Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simplest of Circumstances Resurrect Outdoor Memories

Faded memories are brought back to life often by the simplest of circumstances. A distinctive smell like a charred red hot dog cooked over the open flames of a campfire, an old song playing on the radio or in my case ice fishing with a forgotten relic from hard waters past. These odd bits of wood, nails, stain and felt were of the simplest design. Having no supporting feet, underwater spinning reels, windless flags, etc. they maintain no resemblance to the high tec "Jack Traps" and "Heritage" ice traps of today.

Instead their bases were jammed into piles of slushy snow by the edge of the ice fishing hole, a fixed line descended into the hole and a bite was indicated by a basic lever mechanism. This antique of ice fishing's past was gifted to me 30 years ago, by an outdoor artisan now long dead. By all rights, he was perhaps a normal man, made legendary in the mind of a child. "The eight fingered man from across the lake", whom would salmon fish in the middle of the summer, awake long before the sun to ice fish, plucked fat brook trout from nearby streams and knew all the prime spots to find fiddle heads. A sportsman whose alcohol fueled fishing exploits and tales, both real and imagined, would make my eyes widen and young ears burn.

Art Hinton was only one of the extensive list of Nashes lake rabble, whom ignited my childhood passions for vintage Hank Williams, red hot dogs, a card game known as pitch and a life long love of fishing.The others on the list included Norman Bohannon, Stanly McConvy, Carol Wallace, David Mahar, Eddie Bell, Earl Boyd, Bob Seeley, Ricky Lord and an assorted number of Mingos. These individuals were responsible for marinating my formative years in a complex stew of happy memories. My growing skill set was expanded by working to create rich camp made fish chowders, learning to shift gears on borrowed 3 wheelers, balancing young shaky legs on water skis and mastering the unique and potentially dying ability to craft an original tall tale. Because of all of these experiences, these sportsmen will not be soon forgotten.

I am sure that each and everyone of you have a person or people who were instramental in kick starting your understanding of hunting and fishing. Please comment with one or two people (other than family) who made a differance in your sporting life. Thanks for reading!


  1. Gene who invited My dad and I hunting and taught me to pick my feet up when I walked in the woods.

    And Eugene with his custom rifles, expensive glass, and tales from across the country that stokes the flame of adventure in this boy and keeps the dream alive today

  2. You took away all my answers when you said "outside of family". My Dad taught me everything I know. Great post!

  3. I was getting my father-in-law's gear gathered up in order to make set ups for the girls and came across some seriously old tip ups... my post on that should be in a week or two...

  4. Mr. Demaio had pointers for birds and deer mounts on the wall. We would sit around listening to his stories in awe. He claims, he is the reason I'm over 6' tall, not genetics, grabbing me by the shorthairs on the back of my neck and making walk around on my toes.

    Mr. Partington (Big Don), ethical hunting, safety and general comradery of hunting. The harvesting of the animal is just a bonus, it's the "everything else" of the day that makes it hunting.

    Uncle Roger "That beer can you're shooting at boy, had better not be from the fridge!!"

  5. That would definitely be my Dad and Uncle Oscar, particularly when the three of us went out together..Their good natured arguing and competition were the ultimate motivator for me..They are both gone now..sure wish I could time travel to go back and hook up with them one more time..


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