Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fishing Tales

I was a lucky kid. I was able to train my folks to always take me with them when I went fishing. Dad started me out fishing for crappies at Sauvies Island north of Portland when I was ten years old and from there we graduated up to fishing for trout.
Our early endeavors were with worms or salmon eggs but in 1936 the so-called fly casting champ came to Portland and my dad paid for casting lessons from him. Week after week dad would get his lesson at Laurelwood Park, come home and have mom and I get out our fly rods so he could teach us his lessons for that day.
Our favorite haunts were the Deschutes river in the Maupin area or the Clackamas river up above the town of Estacada. My parents had a bakery in southeast Portland where I worked for them before and after school and all night on Friday nights. One of my tasks on Friday nights was to fry the donuts and maple bars and during that period I would start talking about the joys of fishing and it would often get my dad so excited that near the end of the morning he would call mom to tell her to pack up the gear and make a lunch as we were going to go fishing.
On one trip to the Deschutes river I came across my high school history teacher who was fly fishing the same area. When he opened his creel to show me, he had one of the prettiest catches of redside rainbow trout I had ever seen. He was using a blue upright artificial fly fished wet and was really knocking 'em. History classes were never the same after that. I was a devious kid and soon learned that during class I could get him talking about fishing and history went out the window. My fellow students loved it. My grades were pretty good, also.
On another trip to the Deschutes I found that artificial flies are not always the best for trophys. I was working a particular riffle when a guy went by on the trail with a casting rod and a big wobbler type lure tied to his leader. I made some remark about no bass in that river. Later that morning he came by on his way back to his car with a fish as long as his arm. It was a steelhead trout and it was my first experience of seeing the effectiveness of a Flatfish lure. Although I still love fly fishing I have taken my share of some nice trout, steelhead and salmon on that weird shaped lure.
In future blogs I'll write about more of my experiences in the sport fishing world as those experiences were a big part of my life and that of my family.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Good Comeback

Back in the early fortys new bride, Grace and I and another young couple attended a carnival in Forest Grove where there were the usual rides as well as side shows and we did them all. One was a show where for 50 cents we could watch a dancing stripper do her thing. The gals went with my buddy and I into the tent to watch the dance. After it was over the barker announced that for another 50 cents we could go into another tent to watch her take off even more. The gals went with us into that tent, also.
The stripper took off even more but not all the way and when she was finished, petite Grace asked me, not too quietly, "What's she got that I haven't got?" Without hesitation the stripper quipped right back, "Nothing, honey, just a lot more of it!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Navy Shore Tales

It's easy for a sailor to become the victim of his own folly while seeking fun on the beach. Like a friend of mine on board the West Virginia who we called Pappy because he was so old. He was in his late 30's or early 40's when he went ashore one day seeking some companionship with one of the opposite sex. He found a willing one and rented a hotel for the night.
During the early morning he woke up to find her gone as well as his trousers and his billfold. Without any money for cab fare he walked all the way back to the ship with only a short raincoat for privacy. When he walked back up the gangplank, undignified, he was showing very white, hairy legs from his kneecaps to his ankle. The Officer on Deck had a hard time keeping from laughing but all Pappy's buddies gave him a bad time for quite awhile for that episode.
Or there were the two Irish shipmates who were from Chicago. They were a real Mutt and Jeff. The one was quite small and very mouthy. The other was a big, burly guy who often had to fight his mouthy friend's battles for him. One night in San Francisco the two were in a bar and the little guy had found a friendly girl to sit by him at the bar. He bought a drink for himself and her and when she finished hers, he said, "O.k., you've drank enough of my booze, now let's go to bed." She backhanded him right off the bar stool and a real brawl ensued. The big guy had to fight for his buddy again. I wonder if they are still friends to this day--or even alive!

Monday, March 23, 2009

When a writer sends out a article in a newpaper or other publication it is seldom known what the impact will be or how far it will go. As an example I once wrote a column for a daily newspaper about a young lady and her boyfriend who had gone fishing in a coastal stream in Oregon. She related that she had walked out on a log suspended over a pool to try to reach a place in the stream where a trout might be lurking. As she stood near the end of the log, the bark slipped plunging her into the water with a considerable splash. The eruption on the pool's surface startled a trout so much it leaped up onto the bank. The boyfriend jumped on the trout and wrestled that slippery critter to subdue it, making no effort to rescue her from her unwanted bath. She slogged up out of that pool very angry at the guy whose priorities were such that he chose the trout over her.
Shortly after that article appeared in the newspaper, Associated Press picked up the story and printed it. Later, the Stars and Stripes publication picked up and printed it. That wasn't the end. A national outdoor magazine picked it up from Stars and Stripes and printed it in a column entitled, "The Gist Of It". I knew nothing about the article's travels until the magazine sent me a check for ten dollars, explaining what had happened.