Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, July 1, 2022

Hunting Stripers, My Old 8wt friend And A Some Nice Summer Food

 


 "What really is the difference between a 3, 4 or 5wt rod if you are throwing small flies.  Not much! Sometimes I just grab a rod out of the back of my vehicle and make it work." - Anonymous

Very Low Tide

I break down saltwater fly fishing into four different venues: Boat fishing ( I don't own a boat so I am at the mercy of a few good folks who have let me tag along), Surf fishing, which can be overwhelming but very rewarding, Tidal river fishing and by this I mean BIG water and then my favorite which is striper hunting an estuary.  

The Ogunquit River was my first exposure to this type of fishing which is almost totally controlled by the tides. At low tide this 1/4 mile wide river would become a 1/4 mile wide mud flat with a tiny trickle connecting some stillwater tidal pools on it's way to the sea.  There were schoolies in these pools that appeared to be left there with the shrinking tide.  There were many and they chased every fly that I threw at them.  Then the tide began to roll in and the bass began to do the "bonefish" thing by routing through the mud with their tails in the air. Soon the tide really came in and wading became a little too funky (thank you jet skis).  I repeated this routine for four more mornings from 4am to about 8 as the family slept in and then a few casts in the evening. The rest of the day was spent with them.  We were all happy!!!

I've been plying my trade on some NH estuaries with so-so results. Some claim great success and some claim "no runs, no hits, no errors". I'm in the middle (so far)!!

My 8wt Friend

The rod that I've used for stripers is a two piece 9 foot 8wt that I bought back in 1994 on the cheap!!! I didn't want to spend big bucks if I then realized that I didn't really like  saltwater fly fishing. But I really did like it and the $60 rod has caught 100's and 100's of stripers and bluefish.  I did get an 8wt 4pc for Florida (fits in the overhead) but my old friend is what I bring to the salt in New England.  Yes, I'm in the Jack Gartside camp when it comes to fly fishing or I'm just a frugal Yankee who thinks it is disingenuous to complain about the price of gas while casting a $1000 fly rod.

 

Chicken, broccoli, chick peas, carrots and lots of garlic.  The beans should be ready in a few weeks.  Summer is the time for growing food, cooking and eating food and Fly Fishing.





Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Big Browns On The Swift And How To Catch Them

  "The purist fishes exclusively with a fly rod, which means that he owns a spinning rod and sometimes uses it, but he doesn't talk about it much and stores it separately from his fly tackle" - John Gierach


Hunter knows how to get it done!  He has accounted for a good number of big browns and brookies on the Swift.


The following is his story:


Hey ken hope all’s well,

Sorry to see the trout escapades come to a stop, but glad to see you planning to continue fishing!
Thought I’d send you this monster me and my friend both caught on the same fly this summer. 3 weeks apart, same fish, same fly, absolutely incredible but a testimony to the patterns of these beast. 29inches I estimate 11-12lbs minimum. 
Developing more streamer patterns to turn the bigger ones, you will see the 32 inch brown in my hand before summers out! For now I’ve kept it simple, early morning, or late evening when they are more likely to feed without looking twice. Classic streamer pattern similar to grey ghost but with brook trout colors. What I’m working on now is a jigged streamer with accurate colors and representation, this is what will hook the big one. The colors themselves turn it, but it doesn’t commit. 
I sent you the picture of my buddy with it, and myself, the fly we used, and the streamer pattern I’m trying to recreate in brook trout colors.



This is the kind of fishing we all dream about and it's right here in central Massachusetts. The DFW insists that browns don't spawn successfully in the Swift. Well, they certainly GROW in the Swift as these photos prove. The biggest trout I've caught in the Baystate have always been browns and this is where the effort should be made to create an "interesting" fishery.

BTW, if you have a photo of a "good catch" I'll post it here as long as it's a Massachusetts fish. (sorry, rainbows excluded)

Ken

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Last Cast


"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be" John Gierach

 

It's time to reel in .  After 16 years of waving the pom-poms for Massachusetts trout fishing I need something new.  No, I'm not taking up golf or knitting but have decided to pursue other species. Stripers, Blues, Smallies, pike and anything else that wasn't born in a hatchery and that includes Swift River and blue line brookies plus some old wise browns on the Millers and at Cady Lane. 

Why the change? After about 50 years of fly fishing and being an advocate for making an attempt at creating a sustainable fishery I've come to the conclusion that the DFW doesn't care. And why should they?  They are fish farmers and to actually develop a reproducing strain of trout would jeopardize some DFW jobs.  Stocking the Swift with clonebows and then chasing them with cattle prods is a "Who Cares" situation.

So, I'll be chasing other finned critters going forward. I'm not abandoning trout - Fall will find me chasing wild brookies on the Swift and enjoying the EB.


Maybe we will be blessed with another Quabbin overflow in the Fall to fill the river with big wild Salmon!!!!!


I'll also be relocating to the New Hampshire coast but I'll still be within a double haul of Plum Island and within my friend Brad's spey cast of the coast of Maine.  It will take 90 minutes to hit the Millers or the Swift.

I'm still selling flies and will expand into salt water flies soon.

This blog will still be available.  Use it.  I may even chime in on occasion!!

Go Fish,


Ken


Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Happy Ending

 "Things fishermen know about trout aren't facts but articles of faith" -

John Gierach


Two weeks ago we posted a notice of a lost T&T flyrod and a lost Bogdan reel.  This blog has a good record of finding lost equipment but this was a special case. The rod/reel were the property of a woman's late husband and it had a ton of sentimental value. I also thought that the chance of reuniting this classic equipment were slim.  But good things do happen.  This morning I got an email from the owner that the rod/reel were returned and that she is very grateful to the local fly fishing community for spreading the word which resulted in this happy ending!  

The Swift is coming and may soon hit that 60 cfs mark (some say that's too low but it's perfect for me) but good brookie fishing down in Cady Lane is to be had. Good fishing is also to be had on the EB.


Ken







Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Modern Ant

 "Two Wrongs Do Not Make A Right, But Three Do" - Unknown



I love ants!  Not your crawling around garden variety but the Winged guys that show themselves on the last week of  August and the first week of September every year! All over New England the ant colonies will split up and move to a different location and for some odd reason they are attracted to water which is odd for a land insect.  They will cover the stream surface and the trout will go nuts!!  Here are my best two encounters with these guys.


Backcast to the early 1990's on the last week of August and I'm on the Farmington (first trip) and it was nothing but black ants!!! I caught a bunch of browns and went through my ant supply in one day. The lesson of this trip was "never run out of ants!!!"

Then there was a trip to the EB on a September afternoon. I walked to the Bliss Pool and saw trout hitting the surface after a small (size 20) insect that had bluish wings. "BWO" I thought until I noticed the ants crawling on my waders.  Their wings had that hint of blue.  I did ok with what I was using but the goal was to build that fly with a hint of blue.


That blue came from some size 18 to 22 grizzly hackles dyed blue.  They work!! Also, the ants are tied on scud hooks which causes the fly to "sit" on the water with its butt below the surface and its head above, just like a real ant.

Hook - 18 to 22 scud

Thread - 12/0 black

Rear - a few turns of peacock

Waist - Black thread

Thorax - a few turns of peacock

Hackle - wind it over and through the front peacock

This ant replaced my favorite ant pattern that used thin narrow hackle points for the wing BUT they don't make hackles like that anymore!!

I guess that this fly would work as a BWO emerger too!!



I love skillet cooking.  All kinds of ingredients and spices does it for me. But there's one problem. HOT weather will put the damper on this cuisine like yesterdays 90 degrees but today it's in the mid 60's so full steam ahead.

Chicken gets cut up,  treated with garlic power, seared in olive oil and then come carrots (cut into shards and not wagon wheels) broccoli, a half an onion, and a can of chick peas well rinsed.  Stir in a healthy amount (I'll let you decide that) of Jamaican Jerk Sauce and then let simmer for an hour.

Fishing

From now through the weekend we will have mostly cloudy weather with an on and shower.  Best Best - The Millers on a cloudy day or on any evening.


Ken




Wednesday, May 25, 2022

I Don't Get It.

 

"The solution to any problem- work, love money, whatever- is to go fishing and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be".


Armed for Stripers and Blues


It's been a strange Spring. Cold, high water and cold, high winds all of which appear to be over.  But there is something "off" with the trout fishing.  I've caught trout but there is something unsatisfying about the whole thing.  After mulling this over for the last few months I think I've found the problem - I don't want to fish over fresh stockers, especially the dumb rainbows.  I've come to the conclusion that every time you catch a clonebow it's just another reminder that the DFW isn't listening to you (if you are a believer in stream born trout) and are listening to the power bait crowd instead who just want more and bigger (triploid?) trout.  Why don't they stock more browns?  The "off the record" answer was the fish and gun clubs will be ringing the phone off the hook complaining if smaller browns replace larger bows. My answer was that they only complain until Memorial Day. We, flyfishers, will complain all year!  We got a laugh out of that but that was about it and the madness continues.  According to their own stocking reports the DFW HAS NOT STOCKED THE EB WITH BROWNS THIS SPRING in the Chesterfield C&R section. Why not??? Browns outlast bows in the EB and just about everywhere else. What replaced the browns??  How about the damn tiger trout, that genetic goofball, that the DFW wastes hatchery space on.  BTW, I've only found 2 dead trout on the EB and they were both tigers.

Will I stop fishing?  No way. I'll just adjust my game.  I'll visit the Swift to fish for those great stream born brookies. (two years ago I took 59 brookies from 6 inches to 14 inches on three successive mornings ON DRIES down in Cady Lane. I'll try to target those monster browns on cloudy evenings (not stream born they say but a true survivor) and I'll be working the lower Millers for smallmouth, a totally under appreciated fish.  And I will be chasing stripers and bluefish a lot this summer (more on that later).

I love the taste of bluefish!!

Ken


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Very Special Lost Rod And Reel

  


Folks,

Read the two paragraphs below. Finding the lost rod and reel and returning them would get you a pass into Fly Fishing Heaven. If you find them send me an email (ken.elmer9@gmail.com) and I'll contact the owner. - Ken

"My name is (withheld). You guided me on the Millers back in 2019, and I've followed your blog ever since. I'm writing because I've recently (last night 5/20) lost a fly rod and reel, when I left it at the East Branch of the Ware in Princeton.  The rod is a Thomas and Thomas 8' 6 weight, and the reel is a Bogden.    They belonged to my late husband, so I'm attached to them beyond their actual value.

I'm hoping you might put in a word on your blog to anyone who may have picked them up and is looking to return them.   I'd really appreciate any help or suggestions - and I'm more than willing to pay a reward for their return."


Thanks -