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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Down By The Pond

You know spring has arrived when the orioles are whistling from the tree tops and the dogwoods are in bloom.  The sights, smells and sounds The signs of spring are there for all to see...catbirds are "mewing" from the under story and the red wing blackbirds are chattering incessantly from the reeds to the north of the pond . Rhododendron and other plants are in bloom. All signs help to erase the memories of a long and drawn out winter and point to more favorable times ahead. With warming temperatures, I look around and see that it must be time to stop by the pond and try my hand at some bluegills. This morning was the perfect time to do such a thing.  With just my Yamame and some size 10 Killer Bugs in hand I did just that.  The weather and morning could not have been better. The fishing was a little slow...but that didn't really matter. this morning was more about "living in the moment".  I was not targeting bass (the season for largemouths doesn't start on LI till the first Sat. in June) but that is exactly what I brought to hand.

Beside this guy, I did manage to land a few bluegill too.  Fishing was a little slower than I expected but it was fun all the same.  Every trip to the pond brings something new as the seasons progress. I am always amazed at how much life can be found in and around this particular pond.  I look forward to the days ahead and the memories that await to be made.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Alina's Kebari

It's nice when your kids take an interest in the things that you do. So a couple of weeks ago my youngest, Alina, asked if she could help me tie some flies. It reminded me of the time a few years back when Isabella asked me the same question. I gave Alina the same answer....that she was still just a bit too young to handle sharp hooks and scissors. However, I didn't want to dampen her enthusiasm so I asked her to help me design a fly. I laid out a selection of materials and told her to pick the ones she wanted on the fly. The fly pictured above was the result. I have to admit I really like the look of it and think it could do very well on the water. Of course it would not be Alina's without some pink in it. I'm happy to see Alina's interest in Daddy's hobbies growing. I think any connections you make with your children no matter how small can lead to a lifetime of wonderful memories. Alina has already asked about tying the next fly and I look forward making new memories.