Friday, April 27, 2012


As often as I can, I try to remind myself of the places I've been. I don't mean places in a geographical sense rather, places in life. I'm in a very fortunate place these days - a good job, a home, 2 wonderful boys and a wife of almost 15 years and yes, a love of fly fishing. Sometimes, to much time passes and it takes a news story or an article online to put me back in my place. I've spent much of my free time, in recent weeks, planning and prepping for a fishing trip that is coming up this weekend. How lucky am I that my biggest concern, at the moment, is the water levels of the river I will be fishing.

I was surfing the web this evening and came across an article about a bucket list. While this would not be the first time I have read articles about someone's list, it is the first time I read an article about a bucket list for a 5 month old child.

I spent some time reading, first, about the child's disease and then, scrolling through the posts that make up her blog. As the blog is written from her point of view, I am reminded of just how fortunate I am in my own life. I am left to wonder just how it is that the cards fall one way for one person and another way for someone else. How is it that each of us is born into the place we call our life and we move through our days with each decision helping chart the course of where we will go? Strangely, I ponder that very question quite often. Why is it that I am the one driving to a business meeting and he is the one standing by the intersection looking for a handout? Why I am walking down a sidewalk in Manhattan in a suit, passing an elderly woman sleeping on the sidewalk?

I am fortunate to have friends from all walks of life however, my favorite people continue to be those who  are self made. People who were not handed what they have, not those who were members of the lucky sperm club. I enjoy people who have not forgotten where they came from - it's ok to be in a new place, just don't forget where you've been.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A mouthful of Strolis

I ventured out very early Wednesday morning, before work, to try out a few new toys. Well, not totally new, just some stuff that has been sitting in my office since the holidays and I have not had the opportunity to try them out. I had been wanting to add an 8wt rod to the collection however, with no serious reason to get one, I hadn't taken the plunge until I got a crazy deal from Orvis on a 2pc 8wt Clearwater paired with a BBS reel. For less than $170, how could I go wrong.

I headed out to some deeper pools on the Farmington and fished some streamers that local fly tier Rich Strolis created for my upcoming Delaware River trip. With the seriously low flows, I just did not have it in me to fish other areas that are lacking water. I was on the water just before sunrise and, no joke, second cast and strip of this streamer, the Ice Pick, I think, I was into a beast...correct me if I screwed up the streamer name.

Early on in my fishing life, I learned the hard way, that not being prepared to set the hook on your first cast is a HUGE mistake. As lazy as I feel making those first couple casts, I am always ready to set that hook. This was one of those times. I was about 3 or 4 strips into the retrieve when this fish came out of nowhere and nailed it. Many times, I have watched a fish following before deciding to strike or turn away. This fish gave no warning. The crappy image above is evidence of the strength of this one as I did all I could to get 1 picture before a quick release. I moved around to a few other pools within walking distance and had some decent success on what looked to be holdover fish. Perhaps the early, lowlight hours had some of the bigger guys out feeding?

If you aren't familiar with Rich's site, check it out - good quality & quick turnaround.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yikes, has it been that long?

Okay, so it has been 2 weeks since my last post. The new job has me going straight out and, on the positive side, it's been the best decision I have made in a long time. Having been recruited into the company, I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to make sure that they are getting what they paid for when I signed on.

That being sad, life has left me very little time for fishing and this past Sunday was my first trip out in April. Due to the crazy low flows, I opted for some water that has held up better than other areas on the Farmington River. I find myself fishing early mornings lately, 5am to 8ish has been my available time. Mostly, I have had the river to myself at that hour however, on this Sunday morning, my spot of choice was occupied by a very interesting character. This person was about 10 feet of the bank in the tail of a pool and he looked my way as I was preparing to walk further up river to another spot. Greetings and some conversation ensued and the next thing I know, this guy is telling me to feel free to drop in right above him and that the action has been pretty good. A very kind gesture given that I watched him hook and land 3 fish within about 10 minutes of my showing up at this spot.

Normally, I would never intrude on someone's space but, at his insistence, I carefully settled into a spot above him and began nymphing some water at the head of the pool. Within a half dozen casts, I was into an energetic brown who took a large cased caddis that was dragging the bottom.

I was congratulated by my new found friend, whose name I still don't know, and, after a quick photo op, it was back to business. As we continued to chat and fish, this fellow was catching nothing but Rainbows as  he switched back and forth from a spin rod to a fly rod, stripping a black wooly bugger. I continued to catch nothing but browns and the occasional brookie. I finally latched onto a nice Rainbow that cleared the water a few times before finding its way to my net.

The fishing continued to be pretty consistent for the next hour with lots of cookie cutter browns deciding to cooperate.

Around 9am, I called it a day and headed home for a late breakfast and some back yard baseball with the boys. I was happy to be on the board for April and pleased to have found some time to spend on the river. I made the Monday morning run from 5am to 8am and was greeted with warm temps and cooperative fish. Right as I started to head off the water the fish started rising with some consistency. As much as I wanted to stay, duty called.

By the way, the jury is still out on the Canon PowerShot D10 - I'm not totally convinced that it's going to live up to the billing...stay tuned.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This is no April Fools' joke.

Today, my oldest son turns 8. An April Fool's baby and boy is he every bit the joker, just like his dad. When he was born, my wife and I were living about 3 hours from my parent's and I called to inform them of the birth of their first grandson. Being the family joker, my mother didn't believe me and, if memory serves, she hung up on me. I had to call back and swear that I wasn't kidding.

We'd been married about 7 years before we started a family. I remember the day that we left the hospital with our little guy secure in his car seat. We arrived home and planted the car seat between us as we sat on the sofa. We looked at each other with that look only new parents can understand - the look of " what now ". Those early days we joked often about the fact that you give birth, maybe get a couple days in the hospital and then go home with an infant. There is no manual or YouTube video to act as a " how to " guide. The parental instinct just kicks in and all you know, or thought you knew, is about to change. Your world becomes that child. No longer are you afforded the ability to impulsively take off for a weekend backpack. You also realize that you will now put up with a much larger amount of grief at work than your previous childless self would have tolerated. You happily come to the realization that you have a child to raise and nothing else seems to matter.

I look back at the past 8 years with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. Sometimes it's been tough but I try to keep things in perspective. I have 2 boys and am very fortunate that my wife has been able to stay home with our children during these initial years. There are stretches when it hasn't been easy but I'd be lying if I said I would rather have had her working than being with our boys.

So today I say - Happy 8th Birthday D-man - I marvel at you every day, wish you nothing but a wonderful childhood and am proud to call you my son. Love Dad!