Mike Brown or "Brownie" as he is often called, together with son Trystan enjoyed a spectacular week at EWL this past June.
So the Ball contigent, some suffering from the depredations of the previous night’s gastronomic and alcoholic extravaganza at Chez Ball, climbed into the Black Maria, and headed north into the inky blackness of an extremely early morning.
Many, many hours later, (some would say what seemed like days later) the Beast pulled into the Husky Restaurant in New Liskeard, and coffee and breakfast was finally served.
There was excellent timing made through Cochrane, Kapuskasing and Hearst, where we stopped to parlez vous le ding dong and pick up dinner fixin’s. Because of the abscence of certain not-at-all-missed absent friends, side trips to Walmart, Crappy Tire and every single aisle of the Independent Grocer were avoided, and our shopping expedition took a record twenty minutes.
Which left time for a “whoooeee” ice cream, and a nice lady in the gas station who propostioned our leader, but he only would admit that the folks in Hearst were real friendly.
Had a nice dinner in the Nakina Motel, except that the rest of the party arrived which sort of lowered the tone, but they were very generous with the beverages. Blues Jays whupped The Orioles asses, and that satisfactorily ended a successful day.
DAY 2: ON TO GLORY
Another early start.
It was noted that the renowned Nakina Mosquito was remarkable in its failure to appear, which made hanging around in the outdoor airport terminal more pleasant than usual, and we were soon off into the wild blue yonder.
Greeted dockside at the Esnagami Lodge and Health Spa by Eric, River and their trusty team, we were on the water just after 9am for an outstanding day of fishing, surf and sunshine.
Due to high winds, the search and rescue drone was unable to launch from the flight deck of the USS Baldy, but we all arrived home safe and sound in any case, in time for cocktails.
James told us that flying a radio controlled kite (go figure) is much more fun, except he crashed his in the Singapore River. So we await with interest to see if Harold can replicate such submarine adventures with his toy in the choppy waters of Lake Esnagami.
DAY 3: LET’S GET SERIOUS
No messing about.
After a spartan breakfast of porridge and poached eggs (as if), we all jumped into our boats and sped off in all directions in search of trophies, although in truth anything would do and did.
Many good sized fish around, over twenty inches, and there were some trophies caught, including Henry’s 32 inch pike. High winds and waves, and another soaking this evening coming back to Fire Island from the North Channel.
Unusually civilised turkey dinner, because of the abscence of aforementioned absent friends, particularly missing Don King, but glad Mrs. King’s surgery went well.
DAY 4: SINGING IN THE RAIN
Most of the day was spent dodging rain storms and high winds. Some went down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, where The White Queen appeared in the form of a trophy brook trout on the end of Trystan’s line.
Beautiful series of small lakes, with deep springs of fresh water.
The evening proved to be a stormy one. After heading for home from Fire Island, where the walleye are utterly reliable, the skies had darkened and the distant horizon flickered with flashes of light.
The firmament began to rumble, and the light show grew closer and brighter until it began to look like the Skydome at an evening game, with all lamps blazing, and an Encarnacion homer in the offing.
Buckets began to pour down, and God’s wrath spent itself out on Esnagami Lodge for the next two hours.
Fortunately all survived.
DAY 4: A RIVER RAN THROUGH IT
Down the river went Mike and Trystan, guided by Colin, who did all the heavy lifting around the portages. Beautiful scenery.
Mike, otherwise known as me, did something very unusual for him, and landed a 20 - inch trophy brook trout ( with a bit of help).
There were many walleye in the rapids which was great fun. Got as far as the River Camp, and then came back up the river, fishing the pools. Heading back over the Lake, an ominous series of black clouds appeared to be following at some speed, and sure enough, the torrent of rain, hail and wind began, and continued all the way home.
Thanks to Colin for a great trip. He looked like a drowned rat!
At dinner we learned of the near loss of Fearless Leader, who was out in the tin boat and decided to run for home in the face of the storm, when a rogue wave hit, and he was nearly in the water when the boat tipped over.
However, Harold lived to fish another day, but he should obviously not be allowed out on his own.
DAY 5: SPOTTED LAKE IS NOT BOAT ACCESS
Continuing the adventures of M&T in exploring the outer reaches of the Esnagami Universe, they headed north where, to Mike’s indignant surprise, but not Trystan’s, he discovered that Spotted Lake can only be reached by portage through the mosquito infested forest.
This completed , they took passage in the tin boat, and Trystan proceed to pound the pike, while Mike more or less watched, but there was no sign of the big one.
Have not heard much of the exploits of Barry and Al, so assume they are quietly catching trophies.
The day ended with a nice bottle of Cabernet, consumed just in time for the lights to quit at midnight.
DAY 6: PICNIC ON THE BEACH
As a break in the monotony of putting bait on the hook and taking fish off by the hundreds, Eric and his tribe prepared the treat of the week.
What can be better than fresh caught pickerel in a light, crispy batter, or in wine and lemon, as nuggets, or just plain fried?
Along with potatoes, beans, beer and home cooked cookies. All to the backdrop of open fires, rocky shorelines and the sparkling waters of the lake.
Eric’s team is just wonderful, cooking and serving us with pleasant smiles, making our beds and clearing up our mess, gassing up the boats and filling the bait buckets, along with the many, many tasks it takes to keep a remote fishing lodge turning over like a well- oiled machine.
Those evenings spent fishing at Fire Island are quite special.
Drifting about dodging other boats, especially RCS Henry James and occaisionally the Dynamic Duo.
Harold took some of the girls from the kitchen out for a spin, but these are no ordinary girls. They fish above their weight, and make amazing butter tarts, about which more later.
DAY 7: SAY IT AINT SO!
But it is. Last day.
Trystan and Harold took off to Betty Lake in search of pike, and did indeed find trophies.
Mike was not allowed out on his own, so Nick took him in hand and they toured around Ried’s Narrows, Someone Else’s Narrows, Arrowhead and Wildcat. Catching fish all the way.
Don’t know where others in our group headed, but they already had trophies so there was no pressure. Very nice, convivial dinner, with complementary wine.
It was noted that, in the absence of Kenny, Art, Kenny, Rezzy and Kenny, we all had a pleasant week, and none of the serving girls were forced to blush at gratuitous, and vulgar comments from the aforementioned. Also, there were no complaints over soft or hard eggs. Or egg white omellets!
Harold took to the skies with his flying machine for everyone’s entertainment. James tried to will it into the Singapore River (inside joke).
And then we fished some more, and watched the sun go down in fiery glory behind the pine tres, and it being 10:30, we headed in for a final cocktail before bed.
DAY 8: GOTTA FEED THE PILOT
We gathered on the dock amid our pile of luggage as the Otter taxied in.
The doors were opened, and the boys started to load and prepare for our flight back to Nakina.
Al was holding a bag of the World’s Best Butter Tarts that he had somehow scammed, looking very pleased with himself.
The pilot, climbed down from the plane, shook hands all round, and when he got to Al, he just said, “Thanks for bringing breakfast” and took hold of the butter tarts. On the flight back he had one hand on the stick, and with the other, stuffed tarts in his mouth.
So endeth the lesson: “what you think is yours can just as easily become someone else’s.”