Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Steele


When you've had two weeks of drizzle, rain and downpours, all the locals are going to be flooded, right? Oh yea, they'll be muddy as all hell too, right?


There's little chance that a trout would hold in water looking like that, right? Not even behind that stump, where there's a little slack water, right? Right. But what about on river left, in that tiny little eddy? There isn't a holdover over there saying to himself, "This sucks, I'm hungry," right? Right.

But what about on the other side of the bridge? There's that big eddy there. No fish holding on in that eddy waiting for anything to float into their 1.5" visibility range, right? Or what about at the tail of the eddy where you can get a nice swing right in front of that tree? Not even a little bass holding there, right? No fish holding next to the undercut bank, right? Right.

No catching today, right? Right. No bumps, right? Right. Can't even see your own fly, right? Right. Definitely not worth staying at home though, right?


Monday, June 29, 2009

the old man cometh

old man rivers is coming down to visit. and i am one very excited angler. so excited that i thought i would share it with the rest of the universe.

Friday, June 26, 2009

G Dubs: Scourge of the Sea

As a self proclaimed surfer, fisherman, and watersport enthusiast, any news of G Dubs (aka the Great White Shark) always piques my interest, while at the same time sending a cold chill down my spine as I think of the rows of sharp gleaming teeth, the lifeless, dull eyes, and the millions of years of work that evolution has put into this killing machine.

Anyway...Ten foot great white caught in RI, pretty crazy.

Also, in honor of the weekend, SALSA SHARK, duh duh, duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh duh:

Happy swimming!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Salmon Confessions

Occaisonally trips come together on a moment's notice, and occaisonally you take advantage of those trips despite your schedule. These trips, the trips where little forward thought is put into the details, are the trips that produce big fish. Some of you have traveled to this destination with and without me, and we've all seen some big fish in this stretch.....cough...Robbins....cough.....

This 18" fish broke the ice for us around 2 p.m as we fished within the spray of the mighty waterfall (late arrival as we fished upriver in the morning)

After nailing a few small ones, we moved downstream to some slick water and essentially observed the surface until around 5 p.m when the fish began to rise, slowly at first, and then with more frequency, until finally it was an all out Salmon blitz. You had your choice of the 20" fish three feet to your right or the 25" fish 15 yards in front of you....it was rediculous.

We fished until it was too dark to see the rises, our arms tired from endless casting, and our spirits high from nailing so many fish. It was easily a 50 fish afternoon between the two of us, and the stretch of water we fished after 5 p.m produced fish from 17-23" consistently......an epic evening!

Friday, June 19, 2009


So I was in Bean's last night dubbing around. An employee in the fly fishing department says another employee recently netted a 29 inch brookie somewhere in the Western Mountain Region... No further details given. The man seemed not to be screwing with me and he appeared to be mentally sound. Has anybody heard about this?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

was in the middle of my morning commute, passing over the presumpscot's high tide when i saw a swirl, then another, in the middle of the channel. "blitz!" i thought as my focus changed from highway to the water. as the trees passed, clearing my view i saw the bird pop up from the water. shifting my attention back to the highway, i realized i had drifted a lane and was headed for the guardrail. swerve, death averted. f'king bird.

Friday, June 12, 2009

a few things from the season

a few fish from the season so far. here i am with a nice fish 42-43 inches, probably pushing 30 pounds. it has a nice story behind it. i was out fishing with a friend who is a good fisherman and an even better softball player. one of his rules of thumb is that he doesn't fish at night. but he does love striper, and hadn't had any since last season. he wanted a fish. as it got dark he decided to head in, while i stayed out and continued fishing. (in my experience, if you want to catch stripers, fish at night!!!). if i got a keeper, he wanted it. i had been getting into some 30 pounders lately, and half jokingly asked if he would eat a fish that big. if you catch a 30 pounder, he said, i will give you a plug. deal. a few hours later i called him up: i'll take that old black lipped swimmer you got hanging around...

on a side note, he is a surgeon, and after boiling down what was left after the fillets were removed he went in there and picked out enough meat to make himself a chowder thick with stiper. without touching the fillets! really good meat he said, rich, like lobster.

and here is a frind with a very big fish. his boca grip told him 52 lbs. early the next morning it tipped the scales at 50.8 lbs. as it flapped about my mind could only express itself in one or two words followed by a long pause as it tried to wrap itself around the presence of this fish...still not sure if it has done so yet...

there are big fish to be caught! go get em boys and girls...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fishing in the Far East

Recently I had the privilege of finding out about this blog, via Mr. Robbins, and couldn't help but want to share my own fishing experiences in the Far East. Recently I took a trip to China where I witnessed two methods of fishing I had never seen before, and one I had never even heard about. Neither method involved fishing in the traditional sense, with lures or nets, but both were intriguing none the less. Both were witnessed in the river and bogs of a rural part of China known as Yangshuo, about an hour and a half bus ride outside Guilin. The first involved the use of tamed Cormorants tied to a pole held on the back on the fisherman. The cormorants, while fishing, have two lines tied on them. One around their foot, to prevent escape, and a second around their neck. The line around their neck serves to prevent large fish from being swallowed, while allowing smaller fish through. Thereby, the bird feeds itself and the fisherman gets his catch. The second method is less noble. I witnessed it while riding a rented bike through the rice paddies surrounding the village. Riding along and snapping pictures, I was motioned by a local to come over and look. Camera in tow, I followed his hand signals up to the top of an embankment that looked down into a brown pool of water. For a brief moment I had no idea what was going on. There was a guy with a bucket, just kind of mulling around, and the another with two poles submerged in the water one of which was making intermittent buzzing noise. After a few moments, he pulled up one of the poles to reveal a net at the end, with a fish in it. A fish that was not moving. I peered closer to realize that the other pole had a wire running up it to the box on his back, which apparently is a large battery. Upon activating a switch, he could electrify the water, killing any fish within the immediate vicinity. I'd never imaged anything like this, but I guess when dinner is on the line, Man's ingenuity is limitless. I'm curious what would happen if he tripped and fell into the water with the battery...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

UPDATE: In Th'Woods Haiku Contest

Sun atop the trees

Finally touching water

I will be there soon

Leave yers in the comments...

the merits of the spin rod

the fly rod is a very beautiful creation. it feels good. casting the line, infusing a mechanical system with energy in such a way that it will carry itself over a distance and deposit itself and its stinger(s) lightly upon the water. delicate and precise, the fly rod is an amazing tool with which to fish.

the spin rod is a straight up fish catching machine. spots previously explored with the fly rod shrink within the scope of these things. depths become readily probeable. distance becomes easily covered. current speaks many new languages with the spin rod. readily accessible pockets of potential abound.

from the various types of plugs to the various types of jigs to the dropper fly and beyond, the spin rod has much to offer the curious fisherman. using the spin rod i have found fish in places i did not previously know they were. i have caught fish in ways i did not know they could be caught.

and i can honestly say that this season i have caught far more 20+pound stripers than i have less than keeper size fish. i can't really fathom it myself, but this is true. in my experience, when you hook a fish with the spin rod, it could more than likely grace your table that night. and i am not even a very good fisherman. but i am learning, and my understanding of the ways and means of these fish has grown considerably since consistantly fishing the spin rod.

the spin rod did not always tickly my fancy. it appeared not to hold much gratification. they seemed bland and clumsy and just so regular...i felt as though i was fishing with my feet.

but at that point in my development as a fisherman i was in fact fishing with my feet. not literally of course, but looking back at my previous fishing self i was trying to pluck fish from the water with my toes or throw a ball with my left hand. the fly rod offered me an opposable thumb on a dominant hand with which to pick through the ways and means of the waters with method and precision. it opened an avenue for me to exercise my will on the water.

the spin rod took that state of mind and had it chug a sparx...

for the past month and a half i have consistantly been catching the biggets fish i ever caught. it happened again last night.

the spin rod is an amazing fishing tool that quickly covers many bases. but the fly rod is still a superior presentation instrument. and i feel that soon i will take what i have learned from the spin rod and put it back into the fly rod and then we shall see what happens...

in any event, i would highly recomment the spin rod and its many manners of lure to any angler who wishes to expand their understanding of the ways and means of, in my case, the striped bass. the jig is an absolutely amazing method for finding the exact location of holding fish and now i know where some very large fish gather. now after them with the fly rod...

Deadly Eight Hour Dead River Caddis Hatch: 6-2-09

I loaded the motorcycle with my fly rods and gear the night before in eager anticipation of a day spent on the Dead River. This season I've made a concerted effort to take the bike on as many trips as I can in an attempt to save on gas. Pending weather, and dirt roads that do not allow motorcycles, its worked out rather famously; who can argue with 55 mpg?

I arrived at the river early, the sun was out and a few caddis were already coming off. By the time I had suited up, strung my rod, and stepped in the water, a full on caddis hatch was smoking off the water.
This morning I had stopped at a particular access point on the river where I've never really caught anything before. A large eddy here usually attracts rednecks with giant Rapalas and excessive spinning outfits. This morning these people were nowhere to be seen so I figured it was worth a shot. After a few casts I hooked into and lost a quality fish on a streamer, and then promptly tied into another sizeable fish that fought like hell. Unforunately it turned out to be a 24" pickerel. I had never seen a pickerel come out of this river, and figured it was par for the course given my previous lack of luck at this particular stretch of water.

No fish were rising so I switched up to a nymph rig; sz. 16 beadhead hares ear followed by a sz. 20 copper john. If there is one thing I can say about Steelhead tactics, its that they have seriously improved my nymphing abilities here in Maine. A half dozen casts and I was into them.

Several respectable Salmon up to 18" came to net. Not bad I thought, given the way the morning had started, and given that I never had truely given any respect to this spot. Only thing that could make this better would be to have a few fish rising......wish granted.

I hastily tied on a tent wing caddis, smothered the distant rises, and was into even more Salmon. Again, four or five more fish came to net the largest around 18" all on various caddis imitations.
The caddis continued to hatch, and fish became more fickle as the day heated up and the real thing became much more impressive than my fly presentations. I decided a move downstream was in order. I would fish a 100 yard deep gut on river left that led down to a set of rapids. Fishing the cut proved uneventful on both nymphs and dries as I worked my way downstream. Given the finiky nature of the fish at the last pool I began to assume that it was that time of day where one either gets lucky or finds a school of fish with a bad attitude that were willing to strike. As I moved below the rapids I found a ton of fish rising and feeding voraciously. I selected a large rock on which to stand well out into the current. Each cast was met with at least a fiesty tail slap or an aggressive strike.

After losing a couple of fish in the swift current, I started getting into them hard. I landed a handfull of really nice 16" chubby brookies, followed by at least a half dozen brookies and salmon in the 12" range.

It was nice to see some fresh tails, pectoral fins, and gill plates on these fish, a sure sign that they hadn't been stocked in the past year or so. These fish were full of fight, and I can't emphasize how fat and healthy they were compared to other brookies their length.

It was getting on toward 3 p.m, the caddis were still exploding, and I figured I would move back upstream to the original hole, fish for an hour or so, and then hop on the bike for the 60 mile ride home.

After 20 minutes of fishing with limited luck, I noticed a GMC truck pull up along the river's edge behind me. Undeterred, I fished on. As I reeled my line in to relinquish my position to the intruders I heard a yell, "Wilkie!", "Dude, I can't believe you're still here". The words of BFC emeritus T. Sawyer Fahy and his '05 Bates brother of the long Rod, Mr. Frost. I smiled, as I had phoned Sawyer in the wee hours of the morning hoping to get him on the water that day, but as a result of prior obligations he was unable to join me. We exchanged handshakes as the two rigged their rods and I told them of my epic day alone on the river. I sat on a boulder content to watch these two men try their luck in the pool that had been so productive in the early morning. Frost was explaining this cripple fly that he loves to tie, while I exchanged thoughts with him regarding my recent quitting of dip and my constant cravings. While discussing cripple flies and dip, Frost pulls out a pack of swisher sweets, and sparks one up. Intrigued, I asked him for one. Frost then flipped his fly out into the water and begins walking backwards to my position on the bank to offer me a cigar. Just as we made the exchange he bellowed, "I've got one on!". The hookup had been made while the cripple skipped across the surface as Dan had walked back to me to hand me the cigar....simply rediculous.....and what a Salmon!

After a fantastic day on the water by myself, I couldn't have envisioned a better end to the trip than to be surprised by fellow BFC alums and to watch them connect with a beauty of a fish.
I loaded the bike, said my goodbyes, and left the river satisfied.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dip Free is the Way to Be

As an aside to Nick's well written account posted below, Jesse, Keith, and myself, have now been dip sober for a week and a half. Free from the tins of moist tobacco laced with recycled fiberglass boat hulls. A pact to quit together, as it was fishing that got us in this mess in the first place, and damnit, it will be fishing that gets us out of it.

This past weekend as I laid hungover on Robbins' couch watching a movie, two tins of peach skoal laid on the table before me. I eyed them throughout the film, potentially giving them equally as much attention as I was giving the movie yet I did not give in.

Satuday as we floated the Mousam River with one of Jesse's b-ball brothers from Portland, we all commented at least a half dozen times that we would probably be enjoying a dip right now if we hadn't thrown in the towel.

I'm not going to lie.....it feels pretty good to be clean.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spencer Lake 5/22-25

This is me: 

I wouldn't call myself a fisherman. Unless I'm drunk and I think a woman will be impressed. 
(You'd be surprised how little that works in the city.)
Look at that. I'm holding that . . . salmon? . . . like I'm trying to jerk it off. 

I'm more of a gadabout. Which means I like to feel like a big man by using big words, and more literally, I like to try anything I think'll be fun. 
(And, by the way, gadabout is a great name for a fly. If it's not already taken, it's now trademarked by me.)

I've been a proud member of the BFC since 2002, when I think my official title was Vice President of Onshore Operations. Which meant I was in charge of getting the beer, but being completely unreliable, I was second in command for such a menial task. 

My fishing experiences have always been beverage oriented. My uncle gave me my first taste of beer when were fishing off the Padanaram Bridge in Dartmouth, Mass. I don't remember what kind of fish we were tossing in the bucket, but I remember the beer. Miller Lite. The old school white can with the calligraphy script. As you can see, my priorities aren't traditional, but they're in order. 

This is a fisherman:

Look at that. The bastard even has a fish on. 
(Editor's note: in my amazement, and lack of coordination, I dropped my camera in the river right after this photo.)

Say what you will about the man, and in private, we shall, but Wilkie knows his angling. And on a long weekend up in Jackman, he tried to impart some knowledge which sloughed off me like water off a duck's back—another animal Wilkie has trained me to kill and I have failed to execute. 

I'm more of a word guy, and that's what tends to stick. 

As a pseudo-fisherman, I know I shouldn't tell people the locations of our honey holes. 
But I just really like the term honey hole, so I'll look for any excuse to divulge. 

I like how you don't catch fish, you "grease" em. 

I like to call my coffee brandy and milks "sombreros," because I'm into brevity, and because of the ridiculous contrast between vernacular and actual location. 

I like how there's a clear change in timbre, register and accent whenever Wilkie comes across a fellow Mainer, and how he can understand an old Norwegian faintly mumbling something about sucker fish 40 yards across the lake, and I'm stuck whispering "Dude, what the hell is he saying?"

I guess, fishing for me is like college. I don't remember a moment of my classes sophomore year, but I remember giving Wilkie his first dip. 
Talk about pale and sweaty. The man looked like one of those waxy Jesuses you see crucified in old Italian churches. 
Now the man is shoving meaty finger-fulls of Grizzly in his maw because Skoal just ain't providing enough kick. 

And I don't remember the name of the dry fly, but I remember catching my first fish with one. 

Couldn't tell you if it was brookie 37 or 73 that we browned up in the skillet, but I remember it went damn well with the herbs from Wilkie's garden. (Sally.)

I can't really tell you any of the details you might be looking for, because I love fishing, but it's never really been about the fish. 

So I'm down for next time. 
I'll bring the booze. We'll make a fire. You'll tell me about your last trip to Pulaski, NY and the salmon you greased. 
I'll tell you about the time I ventured to the same Salmon River and spent the day playing in the woods with an old shopping cart. 

I am the proud Vice President of Onshore Operations, and I'm signing off for some R&D, because like the Presidential Seal, the BFC brings two kinds of thunder. 
The eagle with the arrows and the olive branch. 
The fish with the reel and the pint glass. 

I just happen to be better at one than other. 

Honey holes to be revealed to those with privileges. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trekking for Trout 5-30-09

Jesse and I departed from New Sharon early, 5 a.m to be exact, a 3.5 mile hike stood between us and a morning of native trout and salmon glory.
After a 2 hour drive we arrived at our bushwhacking point of departure, we forded the main stem, and slogged for 3.5 miles through over-grown logging territory to our remote fly fishing only destination......these fish simply don't see very many flies.
Moments after our arrival, Robbins was tight.....

Native Brook Trout after Native Brook Trout came to net on dry flies and the occaisonal nymph......
A few Salmon were in the mix, holdovers from last fall's spawning run or simply residents of this small gem of a stream.

40+ trout and salmon came to net at our first location in just over 3 hours, it was truely a field day for Robbins and I. At one point there was even a perfectly simultaneous hook-up on dry flies, something neither of us had experienced before.

After a long slog out in sweaty waders we finished our day at this location, a pond where large wild brook trout and salmon lurk and often feed on the surface this time of year. The winds unforunately did not cooperate until the last half hour or so of light, and even then they were still a little too present.

We chased a handfull of rises, alternately taking the roll of "guide". "Wilkie, there's a rise over there" paddle, paddle, cast, cast. "Oh shit, Robbins, 15 feet to your right at two o'clock", cast, wait, cast, wait.

Eventually I hooked and battled a beast of a salmon of around 20" as Robbins cursed at it from the bow of the boat......"thats right bitch, don't mess with us or your ass will get stung" or something along those lines, as he aggressively made hand motions at the jumping fish.

The fish made a run at the boat, still tight on my line, and it made a quick leap within striking distance of both of us.....we watched as the fly floated from the mouth of the great native, and Robbins' salmon insults were quieted. A couple of fist bumps, some smiles and a few laughs, who could be upset with this day, the day that the trout and salmon had tired us so much that we cared not about losing trophy salmon......hell, what an outing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fly Fishing Film Tour; This Thursday.....

I just bought my ticket to this event. The film tour hits the Asylum in Portland this Thursday, June 4th, at 7:30 p.m. Robbins and I will both be attending, and if there is anyway possible for you guys to swing it, you really ought to clear your schedule and come down to Portland.

I'm damn certain that there will be a host of fly fishing characters from Maine that we have known virtually through various blogs and forums attending this event, and I think it would be pretty solid to have a big BFC presence.

Hope to see some of you fools there; I will be fishing Friday if anyone is interested.

To purchase tickets visit: https://www.flyfishingfilmtour.com/Tickets/VenueTicketQuantity.asp?VId=ILLL