Thursday, February 16, 2017
The alarm rings early, 4:30 to be exact, as I rise out of bed and straight into some winter fishing clothes. Unlike the previous five mornings, the snooze button is unused. Compared to work, the anticipation of fish is still one of the best alarm clocks one can ever use. I check the straps on the roof of my car ensuring that the previous night's preparation remained true and slide my 8 and 9 weights into the back of the Subaru. I meet Tyler around 5 and we put the kayaks in the bed of his pickup. Along the way we stop at Royal Farms for a little coffee and croissants with chicken, eggs, and cheese. We are on are way for striped bass and only have a small window of opportunity. There is little time to waste and Tyler is in a hurry. At the put in, the early morning light is obscured by fog as we push off into the flow...
Monday, October 24, 2016
Over the years, I've slowly realized that summer fishing can be disappointing compared to the Fall and Spring seasons. That is mainly due to the doldrum months of July and August that feature very hot days that increase water temperatures to the point where I simply stop fishing. When combined with very low water, the fish simply need a break and this thought process extends beyond just trout. Therefore, the large majority of this photo dump features shots from late Spring and late Summer. From stripers and carp to bass and trout, the outings were short but full of diversity. With another hot summer on the horizon, I plan on traveling a bit more to find colder water. That or write a piece of legislation to change the structure of the school year so that my vacation coincides with the best fishing opportunities. All kidding aside, enjoy the photos.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The highest point in the northeast is a dangerous place. On the slopes of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire's White Mountains people have been caught unprepared and killed by hypothermia in every month of the year. Not to mention the lives claimed by rock slides, avalanches, and falls. While preparing for this hike we saw this video of some pretty serious weather on June 9, 2016. The wind has famously reached 231mph at one point in the 1930s, the highest wind ever recorded.
Our day on the mountain turned out to be just about as good as it gets with 70 degree temps at the trailhead and low 50s at the summit with continuous bluebird skies and no wind. We got very, very lucky.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The Adventures of Zoey
Meet Zoey, a rescued middle aged mix of a short haired pointer, cattle dog, and pitbull who is now a fishing dog. It wasn't always that way. The first time Zoey saw a fly rod, she hid under the car and refused to come out. During one of her first time excursions out on the stream, she kept her distance with one eye always on the rods swaying back and forth and the other on any potential wildlife in the woods. That was, until we caught a trout. The commotion on the water caught her attention, the same way she goes berserk whenever a squirrel comes into view. Disregarding the nearby rods, she clamored over the rocks for a closer view and eventually a lick or two. With each subsequent fish, she became more interested and knowledgable about why we were outside and standing in the middle of a creek getting all wet and cold. Over the years, Zoey began to anticipate fish being caught, eagerly awaiting the next one while watching dry flies and indicators drift on or through the water column. She became less interested in her surroundings and more on what Katie and I were doing. Now, she recognizes fly rods not as a threat, but as a sign that we are heading fishing. She even watches rising fish and follows the river bank as if she is pointing them out to us. Zoey hardly ever leaves our side out on the water and is always there when netting and releasing a fish. She is officially a fly fishing dog.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Maine's largest wilderness area encompasses one of the nation's greatest state parks: Baxter. Including swaths of the Penobscot River, known for its rafting, landlocked salmon and brook trout, as well as the formidable Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and Maine's highest peak, Baxter State Park is an absolute gem and easily worth the drive.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
The first summer-like day of Spring brought Katie and I to one of our favorite locations, Shenandoah National Park. We left after work on Friday evening and arrived in the park at close to midnight. For good reason, we took our time on Skyline Drive despite arriving so late. We saw numerous deer, a coyote, a black bear, and nine owls. Besides the wildlife, the multitude of overlooks, trails, waterfalls, historical sites, and wild brook trout streams are what makes Shenandoah a gem in our eyes. Even on the most beaten paths, one can find solitude and willing trout under clear, blue skies. The park features an amazing amount of hikes both long/short and difficult/easy for everyone to enjoy. For the casual visitor, this represents a lifetime of exploration bound to be full of little surprises and a few secrets. For instance, it never ceases to amaze me how I can catch brook trout in a small plunge pool separating two massive waterfalls. Or, the shear amount of aquatic life like stoneflies, mayflies, caddis, mud puppies, and even hellbenders that one can find in a very small piece of water. These are just a few things that will always bring us back to one of our favorite locations. Enjoy.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
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
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
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...