Archive for September, 2007

Panting trout in heat

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

A great pic of what we did not catch.

Anticlimactic. That word best describes my much-anticipated trip to Vermont/New Hampshire. There are other words that spring to mind, but I need to consider those of you out there with tender sensibilities. Bottom line: trout like cold water and cloudy days, and we had – for the most part – low, hot water and bright sunshine. The last day it did get grey and foggy, but when the sun rose it was sweltering and brutally muggy. In fact, two days ago the heat (in the 90s) broke long-standing weather records in Vermont. The rivers we’d hoped to fish were mere trickles, and the big Connecticut River was dead. We beat the snot out of the big river with dry flies, steamers and even spinnerbaits, then abandoned that and took a shot at a river to the west that’s regulated by a damn, and allegedly not as dependent on rainfall. Wrong. (more…)


Monday, September 24th, 2007

Somewhere, trout tremble.

I’ll soon be traveling to Vermont for a marketing meeting, and I’ve scheduled an extra day to fish the Connecticut River with a friend. My buddy Joe is a fly-tying animal, and he’s whipping up some fantastic looking 2.5-inch EP-fiber streamers (see above) for the trip, complete with lead wire wraps. Look at that thing – even I want to bite it. I’m told (by Quinton, a fellow angler and native Vermonter) that lack of rain and long hot days have reduced many of the rivers and streams to trickles, so the big river (at a point where one of its headwaters pours in and cools things down) is our backup plan. We’re actually hoping for some (semi) foul weather. A few weeks after that I’ll be heading north to visit my girlfriend’s family in Canada. Agenda calls for great food, lots of laughs and plenty of homemade wine — oh, and beefy salmon and steelhead in the powerful rapids of the famed St. Mary’s River. I’ll post the results of each trip. Hope the rest of you have a getaway or two to look forward to, as well.


Friday, September 21st, 2007


Tackle News: Subwalker

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Hmmmmm……daddy likey.

Buddy of mine just told me about this new sub-surface “walking” lure made by Rapala. It’s being hyped by one site as a lure that “has no boundaries and will change the way you fish.” Promo copy also reads: “…ideal for any species of fish.” I’m told it unclogs toilets and makes sandwiches, too (hopefully not in that order). Gushing hyperbole aside, it’s a handsome looking devil, with a pearly, almost translucent finish and a realistic profile that closely mimics a frisky pilchard. It also has a slow sinking action and (I assume) a lively side-to-side waggle, and can be fished right on top or a bit under the surface. Sounds good. So while I’m amused at the overstatement that so often accompanies a new lure roll-out, I’ll try one out eventually. If any of you have put the Subwalker through its paces, let the rest of us hear your take.

Fishing Tip: stay back when fishing shorelines

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

mangroveshore.jpgIf you fish shorelines from a boat, consider keeping your distance. That is, don’t assume that all of the fish you’re targeting are flush up against visible structure. It’s tempting to get very close to the trees, bars, oyster beds, etc. that line saltwater or brackish transition points, since it’s easier to place accurate casts and see fish when you’re in tight. But game fish — especially those of the larger persuasion — are often laying or cruising in the deeper water that is well away from shore, especially on mid-to-low tides that wick water away from the shallows. Deeper drop-offs and cuts provide them with the cover they prefer, yet allow for quick rushes into the skinnier water to surprise prey. Bottom makeup also plays a role here: shorelines that descend into a shelly, hard or grassy bottom will hold game fish 10, 15 or 20 feet off of the shore – or more. Keeping your distance and working your lures over the water you once ran your trolling motor or poled through can put you on fish you would have “blown out” while trying to get too close.

A child is a dog is a fish…?

Friday, September 14th, 2007

240-dogfish.jpgWhile perusing another angling blog, I found a link to a radical animal rights website called “Fishing Hurts.” Normally I wouldn’t waste your time with it, but when I read the sentence “A child is a dog is a fish” in their feature article, I almost fell out of my chair. By their limp A=B=C logic, a mullet or toad fish is as valuable as a human child. Wow. And groups like PETA wonder why they are viewed with such disdain. To emphasize their, uh, point, they added this crudely altered photo of a dog with a hook in its mouth. Nice touch.


Ideal size/weight for a shallow-water fly rod?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Todd in Biloxi, MS, who asks: “John, what’s the best size/weight for an all-around (shallow) saltwater fly rod?”

fishon.jpgThere are several schools of thought here, but the common answer is “An 8 weight”, since that size rod seems to split the difference between an outfit that’s strong enough to pitch heavier flies, light enough to cast all day and stiff enough to handle explosive runs by game fish such as snook, redfish, big sea trout and small tarpon. But there’s been a trend the past five years or so toward lighter outfits — 6 and 7-weight rods, to be precise. (more…)

Flash and sizzle

Friday, September 7th, 2007

A wall of rain closes the curtain on our latest fishing trip.

Yesterday Joe and I left our respective jobs at about 5:30 and scooted up to DependaBay, his big skiff (a 21-footer with a 225 Yami that I affectionately call “The Teleporter”, given its ability to hurl us across bays at light speed) in tow. Radar showed storm activity to the east heading southwest across the state, and it looked like the nasty stuff would pass us right by. There was a purple cloud on the far side of the bay when we arrived, but it was gliding to the south, as expected.


Conservation champion

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

blogfish.jpgI recently ran across a blog called “blogfish” run by a gentleman in Seattle named Mark. We’ve traded some emails related to links and personal philosophies (including the ofttimes perpendicular perspectives of anglers and conservationists). I’d like to point my readers toward where, among the thoughtful content and thought-provoking opinions, they’ll see a recent mention of shallowfish and our exchange. Mark is out there every day investigating rumors of misuse and fighting to protect our water-borne resources. Though we almost surely disagree on quite a few issues, I applaud his intentions, dedication and fierce resolve for a worthy cause.

Fishing Tip: break free from a muddy bottom

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

muddysneaks.jpg If you fish shallows using a trolling motor, sooner or later your hull will rub flush with soft mud that inhibits forward progress…or stops you altogether. A push pole works well in this situation, but there’s not always one available. Getting out and pushing means a messy boat…and often lost shoes that are literally sucked off your feet as you try to step forward. The solution: rock the boat from side to side (by taking wide steps repeatedly from port to starboard) to break the mud’s “hold.” While rocking, run your trolling motor on high and aim for a deeper section of water. Two notes: 1) this works much better with smaller, lighter skiffs, and 2) never use this technique where sea grass or other aquatic vegetation or structure is present, as it can damage vital game fish habitat.