Monday, May 30, 2011

Music That Soothes

A small jewel hidden in the woods
 Many people lead hectic and fast paced lives and I am no different.  There are times where the daily grind of family, work, and obligations gets to be just a bit too much and I need to unwind and slow it down.  Some people use music as a way to calm the nerves and relax.  I also like to use music for this purpose but my idea of soothing music does not include that which was created by the likes of Mozart or Bach.  I can not just put on a pair of head phones and turn on a switch.  I must go to the source where it is created.

One of my ideas for the perfect place to listen to soothing music
 To me, the  perfect soothing music is created in and around a small mountain stream.  To sit by or stand in a small woodland stream and take it all in can make any bad week seem like a distant faded memory.  From the sound of a small cascade or riffle to the seeming silence near a pool, what could be more pleasant? 

I had the chance this past week for a little hiking and fishing and decided to fully enjoy a front row seat to this concert.  After a little bit of catch and release with some beautiful little brookies I decided to just absorb and enjoy the settings.

Both of these little guys seemed to enjoy a #12 Kiwi's Killer
The woods were a little damp from a thunderstorm the previous evening and despite a little humidity it was a very nice day to be stream side.  While slowly wading upstream, I would alternate between investigations of the stream inhabitants and pausing to take in the sounds of humming insects and black-throated green warblers with their "zee-zee-zoo-zoo-zee" songs.

A small stone fly nymph from a stream bed rock.

Another stream side musician
 Although I could spend days at a time doing this, a few hours would be all that I needed to hold me over till I can have another opportunity to come back to this place.  I ask you...what could be better?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End of the Rainbow?

My fishing competition...the osprey
For me, the fishing on the Nissequogue River at White's Pool has been pretty good. I have always managed a number of trout and only one skunking.  But like all good things.......Most of Long Island's trout waters are stocked and by this point in the spring many are fished out by anglers and other competitors like my friend pictured above.  That is not to say trout can not be had but one must work harder as times goes by.  One good thing about this though is that there will also be fewer anglers to crowd the water.  My latest trip to the pool was a good example of this.  I had the water to myself and plenty of peace and quiet, which was very nice.  But after two hours I noticed few rises from the fish and after trying a number of flies I managed two small rainbow trout on size 12 Killer Bugs.  The only thing that seemed to have increased was a prolific hatch of dark caddisflies (size #14-#16).  I had never seen so many at one time.  The surface of the water seemed to have a dense black fog about 1-2  feet thick.

A colorful Rainbow

Maybe the last rainbow for the spring?
Though the trout fishing maybe on the slow side every cloud has a silver lining.  June is almost here and to me that means more time at the local millpond hunting up some largemouth bass and bluegills and heading down to the harbor to try my hand at catching some bluefish and stripers. There will also be the occasional trip upstate to do some trout fishing.  The end of the summer will bring me back to the season when most waters get stocked again so it all works out pretty nicely.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Love-Hate Relationship Comes Full Circle

The Millpond
When I was growing up, my father taught my brother, sister and I how to fish.  All of our fishing back then was aimed at catching panfish, bass, catfish, perch, and pickerel (basically warm water fishing) at a local reservoir.  I did most of my fishing with a good old fashioned worm or Mepps spinner.  As with my daughter, my first fish was a bluegill and even thought I don't remember the exact day it probably brought a huge smile to my face.  I loved to go fishing and anything on the hook was fun, pure and simple.  However, as I grew older the real good days of fishing were when I was catching large bass or pickerel.  Sunnies and bluegills became something of pain to deal with even to the point of despising them.  They were good at leaving you with a bare hook or didn't put up much of a fight on the spin rod.  But, like many things in life, my love-hate relationship with bluegills has come full circle and I begun to enjoy catching them again.  At the end of 2009 I discovered Tenkara fishing and became obsessed with it.  When not chasing trout or stripers, bluegills and bass have my attention. 

First bluegill of 2011
Although Tenkara was developed for small mountain streams, it can also work very well at the edges of the shallow and weedy ponds here on Long Island.  I put the fly exactly where I want it and a few twitches later....Bam!  I don't know if its a failing memory or the Tenkara rod but the fight in many of these fish is enjoyable to experience.  And the simplicity or Tenkara allows me to take in more of the moment and enjoy the peace of the pond and all the life in and around it. 

I have been waiting for the temps to warm a bit to get these guys and the largemouths in a feeding mood and apparently that time has arrived.  My first trip to the pond this year I landed 8 decent bluegill and 1 largemouth bass in about 30 minutes.  Not an outstanding outing but an enjoyable one none-the-less and that's what matters most. It's funny how the passage of time and one's experiences can influence the way you look at something as simple as catching a fish.

First largemouth of 2011 decided he liked the taste of a Kiwi's Killer

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Looking For A Hat Trick & Finding Something Else

Brook Trout
So far I have done pretty well for myself this year on every visit I have made to White's Pool on the Nissequogue.  On my latest trip I landed a nice Brookie and a 15" Brown trout and had an epiphany.  Though I just enjoy being outside and taking in the peaceful setting and C & R'ing a couple of nice fish, there is something that continues to elude me when I fish this stretch of water.  In previous trips I have caught brookies and rainbows, rainbows and browns,  brookies and browns.  But I can't quite seem to catch all three in one outing, which I find a little frustrating and is starting to irritate me.  I guess I should just enjoy the moment and quit worrying about a such a silly thing.  Bottom line....worrying about some arbitrary goal instead of enjoying the actual achievement will only serve to dampen the joy found in pursuing the activity in the first place.  From now on, I will immerse myself in the moment.....the water at my feet, the breeze on my face, the sound of rushing water, and the trout dancing at the end of my line.

Brown Trout

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kiwi's Killer

Kiwi's Killer
It's no surprise to anyone who may read my blog, I love to tie flies (almost as much as fishing them....almost).  I love the experimentation and satisfaction of catching fish that comes with tying my own flies.  I also enjoy to hear about other anglers having success with flies I have tied in other areas of the country that I will never get a chance to fish.  But another fun part of tying is the chance to name a fly that you create.  I think it's important to have names and standardized recipes for flies or how else could you possibly communicate with another angler about the successes or failures of specific flies? (I guess that's my scientific background speaking).  I usually can come up with a name pretty easily.  However, the last fly I posted about, I continually drew blanks on.  So I asked a fellow Tenkara angler for some help.  Chris Stewart (aka TenkaraBum) was kind enough to give me some suggestions.  The fly I tied is really only a modification of a fly he ties regularly.....The Killer Kebari......and I thought it would only be appropriate to ask for his input.

TenkaraBum's Killer Kebari
 I am in a agreement with Chris when it comes to naming flies in that one should not name a fly after themselves.  I think it's OK to have someone else name a fly in your honor.  But for me to name it after myself seems a little conceited.  I am a author or co-author on a number of scientific papers and that is more than enough for me.  But someone may say "hey wait a minute, you did name it after yourself!"  My reply to that would be that actually Chris Stewart suggested that name and it's not my actual name.  Kiwi is only a nickname that was given to me by a football coach in high school.  So I feel OK with that.  The bottom line on this fly is that I like the way it looks and so have some brown trout and I guess that is the more important aspect of this fly and not it's name.  I have included the recipe below for anyone interested in trying it out.

Kiwi's Killer
Hook: Mustad C49S scud #12
Hackle: Indian Hen Back
Body: is tied in the same fashion as a killer bug with a silver-lined
glass fly tyers bead behind the hackle. The hackle is tied
in with Pearsall's silk in brown

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Killer Bug and His New Friend

The Killer Bug, Killer Kebari, and a fly to be named later
Last week I was reading a post by Karel at Tenkara on the Fly about how he made out with several flies he recently received via Tenkara USA fly swaps.  Karel and I have exchanged flies with each other in addition to doing the group swaps (if you like Tenkara flies, go check his site out, he has some great sakasa kebari).  I regret up to this point I have been busy testing out many of the patterns I tied this past winter I have not tried any flies I have swaped for.  However, that changed this past weekend when I tried a pattern I first learned of from Chris Stewart (a.k.a. TenkaraBum) and was reminded about when I read a post at Poudre Canyon Chronicles.  The Killer Bug was first created by Frank Saywer (of pheasant tail nymph fame) in 1930's (for more history on this bug, see the previous links provided, they both gave great info on the fly).  I elected to bring only two flies with me this past weekend to White's Pool, The Killer Bug and a derivation I came up with were the only flies I used and I made out pretty well.

A nice little rainbow
Catching trout on the Killer Bug is not too surprising but two of my catches caught me off guard. One was a small yellow perch, which are very abundant in the pool and an American shad.

Yellow Perch

American Shad

Shad with a mouth full of killer bug
 In addition to the Killer Bug I used a fly I tied this past week which will need a name.  It is essentially a Killer Kebari (a TenkaraBum creation) with a silver lined glass tyers bead behind the hackle.  I meant for this bead to act as a bubble, similar to my Bubble Kebari.  To me, the fly definitely has the look of a caddis pupa and was judged by at least one brown trout to be worthy of its next meal. 

Brown trout with my new fly.
 I hope to have a name soon for this little guy and will definitely plan on carrying a few of them where ever I go.  Now if I could only get more time to get to all of those other flies (next on my list is the Blue Poison SK and Shaggy Caddis SK from Karel) I have swaped for I would be one happy camper. 

My new fly, name and recipe to follow in a later post.