Friday, July 29, 2011

Sardine Tournament of Champions - Round 3

The Contestants: Brunswick VS Bar Harbor
WINNER: Bar Harbor

Brunswick - (1 BAD, 5 GOOD)
1. Saltiness - 4
2. Moistness - 5
3. Firmness/Texture - 5
4. Fishiness - 3
5. Overall Flavor - 4
6. Appearance - 4
7. Packaging – 4 – (Plastic covering over can not necessary)
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 4
9. Would you Buy Again – No as they are more expensive yet identical to cheaper brands
10. Additional Comments – Similar to Bumblebee and Beach Cliff. After tasting the Bar Harbor Sardines, I didn’t even feel like finishing the Brunswick can.

Bar Harbor
– (1 BAD, 5 GOOD)
1. Saltiness - 4
2. Moistness - 5
3. Firmness/Texture - 5
4. Fishiness - 2
5. Overall Flavor - 5
6. Appearance - 5
7. Packaging – 4 (Paper covering over can not necessary)
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 2
9. Would you Buy Again – Absolutely
10. Additional Comments – From the moment I laid eyes on the Bar Harbor sardines I had been anxiously anticipating their impending consumption. The size of the packaging can seems to provide an outdoorsman more a meal then a snack! Immediately upon opening the can, I was impressed. The rich smoky smell and the two large sardines within had a lightly smoked color. First bite was heaven; flavorful boneless fillets perfect balance of everything that is good. The only contender, currently in this contest, with any hope of beating this sardine is King Oscar.

For more on the Sardine Tournament of Champions See HERE:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kineo Photo Tour

The following are a collection of photographs from a recent trip camping in Kokajo, Maine. Most enjoyable was the mile upon mile of excellent ATV trails and the day hike up the Kineo peninsula. Truly a fantastic trip, highly recommended to anyone looking for a low impact adventure in the Maine wilderness. If you make it to the top and are not afraid of heights, a huge fire tower affords impressive views in all directions! Access is available by water taxi out of Greenville or for those daring enough to brave the logging roads out of Kokajo, a variety of different winding dirt roads weave 18 miles into the backcountry, eventually allowing you to arrive at a boulder blocked road where you can park and walk in the rest of the way. This is an adventure not for the faint of heart, however, if you are not familiar with this area drop me an e-mail and I would be happy to provide more specific directions.

Approaching Kineo Peninsula after Driving 18ish Miles in From Kokajo
View of Moosehead Lake From about Half Way Up Kineo
View of Rockwood and the "Katahdin" Tour Boat Out of Greenville
Ahhh, Beautiful Stop on Way Back From Kineo
Lobsters Fresh from the Lake!!!
View from the 19th Hole at the Kineo Golf Club!
Just Follow Signs to Fantastic Hiking!
Top of Fire Tower from a Trip in 2001!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wishing I was Super Fly

At its purest level it is an art, an elevated form of fishing, not to be attempted by the faint of heart and comprised of zealots dedicated to the refinement of the sport of angling. Watching this brotherhood of sportsmen, casting their lines, has always left me with a feeling of awe and wonder at their level of expertise with the rod and reel. Then there is of course the total coolness factor of being swathed head to toe in Orvis gear.

Despite years of on and off practice sessions, mostly reserved to my lawn, I still had serious reservations about transferring my basic skills to water. Perhaps these reservations were tied to my own fears of embarrassment, should I be seen flailing around a pristine mountain stream like a complete amateur or potentially require a hospital visit to remove a hook from my eye. Whatever the list of apparent excuses, I decided last month to dedicate some time to re-exploring the sport of fly fishing.

These practice sessions, were supported by numerous nights of reading and re-reading several fly fishing books and reviewing a variety of Youtube videos outlining good casting techniques. This prep-work was then followed by several evening on the lawn attempting to refine my rhythm and proficiency. Despite my practice session I still held to the belief that my chances of actually eventually catching a fish was close to nil.

Finally, came the golden moment in time, where I decided that the fledgling need to fly. With reservations, I grabbed my equipment and headed to the local bass pond. Staring at my book of flies, I struggled to determine what a bass might like to eat. Streamer, Nymph, Popper, they all seemed like they had distinctive possibilities. With considerable thought, I ended up deciding on a fly I like to call, “I have no FN idea”. (I am hopeful that some fly fishermen will read this post, have pity on me and identify this fly.)

After mending out some line, I took a deep breath swung back the rod to the 2 O’clock position and launched the “I have no FN idea” into the murky depth. Repeating this process four more times, I was pleasantly alarmed when my line jerked taunt and I managed to bring to hand my first catch on the fly rod, a beautiful large mouth, which dangled haphazardly from my line for a few moments, before I shook him off, and he was once again free. Encouraged by my success, I continued my endeavors and managed 4 more large mouths and a huge pickerel before the evening ended.

Reflecting on my positive experiences, I shared my story with a fishing friend and he remarked that he could direct me to a location where I would have a chance to pursue the more challenging Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout. Anxious but refusing to be discouraged, I accepted his offer and was again off to the waters.

I have No FN Idea Fly?!?!
Now chasing trout, I again pondered my selection of flies and once again settled on the “I have no FN idea”. Unlike my previous fishing experience, heavy wind and a driving rain had me doubting my ability to cast a fly. After a rough start slipping on rocks, tangling my line and almost losing my prized fish slaying secret weapon on a sunken log, I finally settled into a rhythm and managed a few descent casts. Imagine my surprise, when after just a few casts my rod tip bent heavily over and line started feeding quickly through my hands. Loading the reel, the fight was on and in a few minutes I had in hand my first ever Rainbow Trout. An hour and a half later and I had caught four Rainbows, two Brook Trout and a Chub.

It appears I have now managed to enter the fraternal order of fly fishermen. Thought I realize I still have much to learn, the wheel are in motion, the intoxication of life on the fly has been felt and I relish the times I have ahead to refine my skills.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Your 40 Years Old If . . .

40 Looks Good On Ya!!!
Ok I cannot lie, the picture above was taken when I was twenty something, totally in shape, touring the world (picture was taken in Hawaii) and full of crazy aspirations! How much has changed over the last 20 years. Now I "think" I am in shape, only tour Maine and am just crazy. LOL! To celebrate this monumental occasion I have created a list of "Your 40 Years Old If . . ." for the enjoyment of those of us in the prime of our lives!
  1. you think a blackberry is what you put on top of vanilla ice cream.
  2. you would much rather try and catch a striper than a stripper.
  3. your hair has finally finished its migration from your head to your back.
  4. the hangovers hurt more than they used to. (Hank Williams Jr)
  5. corn bread and ice tea took the place of pills and 90 proof. (Hank Williams Jr)
  6. your idea of a night out on the town ends at 9:00 PM rather than 9:00 AM.
  7. your idea of going out to eat is hitting the meat lovers breakfast at Dennys on Sunday morning.
  8. the pain from a pulled muscle lasts 6 months.
  9. you remember cartoons ONLY being on during Saturday mornings.
  10. you are VERY happy to have a doctor with small fingers.
  11. you are laughing right now from the above comment and not perplexed.
  12. bad gas occurs due to what you ate and not water in your fuel tank.
  13. attending a WILD party is you and a couple old fraternity brother sitting around drinking beer and reminiscing about the college days.
  14. you have ever eaten something and had it "not agree with you".
  15. you seem to appreciate sunrises and sunsets just a little bit more.
  16. your Friday night trip the liquor store has been replaced by Saturday morning trips to the hardware store.
  17. you believe the term "getting your gun off" actually refers to a firearm.
  18. the above phrase excites you more than the other more sexually oriented meaning.
  19. you have ever had to pluck or clip a nose hair.
  20. just thinking of a cup of coffee make you have to pee.
  21. you know the meaning of the term "manscaping".
  22. your favorite song, from the moldy oldies, comes on the radio and you crank it to 11 for about 30 seconds then you realize it hurts your ears and you wonder why anyone would ever be stupid enough to listen to music that loud.
  23. you know the name of the movie in which they "Cranked the amplifier to 11".
  24. you enjoy taking a kid fishing or hunting more fun than going yourself.
I hope you enjoyed the list! Please drop a comment with any additions you would like to make to the list!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sardine Tournament of Champions - Round 2

Sardine Review – Round 2

The Contestants:
King Oscar – V.S. Beach Cliff –

**For additional information on this posting see HERE.

King Oscar - (1 BAD, 5 GOOD)
1. Saltiness - 4
2. Moistness - 5
3. Firmness/Texture - 4
4. Fishiness - 5
5. Overall Flavor - 5
6. Appearance - 5
7. Packaging – 4 – Plastic Wrapping Unnecessary
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 16
9. Would you Buy Again – Y
10. Additional Comments – Smoky delicious goodness packed into a small sardine.

Beach Cliff – (1 BAD, 5 GOOD)
1. Saltiness - 4
2. Moistness - 5
3. Firmness/Texture - 5
4. Fishiness - 3
5. Overall Flavor - 4
6. Appearance - 4
7. Packaging - 5
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 4
9. Would you Buy Again – Y
10. Additional Comments – Similar in overall taste and texture to the Bumblebee brand tried in round 1.

This round was easier to decide with the clear winner being King Oscar. From the first bite, I was immediately impressed by the rich smoky taste of the KO sardines. While the Beach Cliff were also good their bland, fishier taste was reminiscent of the Bumblebee brand tried during round 1. In fact, I would be hard pressed to pick out the differences in the two brands should I be blindfolded.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just Not Fly

HELP! I need to Identify this Fly!

Over the last several months, I have managed to catch everything from sunfish and chubs, to bass and pickerel to brook and rainbow trout on this small sinking fly. Since it has been so successful, in the pursuit of such a huge number of species, I was hopeful that someone would be able to identify. Despite my visits to local fly shops nobody seems to be stocking this particular pattern! Help!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Eagle Drops Fawn Onto High-Voltage Line

I had to share this interesting video depicting a deer hanging on a high voltage power line, apparently dropped there by a Bald Eagle.

AND if you think a DEER hanging from a power line is interesting how about an entire MOOSE!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Rabid Outdoorsman Contemplates 40

Sailing in Hawaii
I turn 40 in a few days and though the thought isn’t quite as frightening, as I had imagined when I was a 20 something, it is still a major life milestone that fills my mind with contemplation.  I suppose, I should be grateful I have managed to live this long, considering the recklessness of my youth and some of the close calls encountered through the years that I somehow miraculously managed to avoid. At times, death has been close by my side and I am reflective of the time a sudden bolder erratic shifted at the wrong moment, a violent car crash occurred and the time when I shook the hand of a healthy man, who died the next day while ice climbing on Mt. Washington. Those events serve as reminders of how fragile life can be and that we must endeavor to live each day to its fullest. Reflecting over the past 40 years,  I feel I have lived a life worth living and in the end, that is all a man can ask for.

The Rabid Outdoorsman Contemplates Exercise and Diet

In light of my new 40 status, I suppose I should start to look more seriously at my exercise routines, food intake and general health but then again isn’t that what old timers have to do? Isn’t this something that maybe I can hold off considering until I enter my twilight years, like 60 perhaps, when I turn REALLY old?

Top of Maine, Mt. Katahdin
I guess I should be “thankful”, I have this “Katahdin” thing coming up this winter where a group of us are planning to climb to the summit in full on mountaineering fashion (like I used to do in my youth). If this doesn’t motivate me to get back into a regular exercise routine, then little else is sure to work. Thoughts of dragging a 35 pound pack up a snow and ice covered mountain is not something to be enjoyed when you are out of breath and panting like a dog on a hot summer day. So, that means months of running stairs, visits to the gym and regular occurrences of pulled muscles, aching joints and general bodily discomfort . . . sigh . . . why can’t exercise be easy?!?!

Paris, France
Then there is this intake of food and cholesterol count BS that I really hate to even consider talking about. I like bacon, greasy eggs, corned beef hash, sour cream on baked potatoes, cheese, loaded pizza, fried stuff and thick full-bodied beer so give me a handful of pills for my high cholesterol and blood pressure and lets call it even. Ok, perhaps that was a little bit childish and a tad inconsiderate of my body, which has treated me so well over the years, despite my best efforts to destroy it. First there was the knee rebuilds, then the ACL replacement and finally the major back surgery but it would be unfair of me to blame these things on my body. These scars are the end products of a mind able to frequently push my body past its genetically average abilities. It has certainly been a life lived hard and to its fullest and I often wonder what my next major surgery will be . . . I hear hip replacements are becoming popular, among “Boomers”, perhaps I will add that to my list.

Uluru, Australia
I have never liked the word “diet” it is a word with little meaning to me. Anyone who “diets” is never ever going to see any real or lasting change in their waistline. If you really want to permanently lose weight, you must make a lifestyle change that includes either more exercise or putting a stop to swallowing so much stuff. If you can’t stop eating, it better be healthy stuff your cramming in your mouth and not junk. My intake of food is far from perfect but to my advantage, I rarely drink soda, eat fast food, snack in the evening or have any inclination toward consuming sweets. When you work to combine a modest food intake with an increasingly active life style you begin the process of finding your balance.

Summit Mt. Rainier
Personal balance should be the point where your bodies health and ability level matches the activities that you wish to achieve to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Want to climb mountains?  Need to carry a heavy pack? Plan to shoot a deer and drag it out of the woods this year? Do you enjoy paddling a canoe and doing a little fishing on the weekends? Plan to run a triathlon this Fall? All these activities require your body to be at differing levels of cardio and musculature conditioning. Most of us will never need to have bodies like professional athletes, movie stars or Olympians to be content pursuing our life passions. For me, I have always followed a rhythm of months of intense training leading up to a particular activity (My training for Aconcagua is a great example), followed by periods of moderate exercise intensity. The benefit of being an outdoorsman is that you are perpetually busy, there always seems to be deer stands to relocate, canoes to portage, mountains to climb, lakes to paddle, animals to be scouted, game cameras to check and wild lands to explore. I encourage everyone to find his or her balance, as your life and health will be better for it!

Mt. Hood
The Rabid Outdoorsman Continues to Contemplate
On July 19th I will be posting a list of original “Your forty if . . .” statements that was inspired by Jeff Foxworthy’s famous “You might be a Redneck” stand-up routine. I hope the post will provide you all with a good laugh.

I am looking forward to the next 40 years and have already set my sights on 90. At this monumental occasion, I have decided to take up my life long dream of binge drinking, eating only bacon and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Young people are certain to look at me and say, “Wow, that guy is like 90, eats and drinks like that and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day! Maybe those things aren’t as bad for you as reported!”. That should teach those young whippersnappers with their fancy Playstation 10s, cranially implanted iPods and jet packs to respect their elders!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sardine Tournament of Champions - Round 1

Sardine Review – Round 1
For More See Post: Sardine Tournament of Champions

The Contestants:
Crown Prince – ( V.S. Bumblebee

1. Saltiness - 5
2. Moistness - 3
3. Firmness/Texture - 4
4. Fishiness - 5
5. Overall Flavor - 5
6. Appearance -4
7. Packaging – 4 (Fancy cardboard box was a waste and unnecessary)
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 5
9. Would you Buy Again – No
10. Additional Comments – Tastes like tuna not a “classic” sardine, skinless

1. Saltiness - 5
2. Moistness - 5
3. Firmness/Texture - 5
4. Fishiness - 4
5. Overall Flavor - 4
6. Appearance -5
7. Packaging - 5
8. Number of Sardines to a Can - 4
9. Would you Buy Again – Yes
10. Additional Comments – Bland flavor, silver skin, white flesh, classic sardine taste, hint of smokiness

This round was a difficult choice. Where the Crown Prince was more flavorful the Bumblebee product was bland and reminded me more of the “classic” sardine taste of my youth. Asking the assistance of an innocent bystander, in my final decision, I was left more confused when they chose Crown Prince. In the end, I declare the winner as Bumblebee but would encourage anyone looking for a sardine that contains a rich fish taste to give Crown Prince a try.
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