August 19 – 25, 2016Vol. 18, No. 11

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

The author with a nice smallie.

by Pete Kallin

Over two thousand years ago, the Roman poet, Virgil, wrote of the rapid (and irretrievable) passage of time, usually expressed by the Latin phrase, "Tempus fugit." According to physicists (at least prior to Einstein) and clockmakers, time passes at a constant rate but the human brain processes time at different rates depending on your age and what you are doing. I know that some things, such as waiting for this Presidential election to be over, seem to take forever, whereas a day on the water catching lots of fish seems to pass in the blink of an eye.

There is an old expression that says, "Time flies when you're having fun." I must be having a lot of fun because I am completely amazed at how quickly this summer has flown by. This is already my 11th weekly "Take it Outside" column this summer and every week seems to go by more quickly than the last.

A bit of tendinitis in one of my knees kept me off the steeper trails this week but I spent a lot of time wandering the woods and fields picking blueberries and blackberries. At one point I was picking highbush blueberries along the shoreline and was pressed up against a bush a couple of feet taller than I while reaching into the center of the bush to pick a particularly large, ripe berry.

Suddenly a flock of about six tufted titmice landed on the other side of the bush and one bird landed right next to the berry I was reaching for and plucked it as I tried to remain motionless. Time seemed to stand still as the bird suddenly spotted my hand about 6 inches in front of its beak and slowly turned his head to follow my arm until he spotted me staring at him. He cocked his head, stared back for several seconds and then suddenly flew off to the next bush along with the rest of the birds.

I also spent a fair amount of time on the water, fishing, swimming, and sailing. The bass fishing has been excellent in the deep parts of the lake. Schools of big smallmouth bass and rafts of loons are gorging themselves on the landlocked alewives.

White zonker flies with an alewife.

One day last week I did my biweekly measurements of the Secchi depth and temperature-oxygen profiles in the lake for the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, I was watching my fish finder as I was making my measurements and noticed a large school of alewives about 40 feet down and another school of much larger fish directly over them at 20 feet. According to my profile, the big fish were in the surface mixed layer (epilimnion) just above the thermocline in well-oxygenated (8 PPM), warm (22°C/72°F) water and the baitfish were in the low oxygen (2.6 PPM), colder (12.9°C/55.2°F) hypolimnion. Periodically a couple of the big fish would drop down deep to grab a few alewives.

When I finished my readings, I grabbed my flyrod and let my trusty white zonker fly sink to about 20 feet before twitching it and instantly tied into a nice bass (19 in., 4 lbs.). In the next hour or so I got about a dozen nice smallies, the smallest of which was about 16 inches, using my flyrod and my ultralight spinning rod with a silver, jigging Rapala I normally use for ice fishing. I was having so much fun, I lost track of time and was almost late for a meeting.

The next day, I returned with my friend Paul Feinberg who has been complaining about how slow the fishing has been on Great Pond. Despite a brisk wind, we managed to find the fish in the same general area and caught several nice ones on streamer flies. But summer is passing quickly. Tempus fugit! Time to carpe diem and get outside. And don't forget to take a kid or grandkid.

Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which merged with the Maine Lakes Resource Center in December 2017 to form the 7-Lakes Alliance.