Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wait! It's not over yet

"All I saw was blue smoke" dad said smiling.

One week after I shot my deer and rifle season ended, Dad was still hard at it trying to get one of those big bucks we still had pictures of. But, instead, he squeezed the trigger and got his first deer with a muzzleloader.

According to Dad: two doe came crossed three different shooting lanes before starting to talk at him. When he decided to fire at the biggest doe, he lined up the sites and just saw the blue smoke and no deer. 

"I got down and walked to where I saw her last.  The second doe was still standing nearby, so I knew she was down.  When that second doe ran off by itself, I knew the deer was somewhere near by"  Dad picked up the blood trail and tracked his doe... right into a nice puddle of cold water,"She was completely in the water and dead." 

Dad pulled her out and got her back onto higher ground, then got his skidder to pull her out the rest of the way.  When you lose two fellow hunters who have tagged out and don't muzzle hunt, you are left with no help to haul a deer out of the woods and need to be resourceful.

Dad's doe weighed 134lbs dressed.  Which, ironically was exactly in the middle of Hub's deer (124lbs) and mine (144lbs).



Dad and I have never shot deer in the same season.  The fact that all three of us ended the season with successful hunts is incredible.  Mom is pretty sure that we won't see a deer again for five years, but hey, we had an incredible season and will be eating well all winter... and probably into next fall.

Monday, December 26, 2016

In less than a minute

The snow was melting and dropping off the branches and leaves.  I had been in the stand for only a few minutes when I heard a deer walking off to my right.  It was one deer and too dark to know if it was a doe or buck.  Maybe it was the crotch horn.  I closed my eyes and listened to the deer walking away from me.  At least it didn't seem spooked; maybe it didn't know that I was there.

The sky began to get brighter, indicating that the rain predicted was not coming.  I dug into my pocket for handwarmers. I tried to keep the crinkling plastic as quiet as I could as I ripped the first side open.  I waited before I opened the second warmer to keep my noise at a minimum. When I made the second tear, just the corner came off exposing a hole just big enough to get my pinky into. The second warmer was heating up, but I couldn't get to it.  I wiggled my pinky inside the hole and tried stretching it out. I kept watch from the Sky Condo as I pulled to get the plastic to give.

A brown body emerged and was headed right at me.  I put my gloves and handwarmers on the floor in front of me.  It was a deer but was it a doe or buck - and how big of a buck.  It was on a mission and not out just to nibble on the grass.  When I noticed that his right antler swung out beyond his ears, I knew that I needed to shoot him.

In a split second, he lowered his head and I swung the gun onto the railing and got into position for him to turn (hopefully) broadside.  He was not stopping and I knew I needed to get a good shot off if I was going to shoot.  He started to head towards the woods and the second that I saw him quarter away, I placed my crosshairs and fired.

His back legs kicked out like a bucking bronco and he started running. I had an instant feeling of dread as I watched him run, staggering, between two shooting lanes and then disappearing.  I listened but didn't hear any crashing.

Dad heard my shot and dug his cell phone out to answer my call. I told him that I saw the buck run off but I was pretty sure that I was a good shot.  Dad left T3 and headed my way.  I climbed down from the Sky Condo and headed over to where I had last seen the buck. I didn't want to go through the same thing Dad and Hubs had on opening day.


There was blood.  A lot of blood.  Bright red drops speckled the fresh dirt where he had kicked his legs when I shot. That was a good sign.  I was tempted to keep following the blood but wanted to wait for Dad to make sure I didn't jump a wounded deer.

We decided that I would head away from the Sky Condo and walk up an old skidder trail that would loop me back into the shooting lanes where I had last seen the deer.  Dad would track the blood.  I got to the top of the little knoll and saw the brown body laying down.  His back leg was bend in a position that told me that he was dead. I called over to Dad that I had found my deer; he had dropped exactly where I had last seen him.

I think I got the big crotch horn! I said to Dad and walked over to my buck. I could see the two tines sticking up from his right side.  Dad picked up the deer's head, You got a 6!  The brow tines were not big, but they were big enough. I had gotten a 6 pointer - my first one.



He looked as though I had caught him during or right after he checked his rub/scrape line.  His antlers were covered with fresh shavings. He was beautiful.


I was thrilled! It seemed like in less than a minute, I went from trying to open my handwarmer to making a great shot on a fantastic 6 pointer.  You just never know what's going to happen when you are in the woods.

Hubs and I both shot 6 pointers, from the same stand, during the same season. We would have plenty of venison in the freezer now.  We loaded the deer up, tagged it and brought it home to butcher.  He weighed in, dressed, at 144lbs.


It was a great way to end the deer season and I got one deer closer to having even sets of antlers from 2-10 points.  Dad still had two more weeks of muzzleloading, if he wanted to hunt, but we had very full freezers now!



Thursday, December 22, 2016

It doesn't get better than hunting on snow

There was a storm coming in on Thanksgiving night, so Dad and I started and ended our day in the woods.  It was silent when we walked into our stands in a turkey induced semi-stupor. The silence didn't last long.  For almost two hours, we listened to someone target practicing or just shooting different guns.  It was ridiculous and I still can not understand why, during hunting season, someone would do this when they could have waited until Sunday (when we can't hunt.)

When we went to bed Thanksgiving night, the cold rain had turned to snow and on Friday morning, there was enough on the ground to track. Snow turns me into a kid! It could be an early snow in Oct, a Christmas show or the type that you dread in March but for me, I get giddy.  I was the first one up and dressed on Friday morning.


The woods were totally silent. The animals had not woken up yet and I loved how bright the world seemed under a coating of white. The silence was broken by steps. It was still too dark to shoot but there was action.  I had to lean forward from the Sky Condo to watch a spike horn cross in front of me (from the bottom right, the deer crossed between the second and third tree.) He was headed back to his bed or to eat and was not stopping.  I watched him cross the roadway and head into the woods until he disappeared into the grey darkness.

I knew that I couldn't get down immediately and follow him, so I wanted until it was legal hours and then headed into the woods in hopes of seeing more deer moving and maybe crossing paths with a larger buck.


The bows of the tree kept me from being snow/rain/sleeted on and my wool clothes kept me dry and warm.  I was relaxed and happy in the tree, just watching and listening.

I saw Dad's blaze orange before I heard him.  Not surprising, he had jumped a group of six does on his walk to get me. We stood talking next to my stand, when he suddenly crouched and reached for his gun. A deer was trying to sneak past us!!! Maybe 50 feet from us, a deer was slowly walking past us, fully aware that we were there but hoping that we would not notice.  Before Dad could get his gun up, the deer had taken one bound and disappeared into the trees.

I headed into the woods and Dad headed down the past that I walk in on, to see if one of us could get a better shot (and for me to see if it was a buck.)  The only snap I heard after that was Dad walking back out.  The deer had crossed back down by the Sky Condo.  I would have see it if I had been sitting there... maybe it was that spike again?!

During our afternoon hunt, the snow started to melt in the rain. About 30 minutes before the end of hunting hours, I heard a shot. Dad! I pulled out my phone and waited.  It was 4pm.  Then, it was 4:10 and my phone had not rang. At 4:20, another shot rang out.  I went through the scenarios in my head: Dad shot the buck and it ran so he had to track it and then one more shot to finish it off or maybe he had missed the first time and then tracked the deer and got a good shot.  I kept waiting for my phone to buzz but it never came.  The shot was close though.

I walked out of the woods and within minutes, Dad was behind me.  He had thought the same thing - that the shot was me and he couldn't understand why I wouldnt have called him, unless I had shot a coyote or something.  We still are not sure who was so close to us and shooting.

As much fun as it was to hunt in the snow, we knew our hours were numbered. I had one more day in the woods.  Dad, with his muzzleloader, had two more weeks but one more day hunting with me. Rifle season was almost over!


Monday, December 19, 2016

United, we win.



United, we win.

The more involved you get with something, the more frustrated you can become when priorities shift, you see behind that iron curtain and you lose sight of what’s important and made you get involved in the first place. It’s hard to get reenergized and motivated sometimes, especially when there are so many divides.

I have been partly amused and partly disheartened to read articles that my fellow outdoor writers have written about how they miss the ‘good ole days’ of hunting when women were home with the kids and not out in the woods.  I hate to break it to you, but women are the only way that the next generation of hunters are going to take to the woods.  WE are teaching our children why it is so important to hunt, know where your meat comes from and respect the entire field-to-table process.  I don’t remember the ‘good ole days’ because I am too young, but I can guarantee you that I will do everything I can to make sure that my children are comfortable seeing a dead bear, deer or turkey and know exactly how it was killed and how to cook it.  I already have a three year old who says he is going to use his bow and arrow to take a bear (followed by a moose and deer) because he loves the meat. It is unfortunate that instead of embracing the growth we are seeing with girls and women taking up hunting, trapping and shooting sports, there are some who miss the days when we were in the house instead of in the woods.

For the past 18 months or so, I have been helping the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to raise funds to build a war chest to prepare us for the next referendum.  In 2014, it took all sportsmen and women in and out of Maine, outdoor organizations across Maine and a chunk of support from national organizations like the Sportsmen’s Alliance, in order for us to win a second time.  If you get the MWCC newsletter or follow the Facebook group, then you know that we are looking at another fight on trapping and hunting with hounds very soon.  If you have read my blog or my past articles, you know that I am a registered Maine trapper AND had a successful bear hunt with hounds.  Even if you don’t participate, you should know how important both are to the outdoor industry and that we cannot afford to lose them in another ballot battle.

And speaking of those anti-hunting groups, for the past year or so, I have been helping to write the black bear species management plan with a handful of representatives from outdoor organizations across Maine and our incredible bear biologists.  We have also had HSUS at the table with us.  None of us came to the meetings thinking that we were going to change anyone’s opinion but that was not the point; our focus was only to come up with ways to keep our black bears healthy.  We had some intense discussions and all of us brought some strong thoughts and opinions with us, but we were able to work together to create the plan and feel good about sending it to the Steering Committee.

All three of these examples prove that the only way sportsmen and women will continue to win and protect our outdoor heritage is by uniting.  We can sometimes be our own worst enemies and we forget that we need everyone in this fight; bow hunter, rifle hunter, trapper, hound hunter, woman, man, meat hunter and trophy hunter… we all have something to lose if we don’t stay united and support one another.

As we prepare for 2017, let’s work on that; thanking and respecting every outdoors person because at the end of the day, we all love and care about the Maine woods and the animals here. We all want to keep doing what we have been fortunate enough to enjoy and we need one another to make that happen.





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Just shoot a doe


There were signs of deer everywhere! Tracks, rubs and fresh scrapes but for some reason, I was not seeing them.  Dad, on the other hand, was seeing deer everywhere he looked. One morning, he watched a spike horn chase a doe and fawn through the woods.  He walked out of the woods behind a doe and fawn another night.  He was seeing multiple does every time he sat or walked through the woods but instead of using that doe tag, he wanted that big, illusive buck that we knew was still hanging around.


I hung out in my stands and watched a lot of squirrels.  How could we be spending so much time in the woods and not come across a deer yet? It helped that Hubs had filled the freezer but we knew that there were deer all around us. Still, being in the woods was fantastic.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sitting is safer

On Veteran's Day, the wind was so bad that I climbed down from the Sky Condo to sit in the ground blind that we had not removed since turkey season.  I am usually all for rocking in the trees but there was just enough extra creeks happening that I felt better on the ground.


It sleeted, the wind blew and nothing moved.

Saturday was different.  I started off the same way as the weekend before; Sky Condo to tree seat.  I left the Sky Condo a little earlier than I had the week before hoping to see more deer than just the two does.  There were fresh rubs that were a little bigger than the ones the week before, but it wasn't from a large buck.


The leaves were somewhat crunchy and I took my time getting to the stand.  I was almost there when I saw two white flags flickering in the woods.  The does!  They were at my stand, eating. I was in the middle of the trail and totally exposed.  I slowly crept backward until I was up against a tree.  I couldn't see any antlers.  The first doe spotted me, turned and bounced into the woods with her tail up but she never blew.  I had lost sight of the second deer. I peered to my right to see if I could see her around the tree that had my stand in it.  That was enough for her, she blew at me and was gone.  That tell tale sign of danger left me in the woods alone for hours until Dad came.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Back into the woods

We had to revamp our hunting plan since we were now one hunter down, but Dad and I stuck with what he knew would work and where we thought the deer were.

I started the morning in the Sky Condo and when it was clear that nothing was moving through, I headed to a tree seat not far away.  There were fresh rubs along the path that I used and although they were made by small deer, it gave me hope that the deer would be moving through.


I left my pack at the bottom of the tree and climbed the 16 feet up to the seat.  I think I am more comfortable in treeseats than the bigger stands.  I can't move when I am up there because every part of me is exposed to unseen deer but there is something about being so much more present with nature than when you are hidden in a big box.  I rested my gun on the arm rests and kept watch for movement or footsteps.


I hadn't been there long when two brown bodies emerged from the thick hardwoods.  I twisted slightly and got my gun ready in case either of them had decent antlers.  I watched as one doe and then a second passed through my crosshairs and disappeared into the thick woods.  I turned back but left my gun in position in case there was a buck following them.

There was a squirrel rummaging through the leaves off to my right and it made me think back to when I was bear hunting and made a similar assumption. I glanced to my right and saw a deer pawing at the leaves and eating the acorns underneath. Soon, a second deer appeared. It had to have been the same two does.  They had circled in front of me and were making there way towards me.  They had no idea that I was there. I watched as they ate and could hear them crunching acorns.  The lead doe didn't seemed worried or cautious at all. The second one was on guard; pausing to look around, licking her tongue but she was the one who came the closest to me and they ended up walking within 20 feet of my stand, completely unaware that I was sitting there watching them.

Non-hunters don't fully understand what this sort of experience is like. If I had a doe permit, I would have easily shot either of them but it is such an amazing experience to watch these animals in their natural world, totally oblivious that they are being watched.  It is one of my favorite things about hunting!

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's finally deer season!

We've waited all year for this!  Deer season was back.  Hubs, Dad and I had a rough idea of where we were going to sit to start the morning, when and where we would move to next and the basic game plan for the morning hunt. But then, I looked at the trail camera pictures.

The 10 pointer that we had had on the camera last year had shown himself for the first time two days before at T3. Up until that point, we had only smaller bucks on the cameras.  But this one... we've been watching him for at least 4 years and he was beautiful.  I declared that I would start the season sitting in T3. Hubs was bumped to the Sky Condo and Dad would still hunt.

It was a perfect morning - quiet and calm.  I got into T3 and settled in.  I had a set of rattling antlers, a grunt call and a bleat.  The season officially started at 6:40am.  I was ready.  From my seat, I could watch 7 different shooting lanes. I picked up the antlers and as I prepared to rattle, a single gun shot rang out. It was close. I put the antlers down and dug my phone out of my pocket.  I sent a text to Hubs: You?
Yes. I think its the big crotch horn.
YEAH! I'm coming up. Is he down in the field?
No, he ran into the woods. 

I sat in the stand and waited. He had shot a deer at 6:54 - minutes into the rifle season. This was his second deer ever. I was so excited.  But as I sat in T3, Hubs and Dad were having their own adventure.  After hearing the gun shot, Dad made his way to the Sky Condo.  He and Hubs looked for blood where the deer had been standing and didn't see any. Dad, being the stealth hunter that he is, planned to walk parallel in the woods from where Hubs last saw the deer run in.  He jumped the deer after only a few steps and watched as the deer wobbled as he half ran over a small knoll.  Hubs stood at the Sky Condo and waited, in case the deer turned and ran back out in that direction. Dad circled further into the woods and planned to walk up the knoll that the deer had just disappeared behind.  He didn't have to walk far when the brown body came into view.  The deer was dead.

I couldn't take it any longer and after an hour of waiting, I packed my things up and headed to the Sky Condo.  I found the guys in the woods, dragging the deer out.  It was not the big crotch horn, but the new 6-pointer that had just started showing up on the trail camera.  His points were blunt from either fighting or rubbing when he was still in velvet.  Definitely not a bad deer to kick the season off with!




Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do they call it partidge hunting?

I don't bird hunt so I can never really be totally sure when people say that they are going bird hunting.  Does that mean partridge? grouse? aren't they the same thing? In this case, I wanted partridge.

Staci and I decided to try out luck partridge hunting this fall.  We loaded the shotguns up, our outdoor gear and drove into the empty dirt roads of the Maine woods.  The fog had not lifted from the valley but the sun was making the foliage glow on the sides of the mountains.


It could not have been a more perfect October morning. The colors were radiant and there was just a small breeze.  We left the main dirt roads and headed down skidder trails to look for birds that might be hanging out close to the road.


Moose season was starting the following week so we kept our eyes and ears out for moose while we drove and walked down the paths.  After not hearing or seeing any birds down one stretch, I backed my car back on to the main dirt road.  I didn't even have time to put the car in park or drive before a partridge flew in front of the windshield.  Staci and I looked at each other and re-parked the car and started walking to see if we could find the bird.  No luck.



We drove and stopped and listened. Drove more and kept an eye out for birds along the roadway. It was an almost perfect fall day and the colors and scenery and company made up for the lack of birds that we were seeing.


Finally, we turned a corner and saw a partridge in the road, strutting his stuff.  I came to a stop as quickly and slowly as I could while Staci got out and in position to take a shot.  The bird was nervous and jumped a few times as he crossed the road, angling away from us.  Before Staci could get a good shot off, the bird flew.

There were a few expletives and laughs before we headed back down the road.  We stopped to eat lunch in a small clearing and enjoyed the warm sun and cool breeze.  We went home empty handed but the experience and fun of trying a new hunt is always worth the time and effort.

Monday, November 14, 2016

You wouldn't believe

The things that I have been up to... Running out of things to write about, there was only one solution and that was to get outside and explore. 

Here is a quick glimpse of what I've been up to and what you will be reading about very soon!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What makes hunting in Maine so great

Hunting in Maine is unique.  Our landscape is different than most states, our predators are a lot more abundant (hello 36,000 black bear roaming the woods) and we have a shorter season that most.  Recently, I highlighted these challenges for the National Deer Alliance and wrote about why they makes Maine such a great place to hunt.

Click here to read my article for the National Deer Alliance.




Friday, September 16, 2016

Must have clothing for outdoor women

I did a radio interview recently and was asked about women's hunting apparel and if it is getting better. I ecstatically answered Yes!  Thanks to my involvement with EvoOutdoors, I have been fortunate enough to learn what you really need to be wearing when you are in the woods during bear season, deer season, coyote etc. With the holidays coming up, here are my MUST HAVEs for any outdoorwoman or man.

First Lite: I sit while I hunt and I was always getting sweaty on my way in or out of the woods. I layer so that I can stay warmer longer but it would also take me a while to regulate my body temperature after I got warm walking into my stand. I can only imagine how much more comfortable my hunts would have been had I learned about this company and actually worn their products years ago. Here are my must haves: start with the Lupine Crew as your base layer and follow that up with the Artemis Hoody and depending on the temps, I will add the Halstead Tech Fleece on top of that. These layers are so warm and breathable… I actually wore my Artemis fishing in 80+ degree weather (to cut the morning chill and reduce sun exposure) and I stayed dry and cool the entire time.  I also wear the Corrugate Guide Pants which are perfect for bear baiting when it is hot out and you want to limit the amount of exposure you have to ticks, mosquitoes etc.

Kryptek Helios kept me cool in the 90 degree heat

Kryptek: The very first time I sat by myself to bear hunt, it was 90 degrees and I had the wrong gun with me (see blog for compete story.) My must have is the Kryptek Helios ¼ zip top.  I was camo'd, dry and comfortable. It was incredible. I stayed scent free and was ready when that hunt turned exciting.

Prois: Kristie and Katherine have created a line for women that covers all kinds of hunts, locations and conditions. These ladies are hysterical on social media and are incredibly easy to contact and talk to about their gear if you have questions. So many of their pieces are must haves! Last fall, when deer season was too warm and I didn’t need a lot of layers, I wore my Prois Reversible Sherpa Vest with the blaze orange on the outside along with a Lupine crew and I was all set. This spring while Dad and I were scouting for turkey, I wore my Generation X Jacket.  We got caught in a downpour and when we made it back to the house, my jacket was almost completely dry! The rain rolled right off the jacket and I was dry. 

Prois Reversible Sherpa Vest and beanie






All three of these companies have extensive catalogues of gear and if you are wondering what to get the outdoorswoman or man in your life, check these places out.  Hunting gear is not cheap, we all know that, but I can promise you that upping the quality of your gear will pay off tremendously and the more comfortable you are while hunting, the longer you can stay and the more alert you will be. 













* I do not receive any benefits from these companies to write about their gear.  These are my opinions based on my experiences with their clothing.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

September starts ‘go-time’!

Check your batteries, clean up the SD cards and get those cameras ready for deer season to begin.  September really kicks off ‘go-time’ for deer hunting.  The trail cameras need to be in the best possible spots, the treeseats go into the trees, blinds get any last tweaks and the amount of food available is telling; is it a good apple year? acorns? Or will the deer be moving into the cornfields and competing with the turkeys and bear?

We have lucked out and had some pretty lean winters over the past couple of years. The deer on our property are quite healthy and have the body mass to prove it.  We have also been fortunate to have pictures of a fawn on the camera this year.  That marks two years in a row that we have had fawns born on the property! Hopefully this one is buck and we can watch those little buttons grow.


Deer season is also when I unwind.  If you have ever sat for hours on end, you know what I am talking about.  You melt into the landscape.  You hear the geese and squirrels and probably a few turkey. You can put away the cell phone (I make a point of doing it) and just process everything without worrying about Facebook notification, how many re-tweets you got or likes on Instagram.  It is a break from all of it and a chance to refocus on what is important. For me, it is like meditation, 12 feet off the ground.  I love it.  I look forward to it. 


Each weekend, it is exciting to plan our strategy and figure out who will move to which treestands and when. We share stories from our time in the woods and (I) become obsessed about trail camera pictures, rubs and new scrapes.  I can’t wait to see if I will get to watch this new fawn walk under my stand like last year’s fawn did. And I love being able to hunt with Dad and the comfort that comes from seeing his orange hat appear from the thick woods when it’s time to head in for lunch.
We will scout and plan and work hard this upcoming season to bring home meat.  But really, is there ever a bad day to be in the woods hunting?

As cliché as it is, hunting season is about so much more than killing a deer.  In this crazy world, hunting brings us back to our roots.  It allows us to reconnect with our families and enjoy being outside as the seasons change. I look forward to it every year and then find myself waking up on Sunday in late November and wondering where the time went.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

In the woods: Water birds

While Staci and I were out paddling, we had the chance to get pretty close to female Mallards and a Blue Heron as it fished.











Monday, August 29, 2016

Catching bass and watching for water snakes

I have no idea what Staci said after the words "water snake" came out of her mouth. I went into panic mode wondering if I was going to snag one with my fishing pole or if every bubble that came up from under the canoe was a snake below us. But, the plan was to catch bass and we climbed into the canoe and paddled off to do just that.


We started off with frog lures and within the first two casts, I had a bump on my line but nothing hooked. After a few more casts, Staci was landing bass on a regular basis.

One of about 15 bass that Staci caught
She was out fishing me almost 10 to one and I knew that I needed to hook something.  I cast into the shallows under one of the fallen down trees and boom! had a bite.  The fish hit and dove.  I could see the bass' light colored belly as it turned and went under the canoe.  Then, all of the tension was gone and so was my lure.  The fish grabbed everything and completely straightened my swivel.

I quickly got a new swivel and bigger lure tied on and kept casting.  Staci pointed out a fish that had surfaced a few times behind us.  That wasn't a fish!  We gave each other a look of understanding, put of rods down and paddled as the snake's head lifted out of the water and swam towards the opposite shore.

When we were a safe distance away, we started casting again.

Staci landed more bass and her first Pickerel. We talked, paddled, had a few motor boats pass us and fished. It was a beautiful day.  I was enjoying my time on the water and the beautiful scenery.  This was what made Maine fishing great.

Staci with her pickerel
After several hours, we decided to head back and get some lunch.  I was still unsuccessful in landing a fish. Staci went right back to catching bass.  One one cast, I had another bite and saw the long, skinny body of a pickerel under the water.  I was grateful that it threw the line before I got it into the boat.

My next cast was almost comical; I watched as the entire set up went flying into the water.  My line broke completely.  I was struggling. It was not my day on the water, that was for sure.

Staci fixed the line and put on a dark blue, crayfish lure.  It had a bright red hook attached to it. In my mind, it was too big and so odd colored (dark blue, really? will a fish see it?) that I was sure that I would throw out a few more casts and call it a day.  Staci was determined to have me catch at least one fish!

We paddled up to the dock where we had launched and started casting.  Boom! something grabbed Staci's line.  She set the hook and reeled. Whatever it was, it was big and not going without a fight. Suddenly, her reel snapped up and her lure was gone. The count was up to 3 at this point... good fishermen lose lures, right?

Another boat passed us and asked if we were catching anything.  I let her answer and I sat there and smiled.  I wasn't paying attention when I threw out my next cast and almost immediately, my pole was bending. Please, don't let it be a snake! I thought as I started reeling.  I was totally focused on landing this fish. I knew that once I got it close enough to the boat, Staci would have to help me net it.


I kept the line tight and when he came to the surface, I reeled more to get him as close to the boat as possible.  It took a few tries, but we got him into the net.  That blue crayfish lure had worked!  Staci and I each held it and estimated that the fish was between five and six pounds, which is impressive for a small mouth!  It is the biggest fish that I have ever caught, of any species!

Note: I am not holding the fish OUT for photos - I have my elbow braced on my knee to keep the fish up.

We had a very successful fishing trip! For the most part, we avoided the snakes, lost lures and hooked some great bass along the way. You can't beat a great fishing trip with a friend.