remains to be exhumed in order to settle the paternity claims of a woman born 61 years ago.

Unlike Salvador Dali’s tightly waxed lip hair or the antennae of mayflies, my own archaically spelled moustache is bushy and a bit droopy but, in my own special way, I consider it art.

Not everyone agrees what is and what isn’t art. Some people think The Who were artists. Others believe Johnny Cash to be an artist unsurpassed. Heck, some people even find clowns and clowning to be high art, although I think we can all agree that paintings of clowns are, to say the least, a little creepy.

If only there were a way to combine The Who, Johnny Cash, and a clown. Now, that would be art, even if it didn’t include moustaches. Fortunately, just such a thing has occurred, thanks to Big Mike Geier and Puddles Pity Party:

Again, you’re welcome.

Categories: Humor, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Neatly Trimmed and Ready for Inspection

Don’t worry — it’s been a very long time since Quill Gordon was neatly trimmed so this post is not about that. This post is about cutting the vegetation on an old earthen dam, something that must be done at least twice a year to inspect the embankment for animal burrows or changes that might go un-noticed if hidden beneath vigorously growing grass and pretty flowers.

There is always an outcry from certain quarters when the wildflowers get cut but the rule is that the person operating the machine gets to decide what stays and what goes. I’ve even offered to help get them geared-up but, so far, not a single 80 year old woman in a floppy hat has taken me up on it.

Before

For some, work is a spectator sport and some folks can watch it all day. I appreciate that not everyone has that much leisure time to spend watching someone else work so, with the aid of my trusty tripod, several hours of work has been compressed to less than two minutes for your enjoyment.

There are a some breaks in the action, though, for things other than refueling or getting a drink of water. The first one, early on, comes as a very nice man shares an important tip about using charcoal grills, having to do with the way Pyrex glass baking dishes can explode over such intense heat.

The second passes quickly and is not easy to catch from a distance so I’ll zoom in on a couple of frames and explain.

A Man with a Bag of Wet Clothes

As grandchildren will sometimes do, this man’s had “accidentally” gone swimming, fully clothed, and now he needed a dryer. Not the clothesline on the porch of his camp, a dryer.

Of course, I was happy to oblige.

Same Bag of Wet Clothes, Different Man

In other words, just another typical day at Fish in a Barrel Pond.

Now, take a little break from your work and watch someone else do theirs:

Yep, that darn Quill Gordon, fishing all the time.

After

 

 

Categories: Humor, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

More Macro Mayflies and Musical Mayhem

As if making the transition from aquatic nymph to airborne adult (imago) wasn’t enough, mayflies do so without passing through a pupal stage. Instead, they emerge from their nymphal shuck with fully formed wings as a subimago, somewhat drab and not yet sexually mature. After a short rest with nothing to eat, they shed their skin one more time, spread their clear wings and join others of their kind for the first and only sexual experience of their lives.

Long Arms for Grabbin’ the Ladies

Random handing-off of sperm packets is probably more like it and there’s no regretting one’s choice, for they all soon will be dead. Such is the life of a mayfly. Continue reading

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

Macro Mayflies and Musical Mayhem for Your Monday

People come to these pages for many reasons. Some actually subscribe and come on purpose but others simply stumble in as the result of tragic search engine accidents. Either way, many go away confused, some even leaving before they get to the good stuff.

Short-form posts are not our forte here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. A thousand words is never out of the question, meaning someone could spend four or five whole minutes reading these ramblings. We do our best to reward intrepid readers and most posts end with a treat, whether it finally be the punchline or an interesting photo or video.

No guarantees as to word count, since we’re just getting going, but the plan for this post includes multiple treats. We’ll let you decide for yourselves which are the treats and we’ll also drop the pretense of referring to myself in the third person.

An Unblinking Stare

The so-called “major” hatches of mayflies have begun for the season. Some are sporadic but others come off like clockwork, albeit a different clock than we puny humans watch. Intricate, delicate and very nearly absurd, they exchange the drab coloration and digestive tracts of their nymphal stages for the reproductive organs and gaudy apparel of adults. I find them in boats, on porch screens, clapboard walls, and in spider webs. When someone asks “What’s hatchin’?” I know, and not because I’m fishing all the time. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Objects May Be Smaller Than They Appear

There are those who believe places like this simply emerge from the mist at the beginning of each season, like some rustic Brigadoon.

Fish in a Barrel Pond

Those people have never chased a possum from beneath a bunk with a broom. As long as the lights are on, the toilets flush, there’s a fire in the stove and — most importantly — the ice is off the lake, they are free to believe in magic but, just between you and me, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Getting six old camps up and running by the last Saturday in April is one thing; keeping them running is another. Throw in a bunch of anglers at the height of black fly season and May becomes a bit of a blur, even if one’s left eye isn’t swollen shut by a fly bite in the lashes. They can be enough to make a guy want to thrash his arms over his head and go running into the woods screaming but, deep in my heart, I love them and I try to remain stoic. For the flies, I just try to remember the bug spray.

Emerging

Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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