Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tunk Lake Salmon

 When Matty McDiesel launched me a text about fishing for lake trout and salmon at Tunk Lake last weekend, I felt compelled to attend for several reasons.  First being that we haven't done much together lately and secondly, I simply needed to do something different than catch a cheap lobster or move more things into the new house.  Opportunity was knocking and I felt good about our chances for a fish.

So off I went to paw through my moved fishing gear to find my trolling rods, tackle, downrigger, and anything else that would be necessary for our three hour tour.  We planned on meeting at 6 a.m. at the public landing.

You may only keep one salmon but all landlocked salmon between 16 and 20 inches must be released alive at once.  As for lake trout, one may keep six fish with a minimum length limit of 14 inches, only 1 can exceed 23 inches in length.

As always, Matt and I were both there a touch early.  Within minutes, the boat was launched and we we cautiously motored out of the rocky minefield out to the deeper part of the lake.  Our plans centered on circling the deep hole which drops to over 200 feet below the surface. 

Lead core and downriggers set, I nailed my first fish early.  A landlocked salmon just under 16 inches was landed using a white Mooselook with red dots dropped down to about 25 feet with the downrigger.  Shortly thereafter, Matty scored a small lake trout and lost a beauty before we succumbed to the heat.  When we started it was a pleasant 55 degrees and the sun within hours made it almost 85 degrees.  Nevertheless, a great morning with a great buddy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A quick update, nothing more...

There is a purple ice fishing basket in Downeast Maine
The glut of the lobster season continues, first the lobstermen tie up to allow some lobsters to move and then many of the dealers can't move the large score of lobsters landed as a result of the extra long soak.  In a nutshell, I've caught a lot of lobsters and am currently selling them between $1.50 and $1.70 a pound plus the expected rebate (profit sharing) in December.  I'm busting my hump to pay off insurances, payments, and other things so that I can brace for the decreased revenues between my lobster fishing and my resignation from administrating an after school program.  Thank god I am 1) relatively debt free with my lobster boat paid for in 9 months and 2) almost have the house finished.  It will be interesting to see how our family fares on less income, but if there won't be any payments then I shouldn't have to come up with that money.  A lot of people are certainly feeling the pinch, including me but we are a gritty bunch Downeast and times will improve.

I hauled twice this week and may not be working again until Tuesday at a lower price, our cooperative is sitting on tens of thousands of pounds which may be moved Sunday.  Translation, things aren't moving and plenty more are just waiting in traps that are setting.  So what have I been doing?

We ordered a dumpster to gut two homes, installed final touches on the new house, and have been doing a variety of family things.  The most recent event was that I took my girls to get Lauren's new kayak and hit the camp at Indian Lake for some paddling, fishing, and swimming.  Here's some photos of the kayak and fishing.

So that's my world, busy but not on the ocean.  We'll see how things continue for the rest of the summer.  I'm supposed to be fishing landlocked salmon with Matt Diesel tomorrow, hopefully we'll nab a sunrise silver.

Do I smell a Trey Luckiesque project in the near future?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

You can't win if you don't play...

My wife's hometown celebrated the Fourth of July on the 4th unlike that of my hometown which opted to celebrate the weekend before.  This made things simple because we were able to venture to New Hampshire last weekend for a camping trip in the White Mountains and spend an entire day at Santa's Village.  Once we returned, we could still get our independence on in Lubec, Maine with my wife's family.  However, I secretly had one thing I didn't want to miss...

I'm a lucky person when it comes to raffles, drawings, and contests which don't cost a lot to enter but usually yield nice results.  For those who don't know me; I've won guns, paintings, moose permits (3), and a variety of other neat items.  This year I had my sights set on a kayak equipped with a paddle and life jacket offered by the area boy scout troop who has been raising money to go to a leadership camp. 

Right after we slammed down the Lion's Club chicken dinner, we shot across the road to try to become a winner.  My oldest and I filled out two $5 ticket groups, and dropped 12 total chances.  She put her name in while I filled in my group with my youngest daughter's name.  The drawing would be on Saturday just before the rubber duck race during the Children's Weekend as a way to finalize celebrating our country's birthday.

Yesterday, the beauties spent the day with their Nana while my wife and I took an ATV venture to Grand Lake Stream and back which totaled 135 miles.  We opted after our return to East Machias to put Nana in charge of her babies in Lubec until the next day.  Once we walked through the door and I hit the answering machine, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Lauren had her name drawn.  When she phoned me this morning,  I proudly relayed the fortunate news of her good luck.

My favorite part of this entire deal is that just before we dropped off the girls, Lauren reminded me that the drawing would be during Kid's Day and that she hoped she'd win.

Well beauty, you've got an Old Town Dimension Rush and I look forward to the years of paddling some of the best water our country has to offer in Washington County, Maine.

That's how we roll, you can't win if you don't play!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A most special and amazing man... tribute three years ago...


A most talented musician primarily jazz music

Three years ago today on the 4th of July our family lost a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and friend.  This post was written for the man I dearly loved and it's easy to say that the words still ring true today. 

The Downeast Duck Hunter Blog is all about friends, family, and a passion for duck hunting, and this post is no different. However, it isn't loaded with a limit of ducks or a six pound smallmouth bass. Rather it is to acknowledge the life and passing of one of my most cherished and loved friends. On the Fourth of July, my father-in-law passed after a brilliant and tedious battle with cancer. Even though it hurts to see him go, I am appreciative that he may suffer no longer. His participation in my life gave me a better understanding of what it means to live life like it's your last day.

When I first met Donnie, I had only been dating my lovely wife for about three weeks and was fairly nervous because for the first time in my life I had met a girl that I could see myself marrying. I couldn't afford to drop the ball on this one. Needless to say, I walked out of his house with a smile.

There I was sitting on the couch in the den as her dad arrived from making errands. He wasn't a large man in comparison to me, but he carried himself with a proud honor that wouldn't be compromised. I stood up to shake his hand and while he looked up, he put his hand forward and offered me a beer with these words, "Can I offer you a cold one?". Not once in my life had I been introduced to any girl's father and felt ever so relieved. I told him if he didn't mind, I would love to have one.

We chatted about everything, actually it was more of him in a unique way of assessing me. He asked me of my career plans, passions, and family. From the beginning, I enjoyed his company. It would be with this meeting, that my wife went from a casual dating relationship to something more. He won my favor for his daughter, I could then see an opportunity to move forward with a great relationship.

Following this short visit, my wife smiled and informed me that she felt great about the visit. After all, she's an only child and I was after his most prized possession. Needless to say, I wasn't about to let this family get away from me.

Over time, Donnie and I built a relationship that many son-in-laws would wish they had. We combed the lakes of downeast Maine chasing trout, bass, and salmon by avenue of ice or water. His passion for fishing was unlike anything I had ever seen, for me it was something I did as something to do but he loved casting lines and setting ice traps. He explained the process of fishing and the time tested tactics to help land more fish. One of my favorite quotes from Donnie centered around the timing of brook trout in Maine, "Every evening in the spring walk out into the woods, until you come home pestered with black flies don't you dare cast a worm". Over time and trial, he was right. He saved me many failures and allowed for greater success just through his experience.

A proud grandfather on the ice
Click the above link to this experience

It would be of most importance for me to share that he became a best friend, one who I would ask many questions and always get a level response. As my wife and I continued our courtship into engagement and marriage, her parents became my biggest supporters while I continued to build my career and business. Never was Donnie so proud when I launched my new lobster boat or when I attained my Master's degree, it seems that every achievement in life came with him patting my back and suggesting that I may want to go after something else. My staunchest ally and friend, Donnie became a father and I will never forget the gleam in his eye when I proudly displayed a wedding ring in front of him. The only criticism I got from him was "about time".

Several years ago, our family discovered that Donnie had cancer. Even with this tragic news, he took it in stride. It amazed me with his courage and attitude, but he had fought setbacks his entire life. This would be no different, either choose to live or accept the alternative and he wasn't about to lose out on the earliest years of his grandchildren. We as a family fought, he as a beacon of strength fought. Never have I seen such a small man fight like a giant, he was a David against Goliath. There were better days, and not so memorable ones. But he seized the better ones and made memories.

Eventually the man who know almost everything about anything whether it be boat building, welding, construction, iron working, mechanics, electricity, music, and anything else would have to submit. Terminal is just that, and even when one choses to live with cancer as opposed to die with cancer, time is limited. He passed peacefully with his family by his side.

The skiff he started for me

The final product

Donnie was essential to the development of my being, he played a large role in my life long process to be the best father, husband, and man I aspire to become. Life without you Papa isn't going to easy and I've got a lot of weight on my shoulders but I promise you that your girls will be okay. My life has been enriched because of you, for that I thank you and I'll find you on the dock when my time comes. God bless you and rest in peace best friend, until then I will continue to make our family stronger, safer, and secure.
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