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John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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November 18, 2008

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Cermele: The Great Minnow Goof

Here's a true story. I just got back from a week in Anticosti Island off the coast of Quebec. And in which fishy pursuit did I partake, you ask? None. No, this time I left the rods at home in favor of a rifle and trudged through scrub-pine and swamps in search of French-Canadian bucks. But just because I was without rod didn't mean I wasn't quick to ask about the island's fisheries upon arrival. Turns out during the summer months the many rivers of Anticosti have loads salmon and sea-run trout in them. However, I was told during the fall and winter, the rivers were void of life.

But I am relentless, posing the question of what I might catch in said rivers every time I crossed one with a new guide or local I hadn't asked yet. The answer was always the same. Nothing. As luck would have it, I was instructed to hike along one of the rivers to reach a tree stand on our second day, and me being me, I had to personally inspect each pool for signs of life. About a mile in it happened: a tiny flash of silver caught my eye. It was minnow (or perhaps salmon fry) no longer than 3 inches, but it didn't matter. I won. I proved them wrong. I found a fish!

I watched the little swimmer for five minutes, briefly forgetting the task at hand, when I looked up and there not 25 yards away stood a 4-point buck on the edge of the woods. He was staring right at me. Before I could even touch my rifle sling, he snorted and I swear it sounded like "you moron." His tail went up and into the thick cover he bolted.

I looked back at the minnow and quietly said "you moron" to myself. I never bothered to ask about or inspect the rivers for the rest of the week.



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Blue Ox

Minnows and other minor ditstractions are all in cahoots with the deer, you didn't know that?

Blue Ox

Distractions- sorry. (damn squirrel!)


I am busting my gut laughing (one has to have similar experiences in order to fully appreciate this). I might have shot the minnow. At least it wasn't a bigger buck. Actually, when they say 4-points in Quebec, is it 4 points per side or 4-points total?


Ox...I know that now.

Mike...a four-pointer is a four-pointer up there. Two on each side, but still...

Dr. Ralph

That'd be one more deer than I've killed this year and I've had three closer than 25...

you should have caught the minnow.

Blue Ox

And then eaten him.