Monday, April 6, 2015

When Is Fishing Without Catching A Fish Not A Bust?

Being skunked on a fishing trip is usually a bit of a let down, especially when you have waited more than five months through a long winter to go fishing for the first time.

However, I have come to the conclusion that an outing fishing (without catching a fish) with my kids and wife can be a success without bringing a single fish to hand.

As much as I would have enjoyed seeing them squealing with delight with a trout dangling from the line I would not trade the time spent with them for all the fish in the pond!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Hot Spot for a Cold Winter's Day

Aki Hot Spot
It's been a while but I'm still here.  I have been meaning to write a post for quite some time but holidays, new job, you seems to have gotten in the way.  I'm still tying flies in my spare time, trying to pass the winter away. Tying flies is about all you can do when the temps are rarely getting out of the teens and things are frozen solid.  This winter has given me a little time to tie a few flies out of my comfort zone and do something I have always liked to do with flies....experiment.  The fly pictured above is just such an experiment.  I call it a "Aki Hot Spot."  It's short for Akiyamago Yamada Kebari Hot Spot, which is a type of tenkara dry fly.  This type of fly and it's simple construction is consistent with tenkara's philosophy of simplicity. It primarily consists of a dry fly hackle wrapped from the bend to the eye of the hook. Once the hackle is tied on, the back 1/2 to 2/3 of the fly gets a "hair cut" to form the body of the fly. For my Hot Spot I tied the fly using a size 12 black dry fly hackle on a size 12 #1280 Daiichi dry fly hook.  The tail consists of woodchuck guard hairs.  My favorite part, at least it will be for my eyes when it hits the stream, is the hot spot I added. The hot spot is a dry fly hackle which has been dyed chartreuse. The Aki Hot Spot is a simple fly to tie and I'm looking forward to casting it a few times when New York eventually thaws out.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Fly 20,000 Years in the Making

Royal Sakasa Kebari using mammoth ivory hook

Before carbon fiber and bamboo rods there were simple sticks and branches.  Before braided nylon coated with PVC and monofilaments there was horse hair. Even before chemically sharpened hooks and bent needles there was bone and ivory hooks. Materials such as bone, antler and ivory were used
thousands of years before our modern metal hooks came into existence.  I enjoy tying my own flies and making my own equipment such as horsehair lines and line holders from moose antler.  One can derive extra satisfaction from knowing that a trout was brought to hand with things made by one's own hand and not in some far off distant factory. So for fun I decided to use some left over Woolly Mammoth Ivory I had from several years back when I used to practice scrimshaw (entirely another post would be need to explain this).  Mammoth ivory is a beautiful material that is fairly easy to carve and is pretty strong.  Since mammoths departed this world at the end of the last ice 10,000 to 20,000 years ago their ivory, found in tusks, have been found throughout Siberia and Alaska.  Man has used this material for artistic creations as well as functional items such as fish hooks. The hook I fashioned is roughly equivalent to size 6 Mustad scud hook with an extra long shank.  I still need to drill a small hole in the end where the eye should be.  I'm confident that I could land fish with this hook but I don't think I would try it till I have made several more (I'm afraid to loose one to a "rock fish" or tree).
I think the next few I try will be with moose antler because it's not as expensive to obtain.  Ultimately, I think I will have to try a fly fishing trip using only a primitive hook, horsehair line and a stick and see how I compare to our distant ancestors.

Top view of bare hook
Bare Woolly Mammoth Ivory Hook

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Fall Run

The Montauk Lighthouse
Though fly fishing tenkara-style is my favorite way to fish there is one type of fishing trip I have always wanted to the fall run of striped bass from a private charter off Montauk Point. When that opportunity presented itself I jumped at the chance. Last Sunday I joined some coworkers and their family on the Breakaway out of Montauk.

The day's haul of striped bass
Though the day started a little slow with only a few bluefish here and there the bite really picked up late in the afternoon with the outgoing tide. The largest striped of the day was landed by my friends uncle at 35 lb and it was a heck of a fight. Though I didn't land the largest or most bass on this trip it was a blast. My recommendation to anyone contemplating such a trip.......just do it, you won't be sorry.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Wrap Up

Well another summer has come and gone. It started as usual with kids throwing the book bags down for the last time for the school year and heading out to Pennsylvania for a family vacation. The last few weeks seemed to have been a blur and even though I didn't post very much I did get to spend time with the family and there were hiking and fishing trips. Trips to the beach and the pool. The summer was very mild here in the northeast which made it that much more enjoyable. Now with school just a couple of days away I though I would post a few highlights of a summer that's all but in the books.

One of the many striped bass I managed to land

Trout fishing on a small mountain stream.....what could be better?

Bella doing some snapper fishing....old school style

A nice "thin blue line" beauty

Hiking at Split Rock, Mohonk Preserve

August blooming cardinal flower

Hike around Lake Minnewaska, Minnewaska State Park

One of the first of many Long Island snappers

Golden of the first signs that the big wheel of seasons is about to turn again

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Snap, Crackle and Pop

Not having much to do following a long day of work and knowing that my girls would be out for the evening I decided to treat myself to trip down to the beach to catch some snappers. Besides a multitude of snappers caught with my tenkara rod and some flies I was treated to the quickest thunderstorm ever followed by an equally quick rainbow. Other than not being with my girls I couldn't ask for a more perfect evening.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Three Stages of Fishing With My Kids

Stage 1- Excitement
Recently I had the opportunity to take my girls on a little fishing trip. The stars only seem to line up once in a while for such a trip but I really wanted to make it happen. Going at noon time on a bright sunny day was not ideal but that was the time available. I figured at least a few bluegills would be willing to bite down on a nice fat nightcrawler.

The target
After collecting the gear,  camping chairs, and snacks we failed to obtain the most important thing.....the fish. While waiting I realized that we have gone through this particular series of stages before (my Dad would probably agree he went through the same thing when we were kids). The first stage is excitement. My kids practically explode from the car when we arrive at the pond.

Stage 2 - the wait
The second stage is "the wait". This stage is mainly composed of constantly asking..."Where are all the fish?" "Can we have a snack?" "I have to go to the bathroom!" And the most commonly uttered phrase..."I'm bored!!!"

Stage 3 - Are we done yet?
Then comes the last stage. "I want to go home!" With no fish in sight and narry a nibble the look on Alina's face says it all.....its time to pack up and do something fun like get some ice cream. Would I trade this experience for anything?........absolutely not. Fish brought to hand is not the ultimate goal. The time outside with my girls is the treasure. I am looking forward to our next trip. By the way.....did I mention this trip lasted about 15 minutes?

Wishful thinking on this trip