Aroostook County Ramblin' from a Sporting Journal Columnist

Posts tagged “L.L.Bean

“Farewell Fishing”

Born 4-1-12, Death 9-30-12 (6 Months Old)

The 2012 open water fishing season has officially come to a close here in northern Maine. Let us share a moment of silence as we reflect upon these last several months……………………………………………………

……….

……….

………

Thank you for your respectful pause.

Fall has arrived here in the other “Great White North,” and with it sets another magnificent sun on yet another fishing season.  Easily the worst-best day of the entire year, September 30th is the unfortunate time where we hang up the fly rods in favor of shotguns and bows. I’ve always been comforted by hunting season’s arrival merely a day later, and this year is no different. Something about legally shooting anything birds directly after fishing closes has an odd way of easing my mind.

My 2012 season was something of a sandwich; a fantastic Spring and Fall serving as the bread for a dismal Summer in the middle that left much to be desired. Still, I started and concluded this 2012 season on arguably the most positive notes of my fly fishing career. A big thanks to L.L.Bean and Simms for putting quality products into my hands this season, I appreciate your appreciation for my humble blog. I promise my inability to catch magazine-worthy fish on daily basis will have no bearing on my final reviews of your products. Cue brightly colored Fall Brook Trout.

At the end of the day, its all about being on the water and having a good often alcohol induced time. Whether your game is stalking trout with a 3wt or swinging streamers for Spring salmon, I’d like to think of the fly fishing community as one big happy, moderately dysfunctional family. With that in mind, I hereby designate October 1 of this year, and every year that follows, as an inter-communal day of mourning. Spend the day however you see fit, and take comfort in knowing that we are all there with you…..except for those of you who can fish year round, you aren’t allowed to b*tch.

Rest in Peace Season 2012, forever gone, but never forgotten.

-Ben


Like a Ghost

I’ve been creepin’ some favorite salmon haunts lately, and while the size hasn’t left much to be desired, the numbers are most certainly there. It’s nice to see so many juvenile salmon these days, fish numbers look real healthy headed into the summer months. The weather calls for overcast with a few rain showers this week, so the fish should stay plentiful and hungry. Honestly, I am just happy to be back on the water again. After a full year away from my canoe, few things in this world are more relaxing than cruising my favorite northern rivers without a care in the world. L.L.Beans Gore-Tex Pro Shell Stretch wading jacket has really impressed me in the boat as well as in the water lately. I’d image that it’s probably worthy of a review after a few months of hard use, so look for that this week. On a side note, if you feel like catching fish in just about any northern rivers during these next few weeks, I would highly suggest a Mickey Finn. You’re welcome.

Stand up cruisin’ without a care in the world.

See you on the river!

-Ben


New From L.L.Bean

Picture 21

L.L.Bean has been pouring loads of R&D into their fly fishing lineup in recent years, and the Pocket Water Fly Rod and Reel are proof that their efforts are paying off. With four different options between a 6’6″ 3wt and a 7’10″ 5wt, the Pocket Water series is a beautifully affordable addition to an already attractive lineup of quality rods. Designed for small stream or pond casts of under 40 feet, this portable four piece rod is the perfect companion on your next fishing trip in the rugged north Maine woods. Combined with the simple, functional Pocket Water reel, this outfit is a lightweight answer to your backwoods prayers. Crafted out of machined 6000-series aluminum and armed with a dependable click-and-pawl drag, this reel will be right at home in the bed of a pickup or the bottom of a boat. Available separately (rod available now, reel January 16) or together as an outfit (February 24), the Pocket Water series is at the top of my list for Spring 2012. Head over to L.L.Bean now to get your first glimpse today!

L.L.Bean Pocket Water Fly Rod & Reel

Tight Lines and Happy……Winter? Hold out for Spring by updating your arsenal!

-Ben


Toasty

- For you ladies and gents that appreciate fly fishing in even the most frigid of conditions, L.L.Bean once again has you covered.
 
The Pocket Water collection is designed to fit comfortably under your waders, yet looks great enough to wear at the pub after that long day on the water. The Pocket Water Fleece jacket features a quick dry fleece material, complete with waterproofing where you need it most – on the shoulders, and on the arms from the elbow to the wrist. Hand warmer pockets help to keep your hands toasty so tying on flies is an easy task. At only $99, this is a solid investment for the angler who wants a lightweight jacket that will fit under his waders and/or waterproof wading jacket. Perfect for those Winter, early Spring, and late Fall days on the water!
 

Click for Details!


 
Now that your torso is toasty and ready for action, most of you are probably wondering what to throw on under your waders? Look no further than the Pocket Water Underwader pants. These pants look like regular pants, and have stirups that tuck up and out of the way so they can be worn without waders. Headed for a bite to eat or a few drinks with the fellas after a long day on the water? The ladies will be falling all over you if you roll into town with these bad boys gracing your lower half. Soft shell fleece won’t cling to waders, zipper fly provides easy relief when you just have to go. At only $79, these pants will keep your boys warm during those chilly fishing days, when wind and colder temperatures send everyone else running home.
 

Click for Details!


 
For more information on the Pocket Water collection, and the rest of L.L.Bean’s fishing line, visit L.L.Bean.com today!
 
Tight Lines,
-Ben


Casting For Recovery

- L.L.Bean is a proud supporter of Casting For Recovery, and now you can be to! Casting For Recovery is a program for Breast Cancer survivors that combines fly fishing, counseling, and medical information. The culmination of the program is a 2.5 day retreat where survivors can share stories, make new friends, and do a little fly fishing in locations from Argentina to Alaska, chasing everything from Brook Trout to Grayling. Head on over to the Casting For Recovery website to learn more about how to be part of the experience!
 


 
This year L.L.Bean is offering a nice collection of products stitched with the CFR logo, and will donate $2 of every sale of such products directly to Casting For Recovery. So whether you are a Cancer Survivor, a relative of someone who is, or simply a concerned fly fisherman/woman who would like to support the cause, this is a great way to do your part.
 
Click on the images above to read more, and visit L.L.Bean.com to view more great Casting For Recovery products!
 
Tight Lines,
 
-Ben


Im on a Boat

And I need a boat bag, badly. Luckily L.L.Bean has me covered.
 

My father in the driver's seat of my canoe on Eagle Lake, minutes before storm clouds rained on our evening fishing trip.


 
As seen in Fly Rod and Reel magazine, the Kennebec River Boat Bag is a favorite among guides and casual fishermen alike. Coming in large ($119) and small ($99) versions to best suite every angler’s needs, this is the boat bag dreams are made of. Waterproof top compartment keeps charts and maps visible in less than desirable conditions, reinforced plier pocket ensures that plier jaws won’t poke through the fabric. With over 20 pockets (small version), you can store reels, tippet, and other tools, all organized neatly and protected by foam dividers. Made of strong and durable 1000 denier nylon canvas fabric with a rugged waterproof bottom, this bag belongs on the bottom of a canoe. Flip out external work surface/foam fly patch eliminates the need for fly boxes. Simply put this bag is a great way to keep everything you need at your fingertips without littering the bottom of your boat or canoe. Perfect for day trips.
 

Large (Left) and Small (Opened and Right) Click for more details...


 
If you are like me, the bottom of your canoe or drift boat is rarely dry. Hunting for tools and fly boxes that are floating around at your feet is always inconvenient, and can be dangerous when you should be driving instead. Pack in and pack out, this bag serves its purpose and then some. It even comes with a rain fly for those less than sunny days on the water. Need I continue?
 
Get yours today, and you’ll wonder why you ever went without. I sure do. Visit L.L.Bean.com for more details, and to purchase yours today.
 
Tight Lines,
 
-Ben
 
 
(Descriptions and Image courtesy of L.L.Bean.com)


L.L.Bean Streamlight Ultra


 
- It’s no secret that I’ve been L.L.Bean’s biggest fan for some time now; the title is, and will likely always be mine. Simply put, they never let me down. If it casts beautifully, they make it. If it breaks, they fix it. If it is black and red checkered, I wear it. Whats not to love?
 
L.L.Bean is about as “Mainer” as you can get, and supporting the company that has supported me for years is to be expected. With that said, 2011 looks to be another great year for the L.L. Fishing line, and I couldn’t be more excited. Today I would like to highlight the first of many products I am excited about for the 2011 season. After all, Spring is only a few snowy, downright miserable months away.
 
My first “serious” fly rod ever was a 6wt Streamlight that I recieved the Summer before I entered 9th grade. Since then I have had the pleasure of casting dozens of rods from various companies, and that Streamlight still finds it’s way into the back of my truck every season. Something about that fly rod just makes fly fishing more enjoyable for me, and I’ve always felt it has gotten way less attention than it deserves. Simply put, the Streamlight lit my fly fishing fire-a fire that still roars more than 8 years later.
 

Click Me!


 
For 2011 the Streamlight rod gets a facelift that for all intensive purposes it didn’t need, but will only serve to improve it. Make way for the Streamlight Ultra. The folks at L.L.Bean say that the new Ultra has an “amazingly crisp action and a remarkably light feel,” and that it is “simply the best casting fly rod you will find anywhere for its price ($99 to $160 respectively). I would have to agree, even before taking a single cast with it. Call me irresponsible, but making improvements on a masterpiece can only mean one thing right? (Note: This rod is available in 2 piece and 4 piece models)
 
I can’t wait to cast this rod and compare it to my original model. Purchase your Streamlight Ultra at L.L.Bean.com, or at your local L.L.Bean retail store today!
 
See you when the snow thaws,
 
-Ben


L.L.Bean Event

This just in from the people at L.L.Bean!
 

I wish I had the time and money to make the trip from Orono to Freeport, because I would probably be the first one in line for this event. I can say from experience that spending some time watching and learning from a professional fly tier makes all the difference in the world. I would encourage anyone in the Freeport area to check this event out, it looks like it would be extremely educational as well as a ton of fun.
 

Renowned fly tiers offer free fly tying classes at L.L.Bean, January 17th and 18th

Bill Black, founder of Umpqua Feather Merchants and Ibrahim Mesinovic, innovative tier and developer of
groundbreaking tying materials make special appearance in Freeport

FREEPORT, ME. January 11, 2011—For many fly anglers in Maine, wintertime means
fly tying time and what better way to kickoff the wintertime tying season than with a free
lesson from some of the more well-known and innovative tiers in the market. Bill Black,
founder of the famous Umpqua Feather Merchants and owner of Spirit River Flies and
Ibrahim Mesinovic, owner of Bug-Partz will be at L.L.Bean on January 17th and 18th at
7 p.m. to offer free tying lessons. Mesinovic is best known for the development of some
groundbreaking tying materials, including a series of aquatic insect body parts that are
remarkably realistic, and produce flies that look strikingly like the real thing. These free
lessons will be conducted in the fishing department and folks are encouraged to bring
their own materials, although L.L.Bean will have supplies available for those who do not.

Who: Anyone with an interest in fly-fishing and fly tying

What: Bill Black, founder of Umpqua Feather Merchants and owner of Spirit
River flies and Ibrahim Mesinovic, owner of Bug-Partz, a new lifelike series of
aquatic inset body parts

Where: L.L.Bean Hunting and Fishing Store, Main Street, Freeport, Maine

When: Monday, January 17th at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, January 18th at 7 p.m.

For more information, please call 877-755-2326


Gear To Get Excited About

- L.L.Bean has always had an excellent lineup of Hunting clothing and gear, and this year is no different. With exciting new editions in outerwear, innovative boots, and packs that carry everything from your tree-stand to your iPod; there is no reason anyone needs to be cold or unprepared out in the field.
 
The most exciting edition in my book is the new Technical Wool Jacket. With updated styling and modern twists on a traditional wool material, this jacket has frigid northern Maine winters written all over it. Matched with the new Technical Wool Pants, I just may go out of my way to hunt in the coldest, breeziest conditions this season has to offer.
 
Here is the new Technical Wool Jacket, and a few other favorites from L.L.Beans newest hunting specific Items. Click on the pictures to view each items complete details, and to order yours today!
 

Technical Wool Jacket


 

Technical Upland Boot


 

Hunter's Carryall Pack


 
Happy Hunting!
 
-Ben


Neighborhood Watch

- Do you know who’s creeping around your neighborhood at 5am?

This crafty hooligan was caught hanging around the end of our driveway Monday morning, likely trying to get a glimpse of her buddy hanging on the wall in the garage. She’s been in the area for some time now, drinking from my pond, sleeping in my woods, and posing shamelessly for photos as people drive by.

Window Stalker

The 2010 Maine Moose Hunt Lottery was held last night at LLBean in Freeport, so she best head for the hills and keep running. September is only a few more months away!

TGIF,

-Ben


"All The Best"

- All the best.

Words I needed to hear. But what makes those words so special is who they come from. Lefty Kreh is a legend in every sense of the word, and this weekend I finally had the pleasure of shaking his hand and introducing myself for the first time. He asked about Up’North and sounded interested, and I knew right away he was genuine. The chat was brief, but i’ll never forget it. Lefty is a stand up guy because he has passion. Passion for fly fishing, and a special passion for life. He understands that the best thing about his passion is that he can share it with others, and he does it was an elegance and class unmatched by anyone I have ever met. His stories are timeless (and hilarious) and his knowledge of everything fly fishing related is truly remarkable. It was a dream come true to meet Mr. Kreh at L.L.Bean this weekend, and I’ll never forget the experience. A picture says a thousand words, but these pictures don’t need words to send a message.

I haven't smiled like this since I caught that big ol' landlocked salmon with dad last Spring. Only fly fishing produces these special moments. Moments I'll cherish forever.

"Mr. Kreh, how old where you when you started fly fishing?" This is what it's all about.

Yes Mr. Kreh, All The Best indeed. I would like to thank Mr. Mac Mckeever and the rest of the L.L.Bean crew for holding such a spectacular event this weekend. It really was off the charts incredible. A full review of the weekend’s festivities will be up in a few days, along with a few surprises from Mr. Mike Martinek Jr. himself! Stay tuned.

All The Best from beautiful Northern Maine,

-Ben

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2010 L.L.Bean Spring Fishing Expo

- Press Release from the fine people at L.L.Bean!

Lefty Kreh. Yup, Lefty Kreh.

……….

Let me say it one more time. LEFTY KREH!

Even if you completely ignore all of the other amazing AMAZING guests, events, and specials that make this weekend at L.L.Bean so special. For christ sakes man, come on down and meet Lefty Frickin’ Kreh!

WHAT: “Legends of Fishing” highlight L.L.Bean’s 20th annual Spring Fishing Weekend

WHEN: March 19-21, 2010

WHERE: L.L.Bean Hunting & Fishing Store in Freeport, Maine

FREEPORT, Maine— The biggest names in the history of fishing will be at L.L.Bean on March 20-21 for L.L.Bean’s 20th annual Spring Fishing Weekend. These “Legends of Fishing” will be available at the store from 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday to visit with customers, share stories, sign autographs, books and more.

Featured celebrity fly tyers include David Klausmeyer, Bob Popovics, Mike Martinek and Don Bastian. Other weekend highlights include free fly-casting lessons, kids’ activities, and a variety of demonstrations, clinics and seminars including presentations by the Maine Professional Guide Association, as well as several L.L.Bean experts.

Biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will also be conducting a special panel discussion on all things related to fishing in Maine. For more information, visit www.llbean.com/events, or call 800-559-0747, ext. 37222.

About L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel.  Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown substantially, the company remains committed to the same honest principles upon which it was built – a focus on the customer, continuous product improvement and innovation, respect for people, preservation of the natural environment and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The 220,000 sq. ft. Flagship campus of stores in Freeport, Maine is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than three million visitors each year.  L.L.Bean can be found worldwide on www.llbean.com.

See you at the Expo!

-Ben

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Jackets Anyone?

- Any fisherman knows that wearing the proper jacket is the key to being comfortable while spending long (or short) periods of time on the water. Maine is know the world over for its sporadic weather patterns, and I can attest to this fact all too well. Time and time again, season after season I can likely be found on more than one occasion sitting in a torrential downpour after a morning of blue skies and sunshine. Why not just pack it up and call it a day you ask? Because Fish, oddly enough, are not afraid of a little water. In fact, some of my better days fishing have been during random rain storms and the occasional thunder storm. (I DO NOT recommend waving a 9ft graphite rod in the air during thunder and lighting storms)

So instead of complaining about the rain and sitting around in sopping wet clothing all afternoon, I would recommend purchasing a packable rain coat. Lucky for you, LLBean has a great selection of lightweight, quality wading jackets that do a great job of keeping the rain off your back. For 2010 they have updated their best selling Emerger Wading jacket, packing in even more value for the same reasonable price. Lighter weight material, fleece lined pockets, neoprene gusseted cuffs, and secure hood adjustments all work together to keep you comfortable and dry while on the water. Learn more about the Emerger II Wading Jacket today!

L.L.Bean Emerger II Wading Jacket

But what about those cold rainy days when a simple shell just isn’t enough? Look no further than the new Pocket Water Fleece Jacket. Designed specifically with fishermen in mind, this breathable jacket will fit perfectly under your waders and wading jacket, giving you another comfortable layer to protect against the elements. A combination of fleece, soft shell, and waterproof fabrics make the Pocket Water Fleece a must have for Spring and Fall fishing trips. Once again, an affordable product backed with the LLBean satisfaction guarantee. Learn more about the Pocket Water Fleece today!

L.L.Bean Pocket Water Fleece

So next time your on the water complaining about being cold or wet, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Being prepared for whatever mother nature throws your way will almost always guarantee you a more successful and enjoyable day on the water. Now if only I could get all this snow and ice to melt!

Happy Castings,

-Ben

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LLBean, Meet Peter Corbin.

- Acclaimed artist Peter Corbin and LLBean have a history, one that can be followed along the covers of various hunting and fishing magazines through recent years. Now, finally, the award winning art of Peter Corbin can be worn for all to appreciate thanks to the new Graphic Fish Tee series. Three designs, three species, three beautifully done shirts. Large detailed fish graphic on the back, classic LLBean logo and appropriate fly on the front.

Brook Trout

Atlantic Salmon

Support the artists that support you! For more information on the new Graphic Fish Tee by Peter Corbin, visit LLBean.com.

Now think for a moment, if this is so exciting, can you imagine how mind numbing March will be when the new Signature Series drops? More news soon…

-Ben

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Gray Ghost Wading Boots

-Continuing with more exciting new products from LLBean, tonight we take a look at the 100% fresh out of the oven Gray Ghost wading boots. While fly fishermen get more environmentally conscious, companies have answered the call of Trout Unlimited, producing new products that minimize the unwanted transfer of aquatic nuisances. Nowhere is this transformation more important than with wading boots.

Like many companies, LLBean has taken a step in the right direction and completely eliminated felt from all of their wading boots in 2010. As if eliminating felt wasn’t enough, they’ve designed a new boot from the ground up full of environmentally friendly features geared towards keeping your favorite fishing holes clean and healthy for years to come. With improved traction, fewer seams, and a streamlined design, the Gray Ghost wading boot is a light, technical wading boot at an affordable price.

Gray Ghost wading boots

Major thumbs up to the wonderful people at LLBean for helping the rest of us kick aquatic hitchhikers to the curb! For more information, and to order your very own pair of Gray Ghost wading boots, visit LLBean.com.

Tight Lines,

-Ben

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LLBean Silver Ghost (Switch anyone?)

My prayers have been answered! As I type tonight I can hardly keep my fingers on the keyboard. My excitement is simply outrageous, and here’s why!

Yup, an LLBean switch rod!

Low and behold, LLBean has finally given us a switch rod! While I’ve known for some time now that a new series of fly rods (in both fresh and salt water options) was in the works, the Silver Ghost switch rod was indeed a pleasant surprise (I’m still freaking out). Just another reason why the Silver Ghost will be drawing praise from the fly fishing world in 2010. Packed with great technology like Pacbay Minima stripper guides and REC recoil snake guides, the Silver Ghost is 15-20% lighter than the Orion and more durable than ever. This is without a doubt the most impressive fly rod series LLBean has ever produced, and I can’t wait to throw some line with them!

This coming season I plan on fishing the Silver Ghost for muskie as well as trout and salmon. Learning to fish the switch rod effectively is sure to be a ton of fun during the Spring salmon run, and throwing larger flies around with the 10wt rod should prove equally exciting. Paired with the new Shearwater reel, both set-ups are all but guaranteed to make this the most exciting and enjoyable fishing season to date. I simply cannot wait to fish the hell out of test and review these new products.

I wonder if sleeping through the winter is possible…

Tight lines,

-Ben

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LLBean 2010

- This is shaping up to be a HUGE year for the folks at L.L.Bean, as 2010 ushers in a much improved selection of quality fly fishing products at tough to beat prices. With the 2010 fly fishing catalog on the way, and their website being updated daily, the world will finally get the chance to discover exactly why I’ve been so excited for the past six months. The time for silence has most certainly passed!

Over the next few days on Up’North I will highlight some of the most exciting new product releases LLBean has brought to the table for 2010. Tonight, we take a look at the Shearwater Fly Reel.

New LLBean Shearwater Fly Reel

With a newly improved composite disc-drag system and quick change spool design, this sleek new reel is LLBean’s top offering in 2010, and with good reason. Paired with the new Silver Ghost fly rod (more info soon!), this is one combo that I simply cannot wait to get my hands on!

For more information on the new Shearwater reel, or to order your very own, visit LLBean.com today!

Still to come, new wading boots, a fishermen friendly fleece, and a fairly priced fly rod that can hang with the big boys. See ya’ll tomorrow!

-Ben

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A Seriously GOOD Buy.

Howdy Folks

I’m in the final stages of testing and reviewing some new products from the L.L.Bean hunting line-up, and I must say, I’m extremely impressed. For the price and quality, the Big Game System is tough to beat.

Which system is right for you? Customize the shell, liner, and pants to match your hunting conditions. Choose from two popular camo patterns: Mossy Oak Treestand and Realtree All-Purpose HD! Throw in the brand new Trophy Pursuit Boots with or without Thinsulate insulation and you’ll be ready for whatever the weather throws your way!

Choose your Big Game Hunting System

Trophy Persuit Boots

Full reviews coming soon! Stay tuned…

Enjoy the snow!

-Ben

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The 2009 L.L.Bean Fall Hunting Expo: A Personal Narrative

LLBean

- The Fall hunting season is now underway, with many Mainers taking to the woods in search of a plentiful bounty fit to stuff a kings freezer. It’s no secret that October is the favorite month of many serious hunters, most of which know the logging roads of northern Maine better than the back of their own hands. For these hunters, there is simply no better way to start the season than with a trip to L.L.Bean for the annual Hunting Expo!

Last weekend I made the two hour journey down to Freeport to take in the sights and sounds of the 2009 17th Annual L.L.Bean Fall Hunting Expo. Having already had an excellent experience at the Spring Fishing Expo, I must say that the Hunting side of things was also a real pleasure to partake in.

I arrived just in time to get a front row view at the State of Maine Locked Moose dedication ceremony and watched as the Maine Warden Service Color Guard kicked things off. The excitement was clear, as people from around the state and beyond mingled with representatives from L.L.Bean and M.I.F.W , all of who were equally ecstatic that such a lengthy project had finally come to such a glorious end.  After listening to a few speeches commemorating all of those who donated their time and money on such a beautiful display, I made my way inside to get a better view of the massive display of taxidermy greatness. As one of only two such displays in all of north America, the locked moose were truly a sight to behold. Not being much of a fan as far as crowds are concerned. I snapped a few dozen pictures at various angles and then ran for my life as the swarms of people flooded in from every direction.

Golor Guard

Golor Guard

Maine Locked Moose: The Final Charge

Maine Locked Moose: The Final Charge

Maine Locked MooseThe Final Charge

Making my way back outside, I took a stroll around the front of the Hunting and Fishing store and watched as representatives from the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association led their dogs through various demonstrations of skill and patience. With a sense of professionalism and keen instinct, I was amazed at how well these dogs listened, and how smart they actually were when it came to following specific directions. While everyone knows that dogs are a man’s best friend, these owners clearly have a much different relationship with their animals. The special bond, and a level of trust that few will ever get to experience with their pets gave me a new respect for the place that hunting dogs fill in the lives of hunters the world over. It really is quiet special! I stood mesmerized for over half an hour before finally making my way up every hunters favorite staircase and heading into the Hunting and Fishing store.

North American Versetile Hunting Dog Association Table

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Table

A young pup in training....

A young pup in training....

Upon entering the store I instantly caught sight of the Mossy Oak Pro Team setting up a table and greeting customers. I strolled over and introduced myself in a completely casual, shameless self promoting sort of way and ended up the proud owner of a spankin’ new Mossy Oak hat, compliments of the fellas. Thanks guys!

The next hour (give or take 30 minutes, most likely give) I spent my time walking in circles around the section dedicated to wool clothing. For those of you who know me, it is no secret that I have recently become a real sucker for wool. From jac-shirts to Maine Guide parkas to wool hunting pants, I compiled a list of items that my mother and the first lady of Up’North will have to divvy up come birthday and Christmas time. Strolling through the camouflage section I marveled at L.L.Beans new Big Game outerwear system, extending my Christmas list before setting off to see what might fit me among the racks of Scent-Lok apparel. By the time I came to my senses and realized that neither my mother nor my girlfriend could afford to buy me $5,00o dollars in hunting clothing and accessories, I was almost late for Hal Blood’s presentation “Tracking Big Woods Bucks.”

LLBean

Like most young hunters, I am always looking for ways to improve my chances in the field. While new innovations in calls, camo, and weapons certainly make life easier, often times simply listening to and learning from the experts can prove to be more than helpful. To say that Master Maine guide Hal Blood is an accomplished deer hunter would be the epitome of understatements. As one of the nation’s best trackers, Mr. Blood had a ton of great information to offer on scrapes, rubs, deer tracks, and so much more. He explained briefly his thoughts on the weather, gear, and the most common mistakes that hunters make when perusing trophy whitetails before his time ran short and he was forced to leave us pondering our next deer hunting excursion. Hungry for more answers to my ever expanding list of questions, I made my way back to the hunting and fishing store to meet Mr. Blood and to purchase his second book, “Hunting Big Woods Bucks Vol.2.” As of now I am almost half way through it, but I can already say with confidence that if you purchase your copy HERE, you won’t be disappointed!

With places to go and people to see, I made one last round through the store before deciding that if I stayed any longer I might not have enough money to buy groceries for the next few months. After saying my goodbyes I headed outdoors and into the warm afternoon sun. There waiting ever so patiently for his owner on the doorstep to the store was the most beautiful brown Weimaraner (correct me if I’m wrong) I have ever seen. I snapped a few pictures before bidding him farewell, a perfect ending to a delightful afternoon.

Patiently Waiting...

Patiently Waiting...

The L.L.Bean Hunting Expo for me was a huge success and an extremely enjoyable time. While I wish the day would have afforded me a few more hours to take in a couple more presentations, I take solace in the wonderful time I had, classy people I met, and all the information (and Christmas list ideas) I gained along the way.

With a little something for every member of the family, The expo truly was everything I expected and more. While it would have been great to share my experience with someone else, my only regret still remains that I could not spend the entire weekend taking in every last event.

Happy Hunting,

-Ben

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Gone…

Gone Gone Gone to the 17th Annual L.L.Bean Hunting Expo, and you should be too! Come on down for a weekend full of great events and excellent deals!

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For a full schedule of events, click HERE.

Tight Lines,

-Ben

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17th Annual L.L.Bean Hunting Expo

-This press release just appeared in my inbox from the fine folks at L.L.Bean, so I thought it only fair to pass the good news along…


Hunting

As many of you might know, the L.L.Bean Hunting Expo is scheduled for next weekend, the 26th and 27th of September. I’ll be in attendance along with a slew of hunting professionals and legendary icons. After the show I’ll post a writeup with a slew of pictures for those of you who missed out on the occasion, or just never got the chance to take it all in.

Click HERE to see the complete schedule of events for the weekend. I hope to see all of you there and look forward to sharing stories and excitement for the upcoming fall hunting season.

For Immediate Release

September 17, 2009


The Final Charge State of Maine Locked Moose Dedication Ceremony

during the L.L.Bean Hunting Expo


L.L.Bean and Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have partnered to develop a rare and massive taxidermy display of two Maine moose in a locked antler battle. The display will be dedicated during a special ceremony at 11am on Saturday, September 26th.

FREEPORT, Maine— The Final Charge is the name of an extremely rare taxidermy display developed in partnership with the Maine IF&W and L.L.Bean. A special ceremony will be held at 11am on Saturday, September 26th to dedicate the display to a Maine-based outdoor-related organization during the L.L.Bean Hunting Expo, September 26th and 27th. The ceremony will take place on the Main Street Patio of the L.L.Bean Flagship Store in Freeport. IF&W Commissioner Danny Martin, Mark Dufresne the taxidermist who developed the display, officials from L.L.Bean and other special guests are expected to give remarks. The Maine Color Guard will also be presenting the colors at the beginning of the ceremony.

The taxidermy mount, one of only two such mounts in all of North America, will be on display semi-permanently at L.L.Bean, encased within a specially designed viewing diorama. It will also make appearances at various regional events in a custom-built trailer, specifically made for viewing.

In May of 2006, Adella Johnson found the remains of two Bull Moose on her property in New Sweden. The moose had died after their antlers had become locked in battle during the previous fall’s rut. Adella then donated the antlers to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to be used for educational purposes.

The IF&W contacted L.L.Bean with the idea of partnering to bring these moose back to life by recreating their battle and sharing interpretive and educational information about these moose with the general public.

L.L.Bean and the IF&W then engaged Nature’s Reflections Taxidermy of Gray, Maine to develop the display. The antlers have never been separated since they first became locked in the fall of 2005.

“For decades, L.L.Bean has maintained a close working relationship with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The development of this display is yet another facet of our partnership,” said John Oliver, vice president of Public Affairs for L.L.Bean. “It’s entirely fitting for L.L.Bean to come together with the Department to bring to life one of Maine’s most endearing outdoor icons, the moose.”

In addition to the dedication ceremony, the L.L.Bean Hunting Expo will feature two days of additional activities for the whole family. Whether you’re a veteran hunter or are just getting started, the L.L.Bean Hunting Expo is a great way to learn cutting-edge strategies, see the latest gear, take advantage of some great deals and much more. Craig Boddington, internationally known hunting celebrity will be on-hand all weekend giving presentations and signing autographs and Tim Bradley from Team Benelli USA will thrill audiences with incredible trick shooting demonstrations. Hunters of all ages can also benefit from valuable tips from some of the industry’s top experts like Hal Blood, Bob Humphrey, Harry Vanderweide and others. Mossy Oak’s Pro Staff will be available all weekend, plus there will be vendors, demos, hands-on activities, free archery, clay shooting and fly-casting lessons and much more.

During the weekend, 5% of all hunting gear and apparel sales will be donated to the Maine IF&W for moose research, management and conservation.

All event activities are free. For more information, visit http://www.llbean.com/events, or call 800-559-0747, ext. 37222.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading retailer of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown substantially, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder and continues his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors.

# # #

Contact: Mac McKeever, 207-552-6078, emckeever@llbean.com



So throw on your best slacks and a comfy flannel and head on down (or up) to the Hunting and Fishing Flagship store in Freeport. The weekend is sure to be a jolly ol’ time!


-Ben


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In Good Company

Just received this Press Release from the good people at L.L.Bean today and thought I’d pass the good word along…

Congratulations goes out to Mr. McGarry for his fine achievement as a Fly Casting istructor. His contributions to Fly Fishing are as far reaching as they are inspiring, and our “sport” could sure use a few more selfless people to follow in his footsteps.

Tight Lines,

-Ben

LLBean Fly Casting Instructor Rod McGarry wins Harger Memorial Life Award.

LLBean Fly Casting Instructor Rod McGarry wins Harger Memorial Life Award.

For Immediate Release

August 18, 2009

L.L.Bean Fly Fishing Instructor given prestigious Harger Memorial Life Award by the Federation of Fly Fishers

Past recipients include Robert Redford, Lefty Kreh, Dave Whitlock and others.

FREEPORT, Maine—Rod McGarry, L.L.Bean Fly Fishing Instructor was recently awarded the Harger Memorial Life Award for his lifelong contributions to fly-fishing and fly-fishing instruction. Presented by the Federation of Fly Fishers, the award celebrates individuals who enhance the world of fly-fishing through their instruction, education and infectious enthusiasm and passion for the sport.

“Rod has an instinctive ability to inspire and motivate people. As a trainer and presenter he has a grasp of learning theories and techniques that makes it easier for people to get better at fly casting,” said R.P. Van Gytenbeek, CEO and President of the Federation of Fly Fishers. “The continuing education programs he organizes and directs for casting professionals draw respect and admiration from around the country. We at the Federation of Fly Fishers are delighted to have this opportunity to recognize and salute Rod for his leadership in this educational effort.”

As the award recipient, Rod joins an esteemed list of past winners including Robert Redford, Lefty Kreh, Dave Whitlock and many other key influencers in the world of fly-fishing.

“Fly fishing, like almost everything in life, is more fun if you share it with others,” says Rod. “Little in life satisfies me more than helping people become exactly what they want to be. I hope to help them achieve success by their own standards, not mine, as I am convinced that progress is more important than perfection.”

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading retailer of quality outdoor gear and apparel, as well as recreational and instructional experiences through their Outdoor Discovery Schools. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown substantially, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder and continues his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors.

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L.L.Bean Gear Review: The Orion Fly Rod (9ft,6wt)

-The Orion fly rod represents the start of a new fly fishing era for me, making it the most exciting rod to test by far this season.

Living in southern Maine has opened many new doors for me, one of which is Salt Water Fly Fishing. Chasing Stripers on Maine’s coast is a true test of patience and skill, and something that greatly excites me. While the rain has been falling consistently for almost a month now, I spent a good part of May testing the 9 weight Orion under the early summer sun. From beaches, to marshes, to coastal rivers, the Orion has seen a variety of water and has performed remarkably well. I hope you enjoy the review as much as I have enjoyed the testing…

The Orion on the Beach

Beauty is a BEAST

  • The first thing I noticed when I pulled the Orion out of it’s tube was how sturdy it looked. From the burly fighting butt to the machined aluminum reel seat over a graphite spacer, to the Fuji SiC stripping guides, the Orion is a knight in shining armor. L.L.Bean claims that it just may be the finest looking fly rod they have ever produced, and I would most certainly agree. When I finally put it together, I was impressed with how sturdy this faster action rod actually felt. My past experiences with fast action rods have been shoddy at best, and I’ve never been one to enjoy casting a fly rod that feels more like a noodle. There was no such experience with the Orion. My one word to describe this rod would have to be Power, because while it is cosmetically impressive, it packs a serious punch. I give L.L.Bean much credit for creating a beautiful fly rod that does not skimp on performance. What I initially saw was a sturdy, powerful rod, and the Orion proved to be all that and so much more.

Impressive Impressions

  • LLBean developed the Orion 3 out of high performance graphite and gave it a slimmer profile to produce higher line speeds for more powerful, precise casts. The moment I began casting the rod, I knew that I was in for a real treat. Staying extremely balance and weighing just enough to be comfortable in my hand, the large 9 weight rod performed more like my 6 weight Trout rod than a larger Salt water rig. The faster action of the rod really allowed me to feel the line go through the guides, and gave me a sense of control that left me pleasantly surprised.
  • Casting on the beach presented it’s own set of unique challenges for me, namely the wind. The Orion packs just enough punch to push tight loops through hefty wind gusts, delivering larger flies out to the sandy shallows where Stripers wait to strike. At one point, a nasty cross wind repeatedly bounced my large fly off the back of my head, forcing me to turn my back to the surf and work the back cast. As any avid fisherman knows, back casting is not easy in gusting winds, but the Orion handled them with relative ease and most certainly saved me a barb bending, bloody trip to the E.R.
  • When the need for distance was replaced by precision, the Orion continued to shine. On the edge of the marsh and on the banks of the coastal rivers, I was impressed with how accurate I could cast with the rod to roaming Stripers. While I can’t speak for the “fish turning” capabilities of the Orion rod (Damn skiddish Stripers) I will say that sight fishing was a breeze, and I was extremely impressed with how little effort was needed to place my casts exactly where I wanted them.
Testing the Orion 3 on the Banks of a Coastal Marsh in Maine.

Testing the Orion 3 on the Banks of a Coastal Marsh in Maine.

At the end of the day, the Orion impressed me in all aspects of the game. For the price, it is surely at the top of it’s class as far as high performance fly rods are concerned. I would be hard pressed to find a rod of the same quality for such an affordable price, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a top of the line Salt Water rod, but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg to get it.

It did raise one question for me though, when will L.L.Bean develop a Spey or Switch Rod? I don’t know a ton about two handed casting, but it seems like the Orion design in a longer, slightly stiffer version would make an excellent switch rod. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but a new addition to the Orion line might as well be in the works, because I don’t see how the developers can improve on an already near-flawless design.

To learn more about the Orion 3 Fly Rod, and to purchase your own, visit the L.L.Bean Fishing Page.

Tight Lines,

-Ben

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L.L.Bean Gear Review: The Double L. Reel

- Tonights review features the perfect companion for the Double L. rod, the L.L.Bean Double L. Reel!

Much fuss has been made about some of the more expensive reels on the market. New brands are introducing new technologies, flashy color schemes, and space age materials that can empty a pocket book faster than you can say Enron. While these expensive reels are by no means a bad thing, not everyone can afford the latest and greatest product on the market. Some prefer a solid, well crafted reel that performs well in the field, but won’t break the bank. For those fly fishermen, L.L.Bean offers the Double L. Reel.

Double L in various sizes

A perfect addition to any rod, the Double L reel is crafted from aerospace grade aluminum and sports a handsome copper color, giving the more modern reel a more classic look that dates back almost 20 years. The semi-sealed center disc drag is smooth and easily adjustable via a large knob, and the quick release spool makes changing spools quick and painless.

I use the Double L reel in size 2 paired with my Double L Trout rod. , and size 4 paired with my Orion salt water rod. While my experience fishing the larger reel is limited, I will say that sand and salt water seem to be no match for the Double L, which has run smoothly for me even after being dropped several times in the surf. Because I didn’t pay $500+ for the reel, I don’t cringe every time I stick it in the water or set it down on the beach for an afternoon nap.

My real experience with the reel comes with it’s smaller brother on my Trout rod. The same silky smooth drag holds up nicely when pesky Landlocks catch first sight of the boat and decide to run for cover. The mid-arbor design picks up line more quickly than traditional arbor reels, while maintaining a fairly small profile that helps prevent those annoying situations where line tends to get tangled around the reel and knobs. During the last 3+ months, I’ve put this reel through hell and back, using it to it’s full potential and pitting it up against the normal abuse of an every day fly fisherman. All scratches aside, the durability of the reel is top notch and it handles even the roughest conditions surprisingly well. Wet or dry, the Double L’s drag works flawlessly and never skips a beat. It balances nicely with both rods , and is actually a lot less heavy than it initially looks.

Double L-Top

I would recommend the Double L. to any fisherman on a budget who still wants a high quality, high performing reel. While it might not be as smooth or as flashy as the more expensive choices on the market today, it can hold it’s own in any number of conditions on the water. So if you want a great reel without all the bells and whistles, that will provide years of care free enjoyment on the water, the Double L is the reel for you.

For more information on the Double L reel, and the rest of L.L.Bean’s reel lineup, click HERE.

Happy Castings,

-Ben

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