Connecticut Slam

I had the pleasure of visiting nearby NE Connecticut (Stafford Springs) for a long weekend. My wife and her friends were hitting estate sales before the spring Brimfield show and so I had the perfect excuse to sneak away for days of fishing. We stayed at Angelina’s Innkeepers Inn in Stafford Springs. Our second visit with her–was delightful. Angelina makes a mean “hooligan’s pancake” (a Finnish pancake called “pannukakku”) and her stories are endless. She’s a treasure trove of info on antiquing and “picking” the area. Sadly, she sold the place and we’ll miss her hospitality next fall when we come up for the next Brimfield.

In my exploration of the area, and from tips from CT Fish Talk forums, I decided upon the nearby Nipmuck State Forest area and two lakes: Bigelow Hollow and Mashapaug. Both are called ponds, but at a combined 60+acres I’d say they qualify as lakes. Both are stocked with trout (Rainbow, Brown) and Mashapaug holds Walleye.

Since I was shore fishing, I targeted trout and bass. My goal was a brown trout especially. A slam (rainbow, brown, and bass)…a grand slam (add Walleye) was out of reach as these are found deep and targeted at night. Armed with some intel from JT’s Fly Shop in Union, I hit both lakes over three days. The results were excellent, with a nice variety of fish each day (rainbow, brown, LM, perch, pumpkinseed, crappie).

I actually caught and released about twenty ‘bows over the course of the weekend in vary lengths. I found them taking powerbait, and worms in deep coves and on flats too. There is no minimum size for trout in CT and a limit of 5 per day. So when I finally got into the bigger ones–13″ or more, I kept a limit. We grilled them up for dinner!

The next day at Mashapaug, I hiked several coves until settling on fishing a point on Rock Island with a 30′ flat running into a drop off. My guess was the trout were in the deeper part off the cove and that they may occasionally forage the flat–they did not disappoint me! I watched two browns swim in and just as I was casting out got a backlash! I pulled my secondary rod with a superworm on it but a couple of nibbles and the trout spit it. I retied and cast a texas-rigged crawler and BAM the trout nailed it, put up a good fight, tail-walked a bit and I got it in. My first brown trout! It came in at about 20″, my guess, 4-5 lbs. I was catch-and-release that day so he got to go back in the drink–maybe he’ll become a trophy brown some day.

I ended the trip on the third day with more rainbows, perch and a 10″ largemouth bass. I can’t wait to go back in the fall and fish for the browns again though.

Writing Soothes

Yesterday was a bum day at work. The kind of day that just wrecks your confidence in people and perhaps even your choices. I should have seen it coming, I spent the weekend pining for a house. I’m in ‘nesting’ mode and that usually means long visits to to browse homes upstate. The Poconos, the Catskills, along the Westchester Reservoirs. I spent most of Sunday with football in the background as old ranches on 2.3 acres whizzed by my screen. This one caught my eye…but it was too close to town, too manicured.

Now, I’m priviledged. I live in a condo in fashionable Williamsburg, with a view of arguably the most social park in the city, McCarren Park. …it has resurfaced tennis courts. I can get my hipster on by just walking outside.

But a man isn’t a man until he makes a homestead. Growing up on a teacher’s salary, my family of 7, sometimes 8, moved around a bit, but we stuck to the outskirts. The rural lands where big houses were cheap and easily accommodated a sprawling growing family with not a lot of money. I attended  (seriously) a one-room schoolhouse in Concord, NH, like this one in Croydon.

Anyway, I digress–at work yesterday–I was reminded that when people are ugly, its often when they’re trying to act “pretty” and “nice”. Coupled with my dissatisfaction that I was far away from owning a home (my savings have been consumed by other things this year), and “pretty-ugly” behavior, I felt a kind of ache in my chest.

Finally, I was able to scratch it late last night–by cracking a key chapter of the novel I’m writing. Here are a few of the research materials, below, held up by tall-ship bookends acquired at Brimfield this fall.

Writing soothes the soul. The ache has faded. Writing is a tough and lonely affair, but oh so deeply satisfying.