September 21, 2020

Slingin' in the Rain!

 I like fishing in the rain.

Maybe I'm weird... well, I know I'm weird... but for whatever the reason I really enjoy fishing in the rain. Now, I'm not talking about an all out downpour, or anything involving lightning, however if it's slightly overcast, a bit drizzly, count me in. Especially living in Florida where any respite from the heat is appreciated.

Yesterday provided an excellent opportunity to get wet.

With some time to kill on Sunday afternoon, I decided to head over to one of the neighborhood ponds with the fly rod and see what I might be able to dredge up.

I started by tossing out a small ant pattern. I have no idea where it came from. I usually fish foam ants, not epoxy ants, but whatever... it quickly caught a small fish. Ding, ding, ding!

While that was productive, I really couldn't see the fly all that well, so I decided to tie on a highly visible Booglebug. It was actually a Booglebug factory "second" that I bought in bulk on eBay. I don't know what's wrong with it, but you can see by the Sharpie over the branding, it didn't measure up to the standards of other Booglebugs.

That said, the fish didn't really care much. The fluorescent floater summoned some micro lunkers from the deep. 

Cast that bad boy out there, let it plop down, twitch once, then pause - it usually ended up with a hit. Either from a bass or a bluegill, the latter of which often didn't have a mouth quite large enough to accept my offering.

This continued for about two hours as I made my way around the pond in a clockwise fashion. The resident turtles were relentlessly following me around in a wolf pack, I suppose either thinking I was going to feed them in a direct (or indirect fashion). Fortunately, none of the fish I released appeared to get ambushed by the waiting turtles.

I will admit that it was fun casting a fly rod again. With all the tenkara fishing I've been doing lately, I was concerned I had forgotten how to get the job done. Sure, my line management skills were a little rusty, but I had no issues getting the fly out to where I wanted it to go. With no trips planned to trout water in the near future, I think I'll be doing a bit more fly fishing (with a reel) in upcoming weeks. Maybe even (gasp!) dust off the 8-weight.

In any event, this was a fun little venture. And in my book, the rain only made it better.

August 31, 2020

August Update - Finally With Fishing Too!!!

I posted some of this over the weekend on Facebook. So if we're friends there, you've already seen it. I won't be offended if you leave now. That being said...

I didn't do a follow up post from our mini family getaway to north Georgia the other week. By 2020 standards, it was amazing. For the most part we just continued to social distance, simply in a new location. The biggest change, besides the potential for an evening bear visit to our trash can, was much cooler temperatures. 80s during the day, 50s at night. Glorious. As was the view off the back porch.

We weren't in a cabin, but we were definitely staying a bit off the beaten path. And by that I mean we were an hour's drive from the closest Target. (Sorry Dollar General, you're no substitution in K.C.'s eyes). I got to sneak out for two days and fly fish for rainbow trout in the mountains. Heavenly. 

While I did that, the ladies chilled at the house and avoided creepy crawlies. They were none too fond of the spiders found in the various nooks and crannies of the house. Can't say I blame them, but no spider would stop K.C. from binging Netflix: Indian Matchmaking. (BTW - is it "bingeing" or "binging," I've seen both used...)

A week or so removed from that and now safely(?) back in Florida, Lilly doesn't seem to be all that thrilled to be returning to school (albeit virtually) on Monday. It's her first week of high school as an incoming 9th grader, so she and K.C. have been spending a lot of time setting up our dining room to be her classroom/dedicated workstation. Work in progress...

We were told that my office would also be working remotely through the end of the year, so I picked up one of those headsets for conference calls. I guess so I can still be heard when I speak quietly, but really so I don't have to subject my family to constantly overhearing them anymore. And with the NFL football season here I'm going to have A LOT more of them. Can't interrupt Lilly's learning with me growling at vendors for not delivering the Patrick Mahomes jerseys on time. Priorities. 

If you didn't notice, I've also taken to wearing headbands. At first it was a joke because my friends at work were making fun of my long(er) hair, especially on the days I don't feel like combing it... which is pretty much everyday. I wore a headband on Friday to get a rise out of them on one of those aforementioned conference calls, but (like everything else in 2020) it was canceled. In addition to making my head resemble a mushroom. I think the forehead compression helps my brain retain whatever intelligence it has left after the last 8 months of the year.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well out there, wearing masks, washing hands, and all that good stuff. If you have kids, I hope the new school year or day care situation isn't too scary for you. And if you're a teacher going into the scholastic petri dish each day - I cannot respect and thank you enough for what you're doing. I honestly can't imagine, especially (but not limited to) folks considered "high risk." ❤️

I'm confident we'll figure this thing out eventually. Positive thoughts go a long way!

July 26, 2020

A General Update, As It's Been More Than A Month...

As you can probably tell by the silence here, I haven't done much fishing to really report on over the past few weeks... so it's been tough to come up with much inspiration for posts without regurgitating other people's content.

Unlike most other Floridians, (at least where I live), we've actually been abiding by the whole "shelter in place" guidelines since March. Sure, I go for walks around the neighborhood each night and we pickup takeout food once a week or so, but what I wouldn't give to have a nice sit-down meal with table service, a cold beer, and multiple televisions playing various sporting events in the background again... ah, the simple things.

However, I'm rather excited to report that the family & do I have a little 4 day, 3 night getaway scheduled for August. Our school district decided to delay the start of the school year, including distance learning, by three weeks, extending Lilly's summer. 

Check out the photos of this place, (the ladies in my life do not agree with "camping")..

Now I doubt with the summer heat that the trout fishing will be stellar, (and perhaps I should just go with the mindset of getting into some warm water species), but just a change of scenery near moving water will be more than welcomed. I'm probably the only guy in Florida who doesn't really get excited about the ocean and would rather be in the mountains any day of the week. Weird, I know.

Anyway, while I haven't been writing much personally here, I've been writing a bit more semi-professionally (and doing a ton of website administration) over at Tenkara Angler over the past two months. What started as a quirky, quarterly crowd-sourced e-magazine has kind of blown up into a team of three like-minded angler/editors, a content rich website, and a lot of interaction with and influence from the community.

If you haven't stopped by, here are some examples of a few of the more popular posts that have been written, either by myself, my partners Jason and Matt, or even reader-submissions. Most of it isn't even about "tenkara," it's more about fishing, friendship, and adventure, so I think you may enjoy it, even if tenkara isn't your thing.

Anyway, I've got a lot of fishing blogs to catch up reading... so if you've been writing, and you're in my blogroll, you'll probably see me in your comments soon.

June 17, 2020

Wild Brook Trout in Connecticut Zoom - June 22nd

Now, I'm not sure if the intent of the Nutmeg Chapter (Connecticut) of Trout Unlimited's recent Facebook post about an upcoming Zoom discussion was to get some idiot from Florida to sign up... but I did. And I guess if you want to, and have nothing better going on at 7PM ET on June 22, you can sign up HERE too!

So, what's it all about?  Unfortunately, not the best of news.

"Join the CT Council of Trout Unlimited, TU staff as we talk with Mike Beauchene and Brian Eltz of the CT DEEP on a new report they just completed – A Random Revisit of the Statewide Stream Survey Project – which found a nearly 30% drop in Brook Trout in a one-year survey, versus results from a comprehensive study 30 years ago."

They even provide a link to the study if you want to do some advance reading.

If there's one good thing that's come out of the Coronavirus pandemic, it's been the accelerated adoption of video conferencing to connect people near and far. In the past 30 days I've participated in video conferences about advanced tenkara fishing techniques, listened to a panel chat up John Gierach about his new book, and even "attended" the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers annual rendezvous. I'm very happy to be able to sit in on this one as well.

June 16, 2020

North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA)

Mentioned the other day in a post my new membership to the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA).

Image: NANFA

So what exactly is NANFA?  Well, their mission is "dedication to the appreciation, study, and conservation of the continent's native fishes." 

They're basically a non-profit organization that hits the following points with their activities:
  • Increase and disseminate knowledge about native North American fishes
  • Promote practical programs for their conservation and the protection/restoration of their natural habitats
  • Advance the educational, scientific and conservation benefits of captive maintenance and husbandry
  • Encourage the legal, environmentally responsible collection of native fishes for private aquaria as a valid use of a natural resource
  • Provide a forum for fellowship and camaraderie among its members

Now as an angler, bullets one and two really hit home to me. As an member of other conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, NANFA really nests well within the two because they focus a lot of efforts on non-game fish. Sure, native brook trout and salmonids do receive love (just like TU might give) but much of the focus is on perhaps lesser-known species that call the same native cold and warmwater environments home. Chubs, shiners, darters, dace, perch, etc... perhaps not the sexiest of fish from an angling point of view, but just if not more important for a healthy ecosystem.

I found two articles in the Spring issue of American Currents (NANFA's quarterly publication) extremely interesting. The first, a deep dive into some of the history around the scientific naming of the yellow bullhead catfish (by Christopher Scharpf). The second, "The Seagreen Affair" (by Tim Aldridge) which was a microfishing trip report on the quest to find Seagreen darters. Both excellent reads!

Seagreen Darter; Photo

Now, I'm not going to lie, the whole home aquarium and backyard pond aspect of this group really doesn't interest me a ton, but it is good to see them promoting responsible practices around the subject. No bucket biology or transplantation of invasive species going on here.

Anyway, just though I'd share. If this is something you're interested in learning more about, you can find their website HERE. Additionally, they share great content on social media. I found them on Instagram, but they also have an active Facebook page too.