Saturday, January 31, 2009

1/31/08 More about Smelting

We paid $15 a piece for the privilege of smelting in these shacks. Inside was a wood stove and a big stack of wood. The fire was already going when we got there, so we took off our jackets to settle in for our 6 hours. Our bait was sand worms. The package of worms wrapped in newspaper was included in the price of renting the shack.

But ewwww, the sand worms are too big for bait, so you cut them up! And the small pieces of worm still wiggle after they've been cut and that's the bait. Betty offered to bait my hook for me, but I insisted that I do it myself. ewwww. But I did it.

This is the right side of the inside of the shack. Betty is checking the line. There were 10 lines on our side of the shack (boys vs. girls). The horizontal wooden bar from which the lines hang is suspended on springs so you can pull the bar and all 10 of your lines will wiggle just right. We actually only used 9 of our lines 'cuz the 10th line was missing a hook.

Alan built this "jig board" which is just a board with 3 lines that are similar to a jig pole. They use a finer line (the ones provided were practically string they were so thick) and hang from a piece of wire that creates a rather constant jiggle.

On both sides of the shack are big holes like this cut into the ice. In the middle of the shack there's room for the wood stove, 4 stools or chairs, and not much else.

The first bite came after we'd only been there about 5 minutes. And this smelt bit one of my lines! So technically, I caught the first fish! Betty coached me through pulling it in.

Alan took it off the hook. You can see that a smelt isn't very big.

In the next 4 hours and 45 minutes, we caught 6 more smelt. Alan caught all of those on his jig board. Often you can catch over 100 smelt and even as high as 300. But that wasn't for us on this trip. At least we weren't "skunked" and I had a blast hanging out with Alan and Betty and their friend Doyle who went with us.

I learned a bunch of new vocabulary but it's written on a piece of paper that I don't have with me. So I will make another entry later with those vocabulary words. In the meantime, know that this was a true Maine experience! I love my life with the Mainiacs.

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