Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fishing from a Stand Up Paddle Board for Striped Bass

Hi There!

I took a long paddling trip from City Island to Execution Rock lighthouse and found perfect conditions - little wind, no traffic and a good amount of bait fish.

I was kind just really "in tune" with everything but I was still fishing and catching small striped bass when I saw a big school of bait fish behaving like they were stressed out... Interesting... so I decided to try my chance and BAM... my line stopped for a moment... the fish was barely moving... and then my drag screamed... wow! I was standing up and decided to go for the ride...

As minutes passed I was almost sure that it was a big Bluefish... and was so happy to see a big "striper" coming up!

Only problem, the fish inhaled the hooks and was pretty badly hooked so I decided to keep it (I usually keep 2-3 fish a year, for conservation purpose but also because it is very awkward to first have a SUP in the street of NYC AND a big huge fish that takes hours to clean, cut and filet )

This is not a monster but at 43 inches and 22 pounds it is a big fish on my book.

I wish I had a Go Pro camera because for an hour or so it was amazing to see these bait fish getting crushed by big striped bass - caught two other big ones but they were safely released to live, spawn and caught another day!

Tight lines to all of you Stand Up Paddle anglers!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Spring has sprung and my buddy and I are back into Saltwater fly fishing!

The plan was simple, wake up at 4:00 am drive to Long Branch in New Jersey to catch striped bass from shore. We arrived there after a swift drive and found ACRES of Menhaden ( also known as Bunkers) near the shore... WOW! That looked like a great start of the season - at least bait fish was here...

The problem was that no bass or bluefish were chasing them and they were just happily swimming and flipping on the surface at about 150 yards from shore.

After 3 hours of casting and not a single bite my buddy who was exhausted from a previous night trip suggested that we should head home... I was a little mad to have woke up this early to head back in NYC without trying to catch a fish.

So I worked out a deal, we would go back home but since we had a bunch of Gurglers, poppers and other minnows, we will stop by local NJ ponds to check if we can catch a largemouth bass (or two..)

My buddy was not 100% happy but since it was on our way back he was ok.

After a quick search on the Iphone (not sure Steve Jobs was thinking that his creations would generate countless amount data dedicated to tides and intensive Google maps searching but I thank him anyways) we headed our way to a nice size bass lake in Monmouth County (BTW: we both have New Jersey Fresh Water licence).

Arriving there, we found out that the parking was at a 25 minutes walk to the nearest parking lot - PERFECT - I like walking to my fishing spot!

My first impression was WOW - this lake looks really cool. Lots of trees in the water, a lot of bluegills and pumpkin seeds, this looks like a promising spot. Then, just on the right of a fallen tree I spoted a nice LMB... Hmmm... Looks like there is fish in fact.

The problem was casting the fly to them - it was a real maze, making my cast challenging... but I managed to cast by miracle in the shade my big black Gurgler (RIP Jack Gartside - May your line never dry). Following my buddy advice I left the fly for about 30 very long seconds... I am tensed... and I start to strip it and BLAM!!! Big slurp, a big bass took it! and swam for the big log... then he jumped right in front of us, that is where I saw the size of it! BIG BASS on my book! Using a "technique" used by french fly fishermen on big trouts to avoid breaking the line, I jumped in the swamp, spooked the bass away from the logs he was heading.

Filling my waders with this smelly murky water was not the best experience of my life but catching and releasing this bass on the fly rod was a great moment and will be remembered!

Tight lines to all!


The Bass that Saved the Day!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The First Striped Bass of 2012 on the Fly Rod, from Shore !!!

Spring is here in full force in New York.

The birds are singing, the grass is growing and the striped bass are back to New York.

After a long period of fly fishing in fresh water in the Catskills and New Jersey, I decided to try my luck on our beloved striped bass. Because I have tied quite a bunch of flies over the Winter I was excited to try them out at Jamaica Bay where I have heard and read some good reports these past two weeks.

Had the chance to arrive right on time for the high tide and fished just the beginning of the outgoing tide. I was fishing from shore and was patiently waiting to make my first cast when the rip will start flowing.

The great thing of being able to fish for trout and in salt water is that especially in fly fishing your skills are consistently improving.

What you gain in trout fishing is:
- Presentation
- Stealth
- Positioning
- Reading the water
- Locate fish under different arrays of conditions and light
- Reflex - trout fishing really improve them especially if like me, like to fish dry fly, sight fishing and wet flies...

All of these are transferable in the salt water world (no matter what other people say). A good example of this is Lefty Kreh, an amazing humble fly fisherman as sharp as one can be when targeting a tarpon in the Keys or a small mouth bass on the Potomac river.

Coming back to my story... So as the tides started to move out I notice  a great current close from shore forming a great spot for a striped to hunt its preys. I was almost sure that if a fish was in the area it will be just in front of a big rock under water so I casted my clouser minnow about 8 yards in front of it, in a similar fashion as when I fish for trouts with slow sinking nymph. After two mendings, making sure my fly was not dragging and at the right depth, I did one twitch on my line and I saw the Striped Bass following very closely the fly. At this point and instead of striping faster, I just did a micro-twitch on the line follow by a pause and the striped bass literally engulfed the fly. WOW!

The fight was quite epic because the fish was large enough to use its mass in the now ripping current and after a great battle I managed to land it, took a quick picture and released it.

It is not a monster fish by any standard but it is certainly a fine catch from shore.

See you all on the water.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fly Fishing The Beaverkill River

New York Freswater

I have been fishing a lot of freshwater recently and I thought it may be useful to share some of the places I went over the last two months:

The Beaverkill:

I love this river - it is BIG, trouts are smart and gorgeous and you'll have the chance to hook a real nice fish. I also love the fact that every pool has a designated name, reminding you that you are fishing historical places of American Angling.

See some pictures of the Beaverkill:

Beaverkill Rainbow Trout - She took a size 10 dry fly
A Big Brown Trout Felt for a Black Stone Fly - Worked Hard for this finicky fish

Very nice rainbow - caught on 16 Blue Wing Olive

The Hatch of the Day - BWO, Hendricson and Stone Fly
The Best Way to Enjoy the River 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flies for 2012 - Striped Bass

I have been tying Fresh and Salt water patterns, preparing the upcoming season for striped bass and trouts.

This season my fishing will be done on fewer flies but tied with a little more attention than usual. I am still using epoxy but I have ordered the UV Epoxy from Loon Outdoors. Epoxy was great but it yellows and it is truly difficult to have consistency.

As a whole, I do not follow the patterns to the letter, instead I use different materials. My flies are far from being good looking but they fish well and are build strong.

Enough Talking - See below pictures of some of my saltwater patterns:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Best Video - EVER - About Fly Fishing for Striped Bass in Long Island

I met with Peter last year and we have been fishing HARD last season - Peter is incredibly driven - carrying his stuff all over the place, waking up at 4:00 am, wading in the muddy water is not a problem and he ALWAYS manage to capture his fishing on tape.

This video is brillant, the soundtrack is amazing and feature a little bit of urban fishing in NYC - I have showed my spots on the East River, and he caught a couple of schoolies.

The images are stunning, the ambiance is fantastic - I call for a major TALENT. Period.

Now enjoy the video and stay tuned - he is about to release and extended version of it!

First Images from Surf & Inshore Fly Fishing 2011 from Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Texas Fishing on the Fly

Spent some time in the Lone Star State - Boy was it good to leave the Big Apple for a while...

The feeling of freedom is still vibrant in Texas - People are friendly, sky is so blue it is striking... there is so many lakes to explore that a life time of fishing will not be enough to explore these waters!

Everything started by a nice flight from the "Big Apple" to Dallas, I have been really lucky to take a nice aerial picture of Lewisville Lake, located north of Dallas Fort Worth (see below)

After a little scouting here and there I decided to approach these big waters on a different angle... The fishing season is pretty much over in North Texas, the water is damn cold and based on recent reports I will have a heck of a tough time to land a fish...

For many, this reports combined with the cold would be enough to stay home... luckily I don't give up that easily and exploring new places is my thing... preferably by running / scouting. I feel like exploration in a car is not as fun... you are going to fast to really capture the essence, the particularities of a place - you can't really get it...

My strategy was based on a "top - bottom" approach: follow a creek to the lake. Pretty simple plan, and pretty crazy exploration since it is muddy as hell.  It was well worth it at so many levels...

The pictures below are a summary of my Texan exploration - Discovering the forgotten creek.

Following the Creek Part 1

Following the Creek...Part 2 

Getting there...

The mouth of the rivers merging in the lake!

Going Dirty - Texan Mud is hard to beat!
The Fish of Texas - Never caught them before - There is a first time for everything!

White Bass - Fresh water cousin of our beloved Striped Bass

Bass are everywhere in Texas! Protecting water one step at a time

A Small Mouth Buffalo Carp - They love nymphs!

A LM Bass - Eating nymphs designed for Trouts :)

Crappie are a lot of fun to catch

The Alligator Gar! 
Texas fishing is truly something different, landscapes are amazing and the lakes are perfect for fishing - not mention how friendly people are... All the folks I met while while fishing were REALLY great people - I will be back for more!