Goose Dog

Ah, Thanksgiving. Good food, family, and duck season. Finally.

We took Dean out this weekend for his first waterfowl trip to Whitney Pond. As usual, the ducks were scarce but the Canadas were thick as thieves. Between Bill, Dad and I, two salvos of No. 2 brought down 2 geese from 2 separate flights. Dean promptly went after each one with unexpected vigor given the near-freezing temperature of the water. I think he was a little surprised at how big the birds were - once he had a little fun shaking the remaining life out of them, he paddled on back to the blind. So much fir his natural retrieving instinct.


Just a Bird Dog Kind of Day

Dean, Jim, Bill and I brought home 31 of 48 birds today - not bad for a rookie and a coupla has-beens. Not that any of the misses were Dean's fault - I don't think we lost a downed bird the whole day. Although this trip did highlight hte fact that although his ball-retrieving remains excellent, his desire to bring back a dead bird stops right after he playfully shakes it a few times. I guess it's time to get in the backyard with a wing-covered tennis ball for some retriveing work. Thanks to Ralph and Hank for a solid hunt. And thank God it wasn't snowing - the sunshine sure was nice!

Dean locks up on a nice point. Demise of 2 quail immediately follows.

(impressive action videos to follow)


Camp Lakewood

Dear Camp Director Rick,

Word on the dog circuit is that Camp Lakewood is the place to be. So when my parents started talking last night about going to Asheville this December 4th-6th for some work thing Mom has to do, I thought I would check and see if there is any space available for an enthusiastic ball-chasing camper such as myself. I am never aggressive with other dogs and tend to get along well with most any four legged animal, except for chipmunks because they are tasty and raccoons because they swat at me. Dad has lots of plans for me to go hiking that weekend with him and my brother but Mom said something about "being too much with a toddler" and that gives me hope that perhaps I could spend at least an afternoon enjoying the outside play pen and possibly the wonderful company of the other campers at Camp Lakewood. Please consider this as my application.

Warmest barking regards,
Dean Shaw



Dean loves tennis balls.. I love sitting on the back steps watching my brilliant invention entertain him on autopilot.


Pawley's Island recap

Except for jack not sleeping, we had a great time at the beach. Can't wait to get back down there next summer when the little rugrat can run around naked on the beach. I think Dean in particular enjoyed getting in the boat.

We did manage to get the boat out, despite having the kid down there. I think we made 5 trips, which is pretty good for a week. Unfortunately, we didn't have much luck fishing. Not too surprising, considering our lack of natural talent and the mid-summer heat. got a good-sized blue, hooked a couple sheepshead and a bonnethead, and this one little flounder:

Better luck next time, hopefully. Maybe once I get the Whaler upgrade complete, we'll be in business!



We got out on the sand flats at the north inlet of Pawley's Island yesterday, and I got hooked up on my first bonnethead shark. There is a nice channel that runs between the mashgrass edge and the sand flat just inshore of the inlet, and we snagged a couple of sheepshead early but both but they got loose.

The water was flat and clear and only about 2 feet deep, and just as we were thinking about moving on I saw a 3-foot shark moving from the flat into the channel. I managed to flip a shrimp on a float rig right in front of his snout. Two quick turns and he bracketed the bait and snatched it up. As I set the hook, he took off and the light drag setting I had been using stripped dozens of yards of line on his first run. Not 5 seconds later, all of the tension left the line and I cussed the fish for snapping off before a good fight on light tackle. Then, to my surprise I saw the little guy swimming right back alongside the boat, bright orange float rig still hanging from his mouth!

I assumed the line had snapped somewhere above the leader, and I was determined to haul him aboutd by whatever means necessary. I set down the rod and grabbed the cast net, tossing out an ugly hast tangle of mono right over his head. He saw the cast and took off like a rocket, moving before the net hit the water. Unfortunately, my assumption that he had snapped the line proved incorrect as my new Penn reel started to head overboard. We managed to grab it on the gunwale before it went in the drink, and then the line really snapped. It would have been fun to land that shark - probable 15# or so. From what I've read, Bonnethead fishing is pretty fun.

Editor's note: the pic above is neither my shark or my boat. Just a grab off the linked article.



Whaler update

This is what we are starting with:


My Whaler Renovation, Part I: The Plan

I am fortunate enough to the luckiest sort of son, the type whose dad owns a boat. A 1987 Boston Whaler Classic 15' boat, to be exact, with a 60HP OEM Evinrude outboard. After much soul-searching and deliberation this spring, I decided that the time was ripe to pump a little love (and money) into this able craft, all in the name of comfort and fishability.

ContinuousWave is a terrific resource for Whaler aficionados, and I was able to find numerous examples of other Whaler-refit projects as well as this little gem: an original wood-locating schematic. Armed with just enough knowledge about boats to make me truly dangerous, I've set out to make the following improvements this fall:
  1. Install a fiberglass side console to replace the low-slung original mahogany;
  2. Elevate the rear thwart seat to allow under-seat gas stowage (this hopefully will improve trim fore-aft), and install cushioned boat seats for the captain and first mate;
  3. Fabricate a rear casting deck, which will increase stowage aft of the rear seats but also provide a platform, flush to the gunwale, from which to cast, pole, dive, etc;
  4. Replace the anchor with one that fits the bow stowage locker;
  5. Install foward cooler brackets to hold a large cooler - perfect for storing fish on ice, and providing a seat in the bow.
During the refit, I hope to retain as much of the attractive (but uncomfortable) mahogany fittings as possible. In addition, I am eyeing the following big-ticket items for future conquest: a poling platform for push-poling the flats for tailing reds; a new four-stroke outboard; and a custom fabricated bow rail of heavier-gauge aluminum that is more substantial but less obstructive than the current wraparound bow rail design.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post some pictures later this summer. Target date for completion: October 2009. Redfish, here we come!

The '87 Whaler in its current condition,
Capt. Jim at the helm (Edisto SC 2007).


Oh the places [we should] go...

The short list:
  • Eastern Oregon, hun and chukar hunting;
  • Cape Romaine NWR, fishing for red drum;
  • North Dakota, pheasant hunting;
Suggestions, advice, and GPS coordinates to reputable honey-holes always welcome.