Friday, May 27, 2011


-- Blessed by Local Brooks --
With Memorial Day approaching and many other positive events in my life over the last few months, I am moved by good fortune and truly feel blessed.

Like most fly fishers I know, we possess a healthy obsession for the sport and look to learn new techniques, locations and fly patterns that will improve our game. I got addicted to fly fishing podcasts and now listen to everyone that I can find and load onto my iPhone.

I've been listening to "Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio"  for almost a year now and have done very well with their contests winning Skip Morris' "The Art of Tying the Bass Fly" DVD, a one year membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers, Aaron Jaspers' "European Nymphing Techniques & Fly Tying" DVD, and my most prized win, Tom Rosenbauers' book "The Orvis Guide to Small Steam Fly Fishing".

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Stocked Brookie
My son, a junior in high school, participated in "Job Shadow Day" last week. The students search out companies and organizations for jobs that might interest them after school, make contact with an employee and "shadow" that employee during a typical work day.

My son is very interested in wildlife management and contacted the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game for his job shadow. I dropped him off at the Northeast District Office at 8 AM.

We got a quick tour of the office and met the fish and game biologists.  They are just completing the spring stocking of the district's rivers and ponds.

After I left, my son traveled with the game biologist to a game check-in station. He was able to help with the measurement of a wild turkey brought in by a hunter. They travelled out to Plum Island, a coastal barrier island north of Boston, to monitor and count waterfowl that is part of an effort to protect their nesting sites.

His last stop was at a pond to meet a stocking truck. The guys in the truck left the district at 1 AM to drive to the Cape and pick up the fish at a hatchery and then drive them back to the ponds and rivers on their stocking schedule.

In addition to fish stocking and hunting management, much of their work involves monitoring and reporting on all things related to the health and well being of the fish and game in the district.  They cover a lot of territory with a very small staff.

Some of the reporting work helped with the creation of the Massachusetts BioMap2. This comprehensive biodiversity mapping of the natural resources in the state is a work of art. BioMap2 helps the state manage its natural resources and make sure that new developments don't damage the most fragile parts of the ecosystem.

Part of the planning and protection envolves strategic land acquisition. They recently acquired a 840 acre parcel of undeveloped land in Tolland that will help protect some of the Farmington River watershed. Last year, the Department of Fish and Game acquired 245 acres of land around Red Brook in Plymouth and Weymouth which will help protect and restore sea-run brook trout.

I have to applaud Mass Fish & Game on their forward thinking land management and planning to protect our natural resources.

Stuffed Trout with Bacon Wrap
Meanwhile back on the stocking pond, that brookie shown above was not doing very well in his new pond. He was plucked from the water, field dressed and handed to my son for dinner.

The stocking in this state is "put & take" -- meaning the state stocking program is for recreational fishing and the taking of fish from the stocked waters is allowed within a daily creel limit.

Overall, it was a great experience for him (and me). I appreciate the efforts of Mass Fish and Game which facilitate outdoor recreational opportunities today while conserving our natural resources for future generations .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bluegill, Bass and some weekly ramblings...

Native Fallfish on Parachute Adams
I know, this is not a bass or a bluegill. The week started out with high hopes of landing some trout on a local river. The mid-week conditions where good -- normal flows, warming stream temps and a decent mayfly hatch. Nymphs, streamers and dries where all used and the only fish to hand were these native fallfish. These are aggressive little guys that go after your dry with reckless abandon.  Only saw a couple of trout rising and one 14" bow on a spin caster's stringer. Sometimes the trout gods "just say no".

Fat Bluegill on Woven Nymph
 On the other hand, the local ponds are heating up. No shortage of action with just about any fly tied on. This becomes a great way to fish all those flies you have tied and to work on different presentation techniques.  Granted, bluegills are not trout, are not very selective and really don't get spooked, but they do spit a fly so a good cast and tight retrieve can be practiced when fishing for these guys.

Colorful Bluegill on Parachute Adams
Small Bass on Micky Finn

Also had good luck with landing bass on both nymphs and streamers.  Even had a double hook-up with a bluegill on a Klinkhammer and a small bass on a Copper John dropper.

I started tying flies about 3 years ago and one of the first was a Micky Finn.  I rarely fish this, probably because it has never produced for me, but it did come through with this small bass on the first cast.

Ian's Streamer and a Simple Pheasant Tail

Ian's beadhead black and gold streamer (exchanged in a fly swap earlier this year) continues to produce. Ian sent me two of these in the swap and, since one was lost, I tied up a couple more. While at the vise, I also tied a very simple Pheasant Tail by Ben Turpin shown on the Fly & Fin blog. I used orange thread to add in a hotspot.

I posted some more pics on the Gin Clear Facebook page as well. Do me a favor and "Like" this page, if you haven't already. Once I reach 20 "Likes" it becomes official in eyes of Facebook.

Ian's Black & Gold Streamer lands this Bass
I've yet to land a trout in 2011, but am glad there are plenty of options for warm water alternatives in my backyard. Also discovered a native brook trout stream about 5 minutes from my house.  Hooked into a small brookie about a week ago but he was camera shy and got off before a picture could be taken.

And the Red Sox.... Vowed not to post again about them until they reached .500, but here is something to get excited about.  They just took two from the Yankees in the Bronx with Josh Beckett throwing a 6 inning, 4 hit shutout last night and bullpen only giving up three more hits with no runs to close out the game.

19-20, one game shy of .500 -- will this series with the Yanks be the Red Sox turning point this season?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Spin Caster vs. The Fly Fisher

My son and I packed up the canoe yesterday and visited one of the local ponds where they stock trout. He wanted to spin cast for bass and I wanted to fly fish for anything, although a nice trout would be fun.

I tied a bunch of new flies over the winter and he bought a bunch of new lures. He likes to fly fish also, but when Rapala's new Rappin' Clackin' Smackin' whatever lure is calling and the bass are getting active, it's hard to get him to bring the fly rod.
Bluegill on woven nymph
As we put the canoe in the water, we saw bait fish, a lot of midges and some mayflies. I tied on a woven nymph and he put on his Clackin' Rap. We put the canoe up wind and along a shallow bank and let it drift with the wind along the shoreline.

My first cast towards the bank yielded this nice bluegill.  His third cast yielded a 2 lb. bass that we were not prepared to net and it got off next to the canoe. As we continued to drift along the bank, I landed three more bluegills and he landed two more bass.

Largemouth on a Clackin' Something
Nice action for our first 15 minutes on the water.

We paddled up wind and start the same drift two more times with no luck. We moved to another section of the pond and the bite had slowed.

I tied on a Telephone Box Steamer which looked like the bait fish we saw earlier. He tried a couple of different lures and after about an hour, he got into a another nice bass and I landed a large bluegill.

Nice Largemouth

We continued to paddle up wind and drift through likely holding areas. We saw some nice fish rising, but the wind would have made floating a dry very tricky.

Large Bluegill on Telephone Box Streamer

As we headed back to the boat launch, the wind was dying down and many fish were rising in the shallows.  We headed to calm water and I tied on a size 14 Parachute Adams.

My son started to scare more fish with his noisy lure, but did hook into a nice pickerel.

I had a bunch of fishing rising to my fly, but no takers.  I was still hoping to find one of those stocked trout, but found a decent bass on the end of my line after a short and spirited fight.

So who won the fishing day, the Spin Caster or the Fly Fisher?

He got larger fish, but I landed more. We both landed two different species.
Pickerel on a noisy lure

He used two treble hooks on his lure and I used a single hook on a fly.  His lures where shiny, made funny clicking noises and wiggle like a fish in the water, mine slowly fall and rise as I vary the retrieve.

Is spin casting easier than fly fishing?

Probably, but it really is not a contest when we are both out enjoying the day and fishing together.
Largemouth on a Parachute Adams

I put down my spin caster last year and don't plan to go back, so now I'm challenged by my up-and-coming Kevin VanDam to fish side by side with those "other" fishing guys.

I can deal with it and enjoy it as well.

After all, Fishing is Fishing and a day on the water is always time well spent.