As any angler can tell you, a good fish story never gets old (at least for the storyteller). In that spirit, I’d like to share a bit more of a story you may have read a few weeks back.
In a previous column, I told you about James “Bob” Foster Sr., a Howland angler who passed away in June at 73.
Foster’s claim to fame: He caught a state record brook trout in 1979, and that 8-pound, 8-ounce monster topped the Maine ledger for nearly 30 years, until it was broken in 2009.
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fisheries biologist Gordon “Nels” Kramer contacted me the other day looking for a photo of Foster and his fish, which he told me had appeared in our paper during the fall of 1979.
The DIF&W is working on a display of the refurbished mount of Foster’s fish, and Kramer was hoping for some memorabilia to enhance the effort.
A bit of checking the archives revealed the photo in question and provided, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
And quite a story it is.
It turns out that Foster’s brookie, while impressive at 8½ pounds, was even bigger than we always thought.
According to a column written by former Bangor Daily News executive sports editor Bud Leavitt, three anglers in Foster’s party had scales with them, and each scale read 9 pounds, 3 ounces on Sept. 27, the day Foster caught the fish at Aroostook County’s Chase Pond.
(If you’re curious, Foster’s bait of choice was a “gob of worms trolled behind a Rangeley spinner.”)
The problem: Foster and his party didn’t make it back to civilization for three days. Upon his arrival in Howland, Foster weighed the fish again, and found it was down to 8 pounds, 10 ounces. By the time the official weigh-in took place, it had dropped another 2 ounces (or perhaps the official scale was simply more accurate).
Either way, it’s entirely possible that had Foster officially weighed the fish earlier, the record might still be his.
Patrick Coan’s present record brookie, caught Jan. 8, 2009, weighed 9.03 pounds.
But there’s more.
It seems that the rest of Foster’s party also fared well on that fall day in 1979.
In fact, they may have set the standard for all Maine brook trout fishing to follow.
George Michaud Jr. of Howland, along with Pat Dubay and Kempton Spencer, both of Passadumkeag, accompanied Foster on the trip, and according to Leavitt’s column, Foster’s wasn’t the only trophy trout.
Michaud caught a brookie that weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Spencer landed another brookie that weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Dubay cashed in with a 4-pound, 8-ounce trout of his own.
According to Leavitt, three anglers had “Deliar” scales in their tackle boxes, and all four fish were weighed on all three scales. All the readings were identical.
According to Foster, the party’s good luck took place over a very brief time.
“We had all our fish by half past 8,” Foster told Leavitt at the time. “We were in Chase Lakes since it was the last fishing weekend of the year. From daylight until 8:30 we had all our action and never got so much as a bite after that early morning splurge.”
Regardless of its duration, it’s a splurge any of us would gladly endure.
Pushaw derby on tap
Competitive anglers looking to spend an enjoyable day on the water may want to consider heading to Pushaw Lake on Aug. 1 for the Pushaw Lake Snowmobile Club’s summer fishing derby.
Fishing will take place from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., and derby tickets cost $3.
The door prize winner will take home $100, and successful anglers will vie for a sizable cash pot.
The angler who catches the heaviest bass will earn $75, while the heaviest pickerel will be worth $50. The angler who catches the most pounds of pike also will get $50, and the heaviest white perch is worth $25.
On the day of the derby, anglers can buy tickets at the pontoon boat that will be anchored in front of Whitmore Landing.
Breakfast will be served at the snowmobile club.
For information, call Pete at 827-5046.
Applied for your doe permit yet?
In the interest of protecting myself from those deer hunters (like some of my friends) who will blame me if they don’t apply for the state’s any-deer permit, here’s another reminder: Apply for the state’s any-deer permit.
Sure, you have a few weeks until the deadline. Sure, you have plenty of time.
But there’s no sense in waiting — and blaming me when you forget.
Here’s the deal: The best way to apply is through the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, www.mefishwildlife.com.
The deadline for application is 11:59 p.m. Aug. 16.
This year, 32,907 permits will go to residents, 12,208 will go to landowners, and 2,649 will be handed out to nonresidents. In addition, the 1,061 Superpack license-holders will receive a permit.
The total: 48,825 hunters who will have an option of shooting an antlerless deer during hunting season this fall.