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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Amid the slings and arrows of this pandemic, a chance to deliver for St. Jude

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Amid the slings and arrows of this pandemic, a chance to deliver for St. Jude


Calling all bowhunters and target archers! With all of the sorrow and anguish brought on by the COVID-19 virus, many worthwhile events have been put on hold or even canceled.

That includes fundraising events to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Lost in all of the news about COVID-19 is the fact that children are still dying from an insidious disease like childhood cancer.

Well, I have some news for you. If you are a bowhunter and want to use your bow and arrows to help cure childhood cancer, then this Sunday, May 31, you will want to go to the New Haven Raccoon Club on Route 17 in Durham for the annual St. Jude 3-D Archery Shoot to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

I have been told by Tommy Hinman, the president of the New Haven Raccoon Club, that the entire event will be held outside and state social distancing guidelines will be followed.

“The club has been basically shut down, but now that the state is beginning to open up we decided to try it and feel comfortable in going ahead with this 3-D Archery Shoot,” Hinman said.

The event begins at 7 a.m. and ends at noon.

If you are a bowhunter and have been frustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be an excellent opportunity to get outdoors and sharpen up your archery skills. In doing so, you will also be helping to save the lives of children stricken with cancer and other catastrophic diseases that take so many innocent lives.

I hope to be there to show my support and I hope that that all of my bowhunting friends will be there for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

On another note, due to COVID-19, the Meriden Rod & Gun Club was forced to reschedule its St. Jude Day. The Meriden event is usually held the last Saturday in March. The club has not given up yet and, from the information I have, is looking to October for this year’s St. Jude Day.

I will keep you posted. As always, it promises to be another great time for everyone.

So far, this has been a fearful year for many who enjoy the outdoors, especially fishermen. While I have seen some folks getting in some fishing time while making my rounds, the numbers are really down in many fishing spots compared to other years.

One of the most popular spots for getting in some trout fishing this year has been the Salmon River up in the fly-fishing area. I think one of the draws of the Salmon River is that it is open year round. 

Check it out in your CT Angler’s Guide. You might be missing out on some really good fishing.

If you are a pan fisherman and would like to hook up with some nice calico bass (a.k.a. “crappie), you might want to give Hatch Pond up in Kent a try. Over the years, I fished Hatch Pond many times and marveled at its scenic beauty while on the water.

Cartop boats as well as kayaks and canoes are a good bet when fishing Hatch Pond. I used my cartop boat with an electric trolling motor to catch my calico bass — yes, I know they are called “crappie,” but to me they are always calico bass — and they are also excellent tablefare.

Trolling a small rubber lure from Lunker City or a Charlie Brewer Slider Grub was all I ever used to produce enough calicos for a fish fry.

When you are on Hatch Pond, it is almost like being on a wilderness body of water. There is a boat launch on one end of the pond and you have to navigate through a weedy canal to get to the more open water, and that is where the action starts for the calico bass. 

And don’t be surprised if you hook up with some really huge bluegills while on Hatch Pond, because over the years I have caught quite a few. Hatch Pond also has some largemouth bass as well as pickerel and yellow perch.

And I will let you in on another secret if you promise not to tell anyone: There are some really nice largemouth bass in Hanover Pond.

Believe it or not, you can fish Hanover Pond year round, from below the bridge on Oregon Road to just above Hanover Dam. The area immediately below Hanover Dam is closed to fishing, but as you get further down river from the dam you can fish.

If you are one of those fishermen who likes to fish just for the fun of catching and releasing, the lower section of the Quinnipiac River from the Main Street Bridge in South Meriden down river to as far as you want to fish can be a surprising piece of water.

Over the years, I have touted the lower Quinnipiac River as a spot that holds an abundance of big fish. However, in many parts of the river you need a canoe or kayak to get to some of the fishing spots. I have seen some photos of trout weighing in at over five pounds being taken out of the Quinnipiac River in the Wallingford area.

Another benefit of this type of fishing: It allows a fisherman to practice social distancing, and this is what many outdoors folks are looking for.

Hey, gotta run. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops and first responders like our police, firemen and those at Hunter Ambulance. Stay safe and we will get through this together.