Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taking Good Pictures of Bad People

Is this the memory you want to capture?
I must first explain my terminology of what I am classifying as “bad” people. These folks are not “bad” in the sense of their actions or their choices but rather in their ability of set themselves up for a good photo opportunity. These individuals always hold the fish in front of their face, put their back to the sun, don’t hold the fan up on their turkey, forget to stick the tongue back into the deer’s mouth and generally do everything in their power to ruin any possible chance at a memorable photo opportunity. These photographic faux pas are only made worse by individuals handicapped in their usage of cameras.

Or should it be more like this?
Few things are able to conjure up pleasant memories of a past outdoor adventures as well as the simple photograph. As a Guide or outdoor enthusiast, it is important that you know how to take a good photo, for the sake of (and possibly in spite of) your “bad” family, friends and sports. As a friend of mine once said, it is impossible to make chicken salad out of chicken crap.  So, make sure to always practice good photographic shooting and everyone will be pleased by the end results. As few moments during the middle or even at the end of an adventure to set-up a good shot opportunity will be well worth time.

Get that salmon out of your face!
Even with the advent of the digital camera, I am still amazed by the number of individual who can’t manage to take a good photo. Digital cameras allow you to easily take dozen of shots but for many this isn’t always a good thing. These individuals happily snap away with the hope that just maybe they might capture one good photo. Rather than attempting the click and pray school of thought, these individuals would do well to slow down, observe their surroundings and concentrate on what they plan to photograph. What is the subject; is the horizon level, is the flash needed, did you cut off someone’s head or include distracting elements in the photo?

Nice and you even sat up straight!
One spectacular photo can sometimes save the day, when a particular experience is less than memorable. A father and son fishing together, a mother and daughter laughing in the front of the canoe, a group posing together during a shore lunch or a family playing together on a lake shore. Sometimes people need simple reminders that a good time need not be dependent on the weather, game animal shot or fish caught.

Despite the outcome of a particular day, even the most disgruntled friend or penny-pinching clients are likely to buy you a round of free drinks or tip like they own the Boston Red Sox, if you can provide documented proof that they had a fantastic time!

For More on Good Photography for Bad People Check Out the Following:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Never Shoot a Rifle Unless You Remove the Bore Sighting Device

This set of pictures has been making it around the e-mail distribution lists. It should serve a a good reminder to never be lax in your handling of firearms. As those luck enough to be pulled for Moose tags on Saturday are heading out to the range to dust off their high powered rifles please be careful.

As John Wayne once said:   "Life's  tough......It's even tougher if you're stupid."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sardine Tournament of Champions

As a serious outdoorsman, you would be tragically remiss in your duties, not to currently have on the shelves of your pantry at least a dozen cans of assorted sardines. Sealed in a practically indestructible container, boasting an impressive 3 year shelf life and laden with serious protein power, sardines are one of the most underrated super foods. How unfortunate that in the last 20 years the noble sardine snack pack has fallen off the radar, of most outdoorsman, and forced to take a back seat to “powerbars”, GORP and dark chocolate as the new choice for 'it" hikers, backpackers, fishermen and hunters. Well Mr. Sardine, have no fear of vanishing forever from the pockets of my hunting jackets, backpacks and tackle boxes for even now my tummy rumbles and heart rate quickens at just the thought of your oily, fishy flesh piled high on a saltine cracker.

In celebration of this most humble yet energy packed denizen of the sea, I am running a 7-week series of blog postings starting 7/1/11 and running on alternating Fridays through July, August and September. These posts will be designed to examine and rate 8 different brands of sardines, readily available in fine supermarkets across the state of Maine. At the end of this arduous process, there will be crowned a winner and I am certain to have much lower cholesterol!!


The Rating System:
Each and every packet of delicious sardines will undergo an exacting and through battery of tests designed to examine several different components, ingredients and elements. Please see the following rating scale for a sneak peak of what I will be using to determine a winner.

1. Saltiness 1-5
2. Moistness 1-5
3. Firmness/Texture 1-5
4. Fishiness 1-5
5. Overall Flavor 1-5
6. Appearance 1-5
7. Packaging 1-5
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - ____
9. Would you Buy Again – Yes or No
10. Additional Comments . . .
The Contestants:

Round 1 – 7/1
1. Crown Prince – Product of Morocco – www.crownprince.com - Sodium 280mg
2. Bumblebee – Product of Poland – Bumblebee Foods, San Diego, CA 92186 - Sodium xxxmg

Round 2 – 7/15
3. King Oscar – Product of Poland – www.kingoscar.com- Sodium 340mg
4. Beach Cliff – Product of Poland - www.beachcliff.info - Sodium xxxmg

Round 3 – 7/29
5. Brunswick – Product of Canada – www.bumblebee.com - Sodium 250mg
6. Bar Harbor – Product of Canada - www.barharborfoods.com- Sodium 460mg

Round 4 – 8/12
7. Chicken of the Sea – Product of Thailand – www.chickenofthesea.com - Sodium xxxmg
8. Polar – Product of Portugal – www.mwpolar.com - Sodium 300mg

Semi Final Round 1 - 8/26 – Winners of Round 1 and 2 face off

Semi Final Round 2 - 9/9 – Winners of Round 3 and 4 face off

Final Round - 9/23 – A champion will be crowned!
Readers please feel free to cheer on your favorite brand! If you have any additional information to share on any of the participants please drop me a line or provide comments!  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Prepare the Perfect Shore Lunch

The perfect shore lunch should be comprised of all of the food elements that would frighten your cardiologist and is certain to insure your blood pressure medication is well worth the money your spending on it. A shore lunch will never contain anything resembling a vegetable (though I suppose corn on the cob is ok), fruit (unless it is a fruit cookie), nuts or “diet” food. This meal is meant to be generous, decadent and sustaining to an outdoorsman though a long hard day.

The Fire
The key to any successful shore lunch is a good fire as it not only provides the heat to properly cook your meal but also the ability to warm cold and potentially damp companions. A good cooking fire is constructed by having the proper mix of quick burning softwood (like cedar) and hardwood (birch, oak, etc.). By starting the softwood first, you are able to get hot fire going quickly that will easily ignite the heavier hardwood. Once the hardwood is successfully burning, it insures a slower longer burn that will assist you greatly with your cooking endeavors. If you are planning to have your shore lunch in an area that is devoid of available wood or cutting is not allowed, a milk crate full of cut and split hardwood with a small side bundle of softwood is a good allotment.

Preparing a shore lunch need not be a complicated endeavor but there are a few essential supplies that need to be available for meal preparations to be successful. All of these listed supplies can best be carried in a large dry box, pack basket or even a couple milk crates. Please remember that when preparing a shore lunch cleanliness is the most important item. Make sure to have family, friends and clients see you thoroughly wash or sanitize your hands before you begin cooking. 

1.    Fillet Knife
2.    Hatchet
3.    Coffee Pot
4.    Dutch Oven Gloves
5.    Tongs
6.    Spatula
7.    Matches
8.    Grill Top
9.    2 Large Cast Iron Frying Pan or Dutch Oven
10.    Garbage Bags
11.    Zip Lock Bags
12.    Coffee Cups
13.    Plates
14.    Silverware
15.    Paper Towels
16.    Small Container of Hand Sanitizer

Food Stuffs
For the prefect shore lunch you need only supply the following edible elements. For many the taste of freshly caught fried fish is hard to resist. However, if the fish refuse to bite or someone on your trip prefers to eat something else it pays to have a back-up plan. Thinking ahead of easy menu substitutes is sure to keep you popular.

1.    Hot Coffee or Hot Coco
2.    Potatoes and Onions
3.    Fresh Caught Fish
4.    Coating and/or Seasoning for Fish (Premixed in Ziplock Bags)
5.    Baked Beans
6.    Rolls and Butter
7.    Chocolate Chip Cookies
8.    Cooking Oil
9.    Bonus Items Carried By Master Guides: Salt and Pepper, Ketchup Packets, Tarter Sauce, Sugar, Creamer, Irish Whiskey or Scotch

The quality of any shore lunch can be evaluated by the period of time that eclipses after eating, when family, friends and clients are content to sit on the shore farting, belching and potentially napping. The longer the amount of time that passes, before someone finally says, “hey when are we getting back to the fishing”, the higher rating your shore lunch receives.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Shore Lunch Dissected and Defined

We have all been there, struggling through a hard day in the woods or on the waters in extreme cold, driving rain or hurricane force winds. We have also been out on those beautiful lazy days where Mother Nature blesses sportsmen with perfect weather.  When weather cooperates, it certainly makes any outdoor adventure more enjoyable, for you and your outdoor companions, but even then lack of fish and game can turn even the most patient crew of individuals mutinous.

One essential element to making sure the natives do not become restless, when weather and lady luck frown down upon you, is having plenty of good, hot food available. Nothing will tame a savage beast, better than a warm drink, full belly and something sweet to gnaw on. If these tasks can be completed next to a roaring campfire with a brief chance to escape the hordes of biting insects or perhaps under a tarp to momentarily receive shelter from pouring rains, then all that much better.

Maine Guides and seasoned sportsmen alike know well the benefits of keeping bodies well fueled and minds focused. Even the most dedicated and hardcore hunter and angler can benefit greatly from a brief respite in their outdoor activities to relax for a few moments and enjoy a good meal.

Now don’t get me wrong, there have been many instances where when hunting or fishing alone, I am perfectly content to choke down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or unceremoniously grind my teeth though a Twinkie, however, when in the company of good people few things are more fun than sharing a meal together. In these circumstances it never fails that laughter, tall tales and outright lies are exchanged all in an environment of camaraderie, cementing the bonds of lasting friendships.

Next on 6/22: How to Prepare the Perfect Shore Lunch

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Deer Return to Spring Patterns

First Deer on Game Camera Since Late November
In the photograph, it appears that this deer is shedding it's grayish brown winter coat and growing in it's summer fur, typically reddish brown or tan.

For More On the White-Tailed Deer See Link Below:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Old Friend Retires After 3 Generations of Ice Fishing

After many years of dedicated service, this ice fishing season marked the last year great Gramps old pot belly ash wood pack basket would join my hard water adventures. Several breaks and cracks in the increasingly fragile wood had me cringing every time someone haphazardly threw it into the back of a pick-up truck or strapped it onto a snowmobile. It was simply no longer something functional but rather had thorough the years instead turned into an heirloom. It will now live the remainder of its day hanging on the wall in the man cave filled with other old relics of ice fishing’s past.

Its replacement, though lacking the “personality” of my old companion, is a marvel of size and durability. The new pack is fully capable of holding all of my old gear PLUS many other items that I always had to manage to somehow carry separately (thermos, heavy jacket, tackle box, etc.).  The ash wood is thicker and the straps are made from nylon webbing, promising years of faithful service.

For more on packs constructed by Loring Pack baskets click HERE.

Not content to leave my new pack unfinished and therefore identical to 90% of the ice fishermen who use them, I stained my pack this last weekend “Ebony”. This initial staining will be followed up with 4-5 coats of matte varnish to provide protection to the wood and newly applied stain. I was originally unsure how the pack would look when finished but in the end I have to say that I am extremely pleased with the final project.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blog Frog Award

Check out the listing of "Blog Frog Award" recipients over at: http://www.gunsmithingschool.org/hunting-blogs. They have done a nice job of creating an extensive list of what they have identified as the top 50 Hunting Blogs from across the country. The list includes a few of my favorites and several other interesting blogs I had not heard of before and plan to add to my blog roll. Yours truly is listed somewhere near the middle of the "Rest of the Best" listing and is described by the folks at the Gunsmithing School Site as: A blogger writing under the benign pseudonym, Rabid Outdoorsman whose passionate skills are put to excellent use in the fertile fields of Maine. Who do they think they are calling me "BENIGN", do they have any idea who they are dealing with!?! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

West Grand Salmon Desktop Photo

Ummm, Nothing Better Than Smoked Salmon!

For more information on smoking Salmon and Togue (Lake Trout) click HERE.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Its All About the Hatch

Our annual spring trip to West Grand Lake was ignited by a well timed and exciting combination of unique happenstances. After suffering through several dreary weeks of rain and cold, the skies parted early Friday afternoon pushing thermometers into the 70s. This sudden transition signaled a titanic eruption of Hendrickson Mayflies that in turn whipped the salmon into a feeding frenzy. Trolling the lake surface with flies and DB Smelts, in a variety of combos and colors, we finally hit gold with anything containing the color “pink”. In a long day of patrolling the lake from the landing to Hardwood Island, Marks Island and finally all the way to the mouth of Whitney Cove, we succeeded in bringing 20 salmon to the boat. Most fish caught were between 15-17 inches and included one well fed football shaped monster registering 18 inches.

Surface trolling was the way to go this year as the hatch had fish feeding close to the lake surface. The biggest salmon of the day was caught on the surface in about 45 feet of water at 1:00! In the excitement of the swarming salmon, we quickly abandoned our downriggers, lead core and Luhr-Jensen lake trolls (targeting Togue) and instead fished floating flyline with streamers or 8 lb mono with DBs. The results were easily one of our best days trolling the lake.

Arriving back at the Grand Lake Store the fly fishing community was abuzz with news of the hatch and the store’s supply of Hendrickson imitators was completely sold out. Despite the high water levels plaguing the stream at this time, many brave fly fishermen were cautiously attempting to fish some of the smaller pools further away from the raging waters found near the dam.

In the end, three of us kept 6 salmon that we smoked on Sunday afternoon and will certainly be enjoyed for weeks to come on toasted morning bagels with a dollop of cream cheese! As we busied ourselves with carefully cleaning the silverside beauties, each were absolutely FILLED with Hendricksons, again reminding me that sometimes it’s all about the hatch!!

For More Fishing on West Grand See:
West Grand Lake Exposed
Spring Fishing 2010

Many other fine stories of adventure exist concerning the waters of West Grand Lake. If interested in finding more type West Grand into the search bar on the side of this blog and you will be direct to additional stories!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beginner Taxidermy Projects

Proof that Some Taxidermists Have a Twisted Sense of Humor!
Before diving in with both feet and investing in a taxidermist project that turns out to not necessarily be what you wanted or anticipated. Below is a collection of simple beginner taxidermy projects that are easy and fun for all ability levels. Test the matrimonial waters, by putting one of these up on your wall or on a bookshelf and see what the wife says!
If you graduate from these projects, pass the inspection of the wife and are looking to explore the option of getting a game animal professionally mounted, make sure to read the following articles before making the final decision.

Choosing a Taxidermist:
Short but Simple - http://www.kantorstaxidermy.com/ChooseTaxidermist.htm
Long but Excellent - http://www.headsabovetherest.com/article_how_to_choose_a_taxidermist.html
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...