Monday, August 19, 2019

The Hour of the Mouse


"...this past weekend, Mark and I met to float the West Branch of the Delaware river, one of the only rivers around with consistent cold water and reliable hatches. Last August we had an excellent weekend of dry fly action in much higher flows. This weekend the water was very low. We planned to do a night float, our first, throwing streamers and mouse patterns for nocturnal browns.

Friday, January 4, 2019

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade


Swing it like you mean it...

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". On each five hour drive north this winter, that proverbial phrase popped into my head. It was triggered whenever I looked at the weather or flow forecast. I realized that the chances of catching some nice steelhead on the swing were greatly diminished and that it was going to take a lot more effort than usual to bring some nice ones to hand. If your three trips of the year coincide with 2000+ cfs flows, you are in for a difficult task, especially when your steelhead philosophy is that of "swing or go home". When it is combined with rapid drops in air/water temperatures, days of downpours, or large increases of the flow a few hours before you arrive, you try and make best of the situation. Our persistence and positive attitudes paid off with two relatively good trips that flanked a steelhead skunking. The big pulls and nice casts will always bring us back, no matter the conditions and no matter the shenanigans that one may encounter on a highly pressured Great Lakes tributary. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Circles


Early October on the Home Water

There was a time when our forefathers would take us fishing and have to withstand an onslaught of tangled lines, broken equipment, and overall impatience. In addition to the hilarity that was fishing in our youth, my father would occasionally rent canoes or rafts. In almost every instance, my brother, sister, and me always had difficulty rowing in a straight line. Our father always passed it off as our fault and my brother earned the nickname, "Matthew goes around in circles".  How times have changed. In recent years, I am the one taking the old man out and having to tie all his knots, row him perfectly down the river, hold him up while wading, and catch him when he loses his balance on the boat. When it comes to rowing, I've realized that it never was the fault of my brother, sister, or I for the watercraft going in circles. It was my father. Recent excursions have only reinforced my new conclusions. Fishing in our family has finally come full circle...

Friday, October 19, 2018

October Float


Potential

On a cool and gray day in October high flows ferried my brother and I through mist and drizzle as we pounded the banks of our home river with gigantic streamers. The off color current dragged on the yellowing leaves of overhanging branches and vegetal flotsam lay draped and folded over every sweeping and submerged limb. We were counting on the overcast dankness loosening the inhibitions of this river's increasingly abundant big beautiful brown trout and we were not disappointed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Forty


Rudder...

It was late August and I hadn't gone tidal fly fishing in 2018. Weighing on my carpin conscious was the fact that that school year was starting in a few days and I'd probably be waiting until 2019 if I didn't get out. I found myself checking the weather and found a window of opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Despite a decent wind, I embarked to a favorable eastern shore marsh to try my luck. It was slow. With the hot summer sun beating down and a flooded marsh, I had a hard time finding any activity, let alone spotting a carp. Around midday, I found myself paddling around during a high tide checking out sparse activity in the choppy water. I had a few opportunities during down periods in wind and was able to land a few small carp. However, I had my sights set on something much larger. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Being There Yesterday

Carp fishing in the East means long periods of observing, stealth, mosquito bites and making one cast count. Usually. But every once in a while, you might find yourself there yesterday. The mythical day, usually the day before you arrived, when the fish happen to be strangely cooperative.

Mark invited me to go out for carp on a creek that he's caught fish at before and I was more than up for it. It had been more than two years since I'd landed a golden bone and I was looking forward to something that would pull. I put on some overcast colors and we rigged up one rod to share. We quickly found ourselves on an elevated stream bank overlooking a flat that bordered a deep flowing channel. Carp were cruising out of the channel and onto the flat with purpose.

Towards a cruising fish I made one cast from the bank and danced my carp crab downstream in the water column. Headed in the same direction, the fish accelerated and engulfed the fly. I forgot how hard these things pull as I fought it on the shin deep flat with our 6wt.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Savage River Diaries


The Savage is my favorite little river. It is technical but holds cooperative fish. It is accessible but engrossing. It is pocket water around every bend with distinct wild browns right where you think they'd be. It is native brookies, some pretty rainbows and at least one cutthroat. It is beautiful and cold and green. Here, I slide right into a state of flow and it's comfortable like an old and worn pair of leather boots.  This place has become my place of pilgrimage.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Fly vs. Jerk


When my buddy Tyler Nonn calls with an offer of fishing, one must be willing to drop everything in order to take advantage of the opportunity. As owner and operator of Tidewater Charters, he plies his craft in the Chesapeake Bay, the Florida Keys, and Alaska offering first rate all-tackle and fly fishing trips to major gamefish like striped bass, cobia, tuna, and more. With a booked schedule and a long list of friends who want to go fishing, that phone call is one I look forward to. When it came this Spring, I immediately canceled the plans I was driving towards, turned around, and drove back home to pack. That night I drove to Tyler Snuffer's house, picked him up, and made our way back down south to meet up at Tyler N's house. We had a great seafood dinner before heading to bed. Awaking early, the final preparations were made and we embarked for a day of sight fishing in windy, overcast, and stormy conditions. 

Perfect.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Anadromous


A Maryland Hickory Shad

There isn't much to say, that hasn't already been said, about the annual Spring migration of shad into the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Susquehanna. Every year I try to make it out at least once to catch hickories below the Conowingo Dam. I typically pick an overcast day and drive about an hour after work to fish for a little bit before dark. This allows me enough time to find a few pods of fish and catch my fill before driving home. This year, I fished the big river in high flows. The most difficult part is navigating the high water, the treacherous bank, and finding a window of casting opportunity with a long rod and skagit head.