Skunked Again: A weekend fishing excursion to Long Pond

10 mins read

It had been a little under a year since I had fished Long Pond in Strong (DeLorme M18, A-5), but my previous success hooking both salmon and brook trout left me eager to once again get a line in the water.

I decided to try my luck June 21, a mild and overcast Saturday: perfect for fishing. Meeting up with my friends Eben and James, we pushed out in to the pond in a wide 14-foot aluminum with a cooler, plenty of rods, and the will to catch some fish. We started fishing by 1 p.m., and the three of us were determined to fish until the sun started to sink behind the pond’s uninterrupted rim of mountains. We figured our best bet for action would be at the southern end of the pond where an inlet spills out and big brookies could potentially be hanging out. Our basic strategy was to troll a stone’s throw away from the shore, traveling back and forth across the opening of the stream. Our boat was not equipped with any sonar technology, so the colors on my leadline would be my only help. After almost losing my lure, I guessed it to be 13-15 feet deep (3.5 colors or so). As for my choice of lure, I took my chances with the ol’ faithful Mosselook Wobbler. I grabbed the copper junior out of its individual Plano compartment but glanced at the Suttons, Flash-Kings, Speedy Shiners and Dare Devils in the other slots. These lures have all served me well in the past, but I am a sucker for what works consistently, and the Mooselook has proved itself time and time again. Perhaps its attributed effectiveness is due to its nearby creation at Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley.

I worked the Mooselook on my leadline, the only one we had, while James and Eben put different Mooselooks on their spinning rods. Spoons work by spinning at different speeds through the water ultimately twisting your line if it wasn’t for a ball-bearing swivel—not a brass one—that won’t do. On each of the spinning rods we put one of these swivels followed by a five-foot leader and another swivel, brass this time. With a spoon on that last swivel and some weights a good distance up on your line, you can effectively fish spoons despite the shallower range of depth. The leadline doesn’t need these weights because the lead core within the length of the line brings the lure down, deeper the more colors I have out behind the boat.     

Finally having the lines in the water, I took a chance to appreciate the scenery. The 543-acre pond has no more than 50 camps along its edge, and most of these establishments were opposite the end we were fishing in, the northern half. The beautiful Beaver Mountain to the west along with the other surrounding hills and mountains seemed to rise up all around as if sheltering the pond from the rest of the Franklin County. But as tremendous as they were, they wouldn’t stop the oncoming weather.

It was still pleasant after an hour of fishing, though I cast a weary glance at some particularly dark and loathsome clouds slowly making their way from the other side of the pond. A sudden crackle of distant thunder got the attention of the three nervous fishermen, anxious for some solid hours on the pond. This crackle seemed to be a cue for the fish as James suddenly burst out with, “Ah! Sam! Fish, Fish!” He was holding my rod as I was rigging up his so he could control the tiller and, as a result, I was forced to abandon his pole, throwing it down, in order to quickly retrieve mine and set the hook. It could have been more graceful, but in no time I was slowly fighting for all 3.5 colors until the fish finally came, exhausted, to the surface. Brookie. Aren’t they gorgeous creatures? The yellow and red dots glimmered along the length of its body, which I judged to be 11-12 inches. It was a clean release so I unhooked the brook trout and sent it diving through the surface. Now that the “skunk” was off, we were able to focus on hydration from the cooler and watching out for that next bite. No more pressure.      

That bite came slowly, but surely, an hour later. The menacing cloud hadn’t reached the boat yet and we three amigos were still in great comfort when I unexpectedly got a tug-tug on the leadline and saw a silver arc leap from the water a ways behind the boat. Judging from the airborne activity I guessed it to be a salmon and started cranking. Sure enough, a nice 14-inch landlock salmon. Also a clean release.      

Meanwhile, James’ and Eben’s lines were not getting touched. They tried Rapalas at one point, but got back on to spoons when they saw the two fish hauled up on the Mooselook. Eben was convinced it was my rod that was doing the trick. James persistently offered that it was his magic hands since, after all, the rod was in his hands when the fish first bit. I smiled at James but had to agree with Eben: the leadline allowed me to put my lure right above the bottom where the fish were, a little over three colors out. My third fish confirmed this as I pulled out another, smaller salmon. All this time we had maintained our course along the southern and southwestern rim of the pond.     

At this point most of the sky had taken on a more ominous look. The black cloud we saw earlier loomed towards us, threatening a torrential downpour and backing it up with roaring thunder. We decided to troll back for shore. However, on our way back, something unusual happened. One of us spotted a white, mooring-like object in the water. There were white caps now and each one distorted our view as they washed over the peculiar buoyant blob. Taking a closer look, we discovered it to be a furless and bloated white-tail doe. Perhaps this deer had fallen through the winter ice and had only recently worked its way up from the bottom. Regardless, it was dismaying to see a deer meet its demise this way. I have actually gone fishing there since and coincidentally witnessed a man and women towing the deer carcass to a more appropriate place to decompose. Solid citizens.

James, having a good time fishing.

After final examination, the last stretch of trolling concluded an all-around successful fishing trip out to Long Pond, also known as Beaver Mountain Pond to any of those who may recognize the name. I had fun with my friends James and Eben, caught some beautiful fish, encompassed myself with the idyllic backdrop surrounding the pond, and underwent a curious investigation of a U.F.O. (unidentified floating object). I have yet to be skunked at this pond, so it goes highly recommended for all your fishing needs—except for ice-fishing—I’ve made that mistake once! Happy Fishin’.

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