Springtime its not just…

In January yaknow!

But the calendar informs me that springtime arrived on the 20th. But the actual springtime just arrived for me this week. I heard the spring peepers last night! What a joyous sound to gladden the heart! But the other harbingers that I have observed are important too. On the way to work I saw a flock of Common Golden Eyes on Swan Lake resting before they pushed north the next day. (probably just a stop off before they worked their way to Firth Lake) Yesterday evening with the slight drizzle the yard smelled of night crawlers and as the sun was about to rise today (I was up letting Bart out!) I heard the unmistakable song of the white throated sparrow, AKA the Canada bird. It brought a tear to my eye, the warbling reminder that in just a short time we’d be back in the welcoming bosom of the great boreal north. Another thing that I noticed wasn’t spring related — I was going to the drive through ATM at the bank and I noticed that the gravel covering the parking lot islands and surrounding the shrubs was precisely the same as the gravel on the driveway in front of the lodge at camp! In this land of gray limestone and buff sandstone it was stunningly beautiful. There were no cars behind me so I stopped and rolled down the window and enjoyed the sight of a little bit of “home” here in Pennsylvania. Here’s another pretty quirky thing that put me mentally in a boat on Kapiskong Lake up the grassy catching tens of beautiful pike. This is what triggered that …. in the morning I was cleaning out my nose with a napkin. I removed the voluminous remnants of the night’s dried boogers and took my first good unencumbered breath of the day. Low and behold – the unmistakable sweet smell of pike slime! LOL Don’t cringe – its not as bad as the daily news from the Trump/Putin administration!

These things get me thinking about all the things I need to get done at camp this year. One of the biggies is the construction of a new left dock. I was thinking that I may hit Art Walker up to come to camp for a working week – he has offered. What the HELL! He’s retired yaknow. I would also like to get the trebuchet settled and throwing again too. But there are so many more important matters – such as replacing the water heater in the lodge as well as putting concrete floors in cabin number 9 and a litany of things far too numerous for me to attempt to list here. I would have to refer to my lists back on my table in the lodge. Along with these less fun items on a list another list runs in parallel. The list of lakes to try to visit and fish this year. So many opportunities to revisit old friends and make new ones or just explore. Invariably the list is barely scratched once I am presented with the reality of what needs to get done and the limited amount of my time – but that doesn’t alter the fact that it is so much fun to think about.

So dear reader I invite you to daydream about the coming summer and all the fun things you will be doing at camp this year as well as all the new lakes and places you wish to visit. So much fun to be had!


I still have much on my plate here though with first day of trout season, the weekend at Duda’s Kellettville cabin as well as the tropical fish auctions on the weekends with my friend Ernie, weekly pool nights at Josh’s and getting the yard whipped into shape and……(there it goes again the “to do” list encroaching on the fun list – stop that!)


I’m Back

Yes dear reader after a brief hiatus I am back. The hiatus was initially propagated due to my old computer getting so slow that writing a post was like swimming in loon-shit! A reference to the muck in the great boreal swamps. Then the fan died on the computer – so I tore it apart and fixed the fan – some pesky dust bunnies has made a home in the miniature squirrel cage! Imagine that! So the computer was fixed and I only had to blow into the air intake to occasionally start the fan. But the computer was still slow. So Janet got me a new laptop (this one) and I basically avoided using it all summer trying several different virus removers etc. – but nothing worked very well. And the computer was only 6 years old!!!! LOL

Thus I am now on the new puter.

Much has transpired during the hiatus but I will skip most of that to report on my last foray to the great boreal (sane) north. I finally went ice fishing on Lake Nipissing with some great friends. We caught several fish and had a great time in the ice condo and fishing on the ice.  We were warm and cozy drinking beer and playing cards as the wind howled at -3 degrees and about 60kph! The snow was swirling and drifting around the ice condo to about a depth of two and a half feet! During the day the snow was so kicked up that you couldn’t discern any difference from sky-horizon-lake-or snow that you’re standing on! If you turned away from the ice condo you existed on a perfect sphere of whiteness! It was a very cool effect – unnerving yet still exhilarating. The sun then set with great color through the ice crystals and night fell. The wind died and the suspended divided ice particles from the previously howling wind fell to the ground reflecting the lights from the metropolis of North Bay. A fabulous effect which was nearly impossible to photograph with its full luminous nuances. Fabulous!

As I said we caught several fish and almost none that were of a keeping size. But we caught a good range of species pickerel (walleye), yellow perch, freshwater burbot or lingcod and the topper for me was a splendid spotted mud puppy! But all told the weekend was a resounding success! I’ll present some pictures for your perusal.


I forgot to mention that we took in an Ice Sculpture Exhibition at Bridge North. It featured polar bear riding for the kids!


There was also beaver petting! What a great idea! Jeesh these Canadians have such great ideas!


Here I am checking to see if an ice sculpture is cold as a witch’s teat!


This was a really cool (cold too) back lit wolf! But enough buffoonery on to the pics of the ice fishing.


Treking about 2 miles out onto the lake to the ice condo – note the island on the right! Cool stuff!


Here’s our humble little ice hut LOL. Note the gas grill and beer cooler right next to the door below the picture window.


A gorgeous sunset on a frozen lake Nipissing!


Wow even Spiderman ice fishes!!!


Here we are warm and cozy in our condo drinking and fishing through the floor!


Here’s a fine little pickerel caught on my trusty Iron Man fishing rod! I couldn’ find a Spiderman one!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Here’s one of my favorite pictures – Bill took it without a flash through the picture window of the remainder of our crew having a beer before playing cards. Bill was out in the howling cold wind.

So there was a little taste of the weekend – a delightful weekend.



A Day on Firth…


We took a day off and spent it tooling around Firth and catching fish. It was slightly overcast with water temps in the low to mid 60’s F with a coming cool front and south easterly breezes. The fishing wasn’t as fast as we would have liked but we caught some fine fish and had a delightful day. Of course the Evil Janeeto from the Planet Janetron was the first to strike! With a fine bass at our first stop on the “little shoal” right off of Camp.



She set the hook, the little beastie jumped then she got slack line and thought that he had thrown the hook! But after some furious reeling he was confirmed as online. But after the fish was fought and landed the Evil one exclaimed that it wasn’t a very good fight and she was expecting more! So after a few impromptu renditions of Peggy Lee’s Is That All There Is?? And a few more fruitless casts we moved to the shallow side of the weed bed bay.

On my third cast I hooked into a nice beast right at the terminus of the cast. He jumped and fought like a champ but in light of the Evil One’s earlier comment about un-met expectations…



There I am yawning and sooo bloody bored!



There he is in the boat about 18 – 19″ – just an estimate I got him back into the lake quickly. Fun fish! In the meantime Joan was plugging along and catching bass and pike but as she always catches so many fish we seldom take pictures of her fish its just too too commonplace! Then the beast hit! It was to allow Joan to garner the points for the three specie trophy for the day as well as getting her…



the first perch of the season! What a fight – what a beauty!!!!

They were talking about having fish again for supper but I didn’t feel like filleting and cooking fish again so let them all go. We supped on juicy jumbo hotdogs, coleslaw and fries instead!

Now for the much awaited and anticipated yearly report on the reserves and inventory at the Fabulous Sportsmen’s Camp Single Malt Scotch Library!

At present we have 21 different varieties of Scotch and a Canadian pretender (quite nice actually) and a very special treat of a mystery scotch that was procured for the Library from overseas a tremendous expense!!! It is a wee dram and is at cask strength and is reputed to be amongst the finest of complex delightful scotches!



The “wee dram” is in the silver flask seated on a sheet of the finest parchment!

So Here It is ….


Aberfeldy 12yo highland 50% full

Ardbeg 10yo islay 15%

Auchentoshan 12yo lowland 75%

Balvenie 14yo speyside 70%

Bowmore 10yo islay 40%

Bowmore 12yo islay  50%

Dunbeahgan (single cask reserve noless!) 8yo skye 40%

Dalwhinnie 15yo highland 80%

Edradore 10yo highland 40%

Highland Park 18yo Orkney 20%

Glen Kinchie 12yo edinburg 75%

Laphroaig 10yo islay 30%

Glen Livet 12 yo (distillers reserve) islay 80%

Glen Livet 12yo islay 50%

Glen Livet 12yo islay 50%

Macallan (Alex a Scotsman that knows states it’s – “the Queen of scotches!”) 12yo speyside 25%

McClellands 10yo speyside 80%

Glen Morangie 10yo highland 40%

Glen Rothes 10yo speyside 80%

Scapa 16yo Orkney 10%

Scapa 16yo Orkney 90%

Talisker 10yo skye 75%

The Mysterious rare Wee Dram cask strength 12yo speyside

Plus The Canadian pretender:

Glen Breton 10yo cape Breton 50%

Ok – that is our inventory at the Library –

The Ardbeg is getting low and it is a perennial favorite. Highland Park is low and is my favorite. Laphroaig is also getting skinny and always is a staple of any scotch tasting as the deep end of the spectrum – the sledge hammer of scotches. The last one on the endangered list is the McClellands.

In the last Blog I mentioned the new addition to cabin number 5 to whet Jim Baxter’s curiosity and now I’ll submit another additional mystery to whet Good Phil’z curiosity about a mysterious new addition to the game room in the store. Hmmm what could it be??



Here we go again!

Yes, here we go again! Another summer in paradise! bringing things online – the power, the water and getting all the new fun things ready for the coming summer. So much new stuff. Too many things to mention yet. The treb has been refurbished but I still have to find time to restock the weight basket to bring it online yet there are more pressing things – like the general utilities. I also have downloaded a few pictures for eye candy etc.

So we drove through the night and arrived rested and raring to go – yeah right! The ground was still frozen and the house was as cold as a witches tit! But no complaints here we were once again in the bosom of the boreal north! The first thing we did was begin the important task of thawing the ice under the back porch to facilitate  the water getting to the lodge and upper camp. The trees were skeletal and snow was evident wherever it had sloughed off of a roof. But we do our best!



Our nefarious plans were successful – the water came through to the upper camp. It only took several bottles of Alexander Keith’s to get the ground thawed! Unfortunately our local supplier hadn’t planned for our arrival. So we had to go with a second choice.

But things are moving quickly as I write the Pens are playing for the Stanley Cup and there is much noise emanating from the living room!! I don’t yet know the outcome of the game but as I type the screaming lets me know of the state of the game and scores. The blackflies are out and extremely friendly and the small sneaky bastard mosquitoes are here too. Yet we have had some beautiful days and the lake temps are rising and we are seeing non-lake dragon flies gorging themselves. We have one guess already from Murph on the greatest holiday of the north – the dragon-fly hatch! June 12th! Janet (the Evil on from the Planet Janetron) says it will be June 2nd! Of course she has onsite information. Given the “current conditions” as they say in weatherman parlance I think it will be early. Unfortunately we won’t get to see the Bugmasters this year and we miss them greatly as this looks like it would be another year where they would have a great time.  We’ve already had a great pizza night treating our newest guests (the Duane Dan and Jeremy crew)  to the delights of wood fired pizza.

But I digress the leaves are out now and we are being treated to the first blossom of the dandelions and the fervent crush of the humming birds. I will leave you with a couple pictures of the camp in all its decrepitude and the beautiful yellow blush prior to The Evil one mowing them down.





As a teaser to Jim Baxter we have made a major addition to the niceties of Cabin number 5. But to allow the expectations to build I will not let the cat out of the bag what it is.


Summer is coming…

and its a good thing as with it comes an end to my small Winter purgatory. Perhaps that’s far too dour a word to apply to my winters here in the family home. I have all the joys of local friends, weekly pool nights, nights out, getting things done around the property, observing the political absurdity du jour, trout season and my yearly sojourn to Kelletville and Duda’s cabin for a weekend of hilarity – cards – adventure – drinks and occasional fishing.

Trout season treated me very well as always with a warm first day and sparse traffic on the stream of my youth. I caught more than a dozen and had some titanic struggles with two different hold over rainbows. One eluded me with the classic run then jump with the head-shake. But it was a temporary victory on his part – I caught him about an hour later on my way back upstream. He tried the same tactic but this time my hook set was fast! What a fine fish and he was returned to his pool. The other fine rainbow was caught at the terminus of my cast and fought like a champ. I only kept three stockers that a friend had requested the rest were returned to the stream for others to tempt.

The weekend at Duda’s Cabin in Kelletville was also delightful. The weather was perfect and all the usual suspects were in attendance from across Pennsylvania. We caught up and played cards deep into the nights and even had a few games with our friend Mr. Beefeater! The fishing and adventure was especially good this year. Were trekked to the falls on Logan and fished our way downstream from there catching many small natives. It was my first time on this section of the stream and I was a little disappointed as Logan didn’t get into terrain that formed very many deep pools that would hold larger trout. So we cut that adventure short, climbed back to the car had some beverages whilst our hearts told us we weren’t in our twenties anymore and travelled to Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek – one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful streams and perhaps one of my all-time favorites.. At The Salmon we had a picnic catching fish! We all got tired of fighting the feisty blighters, before we ended our day stressing our hearts once again traversing heartbreak hill to get back to our vehicle. But that hill was nothing compared to the climb out of what I  lovingly will call  the Logan Canyon!

So that’s the high points – sorry no pictures I took many and they are great but we are in the midst of packing to leave for Camp tomorrow. Our time in our little purgatory is at an end and we will soon be in the boreal north communing with the true heaven that is the wilderness of Canada.

Next blog will have pictures and be from Camp – I can’t wait. See you all this summer!





The Tao of…


(Yes we’re home now but I am writing a couple blogs that I would have written while we were still in camp had I not been busy and depressed about leaving)

One of the fun things that I got to do this late summer was take Bob and his friend Ken Pike fishing on a lake up the grassy river system. Bob has been posited to be “the most pleasant pike fisherman in the world” but his friend Ken, an avid fly fisherman had never been pike fishing before. So I viscerally knew that I was in for a fun day of fishing and that it would probably take hours of harsh reprimands to eradicate all the outlandish bad habits that Ken had learned and cultivated whilst fly fishing. But being the natural teacher and overall sadistic – er I mean – helpful person I am I looked forward the minor challenge. And besides Ken would only be about 10 feet away from me in the boat and I made an issue to bring one of my longer paddles.

Thus my day was consumed with putting the guys on the pike and catching pike and berating poor Ken for not setting the hook violently enough. But really it wasn’t long before ken got into some pike as well even though he was still a little light on the hook set – LOL. As the day went on and I imparted my vast experience and wisdom vis a vis  pike fishing it soon began to make a discernible difference yet Ken exclaimed that there were techniques that I was keeping to myself! I poo poo’d the idea but after “codgitating”  (the act of an elderly curmudgeon engaged in self reflection) on his statement and discussing it with Janet he was probably correct. As Janet pointed out to me, while we were having cocktails on the beach watching the sun set, I probably have been in the act of “piloting” a mepps for an elapsed time longer than some of the students the I harassed mercilessly substitute teaching have been alive! Truth, I thought to myself, and there are probably hundreds of subtle nuances that I employ subliminally. For about a week after Bob and Ken Left I tried to discover the hidden nuances of my technique and codify them into a blog. After many hours of arduous and cathartic self-reflection I had recorded into a many page blog my techniques that would doubtlessly change the lives of hundreds – nay thousands of fishermen around the world, solve world hunger, cement peace in the middle east, unlock the massive potential of nuclear fusion as a viable power source as well as explain the eternal voting mystery of the redneck republican! But alas Just as I was about to post this all encompassing treatise the WordPress Site crashed! My writing and insights had been fueled by a half gallon of Mr. Beefeater, roses lime cordial, and space age hipster tonic water all ionized by the powerful energies emanating from low level existential aurora borealis. But my words were GONE and the Mr. Beefeater was Gone and that was the last ever of the space age tonic water – also GONE FOREVER!  Now “They” say that once something is on the internets that it is there forever…but I couldn’t recover the pearls that I was endeavoring to cast before the vast electronic porcine hordes. Gone forever! I only hope that perhaps someday in the not too distant future a professional electronic archaeologist will stumble onto my rosetta stone like parcel of electronic wisdom and subsequently reveal it to the world for the good of all mankind.

The last few days at camp were great, the weather held nicely and I got a lot of things taken care of, as well as getting the camp closed. Almost every clear night gave us aurora and there was only a couple days with snow. But the night of the lunar eclipse it was cloudy. I guess you can tell I miss it.

A Sportsmen’s Camp Riddle…

For you.

How are Jack and Sled better than 6 (six) Thai Hookers?

As it is a riddle and not a joke I can’t just give you the answer – so I will let you cogitate this most momentous of queries whilst I regale you with the recent doings from the camp.

Our favorite time of the year has past with the coming and going of the Al and Evil Phil as well as the Baxter crew. But their time here was extremely well spent with much hijinks. One of the highpoints was Evil Phil’s domination of the fishing contest! I don’t recall the total length of the 5 best fish that he caught that day but I can tell you that the average size of each of the bass was a little over 18″! Amazing! And that’s not even factoring in his advancing years, his seriously disabling shoulder injury, alcoholism, male pattern baldness, early onset Alzheimers, and not even to mention the completely malicious sabotaging actions of his boat-mates!!! So it was truly a triumph!

We also have had several wood fired pizza days as well as many bean bags on the beach days and never to be missed national Holidays – Vodka on the Beach Day (the prime minister calls The Evil Janeeto (from the planet Janetron) each year to designate the date of this floating Holiday), Mojito Monday (held on the porch of Café Buss due to rain) and a new and deadly one this – Gumby Mundy. Of course these holidays were also in addition to our normal daily happy hours at the beach.

The shower of the Perseids was especially spectacular this year as I was prevailed upon to fire up the auroral induction coils as well as call HAL in New Castle to pump additional energy via the HARP installation to provide a good northern lights show as we viewed dozens of shooting stars streak through the heavens at the camp fire.

But hasn’t all been fun and games – I have completed a new wooden boat and it has been named “Green with Envy” by an Ava conducted naming contest, and I am very far along with the renovation of the trebuchet. The weight has been removed and the rotting substructure of the device has been hauled away and new treated foundations and hardpoints for the cocking and trigger mechanisms are in place. I just need to lower the device onto the foundation and dig the holes for the hardpoints. Many thanks for the enthusiastic help of the Trebuchet renovation team.

World's only crack trebuchet renovators!

Just another of those bizarre things that we do here at Sportsmen’s Camp! So we’re probably the only camp in the north that has a working trebuchet, or a woodfired pizza oven for that matter what other crazy things might we do? As you may have already guessed that was not a rhetorical question. I was sorting through junk in the shop and trying without success to bring order to chaos when I came onto 3 gas grill rotisserie motors that I have gleaned from the dump over the years. I tested each one in turn before labelling them and storing them. As I gazed at the slowly rotating square arbor socket on each of the motors the motion put me in mind of the speed at which a mirrored disco ball turns – hmmmmm disco ball eh? Well the idea emerged full blown from the brain structure where all zany things emanate – bizzaribellum – “If you build it they will come! If you build it they will come!…” There was no denying the compulsion – I had to build a mirrored disco ball from things found at the dump and have a retro disco dance in the shop! Oh the bizzaribellum is a cruel taskmaster! So on next trip to the dump, the bottom half of a weber kettle charcoal grill and several mirrors were collected. I then removed the legs from the grill bottom and fashioned a suspension mechanism for the rotisserie motor and grill half from the shop ceiling. Next I brought my prodigious glass cutting talents to bear. Many years of building fish tanks and cutting thick glass to millimeter precision made this exercise seem like a walk in the park! A couple of rainy nights and the glass was cut and glued onto the weber kettle – Voila! a Mirrored Disco Ball! After some experimentation with placement, two LED focused maglites were pressed into service and the dance was on!

Northernmost Disco Ball

Northernmost Disco Ball

The dance was a hoot! The Evil One provided the music and selected the play list of many interactive and fun songs – The Chicken Dance (Sled fav!), The Hokey Pokey (Indeed what it’s all about!) American Pie, Mac The Knife, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, and You can Call Me AL were among the favorites. There was dancing, drinking and hilarity till the wee hours of the night. If you are interested in seeing how the dancing lights looked in the shop for the dance visit Janet’s Sportsmen’s Camp Facebook page. I think she even posted a video. It was quite fun!

The cold weather is still a long way off but this is the time of year for “snow” anyway – but its fireweed fluffy snow. Here’s a shot of the fireweed fluff coming off my lupine patch

the best kind of snow

the best kind of snow

Ok enough about the hijinks the fishing has been great and the summer weather has finally settled into some heat and about a weekly rain thanks to the developing Bermuda high. The water temp is about 76F and we’ve had a couple of rainy days but the outlook is good and the summer isn’t over even though it is definitely moving way too quickly!!

Ok – ok – I haven’t forgot – Why are Jack and Sled better than 6 Thai hookers? As you may have guessed this had something to do a late night drinking in the store. After me and Phil (the good one) got trounced by Sled and Buss at darts Phil suggested that we finish up the evening with several games of bumper pool. So we took the top off the table and cleaned it up. Then me and Phil proceeded to beat Sled and Buss like rented mules! LOL But they deserved it after how they drilled us at cricket! After the last of the games we were sitting around finishing our last beers and Phil told us the story of his baby shower. Apparently eastern NY has an interesting custom that when the women are at the baby shower the men go out. (good idea!) So Phil and a very good friend who had just come back from a trip to Thailand were playing 8 ball. Phil’s friend, prior to the game, regaled him with his exploits of playing pool with 6 Thai Hooker pool hustlers and how he got several pointers (at pool, lets assume that his friend was completely adept in the other activities he shared with them!). So as it would happen Phil’s friend was shooting hard with good precision and had Phil down by 5 balls when he missed. Phil lined up his next shot and looked down the cue and the realization hit him – “This is nothing more than bumper pool – and I’ll shoot it just as Jack and Sled taught me – shoot light with finesse and never leave you opponent an easy shot”! Phil then ran all but one of his balls and left his friend in a shit position for his last ball then the 8. His friend makes the last ball but misses the 8 because of positional difficulties. Phil then drops his last ball and is lined up on the 8 and drops it easily. Da dah dah dah duh DAA  DAAAA! And thus Jack and Sled (teaching you pool) are better than 6 Thai Hookers!!! Even though the activities after the game won’t be near as fun!