Bangor man wins BDN drift boat trip

“Who wants to go fishing?”

That was the question we first asked back in 2003, when we unveiled the “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest.

Guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville (right) takes a photo of Jasper Walsh fishing in the East Outlet of the Kennebec River during a drift boat trip on Sunday, June 15, 2012. Walsh, of Newburgh, won the BDN's annual "Win a Drift Boat Trip" contest. When Legere stopped on a sandbar to prepare lunch, Walsh was tempted by rising fish in the river and waded in to cast flies to them. BDN photo by John Holyoke

Guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville (right) takes a photo of Jasper Walsh fishing in the East Outlet of the Kennebec River during a drift boat trip on Sunday, June 15, 2012. Walsh, of Newburgh, won the BDN’s annual “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest. When Legere stopped on a sandbar to prepare lunch, Walsh was tempted by rising fish in the river and waded in to cast flies to them. BDN photo by John Holyoke

Well, that was almost the question we asked. To be more specific, we actually asked “Who wants to go fishing — with a top-notch guide in a drift boat — and would be willing to let an outdoor writer tag along, with the full understanding that anything you say or do might end up in the morning paper?”

Amazingly, hundreds of people answered that question with a resounding “Me!”

And now, 11 years later, they still are.

Today, I’m happy to announce that Byron Hale of Bangor is this year’s winner of our fantastic trip. Hale will join guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville on June 15, and we’ll spend the day floating down the East Outlet of the Kennebec River.

Hale was one of 660 entrants in this year’s contest. Some entrants clipped and sent in the form that appeared periodically in the paper. Others visited BDN booths at outdoor shows in Brewer, Orono or Preque Isle.

One guarantee for this year’s trip: Hale will catch fish. Lots of fish.

How do I know that?

Because I know Legere, and how good he is at what he does. And over the last 11 years, I’ve watched as he has consistently coached our trip-winning angler to success that many never dreamed possible.

Legere seems to know every productive lie in the river, and often says things like this: “There’s always a fish behind that rock, and I don’t like to move on until we catch it.”

Mike Horvers was our first winner, back in 2003. Others followed: Jason McCubbin in 2004, Doug Saunders in 2005, Tom Nichols in 2006, James Rolph in 2007, Dick Fortier in 2008, Tiffany Shepard in 2010, Don Factor in 2011, Jasper Walsh in 2012 and John Craig in 2013.

And what do all those winners have in common? They all caught fish. They all learned things they hadn’t known. They all enjoyed Legere’s delicious shore lunch. And they all told me that the day had been one of the most enjoyable they’d ever spent on the water.

Considering they said that after having to spend a day with me, I’d say that’s high praise … for Legere, that is.

Congratulations to Hale.

And to those perennial entrants who never give up, even though their name has never been drawn — Royce Day, Jim Snow and Tony Gordon come immediately to mind — thanks for bearing with us, and continuing to answer my original question with a enthusiastic “Me!”

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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.