by Jerry Vovcsko
About five years ago my wife and I took a trip out to Reno, Nevada to visit with her brother's family. He kept his 24 foot open console Grady White at a marina at Lake Tahoe and one afternoon we took a run out there to spend a day on the lake. Lake Tahoe happens to be some 1600 feet at the deepest part. That's like 5 football fields stacked up one on top of the other, plus thirty-yard field goal distance left over. It was probably an omen of things-to-come that when the marina folks brought out his boat, the battery was dead, so they charged it enough to get it started and said we'd probably charge it some more as we motored around, but they gave us a spare battery pack...just in case.
We spent the afternoon running end to end around the lake, seeing the sights, then stopped for a while to do some swimming and bask in the sun. By late afternoon we got ready to head back and, no surprise, the battery was dead. We hooked up the marina-provided battery pack and - surprise!- that one was dead also. Eventually we got a jump start from a kindly boater who had a spare battery on board and never stopped until we drove the boat right up onto the trailer and delivered it back to the marina along with a few choice words about their maintenance and equipment performances.
So that's why when I run across any mention of Lake Tahoe I tend to react negatively. I wasn't shocked, for instance, when I read about a Utah woman, Jana Livitre, who lost her camera when the neck strap broke and she got to watch it sink in some 200 feet of crystal clear lake water, carrying with it over a thousand irreplaceable photos of family and friends she had accumulated over time. What made the story unique, though, was what happened two years later when a gent named Stephen Garrett decided to do a little fishing on the lake and reeled in something he sure wasn't expecting, namely, a camera. Noticing that the camera card was still in place he took it home and a friend plugged it into her computer – sure enough, in this digital era of ours the photos were clear and unharmed.
So Garret's posted them on Facebook where a friend of Livitre's spotted them and before long the memory card was back with its happy owner. For a strange and slightly spooky ending to this particular fish tale, it turns out that the card had one extra photo that Jana Livitre hadn't taken. It was a clear picture of the bottom of the lake and makes you wonder who snapped that one: a passing fish; the water pressure on the way down; or perhaps some creature that inhabits the murky regions of this watery deep? After all, legends have come into being based on far less than.
Speaking of strange creatures, the re-emergence of fisher cats on the Cape has become more and more plain to see.
Just last week one of these members of the Mustelid, family (shared by wolverines, badgers, otters and weasels) was hit and killed by a car in Sandwich. Fishers, valued by trappers for their luxurious fur, used to be plentiful around New England back in Henry Thoreau's day, but they got trapped and hunted into near extinction and their return appearance has been an unexpected development, albeit an environmentally positive one.
To be fair, though, not everyone is delighted to have these aggressive and highly skilled hunters back in the region. Pet owners for instance take a dim view of sharing the woods with predators quite willing to include, cats, dogs, rabbits and birds on their daily menu. They've been known to grow to four feet in length although locally, three footers are closer to the norm. Even birds aren't safe because the fisher cat is a tree climber extraordinaire but they also happily take on wild turkeys at ground level and their viciousness credentials are unchallenged as they've been known to kill bobcats, not exactly passive tabbycats themselves.
Anybody who still traps is undoubtedly delighted to see these creatures show up once again. To give some idea of their value, a hat made from fisher furs sells for between two and four hundred dollars and as full coat, well, that would set you back enough dough to keep you in Van Staal reels pretty much the rest of your life. All in all, it's nice to see these guys back and thriving in New England forests and fields and maybe, just maybe, we can figure out a way to share the Cape with these furry expatriates.
As far as fishing goes these days, the weather folk predict three more weeks of cold temperatures and at least one or two snow storms headed our way. So if we ever get a break, maybe we can get a little ice fishing in and at least catch ourselves a mess of perch to drop in a big, cast iron skillet with a dollop or two of bacon fat – calories be damned – for a celebratory end-of-winter fish feast. Pass the home fries, please, and yes, another mug of coffee to wash it all down…that's what I'm talkin' about!
Saw a list of the Red Sox starters in the sports pages the other day: Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Peavy and Doubront…and that's not even counting the kids coming up in Triple A. So eat your hearts out, Yankee fans…looks like it might just be another World Series year coming up for the Red Sox.