Posts Tagged With: opening day

Spring Black-out

For a while there in April it felt like we were on the verge of May. Then, March-like conditions swept in and we were on the verge of tears. It doesn’t seem fair, having one’s chain yanked like that, but that’s the way it is around here.

“… You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March…”

~From “Two Tramps at Mud Time” by Robert Frost

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you just sort of black out in mid-April and, before you know it, it really is the middle of May and swallows are chasing down mayflies among snowflakes.

swallows

It’s really more of a brown out (there are lucid moments) but it rolls through every year as I brace myself excitedly prepare for another season serving the fine folks of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, their families and guests (see Flashback Friday: Opening Day). It is one thing to dread joyfully anticipate the return of the people who belong here but it is another thing altogether to deal with those who don’t (see Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler).

mayfly

Optimistic cynicism (Cynical optimism?) is one of the things that keeps the curmudgeonly demeanor so important to my charm from swerving into the ditch of psychopathy, I think, especially when I ask people why they have parked with their bumper against the post supporting my No Parking sign (the only such sign within a two mile radius). I still hold out hope that I will some day hear something other than, “I wasn’t sure where else to park.”

Thanks in part to a relatively mild winter, just one camp along the shores of Fish in a Barrel Pond was certified “Mouse Free” when we opened this year, but that was only because it had been taken over by a family of weasels. The camp next door was like a rodent refugee camp and the return of the anglers was a boon unto them, what with all the dog food and Doritos™ they brought along (see If You Think a Mouse in a Bag of Chips Makes Noise … and also Mouse Pie).

Winter is done, spring has sprung and another season is under way at Fish in a Barrel Pond. It’s a chore to get things up and running in the small window of time allowed, but it happens every year and it is a expletive deleted true and humbling honor to do it in service of fly fishers, the finest, most up-standing folks on earth (go ahead, ask them yourself).

The sunlit arch at Bobo’s has been cold for nearly a month, after boiling down something like 57,000 gallons of sap into just over 1,000 gallons of syrup. The picture at the top of this post is from the end of the final boil of the season, when nearly every container available had been pressed into service. Whether you pour it on pancakes or do like I do and drink it straight up, Bobo’s Mountain Sugar 2016 is ready to go! Visit bobosmountainsugar.com and order yourself a few gallons.

Shifting gears without stripping gears can be tricky (does anyone know how to work a clutch any more?) but around here the transition is eased by having friends with sheep, walks in the woods and pre-season excursions on the water.

A few images from those lucid moments among this year’s chaos of spring:

 

 

 

Categories: nature, Rural Life, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Big Game

Sandwiched neatly between the two biggest spectacles in American sports is an event that, while less well known, is just as competitive and, to its participants, as important as any contest yet devised by Man. For some, February is defined by the Super Bowl™, for others, it’s the Daytona 500™; for the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, their eyes in February are on Opening Day of Reservation Season™.

The injuries of which I’m aware have been minor and, so far as I know, no one has died, but the small stakes involved do not diminish the serious nature of the battle.

Will You Be There?

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

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.

ice

Fish in a Barrel Pond, Opening Day, 2015

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

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

Quill Gordon and the Nonesuch Mountain Howler

A strange sort of crazy settles in as winter comes to an end and spring begins. It is never a smooth transition, weatherwise or otherwise, and sometimes I think I’ve made it through the dark time without succumbing to a bad case of the Shack Nasties when it turns out I only repressed them.

The thaw came on early and strong this year, turning lake ice to slush and frozen dirt roads to pudding. The string of calm, sunny days felt like it would never end. Winter was done, or so I thought when, as I watched the ice disappear a month ago, a mosquito bit me hard, just below the right eyebrow. Being the first bite of the year, it promptly swelled to the size of a plum in celebration. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Rural Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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

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

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