Terry Drinkwine Outdoors!

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Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

What If?

What if politicians took up fly fishing?

Think about it, instead of trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, if politicians concentrated on presenting a number 16 Adams in front of a sweeper on a trout stream, maybe gas would still be under two bucks a gallon, Americans could get back to being Americans and the Ukrainians could concentrate on doing whatever Ukrainians did prior to having to run for their lives while some superpower threw a temper tantrum.

This weekend at the Michigan Fly Fishing Club’s Expo, there were several thousand people that came and went and no one hurt anyone. People of all ages, nationalities and race, watched, learned and listened to professional guides, fly tiers and purveyors of the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets that some just couldn’t do without. If you think about it, it was an example of different peoples coming together for one common purpose. Most left feeling elated for having attended.

Along with age and residence requirements, if politicians had to demonstrate the patients it takes to tie a dozen flies; the attention to detail it takes to rig-up a line; the stealth and determination to make a non-intrusive approach to a rising trout, maybe …just maybe, this corporate mentality of having to constantly increase the bottom line despite already making a profit, could be replaced with stream etiquette.

But then, what do you do with the guy that fishes with worms?

 

THDstock-vector-vector-illustration-of-boy-fishing-143776300

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Spare the Slipper and Spoil the Child

Gus is an only child. There were nine in the litter, but in our house, Gus is an only child. He probably has more freedom than any of the other dogs before him were allowed, mainly because the kids are all grown and have their own families and it’s just, She Who Must Be Obeyed, me and Gus. So, he reaps the benefit of having no competition for anything …and it’s clear he’s taken advantage of it.

I don’t think Gus knows the difference between him and us: From first thing in the morning when he lays snuggled up on my bed until he feels me stirring then inches his way up to my face until I scratch his back, to the last thing at night when I say. “it’s time for bed,” and he heads upstairs to the bedroom where he sits and waits until I’m in bed, then jumps up and makes himself comfortable until morning, Gus is totally engaged in our daily life.

Sometimes I think back about how things were when there were two types of dogs, house dogs and outside dogs. The thinking was, if you wanted a dog to hunt, you couldn’t spoil him and contaminate his nose by keeping him in the house; outside dogs had pens with doghouses filled with straw and a piece of carpet for a door. I knew a man who wouldn’t let anyone smoke around his birddog because he said the smoke disrupted the dog’s sense of smell. House dogs were pets and had no real purpose other than keeping you company.

Times have changed. I would never have thought that a dog, any dog, could get into my head. Seamus did and now Gus does too. I actually find myself trying to figure out what he’s thinking and try not to hurt his feelings …he pouts.

There is a line he doesn’t cross often, but when he does, off comes one of my slippers and he takes off and hides behind the dining room table. I threw it at him once when he was running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off and got him on his rear, from then on all I have to do is take off my slipper and he stops whatever he’s doing, heads for the dining room and waits for me to call him back. It’s like a time-out.

This slipper thing caught on; I’ve noticed She Who Must Be Obeyed reach for her slipper when she figures she should have the last word …that’s when I shut up.

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Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Lawyers Wanted – Common Sense Not Required

thThe members of the Ostrich Society were feeling left out. It seems at the last meeting, Joe Butler, after several fingers of bourbon poured by Oleg Johansen – the member with the largest hands in the Society, and official bartender – was heard grousing that he felt left out. He went on to say that in these times of victimization, he couldn’t come up with a single time when he felt like a victim. He didn’t count the time he landed in the emergency room after being in a car – deer collision, after all, the deer didn’t hit the car, the car hit the deer. Nor did he count the time he almost drowned when he waded too far into the river for a better position to cast to a rising trout and water rushed over the top of his waders. He had to cut a hole in the waders to equalize the pressure so he could walk out of the hole. He did reach the spot he wanted to get to and hooked the trout thanks to a nicely tied and presented Borcher.

After more two fingers of bourbon, the mood of the members turned melancholy. Others complained of being left behind the times by not having been seen as victims.

Pat O’Grady said he heard this victim stuff was grandfathered. “You can go back years to claim your victim status, no questions asked either.”

Joe Butler began to re-examine his two situations. “You know, the State made a victim of me by not posting signs that deer may be crossing the road. There could have been flashing lights to warn traffic. They could have put generators or solar panels to operate the lights.”

O’Grady agreed, “They should warn people, and on top of it all, they own the deer and have a responsibility to manage them. Joe, they made a victim out of you.”

Joe Butler began to nod his head, then took another sip and slowly concluded that the State made a victim of him when his waders filled with water too. There should have been signs, “If you step in a hole, water may be over your waders, go around.”

 

THD

 

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Getting Older Is Not For Sissies!

Promising!

Promising!

It’s the first week of February, cold as hell and old Phil saw his shadow. The lake is frozen, or at least it appears to be…there aren’t many ice shanties set up yet. My portable shanty is still tucked in behind the coats in the entry closet at the cabin. I’m going to be 73 next month and I need incentive to dig it out and pull it to the drop-off on the lake and sit pretending the little propane heater was doing its job keeping me warm. That’s the problem with getting to a certain age, instead of chomping at the bit, you remember what it’s like, discomforts and all.

I miss getting catalogs from outdoor companies that used to come about this time of year …they served as an aphrodisiac for cabin fever. I still have several of the ones I found more interesting than others:  Herter’s catalog, for instance, had everything outdoors. They were the Home Depot of the hunting and fishing crowd, from individual hooks and feathers to the latest gadgets, you could even buy a boat through the catalog. Cabela’s, Buckeye Sports and LL Bean were others I looked forward to getting. The arrival of them marked the beginning of the countdown to the trout opener…FYI, it’s 86 days.

I have a lot of the electronic gadgets due to the insistence and generosity of my kids and I know every store has a website that took the place of catalogs, but it’s not the same. LL Bean catalogs had covers that were beautifully drawn. One cover in particular was of an old man dressed in appropriate fly-fishing regalia, using the newest gear, handing a boy – dressed in shorts, t-shirt and no waders, using an old rod and reel – money for the stringer of trout the boy caught. That cover was offered in a print, but I procrastinated too long and missed out.

Although She Who Must Be Obeyed would differ, if it wasn’t for Gus, I’d be more miserable to be with than I am. Gus is easy to please and get along with, all it takes is my constant attention and letting him run off leash until the ice builds up between his toes. When I cross the line and aggravate her, I’m told Gus and I are like two peas in a pod…but I know that’s not true, I wear shoes.

THD

 

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

He’s trying, but I am a slow learner!

Years ago, my mother gave me a coffee cup that said, “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” Like all mothers, mine could size up my bullheadedness pretty well and that slogan on the cup wasn’t wrong. I still have it today.

Gus is four months old now and it took a few weeks to get back into the mindset of raising a pup. It had been over 14 years since Seamus came into our lives, which means we were 14 years younger. At first, everything Gus did was cute. But soon he became a pain and I had to rethink how to handle the biting, chewing, peeing on the rug and constant attention a puppy wants, and like Seamus, Gus soon took charge.

It’s been four months and we’ve struck a bargain: Gus doesn’t pee in the house any more (usually) and we’ve learned to put anything we don’t want chewed up out of reach. My hands are showing fewer scabs from needle-like teeth than they did a month ago and everything else I need to know, I’m picking up slowly.

If anyone finds a dog dish that says, “I was told once I was wrong, but he was mistaken,” let me know.

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Where did that hour go?

When you become a fly fisherman ….you know, someone who does things, sees things …even thinks things, without thinking, it should be no surprise that losing an hour of time doesn’t become noticed until well after the hour is lost.Ostrich-with-head-in-sand-illustration

Trout can’t tell time: Oh sure, they know when it’s time to feed, when it’s safe to come out from under the bank or submerged log to intercept that vole or other larger than usual food opportunity, but they could care less of the time. It’s the urge to feed and the opportunity. It’s called being hungry.

The problem with Daylight Savings Time is that it puts you behind, even in the fall when you gain an hour. (You don’t actually gain an hour, it’s still there we just renamed it.) It’s like the retailer’s ad that touts the 50% you’re saving if you buy the item right now – which of course, is only true if you actually wanted or needed the item. If you didn’t, you lost money…I tried to explain that to “She Who Must Be Obeyed” once and, well, suffice it to say it was met with a look and me going on to do other things.

Today is Daylight Savings Time. Today we lost an hour …it’s still there, just not where it was yesterday. To Seamus, nothing changed. This morning he jumped up on the bed and began pawing me to wake up. His internal clock told him it was time to get me up so I would let him out and start the bacon. Had I turned the clock ahead the night before, I would have seen it was an hour later and should feel more rested because I slept an extra hour. Of course, being a fly fisherman, I didn’t change the clock the night before and, being a creature of habit – something Seamus figured out years ago – the usual routine began.

Eventually, “She Who Must Be Obeyed” forced me to get with the program by telling me to set my watch ahead – presumably so I wouldn’t be late for dinner …as though that happens.

THD

 

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Blowhards

There is a species amongst us I’ll just refer to as the “blowhard.” Its sole function in its less than meaningful existence is to fill a room with hot air and make itself known, usually for no other reason than to say, “Hey, don’t ignore me.”

Blowhards can be dangerous and they’re everywhere. Experts in anything and everything, legends in their own minds. They can make you lose focus if you let them, and make common sense a lost commodity. They do it by being loud, obnoxious and …listened to. Without attention, they’re mundane.

Seamus has a streak of Blowhard in him. Though he can’t speak – at least not with words – he can interrupt, take the attention away from others and squarely put it on himself. He’ll do it with a bark, a whine or just by rubbing himself against you or walking under your hand as your arm hangs over the arm of a chair.

The motivation of a Blowhard is self-gratification … usually profit of some kind. If you’re around a Blowhard long enough, you realize he or she has a short memory – what they’re experts in today can change tomorrow, depending the crowd. Theirs is not to contribute, rather to be heard.

Blowhards, of course, have a function. Blowhards can be entertaining. The next fishing show you attend, check out the hawker with the biggest crowd around him. It will probably be someone selling something “you just can’t live without.” The thing that will turn your kitchen into a place of technological enlightenment. You know, the knife that cuts through bricks. You can throw all other knives away, you only need this one…the thing is I just don’t eat many bricks and the fish I clean aren’t that tough.

Gotta go, Seamus just made his way under my desk and is pushing me back.

 

THD

 

 

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

Toast

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.

 

THD

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.

 

THD

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