Fishing from a kayak just got a whole lot easier!

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Linda and I purchased a couple of Old Town’s loon kayaks many years ago, and liked them so much we purchased a third one two years later so our kids could join us on the water. Almost immediately, I started fishing from the kayak, particularly on the Kennebec River between Waterville and Sidney, a section of the river where boating is nearly impossible due to shallow water, lots of rocks, and a series of rapids.

I would fish about half way to Sidney, to a series of rapids, and then paddle back to Waterville. I could return to the launch site in about an hour of paddling. I did try fly fishing for the smallmouth bass there, but found that to be difficult from the kayak, so I mostly stuck to my lightweight spinning road. The kayak is very maneuverable and I could even get into a few side waters in it. And yes, I caught tons of fish.

No, you cannot shoot or poison my cat!

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I should have known better. Cat lovers can be brutal. When my friend Paul Jacques, as a Maine legislator, proposed that cats be licensed like dogs, he got clobbered. Yesterday, when I reported that Australia has established a goal of shooting or poisoning 2 million feral cats, I got clobbered.

“George Smith - it would appear from your article that there are not enough wild animals to satisfy your desire to kill that you want to start in on cats. You sound like a scrum bag to me,” wrote one reader.

My reputation as a Maine sportsmen came under attack by several readers. “I’d sooner spay or eliminate the two legged hunters to be honest. It is not a cat fault it has to hunt... it’s all on humans.  We are putting the blame on the wrong species,” wrote one reader.

Two million cats to be shot and poisoned

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I was researching the feral cat issue in Maine when a story appeared in the Washington Post announcing that the Australian government plans to kill up to 2 million feral cats by 2020, in a last desperate attempt to save dozens of native species that face extinction because these cats are killing them.

Throughout Australia, feral cats will be baited, shot, and poisoned in a program funded by the government which claims the killings will be carried out in as “humane and effective” a manner as possible. Since being introduced by Australia’s first white settlers, feral cats have grown in both number and size.

Perhaps this will be a wakeup call for Maine. Earlier this month, I read a news story on a central Maine animal shelter that noted the shelter caught feral cats, neutered them, and then “returned them to the wild.” The report said the program “has been successful.” Indeed. I wonder by whose standard that success is managed? Certainly not by our song birds!

Holbrook’s Lobster Wharf & Grill in Harpswell

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Harpswell
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 If the stunning ocean-front location doesn’t draw you to Holbrook’s in Cundy’s Harbor, the food certainly will!

George

                My sister Edie and her son Ezra joined us for a terrific sea-side lunch here, allowing us to sample lots of different items on the extensive menu. Edie lives right across the street from Holbrook’s and eats here often. Now I know why!

Maine Hunting license fees going up – for a good cause

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                All hunting licenses issued by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be increased by $1 in 2016 – and before you start complaining, consider how the money will be spent.

                This was a bill proposed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, an unprecedented bill for the organization, as SAM’s Executive Director Dave Trahan testified at the public hearing, “This bill is a first for SAM in that we are asking for a fee increase.” Calling the bill, “one of the most important of the session,” Dave said, “It solves many chronic funding issues at the Department and reinforces DIF&W’s role in referendums.”

Upta Camp

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I wrote this for Down East magazine in 2002, and included it in my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, published last year by Islandport Press. Hope you enjoy it! 

               Every Mainer has a camp. It may be a place we own. It may be a place our friends own. It may be a place we rent every summer. It may even be a campground and simple tent. But it’s ours, even if only for a week or two each year.

Camp is a Maine tradition – anchored in our imaginations of the North Woods, yet often nearby on a lake or pond, the better to access it on hot summer days. I know one couple whose camp is 100 yards behind their house on a man-made pond.

Answers to Questions Nobody was Askin, by Tim Sample

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Tim Sample’s new book could probably be categorized as a biography, because there are many stories about Tim’s interesting life. But the book is much more than that. And yes, of course, there are some hilarious stories. Tim did not become our state’s most popular and well-known comedian by chance. He’s a very funny guy.

And while I enjoyed all the funny stories, and the special Maine humor, I was particularly captivated by some of the more serious stories.

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