Sunday, August 29, 2010

08.29.10 Outing with Casting For Recovery

Today I had the pleasure of volunteering as a river helper with Casting For Recovery at their central New Jersey outing held at Holmdel Park. I was teamed up with cancer survivor Jennifer and we had a blast catching some sunnies and shooting the shit on a beautiful day on the lake. The CFR staff did a great job and the women said it was a great weekend. One of the guys who helped out also built all the rods the woman use, built the wooden fly boxes, and tied all the flies. Now that is a good guy. There was a sponsor who paid for the weekend for the woman including lodging and food, another group donated money towards next years outing, and a guy from our JSTU chapter donated the lunch, and, a river helper bought the coffee and donuts for the gang. A lot of giving from a lot of people for a great cause. In the end, the volunteers get back as much as the survivors, in spending an afternoon with such brave and special women who've endured so much and remain so positive.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

08.24.10 What a different time....

Look at me. Probably about 30 something years ago. String wrapped around a stick with a sunny on the hook. Standing proud as a peacock. I must be getting mushy and sentimental, or just mental, in my ever getting old age. Trying to figure out the meaning of life past, and future.
As like everyone else, accomplishments and failures along the way...knock on wood...but there's just no way of predicting the future.
I can honestly say there isn't a part of me that would have bet that at 43 I would be on the verge of a second marriage, have four kids instead of "two and done", and would be trying to make a living in photography in the middle of this electronic filled digital and technological driven age...and... starting my new dream of guiding fly fisherman along the way.
Just when I thought I had life figured out and just where I wanted it...boom...there it went. That was seven years ago. It was like a river crested and took my whole life downstream with it. When it subsided I was left clinging to a rock.
I hope one day, soon, I will be able to stand tall again and be as proud as that small boy standing on the bridge, with a fish hanging from a stick.

Monday, August 23, 2010

08.23.10 Great debate on Catch and Release

Since I have been working more for The New York Times I have been reading it more often and spending time on their website. I came across some thing cool in one of their Opinion section. It was a discussion and debate on Catch and Release. Very, very interesting.

Words like, pain, predation, mortality, and food kept my interest peaked. I have to say, I have drunk the catch and release juice for a long time. I can't remember the last time I kept and ate a trout. The last fish I kept, well my sons fish, was a 30 something inch northern pike he caught last year in the Adirondacks. And you know what, after a watching a quick You-Tube video from some guy in Canada on how to fillet one, it was fantastic after we egg dipped it, floured it, and pan fried it.

But there's something about those trout. I do fish a lot. I do catch a fair share of fish. My favorite part of fly fishing is the take. Sometimes I have fished a dry without a hook, just to see the take. I could do two things and be happy. See the take, and release the fish. The fight. The net. The taking out the fly. I could do without.

Just let me see that rise, and the take. And I'd be fine.

Check out the debate HERE

Gotta go, just had a root canal and my face hurts!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

08.17.10 This is why I love this river

Photo PFBC
This is one of the reasons. Here's some more, taken from the Pennsylvainia Fish and Boat Commision Lackawanna River July 2010 report,

The total electrofishing distance was 1,383 meters. Our results this time were much better than during historic work. At all sites combined we caught 737 wild brown trout including 403 YOY. Wild brown trout ranged from 2 to 22 inches long (Figure 2). We also caught a single YOY wild brook trout and small numbers of hatchery brown, brook, rainbow, and golden rainbow trout.

The largest trout we caught was 22 inches long and weighed 2.9 pounds. There are two things to note about this. First, there are larger trout available in the river. However, these fish typically spend most of their time in the deepest pools where we are unable to sample even during low stream flows. Second, the larger trout we captured from this section were much lighter for their lengths than the statewide average (Figure 3). The reason for this was a long stretch of warm summer weather prior to the survey. We measured water temperatures as high as 78°F during our work. As a result, the larger trout had not been feeding well for some time. Warm summer water temperatures are the primary factor limiting wild brown trout abundance in this stretch of the Lackawanna. The river also suffers from combined sewer overflows, acid mine drainage, and litter. Nevertheless, wild brown trout continue to thrive.

I am glad to see the flows in the Upper Delaware lately. Today the West Branch at Hale Eddy is 1140 at 48 degrees, and better yet, Lordville on the Mainstem at 1420 at 60 degrees. What a great time to float! Give me a call and we'll set up a trip on the Upper West Branch.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

08.14.10 Yes...on a fly rod

Back home in New Jersey today Saturday the 14th. Spent a week in the Poconos. Had a great time, glad to be home. Spent a lot of time with the kids fishing, fishing their way, my way, any way. I showed them. I had my fly rod. So did my youngest Erin. We caught about a thousand fish. Shiners, sunnies, crappies, perch, small bass. My other two, Sean and Juliet, caught fish after fish on the docks and in the boat. Sean was the more focused and persistent of the kids, getting me to row him around the lake at 530 am in search of the big bass. He caught the big fish last year while on vacation last year in the Adirondacks, a 30 something inch northern pike that we enjoyed from head to toe for dinner. That fish is pictured below,

During our early morning fishing we caught fish, but no bass. My oldest boy, Ryan, who is about to turn 14, and is too cool, took a late afternoon trip with us to the lake. Walking around with ipod blasting in his ears and kicking stones he spotted a bass, a big bass. He signaled me over. I could tell from his excitement, AC/DC shirt and Bob Marley hat and all, that it was a big fish. I remember a long time ago when he was that excited, when he caught his first cast to net trout on a fly rod, a 21.5 inch brown in the West Branch of the Ausable in 2005.
I made my move off of the dock I was on to his. Sean wasn't impressed with the whole situation. He continued to cast a mister twister off a neighboring dock. When I got to where Ryan was....I was shocked. There it hovered, in shallow water amongst the grass, head steady on anything that passed by. I had a wooly bugger on my 5 wt and placed it in the water near the fish, he came out, took a look and went under the dock. That was that. I told Ryan to keep and eye on the area, in case it came back. I did that mostly to try and keep his attention on something to do with fishing. I switched up and was using Erin's 6 ft 3 wt and was putting on a clinic for the kids at the dock, a real ego booster, when Ryan called again. This time I handed him the rod. But first, I know....but I had to do it, I tied a size 8 barbless hook on and threaded a fat worm that Cindy had found in some leaves near the lake. Ryan gently let some fly line out and put the worm about 3 feet away from the fish. I could see the worm wiggling. Here he came. There goes the worm. Up went the rod. A few minuted later my rock star son was holding a huge slob of a largemouth bass, 23 inches...and had to be over 6 pounds, proudly for the camera. My poor son Sean was happy, but not. He did tell his brother, "Nice fish." I could see he wanted to ask, "How could that happen?" I made it a teachable moment. I explained to Sean that this has happened to me a thousand times. No matter how psyched you are, how prepared you are, how into it you any given matter how fished through the section you just left is...someone could come along and catch the fish you've been searching for, right in front of your eyes. I gave a Sean a arm around the neck pat on the back and hug. And with that, Sean was just about done with fishing for the rest of the trip.

Friday, August 6, 2010

08.07.10 Off to the Poconos

I'll be in the Pocono mountains for the next week. In between work this week and today I have loading up Bertha for the 2-1/2 hour ride up there. I used to have a house up there, but that was a lifetime ago. So we are returning to an old haunt. It should be a great trip. Plenty of things to do with the kids, swimming, fishing, snake hunting, ect. Luckily I got all my work done around 1130 Friday night after a late shoot for The New York Times in Asbury Park.

I see the West Branch of the Delaware is running over a 1,000 cfs at Hale Eddy, and Lordville id down to 63 degrees. Hopefully August will be a little cooler than that July we had.

Don'y know if I'll be able to post at all till I get back.

Tight loops.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

08.04.10 While hard at work.....found this beauty

No not this. Although as I shot it I said to myself, "I am not going to become one of those nerdy bird guys am I?" Anyway it was cool and he didn't move, which helped, and the 400 mm lens I was using was cool too. No, the real beauty I am talking about is the center console I found for sale somewhere on Long Beach Island, maybe Surf City. What a piece. How cool would that be to use with the fly rod chasing stripers, blues, mahi, albies. Mmmmmm. Lets see, my other half is recently out of work. I have two other crafts, plus a 20 foot cuddy cabin that had died and is rotting in my fathers steel yard...mmmmm...sounds like this is the perfect time to buy this. I mean, I would make money with her, so why not right? Anyway, pipe dream. Check her out....if it helped I would even name her "Cindy".

Alright, I am too scared to say anything. But, in two days I'll be heading up to the Poconos for a family get together/ reunion/ vacation, and, hopefully, some fly fishing. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

08.01.10 Early morning fishing, well rowing, on Deal Lake, and the snappers are in!

Somehow I convinced my brother that early morning bass fishing on Deal Lake would be a great idea. He bought it. So at 530 am he came over and we loaded up the pontoon boat and headed to the launch in Asbury Park. For about an hour and a half we through wooly buggers, white and brown to the lily pads trying to get something, anything, to bite. Nothing. Not only did we not catch anything, but the lake looks void of life. Thick, brown-green stained water, shallow, smelly, just not a BASSMASTER Tournament kind of lake. So we took out and headed over to the 8th Avenue jetty to see how the early morning fluke guys were doing. They said it was slow, but we did see something that was encoureging, the snappers (baby bluefish) are in. Some were using them, up to 6 inches long, for bait for the fluke. That should be fun in the upcoming weeks, snappers on the fly rod.