Man's best friend.
Who better to share time with when out on a fishing trip than....
....Man's best friend.
I don't know about your dog but any number of the pooches I have had in my lifetime have never had the ability to throw a five weight line let alone handle a level wind reel.
Something about the lack of opposable thumbs, has been a real handicap in making our faithful canine companions the perfect fishing partner.
Nonetheless, many a fishing trip has been made with either my dog or a bi-ped friends dog along for the experience. For me, dogs have always added to almost any outdoor experience, whether it be hiking, camping,bird hunting,mountain biking,or skiing.
Fishing, on the other hand is somewhat a different story.
In my mind, I have always dreamed of having that perfect pooch, the one that walks calmly by your side, curls up and takes a nap while
you endlessly cast over and over for hours to trout filled waters. A dog that yawns, stretches, wags his tail and comes over to give
your catch a sniff and a lick before you release your finny playmate back into his natural habitat.
I don't know about you, but most of the fishing/dog fishing experiences I have had have not exactly fallen into the Hallmark special dog category.
More like a Mel Brooks comedy.
My dogs have usually been somewhat overexuberent in their fishing adventures, doing happy things like:
1)Running at breakneck speed and leaping into a fshing hole...especially one that you have belly crawled or "stealthily" snuck up
on so as to not spook the fish...and then swam around in it, thanking you for finding such a wonderful place to cool down from racing
up and down the banks. Most dogs I have had really love the water...in fact I used to have a Husky that would swim halfway out into
the river, pretty much scaring away any fish in a three county area.
2)Eating dead fish carcasses, which invariably lands your dog at the vets office, where six hundred dollars later, "mans best friend" does not so much as offer one thin dime or learn a small trick that might land you a spot on Letterman, so you can recoup some of your costs.
3) Rolling in dead things...or worse! Nothing like having your dog find something good and rank, up to and including animal excrement, giving a good roll in it, and then coming to snuggle up with you while you try to cast.
4) The old tangle up the line trick. Sure, most of the time you can't get your dog calm enough to sit by your side, but you want him to at least give you some room to cast a fly line, but he will walk on, over and through your line until he has some sort of Chinese string puzzle created that only a nine year old girl can undo. Better yet, he will "sniff" around right in your backcasting zone until you eventually land a #6 Green Butted Skunk deep within his fur.
5) Speaking of Skunks. Nothing like the eye jarring, nose alarming smell of a two in the morning skunk rendezvous. Your faithful friend is mighty proud that he has saved the fish camp from the nightime intruder. This is especially enjoyable when you yell at the top of your lungs for him to get back in the tent...and then yell at the top of your lungs for him to get BACK OUT of the tent.
This has happened to at least four different dogs, and has left my camping rig and gear smelling like skunk for months. We have even given the old "tomato juice" baths right on the bank of the river, which only makes the dog smell like a skunk pizza...not to mention the bath scene which resembles some sort of sickening bloodletting ritual...which induces calls to 911 from nearby campers.
The dog also usually likes this new man/dog bonding ritual and of course wags his tail profusely while self indulging himself in a
virgin Bloody Mary, thereby splattering you with most of the tomato juice.
6) Fish wrestling. For the most part, your dog can care less about your fishing experience, usually wandering about looking for any of the aforementioned fun things to do. On the off chance you can concentrate long enough to actually catch and land a fish, suddenly he is on top of your fish licking, tooth tagging, and generally treating your catch like a "squeaky toy".
If the fish is lucky enough to make it back into the water, he is sure to swear off eating worms for the rest of his days.
7) Dog flatulence. Do I really need to say anything else??
These are just a few of the many pleasures of fishing with your dog, and I am sure you have some interesting stories yourself.
Man's best friend?
You bet. There is still nothing better than the companionship of our cold nosed, cow patty breathed, furry friends.
And any good fishing tale I have ever heard has been enhanced by the presence of the TAIL of man's best friend.
Happy Tails To You....
Author, writer of fishing humor, and "fly tack" peddler, A.J. writes about the people, characters, and modern day events that surround
the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005. If you need a laugh or a fun gift, please visit his website at:
The Legend Of Logger by Tracker
Last spring Rainbow’s End Bed & Breakfast in Challis, Idaho sponsored a big fish contest on the Salmon River. The grand prize was a new rod and reel and a wide assortment of lures and flies.
Since it wasn’t hunting season, I was bored because there was nothing to hunt. I pulled out my old, dusty rod and reel, cleaned it up, oiled the reel, put on a new spool of fishing line, sharpened up a few hooks and out to the river I went to try and win a new rod and reel because mine had seen better days. I had heard the locals talk of this legendary fish, nicknamed Logger, that many had hooked, but no one had landed. As the story goes, he got his name because whenever he was hooked his escape tactic involved him wrapping the line around a log and jumping in the air to free himself. Logger was a giant male rainbow with a bunch of lures hanging from a big hooked jaw, souvenirs of past victories. He would taunt the fishermen by strutting with his trophies as if they were Olympic medals.
At the crack of dawn Thumper and I headed for the magic hole on the Salmon River right below Fuller Gulch. It was a cold morning, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The water conditions were perfect, and there was a brisk breeze clearing up the light frost. The riffle in the bend of the river showed promise. As usual, I had my hopes up. This would be the day that Logger met his doom.
My first few casts hooked a few, small, energetic fish of no consequence. For an hour it seemed like I caught a fish single cast, trying everything in my tackle box to lure a big one. There were too many juvenile fish in the river; I would never hook Logger at this rate. I put my pole down and lit up my pipe to consider a new strategy. I asked myself, “What am I going to do?” I found myself talking to the dog, “Thumper, what should we do next?”
Thumper walked over to my open tackle box and sniffed at a lure that a friend gave me as a joke, “A Kitchen Sink.” It was a 5 inch white porcelain sink with four-spoke handles and a huge treble hook. So I said to Thumper, “Well, why not, we have tried everything else.” Even though I felt foolish, I tied it to the end of my line.
The sun had broken through the tops of the trees and it was warming up. The shade that was covering the other edge of the bank was gone and I could see a big, dark stump, three to four feet long, lying in the bottom of the river. I assumed that high water had washed the stump in. What a perfect place for a fish to hide! When I cast my line, the weight of the lure bent my rod and I was afraid it would break.
However, it was heavy enough that it was the longest cast I ever made, making it all the way across the river so it drifted right by the stump. Rats! The longest cast of my life snags the stump! For ten minutes, I jerked on the pole and line, moving up and down river trying to get it dislodged. I was able to see the lure in the water, white against the dark stump. I jerked on it so many times that the stump broke loose and started floating down river, peeling off all my line. Now, not only am I going to lose my lure, but all my line. Once it hit the fast water in the riffle I would be in trouble. I would have to start all over again with new line and lure. I gave it one, last, desperate giant tug. My pole broke in two and then, all of a sudden, the stump came to life. Holy Hannah! It’s Logger! My pole was broken in two and Logger was making a bee line to his escape. He was running up river with his dorsal fin cutting through the water creating a wake like a motor boat. The power of his tail was making white water with his thrashing. Thumper was running back and forth on the bank, baying at the frenzied activity. My pole might be broken, but when I put on the new fishing line, I used 30 pound test. I was hoping this would be enough to hold on to Logger, but by his size I had my doubts. The situation reminded me of Keystone cops skit. If I only had a video, I’d be a multi-millionaire selling this to The Outdoor Channel. I kept reeling frantically trying to take up all the slack. The moment he made his leap four feet into the air to snap the line, I jerked the pole with all my strength to pull him back in my direction. In the sunlight I saw all the lures hanging from his jaw, and realized he was battle scarred as if he had gone ten rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson. His leap of faith was unsuccessful. With a tremendous splash, he fell short of his goal. Now Logger was in panic mode and made his fatal mistake. He shot across the river and beached himself on the gravel covered sand bar. Thumper wanted to join the game. She leapt off the bank into the river, swam out to the sand bar and put a death grip on Logger’s neck like a Pit Bull in a fight. She held him long enough for me to jump in the river as I continued to reel to prevent the hook from coming loose. Logger was making a run for it, wiggling his way back into the water. Thumper was still hanging on. She knew she had a trophy. The hook came loose and I was about five feet away. I lunged like I was making a desperation tackle to save the Super Bowl Championship. I grabbed Logger. Thumper and I were both hanging on. The three of us were thrashing around in the river. While I was still on my knees, I was able to stick my hand in its gill plate and pull its head out of the water. The old lures snagged my hands. Thumper was still holding on and I was dragging them both out of the water. I freed the hooks using needlenose pliers.
With Thumper’s help, not only did I win the rod and reel, but I had landed the new state record trout, 47” long. When I look back at this experience, I realize Logger never would have been caught if he had stayed in deep water. The sand bar was his Waterloo. Now the question is whose name goes into the record book? Thumper or me?
A. Matthews AKA Tracker
CORDELL AND ADOLF IN ALASKA
Right click to play/pause
My best of fishing partners passed on September 25...he was almost 13yrs old...extremely old for a rott...in video he was already over 10...he caught so many salmon by himself, more than most people...I think of him every day and have his ashes to return to his fishing spot back in Alaska...for me he was my family and we did everything together...am glad that he is in all my videos and many pictures...I might say that he was photographed and video taped by tourists from around the world as he always rode shotgun on the raft and people were amazed to see a 135lb dog going downstream...Cordell Baum
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A Dog Makes
Fishing More Interesting
By Ronnie Garrison, About.com
Dogs. They can drive you crazy, break your heart and make you smile, all at the same time. They are a lot of trouble but make just
about any activity more fun. And they are indispensable for many activities like quail and rabbit hunting.
I have had several dogs
over the years but have been without one for the past 15 years, deciding the trouble and heartbreak when they die was not worth it.
Then a new dog adopted me.
A few months ago a black dog showed up at my barn. This barn is about a quarter mile from the nearest road
and I had no idea how the dog got there. I ignored it and refused to pet it, feed it or even talk to it. The dog did not care, it
greeted me with wagging tail and smiling face every time I drove up.
For two weeks I was able to avoid the attraction of such a friendly
dog. It was a sleek black 60 pound dog that looked like it had some lab in it but also some other mixtures, too. It loved to run along
side my truck as I went to the ponds to feed the fish, but always headed back to the barn when I locked the gate and left.
gave in and bought a food bowl, food and a collar for it. As I drove up to the barn with the food, the dog came running out as usual.
He must have fallen because I felt my back tire bump over him. Just knowing he was hurt badly, I picked up my pistol and opened the
door, ready to put him out of his misery if he was not already dead.
The dog was standing there, wagging his tail down low like they do when confused, looking at me like he was saying “Why did you do
that?” He was a little shaky and I could see skinned places on his hips and stomach where the tire ran over him. When he walked over
to the edge of the woods and passed blood in his urine, I was sure he did not have long to live.
The next day as I drove up the dog
came running out to the truck, wagging his tail and bouncing around like nothing ever happened. I loaded him up and took him to the
vet, and he passed all the test they ran on him. The vet said a dog’s hips were about the only place you could run over them and not
I should have named him “Lucky” I guess, but decided on the name “Rip” because of the way he shredded everything loose
around the barn. There is still yellow insulation everywhere from a bat of it that I thought he would use for a bed.
Rip likes to
wade out into the edge of the pond when I am feeding the fish and eat any catfish food that floats near him. I think he likes fish
food a lot better than his dog food. Since it has gotten hot he has learned to sit in the water and cool off while eating.
catch a bream Rip goes crazy. He seems to want to lick the fish, but if I try to let him have it he backs off. If I put them back
in the water he looks at the spot where they disappeared and gives me a look like I am some magician, making fish disappear like that.
A couple of times I have put a small bream down on the ground and Rip will pick it up by the fins and walk around with it. I have
no idea what he thinks he is doing and I always take the fish away from him and release it before it is harmed.
Rip never met anybody,
or anything, he didn’t like. Every person that comes near gets his tail wagging and a happy greeting. He even likes cats, he will
run up to them and wag his tail, wanting to play. My cats don’t want to play but as long as they don’t run he will leave them alone.
When they run he chases them, but so far has not caught one.
Rip loves to ride in the back of my truck and runs and jumps in just
about any time the tailgate is down. With ears and tongue flopping in the breeze he watches where we are going over the side of the
truck. But once we get to the farm he wants to get out and run, refusing to get back into the truck until I lock the gate on the way
I guess I am stuck with Rip now. It seems strange to go anywhere without him. So far I have avoided taking him fishing like
I did my first two dogs, and I don’t plan on taking him along. He is just a little too active for a 20 foot bass boat.
If you have
a dog you know what it is like to have a friend that totally loves you and asks for nothing in return. If you don’t have a dog, you
are missing out on one of the great, simple pleasures of life. If you do have one, treat it with the love and respect that it shows
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