Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That which excites us.

I find it strange that, as the years pass, I am excited by things that just wouldn't have done it for me when I was younger. Today, I found myself in my own personal Cialis commercial as I walked into the basement after having been away for a couple days. Sheet rock!

Who would have thought that sheet rock would make me so happy. The basement is now rolling along at full speed. The initial inspection, before sheet rock, was a joke and I really have to question why one has to have an inspection. Ok, I know the answer to that one...inspection = increase in property valuation = increase in tax revenue for the town.

With a little luck, we can start painting in about a week and then get the carpet in place. I'm a little jealous that my boys are going to have such a great "kids cave".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The next chapter.

Life's been a little insane lately. Sadly, very little time to fish in the last week or so and the continued mild weather is teasing me like the last Boston Creme on the rack at Dunkin Donuts.

The basement remodel is in full swing and there seems to be an endless train of people coming and going. If that wasn't enough, the garage door finally crapped out and a new door is on order, our 3 year old Frigidaire stove went on the fritz and the budget keeps creeping up for the basement. Before I go on, let me just say that Frigidaire, owned by Electrolux, has absolutely no customer service. I come to find out there was a recall notice for my stove but they would only supply some of the parts at no charge. I had to foot the bill for the rest. This didn't sit well with me and, being in sales, I got in touch with the salesman and he shipped me the necessary parts at no charge but I would have to pay the $80 for a service call....a total load of crap and the last Frigidaire product I will ever purchase.

However, all of this has been the least of my concerns. After 14 years with the same company, I resigned my position on Monday having accepted a position with a new employer last month. I've been negotiating this position since early January and it's worn on me a bit. The mild weather has been a blessing as it has allowed me to recharge my battery and keep my head clear these last few weeks with fishing opportunities that I did not imagine would present themselves this winter. Stepping off the cliff after such a long run with 1 company wasn't easy. When it's just you or even just you and your spouse or partner, it's easy to change the status quo. Life changes in a hurry when you throw a couple wonderful little boys into the mix. It's not just about you anymore. Discretionary income is diverted from wants to needs and the security of employment is huge. However, even with those considerations in mind, I was fortunate to have a great opportunity with a very well know company unfold over the course of a couple months. I am looking forward to this next chapter as I complete the final few pages of the current one and plan for the next.

Even as I've seemed to have forgotten my name these last few days, I have started to make plans for my May trip to float the Delaware for a couple days. I am sure that life will have settled back to a nice rhythm by May.

In closing, I simply suggest that we all take a moment and take stock of what's really important in our lives. Thank those around you whose company you cherish, hug your kids, play with you dogs and be thankful for what you have.

- Tightlines-

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Canon Powershot D10...taking the plunge.

I'm very excited this morning as my Canon Powershot D10 arrived sooner than expected.

Photo courtesy of Canon's website
I had commandeered one of my kid's Nikon Coolpix awhile ago and, at some point last summer, the camera took a very brief and shallow plunge into the Farmy and that was enough to kill it for good. Like most purchases I make in this Internet age, I researched water-proof cameras almost to the point of taking the fun out of the purchase. Each camera out there seems to have its pros and cons and I decided that the D10 fit the bill for me. I'm going to have some fun with this camera over the next couple months and will provide a full review in the future.

I purchased the camera from Abe's of Maine and can say they were very knowledgeable, not pushy and the overall experience of buying the camera was great. In case you start looking for them in Maine, Abe's is actually located in Edison, NJ.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mild temps and slow water.

Yes, I've heard all of the same explanations as you regarding the reasons for our milder than usual winter weather and I am still left scratching my head. I would not have imagined a New England winter that would find numerous days where I could be waist deep in water wearing a fleece jacket, baseball hat and cut-off gloves. Whatever the reason, I'll take as much more of this as Ol' Man Winter will provide.

Lots of insanity, as of late, led me to spend 90 minutes swinging the stick. After 20 minutes and slowly numbing toes, my first strike led to a torpedo shaped brown that had other ideas than winding up in my net.

Shortly thereafter, another drift produced a brown that jumped twice and took more line than most lately.

Red elastomer behind the other eye on this guy
Sadly, the bottom of mouth, on the opposite side, was really beaten up by something. I felt bad after having landed this fish as it appeared to have been caught sometime recently and the fish was mangled when someone tried to remove their hook. One more reason to crimp those barbs...

Yet, one more day where no one was to be seen on the river other than the immediate area of Church Pool. Which leads me to ask, is Church Pool that amazing that 10 guys can stand within 20 feet of one another? I've seen this phenomenon on plenty of occasions and have always wondered how well this area produces. I drove from Church to Pipeline and with the exception of the folks at Church, I saw no one else. Why bypass open areas for crowds? Maybe it's me? Maybe I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Home ownership and demolition.

Home ownership, the American Dream. We were a young and starry eyed couple when we purchased our first home in New Hampshire.

 She was a 108 year old New Englander and we could not have been happier. She needed some TLC but we were young and ready to tackle whatever we could on whatever modest budget we could put together for each project. I didn't know much of tools at that point and I soon embarked on a tool collection that would make any DIY'er proud. We loved that house...

Our second house was brand new construction with lots of acreage. I loved this house. Notice, I didn't say that WE loved this house. The house was awesome and it allowed me to seal all my tools in boxes for a couple years. The downside, for my wife, was the house being in the middle of nowhere. I mean, this was witness protection program real estate at its finest. That's my kind of living however, the 30 minute one way drive to the grocery store started to get to my better half. Around the 2 year mark, I was promoted at work and we decided to move from NH back to our home state of CT as I was going to be doing tons of travel and with 2 kids under the age of 3, we moved back to were our families are located. I miss NH, to me, NH will always be home and I know we'll end up back there some day.

Our third house, well, let's just say we bought the neighborhood.

The previous owners did little to maintain the house and what they did do, they did in as cheaply and poorly as possible. In less than 5 years we've replaced 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, all the windows and doors and now we have moved into the basement. I am most excited to say that my participation in the basement project is limited solely to writing the checks. Sadly, we actually have to rip out the existing finished basement and start the project from the foundation up. Over the years, I've always taken great "after" photos however, I always forget to take pictures of the project before and during the work. So, please humor me over the next couple of weeks as I roll out the new and improved basement.

Today was demolition day 1:

Found enough wire to circle the globe

Hoping it goes fast so I can set up the new fly tying area!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trout on canvas.

One of my sister's friends is an art teacher and, at the beginning of 2012, she embarked on a project of putting paint to canvas everyday in order to create 1 unique piece of artwork for each day of the year. I started bugging my sister with the suggestion of painting a fish as I would imagine it might become difficult to think of something new to paint each day.

Not only was Heidi gracious enough to produce a wonderful piece of artwork, my sister was kind enough to purchase a reproduction for me. LouLou made the drive up to my place this morning and presented the gift to me. I know she was dying to see it however, since it was a gift for me, I told her I had to be the one to open it first. Ha, the pain in the ass brother that I am.

to be proudly hung as soon as I find a nail
Unfortunately, my photo does not do this piece justice as there is almost a 3 dimensional feel to the water around the fish. My thanks to Heidi for humoring me and to my sister for the wonderful gift.

Be sure to take a look at Heidi' website for more examples or her work.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

First solo attempt.

So I found myself up pretty late last night as a result of the pot of coffee that I main-lined due to the migraine that came out of nowhere. As I sat in my office, all amped up, I figured, let's try to tie some weighted nymphs.

the buffet
Like everything new, there is a huge learning curve. If I could leave out the half hitch and whip finishing, tying would really be fun, kind of like Play-Doh for adults. Either that, or I know how Dr. Frankenstein felt when he flicked the power on...so many combinations of materials, colors, textures and you can really try almost anything. 

At first, I was trying to follow online videos and duplicate what I saw using some basic patterns as a guide. This was fairly monotonous as I found that I just couldn't make a realistic copy of the video pattern. I decided to first practice just making knots, thankfully still juiced from the caffeine, I became fairly consistent and had it not been for the coffee, I might have had as much fun watching grass grow. Tying really is an art form and right now, I am in the color by numbers stage. My feeble attempts give me a new found appreciation for those flies I use and those I view that are tied by others. The other issue is photography...if anyone has a suggestion as to how I can take good close up pictures, I am all ears.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's your move...

One of the things I like about fly-fishing is that it reminds me a lot of a game I don't get to play that often...chess. My father taught me how to play when I was little and I love the game. Just about anything that requires some sort of strategy will keep me interested and chess is my favorite. No two games are alike. Your first move today might be offensive or perhaps a defensive response. I've played numerous games of chess against the computer and never had a match that was even close to one that I had played previously.

I feel the same way on the water. Fishing a spot that, very recently, surrendered fish without hesitation, turned into a battle of the stubborn angler, played by yours truly, versus the cold and wind. Seldom will I head back to an area that produced so well. Normally, my next trip out will be a new spot or someplace that I have not be in a while. Yet, here I was, colder than I anticipated, but optimistic and in the same general area. With the cloud cover hanging around, the wind picking up and the sun looking like a no show, I thought I was in for a long one. After thawing my toes, the sun made an appearance and I began working a stretch of slow water. Missed two on the very end of the drift as I let the flies go directly downstream of my position. Had I reacted a little faster, I would have had one but I think the cold was slowing me down a bit.

I was able to bring a couple to net and as long we practice catch & release, we'll all have worthy adversaries for our next move.

I think we're gonna need a bigger crane...

This giant whale shark washed ashore today in Karachi, Pakistan.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro, photo credit
Curiously, the giant was discovered near the Karachi fisheries and was sold for the USD equivalent of $18,758. I'd like to know was able to claim ownership of the whale shark in order to sell it?

Monday, February 6, 2012

To big for the slide?

I came across this picture the other day and it always make me pause...I was about 20 yards from the bear when I snapped this photo, standing right on the property line with my neighbor's home.
got honey?
This bear wandered along the back fence line of my house and headed toward the swing set. We've had some bears and cubs wandering the neighborhood before however, this was the first time I had a chance to get a good photo.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

DVD review - European Nymphing, A Strategic Approach

Let me preface this post by finally stating that any and all reviews of gear, DVD's or websites are purely my humble opinion and you may not have the same experience as my stated opinion. I am not paid or supported in any fashion by those items that are reviewed and this allows me to give my complete and unbiased feedback.

That being said,this is the second of Aaron Jasper's nymphing technique DVD's. I don't know about you but I am able to learn things faster and more thoroughly when I can see them being performed. Don't get me wrong, I love a good book however, being able to watch something and pause, rewind and watch again helps. One thing that I like about the video is the simple format, as you are walked through different scenarios. Mr. Jasper explains methods with a matter of factness that gets the point across and he does this without any confusion. I was introduced to this method of fishing less than a year ago and have tons to learn. This video will benefit a novice and seasoned angler alike.

Also, throughout the DVD, Mr. Jasper's love of fishing is clearly on display. To me, he seemed to get really jazzed over every fish he landed regardless of the size and that's exactly how I feel every time I am fortunate enough to land a fish.  I also got a kick out of the spots that showed him falling in the water as he moved around or attempted to move with a hooked fish. This makes you realize that, no matter how good you are or how long you have fished, things like this happen to all of us. Each of the various scenarios in this video are played out on the water. It was really beneficial to see how he fished as his voice over explained what was going on in the segment.

This video is almost 4 hrs long and there is something for everyone. I picked up my copy through Trout Predator Online's website. I know they just sold out of the original order of videos but I hear that they will be receiving more next week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Normally, I hate the cold...

Although I am a life long New Englander, I am not a winter person...give me anything that resembles any other time of year besides winter and I'm a happy camper. Oddly, due to fishing, I've begun to make piece with Ol' Man Winter and days like today certainly contribute the that state of detente that I am now experiencing.
Temps in the low to mid 30's and a cloudless blue sky made this day promising if for no other reason than the lack of snow on the ground. I began nymphing a tandem rig with a mid-size brown/yellow woven nymph and quickly realized that this anchor was not getting to the bottom. I switched to a fairly generic yet buggy and heavy anchor with a BHPT trailing. That was the ticket...

This was a strange day, as I actually had the time to wander and fish yet I did not have to cover more than a couple hundred feet of water and I had all the action I could have hoped had I fished an entire day. I worked the same rig for about an hour and had consistent action the entire time landing both browns and 1 rainbow. I've had some decent days in the past however, on those days, the fish were plentiful yet on the smaller size. In this case, the fish were all nice sizes, in the range of 14" to 18".

this bow was well fed...
the perfect remedy for cold hands...
I'm still shaking my head as I can only hope that days like this are a sign of things to come.