Saturday, February 27, 2021

02.27.21 I guess cabin fever is really setting in.....

     So yesterday I just brought up what appeared to be the hot topic for the day in the fly fishing community- sexism in fly fishing. Now, most likely most of you weren't aware because you don't follow trends or news in what is a hobby. Kind of like those that watch professional sports, such as the NBA and NFL. To you, or many, it is just a hobby, or a passion, that exists in a world outside of social issues or politics. You bounce or throw the ball to score to win. You tie on a fly and cast to catch a fish. For you, thats it, period. 

     For others it is more. Their passion, like many other things in their lives, have to be all encompassing, as related, all equal. The meaning cannot just be left alone, it has to mean and do more for themselves, and of course against or marginalizing another. 

     So what kicked off a day yesterday, or really the week, well its kinda of been the last month or so, well maybe the last few years, are statements made by a few telling others "how we" have been doing it wrong, hurting others and "need to do better". 

     Jay Nichols, and author and employee at The Caddis Fly Shop got the ball rolling with his article that I shared yesterday. That got some people going. The gist was that some names of some flies are offensive to some, and should be for all people. He called "them" out. Funny that as of yesterday on his own fly shops website for $5.95 I could buy a fly called PJ's Lynch Mob. "Lynch Mob", do I need to define what that has and could mean or refer to? It was okay to purchase that fly two days ago, a month ago, all during last summer when the country continued to be unhinged and turned upside down. Not it is not. 

     Now this morning to tempt  those big trout or bass you can buy the same fly, now more affectionately known as just PJ's Mob. For those in the know, we will always know what the original name of this fly was, at one time, before it got cancelled. 

     Maybe we should "check ourselves before we wreck ourselves before called calling out "them, us or we" and pointing fingers. Turn those fingers to yourself, when asking what others are doing and how they are hurting another person. But that is to easy, especially when we can hide behind a keyboard. Name call, character assigate, separate and divide. Like I said yesterday, "Its over Johnny". 

     So that brings me to today, and just a quick glance at The Orvis Fly Fishing Facebook page. Normally every day each post gets a few likes dn shares, but I was drawn to a post that had over 200 likes and 500 comments. New fly? New video? Surprise leak of some new gear or rod in the making? Nope. It is more of the same. So I took a peek, mores interested in the comments than the original article that appeared this month in The Fly Fisherman Magazine. You can see that article HERE. This article is titled Promoting Diversity on Our Waters

Now let me say this, increasing participation in the sport great, by whom, everyone. Kids, adults, people, period. 

      So The Fly Fisherman magazine used their magazine as a platform to publish an article by Herb Miller on February 22, 2021. They publish many articles in their hardcopy magazine as well as their online presence. In the article Simon Perkins, the CEO of Orvis is interviewed, you can see his comments and vision in the link above. 

     For shits and giggles I did a quick search of The Fly Fishing Magazine covers to see if they have been, or learned early on, how they may contribute to the oppression of some and the inclusion of others. You know being diverse. That would mean cover shots of people, forget just back and white, ho about a kid? Howe about someone with a handicap? But what I found was a series of all white and mostly males doing their best hero shot imitation with large fish from far away lands. Mmmm....who can afford that.

    Now back to Orvis, lets take a peak at where they think we, as a people, of varying diversity and socioeconomic means could, or should fish. A quick look gives you several opportunities to experience fly fishing and land the fish of a lifetime. In this Orvis Destinations screen shot, you will see invitations to go to Canada, Belize, Bahamas, Patagonia, Kamchatcka, Europe, and Mongolia, and the invitation to "Join an Orvis Group Trip". Just because I noticed, every person in every picture is white, in color. There's not even the usual black guide from the Island destinations, even the guide from Bahamas is white...C'mon man.

     Guys and girls, this is nothing about us. These are businesses, trying to make money, that is the bottom line. Products from China, keep costs down. Political correctness keeps you on the right, or left side. Rather than stand alone and point fingers inside, they choose to point the fingers at others, or as an industry as a whole. "Me" has become 'We, us, out". 

      Nobody or no company is both stating that "Me" has screwed up and backed up the words with action, without it having to do somehow with making money, the bottom line. More woman in the sport, fantastic, more product availability means greater market share which means more money. More diversity, means a greater number of potential customers, which means more money. 

      Orvis is stating that we "need to do better" to be more diverse. Okay. Well Orvis take a look at yourself, and your ads, and your destinations, and also tell me, what low income inner city home, regardless of color, has their shit as dog sitting on one of these.....

     So its $125, thats the cheapest one,  for up to a 40 pound dog. But for that low income family that has their 90 pound pit or rhottie and would like to embroider 'Peaches" on it so the dog knows its their own bed, they'd be looking at, lets say, $361 plus tax, and shipping, so maybe around $400. 

    Is that diverse, is that targeted to the masses, the less fortunate, the people we hope to include in that "community" that has been discussed the last few days, months and years. 

    Sometimes we are who and what we are, its difficult to serve many masters, I'm sure that word alone offends someone, that is why the "selling" of inclusion and diversity will have an opposite effect. Not that you scared of losing the people whose backs you have built your business on, those with the money and ability to purchase your products, take your trips, use your guides, buy your books, and feel comfforbtale with, generally, like minded people regarding issues that go far beyond fly fishing alone. 

    So yesterday's word was hypocrisy. And todays word remains the same, hypocrisy. Tomorrow we will explore the world of wing shooting and hunting and guided trips. We will look and see if pigeon hunting in the fields of the Kill Van Kill in Staten Island are included in the destinations section of their catalogues and web pages........C'mon man wake up!


Friday, February 26, 2021

02.26.21 It's over Johnny......


     It's over. Life as you and we know it is gone, and it won't be coming back, ever. Yes you may be allowed to eat indoors, sit at a bar, go to a concert in a stadium sometime, but that will only be in person, not in spirit. 

     We have lost our way. Lost what makes us Americans. We used to be tough, or at least tougher. We are now trying to become a Woke an Cancel culture, because thats what we think has to happen. We can no longer agree, or disagree, without having to offend someone. Our skin has become thin. We are living in a world now of hypocrites. What one party, group, or generation believes has to be followed, or you are the opposition. 

      Never before have we judged each other more than we are doing now. You see it, if you dare with it, on the news, in the "media", and in social media. People don't talk, people don't comment, people surf, people observe, people have lost their voice. It has become us vs them in every aspect. 

     Things are in and then in a flash out. I see Cuomo was "in" last year, but now not so much these days. People surrounded him, lauded him, exalted him, not they run. They run not because of him, or something he may or may not have done, but what that will do to their own cause, voice and image. Its fashionable to be in with the in crowd, and that goes for politics, protests, riots, cancel, and beliefs. 

     I saw this yesterday on a Facebook page, you can see the original article HERE. I'll leave it up to you to come up with your own conclusions. On Facebook, mostly the only comments you will see are those in support of the article, having "the guts" to write it. Any opposing views make you out, eval, in cohoots....and those people will be cancelled before they know it. 

     The cancel culture will to only affect movie and rock stars and politicians, some of the biggest hypocrites alive, but will filter down through your town, your schools, your families, and yes even into fly fishing. Today I learned that the movie "Grease" is now on the cancel list, and Mr Potatoe Head will be no longer. A few years ago 50/50 On the Water was born, to increase womens participation in fly fishing, but at the same time manufacturers and advertisers sexualized women in a male dominated sport, that still occurs today. The fat bearded PBR drinking guide from Montana is as equally as fashionable as the scantily clad and maked up near supermodel throwing a fly rod in the Bahamas. Hypocrisy at its best. 

     What is hypocrisy, a fly fishing gear and apparel manufacturer spewing about pipelines and mines and water quality and America, but having 70% of their products made overseas in, lets say, not the best workplace conditions where people are not paid a living wage, but the company signs on for. $15 minimum wage here in America. 

     I look at social media, again wanting to quit Facebook, but I am addicted to The Marketplace, so I stay. Hard left fly fishing friends, hard right fly fishing friends, vocal in every extreme way, I mean extreme, attacking, positioning, cancelling, and do they think they we "just forget that and fish together?". Not in a million years. 

     That fly tier, that guide, that friend you think is a friend, has distanced himself from you and your beliefs, and would never think of having you over for dinner or have a family get together. Yes, they may bum a ride on your boat with you, take some cool pics of you, sit in while you tie a fly at a show or lecture, but deep down inside, where things used to just unify us, the division in all aspects of our lives, have permitted into things that unified us, but no longer. 

     We call for diversity, equality, equity. That is long done and gone, and will never return. It ha become a time where like minded people have and need to be together, in morals, in beliefs, and even in person, through our masks and in our vaccine lines getting herded together. 

     You cant agree or disagree anymore. You can't be anymore. Because it is all over. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

02.24.21 Nice to stop in at The Shady...


    I found a new obsession. If you're a collector of fine used things, or a hoarder like me then stay away from Maxsold. Its an auction company that services people who just want to get rid of their stuff and get out. Just be careful where your pick location is....

     Todays pick place was in Barnegat and I dragged Erin along for the ride. Its  not to far from my buddies restaurant The Shady Rest. Its been a while since I've been down there and it of course didn't disappoint. It was great to see Bob and learn that he and Alexis and the restaurant are doing well. We caught up for a bit and Erin and I had a great early dinner. If you haven't ben there, go there, its a great old school family restaurant thats been around for I believe 50 years. When it gets warmer the outside dining is fantastic. 

     While there I told Bob I wanted to make a shadow box of his flys on day so to keep me in mind when he's going through his collection. I have a Beast, and now a Semper Fleye, a Jiggy, and Hollow, and a Pop Lip to add to my collection. Thinking I'll just have to bother him for a Surf Candy and Fleye Foil and I'll be set.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

02.19.21 What's going on in Texas isn't just affecting humans....

     Theresa and I have been getting daily updates when we check in with our daughter and her boyfriend who. moved to Plano last year. Its cold, there's no heat, pipes are bursting everywhere, but they are safe. While of course our herts got out to anyone suffering during this, we can't forget how this quick wether event can impact the wildlife. Here's some pics from Texas showing fish that dint make it. 

     In Texas they have rescued over 3,000 turtles and are keeping them in doors until it safe to return them to the water. Just imagine how much wildlife will not survive this, wild and domestic. I hear the chickens are taking a beating down there due to the cold and lack of food. This will al have a huge effect on prices in the near future, and the gas, that'll be over $3.00 a gallon very soon. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

02.17.21 Here's a great read.....

     I found this pretty fascinating. Want to know why you might might not be catching fish on the beach these days? Want to know why the boats travel way outside the 3 mile line only to find acres of bass rolling on top? Well, here might be why.

     This a link to an article from Jim Hutchinson from The Fisherman Magazine. He tells how three fish were caught, two off Sandy Hook and one off the East end of Long Island, and implanted with a tracking device and followed from May to August last year. Needless to say not one of these fish saw a surfer or sunbather from the shallow waters off the beach. 

     The link is HERE

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

02.09.21 Funny how you remember your first.....and I still have that hat!

     There a lot of firsts we remember in our lives. First kiss, first time getting laid, first pet, first job, first marriage, first child......and of course your first striped bass. It was 2001 for me, a few months before the World Trade was attacked. My first wife and I had returned for another trip to Newport for a stay at the Marshall Slocum Guest House. While there I was treated to a Father'd Day striped bass charter trip. It was through a place called The Saltwater Edge. The Captain was Corey Pietraszek. 

     I grew up in Millstone learning to fish the lakes and irrigation ponds in what was the country back then. It was all about bass and pickerel back then. My parents divorced and my father moved to Spring Lake Heights, close to the ocean, and my mom moved to Red Bank, closer to the ocean, but I never got the saltwater bug. In fact I really hated the beach. 

     After The River Runs Through It I started fly fishing and cut my teeth on rivers like the Manasquan, which is made for fly fishing....not really, and then the northern Jersey Rivers like the Rockway, Paulkinskill, and Flat Brook. Even after I started helping out at The Fly Hatch in between my shifts at the firehouse in Newark it was all about the Upper Delaware and trout, a place I had started to go and love since the mid 1990's. 

     When I worked at The Fly Hatch it was more saltwater then fresh. Regulars included Fahar, Popovics, Hoblitzell, Eidman, Dennis, Shapiro and all the rest of the Jersey fly anglers. But still I resisted until Dave sold me, with my employee discount, my first saltwater set up. 

     And then in 2001 Captain Corey Pietraszek had me out off of Newport picking along the rocks for schoolie striped bass, and that was my first striped bass. Through the next years I still focused most of my attention to the Upper Delaware. Countless tripes to The West Branch Angler where I aways wade fished never hired a guide for a drift boat trip. It wasn't until 2009, and moving to Ocean Township, that I developed the addiction for striped bass on the fly rod. I was literally 5 minutes from the ocean depending on which I route I took and if I didn't get stopped by the Loch Harbor police officer shooting radar set up on Grassmere Avenue. 

      I really got into striper fishing during the fall of 2009 and didn't catch my second striped bass until June 2010, HERE. When I read that original post I had to laugh how a 22 inch striper "had me into my backing".....loser. And the above is a picture of striped bass number two, 2001 for my first and 2010 for my second. When I compare my "career" in fly fishing for striped bass I realize I am a but a newcomer to my older bestest buds. Some started in the 70's and even the 60's, I was born in 1968, and some even earlier, like in the 1950's. 

     Yep, August 8 1952, that was the day Al got his first striped bass after, if I recall, a year or so of taking the long drive from around the New Brunswick area to fish. He did at night either before or after work. Imagine saying, so Al stopped fishing say five years ago, that you have fished fro striped bass for 75 years. Howe many beautiful mornings, how many storms, and how many bass? I miss my friend Al, dearly, and I will make sure to email him this post. The last time we were together was September 2019 right before he moved down south to North Carolina with his wife Evelyn. I was afraid that would be the last time we got to talk in person although we have stayed in some kinda touch by phone and email since. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

02.04.21 Quick, someone call Frank Pallone....

     This fall I ventured down to Seaside hitting spots along way, Point Pleasant, Bay Head, Mantoloking, and points south. These beaches have gone through rounds of beach replenishment in recent years. And like we've said before, this is insanity. Throwing billions of dollars into a failed attempt to curb Mother Nature and the normal ebb and flow of the natural coastline, why, to protect those that feel encroaching and setting up shop right on the ocean front is s good idea. They have no worries, as long as vote hungry politicians like Frank Pallone are willing to make them happy and work with the DEP and ACE to pump useless large grain sand up onto the beach. Its makes for a nice, well really not nice, beach for a summer or two, and then its gone. 

     That stretch of beach replenishment probably cost somewhere around 5-10 million dollars. It looks they lost probably 60-80 of beach, from grade in the ocean to over 8 foot at the dunes. Well done, and this wasn't even one of those big fall storms.  

     People are stupid. You can't fuck with Mother Nature. Someone please stop this insanity. 

 Photos came from Surfcaster's Facebook page, photo credit to Suzie and Ed, Realtors, HERE

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

02.03.21 Todays the ASMFC meeting....

   If you are interested and have the time to attend virtually heres the link,, the meeting ID is  151-774-483.