Snook’s Harbour Pond

I’ve written a little about Aunt Ethel and Uncle Will before, but something I did know, but had forgotten was that Uncle Will wrote quite a bit of poetry.  I know I’ve seen this before, but had completely forgotten it, or where.  Thanks to Eric Cooper for the picture.  Enjoy and reminisce a bit.

Troutin’ and Smokin’ (“We’d have to kill him!”)

By Eric Cooper

For many years I’ve had an interest in smoking (foods that is,lol). My first smoker was a Luhr Jensen Little Chief. Peter Smith and I bought it between us. That little smoker got lots of use, as we experimented with different kinds of meat and fish. Smoked herring was, and still is my favourite. We also made lots of jerky, which was a big hit with everyone. Smoked trout was also very good and Junior Patey liked it more than anyone.

Junior loved to go trouting, just like me. We went together numerous times, always enjoying it. One time for an upcoming weekend he suggested that we bring the smoker to his place to smoke some trout. But of course first we needed to catch some. We decided to go to figure eight pond to try our luck. The trout weren’t overly big there but at least we would have a good chance to catch our quota. Rod Smith loved smoked trout too and we knew that he and Peter would most likely be there for the feast, and maybe a few other friends. So off we went, myself and Junior to the pond.


It was a long walk to the pond but that didn’t bother us at all. The trout were biting really good that day and we felt very confident about catching enough for our get together. We had a great day trouting and proceeded to make our way home. Back in those days there was an old cabin near round pond. We stopped there to take a break and have a coke, and I decided to count our trout. I laughed and told Junior that I think we “slightly” exceeded our limit. A friend of mine Bax Quinton was a fisheries officer at the time. I said to Junior, “what would we do now if Bax happened to come along?” His quick response was “we’d have to kill him!” I laughed and when I looked at him he grinned and chuckled and said “oh yeah we’d have to do it there would be no other way around it!” It was so funny the way he said it, I’ll never forget it.

I fried some of the trout and the rest were smoked and eaten at Junior’s house on the weekend. It was a great weekend with friends, lots of laughs, smoked trout and a few India beers. Such good memories.

Nar bit Contrary!

Dad (Willis), Hay, Mae (Litty), Lawrence, Lindo Smith

Dad (Willis), Hay, Mae (Liddie), Lawrence, Lindo Smith

Dad’s brother Lindo died in 1979, when I was 14. I don’t have a lot of fully fleshed out memories of him, but lots of little anecdotes I guess. From other people’s recollections, I’m pretty sure he was liked quite a bit, though some or all might say he was a teensy bit contrary. I really doubt that, I mean saying snow was black just to be contrary isn’t contrary right?

He was a carpenter, lastly working at Stanley’s in Clarenville. But besides that I know Aunt Vick had the post office in Snook’s Harbour (can still remember the mail slots in the old porch) and also they had a store (who didn’t?) with this huge old cash register.

Whatever he may or may not have been, I know he seemed to be good with kids, or me anyway. If Mom or Dad had to be away, we mostly always seemed to stay with Aunt Vick and Uncle Lindo, and if I was up in Snook’s Harbour playing ball or whatever, it was like a second home to me, always a place at the table.

One of my memories of Uncle Lindo was from when I was there eating. I have an odd delicacy I love. Trout tails! Yes, that’s what I meant. If you fry trout in pork fat and flour the tails become crispy and tasty, like trout bacon, and I love them. When ever I was up at Uncle Lindo’s and there were trout, he’d always cut the tails off and give them to me, remember that so vividly!

I have another memory of spending time with him down in his stage looking after the salt cod. Just me and him, I don’t recall much else, but something about it sticks with me and makes me feel…. warm.

Another was of his two dogs, Fuzzy and Fluffy, who, if I remember correctly would only eat cat food! And he’d feed it to them from a fork or spoon.

Another was his love of wrestling, he’d watch it in the dark in the living room up in Snook’s Harbour, where all I could make out on the screen was snow. We used to go to Clarenville stadium in those days to see the likes of Sailor White and Mad Dog Vachon.

Datsun 620

I also remember he had this Datsun B210 for a car, I can hear the beep beep now. Was unusual to see a Japanese car back home in those days. He also had at one point, I believe, a Datsun pickup. It was white, and seemed to have all these compartments in the side of the box, or at least I think it did.
One of the more vivid memories though was a camping trip we took at some point when I was a boy. Mom and Dad, Keith and I, Uncle Lindo and Aunt Vick. We did a lot of booting about, places I don’t recall really. I remember one spot where him and I were trouting from this little rocky point. I also remember a fire one time where we roasted flings (those curved cheesie things) – they were made with real cheddar and tasted like yummy melted cheese.

But the best, or the worst part was one night we made camp after dark. It was wet, the old canvas tents would leak easily if you touched a point of canvas, and we were all pretty miserable. After getting to sleep, at some point during the night we were wakened by the unholy racket of a train passing by a few feet away. In the dark, we had set up tents right next to the train track without noticing!

The “Salmon”

One of my and my best friend Eric’s favorite past times is trouting.  When I still lived back home, we’d often head off for a day around the ponds as I’ve mentioned in other posts.  But we weren’t always in the mood to walk for an extended time to a pond, so sometimes we’d just pack up the car and drive to some easier location.

Generally brook trout are pasty and white fleshed and not very good eating.  There are exceptions though, and one of these was Ryder’s Brook, just past George’s Brook, on the road to Harcourt.  There we could get some nice eating trout, and if you were lucky a salt water trout as well, which were extremely tasty.  Years back the road looped in around the brook to a narrower location, but sometime more recently the road was straightened, and a new bridge added.  This old section of road, and the old bridge remnants offered an ideal spot to pull off the road and pools and eddies to fish in.

One Sunday Eric and I decided to head over, and while the trout weren’t plentiful, we were getting a few.  After a while Eric hooked into something unusual, it fought hard and took a bit of work to get it ashore without breaking the line. We got it in and looked at it, and while neither of us were experts as we didn’t really do any fly fishing, though I think Eric may now, we both agreed it must be a small salmon.

Well the problem with that, is that Salmon are regulated, and catching one the way we did carried a heavy fine, and more.  But there was also no way we were throwing it back, I’m not sure it would have survived anyway.  So we, nervous as cats, got it into the trunk and covered it up. While we’d never been asked before, fish wardens were common in those times, and wouldn’t have been unusual for one to stop us, or drive down to the brook to chat.

We packed up the rest of our gear and took it home to Dad for confirmation or better identification.  Once there, we realized, thankfully, our nervousness had been for naught, as what Eric had hooked was in fact an Arctic Char.  Still a pretty rare catch back in those days, and it also turned out to be a rare good meal.

Good Friday Trouting

Growing up back home, one of the Easter traditions was a Good Friday trouting trip.  These were sometimes a walk in the woods in back of home, or sometimes a trip in car to a roadside pond, but were often a whole family event.

The great thing about the whole trip was that you never knew from year to year what “kind” of trouting you were doing! Lots of Easter weekends it would be ice fishing, and on others you’d be fishing with a rod and reel on the shore of a completely ice free pond.

Of course one of the other memories of those days was the fact that it may not have been a rod and reel you saw people using.  A lot of people used a bamboo pole.  I’ve never actually tried it, and really haven’t seen it done in years, so now, thinking back on it, I’m a little puzzled on how people actually pulled a fish in. I assume once the hooked it, they had to pull the line in hand over hand!

The picture on the left wasn’t a Good Friday trip (at least I don’t think it was).  It was taken I believe in 1969 (making me 4 at the time) when all of my Dad’s siblings except one (Herven) had gathered together for the first time in years, and the last time too as I know I never saw Aunt Mae again.  I only have faint memories of it, but the whole family and some Aunt’s and Uncles made our way into Friggin’s (Fagan’s) Cove Pond for a family trip, so it reminds me somewhat of Good Friday fishing.

I’m not sure if the Good Friday trouting trips are as much of a tradition now as they were, I know as I got older, I always liked to go, but it became more with friends than family, but I guess that’s part of growing up.

Fishing isn’t the same in Nova Scotia for me, I don’t know where to go, and there are too many fish types to catch, and not know what to do with.  Back home we had trout and that was about it.  Still though, I think when Hayley gets a bit older, I may see if she’d like to go on a fishing trip.

Happy Easter everyone.

It Only Happened Once

One of the infuriating things about my buddy Eric was that he ALWAYS beat me trouting.  We have trouted in some pretty out of the way places back home, scrabbling over deadfalls, walking through the thick woods where there was no path, one day, maybe more, taking off our or at least my shirt(s) and wetting it in a bog hole to get cool.  And I loved it, its a peaceful experience just being out there with no noises but birds and insects.  Well except for getting the crap scared out of you when a snipe flew up in your face! Holy god they startled ya!

I remember one summer trip in particular, Eric and I got up about 6 and headed off in the country, making our way to Smith’s Long Pond.  I know he definetly beat me again that day, can’t say how by how many, but I think the most memorable part was Vince Smith looking at us when we walked out the path and said “Trouting? TODAY? I looked at the thermometer on my patio at about 3 o’clock and it was 34 degrees!”.  You can only imagine how hot we were after beating through the woods.  And we both had raccoon faces after from our glasses blocking the sun.

Once though and only once I beat him.  It was different than those trips because it was an ice fishing trip to Island pond.  I’ve never really had a lot of luck ice fishing, but it was always a great day to get out for a boil up if nothing else.  Island pond could also be reluctant to give up trout at the best of times, but because they were so good, we kept trying.  This one day, we were fishing down the end of the pond, and I can recall beating him vividly.  The tally was pretty easy to take though, I got one, he got none.