Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
January 28th, 2002

The Duck Whistle
By James Castwell

Like chalk on a black-board, the words screed to a halt in mid-brain, mine. "Look sweety, they even have a cute little Duck Whistle," she purred to her boy friend. Ten years have passed from that moment when I was visiting a local tackle-shop. Not a fly shop, a full tackle type place where I would lurk and skulk about so as not to be recognized by my more noble peers. I never thought as much of the place after that un-nerving episode.

Now, I was raised in Michigan and fall found me slogging the marshes of Saginaw Bay, (Lake Huron) for any sign of a Mallard, Black, Teal or most any other 'duck-type' bird. My collection of decoys was harvested from several years of painting and re-painting (Herter's paints only) the very best economy ones I could somewhat afford. It was supplemented with a few heavy wooden hand-me-downs.) Custom made duck-boat (tippy thing, pitched me out once in a gentle roll), Model 12, 16ga Winchester (damn, I loved that gun, re-finished the stock with a secret formula stolen directly out the back-door of Winchester, custom deep checkering on the grip too, even put a beaver-tail forearm on it.)

And duck calls. Boy, I had them. The best I could find, one a very special hand-made job that really was the envy of all my hunting buddies. My father soon gave up on calling and it became my duty to 'bring 'em in.' And I could, mostly. We shot ducks from the time I was 12 until I married and moved out of the region. I found, much to my delight, my duck call worked very well on the unsuspecting and often seemingly stupid ducks of Montana.

A pleasant surprise was finding out the Mississippi flyway which runs through Michigan is not the only source of ducks, the one covering Montana has even more. Called the Pacific flyway. We ate a lot of ducks in Montana. I did ruin one opening day once when my buddy and my wife put out a set of decoys and had a flock of Mallards drop straight into the blocks without us being able to get a round off. "Hello ducks," he yelled and the sky filled with wings. One volley from our three weapons and we had our limits, 26 dead ducks and one cripple which our labs quickly snatched. Yes, duck hunting was and still is a fond part of who I am, and so it was especially aggravating to hear the blasphemous "Duck Whistle."

We don't hunt ducks though anymore, in fact while in Montana, we even raised the things. Hatched the eggs on the kitchen counter, incubated the chicks in the utility room, and raised the birds in a very large 'duck-house' and enclosed wire fenced 'duck yard.' Oh yes, two geese too, Pilgrims.

I was reminded of this today when I got a notice in the mail about a 'New' duck call. Made out of PLASTIC! Now, when things get to this point I need to change something. If you can't beat them, join them, so I am going to, enough is enough.

I am here to tell the world that from this point on my 'Famous J Castwell Trout Call' will, in the future, that is, from now on, be called, "The Famous J Castwell Trout Whistle," and it will be made of PLASTIC! So there. ~ JC

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