Thursday, April 25, 2013

Soccer Talk

This was my latest column which I had published in the Kings County Record.  We have since registered both kids for soccer and now wait patiently for the season to start.  I look forward to sitting back and watching from the sidelines.  Thanks to all those who work hard for Kings County Soccer.
"Dude, you're a Dad." once said commercial that appealed to me not long ago.  That has been apparent to me for sometime and I relish in the roll as Dad.  At times I struggle though.  One aspect I have trouble dealing with is that my recreational activities are now more based around my kid's choices.  Honestly, I think just getting the kids to all their appointments, practices, and games could be a sport in itself.  I think if I'm hitting .600 I'm doing well, which means you have to be better at it, than hitting a baseball.  I have a great team mate in my wife who keeps me on track and heading in the right direction other wise my kids would likely relegate me to the "parenting minors."
This summer my average might be better than last.  After playing baseball for two years, my son has decided he wants to try soccer again.  This suits me fine as my daughter also wants to play soccer.  This means that I only need to go to the field one night a week.  That should be easy enough.  Even better, I'm pretty confident they won't ask me to coach, because I know very little about soccer.  This means I'll have time to socialize and enjoy watching my kids develop as they play.  This is a win-win, for me, my kids, not to mention the players who won't have to listen to me holler instructions as a coach.
I'm really looking forward to watching my daughter play this summer.  This will be her first organized team activity.  I'm interested to see if I will encourage her as loudly as I do my son.  Will I instruct her as enthusiastically and push her as hard as I push my son.  I have to admit that is not one of my finer points and I hope I can improve my cheering skills this summer.  I've never been a great spectator so this will be a new role for me and I'm looking forward to it. 
In high school I only played a little soccer.  My best skill was that I could run.  Kicking, which by the way is important in soccer, was my weakness.  When it came to using my head, well I couldn't think soccer that well, but I scored more goals with my head than I did my feet.  That is likely due to the fact that Perry Crawford seemed to get a thrill out of being able to hit me in the head with the ball when making a corner kick.  Despite my lack of soccer skills, I loved the sport.  It tested me and was gruelling on the body.  The running was a great way to get my body ready for hockey season and just keep me in good shape and active.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blessed Evening

Monday was the first day of fishing season here in this part of NB and my son caught a trout and couldn't wait to eat it.  Last night I was busy with a meeting so I couldn't cook it but tonight I was home for the night.  With it being so nice out, I decided, since my wife also despises the smell of cooked trout, to barbeque.  I prepared my secret flour batter and placed 4 modest size trout (three frozen from the end of last season) on some tinfoil.  I added some butter to brown them up some and placed them on my barbeque.

Once the trout were on the heat I took the time to hoe my garden into some rows for the planting season.  We have some peas and beans already started and we may have been to eager.  The plants are getting root tied in the small space we have them in and its looking like at least another week before I can move them to the garden.  Temperatures on Sunday and Monday are supposed to drop to -6*C.  Despite that this evening the temperature was great for some light yard work and a barbeque.

Typically, Seth is a picky eater, one thing he does love though is trout.  He gobbled three and left me with one, which meant I got warmed up chicken strips.  The chicken was good as Shaylee, my daughter, would attest too.  They paled in comparison to the trout in my opinion but Shaylee would likely disagree there.  When I think of how peaceful and enjoyable my evening has been, and the kids aren't in bed yet, I can't help but feel a bit of guilt as I continue to hear about the bombing in Boston, MA.  I thank God for the way he has blessed me and my family and ask he watches over those struggling elsewhere tonight and maybe feed them some fish.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fishing Journal, April 15, 2013

Prior to fishing season I was  asked a question I wasn't sure the answer too.  Before the fishing season opened I took the time to find out.  The question was, "If my 8 year old son wants to go fishing do I need a license to accompany him?"  Here is what I found in the NB Fish 2013 booklet distributed by the NB Department of Natural Resources.  For anglers under 16 the booklet makes the following statements:  

"Resident anglers 10 to 15 years old must buy an Atlantic salmon license if they want their own bag limit."
"Anglers, who are under 16 and do not have an Atlantic salmon licence, may fish for Atlantic salmon only when accompanied by an angler with a valid salmon licence. The licence holder must include the child’s catch in his/her daily catch limit."
"Anglers under the age of 16 who do not wish to fish for salmon do not require an angling licence. These anglers have theirown daily bag limit."

So my interpretation, and you may wish to get DNR to verify this, is that if your child (under 16) is fishing for trout he can do so without an accompanying license.  However, if you go with your child, you can not be fishing, unless you have a license. All that being said I suggest you purchase a license.

Without a license, I took my son and daughter fishing on April 15th, for the traditional first day fish.  The kids had one pole between them as my daughter is only 3 so likely wouldn't fish.  Her and I stacked rocks while my 7 year old son got the lines wet.  After I carried my daughter through the thickets and over blow downs, between each fishing hole, I was convinced that the fish were going to out smart Seth, or that if they were there that Shaylee or the dog scared them away before Seth had a chance.  Both kids insisted we keep trying so I carried them across the stream one last time so Seth could cast into a small but deep pool.

After my third rock tower was knocked over by Shaylee, Seth let out an excited scream.  He hollered "Dad, I caught one! I caught one!!"  I turned around expecting to see a small trout or chub but was surprised to see a modest 8" trout being tossed around on the end of his line.  I helped him get it off the hook and he couldn't wait to take it home to tell his mom.

All in all it was a great first day experience for all.  I hope you had a good opening day and wish you tight lines through this season.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crown Water Surprise

This blog was originally published in the April 9th Kings County Record.  I am super excited to take this trip but I have a ton to learn.  I have been reading as much of the chatter on as I can Thankfully I have some friends who have more experience salmon fishing than I do, but no more enthusiasm.

This is an odd time of year.  Hockey is over, baseball hasn’t started, and fishing season is a week away still.  That doesn’t mean I have nothing to do though.  I’ve pulled out the glove, cleats, soccer balls and all kinds of equipment in anticipation.  First up is fishing so yesterday I pulled out the fly rod and reel and checked it over and for good reason.  A little more than a month ago some friends asked me if I wanted to join them in submitting an application for the Crown waters reserve.  That was a no brainer and I jumped at it. 

To my surprise, our group was lucky enough to get drawn for a Crown pool on the Northwest Miramichi.  I can’t wait!!!  Now I have to learn about fly fishing for salmon.  I only started fly fishing two years ago and while I’m comfortable casting for trout, Atlantic salmon on the Miramichi will be a new challenge.  The trip should provide some good material for my column though.

Already I learned a great deal about how to apply for Crown waters angling and what exactly that means and costs.  For roughly $102 plus my angling license, food, and fuel, I will have 2 days of fishing on 6 pristine kilometres of river and a cabin to lay my head at night.  I’ve paid more than that for a cot at a seedy hotel in a questionable neighbourhood. 

Our date in late June is early in the Atlantic salmon season so our chances of catching a trophy salmon are made even slimmer.  Trout should still be plentiful while we’re there though.  Really, it won’t matter if we catch anything, at least for me, because we’ll be in a location where we have to leave pavement, cell reception, and stress behind.  Further, that section of the Miramichi River is “catch and release” so I won’t be eating what I catch.  I’ll take lots of pictures of what I catch though or what the others catch.
Catch and release is a great fisheries management tool, especially if the angler is conscientious about how he handles the fish he hooks.  Barbless hooks add a level of sport and make releasing a fish much easier.  Limiting the time you play the fish is also crucial as is limiting the time you keep it out of the water, so I’ll be taking pictures of the fish while they’re still in the water.

There is a catch and release section on the Kennebecasis River to help improve trout populations.  If you plan on fishing the main stem of the Kennebecasis River this summer make sure you know where the catch and release sections are.  The Fish NB guide book is a great resource for all the angling restrictions in the province.  To help out even more you can complete a creel census through the Department of Natural Resources website, through the guide, or if you’re fishing the Kennebecasis you can anonymously fill out a creel survey on the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee’s website.  Survey’s like this are required on the Crown pools and help managers make decisions on strategies for the next angling season.

Obviously, since I’m already writing about it, I’m excited about this trip.  If you’re reading this column you’re likely excited for fishing season to get started.  I encourage you to fish with conservation in mind so that there are trout and salmon for years to come.  See you on the water.