Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 46

November 14-20, 2002

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The Tao of Pooh … the Lab

The way the pup scampered around the impoundment, you’d never know she was missing the top part of her back hip, which was surgically removed after she ended up on the bad end of a collision with a Cadillac.

It was Pooh Bear’s first waterfowl hunt, and the nearly two-year-old yellow Lab was reveling in the water, prancing around the shallow farm pond as the decoys were set. Her dad, Henry Oakey, brought her to the impoundment that the brothers Colbeck had planted last summer. Long before opening day, the millet and sorghum flourished, welcoming ducks and geese to dine.

It was also the ideal setting to introduce a green retriever to waterfowling. The pond is devoid of the adhesive detritus concoction found in the marshes, a sticky brew that challenges the most experienced hunters and retrievers. When you get stuck up to your ribs, the workout to free yourself leaves you gasping for breath.

Years ago, a hardcore fishing friend told me that he had read The Tao of Pooh, which attempts to explain Taoism through Pooh stories. That he’d even consider investigating such complex philosophies was shocking since his concept of intellectual inquiry mostly debates the merits of frying fish in butter or in oil. Now I haven’t read this book, so I have no clue if it succeeds in this ambitious endeavor, but since it’s associated with Pooh Bear, it must be cool.

By now, faithful readers, no doubt you’re saying, Sure, your knowledge of ancient Eastern religion and storybook characters is impressive, but, other than the fact that the dog and the book share the same name, how does this ancient Chinese religion, which has it origins in the third century B.C., relate to a young retriever’s initiation into the world of ducks?

Sure, I know its a stretch, but Taoism (or Daoism, ‘The Way’ or ‘The Path’) teaches that healthy human life can flourish only in accordance with nature’s simplicity, which in part requires a free-and-easy approach to life. Why can’t that mantra be applied to the canine world? Pooh the Lab answering her ancestral biding, enthusiastically bringing back her first bird, clearly suits this philosophy. The best part was that there weren’t any Caddies barreling unseen around the bend to interrupt her.

Fish Are Biting
Capt. Mark Galasso of Tuna the Tide Charters left a message urging me to go north to find the breaking fish, a mixed bag of legal rock and healthy bluefish smashing pods of bunker. Mark’s report echoes other reports of breaking fish from above the Bay Bridge to Swan Point, with legal sea trout underneath the fray. But you’ll have to work several schools before you find them. Stingsilvers, Crippled Alewives and homemade Bomber and feather jigs are reliable.

Hardhead in November? Yep, two of them were taken in 60 feet of water at the mouth of Eastern Bay, reports Karl Roscher of Hurricane. Loads of fat white perch in the deeper holes at river mouths, including the Choptank, Severn and South rivers.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly