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My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am. – The Bellamy Brothers

It’s easy to love a dog. On our worst days our dog still thinks we’re great. It doesn’t matter how badly we screw up, or how many catastrophes we’ve caused, in our dog’s eyes, we’re amazing. Most of the fishermen I know love dogs. Some of us take them fishing with us.  Most dogs don’t care if we catch a fish or not, they’re just glad to be out on the water with us.

Crockett Lee wasn’t that kind of dog.  Oh, he loved me unconditionally, but if I took him fishing and he didn’t see fish coming over the rail, he’d get mad.  Real mad.  I never wanted to take a skunk when Crockett was on the boat.  If we got back to the dock without at least a white perch to show for our efforts, I could surely expect  a severe bark-lashing.  He made sure I knew I’d let him down.  I think he finally got tired of my failures and took it upon himself to make me a better fisherman.

It started like this, when I moved from the Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, my first fishing boat was a 25-foot long Sea Ray express cruiser.  That boat wasn’t really designed for fishing, but I made a few angler-friendly modifications before naming her after my new Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy and striking out to learn how to fish the Bay.  Crockett grew up on Crockett’s Reel and always felt right at home there.  When I got my center console a few years ago, Crockett would have none of it.  He did not like Thunder Road.  Gone were the comfortable carpeted floors that provided traction in rough water, and gone was the cushy upholstered seat that allowed him to sit up high and see over the rails.   Read More!

Bark bark bark, bark bark, bark bark bark.


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PB020006Outdoorsmen are known to brag about their dogs.  Growing up in Tennessee, I heard lots of  stories about super hunting dogs.  Most were told with tongue squarely in-cheek and every tall tale ended with some magnificently exaggerated conquest by the narrator’s most accomplished canine. That tradition of boasting is also part of the fabric of the Bay.  In the novel Chesapeake, James Michener spins a yarn about a strong duck dog who rescues his unconscious master after he is knocked into the water by the recoil of an over-sized punt gun.   On the other hand, stories about extraordinary fishing dogs are less frequently heard.  ♣  With only 90 minutes to spare before dark, there wasn’t much chance of finding a human fishing partner this evening, but my faithful Chesapeake Bay Retriever Crockett had no problems with the abbreviated trip.  He eagerly bounded from the dock into his usual position on the seat cushion over the engine as we launched off Kent Island in the boat named after him. Tonight our plan was to look for rockfish, but in a different area of the Bay than where we’ve been finding them recently.  There are surely fish where we left them last night, we just needed a change of scenery. Read More!