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Bridget and I left for the Miramichi on Thursday, September 10th, hoping to grab a couple extra days fishing. The river was quite high, and the foliage didn't even seem to be thinking about autumn colors yet. The view from in front of Vin Swazey's camps, leased for the season by Bullock's Lodge:
LOL, I also figured out the "landscape" function on my little Nikon AW110 (a great fishing camera, waterproof and shockproof; takes nifty underwater shots):
Home for Bridget and I in September is always the 2-bedroom "Log Camp", well-stocked with firewood to ward off chilly September nights. We love its warmth and coziness...and she loves having the second bedroom as her dressing room. Trust me, she needs it.
I fished a little on Friday. Bridget spent the day setting up her office (yup, her office) and organizing her week's fishing outfits. Not much to report on the fishing, but in the middle of the night, I awoke with what felt like every muscle in my back in full spasm. Agonizing. Bridget said if I screamed one more time she was going to dial 9-1-1. (note: the fully staffed EMT station is less than a mile from the Bullock's lodge operation...always a good thing!) Anyway, I have a history of muscle spasms, and always carry Flexoral, a muscle relaxant. And I always carry Famous Grouse, another important muscle relaxant. Between the two, things calmed down, but I was unable to fish on Saturday.
Lifesaver that she always is, as soon as Renate Bullock heard of my problem, she showed up at camp with heating/vibrating pads for both a chair and a long one for the bed. I might have really been dead in the water, so to speak, without those two units. By Sunday, I was able to start fishing again.
I never know whether to laugh or cry when folks get to talking about "the Golden Years!"
Things picked up on Sunday, the 13th. After losing a nice salmon, I did land a spiffy little grilse. For some reason, I was using a single hand rod for the first time in a few years when I hooked this fish. I use a Hardy Marquis Salmon 2 reel on my spey rod, the drag on which is the palm of your hand. I was using Bridget's rod with an Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor V on it. That reel has it's own drag which would stop a truck. I'm glad this was a little fish, because I couldn't remember what to do with my winding hand for many seconds! I wish I had a video of my fumbling!
Bridget is a huge New York Football Giants fan. She wore her Giants cap for good luck. Didn't work for her or the Giants that day, sad to say.
The evening sun can play interesting tricks on the Miramichi. These trees were still very green, but the setting sun showed them to be otherwise!
Our good friends and campmates Bob and Linda Warren got to camp on Saturday, and also started fishing Sunday. Taking a little break here.
Details are, as I said, a little sketchy for me, but I do know that Linda was top rod for the week with three grilse. Here's one of them in the net, and one in the hand, on her fly, the Glenlivet.
Bridget got in the game on Wednesday with a nice grilse on, of course, a Celtic Beauty!
Bob hooked several salmon on his Golden Pheasant Spey over the course of the week, but none of them made it to the net.
Another reason Wednesday was a good day is that our good friend Bill Tomiello pulled into camp a few days early for his annual fall outing at Bullock's Lodge. I made Low Country Boil for dinner that night:
Bill is an incredibly good fly tyer, and he always brings plenty of flies with him!
It's always fun to have dogs in camp. This year we had Bill's very laid back black lab Cinder and Bob and Linda's English setter Molly:
As I said, Cinder is one laid back girl:
Molly...not so much. By the end of the week she has a deep path worn along the bushes at the river's edge:
Saturday, we threw a little picnic together. Friends from out-of-town and awesome fly tyers Brian Cuming and Stephen Nye (and his delightful wife Lottie) came, and we enjoyed their company immensely. AND we thank them mightily for the wine they all brought, the blues CD's Brian brought, and the classic flies from Stephen that he said were for fishing only!
Lottie and Stephen:
Brian's mode of transport:
It was a beautiful day for a picnic!
We had other old friends in camp up river at Renate's guest camp, Walter and Dick. Always good to be with them to share a lot of laughs.
and the occasional cocktail!
Walter is an accomplished river cleaner!
Don't remember which day he landed it, but Bill T. got into a few fish over the course of his stay:
This trip is essentially Bridget's only vacation of the year, and I am so happy that we can spend it together...
and that we have these three guides to share the week with. Thank you Dan, Renate and Vin of Bullock's Lodge (www.bullockslodge.com)!
In my humble opinion, the evening skies of autumn over the Miramichi are a bucket-list grade experience. If you haven't experienced them, you should. Thanks to Renate for this photo: