Friday, June 29, 2012

Boiling Waters.

I have been looking for an opportunity to get out and fish the evening hatch on the Farmington for a few weeks now. Evenings are sometimes tough as I feel a little guilty coming home from traveling all day only to change clothes and head out to the river while my better half feeds the kids and gets them to bed that evening.

I finally got the better of my guilt and headed out last night for several glorious hours of dry fly action. I drove around the river, at length, surveying many of the popular dry fly areas and almost all were fairly crowded. I ended up going to some faster water to nymph for a little bit in hopes that some areas would clear out a bit. Landed a couple nice browns on the far seams of some fast runs and than began to drive around in search of some glassy waters.

I found an area that was relatively unoccupied as the only other angler was at the top of the pool fishing the end of the fast waters. At this point, it's around 7pm and the rises were beginning to show but still, somewhat sporadic. Well, about 7:30, someone flipped the switch and all bets were off. Now remember, I have not been out yet this year during a hatch and the amount of rising fish had me on sensory overload. Once I settled down and began casting properly, the takes started to come with a some regularity. This area was a perfect classroom for me to practice my dry casting as there is plenty of room for a good back cast and rising fish to target. I missed the first few takes as I worked to get my timing down however, once everything clicked, even I was amazed. I stopped counting after a dozen fish and estimate that it might have been twice that amount when all was said and done.

I landed both browns and rainbows on a wide variety of flies: sz 16 EH Caddis, sz 14 Crystal Caddis, Sulphurs and March Browns. Some bugs coming down the river were so large I felt like I was at a regatta. I may have to battle my guilt a little more often and try to get out a few more nights. The drive home was just as amazing as it was like driving through a snow storm...the bugs were so heavy.

Enjoy some pictures of the outing...

fell to a big cased caddis nymph
another nymphed before a move to dries
EH Caddis victim
feeding with the Rainbows
last of the night as I could barely see the fly

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Take 5 minutes to watch this link.

Likely the best PSA I have seen and, as an angler, husband, father and friend, the message is something we should all take to heart.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Not bad for a Monday.

Usually,  Monday, for many, signals start of a new week and heading back to the grind. Today was a nice exception to that rule. For starters, my youngest celebrated his 7th birthday today and I spent the day celebrating along with him. My wife and I did chuckle this evening as we sat at a local Hibachi restaurant, the birthday boys choice. When I was a kid, maybe it was dinner at Friendly's or Mickey D's - this kid chooses hibachi.
oh to be 7 again...
I'm kind of working backwards as hibachi is how we ended the day...now, on the the middle of the day. For the past several years, we have supported our local CSA, Holcomb Farm, and each week, we receive whatever the farm has produced for that week. Due to local politics and B.S. at Holcomb Farm, we did not purchase our share with them this year. Instead, we decided to try Rosedale Farm in Simsbury. What a fantastic choice as my wife made our first pick up today.

doesn't get much fresher than this
Along with a beautiful selection of fruits and vegetables this week, part of the deal is a 10% discount at their farm store...excellent...they have good looking cheese and wines from their vineyard. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season brings!

Now, on the the morning mail delivery. I had ordered a bunch of streamers from Rich Strolis, http://www.catching-shadows.com/catching-shadows/Home.html and I was anxiously awaiting their arrival. My trusty letter carrier did not disappoint as the package arrived in a timely fashion, from Rich, as usual.
breakfast anyone?
Heading out well before sunrise tomorrow to give these bad boys a go. I'm hoping that I'll have some good news to report in the very near future! Well Monday, I say you have set the bar pretty high for the remainder of the week. May yours be as good as mine...tight lines all!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mixing it up.

I'm trying to make a conscious effort to improve my dry fly skills this summer. While I have had some really good success as I continue to develop my euro nymphing skills, there really is nothing like seeing that fly disappear from the surface of the water.

On a hot day recently, I hit the water for a couple hours and nymphed and area that was away from everyone on this day. As I drove along the river, I saw tubers and kayakers in places I have not seen them in recent years...so let's just keep driving. I walked to a favorite spot and rigged up my 10ft 3wt Echo Shadow PE, which I have to say, I have really been enjoying this season, and it was off to the races. Within a fews casts, I had the pleasure of seeing 2 belly flashes and Rainbows ended up on both flies. The double rainbow was brief as one of the fish shook off however, I landed the other.

this area was full of bows
I continued to work this area of faster water and had pretty consistent action for the better part of 30 minutes...all Rainbows. I was thinking that the heat might have put the browns down for a bit but, based on the cool water temps, I was thinking I might find them somewhere. A move to a second spot left me standing on the banks and observing the water for about 20 minutes. Often times, I am to preoccupied with wanting to fish to actually take my time, stand, observe and determine the best course of action. This day, I took the time and saw rising fish. I could not really discern any pattern to the rise activity as it appeared to be random and all over the place. Sadly, most of the risers were on the far bank, outside my casting reach. A walk just further downstream put me in a much better position to wade and cast. Now, from the middle of the river, I watched. This time, I found a fish rising with a little more regularity and wouldn't you know it, this fish was tight to the banks, in the shade with low over hanging trees and bushes...I was undeterred.

a very small window about 2 ft from the bank
The picture above does not do justice to how tight this spot was for a cast. At best, I could drift about 3ft before branches in the water hung me up. This brown continued to rise even after my first few cast to the spot. I decided to try to land my size 18 BWO foam emerger right on top of his head. Normally, I don't think this is the best strategy however, given the circumstance, it seemed like the thing to do. I had to side arm the cast into the spot and, success, my fly slipped below the surface and, for once, I set the hook properly rather than pull it out before it could set.

thank you for playing!
I landed a few more browns of similar proportions and I feel much better about my casting that I have over previous summers. Casting to picky fish that are not consistently rising was a good test. I continue to believe in the healing power of water!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seriously now...come on.

Every so often I might hop up onto the Weary Angler soap box and rant a bit about a topic or situation that has my juices flowing. Tonight will be one of those posts and I apologize, in advance, for any salty language that may follow.

My weekdays are pretty straight out with work. Not being confined to an office is a great benefit however, we are a numbers driven company and my job is to bring in a number so I fish crazy early in the mornings so I can be home by 8am, clean up and head off for my day by 9. Monday morning was just that routine. I was on the Farmington by 5am enjoy the cool morning and complete solitude of that hour. I fished a particular area for about 45 minutes before moving to a spot that is fairly well known amongst the local crowd. In my opinion, this spot is good for 1 person, given the location I was fishing to. After about 10 minutes, another angler appeared, rigged up and dropped in with barely a "good morning" and began to fish about 25 to 35 ft from me. Yes, I was pissed but I kept my composure and continued to fish.

my thoughts on angler's #1 and # 2
At this point, it's around 6:30 or so and a second angler appears from the woods and again, without any acknowledgement, proceeds to settle in about 30ft below me...what the fuck, are you both idiots? Now I am pissed...there was NO ONE around the river that morning so you to fools think it would be enjoyable to hope in right on top of me? Sure, this is a good little spot to fish but I think I would have said hello and kept walking. It was at this point that I decided to cut bait and head somewhere else. My Irish did get the best of me and a couple of sarcastic comments were directed toward my 2 burrows as I departed.

I grew up playing golf and, as bad as I was in my younger days, my dad always said, " if you are going to play bad, play fast " - golf is full of playing etiquette as is fishing and I find that there are enough people, doing both, who choose to ignore these courtesies. I have only been a "serious " angler for about 5 years now and still think it's better to give someone a little latitude rather than jump in nearby, regardless of how good the water looks...it's a big freaking river...I'm sure you know a few other spots so hope in your car or go for a walk and find one. I truly do not begrudge anyone their time or space on the water but I do ask that you be smart about it and consider that others are seeking the same thing you are...some time alone, some space, some peace, you name it...

Ok, soap box back in the closet for now. Tightlines!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Simple Things

Some days, I think it's way to easy to get caught up in the grind of everyday life. To many wonderful things can pass us by while we are preoccupied by trivial matters. This past week was full of so many simple things that, taken individually, each one would have been great by itself however, I had some very simple things provide me a lot of pleasure this week.

Fishing with my buddy Mike in Vermont was a blast. That was only a precursor of the rest of a great week to come. Today marked the end of my oldest son's baseball season. I have been fortunate to coach his Farm ball team for a 2nd year. This year, we had a great bunch of kids, good parents and an amazing season.
Hot Rods...coolest Farm team name ever!
After our final game today, my little Hot Rod had a birthday party to attend and my youngest has been asking me, for 2 weeks, to take him out fishing. So, after Mom set off to taxi Declan to the festivities, Nate and I headed for the Farmy. Spin and fly rods in hand, we found some easy water where we could just hang out. Since Nate is a wee bit young to be wading, we fished from the banks and I started us at a spot that I knew would be productive.

top that dad!
Notice that, in the above image, he's wearing my glasses. We had been fishing for a few minutes when I landed a decent brown. It was at that point that Nate walked up to me and demanded my sunglasses as he is convinced that they have some special power to find fish...perhaps he is right?

One the eve of Father's Day, this is one of those days that I will file away and reach back for the memory when I start to get swamped by the trivial things. I have been blessed with 2 spectacular young boys, each amazing in the own way. Boys, don't forget to take the time to enjoy that which is most important...your family. I blinked and you turned 8 Declan and now Nate will be 7 next week. I am afraid to blink again for I fear you will be older than I am ready to accept. It will indeed be a Happy Father's Day for me as I hope it will be for all of you!

I almost forgot to mention that Wednesday early morning was off the charts for streamer action. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but the H-A snare streamer struck again...and again...and again. I was on the water by 5am with plans to stay about 3 hours as I had meetings during the day. The fishing was so good over the first 90 minutes that I actually walked away on a hot streak. The piggy below taped out at 21" and was solid. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Proud Papa

I couldn't resist...My recent post regarding my day out with Phil Monahan in Vermont was used on the ORVIS fly fishing website.


How freaking cool is that...

Ok, now back to reality.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Phishing with Phil

As my wife and I have been a couple for over 20 years now, we have stopped trying to surprise each other with birthday or anniversary gifts. At this point, my better half will suggest something that she would like and I'll end up doing the same. So, after she came to me this year and mentioned that she was curious about the I-Robot, some bizarre little device that rolls around your house cleaning the floors, I promptly set about finding my birthday present.

I mentioned the Casting for Recovery website to her and how one of the items up for bid was a day of guided fishing on the famed Battenkill River in Vermont with Orvis blog editor Phil Monahan. Well, as luck would have it, I ended up as the high bidder...go figure. Casting for Recovery was founded in 1996, in Manchester Vermont and, if you are unfamiliar with this organization, I suggest you take a few  moments to check it out: http://castingforrecovery.org/home

The day with Phil was for up to 3 people however, I called my good friend Mike and put the plan in motion for him to meet me in VT. Mike is one of my favorite people...a good friend and lover of all things outdoors.

We met Phil at the wonderful hour of 5:30am, picked up fishing licenses and set about to find some fish. Gladly, that didn't take to long. I've read a bit related to the Battenkill and understand that a 1 or 2 fish day is to be considered a success. I had lots of worries of carrying the skunk up from CT and getting shut out. Thus, I was relieved that after 20 or so minutes of chucking streamers against the banks, I was rewarded with a beautiful brown trout.
photo credit: Phil Monahan
another victim of the Strolis H-A Snare streamer
For once, I really don't even know where to go with this post...this was one of the best overall days I have had on any river. Being able to fish with a good friend who I don't get to see often enough, fishing the Battenkill, having Phil there to provide pointers and, oh yeah, we caught some fish too!

Perhaps I'll let the images do the talking...

Brook trout on a dry fly
heaven on earth?
seeing good numbers of these little guys made Phil happy
The following image begins the next part of our day...fishing a smaller mountain stream for brookies...

Phil's balancing act
this used to be a road before Irene
lots of great pools and annoying bugs
Mother Nature finds a way
I have a much better appreciation for these small friends and only now, understand the thrill that fellow blogger, Brk Trt enjoys. Check out his blog for some truly wonderful commentary: http://smallstreamreflections.blogspot.com/

as Mike suggested, a butterfly orgy
Mecca...view of the Orvis HQ from the bass pond
As we decided to be prudent, for once, our day ended with some instruction at the Orvis bass pond and Phil explaining the double haul technique to me. His explanation was great, my attempt at execution, well, not so much. Deciding to pass on the dusk sulphur hatch as Mike and I both had decent rides home ahead of us, we ended the day. Thank you Phil, for donating your time and expertise to such a wonderful organization and I am fortunate to have had an opportunity to fish such great waters with you at our side.