Ladies, if you haven't seen your spouse/mate lately, you might find him in his man cave, his special room in the house. Now that the Christmas tree and decorations are put away and deer hunting season is over, he finally has time to clean his deer hunting guns and put them away until next fall. Perhaps he's getting out another gun to hunt rabbits or coyotes. Maybe he is tinkering with his winter sports stuff such as his ice fishing equipment or snowshoes or maybe he is busy waterproofing his boots. These things are usually done in the man cave.
If he is a fly fisherman, he is probably in there quietly tying up a new batch of killer trout flies. The only time you will hear him is when he breaks the thread on a nearly completed fly. Block your ears, don't listen. Or he might be oiling his fishing reels, changing the line or doing a myriad of things that must be completed before the spring fishing season begins. He is probably listing gadgets that need to be purchased - new reel, rod, line, lures, fly tying stuff, etc.
Somewhere in the rubble of his man cave, if you dare to go in, you will probably find him amidst an assortment of catalogs from Cabelas, LL Bean, etc, and copies of Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, MassWildlife News, etc. Perhaps he is quietly reading a book from his hunting and fishing book library located in there. Be careful when you enter not to knock over the fishing rods which are stored behind the door nor step on the hunting dog.
Pay no attention to any clucking sounds that emanate from there. He is just practicing his turkey calling for the upcoming spring turkey hunting season. And whatever you do, don't touch anything, not a piece of paper ... nothing. There is a place for everything and he knows exactly where it is. Some people I know will not allow anyone into their man cave, especially when they are not there. In fact, some have suggested mounting a motion sensitive trail camera to photograph anyone who enters.
Ah, there is nothing like tinkering around in the man cave after dinner while the cold winter winds and snow are swirling outside the window. It's a cozy place where one is surrounded by pictures and other memorabilia and where one can reflect on past feats and enjoy the anticipation of the upcoming year's outdoor sports activities.
If you are a fly fisherman, you might want to attend The Fly Fishing Show next weekend at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough.
Fly fishing isn't part of the show, it is the show. There will be more than 50 talks and demonstrations each day.
While there, you might shop for the newest tackle, book your next dream trip, watch tying and casting demos and learn from the experts.
All the new rods, reels, fly tying materials, books, DVDs and latest equipment will be on display to test and purchase. There is a casting pond for casting demos and it is available to test your new rod. Some of the celebrity authors include Gary Borger, Jay "Fishy" Fullum, Bob Popovics, Dave Klausmeyer, Ben Furminsky and others, and they will be happy to autograph your books.
Visit flyfishingshow.com/Marlborough_MA.html for more details.
While there, you might want to take in the Mass./R.I. Council of Trout Unlimited's annual banquet on Saturday evening at the Best Western Plaza Hotel (adjacent to the show center). Social hour is at 5:30 p.m., buffet dinner at 6:30 and then raffles and auctions. You can get tickets from Paul Knauth at (413) 441-8559.
The Onota Boat Livery is once again having its seasonal ice fishing contest. Entrants must sign up by January 26 and the contest ends on March 16. Participants must be at least 18 years old and purchase at least $25 worth of store merchandise. They may fish anywhere in the Berkshires and all fish caught must be through the ice and brought to the Livery for measuring.
Contestants must have previously signed into the contest. The prizes are $50 store gift certificates for the largest pike, largemouth bass, trout, pickerel, perch, crappie, salmon, and new this year, smallmouth bass.
Tiger muskies have been dropped from the list as their stockings have been discontinued. Check out the web site at Onotaboat.com for a listing of the derby rules.
To prevent needless killing of nice fish, may I suggest that you check the Onota Boat Livery leader's board to see what the leader fish are, and bring a copy of the minimum weights which qualify for a State Sportfishing Award (page 18 of the Fish & Wildlife Guide). Bring along a scale, too. That way you know whether or not you caught a money/pin fish and if not, you can release it unharmed if you wish.
As of this column's deadline, the Onota Boat Livery's listing of upcoming ice fishing derbies is not available. Much of the derby information has not yet been provided by the derby organizers. I will list it as soon as it's completed. Incidentally, there is a new derby this year, a fund raiser being put on by the Lanesboro Volunteer Firemen's Association on January 25 on Pontoosuc Lake. (If unsafe ice, it takes place on Feb. 1.) It will run from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Registration and weigh-in will take place behind the Narragansett Park.
Entrance fee is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. For more information, contact Jeff Dechaime at 443-2321.
To reach Gene Chague: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com, or (413) 637-1818.