Author Archives: GhettoFly

About GhettoFly

GhettoFly fishes, because he loves to eat fish: “The wild trout are lean. They are the maguro. The stockies are tastier, fatty fish. They are the toro. But maguro is good too, and I cook every wild fish I catch.”

The prodigal old man and the sea

So, after having sworn off fishing, and in my petulant musings, I decided that there must be more anger than I realized at the bottom of all this. Here’s the conclusion: My dislike of fishing started when I became a self-proclaimed captain. That is a douchbag move, by the way, proclaiming yourself captain, that was poetically my first mistake. Before I became that douch, it was someone else who was always taking me fishing, and that was fun. Now it seems like I was always taking other people fishing. This has started to wear on me as the pressures have mounted (in my own mind) since after all, I still have no idea what I’m doing. Not catching anything and feeling like a fool angers me plain and simple, and I feel foolish when I ‘should’ know what I doing but I really don’t. I realized that I still want to fish, and would gladly go if someone takes me fishing.

Lo and behold, last Thursday, I got rare text from Dave who has guided fishermen all over the world. He is a pro, but never has much time to fish anymore. However, the text asked if I wanted to fish the Swift tomorrow last minute. Fridays are my day off and I actually had no set plans except to have lunch with Noemi. I told her about the text, and she did not hesitate to tell me to go. She’s been listening to my fishing struggles and always knows how to comfort me. The Swift is Dave’s home river and my most and least liked river. Most, because there are always fish there and you can see them. Least, because they can see you and are the most finicky, bitchy fish in all of New England. Furthermore the river is always packed with guys nymphing away. They are very catchable though if you nymph, and there are many huge fish in many spots, some in only a few inches of clear water. I only throw dry flies and never catch a thing.

I had a cigar and a coffee on the 90 min ride down the Mass Pike and met Dave at 9:30am just as the sun was hitting the water. I was planning on nymphing this time so I left the bamboo in the car and srung up the Sage. Dave had on a San Juan worm and some other beaded thing, and handed me a #18 BWO as he knows my prejudices. “It’s a nice day, there may be a hatch or two”. There was a midge hatch and after 5 casts I was on for a second or so. I was so shocked at the take that I pulled hook right out of its mouth…and it was a good size rainbow. I though it was a little brookie and didn’t pay it any respect for its size. Well that was pretty much it for that fly, no other fish took a second look at it. Dave caught a huge rainbow on his worm. After that we mostly watched the fish eat microscopic somethings and refuse our flies as they drifted perfectly by. I did manage to catch 4 or 5 brookies on a really,really small emerger, the total length of all of them combined I’d say was about 6″.

We moved on to a quaint little waterfall and Dave suggested I use the biggest yellow double humpy in my box. I did and instantly got several takes but no hook sets. Dave went hopper/dropper and landed another huge rainbow. I tried a simulator and received no attention. Finally, a ghetto olive #14 elk caddis got a strike in about 3″ inches of water. The fish literally ran up onto the far bank out of the river to spit the hook. That was pretty crafty, I had to admit, and also had to admit that I was done. I walked off the sunny river, dejected but somehow feeling better than when I started. Dave stayed to play with his bobber/nymph set up, and I’m sure he slayed a few more. It still angered me that he caught fish and I didn’t, but he took me fishing, dammit and that was exactly what I wanted and needed, and I felt very grateful. My only regret was not stringing up the boo from the get go and committing to dry flys…but I will go back to the Swift again; anyone wanna come?

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log – 10.10.2015

Fall Fishing

After I rekindled my love of fishing some eight years ago or so, I really looked forward to the Fall. Back then, I was fishing almost exclusively with Jon, who was sharing with me his almost 30 year knowledge of rods and rivers, ponds and poppers, striped bass and streams, tides, tackle, and estuaries. More importantly, though he never used this word, he always tried to teach me about flow: how the water had a flow, your cast and retrieve had a flow, the day has a flow, the seasons and life have a flow. Fishing was as much about entering that flow as it was about learning how and where to cast and what to throw. Back then, that’s all I cared about…Where do I go, and what do I throw. Very little else mattered, for I had entered a magical world of adventure where everything was special. Every new spot fished and new species caught was a world filled with the wonders of childhood, and I was happy to follow Jon around like a wide-eyed puppy starting in the spring and all through the summer. My head expolded when I caught my first 5 lb largemouth. I was in shock when that first striper tugged my sluggo. When we talked about fishing, he would say things like, and I am paraphrasing, “You know, the wife used to ask me when I was going fishing, like how long I was going for? You can’t answer that question, I have no idea how long it will take…”, and it took me a while to understand what the hell he was talking about, and that all this would make more sense years later when I started fly fishing. But this was all back in the spin fishing days where I was still a grasshopper and borrowing all of my equipment, and before I would be whacked across the face by the cold mackerel of adult fishing reality. This was back in those first few years where we always managed to take at least one Saturday during the Fall and spend all day fishing. Now I was to learn that striper Fall Fishing is very different from the rest of the year. Fall Fishing for Jon and I was suiting up none too early, getting a cooler of beers, gathering all types of smokes, and driving around the Cape looking for birds in the surf. Jon would say, ‘they’re either here or they’re not’. I would later come to despise that statement, but for now it was great fun. I was young and happy to be chauffeured around the Cape beaches by my fishing elder, drinking beer and mostly just looking at the water, then moving on, taking a few casts here then smoking a cigarette there, grabing a sandwich and driving some more. It was extremely relaxing and satisfying being, “in our jamies (meaning waders) all day”, even though we never even saw or caught a fish year after year….

The years went on, and I became my own fishing man, so to speak, and aquired tons of my own gear and now have been teaching and showing my friends whatever I know about fishing. And to this day, I have still never caught a striper from the surf in the Fall. I’ve gotten them on the flats, in river estuaries, but never in the fabled Fall surf, in a boulder field, or off the classic rocky, craggy shores of New England. I’ve never even pulled a fish out of the Cape Cod canal, though I have helped some of my friends do all these things. So when my friend’s father wanted to fish in October, we came up with the idea of the Fall Fishing Classic, so that we could all have an excuse to gather, drive around, drink beer and generally relax. Maybe I could even finally pull a damn bass out of the suds. For the past two years we have headed to Montauk, the self proclaimed surf fishing capital of the world, for a weekend of some Fall Fishing. So far, in two years, 6 days total and five guys fishing we’ve managed a total of a snagged schoolie striper, one American Shad and a dogfish. Each year we hear the same story…’oh you shoulda been here last week, we were killin em’. Or, ‘they’re getting ’em right now on the Vinyard (or the Cape, or Jersey or wherever else you aren’t), or ‘yeah, after that storm came through the other day, it shut the fishing down. You know, they’re either here or they’re not’. This year we decided to move our location to try and improve our luck. We planned a weekend at the famed Rhode Island south beaches, breechways and salt ponds. Friday, I fished from Narragansett starting at 6am all the way to Westerly and caught nothing. My friends arrived and we spent another three days fishing and they and I all caught nothing.

I have come to hate Fall Fishing.

What I’ve found is that all you end up with are nice pictures of sunrises and sunsets and trying to convince yourself that it’s just great to be outside with your old friends spending time. That’s horseshit. The kid in me wants to throw a tantrum and say that I have lost the naivete of that. Fishing for that long and getting constantly skunked is like really connecting with a fastball and watching it sail towards the wall only to be reeled in at the last second on the warning track. Someone says, ‘good swing’, and that makes you feel better until this is your same at bat for three years. Then you want to break something. You resign yourself to small victories, like saying, ‘hey at least I didn’t lose too many lures today’. Speaking of which, I added up the obscene amount of money in lures I have acquired and I cannot even write it all down. Danny swimmer 15 dollars, yo-zuri crytal minnow 17 dollars, Gibbs wooden pencil popper 18 dollars, it goes on and on…Just a glance at the ones I used this weekend comes out to over 125 bucks, and not one fish. And speaking of breaking something, I also managed in my half-cocked frustrated state to break the tip off my surf rod…that’s another 180$.

So now, we call The Fall Classic, The Fall Stall. Maybe I am just cursed as a boat fishermen to never fish well from shore. Maybe I need to let go of my expectations and count my blessings. Maybe I still care too much about where to go and what to throw, and I should try and understand Jon and let the flow take me where it wishes. I can say that as the sweetness of youth and novelty give way to the salty, spice and bitters of age, then something more than immediate pleasure must be grasped. I know this, though I have not yet quite understood it when it comes to fishing. There were, however, moments in the cool air and sun of the day while hero casting off a jetty that I felt really happy. What keeps those other moments away in these lean times, I am still not sure. My health was good, and my best friends were there. We drank and joked, played cards and sang…well, at least I sang. We drank some more, watched the baseball games, woke up bleary-eyed and hungover after zero sleep and went to Watch Hill point and fished the rocks. Nothing. No one was catching a damn thing. Then you cannot avoid hearing the same lines from other fishermen, ‘oh yea yesterday in the Canal I got 32 fish. A dozen over 20 pounds’. My headache increased, as I watched some boats pursuing birds way out of casting range. We went back to our beach in front of the hotel, sat and smoked cigars, drank beer, dunked bait, threw lures, and caught nothing. All I could do was think that maybe next time I should bring the GhettoFly down.

That Sunday we fished the rocks again and there were no fish. We finally saw a bluefish boil off the beach and the two guys next to me caught 15lb blues. That surprisingly made me feel better, seeing those huge fish come out of the surf and be released. Maybe I am growing up a little, but I still can’t wait for it to be Spring.

Keep your lines tight and your rod up.

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log – 10.21.2015

Special Back to the Future edition:

On this date in Back to the Future II, Marty and Doc arrive from the 1980s. Coming of age in the eighties, I think maybe the Gen Xers have a special connection to these films, this day and the significance of this time. Its been 25 or more years since we were all teenagers, when we were thinking and wondering about how our lives would go. Would I be handsome, would I be rich…what will be will be, but of course I would fall in love, get married and have a family? So now it’s all these years later, we’re middle-aged, and there are still no flying cars, and I found that fishing had taken the place of a family that had never materialised. I looked back this week more so than ever at why and how fishing had taken hold of my life, perhaps more so now as I feel less and less of a pull from the water. What has happened?

There is a tendency to look at all things through our own lens of understanding, and I will not hesitate to do that now. Forgive me if you do not like me speaking for you or if you do not relate, but I’m going to say this anyway:

Fishermen are sad, and fly fishermen are sad and lonely. This is just how it is.

How else can we justify hours and hours away from our homes in quiet pursuit of some mystical experience. Yes, the adventure, yes the primative search for the unknown, yes the “bonding with nature” all this may be true. But especially for the fly fisherman in this endeavor for the golden cast, we are mostly alone and continue to pursue solitude. Now I want to make clear, when I say sad and alone, I do not mean this in a negative way. I mean this as a fact of the reality of life. Life is constant loss, there is sadness, we feel alone. One can deny or avoid this or one can work towards acceptance. Fishing, I think, does both.

But we have to take an honest inventory.

As fishermen, we are also mostly all drunks. Drinking has the power to do both as well. It can bring us together as a way to chase euphoria, and it can numb, and destroy. Most of the time fishing, we are alone and we lose, and the alcohol enhances all of this. Fish for the “fish of 10,000 casts”, who would do such a thing? It is because we are lonely. We are looking for something, we have expectations of a future that does not happen? I bought my first fly rod and lost my wedding ring fishing on my honeymoon. This should have told me something was missing, not in my relationship (of course there was), but more so in me. What makes someone consistently get out of a warm bed at 4am and stand on a cold rock unless the bed wasn’t really all that emotionally warm. Or if it was, then we can say that there must be another warmth out there that we know exists because something is missing? There is a sadness, a lack, a gap, and fishing is the poem of man’s lonliness ever trying to be written. The look into the mirror and abyss of water scanning for what may look back. Sometimes it is narcissism and other times, it is the Real. Once again, in fear that I may depress, I must stress, that this is a moment of celebrating. The drunk fisherman grows up, leaves all he loves to go and find another love. Now everyone does this, but my point is that the act of fishing shines a particular light on this struggle. We weather we are married or have children, we are all still trying to get back To something. Back in time, back to a simpler time, back to our imagined childhood? We are looking for some connection. Fishing literally tries to connect us to our past, to water, from whence we all came. We hook a fish, we are connected via the line, fish and water to the eternal, to the primative, the collective, the grand ocean of being. We can never go back to that. This is sad, and can makes us lose ourselves in drink. This is also good. We can move forward. Every fish caught and released also can signify our moving forward, forward to the future. Hard work, frustration, patience, perseverance, all make a fisherman great. This is our future life. As teenagers, this is not what we thought would be a good life. Fun was good. Pleasure was good. However the future and the fish are not won by pleasure. They are won by hard work. This is the loneliness of disappointment. The expectations were of the pleasures of fun, not of the pleasures of work, this reality is also sad. This is ok. I can still be sad, but the acceptance of this makes me very happy and loving. Life is measured in how we love one another, and how we connect.

I love to fish, but do not plan to fish as much in the future. I do not feel the urge to be alone as much, or to drink as much. I have the urge to teach others to fish, but my time feels different. This weekend, I am selling one of my boats, the Ancient Mariner. Of course this is because my bed and heart are warmer now than ever, and one poem seems written for now. The lonely mariner tells his tale. The future is here and all the work is paying off? All I know is that the pleasue has returned, a more gown up pleasure. Fishing taught me most of this, or at least kept me warm while the work was faught. This may just be end of the season talk. I’ll see you in the spring and let you know.

Keep your lines tight and your rod up,

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log – 7.15.15

The New Generation:

My only nephew is now 14 years old. He lives in a tiny suburb of San Diego. Although my sister has devoutly tried to keep him connected to his east-coast, ethnic Italian roots, he is a product of his generation and environment. He suffers like most kids, from the general societal paranoia who treat kids like Faberge Eggs. He grew up more comfortable with touch screens than with backyard streams. I don’t know is he’s ever gotten on his bike and ridden to somewhere he didn’t know or if he’s ever walked in some kind of nature just to explore it. He didn’t have a next-door friend teach him to dig up worms and walk down to the local pond to catch sunnies in the summertime. He didn’t look under rocks in rivers for crayfish, or make home-made fishing nets out of mom’s old stockings and coat hangers, or dangle live minnows to predator fish and get to feel powerful and elated, and also sad and guilty for the bait. He never had any of that growing up. So when he got to be around 10 years old, my father and I took him out into the New Jersey bays to fish the waters that we have fished all of our lives, so he could begin to take his rightful place among men. He loved it. I think it helped that his first few outings were in the best blowfish and snapper blue seasons I’ve ever witnessed. The action never stopped. Fish were everywhere. It was only a matter of honing your skill of setting the hook and landing the fish. Each year now when he visits the Jersey Shore in the summer, his one request to me is to take him fishing. Very little makes me happier.

This year he was of that age were he came with a friend, and they both looked forward to a fishing adventure. I was more nervous then usual, because I had read the reports and you could tell that the fishing was bad and the reporters were just trying to sell bait and not feel too guilty themselves for being liars. I stocked up anyway and made a plan to fish three species: tossing metal for bluefish at sunrise (decent chance of hookup), then switch to drifting squid in the inlet for fluke (long shot) and finally, (the sure thing, practically cheating) anchoring and chumming for blowfish, seabass or any other junk fish that hangs out on the bottom. I mean, something was going to jerk our lines even if I had catch sea robins and skates.

We went out, and my father, my nephew, his friend and I all got skunked. And we were out all morning, and I tried a ton of spots and even creeped up on boats that looked like they knew what they were doing. Being young teenage boys, they don’t talk much anyway, but they were especially quiet during this skunking even for them. I felt really bad, and offered to take them again the next day if they weren’t too discouraged. They didn’t hesitate to say yes, which kind of surprised me. I was thinking that these soft, computer kids wouldn’t have the attention span or understanding that this is how fishing often goes. My nephew has never been skunked like this, so I admired his desire to go another round.

I told the boys that they should get up next morning at 5am and we are leaving right then. At 4:59am both of them impressively walked bleary-eyed down the stairs and were ready. Of course, I’d been up since 4 and had all the rods rigged the night before. My father decided to sleep in. My plan was this: screw the bait fishing. Put all effort into light tackle casting to bluefish at dawn. I know the fish are there, for I saw them yesterday just as we arrived. We had left too late around 6am, for I’ve found that NJ bluefish are done with breakfast early and are hard to entice later. However, just at first light, they are usually very active and almost always along the jetty in the inlet at this time of year. This was our best shot. This was why I dragged these two kids up so early. It was all or nothing. And in my book, there is nothing like hooking a bluefish on light tackle in the Jersey summer.

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It was still dark as we fired up the 1989, 2-stroke mercury engine and made the 20 minute run to the inlet. The weather was perfect, warm, slight west wind, a few clouds. The night before, at the last minute, I put on a lure from Bontempi’s tackle bag that he had left with me for our flats trip in a few weeks. He had killed the bluefish last year with his black Bomber long-A salt lure. It’s something I’d not imagined would ever work, but something about the big black profile at first light seems to be irresistible to the yellow-eyed devils. We arrived and the birds were up and working. The bluefish like to trap the bait along the wall and partially submerged jetty and chomp on the little fish as the waves and ripping currents disorient them. We were all alone with the birds and I handed the boys their rods strung up with metal lures. Now a word on the tackle: these chunky rods and reels were bought by my father the same year as the boat. The fact that they work at all is a miracle, but they could explode at any minute. The line has probably never been changed. Also, these boys are just learning how to cast, and I’m asking them to cast metal lures with crappy rods in the most dangerous inlet on the whole east coast. I had to keep the engine running and be at the wheel at all times to keep us off the rocks, on the fish, and out of the way of all the commercial and recreational boat traffic in the inlet. On my nephew’s friend’s first cast, the reel blew up. I had other rods rigged and gave him the one with the Bomber on it. He kept casting, as we drifted too close to the rocks. I was quietly mummbling and grunting to the bluefish to frigging hit those lures…come on, Come on. Then I hear my nephew shout and then in disgust, “Awww, I had one!” he reeled in and the lure was gone. The fish didn’t chew the line, the crappy old line snapped. I quickly took a about 20 feet of line off the reel, started to retie when I saw his friend’s rod bent.

“‘Are you on, or snagged on the rocks?”
“I don’t know”
“In think you’re on.”

Though I actually couldn’t tell myself. His line was stalled in the submurdged rocks, but it looked like he had a fish on. I grabbed the rod from him and still couldn’t tell. “You’re snagged…no you have a fish….no you’re snagged on kelp or something…”
So I gave a good pull on the line because I was running out of time as the boat drifted towards the rocks. Boom! A bluefish sprang out of the water and over the rocks. The fish must have been trapped on something, but now was tugging and swimming like crazy. I threw the rod back in the kid’s hand and he started fighting. The fish was a good size and of course, fighting back the way only a bluefish can. The kid muscled the crappy reel and rod along and brought the fish broadside. I helped him heave the fish over the rail as we were no longer skunked! Fish in the boat, and cheers from the boys. Now as the fish came close I could already see blood in the water coming out of it’s mouth and when it hit the deck blood spattered everywhere. I got the crushed-barb treble hook (good job Bontempi) easily out of its mouth, and threw the fish in the hole of the boat. Now I looked at the line and it was frayed where it got hung up in the rocks and amazingly the 3lb blue didn’t break it off. I re-tied the Bomber back on, got a horn blown at me by a big commercial steamer as I had drifted into the channel, maneuvered the boat back on the fish and handed the hot Bomber lure to my nephew. In a matter of minutes he was on, too. It was a slightly smaller fish and he landed it like a champ. This is not quiet fishing, this is full contact blood sport, and it was a total success, as both boys got a nice fish each. More blood sprayed everywhere when second fish was landed. They delighted in taking pictures of the stern of the boat that looked like a murder scene, and immediately posted the photo somewhere in cyberspace.

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They fished another hour and my nephew had another fish break the crappy line and take off with my another one of my metal lures and his friend hooked two more with the Bomber, but lost them both on the way in. But no matter, it was a grand morning with two fish in the hole and an experience I’ll cherish.

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When we arrived home, the family was waiting on the dock and the boys proudly displayed their catch. After they scrubbed the blood off the boat, I got a filet knife so they could clean their first fish. I grew up watching my father clean fish, so when it was my turn, it came naturally. I remember the first time I gutted a fish, it was also a bluefish, a small snapper I caught on my own one day…I slit the fish up the belly just like when my dad did it. These boys haven’t had that kind of childhood, but I wasn’t going to be easy on them. I felt I had little time and opportunity to teach them how to prepare and honor the fish that they had caught. They scaled the fish and got grossed out pulling the guts and gills out, and I have no idea what sense they made of this ceremony in which I obviously put great importance. My father cooked and the boys served their fish to us for lunch. It it’s how things have been going for centuries, and it made me proud.

And after all these years of catching, cleaning and eating bluefish, last year my farther and I finally found a way to make them into a delicacy. The key is tomatoes and below is the family recipe…enjoy it sometime with family and friends.

Thanks again to Bontempi who always has what you need, when you need it.

Keep your line tight and your rod up,

GhettoFly

Bluefish Mediterranean Style:

Preheat oven to 400°

Bluefish: whole. scaled and gutted. heads and tails on, 1lb to 3lb fish work best. Fish must fit on a deep baking pan

Salt and pepper inside of fish and place in deep baking pan. Salt and pepper outside of fish

Generously pour olive oil over fish. At least 1/2 a cup.

Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. At least 1/2 a cup

Fill pan with a light white wine. At least a full cup.

Bake at 400°

Key Step! After about 15 min, add 2 cups chopped up tomatoes. (Peeled raw shrimp can also be added at this point if you want to get fancy).

Continue to bake for 25 min total for a 1 pound fish adding 5 minutes for every pound heavier (3lb fish 35 min). Stick a fork in just behind the head to check if it is done.

Transfer to serving plate and pour all juices around and over the fish. Enjoy…and don’t forget to eat the head, it’s the best part!

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Captain’s Log:  August 28th, 2014

This morning, I was laying in bed after the alarm went off and decided not to fish the Ghettofly alone, so I meadered down to the side of the Mystic to try some casts.  My big bottle neck popper that was tied on and looked so intimidating, shrunk up on the line when I walked out to the river and saw a boat trolling tube and worm, a kayaker, and two guys from shore.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I miss the cold November days on the Mystic when I can’t feel my hands, and can’t see another fisherman.  I popped the popper anyway, just for hope and fun, and then reached into my bag to try out some other lures.  So, I realize that with my feet on shore this is not technically a Captain’s log, please stop reading if you are offended by generalizations and grandiosity.  

Now, if you’re still reading, and you’ve chucked anything artificial at Striped Bass for more than a dozen outing in a year, then you will have heard of, and probably own the Atom Popper Lure.  Everyone knows the history: Mr. Pond was down the Cape Cod cannel after WWII and saw fish feeding on top and starting producing his lure of out wooden curtain rods and named it after the Big One dropped on those folks who now bring us wonderful, Shimano products and Gamakatzu hooks.  It quickly became and still is, in the top 10 of every surf fisherman’s bag up and down the East Coast.  My questions is:  Why?  What is the deal with these things?  They are obviously a legend, but I have never, ever, never, even seen a fish sniff at these things! If anyone has caught more than one fish (accounting for dumb luck or dumb striper) on these please let me know.  Better yet, since we all know how fisherman lie, please get your “go-Pro” out and let me see it in action.  Because, I also do what all fisherman also do when they are not catching fish, and that’s look for fish porn on you tube.  So just go and try and find a video on google that shows someone teaching you how to fish a Atoms lure and actually catching something.  I couldn’t even find anyone fishing these things let alone see a fish hit one!  Ghettofly charters has an opinion on all this, of course.  First of all, kudos to Mr. Pond, his design is beautiful and I buy these things just on their ascetic appeal alone.  But what the hell kind of popper sinks!?  I know the pros say that sinking poppers are better because you can impart different action on them, but I say phooey on that.   A popper always needs to float, otherwise how the hell can you fish it super slowly the way the Sideliners often like it?  How do you pop it and see where it is when you want to pause it?  How do you guarantee that your 10$, 15$ or even $20 lure doesn’t get snagged on some rock and leave you thinking, “There goes another lure I’ve lost and I never even caught a fish on it.”  But at sunrise today, I tried out my beautiful white Atoms Popper that really sinks and doesn’t pop unless you twitch it just right, which I think I can do, but I also realized that making it look good on the water also hurts my elbow, and caught nothing.  I’m too old to have to pay that high a price for style.  Please see the culprits below (with switched out single hooks, re: Captain’s Aug 25th), and feel free to offer up a trade with any of your actual floating poppers that float, cause I’ll take those any day!  

Keep your lines tight and your rod up,

Ghettofly

PS:  I do hear that Atoms are effective in rough surf, so out of respect to Mr. Pond, I am going to try them one more time, maybe in Montauk this Fall.  Stand by for report.  

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Captain’s Log – 7.1.15

Father’s Day (June) wrap up

The problem with writing in June and July is that we are writing about fishing. Striper fishing in New England has two good months, June and the two weeks before and after June.  Though people have exalted the “Fall Run” I am here to state that the Fall run sucks. Yes big fish are taken off the beach, but it is a lonely business, where the fish are moving fast, and fishing by nature should be slow. So writing is slow in June as all precious days are spent fishing and preparing gear to fish or recovering from pre-breakfast fishing (drinking) sessions that last until well after lunch.

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This June there were many successful charters on the GhettoFly. She is still running like brand new and endearing to be a pleasure to captain, who by the way this June, caught the biggest fish of his life to date (major irony on this story is that it was on an Atom Lure.[editor: please post link to captains log on the atoms popper])  I’ve had some on board this June who have fished for years and who have reported having their best day of fishing ever. I’ve had those on board who have hardly ever fished saying they had their best day of fishing ever. I’ve even had some on board who had no idea how amazing the fishing was and who merely thanked me, not knowing that they just had their best day of fishing ever, and who are destined to be confused and disappointed the next time they are looking for stripers.  I also had on board this June for the first time ever, my father. 

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Now, every son’s relationship with his father is a fishing metaphor.  As in, you don’t always know how you always feel about it, but somehow it’s unarguably one of the most influential and important things in your life.  My father taught me many things about life teaching me to fish over the years.  One time I was alone and very young about 7 or so, standing by the local river waiting for trout season to open.  As the clock stuck, I took my first cast and managed to tangle my gear beyond what my frustration tolerance and patience for repair would allow.  I stayed crying and stormed off, only to run into my father who was looking for me.  He stopped me, turned me around and gave me patience where I had none. He re-rigged my gear. He fished with me, and didn’t let me give up. I still didn’t catch a Damn thing that day, so I’m not sure exactly what the lesson was, but I remembered it, so I suppose that’s important for something.  If I can jump ahead to being about 16 and on a charter boat jigging for bluefish off the Jersey coast, I recall that my father had discovered that I had discovered beer.  After a long morning on the water and a longer ride home into the afternoon, my father came out of the cabin with two cold cans of Budweiser.  Even at 16, I was a critical snob and said, “Dad, I don’t even like Budweiser.” To which my father did not skip a beat and said, “Son, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Now you may ask how I could remember that story, well it’s because bottom or harvest fishing is all we did growing up. My father is a card-carrying flounder pounder. We only caught voracious blue fish on lures and I learned how badly they bleed all over the place when caught, and how to keep my hands away from their chomping jaws.  He know tons about bluefish, but little to nothing of light tackle fishing, let alone fly-fishing. Most of my childhood we had a boat and he taught me saltwater fishing of bait and wait, or chunk and dunk.  It was a fine childhood, and he gave me the love of fishing that I re-kindled in myself years later as an adult.

Now my father is having a fine life, too, but the man has somehow managed to live three-quarters of a century and not ever catch the greatest fish ever to swipe at a popper: the legendary Striped Bass. I have been asking him for years to come up to Boston and fish with me and possibly get his first striper.  However he also loves June for different reasons and this time of year usually digs in like a tick down the Jersey shore.  However, this year we finally got on board the GhettoFly together and set off on a new fishing and life adventure.  Me at the helm of my boat, and teaching him light- tackle striper fishing on the last day of beloved June.

Now for two weeks prior to his arrival, Boston Harbor has been lit up with acres of stripers in the 22″-26″ class. I mean really feisty, big shouldered schoolies have have been crashing bait relentlessly on top water.  It has been really nice out, warm and calm. The day before he arrived, I caught three fish just at sunrise on my first four casts all on a gurgler fly.  Then, however, when all the boats arrived the fish got finicky and I couldn’t get them to hit a thing.  Afterwards, I stopped at the local bait shop and picked up a small popper as the bait looked rather tiny, meaning I had no idea what the fish were chasing. 

The next morning, the winds turned northeast, the temperature dropped, the seas kicked up and it looked like a sucky Fall run day.  My father didn’t complain as we set out in the mild chop.  The harbor was grey and empty. Empty of boats, birds, sun and fish.  We hung around for a bit in the usual spot waiting for the fish to surface,  but nothing happened.  Since this was his first time on the water in Boston, I decided to take him for a little tour around and we practiced throwing and retrieving poppers. I taught him all about the technique of popping and waiting and setting the hook.  He seemed to take it all in.

As we crossed to the south side of the harbor, I was horrified as I saw a fleet of boats right back in my spot on the north side.  I raced across the water in the north wind and waves, bouncing and banging my fathers bad back, and finally found the birds, boats and fish.  They were all everywhere again.  I instructed my father to get up front and throw the popper like we practiced.  It was hard going for a bottom fisherman, you couldn’t see the popper in the waves, but the fish could. I took one cast and was tight to a fish. I released it and gave the rod with that new small popper to my dad. The fish were pop-corning here and there. Up, then down then resurfacing 500 yards away.  We got back on the fish and my father got some swipes at his popper, but was still not used to the technique.  I casted again and got another fish. I started yelling at my father, cause dammit this was about me getting him his first striper.  Things settled down, I caught another fish.  My father was getting a little frustrated but kept his cool and kept casting.  I wasn’t casting much at all but trying to coach and be supportive and untangle lines for the old man.  Finally, I saw his rod bent and said, “Pop, you’re on.” Neither of us heard or saw the take, but he wound that fish boat side and I lipped him over the rail.  His first striped bass, about a 19 or 20 incher but we’ll take it.  Now since there was no hook set, the fish swallowed the treble hooks. I had the barbs crushed down but the fish was hooked pretty bad.  When they finally came loose, the fish began to bleed profusely.  Now I’ve caught a lot and seen a lot of striped bass caught and I’ve never seen one bleed.  This one bled all over the boat, all over my father’s pants, all over everywhere.  I said, “Pop, I can’t believe this. Only you could manage to take your first striped bass and turn it into a bluefish.” 

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What else is there to say, it’s a lot like father and son. It wasn’t a perfect day on the water but it was petty damn good.  He got his first Striper.  Later that morning he got more the hang of the popper and hooked into a really good one that he fought for a while all the way up to the boat before the fish spit the hook. I got excited how upset that got him and how that big lost tug will probably bring him back up here to maybe be together on the water again. Maybe I can even teach my Pop something really important about life, like with poppers you really have to wait to feel the weight of the fish and Then set the hook!

Thanks for everything Pop. 

Keep you lines tight and your rod up,

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log: June 5th-7th

Plymouth Harbor

Sometimes the captain worries a lot more than he should.  This was one of those weekends, for the weekend had high expectations for many reasons. Every year since Jay took me fishing in Duxbury, I have been falling in love (becoming obsessed) with the area. For the past 4 years, I’ve taken a long weekend, usually around Memorial Day, and rented a house in Manomet, with the pure idea of fishing hard for several days.  Whoever would like to come and catch me in between fishing and sleeping, they are most welcome. Many close friends have come over the years, and now it has become quite a wonderful tradition.  It kicks off the striper season in full force. It kicks off the summer. It just kicks ass…in theory.  For in the past two years, new England has been blasted with cold, honking north winds and rain over the Memorial Day weekend, which has subsequently shut the fishing down completely.  And even the meager attempts that the GhettoFly did manage out on the water in the past two years, she has broken down. Every time.  This is no way to run a charter. Sometimes the captain gets so frustrated, he seriously considers scuttling the ship and collecting the insurance money.

Bontempi, has faithfully made the journey up from New York City for the past two years and has been rewarded with nothing but a hangover. Last year we didn’t even get one cast off.  The optimistic news was that at least so far the GhettoFly has been purring like a baby cougar and fishing reports have been looking better than last year already. The weather was the same crap as in previous years in the beginning of the week, but it looked like it could clear by the weekend. Bontempi was scheduled again for Saturday and Sunday, and I was hoping he didn’t completely think that my insistance that Plymouth had world-class striper fishing was a bunch of malarky. Because after all, sometimes the captain is full of shit.

But before Bontempi would be on board, I had my first charter of the season on Friday, with Bish and Dave, two old time fishing friends and their first time on the GhettoFly.  They got the discounted rate, since they bring great beers and food, are consumate pro fishermen, and make me laugh all day.  We met at 4:30am and it was a dead calm, glassy red sky morning.  Before we even poked our noses out of the harbor, we could see swirls on the water. I cut the engine 15 seconds after leaving the dock, silently pulled out a rod rigged with a white, feather-tailed, custom-tied Ghetto-popper, tapped Dave on the shoulder and whispered, “Throw this right on his head.”   Dave did so and retrieved…nothing.  I whispered again, “Pop it in a rhythm, they like that…the same way Bish likes it in the…” (I don’t usually talk like that, but these are high school buddies who break each other’s balls all day long, and I tried to join in because I don’t want them to know that I’m a pussy.) Dave gets a follow, but misses him. I say, “Cast again, don’t set on the splash, wait to feel the weight of the fish.”  Cast….splash….pop…pop…pop…SPLASH….Fish on!  It was fantastic, because sometimes the captain looks like a genius.  It was going to be a good day…Except, that was the only fish either of them caught the whole rest of the day. And we were out…all day. 

It has been a strange season so far in Plymouth, or at least this is what I told them.  There has been no massive bird action that is so typical of the spring, and no big pods of blitzing fish hitting anything you throw at them.  All the fish reports, and my only other solo outing this year, has shown the fish tight on the bottom, and very finicky.  We set up some drifts in likely spots, and I was only fishing to try and see what lures might be working.  Turns out that the Kastmaster worked cause I caught a nice schoolie after 20 minutes or so.  I handed off the rod, and Bish got a few bumps but no takes.  It was going to be a tough day, so to soften things we all started drinking (after Bish fished his second beer out of the cooler around 6:30am).  Nothing happened.  We ran over in front of Clarks Island, and kept opening beers.  I took a couple casts and started telling old drinking stories to past the time.  Not paying attending and in the middle of a story, I hooked into a good keeper with a herring-colored jerk shad on a 3/4oz leadhead I “borrowed” from Dave’s tackle bad.  Drag sang for a bit under the muffled sounds of curses from the crew.  Because sometimes the captain is just a lucky asshole.  The fish was shy of 30 inches and went into the box to be the guest of honor at the weekend BBQ.  Thanks again to Dave who lent me his new Sog knife that was very sharp and quickly dispatched the fish.

After another drift, I actually caught a flounder on that same shad, so I sat on my ass and drank more. Then after about three more beers, I took about three casts hooked another striper just under a keeper, and brought it boatside.  Trying to grab it, I high sticked him, and pulled the lure right out of his mouth which flew and smacked me hard in my mouth and cut my lip.  Because sometimes the captain can also be a drunken idiot. Bish was bottom fishing this whole time with clams, and I generously handed him my rod and took over his.  5 seconds later, I caught another 13″ winter flounder on Bish’s clams.  It was a great day, meaning I was lucky to make it back to shore alive without a solid beating from the mostly skunked crew.  However, also being consummate gentlemen, they thanked me and bought me a delicious lunch and more beer, because I didn’t want this time to end…

At 3:45am the next morning, Bontempi was making me coffee in the kitchen of our Manomet house.  He arrived the night before and we sat outside catching up and smoking cigars until around midnight. I knew there were fish out there, it was just getting Bontempi on them.  He deserved to finally have a good day, especially after dragging himself and his wife up here in rush hour, NY city traffic.  He’s put in his time. It was time for the payoff.

We arrived at the dock the same time as yesterday, shoved off, and I saw the same swirl in the same exact spot right outside the harbor.  Bontempi threw the same popper at him, and got a follow, but I think the fish recognized the lure and backed off.  This was going to be another tough day. 

I took a lap around the mouth of the harbor and looked for birds.  I wasn’t really expecting them, since I hadn’t seen anything like that yet this season. So I wasted no time making a decision to head closer to land.  My thoughts were that there was another hour of water from yesterday before dead low tide, and there were fish consistently in tight just outside the harbor.  So I glided toward one of my favorite protected spots closer to land, because I really was planning on getting skunked and at least the area was pretty to look at.  It was still glassy calm and quiet so I had Bontempi stay with the popper in the early light.  And no shit after about 5 casts, I heard the unmistakable explosion of a fish on the surface of the water. They were here! Because sometimes, the captain guesses just right. 

Bontempi missed that first strike, but he didn’t miss many after that.  For the rest of the morning, he nailed fish all on top water from around 24 to 28 inches.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  Fish started hitting the surface and only a few small birds came so no one saw us.  I got in on the action with the fly rod and a gurgler and got a nice one in that same size class.  It was epic, and Bontempi really mastered the art of making the popper dance, and waiting the heart-stopping second after the explosion to set the hook.  Later, we saw some larger groups of birds finally working out a ways and screamed over.  No fish were showing themselves, but we set up drifts in the area.  In no time, I watched a huge fish crush Bontempi’s popper. It was big.  Drag started screaming. The back of the fish breached out of the water. It was a figgin leviathan, at least 3 feet long. Suddenly, Bontempi’s line went slack and I thought the fish was running at him.  He reeled in and I asked if the fish straightened the hook.  Yes, indeed. A fish of the season for sure was lost on a cheap hook. It happens.  We fished some more and caught some more schoolies, now just padding our stats.  These were on the bottom and we got them on jigs, including a Baymen Universal jig I tied up for the trip.  I couldn’t get it to work, but Bontempi did.  After the water pretty much was all dumped out off the harbor we started back, and instantly got flagged down by an anchored boat. They were stranded in their Triumph boat with an overheating Mercury engine, which incidentally is the same boat and engine that is the GhettoFly, and the same problem that had me stranded me inn this Harbor for the past two years.  Needless to say, we reveled in the irony and pleasure of returning a favor and towing them back in.  It was a nice slow ride home and we enjoyed our celebratory beers and savoured a really great day.  We stopped for breakfast and bloody marys and couldn’t believe our good fortune.  We also knew we had tomorrow to try it all again…

[End part one]

Keep your lines tight and your rod up,

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log: June 5th-7th

Plymouth Harbor

Sometimes the captain worries a lot more than he should.  This was one of those weekends, for the weekend had high expectations for many reasons. Every year since Jay took me fishing in Duxbury, I have been falling in love (becoming obsessed) with the area. For the past 4 years, I’ve taken a long weekend, usually around Memorial Day, and rented a house in Manomet, with the pure idea of fishing hard for several days.  Whoever would like to come and catch me in between fishing and sleeping, they are most welcome. Many close friends have come over the years, and now it has become quite a wonderful tradition.  It kicks off the striper season in full force. It kicks off the summer. It just kicks ass…in theory.  For in the past two years, new England has been blasted with cold, honking north winds and rain over the Memorial Day weekend, which has subsequently shut the fishing down completely.  And even the meager attempts that the GhettoFly did manage out on the water in the past two years, she has broken down. Every time.  This is no way to run a charter. Sometimes the captain gets so frustrated, he seriously considers scuttling the ship and collecting the insurance money.

Bontempi, has faithfully made the journey up from New York City for the past two years and has been rewarded with nothing but a hangover. Last year we didn’t even get one cast off.  The optimistic news was that at least so far the GhettoFly has been purring like a baby cougar and fishing reports have been looking better than last year already. The weather was the same crap as in previous years in the beginning of the week, but it looked like it could clear by the weekend. Bontempi was scheduled again for Saturday and Sunday, and I was hoping he didn’t completely think that my insistance that Plymouth had world-class striper fishing was a bunch of malarky. Because after all, sometimes the captain is full of shit.

But before Bontempi would be on board, I had my first charter of the season on Friday, with Bish and Dave, two old time fishing friends and their first time on the GhettoFly.  They got the discounted rate, since they bring great beers and food, are consumate pro fishermen, and make me laugh all day.  We met at 4:30am and it was a dead calm, glassy red sky morning.  Before we even poked our noses out of the harbor, we could see swirls on the water. I cut the engine 15 seconds after leaving the dock, silently pulled out a rod rigged with a white, feather-tailed, custom-tied Ghetto-popper, tapped Dave on the shoulder and whispered, “Throw this right on his head.”   Dave did so and retrieved…nothing.  I whispered again, “Pop it in a rhythm, they like that…the same way Bish likes it in the…” (I don’t usually talk like that, but these are high school buddies who break each other’s balls all day long, and I tried to join in because I don’t want them to know that I’m a pussy.) Dave gets a follow, but misses him. I say, “Cast again, don’t set on the splash, wait to feel the weight of the fish.”  Cast….splash….pop…pop…pop…SPLASH….Fish on!  It was fantastic, because sometimes the captain looks like a genius.  It was going to be a good day…Except, that was the only fish either of them caught the whole rest of the day. And we were out…all day. 

It has been a strange season so far in Plymouth, or at least this is what I told them.  There has been no massive bird action that is so typical of the spring, and no big pods of blitzing fish hitting anything you throw at them.  All the fish reports, and my only other solo outing this year, has shown the fish tight on the bottom, and very finicky.  We set up some drifts in likely spots, and I was only fishing to try and see what lures might be working.  Turns out that the Kastmaster worked cause I caught a nice schoolie after 20 minutes or so.  I handed off the rod, and Bish got a few bumps but no takes.  It was going to be a tough day, so to soften things we all started drinking (after Bish fished his second beer out of the cooler around 6:30am).  Nothing happened.  We ran over in front of Clarks Island, and kept opening beers.  I took a couple casts and started telling old drinking stories to past the time.  Not paying attending and in the middle of a story, I hooked into a good keeper with a herring-colored jerk shad on a 3/4oz leadhead I “borrowed” from Dave’s tackle bad.  Drag sang for a bit under the muffled sounds of curses from the crew.  Because sometimes the captain is just a lucky asshole.  The fish was shy of 30 inches and went into the box to be the guest of honor at the weekend BBQ.  Thanks again to Dave who lent me his new Sog knife that was very sharp and quickly dispatched the fish.

After another drift, I actually caught a flounder on that same shad, so I sat on my ass and drank more. Then after about three more beers, I took about three casts hooked another striper just under a keeper, and brought it boatside.  Trying to grab it, I high sticked him, and pulled the lure right out of his mouth which flew and smacked me hard in my mouth and cut my lip.  Because sometimes the captain can also be a drunken idiot. Bish was bottom fishing this whole time with clams, and I generously handed him my rod and took over his.  5 seconds later, I caught another 13″ winter flounder on Bish’s clams.  It was a great day, meaning I was lucky to make it back to shore alive without a solid beating from the mostly skunked crew.  However, also being consummate gentlemen, they thanked me and bought me a delicious lunch and more beer, because I didn’t want this time to end…

At 3:45am the next morning, Bontempi was making me coffee in the kitchen of our Manomet house.  He arrived the night before and we sat outside catching up and smoking cigars until around midnight. I knew there were fish out there, it was just getting Bontempi on them.  He deserved to finally have a good day, especially after dragging himself and his wife up here in rush hour, NY city traffic.  He’s put in his time. It was time for the payoff.

We arrived at the dock the same time as yesterday, shoved off, and I saw the same swirl in the same exact spot right outside the harbor.  Bontempi threw the same popper at him, and got a follow, but I think the fish recognized the lure and backed off.  This was going to be another tough day. 

I took a lap around the mouth of the harbor and looked for birds.  I wasn’t really expecting them, since I hadn’t seen anything like that yet this season. So I wasted no time making a decision to head closer to land.  My thoughts were that there was another hour of water from yesterday before dead low tide, and there were fish consistently in tight just outside the harbor.  So I glided toward one of my favorite protected spots closer to land, because I really was planning on getting skunked and at least the area was pretty to look at.  It was still glassy calm and quiet so I had Bontempi stay with the popper in the early light.  And no shit after about 5 casts, I heard the unmistakable explosion of a fish on the surface of the water. They were here! Because sometimes, the captain guesses just right. 

Bontempi missed that first strike, but he didn’t miss many after that.  For the rest of the morning, he nailed fish all on top water from around 24 to 28 inches.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  Fish started hitting the surface and only a few small birds came so no one saw us.  I got in on the action with the fly rod and a gurgler and got a nice one in that same size class.  It was epic, and Bontempi really mastered the art of making the popper dance, and waiting the heart-stopping second after the explosion to set the hook.  Later, we saw some larger groups of birds finally working out a ways and screamed over.  No fish were showing themselves, but we set up drifts in the area.  In no time, I watched a huge fish crush Bontempi’s popper. It was big.  Drag started screaming. The back of the fish breached out of the water. It was a figgin leviathan, at least 3 feet long. Suddenly, Bontempi’s line went slack and I thought the fish was running at him.  He reeled in and I asked if the fish straightened the hook.  Yes, indeed. A fish of the season for sure was lost on a cheap hook. It happens.  We fished some more and caught some more schoolies, now just padding our stats.  These were on the bottom and we got them on jigs, including a Baymen Universal jig I tied up for the trip.  I couldn’t get it to work, but Bontempi did.  After the water pretty much was all dumped out off the harbor we started back, and instantly got flagged down by an anchored boat. They were stranded in their Triumph boat with an overheating Mercury engine, which incidentally is the same boat and engine that is the GhettoFly, and the same problem that had me stranded me inn this Harbor for the past two years.  Needless to say, we reveled in the irony and pleasure of returning a favor and towing them back in.  It was a nice slow ride home and we enjoyed our celebratory beers and savoured a really great day.  We stopped for breakfast and bloody marys and couldn’t believe our good fortune.  We also knew we had tomorrow to try it all again…

[End part one]

Keep your lines tight and your rod up,

GhettoFly

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Captain’s Log 5/11/15

Confessions of a born-again Troutsky. or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the boo.

So, if you have been following the Logs of this year so far you may have noticed that they are somewhat slanted to the fresh water, and that they have obsessively and unashamedly been focused around the hand-made, split cane bamboo rod that John has lent me, and who we all know at this point, is not getting back any time soon.  You may also have noticed my distaste for politics involved in fishing.  That being said, I am going to break confidentiality and let everyone know that with all my bellyaching and criminality at Golden Beetle, I have finally been promoted and given my first field assignment.   What I’ve learned so far of my work on the ‘Internet’ is that all you have to do in this world to get respect is to bite the hand that feeds you and you will be rewarded…at least for now until you are later exiled to Mexico and then assassinated many years later after you have become irrelevant.  So, as you again may have noted, I’m trying to work in the life of Trotsky into this piece, because the Internet informed me that not only did he built up the Red Army in 1920 so that they could whoop the Nazis 25 years later, but before that he also briefly lived in The Bronx, NY and studied some psychoanalysis in Vienna.  Now that is pretty cool, and though I still really despise politics in fly fishing, I do like history, and I liked his style. However, Trotsky was not a fresh or a salt water fly fisherman, at least not according to Wikipedia.  Therefore, I cannot look to him for any more inspiration on my assignment except to carry on Saulnier’s great trout pun on his name for converted douchebag, fly fishermen who move from chasing stripers to molesting small brookies.

Now moving from saltwater to freshwater fly fishing is a strange migration, though some may argue that this is the way of nature. I can’t decide if what is leading me there is the wisdom of middle age, laziness or a combination of the two.  Because saltwater fly fishing in the NorthEast is a contact sport.  It is hard on the body.  You have to get up really early.  There is a constant race against the tides and a vanishing window.  If you are on a boat it is often run and gun; get a good drift on the fish, avoid other boaters, and after 5 casts you need to move. The wind is usually fierce and will twist your mellon and tax your mojo. Eight and nine weight rods can get heavy.  Flies are often heavy, and it is hard to do it alone. It gets me really tired. There is no shade.  So some may say that I am becoming or already am a pussy, and will be wearing a stripping basket in a matter of months.  This may all be true, however I am going to carry on with my assignment…and I can do it in the shade on a hot day. So here it is:

10 Massachusetts Wild Brook Trout Streams.  

That’s right. That is the assignment.

I have to find and fish 10 Wild Brookie streams in Mass, and I’m going to try and do it all within an hour’s drive of downtown Boston.  Does the journey changeith the man, or does man sets out on the journey to change?  I’m taking the 3w bamboo rod and maybe finding out.   

Now, wild Native Brook trout that have survived in the industrial, and post-industrial Northeast rivers since the last ice age are an amazement of nature.  Jon K. has taught me that these are the only trout native to Massachusetts.  They are small, live in small streams, are very beautiful, and often rise and will take a dry fly all season long. They have mostly died out, because the trees and cover have been cut away from the stream sides over all the years due to population, farming etc, causing the water temps to rise in the summer to trout-killing levels.  Now the only places I have seen these fish are in (unnamed stream) and Red Brook on the south shore where the cover still holds, and on the Swift River in Central Mass. But after my birthday outing of chasing wild fish in NJ, I had to know if there were any of these types of streams closer to home.  I got some leads, and set out to see what was what.  Let me spare you the suspense right now of wondering if I am going to post the names of any of these brooks and streams.  I may tell you some, but they will have no fish in them.

Stream #1: Fowle Brook. 

It has no fish in it.  Ok, that’s not true, but I didn’t see any brook trout.  Here’s the story:  Without any waders, I hiked behind Horn Pond in Woburn, which is really a beautiful place.  I saw a dozen species of birds, some bunnies, tame chipmunks and turtles the size of dinner plates.  The brook flows into the pond and was surprisingly clear and shady and I knew that I was going to enjoy this work.   I am going to blame the boo rod for the lack of fish, because I didn’t bring it.  I had a small, black beaded wooly bugger on my six weight, that i wanted to cast into the pond.  I just couldn’t believe that there would be any exotic and rare fish in this silly brook. Furthermore, I didn’t put on my waders due to embarrassment.  I mean there were all kinds of normal people walking their dogs and going on jogs and hikes and such.  There was also some kind of fundraiser walk going on, so I didn’t want to hike past all these folks in full battle gear to fish a stupid trickle of an urban brook with no fish in it.  I mean I didn’t account for this kind of crowd. There is never any of these problems at 4:30am on Boston Harbor.  So with the 6w and no waders I followed this brook, and could not find may places to present a fly.  Over one bridge, I found a deep hole that looked promising, especially near the old tire sunk on the bottom. Yes, there was an old tire like in the cartoons.  So I jigged my little bugger around, and no shit, a yellow perch came over out from inside the tire and took a swipe at my fly.  I was so shocked, I missed the set, but that was pretty cool.  The fact that there were fish at all in these dinky brooks, was inspiring.  I hiked a little more, and saw another fish, I think a sunny, and headed home, for even in the shade, I was getting hot and tired. No bamboo and no brook trout.  So John, does this count as brook trout Stream Number One?  Next up, success in Metro West!….

Keep your lines light and your rod up,

GhettoFly

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