Bass athletes often get big airtime!
In recent years, the arrival of the annual big game hunting season has featured conditions more in keeping with summer’s heat, than autumn’s cool breeze.
For the past few seasons, I’ve been decked out in cotton camo more often than woolies and long johns for the opening day.
Fortunately, it appears the local weather patterns may have attempted a return to normal this year.
Already, the region has experienced some hard frosts, and there’s snow cover capping the High Peaks.
Snow in September, and the peak of fall foliage arriving before the Columbus Day weekend. What’s going on here?
Maybe it is just nature’s way of letting us know who is ultimately in control of the earth’s climate.
Scientists may like to believe mankind has been responsible for all the sweeping climate changes we’ve experienced in recent years, with global warming, the massive glacial retreats and ever shrinking ice caps.
Yet, when viewed through the lens of time in a truly geologic sense, the burgeoning global warming we’ve experienced in recent decades is likely not much more than a blip on the world’s historic weather radar.
Humans tend to view the progress and processes of the natural world in a truly irrational and egocentric sense. We prefer our time to be measured by the generation, rather than by the epoch.
The human lifespan is far too brief to be truly defining, except for a spell in the mid 1980’s when disco arrived, and country music was nearly compromised.
There is no doubt global climate change is for real, at least for those of us who have managed to survive through several generations, like the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s!
People have asked if I believe the weather will ever return to normal. My response has always been less ponderous and more a matter of fact. Weather changes.
When I was a kid, I’d swear the snow banks on my side of the street were the size of Mt. Marcy. It began snowing in September and didn’t quit until April, or sometimes May. And I remember praying for a snow day in June, just before a big spelling exam.
I also seem to recall the fish I caught were always bigger, the lapse between my birthdays was always longer, and Santa actually believed I had been a very good boy, once.
Fortunately for me, video cameras and instant replay didn’t roll around until another generation had passed.
In retrospect, it’s difficult to deny the existence of the numerous on the ground effects of climate change.
All it takes to convince me is a short visit to any of the local rivers or streams.
I’ve been paddling and fishing these homegrown rivers for over half a century, and in all those years, I’ve never witnessed destruction on such a grand scale as we’ve experienced in the past decade.
I never believed it could’ve been any worse.
However, after reading testimony of the horrible floods that wracked the Ausable Valley back in the mid 1800’s, I discover how much worse it had been.
Hurricane Irene may have slashed and crashed through the Ausable Valley in 2011, but the Great Floods of the Ausable in the 1850’s triggered by historic rains and the collapse of the dam on the Lower Ausable Lake, swept away every bridge, mill and dam on the entire river, from Keene Valley to Lake Champlain.
But who knows, maybe they just didn’t build their bridges, dams or mills worth a damn.
It would be interesting to know what nature has yet in store. Maybe in 2113, while studying the Great Adirondack Floods of 2011, a researcher will uncover a story about how the Adirondack region actually used to have snow and ice in January and February.
On the Hunt
Although the opening day of the regular big game hunting season is still a month away, hunters have been in the woods since Sept. 14 when the early bear season began.
September 20 marks the opening day for Ruffed Grouse, and pheasant season begins on Oct. 1.
On Sept. 27, the number of hunters will swell as the early archery season for whitetails begins. September 28 will be a good day to be in field or on the water in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
For some odd reason, the date is still not recognized as a national holiday, despite the many contributions hunters and anglers have provided to preserve our sporting heritage and enhance the opportunities for citizens to get outside.
Go Team Go! Catch that Bass!
The headline caught my eye immediately. It read, “New Hampshire High School Bass Tournament.”
Increasingly, schools across the nation have begun hosting Varsity level Bass Tournaments. In fact, the National High School Bass Fishing Tournament regularly draws more than 1,500 high school bass teams to compete.
In early September, as most New Hampshire high school student athletes took to the gridiron or the soccer field to test their athletic prowess, there was a small group of non-traditional high school athletes competing on the nearby lakes.
But instead of passing a football or kicking a soccer ball, they were casting a Pig’n Jig or drop-shotting a Senko worm.
This new breed of athlete doesn’t need to be the fastest runner, and they may not be able to jump higher or throw faster than other athletes. But they do know how to catch bass, and fast.
In all there will be 54 teams registered teams from 39 New Hampshire schools competing in the upcoming New Hampshire High School Bass Tournament on Lake Winnisquam on Oct. 5.
There will be no cheerleaders or marching bands at the competition, only leader boards and rubber bands. The only tackle to be found will be in their boxes.
The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) will conduct the event, with assistance from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire B.A.S.S. Nation.
With small town athletes lining the shores of Lake Champlain from Rouses Point to Whitehall, I have to wonder why there still isn’t a single High School Bass Fishing Team on either side of the Big Lake. It is especially troubling since Lake Champlain regularly ranks as one of the best bass lakes in the country, and regularly hosts some of the top bass tournaments in the country
Maybe it’s time for our local school boards to take a serious look at the “leader board” when the next ProBass Tournament comes to town. Nearly every college in the Pac Ten Football Conference supports a Collegiate Bass Fishing Team, and there are thousands of dollars in scholarships available for bass fishing athletes. And if not for the educational opportunities, then for the benefit and protection of the precious natural resource itself.
If local youth do not have the means or the knowledge to utilize and enjoy their local natural resources, they will not learn to value them. And if the resources do not hold any value, they will be less likely to be cherished and protected.
It is an easy path to follow, especially if you’re chasing a host of other boats.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.