The Brookies of Maine
September 2010 Jim and I were on the road headed to Patten Maine on a bear hunt and fishing adventure. Neither of us had ever been to Maine so we were looking forward to the trip.
We both grew up trout fishing in the mountains of Western North Carolina and we were excited to do some fishing since we don't have the opportunity to fish like we use to.
We were having the time of our lives bear hunting with Bill Finney, owner of Patten Hunting Lodge. His large pond called to us everyday as we headed to the treestand. We knew it was only a matter of time before we would be calling on our night crawler buddies that we had brought from North Carolina to jump into the pond and work their magic on the unsuspecting trout.
Jim harvest a great bear on Thursday evening and I was heading out on Friday for one more chance to harvest a bear. We were laying out our plans on where the best place on the pond would be to get after the brookies.
I saw plenty of bear but they all seemed to know how long I was able to see the sight pins on my Mathews Z-7 bow and would come in when I could not see the pins any longer.
Saturday morning dawned crisp and cool with the sun gleeming off the pond. So we rigged up our gear and headed to the pond to relax and reflect on our week in Maine.
Jim and I both decided to take two rods each to the pond and try a fly on one and night crawlers on the other. Jim had two of his old tried and true rods with him, one with an open faced reel. I had a light weight St. Croix fly rod and my old stand by Zebco 33.
We fished for a while with no luck but we did'nt really care it was great just sitting there relaxing and listening to the line being cranked in.
I had a bite on the Zebco and picked it up to see if I could land the trout. He managed to give me the slip but he did take full advantage of the night crawler. I was going to have to be quicker on the take up on these wiley swimmers. I headed back to Jim's location and my usually calm fishing buddy had a pole in his hand saying explicit nouns and verbs. As I got closer, I ask what the problem was and he just gave me "the look" and then looked down at his reel.
There is was, the prettiest little bird nest you ever saw on his open faced reel. He looked at me and said " I have never in my life bird nested an open faced reel, did you do something to it"? Now, let's see, he had the pole in his possession the entire time so how could I have done something to it? I will admit I can put the mojo on an open faced reel from 100 yards and it will bird nest as soon as I look at it, but no I had not even touched his pole. All I could say was, "no, I have not touched your pole, sorry".
I just walked on past to where I had left my night crawlers, picked them up and walked quickly back to where my gear was on the other side of the pond. I looked back and there he was, knife in one hand bird nest in the other using his expert skills to get his reel back in working order.
For those that know me, I hate an open faced reel with a passion. For most people they just flip the bail and all is right in the world. For me, I flip the bail and in less than two seconds I can make the entire reel look like an eagles nest! So for those of you who use them successfully, my hats off to you.
As I walked up to my gear I have to admit I was laughing on the inside at Jim's misfortune. He is a master fisherman. All I could think was how could he have never bird nested an open faced reel? Well, now he has and now he knows my frustration.
I baited my hook with another night crawler and gave it a cast. It no more than hit the water and I had a bite. As I set the hook, I gave a holler "fish on" and threw Jim a winning smile. He had just got his gear fixed and was ready to resume his morning of relaxing by the huge pond.
I reeled in my monster brookie and of couse as a true fisherman would, I gave commentary " man this fish is so big it's about to rip my shoulder out of socket", better call the Maine Fish and Wildlife, I believe I have the new state record on the end of my line, better call the taxidermist, this one is going on the wall, and the list went on.
Well it was a nice brookie, my first in Maine. Jim of course was delighted and come to see if I needed any help with the monster, but I could handle this one myself. You have to understand us, we are just as excited for each other as we are for ourselves when we harvest anything.
It all goes to the same freezer, the same wall and the same table, so it's always good.
The rest of the morning was uneventful as far as fishing goes, we had a few more bites but trout are worthy opponents and can be tricky to catch.
Jim and I can't wait for an adventure back to Maine next year on another black bear and fishing adventure. I wonder if he will bring his old rod with the open faced reel?
Ode to the Open Faced Reel
By: Lynne Frady
Open Faced Reel, with your great design
In the sun how you sparkle and shine
You sit on my rod awaiting your turn
To let loose your line the bass are concerned
As I begin my day with a cast and a flip
You're ready and willing, never a slip
I see him there at the break of the bank
I'm getting excited and start to shake
Oh great bass with your scales how they glisten
I drop in my bait then jerk it and listen
I wait for your bite this cast it won't happen
Reel it in flip it back, you know who's the Captain
A couple more times each cast so sublime
I see you still there with in reach of my line
One more cast, this one's a keeper
10 pounds at least, I hope he's a leaper
I draw back my rod to make the delivery
Something is wrong, what's this devilery!
I look in my hand a sight to behold
My open faced reel has seemed to explode
A bird nest I see in the palm of my hand
What was I thinking when I bought this brand
The big bass now laughing at this awful sight
The open faced reel has sealed my plight
I hate this thing why did I bring it
A true piece of junk I think I will sling it
Into the depths of this horrid lake
I hope it rots, for goodness sake
My Zebco spin cast sits home on the shelf
Why did I leave it, I'm cussing myself
It has never failed me in my time of need
Never a bird nest has it made
I guess I'll learn better one of these days
To bring good equipment and mend my ways
As the sun is setting on this waisted day
I've learned my lesson in so many ways
The big bass a memory my time here is through
I really hate fishing, yes sir I do!
Wait till next weekend I'll show them all
No fishing for me, I'll be at the MALL
What am I thinking, I must have gone mad
I hate to shop, call the Dr. this is bad
The Dr. he told me it will be ok
You need to relax, some time to play
He made a suggestion for true therapy
Take up fishing, it's the place to be
I have a rig I'll let you borrow
It has an opened face reel, take off tomorrow
As I sit in the office with his bill in my hand
I guess he was right, the water is grand
So here I am on the bow of the boat
Casting and flipping my bait afloat
This borrowed rig it works like a charm
I must have been crazy to think there was harm
I can't believe my eyes the big boy it back
One more cast, he'll be in the sack
The rod is drawn back a flip I will give it
No way! Not Again! &%#@$% Dab nab it!
This can't be happening this is really a joke
A brid nest in hand, let's give it a soak
To the bottom it goes of this cussed lake
Bass fishing is grief, this was a mistake
I know what I"ll do what was I thinking
I'll take of the sport of simple fly-fishing!
What could go wrong fly-fishing is easy
Everyone does it, that's what will please me
As I stand on the boat for the very last time
I crank the motor headed for the shore line
Fly-fishing, that's it, what I've needed all along
In the bend of a river with the birds singing a song
I just can't wait for the very first time
I draw back my rod and forward cast my line!
Captain Harry and Jim with a nice Halibut
Shooting for the Future
Eagle with a fish
Our Larson Adventure Boat
Jim and his English Lord or Mother in Law Fish
Team Frady Outdoor Adventures
Our two favorite people at camp. Terri's mom Marsha whos cooking was out of this world and Captain Harry with a rainbow in the back ground.
Lynne and a Yellow Eye
Emptying the Crab Pots
Jim with a Spiney Dog Fish
Can't get any fresher than this
Jim and a Cod
Larson Bay Fishing Adventure
Captain Harry and Jim Scoring a Halibut Double
Captain Harry and Lynne with a Halibut
Lynne's hermit crab and yes it's as big as her hand
Look what Lynne caught!
After Jim and I settled in Randy gave us information on how we could hunt on the island and that his Mother in Law, Marsha would be cooking for us during our stay. Marsha is an awesome cook, she is a native Aleute and her skills with seafood are out of this world.
Captain Harry told us that we could play it by ear for the next morning, there was suppose to be a very strong wind with wind chills in the teens the high was suppose to be around 30. Hey your in Alaska, what do you expect?
The first day of our adventure was very windy and cold, so no huntiing. Who knew that when the weather was this bad the fishing would be so great! So out on the boat for an awesome day with Captain Harry Burnette.
Larson Bay Alaska
Fresh Snow Crab Legs Delicious!
North to Alaska, were headed north the rush is on! Johnny Horton could not have said it any better. October found Jim and I on an adventure of a life time, yes, we were headed to Alaska for the first time. We have both dreamed about going for as long as we could remember. The unspoiled land of the midnight sun, the snow capped mountains, wild animals around every corner and fresh seafood.
We would be hunting and fishing on this trip a Cast and Blast special offered by Kodiak Charters owned by Randy and Terri Blondon who are both natives to Alaska. We would arrive in Anchorage and spend 4 days sight seeing and being tourist and then on to Larson Bay for 7 days of hunting black tail deer and fishing for whatever the ocean would offer us.
This was Jim's first plane ride and he got to spend plenty of time on the different types of planes it took to get us to our destination.
We were met at the Larson Bay airport by Randy and Captain Harry Burnette.