Aroostook County Ramblin' from a Sporting Journal Columnist

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Guess Who’s Back

Well that was fun!

For those of you wondering just where the hell we’ve been during the month of September, the answer is far from simple. It seems the traffic Maine Fly Castings experienced during the 10th Annual International Muskie Derby, combined with an excessive amount of photos, plugins, and other nonsense actually caused us to exceed our .php memory limitations. Lost? So was I. Apparently this is a fairly common issue, though not common enough for my wonderful hosts to offer a solution until the second time I called. The representative I spoke with this time around was extremely helpful and understood my ignorance of this issue, so I guess I owe him something of a “thank you” for putting me back ontrack and getting maineflycastings.com back online. Props good Sir!

So how about that fabulous month of September? The final month of fishing was by far my most productive of the season, and also offered up some of the most enjoyable time spent on the water in recent memory. I made it my mission to cover new water this time around, and was rewarded greatly for my efforts. Brook trout in late September brandish colors that rival even the bright foliage of the season, making these final weeks some the most photogenic by far. While I didn’t catch the monster trout of my dreams, I feel blessed that so many of his smaller relatives found themselves at the end of my fly. A few of my favorite fishy shots from this past month can be found below.

FallSalmon

FallTrout

FishyBen

In other news, September also afforded me the luxury of a legitimate writing gig in the form of a monthly column for the Northwoods Sporting Journal. In early 2013 while people were busy making New Years resolutions regarding weight loss, or tossing their favorite tobacco treats, I made a promise to myself that I would work diligently to get my writing published. Considering the NWSJ actually flat-out turned me down in the Spring of 2009, it was a great honor to hear that their editor enjoyed my work enough to offer the matured version of me a chance to prove I have what it takes. I have been an avid reader of the NWSJ for some years now, so opening it’s pages come November and seeing my very first published work will no doubt be a memorable highlight of my adult life. I already have a frame picked out to preserve that very first column-no joke. So this is the part of my post (which you are reading for free, mind you) where I convince you to subscribe to the North Woods Sporting Journal in time for my big premiere in November. You can get a full year of the journal for only $27.95, which is the equivalent of two cases of beer, or a cheap night out on the town with your wife/girlfriend. Not that I’m trying to influence your decision, but staying home for a single weekend all year in order to benefit from some truly brilliant literary work seems like an easy decision. Or you could give up the beer, your choice. You can click HERE to subscribe, or here, or finally, here. No need to thank me, I know you all would have likely subscribed without my help anyway.

In closing, here are a few things to look forward to as Up’North hits overdrive in an effort to catch you up on what you’ve missed in our absence.

  • As promised (huge apologies to the great people a RIO fly lines) a review of the RIO “Streamertip” fly line that absolutely blew my mind on the water during the closing months of fishing.
  • More moose photos than any one person could possibly tolerate, and a full recap of Maine’s September Moose Hunt as seen from the tagging station at Quigley’s Outdoors in Fort Kent.
  • A photo journal highlighting September, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed any excessively exciting moments in my life.
  • Perhaps a list, because lists are neat. Likely of the Hunting/Fall variety.
  • Maybe a poem – because life has me writing all sorts of “nonsensical” things these days.

So welcome back folks, I am truly sorry that it took so long for me to right the ship. Smooth sailing from here on out, you have my word. Tell your friends, your momma, and that girl you like but haven’t had the gaul to approach – Up’North is back in a big, big way.

- Ben

2013 Muskie Derby Live Blog

“Days Gone”

An early summer weather system produced a few weak twisters in northern Maine, and the black clouds gave fair warning. Tornados are rare in these parts, so much that they might even be welcome to some weather watchers. Certainly an interesting day indeed.

An early summer weather system produced a few weak twisters in northern Maine, and the black clouds gave fair warning. Tornados are rare in these parts, so much that they might even be welcome to some weather watchers. Certainly an interesting day indeed.

My new gig at Quigley's at the Online Sales and Media Manager has been a blessing in a number of ways. Adobe has become my friend, and Illustrator was the name of the game in this photo. The medium Wacom Pen Tablet makes life easier across the suite as well.

My new gig at Quigley’s as the Online Sales and Media Manager has been a blessing in a number of ways. Adobe has become my friend, and Illustrator was the name of the game in this photo. The medium Wacom Pen Tablet makes life easier across the suite as well.

A "morning after" breakfast of Eggs Benedict, salmon and capers style. Nothing washes it down like a spicy Bloody Mary.

A “morning after” breakfast of Eggs Benedict, salmon and capers style. Nothing washes it down like a spicy Bloody Mary.

Brother Zach made the weekend a blast, even through the headaches of a 10am brunch. Portland has family, and family is more than enough to draw me out of hiding in northern Maine.

Brother Zach made the weekend a blast, even through the headaches of a 10am brunch. Portland has family, and family is more than enough to draw me out of hiding in northern Maine.

Good friends watch the sun fall over Westbrook Maine, as a day of birthday celebration and catching up comes to a close.

Good friends watch the sun fall over Westbrook Maine, as a day of birthday celebration and catching up comes to a close.

The coast of Maine is a beautiful scene in any light, but nothing helps it strike a pose quite like mist.

The coast of Maine is a beautiful scene in any light, but nothing helps it strike a pose quite like mist.

Ammmmmerica!

Memorial Day is the day we remember our fallen heroes, but more than that, it should prove as a reminder that we should salute them every waking day.

With all of life’s hustle and bustle, it can be easy to feel sorry for myself when my busy schedule deprives me of any time to wet a line. As Americans we complain about the rain, snow, heat, cold, bills, work, and just about anything else that might cause  a minor inconvenience in daily life. Memorial Day is our American reality check, and every year it brings with it the same meaningful message. The men and women that make this life possible get far too little recognition, and those same men and women are never the ones to demand attention for their sacrifices.

Here at Up’North, our northern Maine heroes also happen to be some of the most accomplished outdoorsmen in the game. We pray for their safe return from the field of battle, and salute their countless sacrifices in the name of freedom. So raise a glass this final Monday in May, and make a toast to those who made the choice to defend freedom, only to never make it home.

To the families of those who have endured the ultimate sacrifice, we stand with you in shouldering the pain that your losses have brought, and overflow with the somber pride that comes in knowing that we are forever in debt to you and yours.

The Up’North crew salutes you, and stand proudly today in honoring the soldiers who gave their live’s so we can fish another day.

Team Chaos