Jun 23, 2010

A Long-ago Fishing Experience

In the 1950's and -60's Louis A. Wehle was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Genessee Brewing Company of Rochester, New York.  His longtime passion for outdoor sports led his company to sponsor an annual statewide fishing contest that promoted conservation and sportsmanship, as well as the firm's beer.  And each year they published a book describing all the record fish that had won prizes in each category along with the sizes and weights of the winning fish, the location where they were caught and the date, the names of the winners, and so on. 

And so it was in one of these record books that my friend Hal Johnson and I noticed that for 2 consecutive years the champion brook trout had come out of a lake!  It was a lake that neither of us had heard of -- Pharaoh Lake.  It was the summer of 1961.  I had come home from my final midshipman cruise.  We had a couple weeks to kill before we had to return to school.  The time was perfect for us to pursue a record-breaking trout.

We got a New York road map and located Pharaoh Lake.  It was not too far north of Brant Lake which was accessible by car.  After a couple days assembling our camping gear, the three members of the expedition -- Hal, myself, and Nipper (Hal's wonder dog) -- left for Brant Lake in Hal's tricolor '55 Dodge.  Our plan was to spend a week at the lake, eating our fill every day of fresh-grilled brook trout.  Part of that plan came true.  We spent a week in the wilderness.

My recollection is that we hiked about 4 miles from where we parked until we reached the southern end of Pharaoh Lake.  Much to our surprise, there was a gentleman who lived in a shack near the lake and had two very rickety-looking row boats for rent.  We rented the better looking of the two.  I think it cost us $2.00 for the week.  We loaded our gear and Nipper into the boat and rowed about halfway up the lake, camping on the western shore in a beautiful cleared campsite.  I don't think we slept much that night in anticipation of the incredible fishing that awaited us.

For the next 5 days we fished all over that lake using every kind of lure known to man.  We tried plugs and spoons and flies and live bait.  Deep, shallow, trolling and not trolling.  I think we caught 2 small sunfish.

Contour Map of Pharaoh Lake

After 5 days, we gave up.  We decided to head back to civilization.  We returned our boat and started down the access trail.  Not far down the trail, we encountered a jeep driving up to the lake.  It turned out to be driven by the son of the boat man.  Their last name was Hastings.  (After my friend Hal Johnson read this entry, he reminded me that the old man's name was William Hastings.  His address was Star Route 5, Hagaman, New York.)  We told the Jeep driver our sad tale of fishing with few results.  He responded, "Hop in.  I'll show you where the fish are!"  He was the fisherman who had caught the record trout the previous 2 years!!!

We went in a boat with him to near the center of the lake.  He pointed out certain landmarks that helped him pinpoint the same location every time.  He told us to put down 100 feet of line with 2 ounces of lead and some live bait.  As soon as the sinker hit the bottom, I had a bite.  It was a nice sized brook trout.  And then another, and another...  And Hal was catching them just as fast.

The gentleman told us that this was a spring-fed lake and that this was the location of a large, cold spring.  It kept the fish cold and it stirred up food.  We caught our limit in very short order.  Soon, we were back at his father's shack to thank our guide and see him off as he headed down the trail.  We set up our campsite for another day and ate our fill.  The lake looked a lot better that evening.  Life was just about perfect.

Pharaoh Lake at Dawn

Jun 14, 2010

Congratulations to Our Champions (Again!)

For a second year, the Ebabe's team has become their league champions.  Mary Ann and I are honored to be fortunate enough to be associated with this team.  The girls, all between 7 and 9 years old, and the coaches, are dedicated beyond belief.  So last Tuesday, after their victory in the final tournament game (a "squeaker" at 16-3), we made sure there was enough pizza and soft drinks for a proper celebration.  After all, they went undefeated!

Go, Ebabe's!!!

Jun 1, 2010

A Great Lawn Team!

My friend and long-ago colleague, retired Marine Colonel Tullis J. Woodham, Jr., sent me this photo. His daughter, Jan, and her husband, John, made these for the good colonel in 2003. What a marvelous gift!