The region’s large outdoor expositions are on the horizon — the venerable Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show kicks off a busy month with its March 11-13 run — but a newcomer on the schedule continues to provide an enjoyable outlet for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Cabin Fever Reliever, which is run by the Penobscot Fly Fishers, was held last weekend and a steady crowd of attendees visited exhibitors at the Brewer Auditorium. For the first time, the Bangor Daily News had a booth at the show, where outdoor editor Jeff Strout and I spent 13 hours chatting with visitors.

The experience was top-notch, for a simple reason: The Cabin Fever Reliever’s goal meshes perfectly with ours. Our aim was to stand around, talk about the outdoors, entertain folks with some fantastic BDN file photos, and answer any questions that cropped up. The show is education-based and low-key, and attendees have plenty of time to meander through the aisles and talk with any exhibitors (notice, I didn’t use the word “vendors”) that they choose.

At some other shows, the pace is quicker, hundreds of vendors are on hand, everyone has a sales pitch, and the atmosphere is decidedly different. At the Cabin Fever Reliever, we had visitors who spent a half hour or more bending our ears … and that was fine with us.

Strout and I got the chance to renew some old friendships, talk to a lot of new people, and listen to a lot of stories about adventures in the Maine woods.

And while exhibitors could sell products if they chose (I picked up a beautiful canoe paddle from Patten-based Dri Ki Woodworking for just 25 bucks), that’s not the focus of the show.

Some visitors to our booth spent several minutes watching a slide show of photos that our talented photographers have taken over the past 60 years, including some that feature baseball legend Ted Williams and former BDN executive sports editor Bud Leavitt. Other photos included stunning scenic views of the state’s mountains and rivers.

If you missed the show and want to check out our photo slide show, you have two choices. First, you can visit us at our booth at next weekend’s Eastern Maine Sportsman’s Show in Orono. Or, if you prefer, you can go to Just hover over “Archive,” click on “Archived Photos,” and look for the “Maine Outdoors” gallery.

We’re sure you’ll like what you find. And if you decide a scenic of Katahdin or a historic photo of Ted Williams telling fish tales during one of his frequent Maine visits would look great on your own camp wall, you can purchase them on the same page.

PFF offering two classes

The members of the Penobscot Fly Fishers keep busy providing programming for expert and novice anglers, and at the Cabin Fever Reliever they were pitching a pair of classes that may be of interest.

First, for those who want to learn how to tie trolling streamer flies, the PFF will hold a one-day class at the Penobscot County Conservation Association clubhouse in Brewer on April 9.

The class begins at 9 a.m. and will be taught by Joe Bertolaccini of Wicked Good Flies, Rob Bennett of Bucksport and my BDN colleague Don Corey, who also owns Annika Rod and Fly.

A $20 fee will be charged, which includes all materials and lunch. Participants should bring 6/0 or 8/0 black and white thread, as well as a spool of red thread, and all normal tying equipment.

To sign up, contact Dunnett at 907-9008 or, or Corey at 843-5634 or

And for those who’ve always wanted to give fly fishing a try, the PFF will stage a Fly Fishing 101 class 9 a.m.-4 p.m., also at the PCCA clubhouse.

The class will include sessions on bugs and flies, equipment and knots, and casting. The course fee is $20, which includes lunch and use of equipment. The class will be limited to 24 students.

To sign up, contact Dunnett at 907-9008 or

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their...