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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fishing report July 13

Streamside art, pt. 17. I don't wish to be disrespectful of our spinning and bait-casting brothers, but I can't help noticing that they tend to leave shit on the stream bank. Esopus, above Portal.

Crazy brookie, Woodland Valley. Chased a hopper, changed his mind, and just as impulsively decided to nail the tung head Prince I had on a dropper.

The Serpent... Another in my series of herpetological false alarms. Esopus Creek.

...and the Rainbow. This view tends to produce good photos. Woodland Valley.

Just when you thought you'd seen it all, the fishing selfie.

Streamside art, pt. 18. A radiator sits in silent rebuke. 

Lots of water in Woodland Valley for July.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brookies, carp, slow days

Finally started getting the hang of the stocked brook trout in Woodland Valley.

Got this bad boy to take an isonychia nymph, which I had on a five foot dropper. I have never used a dropper that long.

As I was catching this fish, I noticed this other, larger fish hanging around and watching. Very untrout-like behavior.

Found out later that's because it wasn't a trout. It had died, somehow, and was belly up in the same pool that evening. When I fished it out, I saw this big yellow nasty-looking thing. Carp? Sucker? Klingon salmon? Beats me. I chucked it in the woods for the critters, who probably won't touch it either.

Meanwhile, back in Connecticut on the Blackberry, a cool, overcast day did not result in joyful trout leaping at anything. I had to work at it.

 In this case, a soaked Royal Wulff dry fly, bounced off this glowing green rock, coaxed this fat brown into action.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Esopus not dead

As I was stowing away the tweed jackets in the former second bedroom in the cabin (now my off-season closet), I noticed a yellowing copy of the Phoenicia Times from around Memorial Day weekend of 2009.

Headline — "The Esopus is Dying"

It was about the discovery of didymo, more commonly known as "rock snot," in the river. (My editor loves "rock snot.")

It was there, all right. It was serious enough to jolt Sen. Charles Schumer out of his lair in Washington, D.C. to come to Boiceville to make a speech, something he is very good at. Nothing useful ever happens as a result, but boy, when you wind Chuck up, you get some speech.

In the normal course of events, the senator couldn't find the Esopus with both hands and a flashlight.

Anyhoo, the Portal discharges have been negligible this spring, and surprise, surprise — the river's in the best shape we've seen in ages.

Considerable work was done on Stony Clove Creek as well, which has to make a difference. Maybe Woodland Valley's next?

So on Thursday, May 29, I got tired catching robust but small browns, and the occasional silver bullet rainbow in the riffles, and headed upstream about a quarter of a mile from where the Woodland brook empties into the Esopus, at Herdman Road.

There were more goofy browns snapping at pretty much anything on the surface, but I clambered up to the big rocks that mark some deep runs and pockets and dunked a big nymph in — sort of a Prince, with some Mylar in the wing.

I don't know what the pattern is called, but I call it "The Fly of Death."

This is highly enjoyable fishing, when you cast over a boulder and then stand on tippy-toe to see what the hell is happening on the other side. Memo to indicator fishermen — they don't work very well when you can't see them.

I was rewarded with a nice fat brown in the 16 inch department that tore around, dove, and otherwise resisted my perfectly reasonable efforts to bring him in, get him in a net, photograph him, and then return him to the depths.

Sorry, that's terribly sexist. He or she to the depths.

I got another one of similar tonnage before it got too dark to see. Plus this spot is about where I broke my wrist 10 years ago, which required surgery. Every trip there brings back painful memories.

It got better the next morning. I arose at the crack of dawn, only to dive immediately back under the covers faster than a brown trout who has just been fooled by the Fly of Death. The temperature had fallen to 45 degrees overnight, and while I am a dedicated angler, there are limits to the dedication.

At the civilized hour of 9:30 a.m., therefore, adequately caffeinated and waffled (and baconed), I returned to the Herdman boulders, and this time the Fly of Death produced an honest-to-God big jumping leaping dancing rainbow trout of the sort that is supposed to be mostly gone from the Esopus.

Now, my arm measures 17 inches from the tip of the outstretched middle (or business) finger to the crook of the elbow, and this fish extended at least three inches beyond that. It was not easy to get a bead on him (or her), because he (or she) was very wriggly, and because there was no place to stand, and because I was trying to remove the FOD and return the magnificent fish to the water.

And between the giant landing net and the wide-angle lens, even the most monstrous fish looks, in my photos, like some lackluster hatchery specimen of medium size, the sort of trout that would just as soon eat garlic cheese or Del Monte brand canned corn on a treble hook as a cunningly presented Fly of Death.

So the Esopus is not dead. But the Phoenicia Times is.

The rail line to nowhere. You'd almost think it was a federal project, perhaps championed by Sen. Charles Schumer. But no. This is flood damage.

My big rainbow. I already explained about the wide-angle lens and the giant net.

One of my favorite sights — trout hang around waiting to see what will float down from those rivulets. Kind of like the Automat for fish.

The Fly of Death

The Giant Net

Friday, May 23, 2014

Furnace Brook Clears Quickly

May 22 — Woke up to grey skies and rain in the official Daily Wild Guess from the National Weather Service.

The Housatonic was still a little high for my wading tastes, so I went to Furnace Brook along Route 4 in Cornwall. This is a small stream, sometimes squirrelly, sometimes fairly open. It's lovely water and holds a surprising number of trout.

It has one big disadvantage — it is right along Route 4. There is nothing like casting to a trout with the roar of traffic in your ear.

Naturally, no sooner did I arrive than the skies opened and it rained hard for about 20 minutes. I watched as the stream rose and became discolored.

"OK," sez I. "Let us put on something big and hairy and continue in the muddy water."

Which I did.

But what was interesting to me was that the stream cleared out almost as quickly as it became discolored. An hour later, you wouldn't know it rained from the water.

I finally got someone to take a Copper John in this deepish run at the second of two pulloffs with picnic tables along Route 4.

Then the LSD kicked in.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Woodland Valley pre-stocking report 2014 (part one)

I made a flying visit May 7-8 and fished the brook from Botchford/Gillespie pool to Nakamotos. Flow per USGS was 57 cfs, which is a nice level. Didn't see a lot of fish, but took on nice holdover brown on a Prince from the run immediately above the BG pool (second photo).

First photo BG pool. 2 — Immediately above BG pool. 3 and 4 — Riffles and pockets between BG and Nakamoto. 4. Pool as you approach Nakamoto. 5. Nakamoto home in distance; stream stubbornly making its way back to the road.

I hope to finish the assessment next week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seersucker vs. Bloodsuckers — Carl Kolchak, the Night Stalker

Some years back, in one of those trances that induces, I bought the box set of Kolchak: The Night Stalker DVDs.

It wasn't expensive, and has proved to be a good investment. They sit on the shelf next to other worthy efforts, such as the Aztec Mummy and Coffin Joe flicks, "The Wire," and all the "Avengers" episodes with Diana Rigg.

I watch these things about every other year.

Kolchak wears the same seersucker sack suit and battered hat throughout — usually with white tennis shoes.

If he takes notes it's on pieces of scrap paper. His reporter's kit includes a portable cassette recorder and an Instamatic, which never fails to produce blurry, useless photos of the Monster du Jour.

I can sympathize with his editor, Tony Vincenzo. He sends Kolchak to interview a transcendental meditation guru, and instead gets an urban vampire story. Both useful contributions, but hardly interchangeable.

Like "The X-Files," much of the series is shot in the dark — probably because the budget for convincing monster makeup was tight.

It's all very silly, and very much a product of its time (1974-5). There are go-go dancers and hippies. Wide lapels. Kolchak calls fellow reporter Ron Updyke "Uptight."

Gratuitous manual typewriters. Hot plates for the coffee. Convertible yellow Mustang, with manual transmission. Knit ties. Buttondown collars. Ghouls. Every character actor known to man, ca. 1974.

Fabulous stuff. A series-wide four coils, and an Iron Coil nomination.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Terror Goes on Vacation

Rene Cardonas III's Vacation of Terror (1989) is the film that answers the question "Should We Go to the Country House We Just Inherited, the One Where the Witch Was Burned in Black and White?"

Uncle Fernando, who eats weird food, inherits a country house from his aunt, and packs the whole gang — twin boys, daughter Gaby, pregnant wife, and niece Paulina — into the car to go check it out. It's pretty much a ruin, but the kids like it.

But darn the luck — Gaby falls into the well where the evil witch's doll was stashed 100 years earlier.

See, the flick begins with a black and white flashback of some infuriated yokels burning a witch. And instead of burning all her stuff while they're at it, they stick it all in a well, which as you might guess is just asking for trouble.

You'll find this lax attitude toward destroying evil in these decadent, post-modern times. They got Anthony Weiner, all right, but did they go after his creator, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)? Nooo.

So the doll starts rolling her eyes and things start going awry – snakes in the fridge, miscarriages, you name it.

Meanwhile Julio, Paulina's boyfriend, comes down in his old pickup. He has cleverly tied to the mirror another relic of the witch burning, a hunk of crystal that glows in the presence of evil, and of course they don't get wise to the usefulness of the gizmo until it's almost too late.

Directed by Rene Cardona III, the grandson of the immortal Rene Cardona (Doctor of Doom, The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy), and lacking in the latter's sense of the absurd. I wonder if the opening flashback is an outtake from one of Grandpa's flicks.

We're talking flying crockery as part of a larger pattern of poltergeistitation. Acid-washed jeans on Julio, which makes this a true horror film. Big 80s hair on Paulina. Strongly implied miscarriage. Ham on a plate. Exceptional screaming. Bad driving. No nekkidity (automatic one coil deduction), and a 3.7 (of a possible 5) on the fast-forward button.

Not enough terror, in other words, and no compensating gratuitous nudity. In Spanish with subtitles. One coil.