June 22, 2018
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Spring fishing as tradition

Painting by Tom Hennessey | BDN
Painting by Tom Hennessey | BDN
By Tom Hennessey

Notice: My new email address is tomhennessey@ymail.com.

Trust me in saying the tradition of spring fishing is a tyrant at West Grand Lake. Testimony to that was the number of boats on the water when Steve Forrest and I recently set off in his glossy 20-foot Grand Laker. The head guide of Forrest Auto Body shop in Winterport built the iconic canoe whose distinctive square-stern design originated in Grand Lake Stream Plantation during the early 1900s.

Though the sky was layered with leaden clouds, a good sign when trolling for landlocked salmon, the wind was out of breath, not a good sign. Consequently, guides with clients and fishermen alone or with partners shook their heads in answer to our hands-held-apart question: Any luck? Slow fishing. But allowing that landlocks are notoriously unpredictable — and you sure can’t catch ’em at home — keep fishing. True to form, within the hour a salmon latched onto the red-and-white Cecil’s Smelt that Steve had working in the outboard’s wash.

Shortly after the silvery 17-incher was netted and fastened to the stringer, a salmon hit the Purple Gray Ghost streamer I was fishing. In due time, the twin to Steve’s fish was hung on the stringer, to swim later in white egg gravy served with boiled potatoes and fiddleheads. The Purple Gray Ghost is, of course, a modified Gray Ghost that gets its purple tint from a few strands of buck tail dyed that color. Steve had given me the fly earlier, saying, “Tie that on and see if it works for you.” Suffice it to say, it did.

In spite of the date being Friday the 13th, our flurry of fisherman’s luck continued. We caught and released four more salmon and had half a dozen hits that didn’t hook up — all on the Purple Gray Ghost. In the interim, we watched other fishermen tending to rods afflicted with “the bends.” Without question, if we’d been blessed with wind and a white-capped chop the fishing would’ve been something scandalous. As it was, though, we caught enough, lost enough and saw enough to say the tradition of spring fishing is a tyrant at West Grand Lake.

Tom Hennessey’s columns and artwork may be found at www.bangordailynews.com. Tom’s email address is tomhennessey@ymail.com.

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