Outdoor Tip of the Month
by Carroll Ware, Master Maine Guide
|September||Sinking Line Fishing in the Fall||With the arrival of September, my fishing changes to sinking lines, nearly exclusively. The reason is simple: trout and salmon are moving towards their spawning areas and become territorial. Fly fishing with a sinking line provides chances to contact fish, often larger, mature trout. When fishing with sinking line, I fish using a leader of 48” +/-. You need to get that fly near the bottom.
My favorite September, sinking line fly is the leech. Make your cast, allow time for the fly to reach the bottom, and strip very quickly, with a pause after every four or five pulls. Strikes often come during the pause after the fly drops. Check your hook often as if you aren’t cleaning the gunk off your hook every few casts, you are not letting it sink long enough! Understanding that leeches swim slowly, the fast retrieve still has produced more strikes. Until you get used to hooking the fish (because you are fishing by feel), you’ll miss some strikes. But take my word for it , fall fishing with sinking line can and does produce nice fish and fast action if you’re in the right place!
Next month ….Upland hunting!!
|September 5, 2012||5|
|December||What to get her for Christmas?||Last year in this month’s column, I explained my mostly-surefire method to get a new hunting jacket for Christmas. Well fella’s , this year I’ll take you to the other side of the table and explain how you get the lady in your life hunting of fishing gear and get away with it!!!!
This is nothing more than the power of suggestion at it’s finest! Take her to LL Bean’s and gradually work your way to the fishing department. Simply ask her to try on that fly-fishing vest or fishing shirt, or maybe a pair of waders, mentioning of course, how great she looks in them. The next thing that she knows, you’ve swung the conversation around to how much more time you two could spend together if she actually fished with you, now that she has some gear. Soon she’ll be waiting for spring as much as you, and will be dreaming of that first insect hatch of the year. The only downside to this whole idea is this; now, it’s two plane tickets every trip, two sets of gear you’ll need, two licenses and worst of all……….nine times out of ten, she out fishes you!!!
Next month….Ice fishing
|December 5, 2012||6|
|January||Ice Fishing||Then New Year has come and gone! Now it’s time to dig out the ice fishing equipment and head for the lakes. As always, safety is the watchword. BE SURE THEAT ICE IS SAFE!! Take a chisel and dig test holes to determine ice depth. Beware of spring holes!
A good way to maintain any given depth with your bait is to thread a button on your line. This beats tying overhand knots that tighten firmly as soon as a fish pulls on the line! To adjust for different depth or to be sure you are fishing the same depth when you rebait, use a button (buttons slide, knots don’t) versus a knot. Lines on your traps need to be checked for frayed or worn spots. Use new, sharp hooks, and use a three to five foot leader between line and hook. Ice augers should be oiled and tuned properly. Oxygen pallets in your live bait container will help to keep your bait alive and fresh. Speaking of bait, live bait should be changed often as it dies. The most important tip? Tell someone at home where you are going and when you’ll return!
Next month….a sure-bet fire starter!!
|January 6, 2013||7|
|February||A Sure-Bet Fire Starter||Starting a fire, especially in cold, wet, windy conditions outdoors can be difficult, so here are a couple of ideas. Lila and I use what we call “Kero-dust”.
Gary Anderson, retired Safety Officer for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife gave us this idea and it works so well that we no longer us kindling in our wood furnace! Mix in a large bucket (joint-compound pails are prefect) a quantity of preferably cedar, but in any case softwood sawdust, and enough kerosene to completely dampen the mixture. When you build your fire, just add the wood, and put a half-cup or so of the Kero-dust on a piece of bark inside the woodpile and touch it off!!
A little experimenting will tell you how much kerosene to use, but it just needs to be damp (Note: hardwood shavings won’t work as they don’t absorb the kerosene). For extreme field conditions, use trucker’s flare. Just pile the wood, activate the flare and push it into the interior of the woodpile. These flares burn at about 2,000 degrees and will light soaking, wet wood!
Next month…Go prepared!!
|February 3, 2013||8|
|March||Go Prepared!!||In various ways, I’ve spoken in past columns about the importance of going into the woods prepared. On a recent hunt, this message was really driven home to me. I had taken my second group of hunters to hunt with our caribou outfitter on the Leaf River, in Northern Quebec. While we were at Caniapiscau, waiting for the plane to Montreal, I noticed that a member or our party was on the verge of losing consciousness! His eyes were rolling back in his head, and he was very nearly out! Hypoglycemia! There was no medical assistance available!
Long story short, I managed to get it out of him that he was severely sugar-depleted. I ran to a kitchen, rushing past kitchen staff, looked in the refrigerator and finding nothing else, grabbed a bottle of Hersey’s chocolate syrup. I got a couple of tablespoons of this into0 him and eventually her recovered. After we’d arrived in Montreal, I asked him why he wasn’t taking medication and being more careful about his diet. His answer…….”I haven’t had any problems for a long time!” he placed his life in jeopardy by not taking the simplest of common-sense precautions! Worse, this happened where there was no medical help! If pre-existing medical conditions exist….GO PREPARED!!
Next month…. Spring Smelting!!!
|March 3, 2013||9|
|May||Sewed Smelts||No, this isn’t a new recipe for cooking smelts!
Serious troller’s know that sewn-on smelts may be the most effective bait to take trout, salmon and togue. If you asked ten different fishermen how to do this you’d get several different answers. This method works effectively and is easy.
Take you snelled hook and run it up through the roof of the smelt’s mouth. Then go out through the right side of his cheek with another loop and repeat this with the left side. Run the hook out and under the gill plate. Next, run the hook in and back out of the lateral line on the smelt about mid-body. Lastly , run the hook in through the anal vent and roll it back out so it is parallel with the body. Insert the shank of the hook into the vent so that only the barb is showing and gently snug all the loops. Contrary to custom, I do not want any curve in smelt’s body. Sewn in this fashion, the smelt will rotate in the water, giving that nice, slow roll that you look for with sewed bait. Now: The secret to success: TROLL AS SLOW AS POSSIBLE!
Next month…Father’s Day!
|May 2, 2012||1|
|June||Father's Day||On Father’s Day I’m going to grab a skillet and my reflector oven and head for a little beaver flowage I know of.
Trout and fresh hot biscuits in a reflector, or baker oven are beyond good! Pre-mix your biscuit batter; leave it dry until you’re ready to mix it. Add cold milk from your cooler until the dough sticks together, form your biscuits and lay them on a greased baker sheet. Get a nice bed of hardwood coals red hot and set your baker oven near the fire. How near will take some getting used to (if biscuits turn black, the oven was to close!), so further is better for a while. As the biscuits reach golden brown, ease the oven back, so they don’t burn. While the biscuits are cooking, a couple of 10 inch Brookies, rolled in cornmeal and cooked in salt pork will be sizzling, and water will be boiling for tea strong enough to take the end of the spoon off!
After I’ve eaten everything in sight, I’ll stretch out in the grass for a big nap!! Father’s Day should come a couple times a year!
Next Month…..GUNTER’S CHAIN
|June, 2 2012||2|
|July||Gunter's Chain||Part of navigation is understanding how far one has actually walked in the woods, which is important when traveling between known points or conducting a search for a lost person. To keep track of distance traveled, we use a method called Gunter’s Chain. An English engineer invented this process in the 1800’s.
There are 66 feet in one chain and 80 chains in one mile. Measure out 66 feet, start off with your right foot and count one pace each time your left heel hits the ground. Take the number of paces that you have in 66 feet and multiply it by 80. This gives you your number of paces in one mile ( example: 14 paces X 80=1120 paces per mile). Now you can measure your distance walked anywhere.
Gunter ’s chain takes into consideration, up, down, across, and so forth. This process is remarkably accurate and will help you as you travel in the woods. Used in conjunction with proper map and compass procedure, you can determine where you are, on the map and on the face of the earth, anytime.
Next month… Map & Compass Basics
|July 5, 2012||3|
|August||Map & Compass Basics||Map & compass work, also called orienteering, is a great family activity that everyone can do! You’ll need a topographical map and a base plate compass, like a Silva 7. Turn the bezel (dial) of your compass to zero. Then read the declination info in the lower left corner of the map.
To add the declination, turn the bezel WEST or COUNTER CLOCKWISE until the appropriate number of degrees is indicated. Place your compass along the true north line on the map, rotate the map, (without moving the compass) until the two red arrows in the bezel align exactly. The map is now oriented to magnetic north.
You can now draw a line between any two points on the map, carefully lay the edge of your compass along that line, dial the bezel until your arrows are exactly aligned (boxed), pick your compass up and read the bearing. What‘s described here is the tip of the iceberg, but is easy and fun for all!
Next month…..Sinking line fishing in the fall
|August 5, 2012||3|