Monday, January 24, 2022

01.24.21 Sad day for the Baltimore City Fire Department....

      Around 6 am the Baltimore City Fire Department was dispatched for a fire in a vacant three story brick middle of the row. The image above shows conditions shortly after the arrival of Engine 14. They were met with a tremendous amount of fire showing from all three floors. Shortly after they made their way inside an interior collapse occurred. They were heavily entrapped in the collapse and after they were freed and transported word came out that three had died and one remained in critical condition. 

RIP Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo and prayers for John McMaster. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

01.22.22 Positive 2021 survey reports from the Delaware....

 Area 6 Fisheries Biologist Tyler Grabowski holding one of the many adult Striped Bass collected in 2021.

  It was during the month of May last year that I found PFBC scientists electroshocking the waters where I had went to fish. I watched the process unfold on how they would shock, net, measure, clip a scale, insert a tag,  and then release the fish back into the water. I didn't say it at the time, but there is fish mortality that occurs during this process, I saw a few fish make their way to the bottom bellied up, and not move again. This effort and report is similar to the one that Maryland does in the Chesapeake, but this one isn't looking into YOY recruitment numbers for that years class. This is more just a survey of how many and how big. What I take from this survey is, there's more horny guys than girls, and the bigger females have already came and went, no pun intended. Well there is good news coming out of the Delaware this past year. Below's content is off the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.You can see that report HERE 

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) assessed the Striped Bass spawning stock in the Delaware Estuary between May 3 and May 24, 2021. Annually, PFBC staff conducts adult Striped Bass sampling at 21 index sites between the mouth of Rancocas Creek, NJ (river mile 109) downriver to the mouth of Raccoon Creek, NJ (river mile 80). Each of the 21 sites were sampled twice using boat electrofishing (42 total samples). Additional collection efforts (beyond the 21 historical sites) were conducted at Trenton Falls near the head-of-tide to capture larger Striped Bass (> 16 in.) for tagging purposes.

A total of 336 fish were captured at the 42 index sites in 2021. Males accounted for 78% of the total catch and ranged from 8 to 38 in., while females accounted for 13% of the total catch and ranged from 25 to 45 in. The remaining 9% of the total catch was comprised of fish of unknown sex. Sex could not be determined for these fish because they were small, sexually immature juveniles or larger fish that were not “running ripe” (actively flowing milt) or did not exhibit distinguishing features (large, bulbous stomachs in pre-spawn females) at the time of capture. Fish of unknown sex ranged from 8 to 25 in. The total catch rate (19.7 fish/hr), catch > 12 in (17.1 fish/hr), and catch > 28 in (2.2 fish/hr) of Striped Bass during the 2021 survey were all higher than long-term averages (Figure 2).The total catch rate of Striped Bass from the 2021 survey represents the eleventh highest catch rate on record since monitoring began in 1996. Further, the catch rate of Striped Bass > 28 in was the tenth highest catch rate recorded over the time series. The catch rates of these larger fish, until 2021, had been declining for several years

Striped Bass reproductive events that result in large year classes contribute substantially to the overall population. Therefore, it is important to track the progression of these year class to the adult population. Biologists evaluate year class contribution by collecting scales from individuals and assign an age estimate to that fish. Due to differences in growth between male and female Striped Bass, ages are not assigned to fish of unknown sex. Half (50%) of the Striped Bass aged in 2021 represented fish from the 2017 and 2018 year classes.

Friday, January 21, 2022

01.21.22 Hate to say it but don't get your hopes up....

    Now know this. I love The Fly Fishing Show. I have great memories from The Fly Fishing Show. I have met great people at The Fly Fishing Show. I, at times, have been hard on The Fly Fishing Show. And in this post I am going to be a tad harsh, but honest. I am always honest.

     I have been attending The Fly Fishing Show shortly after I got into fly fishing following the arrival of  The River Runs Through It. I'm not sure when my first show was but The Fly Fishing Show started around 1992. Through the years I have went from wide-eyed-new-to-the-sport-guy, who would come home with too many plastic bags full of brochures, business cards, give aways and things I purchased. You see, back then there was no internet, when life was good. You went to the show because it was THE source, a place where fly fishing came to you, before the customer loyalty faded, shops closed, and online became the way to order things. The show was a place to see and 

learn from the most knowledgeable and influential people in the industry. Some of that exists, but if a guy sees a guy online now, follows some You Tube videos or blog posts (not me) then they "know" the person. Name dropping and affiliating, even calling them friend, as become all too common. Internet "legends" have been born, so knowledgeable without practice, at times never even actually doing or visiting the places they are "experts" in. It has all changed, we have changed, the world has changed, and The Fly Fishing Show has changed. 

    Then for a few years I worked at Dave Choinard's The Fly Hatch in Shrewsbury, mostly around the holidays and getting ready for and working the shows. That was all before I caught my first striped bass in 2003. At that time I was all about the Upper Delaware, again before social media and the internet changed those hallowed waters forever. Years later after I started guiding on the Delaware and in the salt I graduated to having a booth at the show and giving presentations. I kinda felt I had "arrived", after a long journey in fly fishing. I don't even know what arrived means, and who really cares anyway. 

     Somerset was the best, hands down, in my opinion. Although I hated that walk along the covered walkway in the freezing January cold, it was always a great feeling when you got into the lobby, or 

better yet the bar. It was that place where I felt the best introductions were made and the most important business deals occurred. It was a lot of fun, but there was a lot of drama there. "He's talking to him, or to them", relationships, personal and professional, were made and lost. And that bar. I stumbled away from it several nights, mostly that Friday night hang, for years. I remember a good night when I had a seat at the round table with Bob Popovics and we closed the bar, it was a night to remember. Another good memory, was having to many with Rich Murphy, author of one of my favorite striped bass books, Fly Fishing for Striped Bass. That boy can talk, and drink. We talked in circles to each other for hours.

     It was also at that show where I met Jim Matson and his wife Laura. For as much as I talk about that guy you think we were besties, but in fact I only saw him at the shows and a few times out at his fly fishing laboratory in his basement. I've spent more time with Laura since his passing, and that has been 

a wonderful thing for Theresa and I. The show was a place to meet some people too. I have tons of pictures which just bring back memories of good times with good people. While Theresa met with Donald Trump Jr, who cares, I was happier to talk with Rebecca Redd, I care. Kidding of course. 


      But really, this is about The fly Fishing Show. I remember lots of shops would come, The Fly Hatch, Whitewater Flies, Tight Lines, Jersey shops that always had a huge set up. Companies like Orvis and Simms would look to get the best corner or center spots. Donnie would always be in the corner with his Jones Brothers boat. And the presentations, were spot on, AND LOCAL! There was Upper Delaware talks, there was saltwater talks about striped bass from Jersey up to the Cape. Popovics would do his getting into saltwater fly fishing, a huge presentation. I remember he and I had presentations at the same time and we were taking photos of the crowd and sending them to each other during it to see who had the better attendance. It was funny. You can ask him about it. And then the move to Edison....not a fan, at all. Hotels you have to drive to. No real bar, no hang. Why stay over? For me it's a one and done visit when I go, it is what it is. 

     The rod makers have been consistently there, the old and the new, as well as the reel manufacturers. It is a good place to hit the casting pond and see if it is something you may like to buy. Regal Engineering was there, a great time to talk with and see pros tying on their vices. 

          So that brings us to this year. Marlborough usually kicks things off, but that show was postponed to April, due to Covid, so Edison is the opener. There is a lot of pressure on Edison, and the industry will be watching. Why? Because if the show is being "sold" as business as usual, and it falls short, the writers and bloggers will notice and spread the word. If the show is a bummer the companies and manufactures will take notice and remember that when it comes time send in the downpayment on the booth space and budget for the cost of the show for the following year. And there's the attendees, who will be a one-day-and-done customer, and rethink of going to the 2023 show. 

     As we get closer I have been checking to see if and when the show would put up the map and list the exhibitors. Well this morning it was up.  Many don't check, they just assume it will be the same, but no. Blame it on Covid. Blame it on the change of venue, which people still remember. Blame it on the cost for the vendors. Blame it on the lull in the industry and the need for a "new movie" to come out. But lets see who's coming, as outlined on The Fly Fishing Show website. I guess it's full disclosure. 

     I see that Brad Buzzi will be there as well as Tight Lines, good for shopping and do support those guys if you go. Don't see Whiting or Collins listed, that was always a cool stop and pick. I see that Orvis, Simms, Gace, Scott and Regal aren't listed......mmmmm. Rich Murphy will be, if you don't have his book buy it. I don't see a few names, Taylor, Popovics, Cohen, King, Stryker, Farhar, but David Nelson and his Squimpish materials will be, and he will kill it as he did last year, check that shit out. Joe Calcevecchia is taking the ride, such a nice guy who usually brings treats from his work at some chocolate company in 

Massachusetts. George Daniel,  who was running real hot a few years back and has a huge following, is supposed to be there, but through the fly vine I have heard he might not be. Now things come up, and last minute cancellations happen. But you are in the know, early on, then you have to disclose that, why? Because if you someone jazzed up for the show, and want to see "your guy or girl", and they aren't there, it is a HUGE disappointment, and more so if you weren't told. It's like going to a multi- band concert, and the promoters know the band isn't coming a week in advance, but you don't know about it until you get inside the gate and see the "Cancelled" across their name. Again, shit, like Covid happens, but in advance, people should know, or if there's a lot of that going on, then it should be postponed or cancelled all together. 

     And then there's that, oh yeah Covid thing. Governor Murphy just mandated all health care workers must be vaccinated and boosted, or they lose there jobs. Kids in some districts are virtual only, and colleges have the mandates as well. In Jersey, we are tough on Covid. We are still under a state of emergency, but large gatherings like Giants games, Rutgers games and trade shows can still go on? Mmmm. Mixed message there? Is this anyway about money? Pressure and politics? Whatever you think okay. But here's something. The guys and girls that are the pioneers are getting up there in age or have passed on. The older folks, who are more susceptible to exposure and sickness, are not, going to get sick, traveling to or being in a large venue in tight quarters for three days, with people who may or may not be vaccinated, boosted, or positive or negative, it's not happening. And can you blame them?

     You see, attendance is like a virus. Once people get spooked it becomes contagious. Once one major person or company doesn't show it also spreads. I write not to spook you, because you will go this year, and there will be some numbers the Furminsky's report about the attendees and the revenue, but you should know what you are going to before you go. From their floor map and list, well you decide. I have talked about the lack of Jersey/PA/NewYork "stuff" at the show for years, in both the exhibits and presentations, which to me has missed the mark. In my opinion, as I have had for years, The Fly Fishing Show should come to "us", the talent, to provide content to the show, which drives up interest and attendance. I shouldn't have to pay for a booth and then not get compensated for presenting over the several day weekend. In fact, the content, the entertainment, is what people come to see. But not the way the show sees it, they are doing presenters a favor, by allowing them to be there, which will increase their exposure and revenue, uh, yeah no. Live Nation doesn't charge The Grateful Dead to put on shows, because it increases their exposure, right? But that's my bitch about that, but that's why you don't have local talent. And as I think, no bluefin stuff? No albie stuff? C'mon man. 

I wish the show well, because the other shows depend on a good start, and the industry does as well. The Fly Fishing Show shouldn't sell something it can't deliver, if in fact that is the case. The big companies and names may not be there, and for $18 a day they don't want people, especially in todays keyboard-hero-world, letting the word of a disappointing show to get out, no matter how much damage control they try to do before and after. Have a great show, see you there next week. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

01.19.22 Pulled the trigger, and if you're thinking....

     So, drum roll, yep it is done. I ordered a new pair of Simms G3 Bootfoot waders, felt bottoms. If you are thinking then don't think too long. Customer service guy told me there is an 8 week build time to get them. and there is no more buying them off the shelf or from another company. If you want a pair then you have to custom order them, and here's how. 

     You have send an email and they will send you back an order form and a catalog with custom options you can order, mostly for the stocking foot options. They receive your order, provide you a case #, and then you call back to review and give payment info. Your credit card is authorized, but not charged, until it is shipped off, so for me it would be mid March. 

    For me, it was the right call. I just retired a pair I put into service in October 2018, wore them I don't know how many times, and basically wore them out. That is on me, and not on Simms. So they'll be used when my basement floods are when doing chicken duty during a monsoon. 

     I will also get the Hardbite studs which I have used before and hold up better then the aluminum gutter screws you have used. If you order, make sure you specify flat or Vibram, depending on what your preference is. For me its felt, and I have discussed why in previous posts. 

     If you want some wader peace of mind then treat yourself. Waders are such an important piece of fly fishing gear and going cheap, over and over again, doesn't make sense. These will set you back $749.95, but you are worth it. Just tell the wife she should be glad you're not a golfer or into old cars. If you are, then come up with a better excuse. 


01.19.22 C'mon Frank, this insanity has to stop.....

     So these images were taken this past Monday after the blow and before the full Wolf Moon arrived. What you see is the after effect of some big weather, big tides, and big moon on the newly "replenished beaches". These images came to me from Leif who got them from Tony who may or may not shot them himself. Tony is a regular on the Deal beat, nice guy, but he only spin fishes. Kidding about that. 

   So Frankie Pallone is a powerhouse in the Democratic scene, at least locally, well he is a U.S. Congressman from the 6th District, serving since 1988...that's right 1988...a career politician, the worst kind. Anyway, Frank needs and likes votes and loves to cater to the rich and wealthy that pay big taxes and donate big money to his campaigns. He loves money and people with money. He has always claimed to be on the side of fisherman, recreational and commercial, and the environment, and the surfers, who know, anyone who can cast a vote, more than a line. On his website it says, 'Congressman Pauline has been a longtime advocate for New Jersey's recreational and commercial fishing industry". Mmmmm, really? 

Sand and beaches = beach front homes, real estate taxes, tourists, parking and beach tag fees. That's it, money, the root of most of the evil in the world, money, greed, and then sex. Can you imagine walking down the beach to have sex and hitting that beach scarp? Forget it, broken limbs or neck. 

     So here's a couple of things I found while writing. Check out this photo from Westerly, Rhode Island taken in 1954 after Hurricane Carol. Instead of towing the damaged cars away, they decided to dig a trough along the beach and bury them. The thinking was it would prevent erosion. It did until Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and then years from that. Cars pieces and entire cars would be unsanded and have to be recovered or removed. Below is a Studebaker hubcap found on the beach. 

     From 2012 to now towns along the East Coast have been learning about the archaic measures towns and the government would take to curb beach erosion, before they came up with the brilliant idea to pump sand, destroy the ecosystem, and then do it again, and again and again, to the tune of hundreds of millions, now probably over a billion dollars in total. Below is the same kinda old-car-control used in Southampton Long Island but discovered in 2013. 

     Now we can agree, playing Monday morning quarterback, that these efforts, using old cars, couldn't have done good for the environment, and maybe borderline good in controlling beach erosion. It's like a head shaker, like, "Hey, I have an idea, lets take barges of garbage from New York City and try to sell them to other states, if not we'll dump them in the ocean".....winning! Do you remember the bays and

beaches when hypodermic needles and tampon applicators were the things kids used to decorate their snd castles. I do. So that wasn't a good idea either. And that brings us to today, and how we will be judged in years to come. There is some hope and light in this. New Jersey isn't all bad. The idea to use ex-Christams trees seems to be a win-win, reduce the need, work and mass of getting rid of wasteful-used-once trees and helping curb beach erosion. They have done this on Long Beach Island, a place 

where interference with Mother Nature hasn't occurred and along beaches north of there up into Monmouth County. Maybe we should do a better job with dune replenishment, natural of course.....but then what, what will Frankies beachfront cronies say? "Its not flat. I can't see the water.", and, "You know we vote for you".....

     Above is s great video I found that really hits home the point of how beach replenishment destroys the underwater ecosystem, which is bad for marine life, but also destroys any kind of consistent, non-blitz, fishery along the coast. I'll get into that at a later date, but that is what our fishery along the Jersey Shore has become. Mostly luck. Luck in catching some passing fish. Luck in catching a blitz. But long gone are the days where predator fish would set up and hang around. They hang now, but mostly in the bays and reverser off the beach, way past the sand bars and off the flat barren sandy bottoms that have been created by donor sites taken from the channels and patches along the coast. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

01.18.22 We're on the list....

    At least it isn't all for nothing. Feedspot came out with their Top 100 Fly Fishing Blogs and Websites to Watch in 2022. It's a tool marketers use to see where they are going to direct their money and allegiance to. Yes, its all about the money, bottom line. 

    So the big ones stacked the front of the list. MidCurrent, Moldy Chum, Orvis, Fiberglass Manifesto, and then down at number 45 is The Average Angler. This list is made up of fly fishing blogs from across.....the world. 

     I have never went and had advertisers fill up and take away from the blog. Some would say that is stupid and that I should get paid for doing this. If someone could show me how to monetize it I just might, could help offset some of the expenses, especially with the boat. 

     What is interesting is is that alot of the blogs don't create original content, first hand experiences that are put down in words and captured on a camera. They are "borrowed" images and hyperlinks to others content. Not here, well not usually, its my content, or my friends content. That's what people like about this blog. 

     We are approaching 700,000 which is the number of new "people" or IP addresses that have or do check us out. So since its inception in 2009, we have had that many people click on the blog, either on purpose or by accident. 

Goals for 2022?  I hope to add more video content to the blog. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

01.17.21 Did Martin Luther King Jr. fish?


Photo Colin Archer, North Bimini, 2011

     In 2011 a handful of journalists and fly fishers were invited to attend the re-opening of The Bimini Big Club Club which was then being reopened by artist Guy Harvey as Guy Harvey's Outpost Resorts. It was there were I met and spent some time with Ansil Saunders, a legendary guide on the small island of North Bimini in Alice Town in the Bahamas. It was in Bimini where Dr King would pen his legendary speech, "I've been to the mountaintop" in 1968. He delivered that speech, his last,

on April 3rd, 1968. It would come to be one of the greatest speeches ever recorded in history. Sadly, the following day he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. I wonder how the United States, and all of us, would be different if he lived longer, and what he would think about the mess and division we are 

currently living in. For Saunders, who was indicted into The Fly Fishing Hall of Fame in 2021, he recalls poling Dr King around the mangroves while he penned the famous speech. There aren't any pictures of him that day, nor while fishing, because he didn't. He wasn't there to fish, he was there, according to the upcoming movie "Mighty Waters", which was part of the 2021 Fly Fishing Film Tour, "King wasn't even that interested in fishing, he mostly just wanted to get out thee to those mangrove flats just to find that tranquility and find some clarity".

    As far as that February 2011 trip? It was my second destination trip that I took as a photographer and fly fisherman for publication. The other was with writer Chris Roslyn up to Cooper's Minipi Lodge, where 6 plus pound brook trout take big Bomber and mouse fly off the top. We also worked together on 

some more local projects, above a striper article for Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine. But back to the Bahamas, you can see the original post, HERE. Its hard to believe that trip was 12 years ago. That was the first time I met Joe Cermele, Pat Ford and Vaughn Cochrane. It's also hard to imagine that Dr King was on the bow of Ansil Saunders skiff 54 years ago this year, and I was just three months old, born in January 1968. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

01.12.22 Quick stop between jobs....

     After spending some time in Newark on the ECC college campus I had to hoof it down the Turnpike and Route 1 to get to the office for some afternoon appointments. I decided since I had a little time to spare I could take a left at Princeton and hit the Orvis store there. I had never been there, and now am happy to know I have a store and "fly shop" only a few towns away.

    While looking around and trying some wading jackets on for size I met Bruce Turner, the fly fishing manager. Bruce is a wealth of fly fishing knowledge and has been around these parts for years and once owned the Delaware River Outfitters on Route 31 in Pennington, just up the street from where my 

current office is. It was in a now long gone shopping village called "Pennytown", which was once the name of what is now Pennington. His shop closed shortly after The Fly Hatch and other New Jersey shops could no longer compete with the internet, and the lost art of customer loyalty. 

    I let Bruce in on the little secret I have been hiding and he offered some suggestions in order to lessen the tying learning curve. I picked up some deer belly hair to go along with the RIT dye I had purchased from another store. I'm going to give this a shot, we'll see if it works. 

     I was also digging on these Keogh saddle value pack, and these may come in handy when I try version number 2 of the fly, but this more copied off a Jimmy Jindal fly I saw he tied up years ago. 

     When I saw the price of the below fly I couldn't help but hope that Blaine is getting a lions share of each one of those flies sold, even if they are tied overseas by one of the fly tying mills over there. They offer them in a few sizes and I must say they must be killer for trout when alewives are spilling. 

     The store was nice, there's additional shopping and several places for food in the same shopping center. Didn't see a good pub or tavern within walking distance, which could make for a nice bite and shopping outing.