I headed up to Boiestown, New Brunswick and camp at Bullock's Lodge (formerly Tuckaway Cabins) at 4:30am, July 7th for a two week stay. Other than, as usual, picking the wrong lane at Customs (my guy let one car through for every 4 in the other lane), it was an uneventful, ten and a half hour drive. I arrived to this kind of day:
We had a pretty full camp of ne'er-do-wells!
L to R: Bill D., Pete W., moi, Vin, Jamie W. and Bill T. Not in the pic because they were busy fishing rather than posing stiffly are Bob and Linda Warren.
The river was low and getting lower, the air temps were hot and getting hotter. Not looking like a productive week, from a hooking perspective. The evening's were so warm, I didn't fish. Some of the others did, though, and had limited success. Linda Warren hooked up on her Glenlivet fly:
and her worse half Bob made good use of his fly, the Cutty Sark:
Early in the week, we had the usual coffee breaks out on the river,
but by the end of the week, we were much more interested in ice water than a hot beverage!
During the week, I had visits from two friends from the Fredricton, NB area, Brian Cuming and then Rob Feeney...both arrived bearing gifts! Brian brought me a batch of music CD's he burned for me, including new Clapton and Van Morrison discs; made the drive home WAY more enjoyable! Rob stayed for lunch on Sunday, and left me an incredible Por Larranga 'lonsdale' Havana, Cuba cigar. It was wonderful! I'm going to have to come up with a pretty cool way to return the favors!
It might have been too hot to fish some evenings, but it was never too warm to eat well. A typical meal of steaks, camp potatoes and corn on the grill:
Vin found a place that would overnite oysters. They didn't last long!
Jamie's son Pete has always had strange eating habits when away from home. He did some very strange things to his steak:
If dinner is on the table, Vin is never very far away. (I bought the mason jar/straw thingy at the Woodmen's Museum. It looked (and is) perfect for drinking Sangria!
And here's Pete doing what any recent college grad (Bowdoin 2013) should be doing:
From a fishing standpoint, the week was pretty much a bust for our cabin. Bill D. landed a grilse mid-week, and I finally hooked a grilse Sunday morning. Fooled by a size 10 Celtic Beauty, I had it on until it's first jump. Later that morning I had what was probably the most vicious take I've ever experienced, and that same Celtic Beauty. Alas, having taken (unbeknownst to me) barbless fishing to new heights, I never saw the fish. Note to self: check fly often even when using two-hander with next to no backcast.
Speaking of two-handers, I was really pleased with the Scott T2H 1258/4 I picked up just before the trip. I also fished my T&T DH11208/4 and Loomis Roaring River 12'6" 7/8 Stinger GLX. I think I liked the Scott the best. And thus endeth the first week.
My second week was dedicated to brightening up Dan Bullock's kitchen by installing a five foot picture window in window-less wall. But also to a little more fishing. Allan Wilson treated Vin and I to a morning on the water at McKiel camp:
There wasn't any action on the river, but I had a ball with small brook trout and a size 10 bomber in McKiel Brook!
Another morning I fished the Sevogle, but the weather and the river were really starting to get warm, so it was just another relaxing morning of casting practice (which I can always use).
I fished the Salmon Museum's pool, too (to the same effect as above):
My trips to the Sevogle and the Museum Pool were in conjunction with the Miramichi Salmon Association's "Classic". While it is a fund-raiser to some extent for the MSA, it is even more an effort on that fine organization's part to raise awareness of all that the Miramichi Watershed has to offer. The cost per angler is $350 which includes a Sunday night party (with, of course, and auction that I get to do), then fishing Monday and Tuesday morning and evenings, and again Wednesday morning. Lunches are included. The pools you fish are determined by a draw; I've gone places I never would have had a chance to go without participating in the Classic. It was also great to see my buds Howie Gould and Paul Elson, who were volunteer guides for the event.
On a sadder note, I must once again mention the plight of the oppressed women of New Brunswick. Their lot does not seem to have improved since I last mentioned this terrible situation back in June. For instance, while Vin has a veritable fleet of canoes, his poor daughter Michele is forced to make her way down the river in a flimsy raft:
And his niece Kari is forced into the same situation, ferrying her children in a flimsy inflatable rather than the sturdy canoe used by her husband Ken on his adventures? And where was he when the children needed saving? Oh, the injustice of it all!
And now, to the highlight of my stay: Vin's 80th birthday party!
Friends and family gathered Vin's nephew Jason's place, just up river from Vin and Hazel's home.
Vin's daughters Andy and Michele arranged the whole party, including the piper we followed to Vin and Hazel's.
The birthday boy himself was delighted, I do believe!
There was an incredible spread for lunch (I think I ate all the deviled eggs. yum!)
The biggest ham in the area is actually Swayze Price! The kid is a riot.
And Hazel was, as she always is, delightful!
It was a grand way to end my two-week stay. Fishing really took a back seat on this trip; food and friends and beautiful scenery got the front seat. It is always hard to say good-bye to salmon camp, especially when the river looks like this when you have to drive away: