Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Wrap Up

Moodna Creek

Well 2013 is nearly over.....and in many ways not soon enough. 2013 has had it's fair share of trials, tribulations and stress. Like previous years, it could have been better but it also could have been far worse. The most important thing is that my wife and children are happy and healthy.  Though 2013 was very busy I still had a number of times to get out on the water and reconnect with the outdoors.....which is something I think ALL OF US need to do from time to time.

One of my favorite  and more respectable browns from earlier this year
I had the chance to fish some new streams across the Hudson Valley and Long Island. I caught some beautiful trout in some spectacular settings. My local warm water pond yielded some impressive largemouth bass.  Though I would say my salt water endeavors with a tenkara for snappers (bluefish) were little disappointing.  Their numbers just didn't seem to be as high as in previous years.  But hey, that's what makes each year unique.  Spending a lot of time outdoors one can't help but notice the cyclic changes of the seasons and develop the ability to predict seasonal occurrences.....most of the time.

My best flies for 2013
 Some fellow anglers have asked me about my best producing flies.  I have found that they have changed a little from year to year but in 2013 the flies pictured above accounted form the great majority of my fresh water catches that were brought to hand.  As in 2012, The Killer Bug and my Royal Sakasa Kebari were my best flies.  Wooly Buggers are an outstanding pattern and in some locations are they are my go to fly. However, this past year has me firmly believing that I will not step foot on the water without one additional pattern....the Killer Kebari (in a light and dark version).  Though I tie my version of Chris Stewart's creation a little differently, they accounted for a fair number of large rainbows and browns. I don't believe I was skunked more than once or twice the whole season.  If I had these flies at least one of them worked for a fish or two.

In addition to some great fishing I had the good fortune to be invited to contribute to a couple of new fishing publications focused on tenkara. I am grateful to David Dirks, Daniel Galhardo and Anthony Naples for considering me to be part of a list of respected and talented tenkara anglers.  Several years ago when I placed my first order for a tenkara rod and decided to start tying flies for my own use and enjoyment I never thought I would have been adding my own input to fly fishing literature and tying literally thousands of flies for fellow anglers.  All of it has been pretty cool to say the least.

2013 has been such as busy year and finding time for the fun things has at times been difficult.  Earlier this year I had even contemplated closing down this blog.  It takes time to keep a blog going....something I never seem to have enough of. But blogging has been a nice outlet in more ways than one.  I have seen a number of great blogs come and go (more likely just fade away).  I never wanted mine to just fade away but when I feel ready to stop typing I will try to bring this story to a fitting conclusion.  In the meantime, I find that there are a number of bloggers out there who I feel I can call friends (even though we have never met).  I really enjoy reading their blogs and if I were stop blogging I would miss them too much.  With my wrap up finished I would like to wish all fellow bloggers, anglers, fly tiers, family and friends a very Happy & Healthy New Year.  May 2014 find you enjoying a quite stream with a trout in hand and a smile on your face as often as possible.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas to One and All

This time of year always seems to tough.  The constant hustle and extra tasks to do associated with the season, in addition to the always hectic every day rat race can make things tough.  But I have two special little elves that remind me why the extra work is worth it.  With Christmas nearly upon us and the big man soon making his yearly night time sleigh ride, I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, a Happy and Healthy New Year and good will to all now and throughout 2014.  May it be filled with joy. May Santa leave your stockings full of flies and tippet and not lumps of coal.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The North River Killer

North River Killer
I have not had a lot to post about lately.  Work has been tough with lots of long hours and I have not had much of an opportunity for any outdoor action let alone fishing. I figured it might be a good time for a quick post.  I had a lot of success this year with a Killer Kebari. This includes some rather handsome rainbows on the Nissequogue late in the season. Chris Stewart originated the Killer Kebari and ties his with a brown hackle.  I, like Paul Vertrees, prefer my killer with a grey Hungarian partridge hackle. Despite the effectiveness of this fly I still like to "tweak" flies like this from time to time. I call the fly pictured above a "North River Killer".  The only difference between it and the original is the addition of Krystal Flash in the hackle. I didn't have a chance to fish it this year but I plan on it as soon as I can next year.  For anyone interested the recipe is below.

North River Killer

Hook: Mustad C49S scud hook, size 12
Hackle: Hungarian partridge, color grey & several strands of pearl colored Krystal Flash tied in 
Thread: Pearsall's gossamer silk thread, color brown
Body: Shetland's spindrift wool yarn, color sand & colored with a prismacolor marker, color also sand

Sunday, November 3, 2013


First catch of the night
This post is about time I recently spent on the water.  However, this post will not include and mention of tenkara (well, maybe not), rod and reel, or beautiful wild brook trout.  This time the quarry was squid.  There are several times a year when the right conditions present themselves to catching these fascinating, quick and delicious creatures.  On an incoming tides after dark, all that is required is a bucket, headlamp, long-handled net and some patience. Simply spot them and get a net into place before they dart away and quickly scoop them up....while trying to avoid the spraying black ink. On Saturday night I tried my hand at this for the first time and met with some success.

I managed to catch about a half dozen squid.  I planned to have these guys for lunch on Sunday but as I prepared to clean them I could not help but be fascinated by them.  This was especially true when witnessing the movement of the chromatophores.  These are the little brown spots visible in the picture.  They are used in communication displays, as well as camouflage.

Like many other aspects of Nature, the time for "squid'n" will only last for a short time. Hopefully, there will be a few more trips in the near future.  While netting them is the best method some were trying to catching them with rod and reel.  Who knows....I may eventually be the first to land a squid on a tenkara rod.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rise of the Jack O' Lanterns

Halloween has always been one of our favorite times of year and it's always seems to fly by so quick. This year in an effort to extend this festive time of year one more night the family made a trip to a Long Island Halloween attraction... Rise of the Jack O' Lanterns.  The RISE features over 5000 carved pumpkins with several groups of pumpkins carved according to certain themes like superheros, the solar system and NY sports teams.  The unseasonably mild weather made the walk through the jack O' lanterns a very pleasant way to spend a Friday evening. Now with Halloween 2013 now in the books hopefully everyone had a safe and happy night and received a bag full of loot.

Our own little RISE
My little "renaissance vampire" and "peacock fairy princess" 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The End To Another Season

October 15th....It's not just another Tuesday. Unfortunately it's the end of another season...Trout season in New York State.  Although I live on Long Island where trout season can last all year on most waters, it closes down in, for the most part, in the rest of the state.

I would count the 2013 trout season as another successful and enjoyable one.  There were some new waters fished here and there and some very memorable trout. Some new tenkara rods and lines were tried out....and my rod collection continues to grow.  However, in the end my most enjoyable trips remain as always the trips to those "thin blue lines".   The brookies may not be large but they are absolutely beautiful and the mountain settings in which they are found and all they have to offer to the eye are hard to beat.  These pictures and the memories associated with them are all that remain of a recent trip. Now begins the wait until April 1st 2014 and the beginning of the next trout season (with the exception of a few trips here on the island I hope to squeak out before hunting season).

Last wild brook trout of the year

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Sunrise over the Hudson Valley

October is my favorite time of the year.  The changing colors, picking apples and pumpkins and the beautiful weather make this time of year hard to beat. After watching a spectacular sunrise I chose to go for a small hike along one of my favorite streams on the Mohonk Preserve...the Coxing Kill.

Split Rock

The Coxing Kill is not the biggest, fastest or most spectacular stream that one can hike along. It's simply a small mountain stream making it's way to the Hudson River and eventually out to sea.  But there is something about it that I find very compelling.  I look for any opportunity to spend time along it's banks and take in it's various scenery, wildlife and moods. It is never stagnate...it is always changing. No two days are ever alike. Today was another chance to see what's new.


Unusual tree near split Rock
Just a few reminders of what comes after Halloween

A hike in the Shawangunks was not the only bright spot on this gorgeous autumn day.  A trip home around this time of year always includes a trip to the pumpkin patch and the orchard with my family to pickup some apples, cider donuts and cider.
Alina and Bella in the pumpkin patch

One of the girls favorite part of the autumn trip home to nanna and papa's house is the cider donuts at the orchard and we always have to take the "back of the car" photo.  Seems like the size of the back of the car is shrinking. Family, apples, hiking, fall colors....who could ask for a better October day?

Just for comparison...pic from 2010

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Autumn on the Nissequogue

Looking upstream on the Nissequogue on beat 7
 Autumn is starting flex it's muscles here on Long Island as some brilliant colors are beginning to pop here and there. I was able to get out for a while today to take a little of it in before it's gone in it's customary "blink of an eye."  Many of Long Island's spring creeks are not only challenging to land a few trout but are a great place to feel like you have removed yourself from the "rat race" without having to travel very far.  There is remarkable peace and quiet to be found here.....not mention some large trout for those willing to have some patience.

Walk to beat #7
Looking down stream on beat #7 with the dam in the foreground and my new Tenkara USA  4.5 level line on the left side of the picture (It's visibility is superb)
When I fish this beat I usually concentrate just below and just above the dam.  I can always count on trout hanging around there. Today was no different. I landed a number of rainbows in the 15-16" range that were all very solid fighters with some heft to them. I took them all on a #12 Killer Kebari (like those tied by Chris Stewart except that I used a grey Hungarian partridge). The only one that posed a problem was one rainbow that proceeded spit the hook, which flew over my shoulder and hooked my right shoulder blade.  That was not fun.

First rainbow of the day.
Although I had been casting to rising fish and was aware of at least a dozen good size trout, I was amazed to find 25-30 trout swimming in close formation on the opposite bank as I exited the stream.  The Nisseqougue is an exceptionally clear stream, which makes it easy for the fish to see you and more difficult to catch them.  You would think the same could be said for the angler but their coloration was more than enough to fool me and keep them hidden despite being only 10-15 ft away from me.

Casting platform on one of the fish ponds with some Canadian geese
Today was another good fishing day and I was reminded that with the changing of seasons upon us that we should all enjoy them as much as possible because they will not last forever.

A bench along the trail to rest after a "weary" day of fishing

Friday, September 27, 2013

Light Spanish Needle

Light Spanish Needle
The Light Spanish Needle is another great soft hackle fly from T. E. Pritt's classic work...North Country Flies. I just thought it might be another cool fly to post. Even if that's not a good reason it's been around a very long time and is still being used.  Longevity is one of the best traits in any fly pattern.  This fly is tied with scarlet colored Pearsall's gossamer silk thread, starling hackle and a head of peacock herl.      

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Last Day of Summer.....And School Is In

First schoolie of the day
School actually started a few weeks ago for my kids but I'm talking about schoolie stripers.  This morning I decided to put down my tenkara rod throw some sand worms on a hook and try my hand at some catching some striped bass.  Though I would love to catch one on a tenkara rod I think the average striped bass would be a little too much for most of my rods. There were a number which were willing to oblige me but unfortunately there were no keepers today (need to be at least 28" in NYS marine waters).  There were even a few large sea robins thrown in for good measure.  Overall it was a successful morning. Today definitely seems like the last day of summer and I can feel the change of season more strongly than before.  Autumn is my favorite time of year but I wish I could have been outside just a little more this summer.  There were a number of places I wanted to hike, kayak, and fish but I guess it will have to wait till next year. Hope everyone out there in cyber space had a good summer with no regrets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Micro Fishing

Silverside in small photobox
Last Saturday morning I took a walk down to the creek to do a little snapper fishing and just kick back and take it all in.  The day was bright and beautiful but the brisk wind was letting me know that fly fishing for snappers might be out of the question.  Sure enough after several ridiculous casts I officially came to that conclusion.  Not wanting to  waste a trip down to the water I decided to reach into my bag and try something a little unorthodox.  A year or two ago I purchased a Diawa Soyokaze (~7 ft) from Chris Stewart with the intention of using it for wild brook trout on "thin blue lines".  I had been following through various forums and websites, including Chris', about a type of fishing known as Tanago fishing and micro fishing. So I figured the Soyokaze would be useful for that as well if I decided to try me hand at it. Micro fishing is not about the size of the fish but the challenge.  In addition, many micro anglers, pursue "life lists" of these small and often unnoticed fish.  I can already hear the "WTF?" from some who may read this but I tell you catching these little fish on such a small hook is not as easy as it looks.  Would I rather catch a 30lb striped bass or a beautiful little wild brook trout? Sure I would but this was just a nice diversion on a day when I could not cast a fly to something larger.  After a number of attempts at just getting my bait onto such a small hook I managed to get my line into a small section of water that was not being abused by the wind.  I can tell you those little buggers were fast.  The Soyokaze is very sensitive and I could feel every bump but the reaction time required to hook these small fish had to be lighting quick.  I can understand challenge and appeal to this kind of fishing.  For my effort I managed a few silversides.  Silversides are small fish (3-4") that are common in tidal estuaries and are a major source of food for larger predators like bluefish and herons.  Will most anglers drop their gear in favor of feeling a tiny tug and a fight that is over really before it starts?  I doubt it but like many other things in nature their is enjoyment and knowledge to be gained by taking the time to observe ALL of what is around you whether it be big or small.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tenkara Rod Co....The New Kid On the Block

Nice brookie taken with a  Tenkara Rod Co. rod
 When it comes to fishing I have never thought of myself as a "gear junkie" but I came to the realization the other day that I am certainly on the path to becoming one.  I began fishing with a small yellow spin rod at the age of 6 or 7.  I had that rod for many years and until I came across tenkara I had only acquired two more spin rods.  One was for fresh water and the other for salt water.  Since I discovered tenkara I would say 95% of my fishing has been with tenkara rods or using tenkara the method.  My first tenkara rod was a Tenkara USA 12' Yamame. Since then I have picked up a number of rods from TUSA and Chris Stewart the "TenkaraBum."  Each and everyone fills a specific niche in the various bodies of water I fish.  These would include small mountain streams, ponds and tidal salt water marshes.  I never planned on becoming a tenkara gear junkie but it just happened.  I guess being a gear junkie means I probably do spend a fair amount of time keeping my eye on what's new in the tenkara world

The Sawtooth
The Teton
When it comes to books and fishing gear I generally am the guy who judges a book by it's cover (albeit...very carefully).  Though many new companies have sprung up selling tenkara rods and gear, I have stuck with Tenkara USA and TenkaraBum for various reasons.  I am not going to knock any of these new companies because it would be unfair to judge them without having tested and tried them out on the water.  But to be honest, none have really jumped out at me.  That is until recently.  I came across several blog posts regarding a new company called Tenkara Rod Co.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1135127166/tenkara-rod-co-a-simple-way-to-fish?ref=live.
Though I haven't yet had the chance to test one of these rods out I do like the "book cover" I see.  You can learn more about this new company by going to the link above.  It looks like they will initially be offering the two rods pictured above. Both the Teton and Sawtooth are 12' rods and have beautiful designs.  The Sawtooth has an action index of 5:5, for those who prefer a softer rod, while the Teton has one of 6:4 for a little more stiffness.  Hopefully after I get a chance to test one or both of their rods I will be able to add The Tenkara Rod Co. to the list of trusted tenkara rod dealers whose rods I carry with me on the water every time I go fishing. In the meantime, it will be fun to follow the progress of this new company and see how they grow.