Posts Tagged With: fishing

Pictures from a Fishing Camp: Season’s End

It is my great honor and a privilege to be surrounded by the anglers and outdoors people of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, on call 24/7, for six months of the year. Many of them approach their time here with high standards and certain expectations but, unfortunately, some of them were disappointed with the foliage this fall.

“Quill, we’re disappointed with the foliage this fall,” they said, as if I had something to do with it.

Nature can’t do anything right, in some people’s eyes, and I just don’t know what to say to people like them when the universe lets them down like this. It seems to happen a lot so I figure they must be used to it by now. Many of them are often disappointed with the fishing, too.

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Flashback Friday: Snake in the Grass

(A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog post, complete with pictures, in which a rather lovely snake lost its life. I have a thing for reptiles with pretty patterns and I am a real early morning grouch so, of course, I left a sarcastic comment. I regret it now, not because I’ve changed my mind about killing snakes, but because the author of that post turns out to be a very nice woman with a wicked sense of humor who just happened to freak out and started swinging a shovel.

I understand now, having gone back to re-read that post several times, and I offer up this public apology to Mary, the owner of the blog OINKtales. The image of her protecting her brood, wildly swinging a shovel is kind of funny, but she lives not too far from Fish in a Barrel Pond and the last thing I need is for her to come after me. I’m sorry, Mary. Please don’t hit me with a shovel.)

To hear some people tell it, trout could not possibly survive without human intervention on their behalf. Unless something is done right now — according to these folks, anyway — Fish in a Barrel Pond will become a sterile, barren place, devoid of trout. Eagles, loons, osprey, mink, otters and who knows what else are bound to eat every fish in the pond, and not a day goes by that someone doesn’t suggest I “go out there and shoot them” before it’s too late.

Using a combination of questionable statistics, reckless extrapolation, hyperbole, smoke, and mirrors, they will make their case for the destruction of any potential threat to the trout that comes within half a mile of the place and I must, as politely as possible, remind them I will not go to jail for them and request that they immediately cease blowing smoke up my skirt. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday Double Haul: Who’s Your Daddy?

A tree fell last week (see “If a Tree Falls …”) and I showed that I can still stick a saw with the best of them. Ken G (from Waterdog Journal) wondered what it is about men that makes them continue an action, even when they can clearly see it’s not a good idea.

Mike (from Mike’s Gone Fishin’ … Again) could relate and expressed his love of power equipment.

Paul Cowell (from Paul’s Angling Journal) reminded me to keep plenty of gas in the saw, in case of zombies, and my post began take on a rather masculine air — at least until a comment appeared from a girl.

Girls who like chainsaws are okay by me, especially when they also fish and can write like Erin Block does on her blog Mysteries Internal. She has a way with words I … I … well, you know. After you’re done with this you really ought to go read her piece “The Dancing Cast“.

I am not surprised when I see a woman with a chainsaw but there was a time when such a thing was unheard of.

Homelite started marketing their saws to sportsmen, back in the days when clearing campsites and building log shelters were still acceptable practices. Even at only 19 pounds, I can’t imagine wanting to lug a chainsaw along on a camping trip, unless I was heading into zombie habitat, and I’m not so sure that anyone — man or woman — would actually look forward to running the thing.

That was more than half a century ago. Women didn’t run chainsaws. That was work for a man. An outdoors man. The kind of man girls really go for.

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Flashback Friday: The One That Got Away

My friend Owl Jones wrote a post the other day about fishing with barbed vs. non-barbed hooks. Actually, it wasn’t much of a vs. since the title was “Why you should fish with barbs”.

Personally, I pinch down the barbs on my flies because 98% of the trout I catch are released and the hook comes out much easier if there is no barb. The less time spent removing the hook, the better. A barbless hook is also much easier to remove from an ear lobe but we won’t get into that again. It was an accident and I said I was sorry, okay? Continue reading

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

Pictures from a Fishing Camp

Other than the obvious absence of anglers, yours truly in particular, what is wrong with this picture? A quiet, gray, drizzly day, emerging insects and rising trout going about their business as they always have and (hopefully) always will; nothing at all wrong with that.

The third weekend of the season is here and laughter spills from the camps at night, mingling with the calls of the loons cutting through the thick evening air. Mornings, brimming with promise and the golden light of dawn are quiet and it truly is possible to find solitude without loneliness.

Time alone on the water, contemplating the ways of belly buttons and trout, is precious but so is time with friends old and new. From far and away or from just down the road they gather and a rainy afternoon becomes occasion for a feast.

Spring has returned and if I pretend the blackflies don’t bother me as they swarm my eyes, crawl up my nose and chew my scalp along the hairline, it’s kind of nice around here.


A man recently approached me, saying he had bad news. When I asked what the bad news was he said, “Geese. But wait, it gets worse! They’ve got babies!”

He told me I’d better do something right quick before they got out of hand and ruined the place, like they had at the country club where he plays golf, and he didn’t seem too happy when I told him I didn’t think there were enough geese around to get all bent out of shape about. I assured him I would keep an eye on them and act accordingly, which I will, but it wasn’t that long ago I watched as one pair took turns on the nest through a three-day snow storm.


That snow seems a distant memory now but this pair of geese made it through and the babies that man was worried about have made their first trek from the swamp to the open lake. I will never understand how someone can go on and on about “getting away from it all” and then get upset when they see wildlife.

People like that man are fortunately few and far between. Most folks are just happy to be here, at a place where rising trout nip at the heels of emerging mayflies drifting like faeries into the dusky eve; a place where loons still sound their ancient call and the night sounds are frogs, not sirens; a place where one can feel a part of something larger than themselves, dwarfed beneath a massive, starry sky; a place where lessons are learned through stillness, absorbed instead of forced.

Such places are not necessarily so far away.


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

Flashback Whatever-the-heck-day-it-is Because I Just Don’t Know Any More

I took a road trip to Maine last spring and found this old calendar page in an antiques store near Sebago Lake.

It’s from a Currier & Ives lithograph and it shows that kids with sticks have been out-fishing men with rods for ages. Two guys in close quarters, fishing tandem flies, is a recipe for disaster even without the added pressure of being out-fished by some punk using a tree branch, and the bad day these guys are having is being made worse by the mangy cur gobbling down their catch. Hooked in the ear or in the ass, it is hard to not laugh at anglers such as these. Continue reading

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Flashback Friday: Opening Day!

Opening Day 1947

Opening Day 2011 dawned a tad bit cool and more than just a little breezy, and the members and guests of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society reacted accordingly. Some searched out sheltered spots to cast while others trolled streamers, slapping their way through the chop on the upwind leg of their circuit. By breakfast, most had touched enough trout to have no problem not going back out but a few anglers, suffering from the delusion that nothing matters but numbers, couldn’t be bothered to come in even for coffee.  Continue reading

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

Going, Going, Gone

The ice is gone and, suddenly, it is almost as if this past winter never happened.

April 27, 2011 10:30 a.m.

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, nature | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Opening Day is Three Days Away

Each year, the week before opening day, I take my list of things to be done around Fish in a Barrel Pond and make a little schedule. I carefully find a block of time for each of the 4,000 things to be done — an hour here for this job, two hours there for that, completing each task as quickly and efficiently as possible — and when I am done I feel like the most organized and disciplined man in the world.

I then take that schedule and tear it into tiny pieces before the gods of such things have a chance to laugh at my plans. They will find plenty to laugh at in the days ahead.

Fish in a Barrel Pond April 23, 2011

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Loons, nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Clock is Ticking …

It is hard to think about fishing right now, when this is the best spring has come up with so far:

On the other hand, it is hard not to, with Opening Day here at Fish in a Barrel Pond a mere three and a half weeks away. I don’t know how you prepare for Opening Day in your neck of the woods, but I’m willing to bet I prepare a little differently than you do.

Today, for example, I counted spatulas and ordered 90 rolls of toilet paper.

It’s almost time to start digging out the roads, just as I do every year but, when it comes to the ice on the lake, there’s not much I can do but have faith it will go away on its own, just as it does every year, sometimes with only hours to spare.

Oh, look! A crack!

In the weeks to come, readers of this blog can look forward to more exciting preparation rituals like distributing itchy wool blankets, hitting up the linen service for cold sheets and starchy pillow cases, along with the unveiling of the new brooms (complete with instructions!). Water will flow through pipes and down drains, septic system pumps will be tested (graphic photos!), worn gasketing on wood stoves will be replaced, chimneys will be cleaned and critters will be rousted from their winter homes. There will be setbacks and surprises along the way, I’m sure (there always are) but, come the last Saturday in April, the ice will be off and fish will be on as the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society hit the water for the start of the 2011 season at Fish in a Barrel Pond.

Some anglers count themselves fortunate to have one Opening Day excursion to prepare for; Quill Gordon gets to prepare for dozens at once.

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, nature | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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