Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be full of good cheer, good friends and good food.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sometimes it's about the journey.

A recent day found the stars aligned and I was able to make the short ride to the Farmington River for some fishing. Blue skies, no winds and temperatures warm enough to make the fishing enjoyable.

This was my first trip out since breaking my leg 6 weeks ago and I was, to say the least, very tentative as I waded around. The mild day found many other anglers on the water so, as I am prone to doing, I wandered around, looking for waters left alone by others. I wanted to fish, I wanted to not worry about splashing to much if I stumbled in the water and I wanted to reflect. Today, there were no fish brought to net and no fish porn images will make there way to this entry - mostly because I did not catch any and had forgotten to recharge the camera battery. Even though I have been cleared by the doctor to get back into action 100%, with the warning of " Just don't be stupid", I tied the boots extra tight, made sure not to forget the polarized lenses and stepped gingerly over every rock I encountered.

Perhaps I was paying to much attention to where I stepped and not enough to the stretches of water I fished. I went to a couple of "go to" locations as it's been about 2 months since I had a bend in the rod. Everything looked right, my knots were tight, my sighter was coiled and I felt good. Or did I?

As much as I was right where I wanted to be, at that moment, I felt overwhelmingly preoccupied.

The thought of 20 small children and 6 brave adults continued to waft in and out of my mind. As a Connecticut resident and father of 2 young boys, the tragic circumstances of 12/14/12 have left a deeper wound than all similar acts of the past. Like many, I have spent time trying to make sense of what has happened and, like many, I cannot.

So this day, as I stand knee deep in cold waters, I am not disheartened by the absence of fish as I now they are still in the water. I am saddened by the lose of 26 individuals and the burden that will now be carried by their loved ones. May these young children, now resting, look after their parents and siblings and may we not forget those lost on this very sad December morning.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving and a great year of fishing.

I am not sure if it's a function of aging, maturity, sentimentality or a bit of each as I find myself taking stock of what I am thankful for this past year. It would be very easy to be somewhat cliche and state the obvious, being thankful for my family, health and good friends however, given the state of, well, everything, these last few years, my thanks are much more direct.

I am fortunate to have my job, in a time when way to many people are unemployed or under-employed.   I appreciate the fact that my children want for nothing. I don't mean this is lavish or spoiled sense rather, if they have a need, we are able to provide for that need. Each night, after putting them to bed, I walk out of their rooms thankful for flannel sheets and heating oil as they drift into slumber. I am thankful that some of my most difficult decisions in 2012 have been trying to decide what water to fish or which rods to take out on any given trip to the water. I have not been faced with the dilemma of which bill gets paid this month and which one goes past due.

I have had the good fortune to love and be loved, unconditionally, by my wife, a very tolerant women, 2 amazing young sons and 2 ridiculously crazy labradors.

I am thankful for the amazing places that I fished in 2012. The Farmington, Housatonic, Delaware, Battenkill, Umbagog, Androscoggin. Single words, places that I am grateful to have the opportunity to visit.
A wild Battenkill brown
This year also provided an opportunity to fish with a good friend who, sadly, I do not get to hang out with nearly enough these days. I keep telling him and his wife that Connecticut isn't really much different than New Hampshire and there are 2 houses in my neighborhood, for sale, that they would love. Strangely, they aren't buying what I'm selling. Having spent almost 10 years living in New Hampshire, I can't say as I blame them.

I also spent a little more time on the water with my boys, hoping that the bug will bite them as it has me. Who knew the pride and joy that you could feel watching your boys hook and land fish on their own.

Bear's Farmy brown
I am thankful for some time spent alone, on the water. Alone without a single thought passing through my semi-cluttered head. Alone with only the sound of rushing water and the occasional curse word that resulted from a missed take.

Umbagog sunset
As this holiday approaches, take a moment to sit back and consider what you are truly thankful for and how fortunate we really are each day. To those of you who come across this post, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and, should you sneak out and fish this weekend, tightlines!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Missing in Action

Not quite a month ago, I sat and typed an entry to the blog. While not fishing related, I did not envision this entry being the last entry that would appear for almost 30 days. Sadly, I have not done any fishing over this same period of time and it's amazing how life gets moving and you have a tough time finding the opportunity to do things you enjoy.

In the midst of all the normal activities that take place in one's life, somewhere along the line, I managed to break my leg. The initial prognosis, form the ER docs, was not good and I was starting to come to grips with the possibility of spending the next 3 months in a cast. Fortunately, my visit to the Orthopedic specialist softened my worry and the official diagnosis was much less severe. While still having broken a bone, I was lucky enough to have not broken the weight bearing bone, the tibia. Rather, I have a break of the fibula, at the top, by the knee.

Most of the discomfort comes from the connective tissue that aids with stabilizing the knee. I guess this mechanism was not made to bear the weight of multiple pieces of sheet rock. So when the secondary diagnosis was made, I nearly leapt of the table as I was told that no cast would be needed and I would be able to wean myself from the crutches over the next 10 days or so. The break will require somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 weeks for initial healing - that I can deal with. In the meantime, I get my fill reading stories of other anglers pursuit of chrome on distant waters, enjoying images of a freshly cooked venison from a recent hunt and looking at pictures of local browns caught by a friend while roll casting from the banks. Hmmmm, roll casting from the banks...I think I see some possibilities brewing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Through my recent travels, I have often found myself wondering what has happened to the simple pleasantries of a good hand shake, the idea of looking someone in the eye when you speak with them and the concept of eating a meal without being buried in a phone or computer.

I am most disheartened by the disappearance of the handshake. Don't get me wrong, the handshake is still widely in use however, what passes for a handshake is what concerns me most. My wife looked at me, with that odd look only a wife can give, a couple years back when I started to show my boys how to shake hands. I continue to reinforce this concept to them every chance I get. This greeting should be firm yet not overbearing, it's not a contest of strength. However, I believe a proper grip can tell you a lot about a person and, conversely, a soft shake reveals the same. During this exchange, eye contact is necessary. Look the person in the eye, don't be distracted or let your gaze flounder. I am so tired of soft, weak handshakes with people whose hands tell me they have never done their own yard work. I have much more respect for a calloused hand.

Again, show some respect to others when they are speaking to you and look at them. All to often, I have sat in meetings and been speaking to a particular person only to have them bury their head in their IPad, charts, graphs or notebook. Hey, I'm over here...you may be much better at multi-tasking however, I took them time to prepare, you should take the time to look at me while we meet and, at least, let me think you are listening.

When I travel, I am a creature of habit. I stay at the same hotels, drive the same routes and usually order room service for breakfast and dinner. Recently, I have taken to going out, alone, for these meals and I am amazed at how many solo diners are buried in a computer of spend the entire length of a meal talking on the phone. What's happened to being able to sit down for dinner and savor a nice glass of Cabernet at the end of a long day? Aside from the fact that I think it's just downright rude to be on the phone in a restaurant, don't you want to enjoy that meal? Are you really able to taste what you are consuming or are you simply eating out of pure necessity?

As a society, we owe much to progress however, I put the cell phone, smart phone, IPhone or tablet into a different category. There are some real benefits to these devices however, the drawbacks outweigh the good. Is conversation becoming a lost art? Handwriting? Love letters? Birthday cards? The list is really endless when you begin to think of all that is changing as a result of "progress".

What else will be gained or lost as we continue to move forward?

Friday, October 19, 2012

In the downpour.

For the longest time, to me, a beautiful day was sunny skies and moderate temperatures. While I enjoy the colder months, at the end of the day, I could really do without them and I would rather live out my days in fall like weather.

Recently, I have been reconsidering what really constitutes a beautiful day. Today allowed me to look at beauty in an entirely different light or, in this case, fog. Due to events beyond my control, work, kids, travel, work, more work - see the pattern?? - I have not been on the water much in the last 3 weeks. Waking this morning to a steady downpour, I decided this would be the morning to get on the board for October. Throwing on my Simms G3 jacket, I grabbed two rigs and headed out the door. While I prefer fishing in the basking warmth of sunshine, I have to say I cannot recall a day that I have enjoyed more than today. Fishing was consistent, not great but steady. The rainfall varied from a gentle mist to all out downpours. There was something eerily calming about the rain coming down around me and the beads of water that dropped from the brow of my ball cap.

It was nice to see the water levels creeping back up to more respectable levels and I began nymphing a run that was again flowing well. This run produced Rainbows that keyed in on the large bottom bouncing green caddis anchor that was rolling deep.

After nymphing for a bit, I decided to chuck some streamers for a bit. I was successful in drawing some fish out to play but not as fortunate to actually hook one. At any rate, it's good to know where the fish are holding. However, I believe that my streamer techniques need some work. I wandered a few hundred yards around the bend to another run I had not fished before today. A couple drifts and a brown found its way to the net.

This is where things began to get a little interesting. This run continued to give up some cookie cutter browns and I continued to take what was offered. Three steps upriver, that's all it took and I was into a brown of epic proportions. This fish put a bend in my rod like no other fish I have ever been into on the Farmington or elsewhere for that matter. Let's just say I proceeded to handle this fish like Tony Romo handles the football when the game is on the line...I lost it.

Rather than try to horse this fish in and get him over my net, I let him make a couple runs and tried to finesse this guy to the side of the river. I managed to bring him about 5ft from me and got a glimpse of the leviathan that I was certain was going to gracing the blog. The only thing I managed to snap was the knot in my anchor as he was now gone. I'm not really one to cry or curse over a lost fish however, I made an exception in this case...no curses just some out loud ranting about my poor attempt to land this one. I gathered myself, wiped the tears, I mean raindrops, from my eyes and moved a few yards further upstream. Here I was able to witness another brown, 18"+ that completely breached the water 4 times. Knowing that my efforts would be futile, I enjoyed the show rather than cast to this jumper.

Today was also the first day that I was able to give me Simms G3 jacket a real workout. I'm not partial to any particular brand, I like what I like and I like items that are well made. I looked like a Simms mannequin today...G3 jacket, waders and Rivertek boots, all of which I would strongly recommend to anyone looking for quality. The boots are about to hit their 1 year anniversary and they have been fantastic. I have fished full days, bush-whacking from spot to spot, and never felt worn out or tired. The boa lacing system is, in my opinion, the best thing since slice bread. Easy to tighten and even easier to get out of at the end of the day.

River-tek, check em out
The G3 jacket provided comfort from the rain and I was able to carry 2 fly boxes, a camera and some other assorted tools very easily. The fit is just right and I especially like the velcro cuffs as they kept the rain and water out.
G3 - stood up to some solid downpours
I purchased a second pair of Simms waders for my birthday this summer and recently sent my original pair back to Bozeman for some repairs. A truly seamless and simple process from mailing to estimate to return. All by email and in a timely fashion, what more can you ask for. This was my second experience with Simms customer service and I was, once again, very satisfied. It's nice to be able to support an American made product and company who seems to have their act together.

Looks like some sunshine and moderate temps early next week...get out here and fish!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Slow but steady

As I continue to clear off the dust that gathered on the nymphing rig due to a summer of re-aquainting myself with dry flies, I find that I need to dust of my seemingly diminished skills as well.

Recently, I had a short window to hit the water and decided to venture to spots along the Farmington that I had only driven by in the past. There are days when I just need a fix and head to areas that I know to be productive. However, this was a day where I wanted to test myself.  Overall, the fishing was a bit tough. Each of the areas I hit was productive but not to the degree that I really would have expected. Early on, the fishing was about missed bumps and finding a groove. Once I was into fish, they seemed to be mostly cookie cutter browns on the 12-14" range.

the leaf hatch is in full effect already

Fish took tiny Strolis DT nymph or a tiny Bead Head Prince. After awhile, it all came back and, once I remembered to look for over-hanging trees before I cast in a new area, I was back in steady action. Once again, the best fish of the trip came from some medium speed skinny water. This spot was new to me and the area that looked to be productive was a short run that you would take no more than 5 to 10 minutes to work. As I worked from the bottom up, I cast into a shallow area and my sighter was very close to the surface. The sighter was so close, I could see the flash of a nice size fish slide from his holding spot to take my fly. By far, the best bend of the day as we battled for a moment and brought this beauty to net.

I am still amazed at the fish that sometimes come from such a small amount of water and the tiny size morsel they are after as they move for a crumb of a fly.

I ended this quick foray with a little dry fly action to a pool of sipping browns whose sole purpose was to torture me and possibly make me go blind. I threw everything at these few fish, who were not put down by my continued casting. I started looking around the water nearest me and could not see anything buggy floating nearby. So I followed my new dry fly philosophy - when all else fails, go small. Now my hands aren't mitts by any means but even I had a hard time with the little sz 24 BWO emerger that I tied onto the end of my line. First cast, missed the immediate take. Second cast and I was right on this guy. Frankly, I was hoping this would be a larger fish as the sipping was slow, deliberate and gave the appearance of a larger fish. Not today...

the source of my angst
All in all, a nice, short run to end the day. Excited by all the rain currently coming down and the prospect of the fall stocking.

Tight lines...

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Yesterday morning brought the promise of a new day. After a great practice on Friday night, I was confident my soccer team would would be a bit more competitive than previous weeks games...we were, we only lost 6-1, which is better than the 2 prior games as they were shutouts. I don't mind the kids losing the game as I really believe the activity should be more about learning and fun at this age. What I do mind is when the kids give up on themselves. Getting drubbed 3 weeks in a row will do that to you...it did it to me. I was in a fairly foul mood after our game and, after a lazy afternoon, turned to the water for relief.

Again, everything looked promising as I pulled into a favorite spot for some dry fly therapy. An empty stretch, higher water than in recent weeks and bugs in the air. Perhaps I should have taken notice that there were virtually no rising fish. Oh well, let's do some prospecting. After all, doesn't the Farmington have something line 3000 or 4000 fish per mile?

The bugs that were around were tiny, so I decided to tie on a larger attractor and cast blind to on the foam lines and to other areas that looked good. Let's blame the rust that had built up on my reflexes for not having been on the water in almost 4 weeks as I missed takes for about an hour. Fish were not actively rising however, they did make themselves known if the meal looked attractive enough for their effort. I walked up an down this pool for quite awhile and could not buy a hook set. As it was about 40 minutes from dark, I decided to walk downstream and cast to the tail of some slightly faster water.

It was in this location that I had my Captain Ahab moment ( hour really ). I noticed a couple of fish steadily rising to the far bank near a protruding tree limb. I cast to this location for the better part of 45 minutes, missing take after take. I truly thought I would have put these fish down after the first few misses however, they must have been very confident in my lack of ability at that moment as they kept rising and refusing my offerings. Rather than walk away, I let the Irish in me prevail and I stayed and tortured myself. All things considered, it could have been worse. This was a good opportunity to practice casting to a tight area and working on good drifts. Once I decided to move upstream, things went from bad to wet. I locked my ankle between a couple good rocks and was in water over my waders before I knew it. I regained my balance, after a course of obscenities and began to walk again only to take another header that was just as deep as the first. Soaked, I had to laugh at the mojo of the day being totally off and, as I took stock of the situation, decided to call it a day before I tempted fate one to many times.

For me, this is one of the many joys of fishing. No matter how slow the fishing or how bad the tumble, I have never walked back to my car in a worse frame of mind than when I began my journey.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Sadly, another prolonged absence from one of the things that helps keep me sane and grounded. The Weary Angler has been just that lately...weary. Crazy amounts of work travel, coaching soccer and countless projects around the house and yard are keeping me from the water. I guess the low flows haven't made me feel to bad as I have only been out once in the last 3 weeks.

What's new you may or may not ask...

getting there...
almost done...
Yep, I broke my own rule of, no more than one large project per year. I don't like owing anyone anything, especially money. In this case, the fellow that finished our basement gave me such a great price to do a master bathroom / walk in closet addition that I would have been crazy to walk away from the project. My only contribution, aside from writing the checks, has been to paint the exterior of the new space. Not sure what I was thinking. I should have just spent the little bit more to have someone paint the damn thing but no, frugality got the best of me. The outside of the project is now complete and we are beginning to tackle the interior...fun fun fun.

Fishing, what fishing? When you have piles of cut tree trunks stacked in various spots of your back yard, from a storm that occurred about a year ago, you need to find the time to split that would.

but a small sampling of what has been split.
This pile is over 6ft high and, easily 10 feet wide and will double in size before I'm done. Fishing you say...maybe soon. Last year's surprise storm left me with what will likely be in the neighborhood of 8-10 cords of wood once it's all split. With oil over $4 per gallon, I wish I had split more of this wood sooner to allow it to dry out so I could burn this year...oh well.

Some much needed rain recently has stirred up the bug that might get me to the river one of these early mornings. I've been living vicariously through the blogs of others who have been fortunate to fish and share some great stories and images. Until the next fish porn post...Tight lines.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Driving down I95, I was headed to an appointment in Cranston RI. I had been listening to the Howard Stern Show when the first comments were made about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. Initial reports seemed to indicate that a small plane, perhaps a Cessna, had crashed into WTC, building 2.  For whatever reason, I did not change the station , thinking that this was an unfortunate situation, not an act that was going to change the face of our being for years, perhaps generations, to come.

Normally, a completely irreverant man, Howard Stern took on a very serious tone as this situation developed of the course of the early morning. I was just south of Providence when the gravity of the situation began to hit me. Still, having grown up not knowing an attack on US soil, or even a war that the United States was involved in, I thought this was a tragedy but not to the degree that was unfolding.

At some point during the car ride, I called my wife, at her office, and told her to get to a television. I decided to turn around and head home, foregoing the day's plans. Like most American's, I spent the remainder of the day and the next couple of days, glued to the television set.

For the next 10 years, I made it a point to not schedule travel to New York on September 11th. Not out of fear but rather respect. Respect for those whow ould be coming into the city for memorial services that will continue for years to come.

Today, I find myself working in New York. I purposely scheduled appointments that would keep me out of Manhattan. However, as I drove to my second appointment, in Bayside Queens, I was taken on a path that provided a direct view of the new World Trade Center Tower out my driver's side window. I could not help but think of that day and all of the people who were, and still are, affected by this infamous day.

I do not directly know anyone who lost their life that day. I do however think of Ray Metz every 9/11. Ray was a friend of my brother's and he left behind a wife and 2 young girls. Undoubtedly, Ray went to work oblivious to the what the day had in store. I had met Ray a few times at various family functions at my brother's place. I can recall seeing his daughters playing with my niece's. One can only hope his and all of the families impacted will, one day, find peace.

Photo credit: Dan Lynch

Where were you? So we may always remember.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Smoke & Mirrors

In the course of my days, I travel near and far, meeting with people from all social strata and walks of life. Many years ago, I made a conscious decision that I would keep my religious and political opinions to myself. I don't believe these to be good topics for anyone other than family or friends.

During the course of my travels today, I found myself visiting an account owned by someone who has become a good friend of mine over the years. I was not far from home and, as he was fairly busy, I had to wait for a bit. Mike's store was full of people who were looking to sell their gold and silver. For those of you who have missed the billboards and signs promising " the highest prices paid", precious metals prices have been skyrocketing for the last 24 months. For a solid hour, I people watched. Young men selling their gold bracelets, the executor of an estate looking to turn a deceased person's heirlooms into cash and, an elderly couple selling their silver flatware. This bothered me most of all.

This is a scene that has been playing out all over the country for the past several years. I will paint the remainder of my thoughts with a broad brush as I don't believe my concerns to be a Party issue, rather, a deep seeded concern for my future and that of my children.

Our society has not recovered. To many small towns and back road places continue to struggle and these same places appear to be important only when they serve a political purpose. I watched and listened to people selling heirlooms in order to support themselves. This day to day existence is not a punch line for a political speech, a lightning rod to rally constituents around. This is the life for far to many people living in our country today.

Many of my personal beliefs are rooted in eras long gone. I am an old fashioned gent in a young man's body. I believe you should open the car door for your wife. I believe in hard work and persistence. I believe that it is my responsibility to provide for my family. I believe that kids should settle differences in the school yard, after the bell rings. I believe that at the end of the day, your quality of life should not come down to selling what you cherish to make end's meet. I am frustrated. Frustrated and concerned for the future. As a whole, we are not better off than we were four years ago. I don't believe this is something for which one person can be held accountable. Perhaps I worry to much? Yes, I do worry - the worry of a father with young boys, the worry of a 20 year mortgage, and yes, the worry of to little water in my favorite river. I worry that I will shortly be reading an obituary for the Middle Class. I worry that the political divides in our country will continue to grow and the path toward renewed greatness will move further into the horizon.

I wonder if introspection is also something that comes to you as you age. Maybe it's not the age but the children. Whatever it is, it helps me stay grounded, appreciative and thankful for what I have been given and earned.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shallow Waters

Supposedly derived from the Abenaki word for shallow waters, we returned to Umbagog Lake for the first time in almost 10 years. On prior trips, my wife and I stayed at one of the remote campsites managed by the Parks Department for the State of New Hampshire. This trip, we decided to rent a house on the lake and enjoy the additional amenities not afforded to those at the remote sites...not that I missed the pit toilet.

Nowadays, I often find that places change so frequently that they seem to have a different flavor each time I return. I was very pleased to see that the lake and its surroundings had not changed, at all, since my last visit.

We arrived at our rental house late Saturday afternoon and I must say, I was blown away. Having booked hotels or houses in the past, somehow the images of the places always look better online. This house blew away my expectations and in no way did the images do justice to the actual home.

back yard
As the boys and I were a bit anxious to unpack the most important gear first, our fishing rods, I climbed on to of the tire, threw open the cargo carrier and tossed the gear to my two willing helpers. We immediately headed down to the dock and I tied on some Rooster Tails for the boys to toss into the lake. No joke, my oldest's first cast and he was into a beauty.

First cast and Fish On...
Sadly, I must admit that I did not remove a fly rod from the comfort of its tube the entire trip. Spin rods ended up being the order of the day. While I really wanted to sneak away and locate some quality North Wood's riffles and cast for a few hours in solitude, I decided that the looks on my boy's faces as they nailed fish after fish was something I could not miss out on this trip. We had rented a small motor boat from the homeowners and trying to manage 3 or 4 people spin fishing simultaneously was challenge enough.

just the right size
A trip to local outpost, L.L. Cote, in Errol NH, provided us the opportunity to stock up on lures for the week. The gentleman working the fishing department took plenty of time to explain the various lures and show us what was reported as being hot in recent days. As I snuck out with a bag of lures, that required me to hide the bill from my wife, the boys were giddy with excitement to use lures they had chosen for themselves.

Days were spent fishing, hiking, fishing, swimming, fishing, boating, fishing and fishing. Did I mention that we managed to sneak in some fishing during the week. After a few days, my better half even got into the action and landed a few on her own. My youngest took home the prize for the 2 largest fish of the week. When I fish with the boys, if they hook up, they are one their own. It's their job to reel in their catch - how else ya gonna learn? So Nate lays into a decent fish and his little spin rod is bending to a point that am I not sure how it survived and yet, I resisted the urge to help him reel in his prize. I played net man and coach as I instructed him how to get the fish nearer to us and in range of my net. I'll let the picture finish the story.

As it was only our second day, Bear was not ready to hold the fish for his money shot, that took a few more days...we continued to fish for the remainder of the week and caught more than I could count...

Toothy bastard
a nice fight
warmed up to bigger fish and lookin' the part
need to work on the fish handling skills a bit :)
The Great North Woods remains on of my favorite places. The ability to hop of the grid, not have a cell phone signal and really, not see many other people for a week was just what the doctor ordered.

I have had the good fortune to travel to many places across the globe and have yet to find a sunset that can rival Umbagog.
amazing colors
photo credit: Vaggie
As we have now decided to make this an annual trip, I can only hope that the change that permeates our lives continues to bypass these shallow waters. Special thanks to Bob and Donna Folsom, the kind folks who allowed our kids the run of their beautiful rental home.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One turning 1

Wow, I almost missed the day. I knew that I started this project about a year ago and only realized over the weekend that August 16th would mark 1 year of The Weary Angler.

Looking back over some of the entries, especially the early ones, before I had any direction, I am reminded of so many other events that occurred over this time period. I was never much of a journal person growing up and didn't often write stuff down. I guess I've found it much easier to sit in my office, at home, and take some time to reflect on things I choose to blog about on a regular basis.

I thank all of you who have stopped by and to those of have commented on posts over this past year. I'm starting to consider what I would like to blog to become as I enter year 2. With the low water and warm temperatures of late, I haven't had much of an opportunity to fish as is evidenced by the lack of entries. I have however, had many thoughts that might have made for some good reading had I decided to sit down at whack away at the keyboard.

I've decided these next 12 months will be about everything and anything. Whatever strikes me at any given time may become fodder for the blog. Fishing will still remain a primary focus however, I hope to incorporate more gear reviews, travel stories, family exploits and commentary on daily life.

So, thanks again for stopping by and I hope you continue to visit and enjoy the trials and tribulations of The Weary Angler.

 ~ Steve ~

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In need of some rain.

Having spent the weekend reacquianting myself with my log splitter, I decided to make the 5am run to the river before heading off on a 2 day work trip. I was optimistic when I walked out the front door and was greeted by a cool crisp pre-dawn morning.

Having not even passed the river in over a week, my optimism quickly faded as I was blown away by the water levels in some of my favorites spots. I opted for some of the deepest water I could find and sporadic rises greeted me as I entered the water. I thought I saw some Tricos and, based on the very subtle sipping that was going on, I tied on a sz 20 Trico to my 7x leader and proceeded to miss the first bunch of takes that came my way.

At this point, it's only about 6:30 and the water temperature was reading 64 degrees. The rises seemed to slow down dramatically and I decided to change to a larger prospecting fly as I worked my way back down stream toward my car.

I managed a couple of browns around 16" and, as I was removing the fly from the first one, I noticed that the fish appeared to feel warm. I decided to skip the photo op and get this guy back in the water as quickly as possible. I laid into the second brown pretty quickly thereafter and it was at that point that I just didn't feel like it was prudent to continue fishing so, I soaked in the cool and quiet of this fine morning and enjoyed the walk back to the car. I hope everyone out there exercises some smarts as they are out and about!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...

After a week away, I was itching to be standing, knee, deep, in some water. Given the current water levels, finding knee deep water isn't easy with many of my usual haunts running very low. I got the grill going at home a little earlier than usual and, after an early dinner, I was on the water by 6:00. I was surprised to see this stretch of water devoid of any other anglers. The bank offers some deeper water that was, no doubt, a little cooler that other areas.

Sign # 1 - most nights in this area and the rises are steady and there are enough willing playmates to make the evening very enjoyable. The recent rains and funky weather seem to have put the bugs off a bit. While there were risers, there was no detectable pattern and I was left to do a lot of prospecting. Whatever the fish were taking was microscopic and I just didn't have it in me to tie on anything smaller than a sz 18. So I went to the next best thing and tied up a big ol' ant with an orange indicator. This got me into some fish fairly quickly but it was still a weird evening.

a bunch of these fell to the ant

Sign # 2 - after moving around this pool, plus or minus 150 yards in either direction, a beaver comes out of nowhere and starts cruising the pool. I've run into beavers before and, most often, they seem to have a purpose to them and swim on by and get on with their business so I can get on with my casting. Not this time and not this beaver. He, I'm assuming the sex, starts swimming up and back pretty close to my position and, at this point, I figure it best for me to retreat to the comfort of the bank and perhaps that will diffuse the situation.
where's Bill Murray when you need him?
I began my walk to shore, backwards and mindful of said beaver only to become a bit alarmed when he ramps up the speed and makes a beeline for me. All bets off and I am scrambling fast for the comfort of an elevated bank.

I wait it out for a few as it was getting to a point where moving to a completely different stretch of water was out of the question as dusk was fading. After a solid 20 minutes, my friend decides he has had enough and swims downstream not to be seen again.

Sign # 3 -  I wade back into position and am immediately the target of a couple of massive dragon fly. Again, I been buzzed before but you would think I doused myself in dragon fly pheromones given the attention being paid to me. However, I ignored this sign as well and took up position.

Now, I know I'll have a hard time seeing anything so I decide to tie on a beautiful Wulff, around a size 6?, that I purchased from Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Maine. Great shop and I make it a point to visit every trip to Maine. This fly is truly a work of art - buggy, nicely sized and proportioned and just aching to become a meal to an unwitting brownie. After a couple tosses, to an area where I last saw rises before the moon rose, a strike! I worked the last brown of the evening to net and decided to call it a night. Happily, there were no more bizarre happenings this night and I made uneventful trip back home, all the while planning my next outing.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You don't know what you have 'til it's gone.

Fortunately, this title is not as morbid as it may first appear.

We lived in New Hampshire for about 10 years, mostly on the Seacoast and a couple of years on the Vermont border in a tiny town better suited to the Witness Protection Program than a family with infants. Our home on the Seacoast allowed us to be at the beach in 20 minutes and the mountains in about 90 minutes. We were spoiled. I've said it before, as much as I was born and raised in CT, New Hampshire is home and I feel like I am currently living in CT until the time is right to be back in NH.

We decided to take a rather convoluted path to our final destination to avoid the highways and the traffic that comes with summer weekends. We wound our way up 91, and hopped off just over the MA / VT border and began our trek across NH. Just outside of Keene, NH we began to see hot air balloons filling the sky. It was a beautiful evening and I imagine their view was spectacular. As we were about to round a bend, an oncoming car flashed their head lights and I instinctively slowed down as I expected a New Hampshire trooper to be waiting around the corner. Surprising, I was not greeted by the flashing lights of a speed trap. Instead, a hot air balloon had made an emergency landing just off the road...literally.
Luck of the Irish for a safe landing?
Our first week of vacation was spent in one of my wife's favorite haunts - Perkins Cove, Ogunquit Maine. We've rented the same house the last 5 years and I'm not sure who looks forward to this trip more, my wife or the boys. When we lived on the Seacoast, we lived about 30 minutes from Perkins Cove and made the trip numerous times each year, preferably when the tourists were not around. This trip has fallen into a bit of a routine - beach, pool, eat out, visit friends and buy Taffy - we'll get back to the Taffy later.

If you find yourself in "The Cove", I highly suggest Amore Cafe for breakfast. One of the week's specials was Irish Eggs Benedict, so good, I had them 4 days straight. I compliment Cafe Amore for a string on great morning meals and a wonderful wait staff. I thought, as we sat each morning, what a tough job they have to do. Waiting tables is tough enough and adding in the element of tourists makes it that much more difficult. Kudos to your staff for being up beat, polite and on top of their game!

Amore Breakfast - Shore Road
Breakfast was followed by trips to the beach or walks on Marginal Way, a winding footpath that hugs the coastline. At the right time, you can hope off the path and explore the rock formations and pools left behind by the outgoing tide.
tough to make us out climbing this rock
a moment of quiet
this gull let me get closer than I thought I could
D's favorite boat, the Sarabeth
While Maine isn't know for its beaches, the sands in Ogunquit are a gem. The beach has some unique geography as there is tidal river on the "back" side of the peninsula that provides warmer water temps than the sands directly on the Atlantic. At low tide, the receding waters leave pools that warm in the sun's rays and these provide a welcome respite from the shocking ocean waters. Low tide also provides a fun opportunity to looks for crabs. Having forgotten my net this year, this task was a little more challenging however, we still managed a bunch.

Mom and baby, all crabs were released, unharmed.
low tide
One overcast and drizzly day gave way to a road trip to the largest trolley museum in the country in Kennebunkport. The gentlemen who volunteer on the trolley rides and tell us tales of bygone days are ideally suited for their task. They talk with a fondness for trolleys as I might for a day on the Farmington River. Sadly, the organization survives almost solely on donations and many of the prized trolleys are housed, awaiting funds for restoration. 

all aboard!!
And, in typical tourist fashion, what trip to Kennebunkport would be complete without a drive by Walker Island, the Bush family compound. I'm pretty sure the clan was in residence based on the number of Secret Service clearly visible that day.
Walker Island
As I mentioned previously, our week in Perkins Cove involves trips to certain institutions, one of those being Goldenrod, at York Beach. Hands down, the best salt water taffy I have tasted.

best Taffy around!
All these places, that are now so cherished by my family, were common place destinations for us not to long ago. my wife and I spoke of how we didn't realize what a truly special place we lived in until these places became ones that were annual instead of monthly visits. Love where you live and, as much as I am not in love with CT, I need to find the hidden treasures that I am sure reside within this State.  Already looking forward to next year...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pressed for time...

Not so much pressed for time fishing as I am to make this post but I wanted to get the images up...

I had planned to meet up with TROUT1 aka Pete to fish for a few hours. I arrived a bit before out scheduled time and fished a back channel below a popular pool. The back channel produced nothing for me however, as I was just about back at my car, I was walking above the river, on the bank, and noticed a fair amount of good sized fish close the edges. The water was crazy clear and presenting a dry fly was a bit difficult. After spooking a few fish, I changed tactics and tied on a huge Double Humpy with a tiny PTBH dropper. This change in approach produced a few nice fish...the water was so clear, I could watch the fish approach and my only concern was setting the hook before the fish took the fly as my adrenaline kicked in with each pass.

15 seconds of fame
holy clear water Batman!
After leaving this area, I headed to search for Pete. I found him at a place he has told me much about lately. I was truly amazed at a stretch of water he showed me as I fish right near this spot fairly often yet, I overlook this area as it appears to be pretty shallow. Foolish me! Yet again, I need to reinforce, to myself, not to pass by any water as the run that I thought was shallow has some great depth to it and Pete told me of his catches in this area in recent weeks.

I nymphed some of the faster water while Pete stayed above swinging wets and nymphing. I picked up a few small browns and this one beauty...

wild?? not sure...any thoughts?
After a bit we switched to another spot as I anticipated the evening hatch and some dry fly action. Unfortunately, Pete had to take off and I moved to settle into a spot for a bit. Things started of very sloooooowwwww.

Again, I started sniping to a few consistent risers placed so far against the opposite bank it was almost out of reach for my casting ability. It did make for good fun and practice. When I did hit the cast and drift correctly, things worked out.

a good fight!

The action was not as steady as it has been and the hatch was not nearly as strong as it has been the past couple weeks. As darkness feel, I wandered downstream and cast, periodically, to some perceived rises as it was tough to tell at this point.

I size 12 Usual tied on at the moment and a cast to a spot where I thought someone was home and the last fish of the evening came to net.

bow knows fishing...
A nice Rainbow to net and, unfortunately, the colors were washed out in this image as it was really a beauty. Another good night for the books and my head is once again in balance. Thanks for the Gatorade Pete...I was dying at that point...Looking forward to hitting it with you again before the summer is over.