Feathers ‘n Fins

Posted Nov. 06, 2009, at 11:08 p.m.

Depending on the hats they wear, wind can be a boon or a bane to sportsmen. Fly casters, for example, curse winds that make them bob and weave to avoid having their ears pierced, not to mention wind knots that weaken leaders. Conversely, fishermen who troll streamers for landlocked salmon soon after ice-out hope for a wind-churned, white-capped chop to make their flies scoot and dart like spooked smelts. Yet, togue fishermen want calm waters for trolling deep: a boat that’s pitching and rolling makes guesswork of whether a spoon and bait are fishing or floundering. Then, come winter, ice fishermen are rankled by wind flags and blowing snow that fills holes as quickly as they’re cleaned.

Likewise, hunters either complain or count their blessings when the wind is feeling full of itself. For instance, when a gusting wind masks sounds and movements that signal danger, deer tend to hunker down with their senses and nerves set on hair triggers. Consequently, deer hunters don’t wish for windy weather. Duck hunters, however, welcome gales that worry ducks into flying, plus creating air currents that animate decoys set in sheltered coves. Bird hunters, however, despise winds that scatter scent and cause birds to be flightier than usual. Worse yet, hunters and dogs have difficulty maintaining contact on windy days; which, unfortunately, can result in dogs becoming lost, especially pups. Nevertheless, there are times, thankfully, when searching for a dog that has gone with the wind, so to speak, turns out to be pleasantly humiliating. Ask a bird hunter who has whistled and yelled until he’s blue in the face, only to become red-faced after finding his dog on point a short distance away.

All told, it can be said that sportsmen have good reasons for blustering about the wind — or lack of it.

Tom Hennessey’s columns and artwork can be accessed on the BDN Internet page at www.bangornews.com. Tom’s e-mail address is: thennessey@bangordailynews.net

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