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Peter Patenaude of Boot & Canoe


We’re so impressed with new blog Boot & Canoe that we invited the blogger, Peter Patenaude to guest blog for L.L.Bean’s Trail Mix.  One visit to Boot & Canoe, and we were hooked by Peter’s focus on the Maine wilderness and the traditional sporting pursuits of hunting and fishing.

 

Peter is a licensed Maine Guide and owner of Boot & Canoe Wilderness Guides, a service specializing in historical Maine routes taken by past hunters, fishermen, loggers, fur traders and literary figures. We’re honored to kick off our guest blogger series with Peter Patenaude of Boot & Canoe.

 

Being a Mainer and an outdoorsman, I’ve grown up with L.L.Bean and value the company’s commitment to the Maine outdoor traditions of hunting and fishing. My strong connection to my family, our Maine heritage and the outdoor skills that have been passed down through the generations, inspired me to create Boot & Canoe. Thank you to L.L.Bean for the opportunity to share my blog and a special memory of fishing with my 90-year-old grandfather.

 

Last Cast

 

He’s not as steady as he used to be so we chose to fly fish a local pond with flat, easy access. Our technique may not be perfect as he learned the craft by reading a book over 70 years ago, but it is his, and so I use it. My pépère (grandfather in Franco-American culture) passed down his love of fishing to the entire family – every time I pick up a rod I can see his hand over mine, guiding my cast like he used to when I was a boy. Today he was hesitant, saying that he no longer has it in him, so I tied on a Coachman and sent the line out into the shadows of the bank. In only a few short minutes the brook trout began to rise to the fly, and I could see a new look of excitement in my grandfather’s eyes. I knew if he was going to take the rod, now would be the time. Without any encouragement, he began to fish – dementia can take a lot of things from a man, but today he fished. For at least a few casts he was excited by the chance of seducing a trout into sipping in the small barbless fly. 

 

Photo Credit: Victoria Hatzelis

Photo Credit: Victoria Hatzelis

 

I wasn’t upset when he turned and handed me back the rod. I would have liked to watch him longer but I knew he was done. My father brought pépère around the pond for a small walk, and now it was my turn. I wanted so badly to catch a fish while he was there but I could see he was getting tired. As they were getting into the truck and leaving, I thought I would try one last cast. I tied on a beaded nymph and let it sink to the bottom. After bringing in only a few feet of line, a heavy rainbow hit and bent my rod towards the ground. I played her for twenty minutes before landing the large fish on the rocks. Gently picking her up, I cradled the trout in my arms for a picture before sliding the hook out of the lower jaw and releasing her back into the water. My pépère wasn’t there to see it, but I know when I show him the picture he will say “Hey there, buddy, that’s a nice fish you caught!” 

 

Photo Credit: Victoria Hatzelis

Photo Credit: Victoria Hatzelis




  1. PJR | May 3, 2012 | 10:31 am

    A great moment to be sure…and one that vividly demonstrates the gift of life that one person is to another.

  2. Elizabeth Tanguay | May 3, 2012 | 11:27 am

    This was wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing the love that your pepere passed on to you! A beautiful and touching story. This is a gift you will have with you forever and will pass down to your own children. When I read the blog I felt as if I was there with you!

  3. Diane Tardif | May 3, 2012 | 11:34 am

    What a great story Peter!! Keep up the good work I so enjoy reading your Blog.

    Thank you
    Diane

  4. Beth | May 3, 2012 | 11:47 am

    Great post! Very informative! Well done! Your BFF, beth

  5. Chanterelle Atkins | May 3, 2012 | 11:49 am

    This is a beautiful story bringing tears to my eyes! This captures the spirit of LL Bean which lives in the Patenaude family. We even have a little song every time we go out and fish which we learned from Pepere Patenaude:

    “Three little fishies and the momma’ fishy too,
    swim said the momma’ so you don’t get lost,
    so they swam and they swam and they swam right over the dam!”

    Thank you for sharing this post. It brings me great joy to celebrate the outdoors as we carry on the tradition to future generations and honor those who have led our family values. Now, don’t forget to give a “pishnut” to the live bait fish to stun him before you put the hook in! (If only I knew how to spell that in French!).

    May the spirit of the outdoors continue to live within us for many years to come!

  6. Julie | May 3, 2012 | 3:09 pm

    Peter, this was your best blog yet. LOVED it. Julie

  7. Norm | May 3, 2012 | 3:54 pm

    Nice piece, beautiful fish, wonderful grandson. Thanks for blogging Peter.

  8. Emily Morin | May 3, 2012 | 6:20 pm

    Love this story- heading over to check out your blog!

  9. Steve Fox | May 3, 2012 | 7:27 pm

    Thank you LL Bean for posting this excellent blog, wonderful complement to your fine store and commitment to the outdoors.

  10. Susan Pinette | May 4, 2012 | 12:11 pm

    I loved hearing this story about your pepere Peter; I love your blog!

  11. Kelly sawyer | May 4, 2012 | 7:05 pm

    Excellent story, I am on my third read of it. Keep up the good work

  12. Kelly Sawyer | May 4, 2012 | 7:12 pm

    Excellnt job!!!

  13. John | May 5, 2012 | 7:15 pm

    Peter,

    I spent many hours over the years fishing with your Pepere and believe me he was an avid fisherman. He enjoyed the relaxation that trolling or going brook trout fishing in the Moosehead region brought to him.

    He taught (Tony) my son how to fish, and they spent many summers enjoying their company in the boat and on the dock, just throwing a line in to see the trout rise at camp.

    He was a great man, and your story brought back some of my favorite memories.

    Thanks and say hi to your family……

    John

  14. Peter Patenaude | May 7, 2012 | 5:51 pm

    Thank you to everyone for all of your kind comments. I know pepere has personally touched many lives. For those that have not had the chance to meet him, I hope you can see what a great man he is through this story. Best- Peter

  15. T | December 31, 2012 | 7:59 am

    awesome


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