Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wade Rivers

A little slice of paradise...

Early spring in the Catskills can be a variable affair. One can hope on experiencing some of the earliest and best dry fly action of the year but mother nature can always throw a curveball in the form of low temperatures. Sometimes the best of intentions and the highest of expectations cannot be fulfilled, but the least you can do is try. More simply put, you won't know, if you don't go. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Tides of Spring

Getting spoiled...

My first extended carp outing on my Diablo Paddlesports Chupacabra came at the end of April on a nice sunny day. The tides aligned well out in the bay and I anticipated some good action in the first half of the morning. I awoke early and paddled out into the fray but it ended up being colder and much windier than I had anticipated. For five hours, I didn't see a single fish. Without a jacket, I paddled around and shivered in the wind straining to see any sign of the golden ghosts. I even contemplated spending the hour paddling back to my car against the tide but thankfully decided to stick it out. Things turned on in a matter of minutes and I ended up having a banner session with more than a dozen fish landed and plenty of monsters that got away. I usually only catch a few twenties each year, but I ended up catching more in three hours than I did all of last summer. It was epic...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


          Vacation arrived at the end of March and my brother Matt and I planned on fishing together, in the Spring, for the first time in six years. It felt like and played out similar to those scenes in A River Runs Through It, where Norman leaves for Dartmouth for six years, while Paul stays in Helena, unable to leave the fish he had yet to catch. In our case, my brother moved abroad to teach internationally, while I stayed on the east coast, also teaching, but honing my craft on a variety of species in the Mid-Atlantic region. Of course, we were able to fish together in the summer, but not on some of the more fabled waters of Pennsylvania or the Catskills. Matt was really looking forward to these Spring trips, probably more than any summer trip we've taken on our summer's off. I was eager to show him some of the waters and the trout he can now look forward to each subsequent Spring...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Meat Bingo

The trials and tribulations of the skellunge...

In my mind and memory I can pinpoint the exact moment a musky obsession rooted itself within the fabric of my soul. It was September, and up until that frame in time I was a very casual esox hunter, severely limited by my lack of knowledge and watercraft. Thanks to a good friend and his boat, I found myself riverside slinging musky meat into the unknown. We were several hours in and my forearm throbbed with every cast of the ten weight. As it does when you don't see any sign of aquatic life for several hours, your mind can wonder away from your stripping pattern to other obligations, wants, or needs. I literally wasn't paying attention at all to my fly approaching the boat, or the 50" inch musky casually following a few feet away. All I can tell you is that when my eyes affixed on the river dragon before me, all bodily motions seemed to slow to a halt. I stopped stripping and my jaw hung low as I struggled to reignite the synapses in my nervous system. When they re-engaged, I blurted out some words I cannot recall and hastily went into a poor ass rendition of a figure eight. Little did I know, but Betty (yea, she has a name) had already lost interest as she went parallel to the boat, and confidently drifted away into the glare. "DID YOU SEE THAT?!!!" Those are probably the only words I remember recalling mere milliseconds after the moment that changed the game as I know it. Experiences like that are relatively common for the musky noob, and I was definitely out of my element during my first few encounters with Esox masquinongy. That is the thing about musky. One can catch tarpon, stripers, or a giant barracuda but a fish of that size, in freshwater, is not only elusive, but mystical. I once joked that musky were my unicorn, but in reality, they are accessible to anyone willing to participate in a verifiable game of meat bingo...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Fish of 2015

This past year was another solid year on the water for us. While we definitely fished fewer days than previous years, we made up for it by thoroughly enjoying every moment spent on the water in the company of great friends and family. We caught some unforgettable fish and banked some amazing memories in the process.

Highlights included:
-A trip to Wyoming full of many large trout, and some alpine brookies.
-First muskies
-Cape Town trout
-Another successful guiding season for Adam in Alaska and a meat eating 28" resident rainbow
-Katie catching a Great Lakes steelhead on the swing
-Carp, big carp, and bigger carp

We've put together our customary photo dump of memorable fish in somewhat chronological order.

Here's to a year of family, friends, great moments and cooperative fish.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Spey is the Way

A steelhead trip was planned for good ole Pulaski, NY on the banks of the famous Salmon River. The weekend excursion corresponded with the end of the salmon run and most of the leaves being gone from the trees, otherwise known as the second weekend in November. The time came quick, a product of life as a teacher and simultaneously going to graduate school full-time. On the night before, I found myself packing for two. My girl, Katie, would be joining me on the first trip north of the year. Scrambling through all of my possessions, I had a hard time finding a supply of egg patterns from several seasons earlier when I had an epiphany. Would she be more likely to enjoy the monotony and assembly line approach of chucking a bobber and an egg, or the creativeness of a spey cast and a swung fly? I stopped looking for the egg patterns, my bobbers, and a leader. I texted her with a few simple words: swing or go home.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Into the Winds

Bucket List

As the twenty four inch brown trout of my dreams descended into the depths of the river whence it came, it marked the end of one part of our journey and the beginning of another. My brother and I stopped at the nearest lake for a quick swim (shower), then raced a few hours to the nearest airport to greet my sister in law, Stacy, and my girl, Katie. Week two brought us further west and into the Wind River Range for four days of backpacking and fly fishing several high altitude lakes. Of all the things we planned to do on the trip, this was the one I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint. It was truly bucket list material...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Down in the Canyon

While we're still young, and maybe a little reckless, there aren't many topographical restrictions on our fly fishing. We'll ride, walk, hike, pack or descend to where the fish are without a problem. That willingness has taken us to some unforgettable spots, none more surprisingly awesome than a little canyon tailwater we targeted during a recent trip out west.

While dead-drifting tiny tricos to fat trout our gaze was pulled from the dimpled surface to a hazy canyon beckoning downstream in the middle distance, parting the mountains. Sheer cliffs were all we could really see as the gradient and an oxbow pulled the water out of sight, down and away.

Just inside the canyon entrance we found a wonderland of massive boulders, plunge pools and pocket water. This was our wheelhouse and we were about to put on a hopper-dropper clinic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trico Mania

Technical dry fly fishing...

Four days into the trip and nymphing was getting lame. We were yearning for some dry fly action and the trout weren't obliging us, or the millions of trico spinners floating down the river every morning. We ended up abandoning the most trout-rich river I'd ever laid eyes on for a chance at something different. We found it at a local meadow, where a portion of tailwater weaves through a ranch supported by plenty of stream side rehabilitation. The tricos were gathering for their last morning on earth and the trout were eagerly awaiting them in the gin clear water below...