Monday, April 28, 2008

Paradise Found

This isn't so much a blog entry as it is a celebration. Closed on the house today! Can't wait to move in, but first we'll need to paint and clean and go out to Ohio for my daughters college graduation.

How about that?! Megan, my oldest, is graduating from Miami University in Ohio. The house is one thing, but it pales in comparison to Megan's big day. I could not be more proud of her and can't wait to be there when she gets her degree. She can tie flies, catch trout, and she's getting her degree.

What a resume! All she has to do is tell her prospective employer she can fish and tie flies and she's in!

If only it was that easy..........maybe she shouldn't mention the fishing stuff.

Life is good. Just do it with your eyes open.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kid Logic

After a trip to the Apple store with her dad, an 8 year-old girl called her mom to ask her if she would buy her an iPhone.

Mommy, can I get an iphone? I'll pay for some of it.

An iphone? No sweetie, we've talked about this. You are not getting a cell phone until you are ten.

But mom, it's not a cell phone, it's an iphone!

I understand, but it's still just a fancy cellphone.

Mommy, I want one. They can do all kinds of cool things.

No, sweetie, you are not getting an iphone.

But mom, if you know how to use something you should have it, otherwise why would you want to know how to use it?

I can see it now.........when she's 17 she's going to ask for a Mercedes. After all, she'll know how to drive one!

Life is good. Listen to your kids, and its also funny...........

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Therapeutic Communication

I'm too tired to go into the behavior of caddisflies, but here's what you need to do to catch trout right now consistantly. Late afternoon and into the evening, fish a subsurface caddis imitation. Not just any though, it should be size #16-18, dark gray, and have a bright green/chartreuse egg sac on the end of its abdomen.

Yes, all those caddis (the females) you see flitting about come back to lay their eggs by flying to rocks and logs that are partially submerged. They crawl down under the water and affix their eggs onto the downstream side of the object. Many of these flies get dislodged and washed into the water column, becoming easy prey for the trout. If you fish in the evening right now, check your waders after you are done, you will see a cluster of tiny, green balls on the downstream side of the legs. These are from the caddis that used your legs for ovipositing. Gross!

The trout will line up below submerged objects to feed on the egg-laden caddis that lose their grip. For the trout, this is one easy meal.

A simple, gray soft hackle fly is all you need to take advantage of this. Tie a small, bright green ball of dubbing on the end of the hook right at the top of the bend. Then dub a tapered body using a gray fur or other dubbing of your choice - I like to use Haretron because it has some sparkle in it. Finally, make two wraps with a gray hen body feather at the thorax, and tie off. I also like to tie a sparse wing on some using snowshoe rabbit foot hair or gray antron. Cast it alongside of and just below partially submerged logs and rocks letting it dead-drift like a nymph into the feeding lane below. I like to position myself so I am casting upstream and across. Be sure to fish it through the drift letting the current grab it as it swings below you so it rises to the surface from the line tension and current. Sometimes the trout will follow it and then grab it as it ascends to the surface.

It's a deadly technique and speaks of the importance of knowing the behavior of the insects the fish feed on as well as the trout that eat them.

Hope that's clear, I'm off to bed.

Life is good. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Harrassed No More

"A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg, even if you are half-cracked"

I think we're all half-cracked, but that's what makes this life so rich and interesting. No two cracks are alike.........

So I went fishing yesterday intending to back-harrass my harrassers. I got to the river and low and behold, there's one of the harrassers, Vinnie. Knee deep in the river, he turns to me and just starts cracking up, "You made it out! Somebody get the camera." It was a very funny moment, he usurped me by not only going fishing, but by knowing where I was could I call him when he was there?

There wasn't much of a hatch as we had gone directly from early spring into summer, with the temps in the low 80's. We fished a nice stretch of water and around 5:30 Vin had to head home. He had taken one brown to my zero.

I did see some chunky crayfish and freshwater lampreys in the crystal clear water. The crayfish are amazing in that stream. Their mottled, tobacco brown bodies contrasting wildly with their robust, robin's egg blue, claws. I think I spent as much time peering through the water at life on the other-worldly, rock and sand coated bottom of the river, as I did fishing.

After Vinnie left, I went up river and met a couple of friends I had arranged to meet earlier and we fished some more into dark. It was a beautiful evening, warm and calm. As the sun settled below the hills, the chorus of spring peepers echoed loudly through the valley. A moderate hatch of hendricksons and caddis came off the last couple of hours of light, bringing the trout to the surface. I had some shots at some nice fish, missed a couple, and landed one nice, fat brown trout of about 17 inches. I wasn't on my A game, preferring more to take in the smells and sounds of spring and talking with the others.

After that it was a late dinner with friends and family and a big, white bull dog named Titus. Titus could intimidate a grizzly, but he's gentle as a bunny....thank God.

Life is good. See you on the water.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


It happened again today. Phone rings. I answer....

Where are you? (The sound of running water in the background)
In my office.
Can you get out, the fish are just starting to rise? It's great, come on!
Crap. Can't do it. Lots of work and I have class tonight.
Oh, man, that sucks.
Then my harrassing friend shared his tales of success before signing off to fish some more.

A while later my phone rings again.

Matt? (It's another friend about to harrass me)
Can you get out of work? There's a great hatch coming off and the fish are rising.
Nope, I'm finishing a project and then I have class tonight.
Blow it off, dude! Get out here.
I'd love to, but it'll have to wait.
He tells me he's caught a couple of nice fish and we talk about the hatch and what flies he's using to get his fish, then he's off to the river again.

Now, is that harrassment, or what? I've always believed that cell phones had no place where one casts a fly. And this is further proof.

So what am I going to do about it? I'll go to my meeting in Princeton in the morning, have lunch, and then.......I'M GOING FISHING! Then, I'm going to call the guys that have called me, lay the phone down on an instream rock and let them hear ME fishing. I just may send them a phone pic or two.

Life is good. See you on the river.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Get Out and Fish!

Hopefully, if you're a fly fisherman, you can get out on a NJ or PA stream in the next couple of days. The weather is perfect and the Hendrickson hatch is peaking. The last couple of days I've received frantic phone calls from fishing friends that were on stream and nailing fish on top, telling me to ditch the office and join them. Between work and buying a home, that just isn't possible.

The hot flies have been Lawson's No-Hackle, Loop-winged emergers, Red Quills and CDC emergers. Late in the day a dark rusty or brown/black spinner will continue to take fish that have switched to the imagoes. In the morning and early afternoon, fish a dark Hare's Ear nymph, as the nymphs are very active in the water column as they prepare to hatch. The hatch has been starting between 2 and 3PM.

I'm heading into the city now. Let me know how you do.

Life is good. Go fish!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The F-stop Blues?

That last post wasn’t as random as you may have thought. I wanted it to stand on its own for a day or so. Kind of let it sink in before I elaborated on what it triggered in my gray matter.

On my way home last night from the Trout Unlimited meeting in Princeton, I was listening to that song and its richness struck me. That song is 40 years old and it still holds its own, both metaphorically and musically.

Compared to most of today’s music, which is over-processed and lacking in nutrients and flavor like a lot of what we eat, much of the music of 30 and 40 years ago is layered, textured and unpretentious. It is timeless, and I imagine I’ll still enjoy listening to it when I’m old and ornery as I struggle to tie flies with arthritic digits. Whereas, although I do like a lot of what I hear today, much of it gets tedious and stale - it lacks the kind of depth that makes one want to keep coming back to fish it again and again.

Give it a listen. In fact, crank it and you'll see what I mean. Or you won't.

Life is good. Just do it with your eyes open.

The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

If you see something that looks like a star
And it's shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can't escape from the sound
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys
And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound
Of the low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn't make any noise
But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest
Was the low spark of high-heeled boys

If you had just a minute to breathe
And they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance
Or something similar as this
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you
As sure as your sorrows or joys
And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound
Of the low spark of high-heeled boys.

The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn't make any noise
But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest
Was the low spark of high-heeled boys

If I gave you everything that I owned
And asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you
Or take me for a ride
And strip me of everything, including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys
And the sound that I'm hearing is only the sound
Of the low spark of high-heeled boys.....Heeled boys

Traffic -

Life is good. Peace.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So I'm watching the men's college championship game between Kansas and Memphis last night and at the end of regulation, the game was tied. The announcer says that Kansas should have the edge in overtime because they have played an ovetime championship game and Memphis has not. He added that the overtime championship game Kansas played went into triple overtime, and was played in 1957.

Brilliant..........someone should tell this guy none of the kids playing in the game were even born then and their coach was in diapers.

There's nothing like having an edge as an embryo.........

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April 5 - Opening Day New Jersey

After taking care of a few errands and making a stop at Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon, I managed to get in a little of fishing.

Karen and I grabbed a couple of those awesome burgers at Rambo's and then made our way to a nice spot on the South Branch of the Raritan River. We sat on a couple of streamside rocks and had lunch in the sun while squadrons of chimarra caddis flew all around us. It was a fairly good hatch, although no trout were taking the flies on top. After eating, I went to the car and got my rod and tackle. I just wanted to wet a line and it didn't seem like much was happening, so I didn't bother putting on waders.

I didn't rig up at the car, instead I went back to where Karen was to do that, and boy was that a kick! As soon as I started to rig up, Karen started with the questions. One after another......."Is that the tippet? And if that's the tippet, what's this? (the line) What are you using? Is the hook sharp? You always talk about how important a sharp hook is, but I didn't see you sharpen it. (let me get it tied on first, you nut) Is the fly dark enough? What is it called? (a blue bitch, it's a streamer type fly) ............before you know it, we were laughing like idiots because she was so fascinated she didn't give me enough time to answer one question before she asked the next.

Here she is on a streamside rock, she's a riot.....we laughed more than we fished. So once I got rigged and answered all of Karen's questions, I fished a couple of runs half-heartedly. It was just nice to be out and wetting a line. I was surprised that although we saw anglers on our way to this spot, we couldn't see any up or down stream of where we fished. And that's what I did, I fished and did not catch. I even fished a dry for while just to see if I could coax a trout up from the clear, cool depths.

So that's my opening day report. I know, not very exciting, but we had fun and then last night we went out with a bunch of friends and some family, and had more fun. Too bad UNC lost, should be a great champoinship game though!

Life is good. Just do it with your eyes open, and be sure you have someone you can laugh with.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Truncated Communication

So I was getting coffee this morning and this middle-aged JCP&L wire jumper guy walks in to get cigarettes, and here's the conversation at the counter.......

"Yo, pack of Camel lights."


" Nuttin, dude."


"Have a good one."


See that? Further proof that society still knows how to interact in public despite what you hear about tv, computers and cellphones reducing our ability to communicate on a personal level.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coming soon - Ephemerella subvaria

The Hendrickson nymphs we seined from the South Branch two weeks ago were nearly mature. For those of you wondering how we would know that - there are two primary indicators: the size of the nymphs; and the almost black, fully developed wing cases. Nature also provides us with clues, such as tree buds (the buds on sugar maple trees will be about the size of a peanut, and the pussy willows will have sprouted their fuzzy buds), forsythia and daffodil flowers pop open, and the spring peepers will be in full chorus at night just before the hatch begins.

What they are waiting for now is several days with water temperatures in the low 50's during the day. Looking at the indicators and the forecast, we should see the hendricksons begin hatching by early next week. By the following weekend it should be around peak on many of our north central rivers.

This is one of our best hatches, so be prepared and get out if you can, preferrably during the week as the weekends can be like rush hour on a lot of streams during in-season stocking.

In the meantime, there have been good hatches of Little brown and black Stoneflies and Blue-wing Olives on many streams. Where they occur, the Quill Gordons and Blue Quills are hatching now as well on NJ rivers. Keep in mind, the Big Flatbrook River is an exception and generally the hatches occur 1-2 weeks later than the Pequest, Musky or South Branch.

Life is good. Go fish!