Monday, June 17, 2013

Miramichi Salmon Camp - June, 2013

I always look forward to this particular annual trip to the Miramichi, centered around doing the auction for the Central New Brunswick Woodmen's Museum dinner where they honor a local lumberman of note.  Usually throw in a little work on the camps or homes of friends, and, if I'm lucky (I usually am), a little fishing.

Left home in Bennington, Vermont at 4:30am on June 3rd.  Uneventful trip.  Stopped at LL Bean's to check out their fly shop.  Uh, not so much, frankly.  But it's their store, so I guess they can play it anyway they want, eh?  Felt good to stretch the legs for a bit, anyway.

Don't forget that you can click on the pics for a larger version.

Eleven hours later I arrived in Boiestown, New Brunswick, my home away from home.   The Pine Camp was home base for this trip. 

The river was WAY high, and in the early evening, the rains came. But when the sky, as the evening wears on, takes on these hues and you're in the company of good friends at camp right on the river, who cares about a little high, cold water?

Tuesday morning we decided to fish a bit from the island across from camp.  Good high water opportunities for trout...and maybe even an early bright salmon.  And the sun was shining!

Renate was sporting quite a smile, too (as well as a VERY cool hat)!

However, into every beautiful day, a little darkness falls.  In this case, the motor on the boat Dan Bullock and I were using decided to go on strike.  Fortunately, Vin's boat, the ever-faithful FTG, was available for a tow.  Fun to watch, anyway.  Thought Dan was going to get wet at one point!

And back to the boathouse.

Thursday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday were spent helping Dan Bullock straighten out a few issues at his home.  The weather cooperated, but the black flies were flat out vicious. Yikes!

Friday came around an it was time to fish!  Vin and I were going to head out into some clearing, dropping water at 10am.   "Were" is the operative word in that sentence.  As I was gearing up, Vin came around the corner of camp with a very serious look on his face.  Serious for him, anyway.

Now, what transpires next is open to some conjecture and opinion.  There is one school of thought that thinks Vin really did just happen to walk all the way around the back of the camp and suddenly discover that the hot water heater was literally falling out of its little housing.  However, there is another school of thought that is of the opinion that: a. Vin is very unlikely to walk all the way around back of the camp just to see how things are fairing when a fishing trip is in the immediate offing and b.  he was just saving this little baby up until I got done working with Danny and just somehow neglected to mention it.  I mean, he is almost 80.  Probably just slipped his mind.  Right.  LOL.

Anyway, a little photo essay on the task at hand.  The tank was literally hanging by its copper tubing.

To his everlasting credit, Vin did pitch in on the job, giving up his usual supervisory position:

So how do a 79 and a 63 year old get a heavy water heater (yes, dear reader, we had drained the water out of it) back into its cubby hole?   Ancient technology!! The ramp!

And a special shout-out to Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Adventures on the Little Southwest Miramichi.  Debbie stopped in to pick up something up from Vin, dressed in shorts and open-toe sandals.  We were halfway up the ramp with the heater, struggling mightily, and she just pitched right in and put her shoulder to it and gave us what we really needed to get it where it belonged: a woman's touch!  Wish I had gotten a pic of her very muddy feet!  What a good sport.

That job took most of the day;  fished a bit that evening with Renate and Vin, landed several trout on good ol' Celtic Beauty, using the T&T  12 foot, 8 weight two hander.

Saturday we ran a few errands, pretty much taking it easy until the Woodmen's Museum fundraiser that evening.  Raining cats and dogs and fish, too, I think. 

Vin and his WAY better half Hazel host a little cocktail "pre-party" before the fundraiser, which is always a lot of fun.  This year Vin held a little wine-tasting event:

And Renate hastily explained that she's NOT a two-fisted drinker, she merely had a sample of each wine in both hands.  Right.

And if ever there was a rose between two thorns, it's Michele Swazey.  Poor thing.  Alan Wilson on the left.  How unusual to see him with a can of beer! heh heh.

I didn't do it.  Nobody saw me.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Woodmen's Museum was great fun with great food, as always.  Happy to say the auction raised more than $14,000 to help pay the bills.

Sunday, we cleared Saturday night out of our heads.  River up at least a foot.  No fishing today. Light rain.  Vin and I mowed lawn.  I drew his Kubota.  Once I got the air conditioning dialed in and found a good radio station, I cranked right along.  Couldn't figure out where the windshield wiper switch was, though.  And that hydrostatic drive...nice.  Was especially fine to see all the blackflies on the OUTSIDE of the cab!   Always hard to come home to my 30-year old, gear shift, no cab Kubota after that!

Finally, MONDAY IS FISHING DAY!!!  Renate, Vin and I headed into the boonies for some lake and river fishing for brook trout.

When you pull up to a sight like this, how can you have a bad day?

and this:

Gearing up:

Putting in:

Captain Vin:

I seem to have to do all the heavy lifting (thank you for all the goodies, Renate):


Heavy lifting including when certain "captains" let the anchor rope down too fast and it comes off its pulley on the bow! (probably my best side, sigh)

We did manage to get into enough Brookies for lunch:

Fly of the day (for me) was the venerable Chief Needabah:

After the morning's fishing, we were fortunate to have our buddy Glen D. prepare an awesome lunch for us!

He's a fabulous cook.  His boiled potatoes are almost good as his brook trout fresh out of the lake. YUM!

Good food, Great friends. 

After lunch, we decided to head for the river to see if we could find some sea-runs.  Vin said he knew just how to get there.  Right.  Nice scenery though (we got to see some of it a couple of times.  You know, back-tracking).   But I'd never have gotten to see some of it if Vin really DID know the direct route!!  (silver lining/dark cloud kind of thing)


We finally made it down to the river for a little fish.  Black flies were wicked, and the river just wasn't in good shape.  I seem to have become a timid wader!

Nothing going on besides making great memories on the river.  Wish you coulda been there!

Thanks to all my friends on the Miramichi for another special time!