January 6, 2013

Allen Afield: Mainers gifted with outdoors recreation, world-class outfitter


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When I was buying that box of saltwater flies on Christmas, I was thinking of all this, as well as Heather fly-fishing for Long Island stripers and blues, and maybe bonito and false albacore. She's even fished for tilefish, and if you're uncertain what this fish is, don't feel alone. We don't hear much on tilefish in Maine -- good eats but bad fighters.

Heather loves to fly-fish, but in her youth, team sports like basketball and field hockey interfered with that pastime, as they did with her younger sister, Katelyn. I took them fly fishing for trout and salmon as often as possible to plant the seed, and now Heather has taken a shine to fishing.

Meanwhile, Katelyn talks about fly fishing for trout but has evolved into an adult bicyclist, so I gave her an L.L. Bean touring bicycle two summers ago. We pedal roads with breakdown lanes and have lot of fun on warm, sunny days. I don't get her out on cold, early spring outings for fear of discouraging her, but that phase will come later.

I slowly bought or gave her items to make the sport more enjoyable, and that's the way folks get into a hobby like bicycling -- just a little push.

This was an extension of Katelyn's childhood bicycling jaunts that has grown into an adult phase that I hope lasts through her life. Like with all of us, life interferes, but we keep at it and grab time when we can.

Yes, we sit around in winter and dream of warmer seasons and fun times that require a little commitment to become good at a sport, and other folks get into a winter pastime like skiing, ice-fishing or snowmobiling. That's the beauty of Maine. We never want for an outdoors hobby.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes is a writer, editor and photographer. He can be contacted at:



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