Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Ides of March

On his way to the Theatre of Pompey in 44 BC, Caesar visited with a seer who had foretold that harm would come to him not later than the Ides of March. Caesar joked, "Well, the Ides of March have come", to which the seer replied "Ay, they have come, but they are not gone." Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators. 

It is now the last day of March and I'm glad that it's over, but is it??  We are looking at yet another rain/snow/winter mix of some sort.  The Roman Senate here is being played by Mother Nature herself, with rain, snow, cold temps, ice, then warm temps, wind, fast stream flows, & etc. being all co-conspirators.  It seems that everyone of my fishing pals have been scratching their heads of late.  It's been a very rough winter/spring transition, indeed.  One day you see Olives coming off of a calm Pennsy spring creek on a warmish day, but they aren't looking up.  Then, of course, the unofficial "spring" or "better fishing is yet to come" bug seems to be the Stonefly.

As exciting as it is to see these living fossils taking flight, we're just not seeing these trout take them subsurface.  All this food and no takers.  Seems to be a midge game, but sometimes, that's not even the ticket.  Just a frustrating month on the streams and I haven't gotten deep into the weather portion of it all. 

For all the complaining we tend to do, as fishermen, we tend to forget that this wacky weather & rough conditions are necessary.  Lest we forget how miserable last year was with the brutal summer which lasted deep into the fall with no rain.  It, totally, messed with the trout and thus gave us a lack luster fall, unless you went and chased Steelhead up on the Salmon River.  Plus, having been out as much as you could between January and now, we're better positioned to have really great days out on the water by the time the fair weather fishermen  & 4 season openers (NY State, Early PA, NJ, & the rest of PA) hit us all.  All of this epic winter, epic freeze, epic thaw, epic frustration should be worth it all soon. Sure, it would have been nice to have had a more productive winter/spring, but sometimes it just goes that way.  It can make for a great story come the end of the year. 

The 1st trout I got this year, fittingly, adorns this site.  A great story, thus far.  It really hasn't been bad, just not what most have been expecting for this time of year. 

I am seeing many mutual friends picking up the phone and getting together to fish more, which is cool.  Fishing, is for the most part a solitary thing, I know, but I've always liked getting a few friends out on the stream or meeting out at a spot just to get the line wet for a few hours. Trips like this are good intell on spots you may have overlooked. 

Also, this year, I have been slowly getting my old tenor sax player out on the water more.  Erik Schroeder has been to a few fly fishing shows and I have been showing him how to twist up a few simple patterns.  So, I had to get him out on the stream and did so this past weekend.  It all started as any other sort of near all day fishing excursion would start.
At least, I think, every good day out should start this way.  Even if it is way to early to fish at 6:30am, I do believe, if you have the time, you take time out and start your day at a place like Gronsky's Milk House in High Bridge, NJ and sit for breakfast.  This may just stem from all I have heard from old timers on down about their "opening day" experiences with the really early morning starts at the breakfast table.  Other than the day out with uncles, dads, & grandpas, it seems the biggest memory was always the breakfast, itself.

Since, I'm still a newb, at 5 or so years with a fly rod in hand, I can say I come from zero fishing tradition.  So, to hear the stories throughout the years, I have kind of taken that and applied it to my own experience.  Why not treat every fishing day with the excitement of "opening day"??  Why is just reserved for one day??  You, sadly, tend to hear, in some folks, that this pretty much died off as a childhood memory.  As a result, I guess a Uncle Hooli "tradition" is pretty much going to involve really early starts for breakfast and at the end the day, it will be capped off with a few barley pops.

So for Erik's innaugural day out on the stream, we started as such at Gronsky's and proceeded to the stream.  The flows were high, but not totally unfishable.  I was Erik's guide for the most part.  It was pretty cool to put down the rod and try and get someone up to speed by teaching someone what I've been taught by, ironically, the 1st three pictured above.  Ideally, it would've been great to have Erik on a fish on the 1st go, but with the flows and temps the way they were, it would be more beneficial to at least get him into the wheelhouse and get the cast placement right, the drift right (or close), to get him to set the hook on any indicator movement.  The meat & potatoes of winter/spring fly fishing.  The rest will fall into place as spring moves along and the more he joins us for breakfast, beers, and streamside wisdom.  Fortunately enough, Erik, was a captive audience to one John Heaney.

It was good timing as the build up of frustration was building in Erik and myself.  A new look and new perspective from someone more experienced than I was needed.  Without really getting into it because it deserve it's own post John Heaney, as many will tell you around these parts, is very passionate about his trout, their environment, fly fishing, and sharing his stories & knowledge about the streams of the area to a friendly ear.  I really enjoy running into Heaney on the streams.  It's always a huge treat to see a bear of man get near giddy talking about these trout.  I swear, he knows them on a 1st name basis.  To watch him work a pool is also fun and a clinic, at the same time. 

So I knew we were in good hands when we went back downstream to where I started Erik off.  It's a piece of water that is called the "Holy Water", which is a Heaney story that I may have to pry out of him for the blog.  Many potentially bad days on that stream were salvaged just by getting a drift or two in the Holy Water. We were in for a treat watching Heaney give us a lesson on how to fish the Holy Water. There were questions on whether or that section was even stocked at all and when Heaney proclaimed, "there's no way they stocked this" when from the bottom of the Holy Water surfaced a nice sized wild brown trout. 

The natural reaction here is to shake your head and just laugh.  I knew it would happen.  If there are trout in a particular run, Heaney will flush 'em out.  Of course, there's a lesson involved here.  Mr. Heaney just exposed to me what I may have done wrong in that run, as he pulled out 4 total in a matter of a few minutes from that swift water.  With that brief lesson Erik was newly inspired to hit the water again. 

At the end of the day, we came back to the van and I apologized that I couldn't get him in to trout, but Erik didn't seem to mind that.  I think those few moments on the stream with someone like John Heaney made the world of difference.  Erik will be on the stream again, very soon. 


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ramsey's Fly Fishing Day in pictures.

Seems like I'm a week behind, now, but you have to get in some fishing, too.  Last week's Fly Fishing Day at Ramsey Outdoor was nice little affair.  Double Haul Fly Fishing even had their own table, which was flanked on our right by John Collins & John Kavanaugh tying for the Catskills Fly Tyers Guild and on our left was Mike Nutto & Anthongy Giaquinto twisting up their patterns.  So, we were in good company. The streams, at that time, were blown out, so what else was there to do??  It was also a chance to meet up with some of the online friends for the 1st time. 

Michael McAuliffe of Rise Form Studio conducting his class.

Lance Wilt, lead guide at Spruce Creek Fly Co. steps in to teach a Central PA pattern or two.

George Douglas of Kype Magazine was in attendence.  I found, out that, weekend that George is originally from New Jersey, as well.  This may be material for another post at some other time, but I found it quite cool how one Kype issue has brought a few people together, recently. 

Rob Yaskovic works his magic behind the lens a majority of the time, doing fantasic wedding shots & portraits, but he likes his fly fishing, as well. 

Plus, Rob can make your Uncle Hooli look like he's been tying his ass off for the past 25 years, rather than for 2 years, and makes my Partridge concoction look stunning.  It is nice to have three links to 3 photographers that fly fish.  I get to pick their brains about cameras.  I have yet to, seriously, use my DSLR with the 50mm prime lens, but when I do, I know all I have to do is get some time on the water with guys who use it everyday. 

As I mentioned, early on, in this blog, you tend to discover some latent talents that you never quite knew existed.  I don't think my pics are anything special, but then you hear otherwise.  This is yet another thing about fly fishing I do enjoy. It really is not just the fishing, especially, when get some stream time in with someone.  It is the exchange of ideas, whether fishing a particular stream, gear, fly tying tips, or photography tips that I do enjoy.


Monday, March 14, 2011

A special thank you goes out to......

Rich Strolis of Farmington River, CT based Catching Shadows for adding Double Haul to his home page.

Rich has been guiding for a solid nine seasons, now, as well as professionally tying and selling some of his unique fly patterns, which have appeared in several fly fishing publications.  His patterns have, now, been regularly featured, in video form, on the Midcurrent fly fishing site and is now sponsored by Hatch Reels.

Lately, I've been on a Stonefly pattern kick, since many of my fly tying friends, like Rich, have a pattern of their own.  So the variations on the theme are seemingly endless.  Rich's Shimmer Stone Fly is quite cool and is seen in the pic above and below.

Please click here for this tie up on the Midcurrent site. 

Thank you Rich for supporting Double Haul Fly Fishing.


Philly in photo form.

I know, I'm a little bit late on the update, here, but these things happen.  Pesky things like work get in the way and just derail things, like fly tying, blogging, & fishing (sometimes).  At any rate, lets roll the Philly footage:

Kyle Majikas is sporting a handsome new shirt.  He's a part of the "crucial three" in Double Haul Fly Fishing.  Many of you out there who have ordered the large sized t-shirts got it from him.

Anthony Giaquinto showing Philly his talents. 

I spy Mike Nutto wearing a Fiberglass Manifesto t-shirt.

Good friend, great tyer, and pretty much the "on the road general" for the Catskills Fly Tyers Guild , John Collins, twisting up some patterns for the public.

"Uncle Vin" Majikas, my mentor, made his way up and is sporting some new gear.  The Loyalsock Creek may not be the same.

Erik, sporting the gear.  Yes, shameless promotion.  Erik & I used to be in a band together called Inspecter 7.  We were one the pair of founding members.  Erik grew up fishing the Raritan Canal until 2am, as a kid.  He's come over to the darkside, that is fly fishing.  The man has got his gear and licenses ready to go.  He is at an advantage here because of all of the collective people we know.  The bull & fluff will be all filtered out for him.  So, throughout this year we'll see him on some videos and maybe he'll contribute a few writtings to this blog about his experiences as a newbie. The beginning of the end is near for you, Erik.

One of the biggest questions of show was not "could that LCD panel on tyers row be any bigger" but rather, how could you not have beer at a fishing show??  There was a bit of a dilema with obtaining a barley pop, but we did manage to find a bar in the complex.  Next time we roll with. 

All in all, for a 1st time show, it wasn't poorly attended.  The true brunt of the traffic was certainly in the morning on Saturday.  It's not without it's growing pains, either.  Weird to also have a Baseball Card show the same weekend, too, but oh well.  Also, the question of "show burn out" comes into play, too.  Time will tell whether or not this will continue to be on the calendar.


Friday, March 11, 2011

From the vaults: Loyalsock Creek 2010

All of this high water shennanigans has gotten to me.  I would love to be out in the streams filming for future vids of our exploits, but I've had to resort to digging up footage of what kind of started this whole Double Haul Fly Fishing in the 1st place.  In about a month, we'll be back on the Loyalsock, again, but this time we're bringing some more friends into the fray.  Poor Hillsgrove won't know what hit 'em when we all belly up to the bar.  In making this video, I've come to realize that this will have to be last video in this Windows Movie Maker format.  It's a great lil' program to get started in it, but my ideas have gone beyond the capabilities of the program.  So, once the flows normalize and the film starts rolling, the next vid out will be created with something else.

Until then, enjoy this.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fly Fishing Day 3/12/2011: The solution to potentially blown out streams.

Thanks to Mike McAuliffe of Rise Form Studio & Ramsey Outdoor of Ledgewood, NJ, the Double Haul team will have their own table at their annual Fly Fishing Day.  As spring rolls in, the stage switches to these localized events.  It seems the last of the big social events for fly fishing will be going dormant as the hatches start to occur on the streams.  These smaller events are definitely like "pre-season" for all anglers, even for those who've fished since January 1st.  With everything in the tri-state area being potentially blown out as they are calling for another 1-3 inches of rain, as I write this, a show like this may just be the best diversion. 

I've been to a few of these Fly Fishing Days over the years and it seems to have grown larger and larger.  There will be a great lineup of speakers & tyers at the event.

Some of the tyers that will be present:

Andy Brasko
John Collins

John Kavanaugh
Anthony Giaquinto

Lance Wilts
George Douglas from Kype Magazine

Mike Nutto
Joe Cebellos
Leslie Wrixen

and many others.

The lectures scheduled will be

10:00 AM - Brian Cowden - River Restoration in New Jersey
11:00 AM - Darren Rist - Fly Fishing the Upper Delaware River
12:00 PM - Lance Wilts - Central Pennsylvania Fly Fishing
1:00 PM - Mike McAuliffe - 12 Months of Fly Fishing in New Jersey

This all kicks off at 9am, so we hope to see many of you there.  It should be a fun event to keep the mind off of the blown out streams. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Double Haul Fly Fishing/Scandalous Fly Fishing Brothers on The Fiberglass Manifesto

It's funny how things work in this world.  The adage, "one good turn deserves another" seems to have been at play this morning, when The Fiberglass Manifesto decided that my pic of Mike Nutto 
was good enough to be entered into their T.F.M. Spotting contest for the year, which the grand prize is a Scott F2 Fiberglass rod.

Not too shabby for just taking some pics at a fly tying show.    =)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Double Haul @ The Fly Fishing Show in Philly

Saturday brings us the last of The Fly Flying Show series for the year in a brand new venue.  With spring just getting ready to bust loose, this show puts us here a month out from all the opening days though, generally, we like fishing all year (if we have the temps to do so) for trout.  I'm going to guess that it will be a well attended show.  They've managed to get the legendary Joe Humphreys out of retirement to do special presentations. 

It will surely be fun as we'll be there to open things off at the show tying for the Catskills Fly Tyers Guild

The featured tyers for both days will be

9:00 AM  to 12:00 :  John Czifra and Kyle Majikas

12:00 PM to 3:00 pm :  Jessica Lettich and Tim Morris

3:00 PM to  6:00 PM :  Andy Brasko and
Mike Nutto


9:00 AM to 12:00 PM :  John Bonsera and Allen Landheer 

12:00 PM to Closing:   Andy Brasko and Tim Mahoney.

It's a great guild to be in and it takes nothing to join it.  A piece of fabric in your pocket that has Alexander Hamilton's face on it is all it takes for the year to join.  Plus, there's quite a tradition and many tyers got their start through the guild.  Most importantly, it is a great way to donate some time, by tying at these shows, to keep the traditions of fly tying alive and well.

Hope to see some of you at the show.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

The "Chum Lord" Long Sleeve T-shirt

As of today 3/3/2011, we here at Double Haul Fly Fishing have also decided to compliment everything else we do with shirts.  Right now on the "Gear" page we have an offering of a long sleeve shirt at run of 100, right now.  It is rightfully named the Chum Lord shirt because of the gnarly salmon carcass, which is flanked by stone flies, that adorns the back of our shirt.

The Chum Lord actually existed and was used from a pic that was taken of it on one of our trips, last fall.  He was perched high atop a makeshift riverside monument, which was erected in the Upper Fly Zone of the Salmon River in upstate New York.

Offerings of flies, fly fishing line, tippet, & cans of beer were placed around him, while messages were scribbled in permanent maker in praise & hopes of good Juju for the fishing ahead. 

The Chum Lord also appears, briefly, in our Fish & Destroy - Halloween Steelhead Jam video on YouTube.

As with most things, the Chum Lord has not been seen, since, just like the many salmon carcasses that draped the river in the fall.  They have returned to the earth and sea as nature takes it's coarse, yet again.  However, the Chum Lord of Altmar lives on in our shirts and I hope you will buy them and wear them proudly in reverence, rememberance, and out of respect to the many salmon that make the journeys upstream to continue their lineage.

Big thanks to Hannah Connors @ Dogwig Printing for her work on the shirts & anyone else that had a hand in it. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sparse Grey Matter Fly Tying Event

On Sunday (Feb. 27, 2011) there was a fly tying event held in Califon at the Fire House, which was co-sponsored by Dette Flies (Roscoe, NY) & Shannon's Fly Shop (Califon, NJ).  I had caught wind of it about a week ago and decided to roll through. For a 1st time event the turn out was pretty solid.  It was open to all levels of tyers and there was plenty of moral support & a wealth of information from the very experienced and well seasoned tyers that made everyone welcome, but more importantly inspired the next crop of future tyers.  It was very cool to see the tables filled with tyers holding court to multiple people who had the tyers ears. Exchange of ideas were a plenty.  Nice hall, nice ties, and a nice event.  Would be a shame to not have it next year.  It slots in nicely, before the last Fly Fishing Show in Philadelphia, which the Double Haul team will be at on Saturday tying for the Catskills Fly Tyers Guild to kick off the show.

Here's some pics taken of this cool event.