Category Archives: Stripers

What, are you kiddin’? We got us a blog here!

Jeez, it’s been a while. Sorry for that. I’ve been sorta busy though, what with selling every pretty young feather I own for prices that would make Lawrence Taylor puke (that is if feathers were under-aged hookers). Hey, if silly people are drinking the cool-aide, I’ll happily serve it to them.

Which brings me to an interesting observation: One of my fly-tying mentors once said to me that I would end up spending far more dollars outfitting myself with the accoutrements and sundries of fly tying than if I just purchased flies from the bin at my local fly shop which, he correctly cautioned, wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying. Well, I must say I was beginning to accept that truism until the feather hair extension tsunami came ashore. Now I can happily say, along with thousands of other eyes-are-bigger-than-your-fly-tying-ability, underachieving hair spinners, “Ha! In Your Face!”

Anyway, the other reason for not writing is… uh, well, I’ve been fishing. So for your amusement I will now attempt to be both interesting and entertaining as I arrogantly try to throw down a piscatorial post, regurgitating to the starving-of-late Perfect Fish loyal followers the last few months or so-th of fishing.

About the time Hydra and Leo minor appeared in the night sky, crocuses and skunk cabbage long since freed of the frozen earth, my blood began its irrepressible boil, to which I am merely a puppet with a fly pole wandering aimlessly along spongy sod banks, cobbled streams, bouncing down macadam paths loaded with bugs and paddle and car topped canoe looking for a fight.

Every other weirdo with a long rod is traveling along the same wavelength and so we begin bumping into the same folks with whom we shared laughs and beers and utterly untrue fish stories when last the weather was pleasant, only now to discover that we are shells of our former selves and look upon one another with suspicion and not a little bit of loathing. Like the late-night Striper Brother Triumvirate (clearly, not brothers. No brothers I know spend as much time together as these three whackos) comprised of Shit Talker with his shit talk and musings on tide and fish movement, and Rusty Stoeger who, while clearly not a contractor, nonetheless drives an sparkling F-350 with a back-rack and not a dent or wood chip in the bed-liner, and finally Para Cardia, his belly spilling into his stripping basket and clutching a beer cradled in a polyurethane zipper pouch sporting a plastisol rendering of a naked woman with impossibly generous breasts, a glistening inch of greasy cigar stuck to his lips which, when he smiles, peel back to reveal graying dentition tumbling in various directions like headstones in a colonial cemetery. All three  are camped out any warm spring night, on the one jetty in the known universe where striped bass are likely to show, casting and joking and awkwardly striking up conversation with intention to discover whether I am catching fish and where I am doing it, looking disapprovingly at my rig while I attempt to ignore them and fish alone which is what I really want to do but realize they are correct in their assumption that this is the place where the first convenient-to-cast-to Connecticut striped bass will show up. And, eventually they do. All is right with the world and I think I actually kinda like the Striper Brothers.

So, by now, I’ve melted into the darkness of my fishing life which is a nocturnal existence severed from that other life in which lives my family, non-fishing fiends, spin fishing friends, work, blogging, and readers of blogs. The gentlemanly pursuits of trout and bass do present themselves and when possible I slip away to enjoy a day of flailing about with my trouty, bassy, carpy, or pike-y brothers, but the striped bass still swims in the back of my mind and I wonder if my day-time on the water stalking trout or other lower fish forms is stripping away what goodwill remains in my wife’s heart. In other words, when she observes me — after I’ve cooked dinner and made a few feeble goodwill gestures like vacuuming, folding laundry or weeding — strapping my canoe to the car, I wonder not if I will get any later (it is a foregone conclusion that I will not, in fact) but will she speak to me for the next week. And while I do love the transformative company of stream-born Latin monoglots who look down upon or even reproachfully “correct” me for my use of the improper noun blue winged olive, I wonder if it is worth it to neglect my commitment to the venerable striped bass. I think it is, because any fishing adventure has its inherent opportunities for learning but, I am not positive.

Fishing and the problems it causes in the other compartments in my life, I like to fool myself,  is – character building. I’m not the most organized person but I strive to be. But I like the free form style of living that only a few people have achieved so I instinctively recoil from plans, which is not good if you fish and have human relationships with other humans who may… depend on you. Clearly I need to work on compartmentalizing because my compartments, I think it’s clear, are poorly constructed: they leak, and have cracks and are of generally faulty design. So That is what I’ve been doing: giving everything its appropriate compartment and unfortunately this blog got more of a shoebox than an actual compartment. Like while I’ve been writing what you’re reading I’ve been smiling over the screen at my wife who thinks I’m catching up on work, making paper hats for my four year old and her stuffed animals, and thinking about moon and tide and if stripers are eating somewhere, and when the first hard tails will show up within casting distance of shore. I think it shows.

So tonight, as I drive through the coastal neighborhoods of southern Connecticut, I’ll leave behind the adenoidal drone of frosted air conditioning units, DVRs dvr-ing, gadgets, bluetooths and streaming video and into quiet waters, you’ll be reading this nifty self-conscious post which I will have tucked away into its little box with the knowledge that it is completely disjointed, theme-less and, in some ways,  masturbatory.

Happy Fishing,

Thank you.

Oh! Here’s a picture. I didn’t take it and that’s not me with the fish, but I know both the photographer and the angler and these are my waters.


Striped Bass Slaughtered

Got this email today from Stripers Forever which includes a link to this video:

Please read this and make your voice heard and if you haven’t already done so, join their email list.

Stripers Forever members – on Jan. 15th the North Carolina, ocean commercial striped bass season opened.  In this trawl fishery, individual boats can keep the 50 largest fish that they catch in a day.  This practice allows and encourages the culling or high grading of the catch. This means that the boat will keep the 50 largest fish in possession but may continue trawling all day and may replace these fish with larger ones caught later. Replacing means they will throw the dead or dying fish over the side, substituting them with the freshly caught larger bass.  It is nearly beyond belief that such a system could be in place, but it is.

Here is the link to a newspaper story about the debacle.  The story itself contains a link to a YouTube video that shows pictures of the dead floating stripers.  The trawlers committing this atrocity tow their nets right through fleets of recreational and charter boats that are fishing on the schools.  Is it any wonder this resource is becoming scarcer every year?

SF has sent a letter to Louis Daniels Ph.D. the Director of Marine Fisheries in NC. We hope that you will send the note below or something like it in your own words to Dr. Daniels and let him know that this is a barbaric and unacceptable practice. Here is an e-mail link to his office


Louis Daniels PhD
3441 Arendell Street
PO BOX 769
Morehead City, NC 28557-0769


Dear Dr. Daniels – The world is now aware of the terrible misuse of the striped bass resource caused by the commercial ocean trawl fishery off the North Carolina Outer Banks.  These fish are worth considerably more per pound if allocated to the recreational fishery in North Carolina than when taken by commercial harvest.  But if the practice of commercial fishing for striped bass must continue in NC, certainly the participants should never be allowed to cull and high grade these fish.  It is already too late to save the thousands of large striped bass wasted by this fishery during the 2011 winter season, but we hope that you will use the power of your office to keep this from happening in the future.




Your name here

Headlong Into Winter

Even though winter’s brutal grip is tightening, there is hope in the hearts of anglers. On December 21 at 23:38 (that’s 6:38pm ET) our little blue orb begins tilting back toward the sun. Though it only lasts for a flash in time, the winter solstice marks the return of the light. We also, apparently for the first time in like 372 years, will experience a total lunar eclipse coinciding with the solstice. Go outside at around 1:30am and look up. Wish I was in bonefish country for this.

As we plunge headlong into winter, many of us in the northern latitudes are looking into our rearview lamenting our fishing season as it recedes. Here in lovely Connecticut there are still some striped bass around and of course trout are available all year.  Sea run brown trout seem like a great way to waste time. I will chew on a shoe before I’ll go ice fishing (unless there’s a heated cabin, beer and burgers).

Most of us are settling into our winter routines and trying to tackle projects fallen by the wayside. Some of you are tying bonefish flies for trips you may be taking (real or imagined). Fly rods and reels get cleaned and serviced (unless they’re mine). Fly boxes get replenished. Deer get killed. Maybe you’ll spend some time with the family you’ve been avoiding, who knows?

This is the time for building goodwill in the hearts of wives, girlfriends, children and parents (so you can justify that new stick, wheel or pair of Patagucci Rio Gallegos you’re lusting after). Take a cruise, go to Disney or, if you’re on a budget, maybe just up the road to the indoor water-park at the Holiday Inn.  Bring The Department of Fun Prevention your girl somewhere warm and give it to her (whatever it might be).  If you’re feeling really benevolent, hug a duder.

I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve seen and done in 2010 with long rod in hand. For example, I bought a sweet water whip last spring, A Stowe Mansfield canoe. It’s so sexy I can’t even stand it.  It’s short n’ wide and perfect for standing and casting. Only 57 pounds, so even a weakling like me can easily port it. And I ported the shit out of that thing this year.  I slid quietly into a bunch of wet places I’ve longed to poach fish.

Saw hundreds of pike spawning in high water, including a 50 inch cow I poked with my tip top. Had a bunch of cinder worm hatches and slurping stripeedos all to myself. Got to cast to and sometimes catch Pickerel, smallmouth, largemouth and the lovely carp. Trouted it in favorite brooks, and went far a field to investigate rumors of brook trout in small places. Was at the right place at the wrong time for every decent little tuna blitz of the fall.

But adventures are waiting up ahead. Look at the coming year’s tide charts, and almanac, being careful to cross reference major hatches, and runs of salmon or steelhead. If possible, plan family outings during times when fishing seems least promising.  That way you can focus without distraction what’s really important (to the other people).

Attack of the Duders

There’s an invasive species splashing around our trout streams, flats, and beaches: Duders (pronounced: dood-ers). Thankfully, they are easy to spot and you can hear them coming.

Characterized by their injudicious use of the word “dude” to refer to everyone regardless of gender or age, duders are crapping up our precious fly fishing culture.

Often traveling in small packs, they are also talkers. The talkers I’m talking about talk a lot but usually don’t have shit to say—usually pontificating about women, top line growth, or the merits of Audi v BMW.  Some red flags to listen for are offensive over use of words like ‘like”, “sick!”, “epic”, “word”, “sweet!”, “dope” “stoked” and other combinations of pseudo-urban/surf/ski-chic lingo. They also utter “über” a bit.

Ironically, they can’t hear each other (or themselves).  Ear-buds, you see. It seems duders require tunes while fishing.

Armed to the teeth with blackberries, androids (which are, in fact, pretty sweet), or i-phones, they are incessantly tweeting, twotting, blogging, texting, Facebooking and, of course, talking.  Every catch gets vomited out into the blogosphere accompanied by video evidence of their awesomeness. Duders are lurking on fishy forums sporting usernames such as IPOguru, fishstud, tightline, striperslayer, Imthebestcasterever, paraleptophlebia etc..

Donning the latest, fastest, breathable-est, shiniest, most expensive and therefore, best fly fishing gear, they are stomping into a fishing hole near you.

No, really. Because one thing duders seem to have in common is a good job.  And apparently they’ve been made aware of the very good fishing near you. They also have boats, and lots of air miles.

In light of this, I thought it might be advantageous wise to befriend a duder (Only because we should keep our enemies close, in order to effect change from within). I feel like they’re drawn to me anyway, because of my pointed sarcasm, obvious erudition and apparent fishiness (in a gregarious everyman kind of way). If I simply feign interest in dope rides, bags o’ money, good beer, sweet tunes, hot women, and epic blitzes I’ll be In.

They’ll be totally stoked to take me into the fold and introduce me around to the other duders. I’ll be like a bearded, undercover fly fishing sage and they’ll want me around on every adventure near and far. From this vantage point I can quietly turn mine enemy into a respectable angler.

Steelheading in British Columbia would be an ideal setting for instruction in river etiquette. Or, off to Idaho and rivers stuffed with trout. Maybe introduce them to the proper way to stalk bones and slug beers in Acklins and the finer points of slinging flies to late night stripers on the Vineyard. Dude, it’ll be totally sick! I mean in terms of effecting lasting social change and all.

I’ll keep you updated on this social experiment as it unfolds.


Bitty lobster





I propose traffic signs like this along the coast

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