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.