Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Year of Firsts

People are hating on 2016 left and right. It's hard to blame them in a year where we lost both Prince and Bowie and got dragged through a ludicrous election cycle. But I'm focusing on the good things. I'm fortunate to have my health, a growing family and a steady job. I'm also lucky to have spent a bunch of time on the water this year doing what I love.

After three decades of doing this, it's still fun to experience "firsts" in fishing. This year I was able to check off a few things I had never done before. In February, during a winter with less than ideal ice conditions, I landed my first muskie and my largest fish ever on hardwater. I owe my buddy Matt big time for making that happen. 

Muskie Magic

When spring rolled around, I was hellbent on doing something I had been talking about for years--catching my first weakfish. I put in a few consecutive nights during a good tide at a proven spot and was finally rewarded with a squeteague. Size didn't matter, I had slayed my unicorn...then let her go.  

Unicorn Slayer
Fast forward to fall and I was able to tap into another incredible run of false albacore. As in 2015, it was awesome to find them in good numbers in my local waters. Catching them in a boat will always be cool, but catching my first-ever little tunny from shore was hard to beat. It was a crazy fight and a memory that is etched in my brain. A big shout out goes to my friend Aaron for putting me on that fish.  

Terra firma Tunoid
Between those three firsts and many other enjoyable outings, I had a rewarding year of fishing. With a two-year-old angler-in-training at home and another on the way, time on the water will be more limited next year and never more appreciated. Tight lines in 2017!

Monday, November 28, 2016

11th Hour Steelhead

Editor's note: Tommy Baranowski is a good friend and angler that has been a big supporter of The Connecticut Yankee over the years. A few weeks ago, he experienced one of the more memorable catches of his life during a slower than usual steelhead trip. He agreed to share about it here in, as he eloquently put it, "the first fucking thing I've written since high school."  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

For as long as I can remember, I've been traveling up to Lake Ontario to fish for salmon, steelhead and brown trout. My father, who first went up to the Great Lakes to fish the famed Salmon River in the mid-70’s, fell in love with the fishery and in turn started bringing my younger brother and me when we were about seven or eight-years-old. I can remember like it was yesterday leaving our house in Bristol, CT and driving up through western Mass to the Pike, and the way the sunlight came through the trees along the upper stretch of the Farmington River along Route 8 in the late afternoon. I can remember picking handfuls of blueberries in the fields next to the lodge we always stayed in. I can remember being on the back of his 25’ Hydra Sport holding onto a rod, drag screaming, hooked up to a king salmon and having to give the rod up for fear of losing it overboard or being pulled straight to Canada. Eventually my father had to sell the boat which curbed our trips upstate for a while. Fast forward 20 years though and I find myself with the same obsession and love for the Great Lakes and its tributaries that my father once did. 

For about the last 10 years, my friends and I have been making fall voyages out to the Great Lakes from the Salmon River to as far west as Pennsylvania’s Elk Creek, and have made incredible memories along the way. My most recent trip to the Salmon was also memorable, but it was not for numbers of fish caught or incredible weather, just the opposite actually…

The fishery has sort of been on a downward spiral for the past few years. A combination of a steelhead die-off due to a vitamin B deficiency, invasive species, and general overfishing has put a major dent in fish populations, and this year has seemed to be the worst yet. Needless to say my friends Scott Hunter and Todd Kurht knew what we were getting ourselves into, but steelhead fishing plain and simple fucks you up. Once you've caught one fresh-out-of-the-lake, you will undoubtedly chase that experience for as long as you are physically able!

We arrived at Fox Hollow Lodge late on Thursday night, unloaded the unnecessary amount of shit the three of us filled the bed of my truck with, and prepared our gear for the day ahead. Alarms went off at 5:30 and shortly thereafter we were out the door. We started in a section of lower river and fished it hard the entire morning, nymphing and swinging flies in 30 mph gusts…not even a bump. Still feeling optimistic, we headed back to the truck and proceeded to go spot to spot for the remainder of the afternoon to end the day with…not even a bump. 

Photo credit: Tommy Baranowski

Back at the cabin we started brainstorming. After talking to multiple people on the river who had similar days as we did, and a stop in Malinda’s fly shop who never bullshits anyone and will tell you straight that the fishing sucks, we decided to set the alarms even earlier for the morning (3:45) and make a trek west to Oak Orchard Creek where Scott had done well the weekend prior. We arrived at the Archery club around 6:30, found a nice stretch of water three guys could fish together in and proceeded to catch one 18’’ domestic rainbow before they dropped the flows at the dam and turn the river into a trickle. Pretty sad. 

As we hung our heads and collected our thoughts over the sight of a bunch of small fish, decaying kings, and one really nice Atlantic salmon, we made our next move back east to Sandy Creek. Within 10 mins of walking the banks and surveying the water, we knew it was a bust and headed back to the Salmon River with our tails between our legs. Got back to the cabin and walked straight back to the beautiful piece of water behind our lodge. Trying our God damnedest to make something happen, we watch an angler hook, fight and land a beautiful dime-bright steelie right across the river from us. Then Scott came in contact with a fish only to get a scale back on the point of his hook. Signs of life at last! But as light faded another day ended without a chrome dome in our net...

Photo credit: Tommy Baranowski

The third day came, we woke up, ate breakfast, packed our shit, loaded the truck and off we went for the Hail Mary 11th hour run at the river. We had planned on fishing until 1:00 the latest to provide enough time to get home to CT and for Scott to make it back to eastern Mass before too late. So in the river we go fishing a stretch hard. Down around the bend we watch a fly angler fighting a fish and think it's a good sign. But a couple hours go by at this spot and still nothing. Now it’s getting late. 

We decide to walk upstream to a nice piece of open water and start giving it hell. A while goes by and we haven't touched anything, it’s around 11:15 and I change to a chartreuse bead. Two casts later (in a spot we drifted through 100 times already) the indicator goes down and holy shit I'm hooked up. I couldn't believe it, COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! The fish is strong as hell, comes to the surface thrashing and rips fly line off my reel in a heartbeat. Shit, my indicator is under water now and so is about 20’ of fly line, but I work my angles and get the fish back to the leader in a few minutes. All of the sudden the line goes tight and I can’t feel the fish any longer. What the hell is happening? It must be stuck on a rock or stick, so I zip my waders up and walk out, give the leader a few good pops and the fish starts swimming again!!! HO-LY SHIT!!! After a few more good seconds of fighting Scott made a picture perfect net job and we were ecstatic.

Shaking from what had just happened, we admired the fish in the net—a perfect fresh-out-of-the lake hen that didn't have one single imperfection on her. A gleaming chrome bar with an absolute motor of a tail. Right then Todd had walked back down from a little recon walk and the three of us marveled at the fish, did a quick a photoshoot, measured the fish on the net (31/32”), and watched it swim away strong. Landing a fish like this is truly a team effort, the guy with the net has a big responsibility, a long hard fought battle all comes down to a split second net job and I've bared witness to way too many missed fish because of a rushed or lazy net job. Scott delivered; one clean shot and that was all she wrote. 

It was a truly photo finish, right down to the wire, an hour and a half later we were driving home. It could have been any of us who caught that fish really. I stepped in a serious pile of shit luck and am super fortunate to have landed it. It’s moments like this where lasting memories are made that keep fisherman up at night dreaming of the next opportunity, to maybe get skunked, but just maybe land a fish of a lifetime.

Photo credit: Scott Hunter
Photo credit: Scott Hunter
Photo credit: Scott Hunter

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Local Tunny

False albacore don't always show up in my home waters, but when they do, boy it's hard to target anything else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bobber Down

Fall can be a phenomenal time of year for many different kinds of fishing here in the Northeast. One of my favorites is slip float fishing for trout and walleye. The slip bobber is an effective yet under-utilized tool in our neck of the woods, mostly, I think, because anglers don't know all that much about them. I have an article in this month's On The Water magazine that sheds a little light on the technique while taking readers through my evolution of float fishing from childhood to today. The fine folks at OTW made it their cover story and chose what I think is a great shot my friend Aaron snapped a couple falls ago. Please pick up a copy at your local bait and tackle shop if you see it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cape Life

The whole clan was together again this month after a year and a half without being under the same roof. We spent a week to remember in Brewster, Massachusetts, in a house within walking distance to Cape Cod Bay. It was an extremely chill vacation with a lot of bonding between my two-year-old daughter and the West Coast faction of our family. 

Being on Cape Cod and all, a little fishing had to be done. I first tried finding life on the nearby flats, but never made a cast. I suspect the water was on the warmer side for sight-fishing to stripers during the daylight tide window I was given. At least the Cape Cod Canal was kinder. I brought my younger brother for two sunrise sessions. It was his first taste of the Canal and I couldn't have been happier for him when he connected just a few casts in. It was a small bluefish that puked up two different sizes of peanut bunker. Not exactly the target species we were after, but the sunk was off. With a little confidence under his belt, wouldn't you know he comes tight again a few casts later, this time with a bass. It was on the smaller side, but it was his first from Cape Cod waters and it was awesome to witness.  

When the sun came up, some fish started breaking on the surface at the tail-end of our casting range. We switched over from swimmers to poppers and gave it the old college try. A few takers came unbuttoned before I finally brought one to the rocks. Not huge by any means, but they still put up a decent scrap in the Canal current. We came back two days later and tried again, finding more breaking fish and more people trying to reach them. They were schoolies and out of range for the most part, but a bona fide 50-pounder was taken early that morning on an eel--the angler posed nearby us for a deserving photo shoot. You never know what's swimming by on the Cape; you just have to keep casting. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Money Fish

The annual WICC Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth is less than a month away. Though I've never entered before (not owning a boat doesn't help), I have daydreamed about getting the $25,000 payday for reeling in a gorilla bluefish. The last four tournaments have seen winning fish weighing between 17 and 17.88-pounds. Those are serious choppers. The western Sound is usually in the running for the tournament winner and chunking with fresh bunker in deep water is a good way to connect with a contender this time of year. That's exactly what a friend and I did one night this week after a few days of stiff wind finally subsided. We had only two hits all night that resulted in one break off and one hell of a fish landed--a monster blue that pulled down my Boga comfortably past the 16-pound mark. A few more weeks of gorging on adult menhaden and that's probably a money fish in this year's tournament. After an incredible fight, I released it back in 60 feet of water somewhere in western Long Island Sound. Go get that $25,000 fish!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Stripes

It was a great night to be a fly on the wall during a Reel Cast Charters trip. Captain Mike found the fish as usual and my buddies Rick and Matt from the Connecticut Surfcasters Association had a blast out there. Watching striped bass smack live bunker on the surface never gets old! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Of Access and Eels

The Connecticut coast isn’t known for its public access. Much of Long Island Sound’s shoreline is privately owned and challenging to access legally. There are several city and state-owned beaches and parks, but they’re dwarfed by the amount of private beach associations, mansions, and manicured lawns. While the public trust states that Connecticut’s shore belongs to the people, you still have to get to the water without trespassing (or without getting caught). So when an opportunity presented itself to fish a private stretch of striper heaven with landowner permission, I jumped at the chance.

This past weekend I finally linked up with a family friend after a year or so of talking about fishing together. Probably like most reading this, Rob is crazy about fishing. He’s caught trout on the Provo, smallies on the upper Housy and schoolies on the lower Connecticut, but he had never attempted full-on surfcasting at night for that next size class of stripers. Rob was determined to change that and recently scored permission through a childhood friend to access a rocky shoreline that screams big bass. He texted me some possible dates and we hatched a plan.

What a sight we must have been fully decked out in surfcasting gear strolling across a great lawn at sunset getting showered by sprinklers. And how refreshing it was to be able to fish a spot like this without having to sneak in after midnight and constantly look over a shoulder. Once on the water, we maneuvered a maze of bowling ball-sized rocks until we found boulders to perch on and tossed top water lures to kill time before dark settled in. When we could no longer see our plugs, I gave Rob a brief tutorial on how to handle, hook and fish live eels. He had never used this prime striper bait before; in fact, he told me the only nightmare he could remember having as a kid involved spearing huge eels. Nothing like a baptism by fire.

Wading up to our waists, we began working the water in front of us that had a left to right swing forming with the incoming tide. It was a gorgeous summer night with a light breeze. The last quarter of the strawberry moon hadn’t risen yet and the dark sky aided us in seeing a few shooting stars. Even better was that there was no one else around. Only one boat passed our field of view the entire time and there wasn’t another surfcaster for miles. On the flip side, the fish didn't seem to be around first. After about 90 minutes without a touch, we took a short breather on shore and re-hooked our now dead eels.

Sometimes a quick break can make all the difference, or at least renew confidence, because within moments of resuming I saw Rob’s rod double over. It was difficult for me to tell what exactly Rob was dealing with because he didn’t make a sound and the fish didn’t take a yard of drag for the first half of the fight. But that soon changed as the bass came in close and bugged out in the shallows. His locked-down drag started paying out line and the fish moved a good deal of water around. When I finally clicked on my headlamp, there was a thick, healthy bass a rod's length away. It was easily twice the size of his best striper to that point.

Rob’s reaction to the catch ranks up there to some of the better I have ever witnessed. I don’t remember seeing an angler so genuinely happy in that moment. His smile said it all. Rob knew this was special; that you don’t just waltz into a spot like that, fish at night with eels for the first time and catch a 30-pound striped bass. It took me many a night of trial and error to eventually stumble upon a striper in that class. But I was ecstatic for the guy. We could have went home with a skunking and Rob would have been more than fine with it, and I could tell he soaked in the info I shared like a sponge.

That bass bought us another solid hour of fishing. Both of us, now brimming with confidence, fished hard for one more fish, a smallish striper in comparison but a decent catch from shore most summer nights. With the hour getting late and a wedding the following day hanging over me, I had to call it quits. Back at his family’s cottage, we rehashed the tide over a cold beer. As a sign of appreciation, Rob presented me with a bottle of Irish whiskey he had been aging for some time. He texted me not long after I left saying that he was going back out solo that very night, and since then he’s contacted me again about gaining more access along Connecticut’s striper coast. I have seen his condition before in me and my close friends; it appears to be early onset of diehard surfcasting syndrome. If not controlled, it can ruin relationships, careers, and leave you broke and sleep deprived. To all of you like Rob out there, be forewarned. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trials and Tribulations of Chunking

When the first adult menhaden invade my local waters around mid-May, it's hard for me to target striped bass with anything else. I love tossing flies and plugs in early spring and live eels when the dog days of summer kick in, but chunking bunker dominates my saltwater fishing for a good portion of May and June. While snagging this oily baitfish with a weighted treble hook, lopping off its head, and sending it to the bottom attached to a 10/0 octopus hook is far from glamorous fishing, it's a pretty damned effective method. For some reason, maybe the lack of big bluefish locally, the small pods of menhaden roaming out front haven't really concentrated yet, which means snagging, especially from shore, is no easy task. The other night, in fading daylight, a friend and I could barely make out the small circles of nervous water moving quickly from left to right about 50 yards out. A near perfect cast was needed, placed behind the school so not to spook them. We missed a few shots, but ended up with one lone bait between the two of us. A few beers and some whisky kept us busy as we hoped for more bunker to pass us by, but eventually it was time to soak what we had. After about 20 minutes, a healthy bass picked up the head piece and treated me to a great fight in shallow water. After a few photos, we sent the sea lice-laden fish back on her way. My only piece of bait was in the bass' belly and my partner's half soon fell off the hook during a retrieve after spider crabs had their way with it. We would have paid top dollar for a few more fresh bunker that night. Who knows how many stripers were prowling in front of us on that outgoing tide? Sometimes I take for granted large, concentrated schools of menhaden in close proximity to shore. It sure makes for easy snagging. This time I worked hard for one prized menhaden, and it payed off. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

When It All Comes Together

Editor's note: The following is a guest post from my good friend Aaron Swanson. We shared a tide together for three nights this spring in search of a fish, up to that point, we had never come in contact with. I think his story does a fine job of connecting the events that unfolded to the much bigger picture that can sometimes get lost in the fray. 

I’m staring up at the tip of my rod, framed in a smoky haze of clouds and moon light.  I give the rod a few soft bounces. My hand cranks slowly, just keeping my reel moving. I think of nothing in particular, then, there is a sudden sensation I can’t quite place. 

It’s like the ground I’m standing on is alive. The rocks are crawling around, over my feet. I’m happy to be dressed in waders when I realize there is something climbing on my heavy boot. Peering down into the inky knee-deep water reveals no clue to what it is. Experience eventually fills the wonder in my mind; it keeps me from flailing my legs about to shake off the unseen visitor. I am merely a barrier to a horseshoe crab, seeking to participate in an ancient ritual. My foot mistaken for a prehistoric looking partner to latch onto, ride into the wave wash and create a new lineage.  The new generation will play an unlikely part of sustaining life around the world. 

Springtime in the northern hemisphere provides the opportunity to observe the interconnectedness of life. Watching the interaction of species in my corner of the globe to serves as a reminder of how we are all part of one big world. The horseshoe crab in particular, alien and otherworldly looking is a perfect example of how the small things in life are often the big things.

The crabs are remarkable beyond their longevity as a species. Other animals rely heavily on these dinosaurs, including humans. It’s hard to believe a better chemical compound isn’t available to test for the presence of bacteria in medical equipment. Horseshoe crab blood is used just for this purpose. The same crabs little brothers pick up at the beach, to scare and chase their sisters with, legs flailing and tails wagging. Strange ways we are tied together, though certainly more glamorous than when we chop them up for eel bait.

I witnessed a part of this year’s horseshoe crab spawning migration as I do most years, creeping around in the water with a fishing rod in hand and bag full of lures slung over my shoulder. The convergence of species in the coastal shallows makes up a snapshot of the web of life. How it works and how long it’s been working.  I’m out targeting fish that are there to spawn. The crabs are there to do the same.  Eggs they lay sustain vast species of shorebirds whose migrations are timed perfectly with the event. They need them to refuel on their journey in their own quest for finding a mate and rearing a new generation.

My rod snaps forward as the metronomic cast and slow retrieve of my lure leaves me in contemplative state, waiting for the telltale bump of a fish.  

I consider how these shorebirds became so reliant upon the crabs. Certainly in a different way than humans have. The fact their arrival is timed precisely when food sources like the crab eggs become abundant enough to sustain them is one of those things in nature I think can be too easily taken for granted. 

The roped off areas I observed on the walk out on the beach are meant to protect piping plover nests. They demonstrate the impacts people have on these places and cycles. Our presence and activity, even if unintentional, can interrupt these cycles to the point where a species could be lost. Tightly flocked shorebirds buzz by in the evening sky, just out of casting range. An oyster catcher struts around on the beach behind me, punctuating the night with sharp calls.

My rod jolts and flexes and I go from not thinking about anything, to the depths of considering the circle of life, to laser focus. I keep steady pressure on the fish now surging at the end of my line, using all its power to try and free itself from the meal that unexpectedly is now pulling against it.

The Native Americans called this fish Squeteague. The name was given many years ago by people who came to the same beaches to reap the same bountiful convergence I see here today. Squeteague show up seasonally where I fish. Though they can be caught for a portion of the warmer months, they are most available to the shore-bound rod and reel angler during a relatively short window. They are here to do the same thing as the crab hitching a ride on my foot – spawn. They come in around the moon tides during the spring, drawn to the sandy bars and estuary mouths where the water warms to just the right temperature. The same place the crabs, fish and birds have come for thousands of years. People, like me, have always followed.

This year, rather than just looking for stripers or bluefish like I usually do during this part of the month, a friend and I chose to focus on what many anglers consider an elusive quarry. We set a goal to finally catch a species new to both of us – the Squeteague. In all the years we fished saltwater together, regardless of their rumored presence, neither of us incidentally landed one of these seemingly mysterious fish.  If we were going to get one - we had to make a point of targeting them. A few token purchases at the bait shop paid the price to get enough information to set us in the right direction. The moon and tide aligned to set the conditions that gave us the best chance at contacting our targeted quarry. Wives were informed: it didn’t matter how many nights it would take, we’d keep going until it happened. 

The spots where these fish tend to congregate aren’t really a secret. They look for a certain type of structure at a certain time of year with a particular purpose – and they’ve been doing so for a long time. This means, where I live, if you’re targeting them at the “right” time you’ll have plenty of company.  It is almost overwhelming how many anglers flock to the scene, adding to the amount of biomass already present. This is spring run fishing in the tightly populated east coast – the annual migrations draw people to them as they always have. As foreign as it is for me to fish so close to other people, I feel happy to be a part of it. 

Every moment I play the fish is another it grows closer to gaining its freedom. Although the drag on the reel is set so the fish can be played lightly – much lighter than I would the typical bass or bluefish – I tense with each run. 

Squeteague are also known as weakfish. The modern name for this species of Drum, comes from rod and reel anglers who use hooks to catch them, rather than nets weirs and spears as the native people did. They came to be called “weak” because their mouths, when penetrated by a steel hook tear easily, leading to disappointment and frustration.

As the fish draws closer I can tell it’s different than the other predatory fish I target. There are more headshakes and somersaults than a sulking striper, and it gave no blistering bluefish runs during our contest. A worthy fighter in its own right, this one just feels different than any other saltwater game fish I have played. The fish makes a last stand, forcing me to pause my backward steps up onto the beach. This is the critical moment. If I’m to win this battle I can’t let it go on any longer. I regain control of the fish, step back up onto the dry sand and there it is. A speckled beauty slides out of the foamy wave wash onto the beach. My first weakfish.

Over the next few nights we observed what was to be a solid run of these fish. There were two remarkable nights in particular when more than a few good sized fish hit the beach with many anglers cashing in on the action. During one of the busiest periods I’d landed enough nice sized fish to satisfy not only the goal we set but a season’s worth of weakfishing. I took a minute to look around and soak in the scene around me.  The crabs paired where the waves met the beach, the random shrieks of busy shore birds, the anglers posed in their fighting stances, rods bent, engaged in silent battles. 

This is why we fish; things change with time but life’s elements will continue to converge as they have for generations. I was there in the moment with it all coming together around me. And when it all comes together, it’s pretty incredible.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Branching Out

Anglers are a funny bunch. We can get pretty comfortable in certain stretches of water that treat us well. Whether in fresh or saltwater, we all have our favorite spots. Often times we grow complacent and keep going back to those comfort zones while ignoring other areas or bodies of water entirely. I am guilty of this. I have been fishing one small stream off and on for over a decade, yet in all that time I have only seen about a mile of it. A select rotation of riffles and pools usually produce a healthy lot of wild browns and native brookies on every visit. It's a quick hit that's not far from home for me, a good option for when I don't have the luxury of a full day on the water (full day on the water...Ha!). 

Catching fish in familiar water is fun. I wouldn't keep doing it if it wasn't. I didn't see a need to explore any more of this particular stream. Hell, I hardly ever re-rigged or changed flies--a small pheasant tail nymph under a Stimulator fooled 90% of my trout here. This spring, however, I forced myself to branch out to water up and downstream of my usual haunts. No rods were carried on the first two scouting walks. I took some photos and mental notes at each run I would have fished. One thing I noticed right away was that the dry-dropper technique wasn't well suited for much of the new water I encountered. It was back to the basics with a method and fly pattern responsible for hooking me, and likely thousands of others, on fly fishing in the first place. Many years have gone by since I tied and last fished a small black and olive Woolly Bugger, but like a good bird dog it went right back into action without skipping a beat.

When I finally found time to fish the sections I scouted, the first pool I gravitated to was deep, slow and littered with woody debris--a haven for wild trout. I must have pricked 10 char in that hole alone on my trusty bugger, most of which could fit in the palm of my hand. Feisty, dark fish that acted like they hadn't seen a fly in some time. A handful of heftier brook trout darted from the darkness to pounce my streamer, but any dinosaur brown trout in this new stretch remain elusive for now. It was a short outing, but one of the most productive 90 minutes of fishing numbers-wise I've ever had on this stream. The best part about that day is that I only fished a fraction of the water I scouted. I'm pumped to get back there. I don't get out quite as much as I used to, but I find myself looking forward to the trips more than ever.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Camp Life

Opening Day weekend flew by at breakneck speed as it always does. I sometimes find myself sniffing a jacket with the lingering aroma of campfire smoke just to bring me back there. For three nights and four days, we transformed a landowner's shooting range into an impressive camp with enough food, drink and firewood to stay a month. We lucked out with dry weather for the duration and tested our sleeping bags with a hard frost the first morning. While we may not see each other for months at a time, our crew is like a well-oiled machine at camp. It's hard to top the cuisine year after year, but somehow we manage. Between the seafood paella, eye-of-round, four types of whiskey, 100 Wellfleet oysters, and array of cheese and cured meats, it was sensory overload all weekend. We even got out of camp by noon on two days to fish. It was one hell of a celebration of spring and everything that comes with it. Until next year...