Terry Drinkwine Outdoors!

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

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:

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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.

TD

 

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.

TD

 

 

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Give me a call when the bite is on!

This social media is great. I mean, think about it, you used to have to wait until you got to a fishing location to hear from the guy in the fly shop, “Man you should have been here yesterday …or better yet, last week.” Now, with the advent of instant communication, you can get facebooked, twitted, (tweeted?) or emailed the latest conditions. 20140505_134901

Not only are the fishing reports water specific, but most notifications come complete with a person holding a fish so far in front of them, they look like a Ripley’s Believe it or Not candidate. Of course, most of those in the picture are guides …go figure.

So those just waiting for the word, jump in the fish car – which is already packed – and head to where the stars are aligned just right and the piscatorial Gods are smiling.

Of course, the trip involves travel time, so don’t be too surprised when the guy in the fly shop tells you, “You should have been here an hour ago, man were they hitting,”

Gotta go now, the Jeep’s running.

TD

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

“I got you, you silly wabbit!”

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“Hey Doc, can it wait until tomorrow, I’m delivering eggs with my cousin today?”

HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!

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Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

There’s no substitute for bacon.

We all suffer frustration when things that seem common every day affairs don’t automatically happen. In fact, we’re so set in out ways, we don’t even notice they’re missing until we’re well into what took their place. Take Seamus. 3579450969_76c8c26b26_z

Every morning, whether at home or at the cabin, Seamus goes through gyrations until he gets to share my bacon. He just automatically assumes every plate or bowl I eat from while sitting in a chair catching up on the computer in my bathrobe, has at least two pieces of bacon, which he gets a piece of. This morning, “She Who Must Be Obeyed” dropped a bombshell. “We’re out of bacon,” she said.

Seamus heard this but it apparently didn’t register because he kept up his morning ritual of waiting in the kitchen for someone to fix something on the stove. Finally, “She Who Must Be Obeyed” came in with a plate of scrambled eggs with bacon bits from a bag and Seamus was there right on cue waiting for me to eat several rashes of bacon and share.

I ate the eggs and leaving a few morsels, I held the plate in front of him and let him lick the morsels, which he did with gusto. Finally, getting a taste of bacon, he was confused but seemed to know there wouldn’t be any more coming.

Long story short: he ate his dog good, came back into the living room, picked a spot where he could keep an eye on me and did his best to make me feel guilty.

I was going to make a comment to “She Who Must Be Obeyed” about not having any bacon, but as I looked at Seamus, there wasn’t room in the corner where he was laying.

We’re off to the store.

TD

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

A deposit on fly rods ….hmmm, might be a good idea.

There ought to be a deposit on fly rods. There is a deposit on bottles, cans, propane bottles for the grill and countless other stuff, why not on fly rods?011

Every sporting goods store or fly shop has a wall or rack of rods; different manufacturers, each in weights from 1 – 12 or higher. They have different flex designations – some numerical, others designated by definition.

The point is, the difference between rods, so we’re told, is the type of fish it’s designed to be used for (mostly by size or weight of the species). And there is no one size fits all …at least not designated by the manufacturers. So, like golf clubs, the accumulation continues. You probably can’t get off the tee any better, but at least you have the latest and greatest driver with the new and improved head and shaft.

Before I go further, let me say, I own one or two fly rods (ok, maybe a couple more) and some haven’t seen the light of day, let alone flexed in a trout stream, in years.

So, back to the point: if there was a deposit on the rod, it could be cashed in, resold by the shop where you’re going to buy the next rod because you just came into a couple of bucks and …well, you’re in a fly shop.

Think about it.

TD

 

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

One mans treasure ….

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Sounds like sound advice, but men being men, it’s not quite that simple. Those of us with more time on our hands than we know what to do with are always trying to fix something – make it better – and more times than not, end up with a pile of nuts, bolts, springs and a lot of washers. Years ago I tried to fix a coo coo clock …you guessed it, the clock went away because I couldn’t put it back together again.

But now comes the internet. So far, I’ve found schematics to every reel, boat motor and most everything else I’ve tried to fix, whether it was broken or not.

Once I figure out how things work, they loose some of their mystery and appeal. So I’m ok with getting rid of them fore something I haven’t figured out how to “fix.”

This Saturday at the Birch Run Expo Center, there will be lots of stuff to tinker with. I’ll be there looking for “old – new” stuff. But, if it has too many scratch marks, I’ll know someone “fixed” it a few times. I think I’ll pass on that one.

TD

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

You can’t play mumble peg without a pocket knife!

I’m a dinosaur. I know it and accept it. It’s taken a lot of years to get as set in my ways as I am and I’m comfortable being there and see little reason to change. But sometimes things I take for granted turn out to be soul searchers. Take pocket knives.21R624_AW01

I’ve been carrying the same pocket knife for over thirty years. It’s an Old Timer made by Schrade. I guess it’s what you’d refer to as a stockman’s knife used in stores to open cardboard boxes prior to the razor knife’s introduction. It has three blades: one regular blade, one “sheep’s foot” blade and a short flat edged blade. It’s too small for its own sheath and too big for a keychain. It’s just the right size for my pant pocket.

My first recollection of a pocket knife was my father’s. It was a common folding knife with manila colored sides that was popular in the 40’s and 50’s. When he gave it to me, the first thing I did was throw it at a huge oak tree in our backyard like Jim Bowie, hoping it would stick and I’d look cool. It didn’t. The sides popped off and worse yet, my dad saw me do it and I not only lost the knife, but after a swift kick in the rear, I had to start proving I was smart and mature enough to earn my having my own pocket knife all over again.

I think I was pretty typical when it came to thinking pocket knives were cool and everyone should know who to throw one and make it stick in a tree. After all, we played cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers and war. And the men we imitated and looked up to all knew how to throw a knife…..we saw it on TV and surely it was true.

We were expected to cut ourselves too; mostly by being careless when closing the blade. The good news was it only took one bleeding finger before you learned how not to cut yourself again.

Moms were never ok with boys getting a pocket knife. It took dad to allow it; usually as part of a camping trip or learning how to clean fish. Slowly moms came around once they understood the knives were only used on camping trips or part of a Scouting project.

Most of us never considered taking one to school. Getting caught meant having to bring a note home and have a parent come and pick up the knife, resulting in yet another swift kick or two in the rear – for carrying it let alone bringing it to school; no questions asked or explanations accepted.

I thought about all this because my grandkids are getting to the age when learning how to use a pocket knife is going to be important. As they do more outdoor things like go fishing, they’ll want to clean their catch so they can eat what they caught, cut sticks to roast marshmallows over an open fire with or maybe just plain whittle a stick down to a toothpick like gramps does.

Having a pocket knife today is a little different and can cause problems. Ever try getting through security at an airport with a pocket knife in your pocket? You’ll never get it back if you do. If a kid takes one to school, it won’t be up to the parent to straighten him out; it’s an automatic suspension in most districts.

There are good reasons for these restrictions of course. It’s the price we pay for feeling everyone’s pain instead of insisting on personal responsibility.

Pocket knives have taken on the connotation of being a weapon instead of a tool.

Having said all that, pocket knives are still a part (necessity really) of the out-of-doors and there is no reason for them not to be part of the “coming of age” process. So before things get too far out of hand, applying common sense might just be the “ounce of prevention”.

When my grandkids come up north, they’ll cut their own roasting sticks, sharpen them to take a hotdog or marshmallow and they’ll learn to use a fillet knife to clean fish. They’ll do it under supervision and with the knowledge that a knife is a tool not a toy. Just in case, I’ll have a good supply of Bactine and Band-Aids on hand.

The Boy’s and Girl Scouts are great organizations that teach kids the use and respect for things like pocket knives. They do an even better job when parents are involved too.

I can’t wait until the issue of a .22 comes up.

TD

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

There was a reason my mother tied my gloves around my neck.

There are glasses (cheaters and sunglasses) in almost every river I fish on a regular basis in Northern Michigan …and, of course, they’re mine, or, used to be mine. For some reason, I have this mistaken belief that I can do two or more things at the same time and keep my mind on each as I do it.

The result is, when I’m trying to change flies in a hurry because fish are rising and I think I know what they’ll take, the important thing is always to get the fly on the water. The problem is, I can’t even see the eye of an 18, let alone thread the tippet through it without my glasses. So the process of changing from sunglasses to cheaters, selecting a fly from the box and tying it on, then changing back to my sunglasses is the equivalent of a monkey having sex with a football.

I know there are several options, like wearing a lanyard on each pair of glasses, or just plain taking my time and thinking about what I’m doing, which I do most of the time, but at least six times a year, I loose a pair of glasses; the worst part being, I don’t know it until I need them for the next change. Usually it’s the cheaters that go, but several times last year, it was my sunglasses.

There are several ways to address this problem, one being to connect them to a lanyard and hang them around my neck. But doing that with two pair, well, you feel like a bird dog with several collars while trying to get through brush and bushes.The other is to buy smart.

Having been an optometrist in a past life and owning my own shop, I know the difference between quality and hype when it comes to glasses, especially lenses. So I’ve taken the position that if I’m going to loose a pair of glasses several times a season, I’m not going to give up a high cost pair of cheaters or sunglasses. Those can be saved for normal, non-standing in a stream activities, like leaving them in a restaurant or fly shop.

Cheaters are just magnifiers that come in various diopters. Once you know what yours is, the two dollar pair do just as well as the $75 pair …and it hurts less when they become part of the bottom structure on a stream or muck along a bank as you’re climbing out.

At last week’s Outdoorama, I found a booth that sold all types of sunglasses. Their display was nice but they were a cheap grade. Having said that, their lenses were a fair grade of polarization and for the price, when I loose them, it would let me go on fishing without dwelling on how I was going to explain to “She Who Must Be Obeyed” why I was buying another pair of sunglasses instead of taking her out for dinner.

For the treasure hunters reading this, there is a custom pair of polarized sunglasses somewhere between Graves Crossing and C 624 on the Jordan. If you find them, wear them in good health.

TD

Category Archives: Tongue ‘n Cheek

Dog hair…hmmm!

This is the time of year when things that are taken for granted any other time, consume my thoughts and become as important as making sure there’s enough bacon for Seamus in the morning. So after tinkering and trifling with anything and everything, my attention was turned loose on dog hair.IMG_0096

It occurred to me – when I happened to glance at a dark sweatshirt I was wearing –that Seamus is leaving a trail of white and liver colored hair on everything he rubs against or in the air when he shakes; which isn’t that often because I think he’s trying to conserve energy like I am. Anyway, I digress.

Suddenly it crossed my mind that “She Who Must Be Obeyed” is constantly on me to brush Seamus because, as she puts it, “There’s dog hair on everything in the house and it’s clogging up the vacuum.” But Seamus is about as excited about being brushed as I am about shaving. (“She Who Must Be Obeyed” has thoughts on that too.)

I thought back to when I had Jake, my yellow lab, who’s fur I collected and used it to tie caddis wings on smaller hook sizes. It wasn’t as stiff as bucktail and stiffer than squirrel tail. So I began pulling dog hair from my shirt, the couch and loveseat, and before I knew it I had a nice little bundle of fine soft fur. Dry fly dubbing is soft, I thought. So I cut it up with a sharp pair of scissors until I could dub it on tying thread without protruding strands.

The next step was to get the right mixture of colors. The white with a little brown made a shade I could use for sulfurs but, if I mixed in more brown, I could use it for other mayfly patterns …then it hit me. I could bundle the different mixtures up and sell them. But first I had to get a decent quantity.

“She Who Must Be Obeyed” was all for it. She got out the vacuum cleaner, showed me how to turn it on, and showed me what the attachments were for. I was on the way to….hey, wait a minute.

Boy that was a close one.

TD

 

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