Sunday November 25, 2012

LENOX

Well, here we go again. Tomorrow is another opening day of deer season.

Today will be spent looking for all the paraphernalia which will be needed for tomorrow's hunt: drag rope, knife, florescent red clothes, slugs, flashlight, compass, hand warmers, thermos, and, oh yes, the gun. A trip to the supermarket may be necessary to buy fresh sandwich bread and lunch meat. If there is still some Thanksgiving turkey left over, that works too.

We'll go to bed early tonight in order to get a good night's sleep, but it won't happen. Because of the anticipation of the hunt, there will be the usual trouble getting to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, we will get up and look for something that we forgot to get ready, such as the hunting license which is still in the pheasant hunting vest, or perhaps the location of the key to the gun lock.

While trying to fall asleep, we will recall some of our past hunts. We may recall missing a nice deer because of buck fever, or the jammed shotguns; getting lost in the fog; long deer drags, drenching rains and fogged up gun scopes; the penalty that we paid for not sighting in our guns in advance; sliding off a mountain road. We will remember deer hunters that we shared the sport with over the years who have since passed beyond the ridge. Oh yes, we will remember some of the deer that we shot, especially the big ones.


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The alarm will go off around 4 a.m., and while still half asleep, we will get up, stumble around the house and wake everyone up. Our bird/rabbit hunting dogs will look at us in disbelief as we go out the door without them. (It's illegal to hunt deer with dogs.)

Opening day has finally arrived! Good luck to all. May we all have a safe and enjoyable deer hunting season.

n

Incidentally, to help you have that safe season, you might want to log onto the MassWildlife web page, then click onto the hunting information page, then scroll down to the paragraph entitled "Effectiveness of Blaze Orange." Click onto the underlined words "the right amount and kind of blaze orange." It is a 5-minute safety video which provides tips about how wearing the right amount and kind of blaze orange can keep you safe in the field.

It is useful for any outdoor user who is in the woods during hunting season. Viewers may be surprised to see what a difference it makes. Personally, I dress from head to foot in the stuff during deer hunting season, just to be on the safe side.

n

Have you always wanted to take up fly fishing, but were afraid of being ridiculed during your learning process? Are you afraid of hooking the fly into your ear, eyes or other parts of your body? All beginning flyfishers experience that, but most get over it and go on to become fairly proficient fly fishers and enjoy a most rewarding lifetime of fly fishing.

Many of us learned from a fly caster who said, "Here, watch what I do and you do the same." He stuck around for a while to give some pointers, and then we were on our own. If we really wanted to learn this sport, we stuck with it, practiced a lot and eventually got the hang of it.

We learned how to cast the fly not knowing what forces come into play. Somehow, the fly, which weighs virtually nothing, is cast out 20-30 feet. It's magic!

If you are one of those who doesn't believe in magic and must understand how things work, there is a book entitled "A Treatise, the Art of Casting a Fly." Written by former Great Barrington resident Paul Argentini, it gets into the forces that propel the fly line and attached fly. Argentini meticulously walks the reader through the various steps of fly casting.

I mean, he really gets into the mechanics of the cast right down to the kinetic energy that travels down the fly line which in turn loads the rod on the back cast (rod dynamics which create potential energy) and then more kinetic energy which propels the line and the fly. There are 10 short chapters which dwell solely on the principles of casting. I truly believe that if the advice which is given in this book is followed, the reader will learn how to fly cast or become a better fly caster.

There are other chapters on fishing equipment, entomology and leaders, tippets and knots. I should caution the reader that there is one section dealing with the tapering of leaders which I take exception with, that being the "X" strength factor of the leaders. The higher the "X" number, the thinner and weaker the leader. (A 3X leader is stronger than a 7X.) It is incorrectly stated in the book.

What really drew my attention to this book were the hand-drawn color renditions of the fish and the actual and artificial flies throughout the book. Paul's wife Vera Argentini is an artist, and she did an excellent job creating these renditions. The book cover alone just beckons you to pick it up. You just don't see hand drawings like this in fishing books anymore. It reminds one of the illustrations in the old fishing books, back in the days before modern photography.

The 76-page soft-cover book, which is published by Sunbury Press, Inc. (www.sunburypress.com), sells for $24.95. It would make a nice addition to your fishing library, but I think it belongs on your living room coffee table. I'm sure the pages will quickly become rabbit-eared from use, just like mine.

To reach Gene Chague:
Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com,
(413) 637-1818.