Scarborough Fly & Bait Casting Association
23 Willowhurst Crescent, Scarborough  Ontario M1R 3R7
Phone & Fax - 416/755-5663
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 THE REEL THING                                                                             February 2003


          January’s ice fishing excursions began rather slowly but finished in fine style with Limit Lake surrendering four nice fish to Jim Lloyd and me, with Jim actually losing one or two others as well.  The conditions on the trails and lake this year are the best in memory which made for great skidooing and more time spent fishing instead of digging the machines out of deep snow or slush.  Entering into the fray so far this year were, Jim Lloyd, Paul Becker, Ray Cockburn, Bob Tanaka, Paul Kennedy and me.  Hopefully, with the news now that the fishing’s great and the catching’s picking up, more of our folks will partake of this great pastime.

          Robert Beaudoin has done a superb job of revamping and modernizing our website........if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look and let us know what you think.  Robert is also in the process of adding more pictures to the photo gallery, including shots of the crew hard at work on their various feather and bamboo projects.  Paul Becker is putting the finishing touches on his second and third sticks, while Jay Hackney also is wrapping up three lovely split-cane wands........albeit, one of them is probably an absolutely exclusive, world first, hollow built and fluted bamboo ice-fishing jigging rod.  Talk about a passionate obsession with the joy of working with bamboo......heh, I think there’s a fine title there for another book.  Bob Tanaka, Ray Cockburn and Robert Beaudoin are also well into their bamboo works.

          Another highlight in January was the ‘catch’ made by Paul Kennedy at Limit Lake a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a copy of the memo I sent out to the hard-core-core of the club describing Paul’s ‘achievement’:


    Paul and I had a fine day yesterday fishing  Limit Lake.  The skidoos, buzzers and power augur all worked perfectly. The trails are in wonderful shape and the lake's got a head of blue ice more than 12" thick.  Skidooing through the bush with the snow-covered branches forming a canopied roof over the trail was like traveling through a white tunnel: beautiful!

    I 'released' perhaps the largest trout I've had on in that lake in several years when my line became fouled up on the ice - a good 25" long and 5" deep brookie.  We had a really good look at it and it was to highly coloured to be a splake. That was followed a little later by a vicious strike on the deer hair crawfish fly that I threw together in the shop last Tuesday - almost yanked the little jigging rod out of my hand. Missed it, too!

      Paul waited until almost a half hour before we planned to leave, 4:00 o'clock, to do his thing - and what a remarkable fish story was the result.

       He was in the process of clearing the ice off the hole's surface, then was raising the line to check the minnow when another lovely trout, he estimates about 20", slashed at his minnow just beneath the ice. It missed, but he quickly lowered the hooked 4" shiner and the trout grabbed it and took off  as he fed out line waiting for the fish to swallow the bait. 

        Unfortunately he didn't wait quite long enough because when he attempted to set the hook the trout escaped.  However, after he swore and retrieved his line he did have a fish on the hook after-all.  Not the trout!  Not the 4" shiner he had baited the hook with! But the smallest fish either of us had ever seen caught on a lure or hook......a pin minnow, hooked through the middle which would have been no more than 5/8th of an inch long. Seriously!

        Obviously what had happened is that the trout swimming away with Paul's minnow in its mouth was disgorging some of its previous dinner (the tiny pin minnows) and as Paul struck to set the hook, his minnow was yanked off by the trout with the hook penetrating one of the spit-out minnows and not the trout's jaw.  From the trout's viewpoint, that certainly was fair exchange......a minuscule minnow for a real snack!

        It was acutally too small to even photograph with my cheap camera.........where are you Rick Matusiak?

        Wonder what adventures lay in store for us next Saturday?


          I repeated that little story in the Reel Thing for the rest of you folks to get a chuckle from.

          We have had many bamboo fly rods made in the club over the years and it occurred to us that it would be fun to try to get everyone who has built one (or more) to bring them out to the gym for a show and tell evening.  We will also be holding a little fly accuracy contest with a twist.....using the regulation target distances, but with rods limited to bamboo and no longer than 7 ½’. This should be interesting and illustrate the versatility and power of these little hollow and fluted sticks that we build mainly for stream fishing.

Some of the expected and hoped-for attendees who either already have, or are working on these sticks, built in our club, are Jim Lloyd, Jim (Jaydee) Davidson, Paul Quarrington, Pete Pokulok, Paul Becker, Jay Hackney, Paul Kennedy, Hans Eckhart, Robert Tanaka, Wil Jin, Robert Beaudoin.  Other clubs are invited to send their fly casters along to join in the fun as our guests with this one.......if they do not have the appropriate rods, they would be welcome to choose one of mine to use to test their skills against our folks.

After a month of sub-freezing temperatures, the temperatures moderated sufficiently to convince me to drill a sample hole in my biggest maple tree, insert a spigot and begin collecting sap.  If any of our newer members would like to avail themselves of the opportunity to produce super maple syrup right on their own property, I’ll be happy to send you the details of what’s required. They’re part of a chapter in one of the books I’ve written, titled FREE FOOD’N FUN. It’s actually a quite simple and rewarding hobby and one that provides Sheila and me with from three to five gallons of finished wonderful, gold-medal winning, syrup for very little effort on our part. 

   Contrary to what is commonly believed, any and all maple trees are suitable for this project.......mine (I have five) are perhaps the most common of all, ordinary Silver Maples.  The main requirements for success are slightly below-freezing nights and above-freezing days. The next six to eight weeks should produce many of these.

Speaking of foodstuffs, we have been enjoying feeds of Lax and Gravlaax on our Tuesday workshop evenings in between working with the feathers and bamboo.  This was mainly trout that Jim and I caught on our weekend ice-fishing jaunts.......however Leon Schwartz was so taken with the snacks that he created some of his own, using our recipe for Gravlaax with store-bought Atlantic Salmon fillets and did a great job producing delicious fare for us to also gobble in the shop.  That recipe can be found in my last book, BROOKIES, BROWNS AND BOWS.

****Note to Steve Rajeff: Maybe you could get Loomis to sponsor you to join us for the bamboo evening.  You used one of my little sticks a couple of years ago when we were making that film for the Canadian Sport-fishing television show!

That’s all for now folks,