Posts Tagged With: fishing

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: Fly Fishing Time

south bend

 

Weeks away? More like days. Opening Day at Fish in a Barrel Pond is next weekend, provided the ice goes off the pond and I can get the camps up and running again (See Quill Gordon and The Nonesuch Mountain Howler). Every day I find a string of messages from angst-filled anglers asking about the ice and if they will be able to fish in a week but I have yet to hear someone (other than my supervisor) ask if the faucets flow and toilets flush or if the woodland creatures have been evicted from beneath the beds. My head is sore from knocking on wood but every year the ice goes out and the camps open on time.

The ad above appeared in the April 1948 issue of Outdoorsman magazine. From the first trout to the last fightin’ bass, South Bend was there to make your sport complete. With split bamboo rods starting at $16 and nifty automatic reels for $10, an angler could still splurge on a nice double taper line and be fishing for $35! It is a virtual certainty that at some point in the season someone is going to show me a new rod that cost what I make in a month and tell me “you get what you pay for.” It’s also a good bet that same guy will be the one who asks who to speak to about the fishing around here.

Today’s dollar is a different animal than the dollar of 1948, and today’s anglers are different, too. Or are they?

masland

The weather on Opening Day can be as unpredictable as the fishing but C.H. Masland & Sons had every angle and angler covered in 1948. Their handy “opening day check list” consisted entirely of clothing items from their catalog, for all kinds of weather, including a nylon rain cape, knee-length for the same price as a South Bend reel.

One of the best things about C.H. Masland ads from the late 1940s was the cartoon at the top of each one. Illustrator Tom Rost (1909-2004) began his series of “Opening Day” hunting and fishing cartoons while at the Milwaukee Journal in the late 1930s, after a stint as an artist with the Civilian Conservation Corps (two of his watercolors were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt as a Christmas gift to FDR in 1937). He enjoyed a long association with Field & Stream and other wildlife magazines and had a very successful career as an illustrator and artist.

I just can’t imagine where he ever came up with the things he included in those Opening Day cartoons.

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1947

All of us at The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond wish everyone out there the most successful of Opening Days, no matter the weather or the cost of their rod. Of course, the definition of “successful” will vary from angler to angler; Quill Gordon will be happy if the toilets flush.

 

 

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fishing Fools

It certainly has been an unusual year, and it all started when my friend Eugene (see Careful with that Axe, Eugene) told me of a fish he had seen. Even allowing for his usual inflation percentages I had a hard time believing him when he described its immense size. Certain that between the two of us we could catch any fish that ever swam, I went along with his plan to hook this behemoth, hoping at least to prove the outrageous nature of his exaggeration.

Only one bait would do for a fish such as the one Eugene described and I knew it was best to gather such bait early, before the warmth of the sun made them active and more difficult to subdue. Starting at noon was certainly not to our advantage but it was good sport nonetheless and it wasn’t long before we had a good supply.

Gathering Bait

Gathering Bait

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Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flashback Friday: Size Matters

A better writer than I once wrote something about the measure of an angler being not how large a fish he or she can catch but how small a fish he or she can catch without being disappointed. I think it was John Gierach,¬†whose forthcoming book is titled, “All Fishermen are Liars.”

Another writer, better than anyone ever, is credited with something to do with never lying about the fishing where others know you but especially never lying about the fishing where others know the fish. That was Mark Twain, who was pretty sure all men, fishermen or not, are liars.

fish ruler

Overstatement, exaggeration and embellishment are vital components of our fishing heritage and culture. With a wink and a nod, we chuckle at what a bunch of good-natured rascals we are, telling all those stories like we do, as did our grandfathers and others who have gone before. Telling lies is a time-honored tradition of our sport and some of us find it no great insult to be called a pack of liars. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Flashback Friday: The Clark Fork in Montana, and a Magic Trick!

One thing often leads to another or, as is the case today, a couple of things led to other things, thanks to an article by Joe Brooks in the October, 1964, issue of Field & Stream magazine titled, “River With a Past…and a Future.”

The Clark Fork of the Columbia in Montana

The Clark Fork of the Columbia in Montana

The Clark Fork of the Columbia River in Montana was, as late as 1955, classified by the Montana Water Pollution Control Council as an “industrial river” and unfit for use by the public. The water was dead, poisoned by waste from the copper mines outside of Butte and the smelter at Anaconda. Driving along the river on U.S. Highway 10 every summer, Joe Brooks groaned at the sight of all that water that couldn’t support life as he made his way to fish above the Clark Fork in waters such as Rock Creek.

In 1964, word began to spread that fish were once again being caught as far upstream as Drummond, 50 miles closer to the source of the pollution than before (but still more than 50 miles away from it). ¬†Encouraged by a friend to give the Clark Fork a whirl one day, Joe and his wife, Mary, brought in a “total of eighteen fish with an average weight of three pounds, a score we’ve seldom matched anywhere.”

That evening, back in the comfort of Rock Creek Lodge, their experience was confirmed by De Yip Louie, a magician performing at the fair in Missoula, who had just had his picture taken for the Missoula paper with a 4-pound, 12-ounce, trout he’d caught that morning. Joe Brooks took his picture for Field & Stream with a 2-pound rainbow.

"Magician De Yip Louie pulled this 2-pound rainbow trout out of the Clark Fork and not out of his bag of tricks."

“Magician De Yip Louie pulled this 2-pound rainbow trout out of the Clark Fork and not out of his bag of tricks.”

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Categories: Flashback Fridays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 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!

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

Forgotten Fly Fishing Legend: Little Dickie Conroy

Richard Herkimer Conroy was not born with a fly rod in his hand (his mother would not allow it) but by the time he was four he could cast a line further than men ten times his age. Few anglers know his name, let alone his story, and only scattered traces remain of his meteoric rise and ignominious decline, but “Little Dickie” Conroy’s influence is still felt today. Mocked, jeered, and once nearly burned alive by those who took offense at his unconventional style, Little Dickie’s mastery of the fly line has yet to be equaled. From elite casters to green dilettantes, many have tried, but no one has ever thrown a line like the dapper young man from Kansas who once, in front of three thousand people, landed a fly on a poker chip from fifty yards away while turning a one-handed cartwheel.

little dickie age 5

“Little Dickie” Conroy, age 5, from the collection of Richard Haas Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Two and a Half Hours of Waiting for Four Minutes of Fishing

hex

Of all the “hatches” on Fish in a Barrel Pond, perhaps no other is anticipated by so many yet fished by so few as that of the “Hex”. Hexagenia mayflies are among the largest and most widespread in North America and in some places they emerge in such numbers that their mating swarms show up on weather radar. Gathering by the millions stacks the odds in their favor that another generation will carry on, even though they themselves are doomed to die within a day or so, but around here the numbers are nowhere near that and most that emerge before dark are doomed to die within a matter of seconds, snatched up by birds taking advantage of what to them is surely a boon. Still, enough escape the fish below and the birds above to mate and lay eggs to ensure at least a steady trickle of flies again next year when the time is just right.

100_6646

That time comes after the yellow drakes and the solstice, when the light for fishing doesn’t fade until nearly 10:00, but before the heat and summer conditions set in and catching a trout takes work. From shortly before dark through the wee hours, for at least a week, maybe two, the Hexes emerge and the trout feed with abandon, gorging on this suddenly plentiful food source. Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Stubbornly Waiting for Drakes

A photo of a dirty bathroom floor sucked most of the funny from a recent post. The resulting flapdoodle and folderol was probably to be expected but it is interesting to note that the indignation expressed at the condition of said floor was nearly matched by the indignation expressed at its having been pointed out. But here’s the thing: This blog is dedicated to everyone who gives in to the urge to get away from it all, but it is especially dedicated to the brave souls who take care of them when they arrive and, as anyone who has had a job that included cleaning restrooms can tell you, from posh resorts to the most modest of camps, floor-dribblers aren’t the half of it.

100_7134

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Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Loons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 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

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

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