Friday, February 28, 2014

2013 - The Year of Big Trouts / Streamer fishing in New York

2013 will never be remembered as a great year for dry fly.

Sure - we had some good hatches in the Spring but nothing compared to 2012 where the trouts were feeding on top from March to July...

Last year was a good year for me. I am not gonna complain. My number of trouts were down but they were a lot bigger than usual and I mean a LOT bigger!

When you talk about big trouts in New York City people sometimes give you the "funny look". Sure enough, you may have to travel a bit to find them but I will say it loud and clear: Big trouts, above 20 inches, wild trouts or holdovers are actually under fished.

Let me explain. These big fish have a singular behavior. They are the Alpha types, they don't have predators other than maybe otters, eagles and humans. Dumbing it down a little, we can say they OWN their pool, no other fish bother them and they are very territorial. Having said that, these fish are the living proof of an extraordinary self protecting instinct. They have survived, floods, fisherman and predators back when they were small. They are extremely wary and will spook / shut down at any unusual sound / sight.

Coming back to my original point, I sincerely believe that these big fish do not behave like majority of trouts. They live in large, deep pools or next to the strongest currents are very rarely specifically targeted by fly fisherman - myself included!

Fighting a BIG TROUT in frigid water

Since last year was not a great year for dry fishing, I reluctantly, turned to fishing streamers. And when I do fish streamers, I go deeeeeeeep. I like to use really heavy stuff because I know that, especially in early season, the big trouts are in the deepest part of the river. Fishing these deep waters means PATIENCE.

One, you have to wait for your streamers to sink.

Two, you have to mend the line a couple times to reach the right depth. That type of fishing is clearly not for everyone and demands a LOT of concentration.

Remember, these big trouts will NEVER take a dragged streamer. The action of your streamer has to be NATURAL, pretty much like a good nymph drift with minimal twitches.

My Biggest Trout of the West Branch of Delaware - A Fat Trout
For all the beginners out there and to give you a little perspective on this type of fishing - you basically cast upriver at 35 feet or so, wait and mend the line until it reach the deep part of the pool then realistically, you will be able to "fish" 2 or yards of river correctly... Your streamer is covering a lot of distance but really you are effectively fishing it just a little over 10%. This type of fishing implies a perfect positioning on the bank.

Targeting BIG trouts has not been my number one focus but I enjoy it more and more... These big fish are really beautiful [and picky]. Fishing for them require more discipline than usual and I wanted to share my 2 cents on it and hope that the 2014 season will be rewarding!

Keep these lines wet!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Morning We Saw a Dolphin next to City Island

Early this morning, my good friend and neighbor, Willem bumped into me while I was putting my SUP on my car. After less than a five minutes of chat I invited me to join me on a flat water winter training session in Pehlam Bay, in the New York Bronx.

After a quick trip we arrived at our launch point and the conditions were just EPIC. No wind at all, no wave, bright blue sky and not a boat on the water.

Leveraging on such good conditions we paddled all the way to Execution Rock Lighthouse, located between in Long Island Sound.

The paddle was nothing short of ideal and as we were going on our way back I spotted something on my left... It looked like a seal, only with a big fin...What is this THING???... I am like - could this be a....... DOLPHIN!?!?

We decided to paddle to it and we saw it - a grey little dolphin, taking little breath and "paddled" around us for a while!

Then a couple of seals decided to join our party and it was just UNBELIEVABLE... I mean, here we are, at approx. 10 minutes drive from the city, surrounded by a dolphin and a couple of seals...

After catching a wild Atlantic Salmon last year I thought I have seen it all... but NO Long Island Sound always manage to surprise me by its bio-diversity and its gorgeous colors!

Winter Paddling is amazing! Go out there!