Showing posts with label New York State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York State. Show all posts

August 7, 2022

A Summer 2022 Update

I thought it would be appropriate to give what amounts to and end of summer update. The last post written was about an early June trip to the Driftless, and a few things have happened since then.

Nothing huge, and honestly, not much (if any) fishing, but stuff worth chronicling nonetheless, if only for future personal reference. (When you have a blog as old as this one, it's fun to revisit posts of years past from time to time).

We had steel drums at summer work happy hour... that was fun!

New York City

We didn't really have a "big" summer vacation as a family this year. That said, we did spend a long weekend in New York City right before the 4th of July. Now I'm not a big fan of NYC, I'd prefer to retreat to the mountains as opposed to the city any day, but with Broadway re-opening after being largely closed due to the pandemic, we thought it would be a good opportunity to go see some shows.  

See, Lilly is really (and I mean really) into theater (theatre?) and wants to pursue theater design in college in a few years. She's obsessed with set & costume design, props, and puppetry, and is an encyclopedia of theater knowledge, just like an avid angler would be with fly patterns.

In all, it was a fun trip, although it was really, really hot outside. Luckily most of our activities were indoors. I didn't go to all the shows that Lilly & K.C. attended (I did see "Into the Woods") but while they were occupied I wandered around Manhattan eating ever tasty thing I encountered. They just don't have food in Jacksonville like the kind you can find in Northeast.

Lilly & I did have a little father/daughter time at the American Museum of Natural History while K.C. was seeing Moulin Rouge solo. So I got to enjoy a little bit of "outdoors" stuff, even though most of it was taxidermy. I love spending time with Lilly, especially now that she's older (she's so intelligent and has a very unique mind). Lilly seemed to enjoy herself too. She loves all animals, although I'm sure she would have preferred ones that were alive.

A Date with Rona

Well the one unexpected souvenir I took back from our trip to NYC was a bout with coronavirus. I had gone the whole two years or so without getting it, but I started feeling symptoms that put me on the shelf for about a week. It wasn't too bad (I've been vaccinated), but nobody likes to deal with aches, fever, and congestion.

K.C. got it too, and it seemed to hit her a little harder than me, but interestingly Lilly seemed to dodge it. She had it during the last school year so perhaps she had some fresher antibodies. Who knows... either way, the virus' visit to our house, and its lingering effects, kind of limited most activities through mid to late July. 

Tenkara Angler Stuff

While I haven't really fished much (other than in the neighborhood), we have been busy over at Tenkara Angler. We re-launched our "Level Line Podcast" at the end of June and spent some time talking to Bill, Amanda, & Nate about a recent tenkara event they participated in up in New Hampshire. It was a fun conversation and we're looking forward to doing more of these.

We also published a few articles, the most popular being the "Big Fish Tenkara Rod Guide" which lists many of the tenkara & fixed line rods available to chase fish way bigger than the ones I catch. We also posted a video from 2016 that Jason Sparks dug up of a Tom Sadler tenkara demonstration. That one was fun to watch, it was like going in a time machine! I sure miss those days.


Remember how I mentioned Lilly's love for theater? Well, she got to spend time at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) at the end of July pursuing her passion. It was her first (I guess) unofficial college visit, and one she earned herself by winning a scholarship to attend the week-long seminar. She had two workshops, one in fashion design and the other in production design (costumes & sets).

It was weird dropping her off and helping her set up her dorm room for the week. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that for real in two years. I'm happy to report the little bohemian inside her thrived in the classes, I never heard her quite so talkative, exited, and expressive giving us the debrief after we went to pick her up.

The Nephews

I have two rad little nephews, and they and their equally rad parents (K.C.'s brother and his wife) came to visit us this past week for a few days. The boys can be a handful, but it's fun to have little kids running around the house again... cartoons on TV... and toys scattered all over the place. Especially when those kids are not yours.

Labor Day Weekend Smokies?

Which kind of brings me to present day. Lilly actually goes back to school this week, Junior year of high school! So in effect, our summer is over. (Although somebody needs to tell Mother Nature that, it's been 98 degrees here every day for like ever).

I am going to try to sneak up to the mountains one more time before the NFL season starts and my weekends get consumed by work. I'll most likely make the run up to Cherokee that I've done each of the past two years (2020, 2021)... but who knows, maybe North Georgia will be more manageable. I definitely will need to get away somewhere, a trout streams have been running through my head since I left Wisconsin.

April 26, 2016

Tenkara Tuesday - 2017 TenkaraBum Catskill Tenkara Weekend

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

Been a bit since a Tenkara Tuesday post, but when you see something on Facebook that you just gotta share, just gotta share it, even if it is more than a year away...

And if you happen to be viewing this in a format where that little Facebook embed doesn't work so well...we're talking a TenkaraBum Tenkara Weekend in the Catskills in June 2017. BOOM! 

Certainly a lot more to come, but it's fitting that some sort of tenkara event returns to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. I think many of us that have been following tenkara for a while recall one of the first gatherings to receive any press in the US was also there back in 2009.  Oh, and so was the guy in the camo...

Screen grab, Tenkara in the Land of Little Rivers, p. 2

April 8, 2016

Friday Dose of Brook Trout

No, not any brook trout I've caught recently...

I'm on the mailing list of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Guess I got on there from purchasing a few seasons worth of New York fishing licenses a few years back when I used to visit the Finger Lakes area regularly...

Anyway, the most recent mailing had two links to some pretty interesting articles about New York brook trout. Worth the time, especially if you're at work and have already mentally "checked out," looking forward to the weekend. (Your secret's safe with me, I won't tell your boss).

The Eastern Brook Trout (Robert Michelson) is an overview of what the brookies are all's not groundbreaking information, but you may learn a new thing or two about this captivating species. The photos are pretty small, but they're also pretty good. You can get a better look at them by downloading the PDF rather than viewing the website.

Bringing Back Brookies (Fiorentino/Stegemann) is more focused on conservation efforts to restore native brook trout habitat in the Adirondacks. Concentrating specifically on Lower Sargent Pond, it's a brief read that provides an overview of the efforts that took place over the past few years to remove non-native fish in order to allow the brook trout to (hopefully) thrive again. Once more, there's a PDF download as well.


April 14, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Interview With Robb Chunco of Creekside Kebari + Fly Co.

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

As I started playing around a little bit more on Instagram last winter as a way to fuel the "Tenkaragram" project, I found that it broadened my horizons to what is going on in the world of tenkara, especially when it came to folks that weren't affiliated with any of the rod companies, nor doing the majority of their socializing on Facebook or Twitter. One of the first users to catch my eye was Creekside Kebari + Fly account that not only appeared to be tying really great flies, but taking stellar photos of them as well.

After a month or so in the making, I'm happy to present this week's installment of Tenkara Tuesday; an interview with Robb Chunco of Creekside Kebari + Fly Co.

T!: I understand that you & Creekside Kebari + Fly Co. are based in Buffalo, NY. What do you consider your home waters? Do you have a favorite creek or fish species, and what do you like most about it? (No need to give up secret spots) 
RC: Being in Western NY, we’re pretty lucky to be smack dab in the middle of some pretty amazing waters. Within an hour’s drive I could be at any one of a half dozen prime creeks. A little further out and another half dozen – that’s what’s cool about the area. If you've got the time to keep looking, you’ll keep finding water to fish. The Upper Cattaraugus, Hosmer Brook and Wiscoy Creek are probably the best known. The Lake Erie and Ontario tribs are legendary steelhead fisheries as well. 
I’ve gotta say that brookies are probably my favorite. They’re also New York’s official state fish, so I got that goin' for me. Which is nice. But I have a big soft spot for warm water fishing. If you've never taken a slab of a bluegill on a tenkara rod, then I kind of feel bad for you – those little SOB’s are a hell of a lot of fun!
But honestly, any fish on the end of your line is pretty hard to beat. Brookies, browns, bluegill or bass – I’ll happily catch them all. 


T!: When I think of Buffalo, 3 things come to mind. The Bills, wings, and snow. They’re probably stereotypical associations, like all Philadelphians (where I'm from) are insane for the Eagles and eat a diet of only cheesesteaks. What’s your opinion of the first two, and does it really snow as much as most people think there? 
RC: I’m just not a fan of football. Not even one little bit. But I do sort of admire the dedication of Bills fans. 
I dig wings (thank you for not calling them ‘Buffalo Wings’, by the way). I live about 2 minutes away from the Anchor Bar where they were invented. 
Snow. Oh, snow... Yes, it can get pretty crazy here at times. If conditions are just so, and Lake Erie isn’t totally frozen the Lake Effect snows can be quite intense. This past season the areas just south of the city got 7 feet of snow in 3 days. It was insane. The city proper got nailed pretty badly too. However, the other 3 seasons are known for being pretty glorious around here.

T!: How and when did you come across tenkara? What was/is appealing about it to you? I “found” tenkara not even a year after I started fly fishing...I love the efficiency, but am not one of those guys that has decided to abandon my reels all together. Still love a click & pawl on a 3-weight. Did you fly fish prior?
RC: I think 3 or 4 years ago or so, a good friend told me about it. It seemed really cool – I know the term “simple” gets used a lot, but it’s right on the money. It’s a truly simple way to fish and that simplicity can be pretty liberating. 
I had messed around with fly fishing a little bit before I got into tenkara, but was primarily chasing largemouth bass with a spinning rig and soft plastics. 
If anything, tenkara is almost fueling my interest in conventional fly fishing. The two methods both have their place and a tenkara rod is so portable it’s nice to be able to pack one along in addition to a fly rod. I’ve got a few Eagle Claw Featherlights with Martin clickers and a Cabela's CGR rigged up with an LL Bean Pocket Water reel. They're so buttery smooth.

Takayama Sakasa Kebari

T!: Tenkara tools can be simple, but let’s talk gear for a second...rod, line, fly box. I've got way too much tenkara gear, but am crushing on the Tenkara USA Rhodo, Sunline 3.0 level line, and a Tacky Fly Box to do my bidding at the moment. What do you use, do you have a preference?

RC: I have a Badger Tenkara “Classic” and a “Bad Axe.” I dig Badger because of their relaxed and approachable view on tenkara fishing – a “just get out there and do it” vibe. Their Badger Lite lines are really nice and I've been using 12’ & 14’ furled kevlar lines from Streamside Leaders. I really like the way they cast, but this year I’d like to look into using level line a bit more. Man, those Tacky boxes are nice, aren’t they? I love mine.

T!: And more importantly what’s INSIDE your fly box? I’d imagine you’re not a “one fly” guy...but who knows, you might surprise me…
RC: I’m not really a tenkara ‘one fly’ purist. I get it, but fishing different flies is fun, man. I’ve got a few of almost everything in my catalog. I love pheasant tail kebari and I really like killer bugs – both the Frank Sawyer and the Utah version. The traditional kebari with a silk loop for an eye seem to move really nice in the water due to the flexible eye, so I always have a bunch of those on hand. 
So many “Western” patterns work well with a tenkara rod – Adams, a few terrestrials, small poppers for bass and bluegill. Stimulators for a dry & dropper rig. It seems silly to not use them – why limit yourself?

Green Rock Worm

T!: What does your tying bench look like? Mine is always a mess. Do you have favorite tools (vise, bobbin, etc...) or materials to work with? I’ll be honest, those whip finish tools just confuse me.
RC: I always start out pretty organized and then it’s all downhill from there. If I’m tying up a whole bunch of the same pattern I’ll try to stage everything in a kind of mise en place. 
I've got a nice, simple and solid HMH SX pedestal vise and really can’t see myself needing anything else. It’s just rock solid. Zero BS. I like Dr Slick tools – I have their Micro tip scissors, a few ECO bobbins and their bamboo handle whip finisher. It seems like there’s a certain dark magic at play with the whip finisher, doesn’t it? 
Embrace it, dude. Embrace the dark magic.

T!: I've noticed you offer many different kebari patterns for sale. Where do you get your inspiration? 
RC: Well, there are a few “standard” offerings, but there’s usually a lot of daydreaming involved with pattern development. I scratch notes and sketches on scraps of paper all the time and when I sit down to tie, I’ll dig them out and try to make them work. I’ll sometimes try to translate a Western or North Country wet pattern into a tenkara pattern, but after a certain point it can get kind of moot. Why try to fix what isn't broken?
T!: What about the “+ Fly” part of your brand’s also tie English North Country soft hackle flies. While not mutually exclusive, tell us more about that portion of your offering? 
RC: It seemed like a logical second side to the shop. They’re quite similar to kebari in their structure, simplicity, and elegance, and also fish quite well on a tenkara rod. Tying them is a lot of fun and also a huge exercise in restraint. They just don’t look right with too much or too little hackle, and the silk thread has to be wound just so. Their history is incredibly interesting as well.

Snipe and Purple

T!: Have you tied flies for a long time? Your Etsy store is relatively new (November 2014); what made you decide to sell your kebari? Is there a "top selling" pattern yet?
RC: I’m still fairly new to tying, but I kind of hit the ground running. It just sort of clicked. My buddy who initially told me about tenkara had been telling me for years that I would really dig tying, and he was totally right.
I’m not sure when or why I decided to start selling them. I think I just wanted to see if I could actually do it, but then it turned into something a bit bigger. There’s no real top seller per se, but people do seem to dig the Caddis Larva kebari and the Pearly Gates kebari. I move a lot of Killer Bugs too.

Caddis Larva Kebari

T!: What else do you like to do beside fly tying and fishing?

RC: So many things to do, and not enough time to do them. I play guitar, and have a few analog synthesizers that I mess around with in a low key solo electronic music project. I like woodworking. I love photography. I love to cook. I've been a homebrewer since 1994. I snowboard and ride bikes when I can. I really dig camping, and now that my son is getting old enough (5 this year!) to come along with me, we’ll be doing quite a bit of that this summer.

T!: I believe I first noticed your flies on Instagram. It’s a social media platform that I've definitely spent some more time with over the last year. Is that your primary form of marketing, and what do you think of Instagram as a marketing tool?
RC: Instagram has changed everything for me. It is my primary form of marketing – I have a Facebook page and a Tumblr account too, but Instagram is a very powerful platform. It’s essentially a form of free advertising if you want it to be. 

March Brown Flymph

T! Bigfoot. Do you believe?
RC: Hell yeah, dude.

T!: What can we expect from Creekside Kebari + Fly Co. in 2015? Any surprises?
RC: I’d like to keep doing what I’m doing and grow at a comfortable rate. Tying these flies is almost as therapeutic as fishing them. I’ll rotate available patterns in and out and try to keep current with fishable conditions. Not exactly “hatch matching” as much as just being appropriate to the time of year, I guess.
As far as surprises go, well – everybody loves a surprise, and if I do have any it wouldn't be a surprise if I told anybody, right?

Pheasant Tail Kebari

T!: Is there anything else you’d like to say about fly tying, fly fishing, or Creekside? Feel free to say whatever comes to mind.
RC: I really appreciate your taking the time to notice my work, and giving me the opportunity to answer these questions. 
It seems like there can be a little bit of animosity in both fly fishing camps (tenkara and conventional) toward one another, and there really shouldn't be. The techniques each have their merits and limitations – what works well with one method may not necessarily work with the other, but they can cover each other’s backs. I've seen some downright nasty chatter toward tenkara online that sounded like it could have been happening in a middle school locker room. Lighten up! It’s all a means to an end, and who the hell cares how you do it?

A big thanks go out to Rob for taking the time to provide my readers a peek behind the scenes of the Creekside Kebari + Fly Co.  Hopefully we'll get to hook up on a stream together someday!

Robb Chunco is a husband, a father and a dude that likes to make little bug puppets and try to catch fish with them. If you’d like to see his work you can check it out on Etsy or Instagram.
All images used in this post are copyright of Creekside Kebari + Fly Co.


Are you a tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.

December 17, 2013

Time To Plan That 2014 Fishing Vacation

...or should I say, "family vacation"...

Every year without fail, I never use up all of my vacation days.  After I take next week off, 2013 will actually be the closest I've gotten to exhausting the full allotment maybe ever, but in a "use or lose" situation, I'm an annual loser.

So I want to plan a good family vacation for 2014.  We did some long weekend getaways this past year, but with the move to Florida taking place right in the middle of summer (and the fact that doing so shaved almost 3 weeks off Lilly's summer - school ends later in PA and starts earlier in FL), we really didn't put in a solid vacation like in prior years.

Of course, I'd also like to go somewhere where I can do some fishing.  Now I'm not talking like "go on a 5 day vacation only to disappear for 3 of them and abandon the family," that's not the point.  This is a family vacation first and foremost, and I want to spend time with them.  Plus, I usually go on a separate solo trip to get my 3ish day, wife-free, kid-free, no-shower, stank nasty, fishing bender in.

I'm more so thinking "go on a 5 day vacation and steal a day of fishing, or a long morning or afternoon, or heck, if there is water near our accommodations, pop over during "down time" for a few hours on multiple days" there's always that downtime on vacations...and I'd rather fish than nap.  Although I really like naps.

As a family, we've done the Florida Keys & Central New York State with great success, but it's time to change things up.  Perhaps heading West is an option?  Beats me.  As long as it fits the criteria above, and there is ample non-fishing entertainment for KC & Lilly for that one day I'm AWOL, I'm game.  Oh, and they don't like to "rough it" so no sleeping on the ground in tents...heck, no cabins without air conditioning...none of that stuff.  Your cry for yurts will fall on deaf ears.  We're talking hotel with pool.  I know I have readers across the country that probably have some ideas, possibly even based on personal experience.

So I defer to my wise and generous readers, do you have any destination suggestions?
I'd welcome any and all in the comments below...
One Griswold to another.

November 23, 2012

First Hand Video Proof of Bigfoot

One side adventure I didn't mention about our trip to New York was our quest to find the ever elusive Bigfoot.  Using the skills obtained from watching untold hours of the popular TV show Finding Bigfoot, Lilly & I went deep into the woods to an area prime for Sasquatch habitation.


November 20, 2012

Escape To Central New York - The 2012 Edition

As previously mentioned, the family & I just concluded a long weekend's worth of vacation up central New York.  It was very brief, but well worth the trip and pending traffic fines (but more on that later).

Our getaway started on Friday afternoon...I had taken off work and with the car properly packed and the dog dropped off for boarding, we headed from our home outside of Philadelphia, up to Ithaca, NY.  We weren't staying in Ithaca, but wanted to do something before we checked into our hotel in nearby we went waterfalling.  (Is that a verb?)

First stop was Robert H. Treman State Park...where there are several waterfalls and hippies camping.  We hiked in about 3 or so miles from the one parking area.  We saw a few falls on the way, but never quite made it to Lucifer Falls, which was a little further in.  It was getting late and we felt it time to backtrack to the car before it got too dark.

After that, we made a quick stop at Buttermilk Falls.  This one was an easy stop, it's literally 50 yards off the road, practically a roadside attraction and very little walking necessary!

After that we literally went across the street and made pigs of ourselves ate dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  It happens.  From there, over to the hotel...

Our accomodations were at the Hope Lake Lodge at Greek Peak.  It's a really nice hotel, quite fancy with all new everything and even little kitchens in each room.  It was the same place we stayed and enjoyed last year.  The plan for Saturday was to sleep in a bit, and then I was going to go fishing in the late morning while K.C. & Lilly went to the indoor waterpark at the convene around 3PM to clean up and then head to town for dinner.

So on Saturday while they did this...

I headed over to the West Branch of the Tioughnioga River and did this...

Fishing was an absolute blast.  The river runs right through town and alongside a shopping center that houses the Cortland Line factory store so I didn't only fish, but I also stopped in and picked up some trinkets before heading back to the hotel.  A nice close to a perfect afternoon on the water.

Once reassembled and showered at the hotel, we piled back into the car and went to have dinner at one of our favorite places, the Hollywood Restaurant (a joint that knows how to feed you)...

With full bellies, we closed out the night, and effectively our little vacation back at the hotel.  K.C. goofed around on the internet, Lilly stayed up way past her bedtime, and I watched both Kansas State & Oregon lose their respective football games.  Notre Dame #1...really?

Sunday was the end.  We had breakfast at the hotel, packed up our stuff and headed back to Pennsylvania.  The drive back was comfortable enough...until I got busted for speeding somewhere around Binghamton, NY.  Oh well, I guess the out of state plates and a rear window full of fly fishing stickers will make you an easy target, just ask The River Damsel.  While unhappy to get a ticket, I do gratefully thank the officer for not putting the total screws to he kindly rounded down on the MPH...if you know what I mean.

Anyway, it was a very successful (albeit brief) mission to central New York.  With two years in a row under our belts, this just might become an annual thing.  Well, as long as Groupon keeps on sending discount hotel fares our way.  That said, if we do decide to head North again, K.C. is definitely doing the driving.

November 19, 2012

Tioughnioga Tarpon

Didn't have a blog post in me last night.

Just thought I'd throw up some random pictures from the weekend...with a real post tomorrow.