Terry Drinkwine Outdoors!

Fly Fishing, Grouse Hunting and Fine Bird Dogs Spoken Here!

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

There Is Always Tomorrow!

4_4_ice_fishingHalf of the fun of going on a fishing weekend is in the planning. This time the talk, consisting of the usual brag and lies, took place at the American Legion – there is no sense of planning a fishing weekend without two-fingers of bourbon or two.

It had been a long unusually hard winter for both and they were anxious to get their feet wet (pun intended). They had been on the ice, staring into a 10 inch hole several times, but it just wasn’t as much fun as it used to be …mostly because they were getting up in years and, whether they admit it or not, it just plain hurt to get stiff.

The plan centered on going to the Jordan. The Jordan had been their home river for years and over the past year changes had occurred that changed the character of the river. First: a large tree came down and swept the river causing a sand fill to take shape. Vegetation was choked out and the bottom was like a sandbar. Second: a bridge was constructed, removing two culverts that created a swift flow from one side to the other of the culverts. A large hole was carved out by the swift current that was a staging area for steelhead as they made their way upstream. All that was changed by the bridge that now spanned the river without the culverts. Thus, filling in the hole because the current was no longer a force.

This area had been named Rainbow Bend by the two because on a good day, rainbow, brook and brown trout could be taken there. Now, they weren’t so sure. This stretch of river became an unknown and they were anxious to explore and learn how to fish the change.

It is a stretch of the Jordan that was open to year-around fishing and, weather permitting, they would wade it before the opener. Fishing it early would be a good idea since when the bridge was put in, there was also a parking lot and canoe access added.

The talk quickly turned to tackle, flies to be precise. They both preferred dry flies, but knew it would be difficult to get a fish to rise unless a hatch was coming off and that required a warmer temperature which usually occurred in late afternoon this time of year and waiting until late afternoon wasn’t going to cut it. Alternatives were discussed; streamers, nymphs and wet flies came into the conversation.

Finally, it was over. They had said all there needed saying and the next stop was the local tackle shop to replace old leaders and tippet material. Then it was time to pack and get ready for the four hour ride to the cabin.

That night a front moved in and four inches of snow covered the car the next morning. A quick check of the weather for the Jordan and another trip to the American Legion was necessary to come to a decision of whether or not to make the trip.

It’s been several hours since they met at the Legion and still no decision. Their wives called, telling them dinner was on.

Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek


DSC_0002Seamus likes toast. There is no such thing as eating a whole piece of toast when Seamus is around; he looks so pitiful your conscience won’t let you do it without sharing.

Toast is one of his favorite foods; it doesn’t matter if it has a jam or butter on it, plain “toast” is good enough … and his favorite is the piece from my hand. I suppose if I were to put a hamburger in his bowl and a piece of toast, the hamburger would be gone first, but the toast wouldn’t last long.

I’m constantly getting scolded from “She Who Must Be Obeyed” that it’s my fault that Seamus begs. Truth be admitted to, Seamus gets almost as much from her hand as he does from mine, she’s just a little more subtle about it. Seamus knows where to go for a handout.

Toast is a staple …no, a necessity, in any fish or grouse camp. It must have originated when someone burnt bread around a cook fire. Then adding a little butter and something sweet, like jam or honey …wow, ”let’s do that again.”

Most of us take toast for granted, that is, until you eat it in a mess hall with several hundred other people, all having gone through a “chow line” in about ten minutes with less time than that to eat it. Of course the toast is just a part of the creation the Army calls SOS, (If you don’t know or remember what SOS stands for, ask you dad or granddad) or, chipped beef on toast will do.

An entire industry sprang up around toast. A few months ago, SWMBO, decided our old toaster wasn’t performing to her standards. So, having learned over 48 years of training not to ignore a hint, I started looking for toasters on line – it doesn’t pay to put things off too long once SWMBO starts talking about “needing” something replaced.

Finally, after hours of internet searching and in store comparing, there is a new toaster on our kitchen counter. And after a not too short tutorial, I can do the same thing I could do with the old one.

As for Seamus, he still thinks toast comes from my hand.



Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Careful Who You Tell

I think I need a new pair of waders.

I guess “need” isn’t the right word – after all, I have two pair I rotate between. Both pair are stocking foot and one is the latest material with weld technique to replace stitching to eliminate leaks….like the only way I get wet is if the seams leak.

The problem is, the older I get the lazier I get and putting on stocking foot waders takes time and requires a lot of bending. Boot foot waders, on the other hand, are like putting on you pants in the morning: you just put one foot in followed by the other and slip the suspenders over your shoulder. You give up ankle support with boot food waders, but if you’re not fishing the Madison or even the Ocqueoc, boot foot waders should be fine. All I know is, they’ll get me into the river sooner and are quicker to get out of.

“She Who Must Be Obeyed” keeps asking me if I have anything to put in a garage sale she’s determined to have this spring. If I make getting a new pair of waders a discussion point, I’ll have to have Seamus guard the other two pair….on second thought, that won’t work. She bribes him with treats.

It must be a genetic thing that women have about selling things they think we don’t need anymore. Just because we don’t use all our “stuff” on a regular basis, doesn’t mean we can do without it. Who knows when that little 3wt will come in handy? Just because I use my 5wt most of the time, doesn’t’ mean I won’t need it if I get the chance to fish a small creek. Or the extra vest; the time it saves to have a vest decked out for steelhead and salmon ready to go instead of changing my trout vest over, is immeasurable.

If I give in to this notion of getting rid of things that aren’t used on a regular basis, what’s next? Flies?

No, I better play it cool and not mention needing another pair of waders. The problem now is, I’ve talked it over with Seamus and I’m getting vibes from him that I better come up with more treats.



Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek


It has been pointed out to me by “She Who Must Be Obeyed” that my shortcuts, designed to get us from one place to another quicker, usually cost us money. Hmm, gotta think about that.

I think it isn’t the shortcut that causes the cost, it’s the distraction it can create that derails the straight line concept of “getting there.” Take Seamus: when we’re out hunting or just scouting, there are instances when he gets distracted. Following a scent, suddenly, he can stop and change directions because he saw or smelled something that got his attention; and being a Britt, he has to check it out. It’s ok by me when that happens, you never know when a single can turn into a double.

“She Who Must Be Obeyed” isn’t without distractions either, though it isn’t going to be admitted too easily; It’s hard to pass a craft-shop or new winery. A trip to Petoskey last summer took so many turns I thought is was heading to a new spot on a river down a two-track. But we stopped and, yup, it was costly.

I think her complaint with my shortcuts is they can put new meaning to costly. Take construction on I-75 between Bay City and Standish a couple of years ago. The shortcut was getting off on Wilder Road and taking 13 to Standish where 13 turns into 23 and gets you back onto N/B I-75. Well, as luck would have it the shortcut took me passed Frank’s Great Outdoors in Linwood; for those who have never stopped at Frank’s, let me tell you, it’s worth the shortcut.

Frank’s Great Outdoors is a smaller Cabela’s and Jay’s that started out as a bait shop in the 50’s I think and is now a gem in the Saginaw Bay watershed area. it has most anything you’d want to fish or hunt, mostly dedicated to the Bay. So, when I-75 was under construction, taking the Wilder exit and taking 13 north  was the thing to do and stopping at Frank’s seemed natural. And just because.a new Winchester model 70 and a 10 in ice auger were the results of two stops, I get raised eyebrows every time I take that route just for a change of scenery.

Admittedly, I didn’t need either, but the walnut stock on the 30-06 was too much to pass up. And, well, the 10 inch ice auger makes a bigger hole for the big walleye I anticipate getting in front of the cabin. Both items a necessity, I’m sure you agree.



Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

If you’ve read the book, you’re an expert!

Someone recently told me, “Don’t ever tell someone there’s nothing you can do for them; you can always do something.”

I suppose that’s a true statement ….if you’re a priest; someone whose job it is get into your pocket by selling you something; or someone so far removed from reality that their ego has them believing they can be all things to all people. The rub, of course, is, the proof is in the showing.

I recall a man – he seemed like a fairly intelligent fellow – who walked into a fly shop wanting the latest and greatest “stuff” so he could catch a trout on a fly …and he said he’s willing to put himself in the hands of the salesman. Well, the salesman, who thought of himself as knowing all there was to know about fly fishing, was delighted to be of assistance. So after selling the man the latest rod, reel and line on the market, a dozen each of a dozen patterns, the latest innovations in fly boxes, new tippet material, a vest to hold it all, and an app so he could instantly check if he was doing it right, the man spent $1500, thanked the salesman and walked out with his “stuff.”

Sometime later, the man came back to the shop and complained to the salesman that despite his latest and greatest “stuff,” he hadn’t caught anymore or any bigger fish than he did with his old outfit. In fact, he became so upset with the app, he threw his phone into the river in frustration.

The salesman listened to the man’s story, sympathized and told him he needed a see-thru waterproof case for his new phone that had a clip so he could hang it from his vest. And, just to cover all bases, he should probably take another dozen each of another dozen patterns …and asked if he needed a bigger fly box to put them in.

Before the man left, he asked the salesman if he fly fished, where he fished, and did he enjoy it? The salesman said, “No, I don’t fish at all, I like to bowl. But I read a book and can tell you anything you want to know.”


Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Just Following Instructions!

 ….and went over to the local Sporting Goods Shop to get a small 9 mm for home protection.
 When I was ready to pay for the gun and bullets, the cashier said, “Strip down, facing me.”
 Making a mental note to complain to the NRA about the gun control wackos running amok, I did just as she had instructed.
 When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, I found out she was referring to how I should place my Credit Card in the card reader!!
 They need to make their instructions to senior citizens a little clearer.

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

A gift for Santa!


Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, except a brown mouse;

Santa had been there and saw what he saw,

A little brown creature with a little white paw;

He needed a pattern for to catch the brown trout,

So he struck up a deal with the little brown sprout;

For a warm place to settle and a crumb of soft cheese,

He became the new model for a pattern to please;IMG_4275-1024x768

With thread and bobbin, and deer hair he spun,

To make up a tidbit sure to give fun;

And filling his fly box with a dozen or two,

He took the mouse home before anyone knew;

With fly vest and bamboo and flies of all kinds;

He headed upstream, wishing all, tight lines!

Merry Christmas!



Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Curmudgeon …and liking it!

I’ve been getting grumpier lately …if that’s possible. I haven’t been what you’d call “happy go lucky” for years and I’m more apt to scowl than smile. I’m not mean, but I don’t easily “feel your pain” either. I stopped taking newspapers, mostly because the integrity seems to have gone with the advent of the internet and opinions shout out, “common sense is dead.”

I’ve cancelled cable and bought a Smart TV and an HD antenna to get the standard channels and I’m seriously considering doing without those because of all of the commercials – out of an hour’s program they take up almost 15 minutes or more. The only programs worth watching are on PBS.

The internet is still a must-have because it’s taken the place of mail and is fast becoming the only way to access your financial accounts without running into some kind of fee, and is necessary to watch programs on NETFLIX that provide European style entertainment – shows that don’t insult your intelligence and don’t take place on one set, instead they rely on dialogue to entertain.

Now, before anyone thinks I’m going to stick my head in an oven or walk in front of a train, let me assure you I get too much joy out of making others shake their heads at my rumblings and ravings.

There is a benefit that comes from being a curmudgeon: people think twice before they talk to you like you’re an idiot …they still think you’re an idiot, they just don’t want to hear your response.

What all this does, is, it frees up your mind to concentrate on what matters: like planning for trout trips next spring and summer and tying flies in preparation.

Hey, this self-imposed hermit lifestyle isn’t bad. If your bird dog can stand you, what else do you need?

Ooops, have to go now, “She Who Must Be Obeyed” just yelled upstairs that supper was ready …can’t give up everything.




Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

There is no such thing as a stupid question …unless you ask one.

Our whole lives we’ve been lied to beginning with the declaration, “There is no such thing as a stupid question,” and followed by, “People care about what you think.”

Case in point:


I was trying out a new 3 wt LL Bean Pocket Water rod on the lower Jordan with good results in part because the little rod performed like the longer 5 wt I normally use. The little rod – light and somewhat limber – had plenty of back-bone and put out a tight loop at 25 yards.

Casting dry flies on matching line, the rod let the fly settle softly on the water thanks to a hand-tied leader that tapered down to a 6x tippet. There were strikes, misses and several browns in the 10 to 12 inch class that put the rod through its paces and a smile on this piscators face.

Suddenly, a voice boomed, “Are you fishing?”

I turned to see a man standing between two cedars holding on to one as he leaned his body out over the bank to get a better view of where I was casting. “Yes, I am,” I said back chuckling the words.

“Are you catching anything?”

“A few,” I answered as I lifted the rod and found resistance.

“Don’t horse him, let the rod do the work,” came back in a louder voice.

I didn’t say a thing, I just brought the brown to net; admired him and released him,.

“What’s the point of going fishing if you throw them back?” he asked. “I wouldn’t waste my time going through all those gyrations you’re going through just to hook a chub and then throw him back. Want me to tell you how to catch bigger fish?”

I did all he could to keep my voice at a normal tone and asked him if he had any more questions about what I was doing and why, and if not, although I really appreciated his thoughts and advice, it was time for me to leave. With that I reeled in, cut the fly from the tippet and put it on my headband. I made my way to the bank and climbed out. My head shaking, I walked through the woods back to the car where “two fingers” of bourbon was waiting …today I might make it four.



Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

If you’re married, you know what I mean.

Every so often I have what are best described as brain farts – sounds crude but as you’ll see, accurate. “She Who Must Be Obeyed” and I have been married for almost 46 years, and those with similar numbers know what I’m going to say is true.

First off, aside from the natural laps into forgetfulness, time and repetition have a way of taking trumping thought when it comes to doing, especially what you’re used to doing. So when friends – younger friends (most are) – tell me they have to put going fishing off because of a “honey do” list, my first instinct is to scoff. And without thinking I keep up with my plans, chuckling at those with little or no control over their household. But like the bear chasing you, eventually things catch up.DSC_0274

Trips to the cabin have been sparse this year for one reason or another and shorter in duration. Chores have gotten left behind and unnoticed by me …but not by “She Who Must Be Obeyed.”

This last trip had me raking leaves (blowing, actually) that I should have gotten rid of last fall. But fall is when Seamus and I chase bonasa umbellus up and down the banks of the Jordan and in lots across Antrim and Kalkaska counties. In short, the leaves, which are numerous due to the many maple trees, cover the open spaces around the cabin, making it look rather dismal, especially when the branches are empty.

I should have expected this, because for the last two weeks, there have been dozens of references to “She Who Must Be Obeyed” wanting to work on her flower garden, but the leaves are an impediment. Finally, I got the hint and fishing the Hendrickson hatch would have to wait.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but it isn’t that an old dog can’t learn new tricks, he’s just so set in his ways that it never occurs to him to try anything new.

So now I have this ringing in my ears because I was too dumb to wear earmuffs when running the blower, my fingers ache and are tight and I’m tired.

Long story short; the leaves are raked; the flower garden is in and maybe I can sneak an hour or two to fish for brookies before we head home.

Seamus is the victim in all of this, he’s never been cooped up in the cabin for so long without being let run and go exploring, and he lets me know every time our eyes meet.




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