Thursday, September 24, 2009

Catskill Fishing Report

Signs (official and otherwise) along the Esopus warn of didymo and offer cleaning suggestions

I took my week off and headed for the Catskill camp, in Phoenicia, N.Y. I have nothing but good news.

First off, the heavy rains earlier this summer seem to have done a number on the rock snot (didymo, a nuisance algae that is popping up in Eastern rivers).

Dave Kumlien of Trout Unlimited told me back in May that while there is no remedy for rock snot, it doesn't fare well in cold water and in high flows.

The Esopus Creek downstream of the Portal (which carries water destined for New York City) certainly has high flows of cold water. And all the rain helped too.

In any event, at Boiceville and off Herdman Road in Phoenicia, where I saw the stuff in abundance in early May, I didn't spy any at all.

And the state finally got its butt in gear, too, with new signs warning of didymo. Previously one private individual had made signs at his own expense and stuck them up here and there.

I fished in the Woodland Valley Creek, both the public and private areas, and the Esopus above the Portal, and saw no sign of rock snot anywhere.

Which does not mean we are out of the woods. After an unsatisfactory experiment with rubber wading boots combined with Yak-Trax (the add-ons fell apart rather promptly, they are not designed for clambering around rivers), I am designating one set of waders and felt-soled boots for the areas of the Esopus known to be infected, and one mangier set for everywhere else.

And I still hose everything down, dry as thoroughly as possible, and give everything a blast of Tilex Mold and Mildew.

Separated at birth?
Above: A brownish drab-looking mayfly. Below: A brownish drab-looking soft-hackle wet fly.

The last two days were warm, humid and mostly overcast. This combination convinced the bugs it was still summer. They in turn inspired the trout.

Fishing the most plain-Jane soft-hackle wet fly in the box, I caught trout after trout in the big river these two days, mostly just downstream of the Emerson complex in Mt. Pleasant. Plenty of the small-to-medium rainbows the late Paul O'Neil loved to write about (and eat) but some bigger bruisers as well.

The Esopus is, at heart, a wet-fly stream, and sometimes I forget. Especially with the soft-hackle flies, the Western Swing* approach works in the long riffles.

Woodland Valley Creek

Harry the Heron and I played leapfrog along the Esopus for two days running

As Austin Francis points out, the Esopus is an egalitarian stream. Here is a salmon-egg dapper in action.

There should be a way to incorporate this into an ad — but for what?

* Western Swing — Cast wet flies or nymphs at a 3/4 angle upstream, mend as needed for a dead drift until it passes you, and then allow the line to go into a full swing. Repeat two or three times with successively longer casts. Then wade upstream — three steps up, one out — and repeat entire process. Your hits usually come at the top of the cast or on the swing. For multi-fly rigs, using a bushy dry fly as a top fly/indicator is acceptable; using a strike indicator is not. Doing it completely by feel, with a single fly, is the ne plus ultra.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morons Abound

Morons From Outer Space (1985) answers the question, "What if the aliens are just like us, but dumber?"

A group of what appear to be working-class Brits, albeit from the planet Blob, crash-land on the M1 freeway in England and the authorities have a hell of a time figuring them out.

Meanwhile, Bernard, the fourth member of the crew, and thoughtlessly marooned in deep space, winds up in a national forest in Arizona.

The aliens become a pop phenomenon, and the world is never the same.

The end.

I got this from NetFlix expecting some straight-to-video disaster. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be a clever, witty little film.

Nothing terribly brainy, mind you. Plenty of locker room humor, and slapstick.

But this film is so unpretentious I can't help but like it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carter Stevens - Not Your Average Pornographer

You never know what's going to arrive from Netflix. Thinking Punk Rock was a cheesy exploitation quickie that would offer a glimpse into the New York punk mindset ca. 1977, I put it in the queue.

Turns out this Punk Rock is a porn-noir that also uses footage from another Punk Rock (no info on the director of the latter epic).

This mangy little flick has a slightly better than threadbare plot involving an ex-cop turned private eye who is trying to find a runaway teen and discover who murdered his partner. For once, there is not too much plot getting in the way of the story, and the sex scenes are such that too much plot getting in the way of them is no big deal either.

The extended music footage is the real bargain here. Some of the absolute worst rock and roll ever committed is on tap from The Fast, The Squirrels and a leather and bondage group trying hard to be a combination of James Chance and the Contortions and "Venus In Furs."

And failing, quite spectacularly.

We're talking gnarly 1970s sex scenes. Unconvincing stabbings. Atrocious outer borough accents. The Squirrels, looking like Exiles From Ziggy Stardust Street. Pay phones. Allegedly hard-boiled voice-over narration, sounding like a over-medicated person reading Charles Bukowski through a straw. Utterly worthless. One half coil.

Punk Rock is a two-fer with Pleasure Palace, a heart-warming tale of how two entrepreneurs, fleeing the corruption of the big city, buy a brothel from a guy in Connecticut.

They can't believe how cheap they're getting the business, but they find out a few sex scenes later. The Mob wants in.

We're talking gnarly 1970s sex scenes. Unconvincing shootings. Atrocious outer borough accents. Pat Benatar lookalike hookers. Large American cars. Sheriff with robin's egg blue cowboy hat. Completely without redeeming virtue of any kind. One coil (extra half coil for no Squirrel music). 

This DVD is the only thing from the auteur available from Netflix, who apparently believe that such titles as Tied, Tickled and Trampled, Down in Dorothy's Dungeon and The Painful World of Moose Malloy would not be popular.

Also worth noting is that Mr. Stevens used a variety of pseudonyms, or noms de smarm: Herman Braille, Edna St. George, Steven Guano and Studs Looper are the standouts.