Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fly Fishing and Me: The Beginning

The other day while on a walk I realized I've been fly fishing in one form or another for forty freaking years!  I'm not exactly sure how I got the bug as no one in my family fished, but I got it.  As a kid, my mom bought my brother and sister and me spinning rods.  My first fish ever was a tiny striped bass.  I spent at least two summers dunking sea worms for flounder and only caught a half dozen or so.  Later I eagerly plied  the local ponds for bass and pickerel and the rare brook trout.  To my young mind, trout fishing represented the holy grail of fishing, never mind that trout fishing was severely limited where I grew up, but the desire was there. 

I remember in 7th grade buying this book on fly fishing
In it contained all the worldly knowledge that an eager kid could want: info on rods, leaders, flies, how to cast, how to dry fly fish etc.  Looking at the pictures of the authors fishing around the country blew me away.  An 18" brown seemed like a monster to me.  I'd only caught  a couple of 8-9" brook trout that migrated out of a local pond to spawn.  We had to crawl on our hands and knees and dap a worm to catch those little gems.  If they saw you they were gone.   Such was the state of my passion that one opening day a buddy and I slept outside, got up at the crack of dawn, and biked to an estuary to fly fish for trout.   If it had been twenty years later we might have caught some stripers. I think we even were using dry flies.  We had the fire, but not the knowledge.

Anyways my forays into fly fishing didn't get more serious until I went to college in western Massachusetts.   I didn't have much of a clue but then I read these two books Richards and Swisher and Fly fishing Strategy and learned to tie some flies.

In western Massachusetts I found two tail waters and started learning via the school of hard knocks.  I didn't catch many trout with a fly rod in my hands so I often reverted back to the spinning rod in order to catch something.  After my sophomore year two buddies and I headed to Alaska.  Our plan was to go to AK and work in the canneries.  Of course I brought my fly rod and spinning rod.  That's where things changed dramatically for me in terms of fly fishing. More of that in my next chapter. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Couple More Albie Pix

Albies are seethed in mirror like skin with subtle coloration that doesn't always come out in pictures that's why I like this first one.

I just like the angles on this picture

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Playing Hide and Seek

Every year, as fall approaches, my fishing buddies and I find ourselves along the New England coast chasing the infamous fall run.  The magic of witnessing huge bait balls being torn apart by busting predators fills our dreams.  While this does happen, it is not always our experience, as we're a bunch of working guys, who can only get away for a couple of weekend days on the water.  To find that experience takes luck and being on the water at the right time, some years we're there and other years we end up playing hide and seek with the fish.

This past weekend was the later.  Early last week, reports from all along the coast were glorious.  Tons of bait and plenty of albies, bass and blues.  Then Friday it all changed.  From Cape Cod through Long Island Sound everything changed.  We arrived Saturday and put in our time, searching old haunts as well as new water in search of fish.  We were not alone.  All the other boats were doing the same thing.  All one can do in these situations is find some bait, hang out and hope that the predators show up.  We fished hard and managed to land a few well earned fish.  The pods of albies we did find appeared to be small pods of 2-4 fish that would blow through for a few minutes only to never be seen again.  We got some so so shots and were not sure of what they were feeding on.  They can be easy to get to take or very finicky depending on circumstances.  Fish with quarter sized eyes can easily spot something that doesn't look like food can be as challenging as the browns in a spring creek.  So we kept on changing flies until we got lucky.  Being grateful to land a couple of fish, makes those days were they come fast and easy oh so special.

 Moon set Saturday morning 
One of the crazy houses you see along the coast. 

Not too shabby of a house.

 The target species in hand

  Love the coloration of albies.  While not the most impressive looking fish the power and speed that they have is something that has to be experienced in order to be fully understood and appreciated.  No fresh water fish comes even close in terms of speed or power. 

Built for speed