Monday, June 18, 2012

Fishing for dreams

So it has been a while since I posted. One of the many things I have been doing absence is spending time volunteering with my children's Boy Scout Troop.

This year we were graciously invited back to Gladstone Farm to fish on there two farm ponds for bass and bluegill.

It was a huge success with about 15 to 20 scouts showing up with siblings and parents.  Three boys managed to catch some 12+ inch bass while the rest reeled in bluegill one after another. The one pictured below measured 17 inches.

But the main point if all of this was to take scouts outside to enjoy what God has to offer. It just happens that this time we went fishing. I was honestly shocked to hear some of the youth say they had never been fishing before that night.

To me that's what it is all about, taking a youth and introducing them to something they might never have done...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Name that Fisch...

I am an avid reader of outdoor material. Whether it’s Mother Earth News or the likes of Steven Rinella and Hank Shaw, I enjoy them all. I also enjoy both the print and online versions of Field and Stream. They have great content online, especially their blogs. I am absolutely hooked on The Wild Chef. Up until recently I only read a few of the blogs because I wasn’t necessarily interested in all of the topics. But as trout season rolled around I decided to give FlyTalk a shot.

  As I have said before, I grew up fishing for trout using a spinning rod, powerbait and spinners. About two years ago my wife bought me an L.L. Bean fly outfit. With the rod and reel I also received a certificate for a fly casting class. I hadn’t really given fly fishing much thought up until that gift. But then I went and attended the lesson and I really started to understand why people love to fly fish. The next spring I decided to give it a shot and even managed (don’t ask me how) to land two brown trout on Elk Hair Caddis’.

  My foray in to fly fishing quickly bottomed out though. While I had learned how to cast, I really hadn’t learned how to fish. I had no concept of what looked good to a trout or how to pay attention to the hatch and try to match it. It literally was blind luck that I caught those two brown trout. By July I was frustrated that I couldn’t get a fish to bite anything I was sending at it. Then it was time for my yearly trip, with my three oldest boys, to Boy Scout summer camp. We were headed to Mt Airy, NC and I decided I would just take my fly rod along with me, just in case I got bored. It turned out to be the thing that kept me in fly fishing. Nearly every day I would go down to the lake and spot bream in the shallow water and cast out a brown cricket or a grasshopper and WHAM, I’d catch fish after fish until my arm tired. It got to be so easy that I needed a challenge, so I cut some fresh bamboo and made a sort of tankara rod out of it, by tying 10lb test line to the tip and casting out a small hook baited with whatever tasty morsel I could find in the woods. It was one of the best fishing experiences I have had.

  Fast forward to a few months ago, and I have become completely “hooked” on FlyTalk. Not only does the blog teach me more about fly fishing in general it teaches me about trout fishing period. I often wondered why stocked trout feed the way they do, and then I got the chance to see a “fish eye” view of some hatchery fish feeding in one of the runs. Absolutely amazing!

  Then one morning I saw a picture of the oddest looking fish with the caption about a name the fish contest. I read the rules and decided I would give it a shot, even though I had no clue what it was, where it was caught or what fly it was caught on. I did a little internet research and found an article where the blogger, Kirk Deeter, had posted a little bit of info on just what the fish was and where he caught it. It was an arapaima from a fishing trip he took in Guyana. I knew that in order to win the prize, a sweet pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, I had to dig a little deeper. After about an hour of searching, using various words and phrases, I came across another blog by a couple named “The Adventures of Andrea and Salvador”. This was the info I was looking for. It gave me the specific location of where Deeter had fished, but the last piece of evidence was still missing. What kind of fly did he use to catch the arapaima? For that it truly was just an educated guess. I didn’t even get it correct. But guess what, I still won anyway!

So now here I sit, after having gotten an email yesterday that my package had shipped, waiting for my Costa sunglasses to arrive. I can’t wait to try them out. Stay tuned for a future blog about the glasses themselves and about all the great work Costa is doing in Guyana.      

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Coming to a close

It is with great sorrow that I must report the trout season here in Thurmont is coming to an end. The Department of Natural resources has finished stocking put-and-take fishing areas and the past few days have seen temperatures in the 90's.

My favorite stream is full of fish that just won't bite. On June 1st that stream will revert back to a catch and release stream until next March. I think this year I am going to use this as an opportunity to practice my fly fishing.

Perhaps I will use this time to also take advantage of our local lake and catch some largemouth bass. Maybe I will even be bold enough to try catching a few on a fly as well.

With all of this in mind I suggest you take a look at a simple recipe on Field and Stream online. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hand Me Down Memories

This time of year brings back memories; memories of picking fresh fruit with my Mom. Whether it was picking peaches and strawberries from Huber's farm or stopping on the side of the road to pick blackberries; these are the fond memories I  have of my Mom in late Spring.

What better way to pay tribute to her, then by passing those memories down to my children. So today I set out with my five year old in hopes if "capturing" enough strawberries to make some freezer jam and save some for eating later.

In years past I have taken some of my older boys to pick black raspberries or blueberries,  making them in to preserves. But although they were all good there was still something missing. Some quality that was just out of reach. After loosing my Mom at the end of January I wanted to do her proud. Then I remembered how we used to make strawberry freezer jam. It's like bottling summer in a jar.

The below recipe will make enough for three pint sizes or six half pint jars. It can be made with store bought berries but you will never quite know what everyone is raving about if you do. It will store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks (if it lasts that long!) or can be stored in the freezer for up to a year. Just take it out to thaw and enjoy!

5 cups crushed fresh strawberries (with juices)
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp of Ball's RealFruit Pectin (for no cook freezer jam)

Start off by hand crushing 5 cups of strawberries with a potato masher. In a separate bowl combine sugar and pectin. Add fruit to the bowl and stir for three minutes. Ladle jam in to freezer jars and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Done.*

* recipe handed down from my Mom is actually the recipe from the box.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Begin at the Middle

I little over a year ago I watched a new show on The Travel Channel by the name of The Wild Within. The host of the show, Steven Rinella, is a hard core hunter gatherer. But this wasn't a typical hunting show. This was a ready for prime time show on going back to our roots, back to when our grandparents learned to live off the lands bounty and provide for themselves. Growing up a product of the late Seventies and Eighties I have longed for a connection to the world around me. That show helped spark the need to find that connection. This Blog will help me chronicle how I make that connection.