November 27, 2007

Getting There...

Everything is in flux right now. Some things are moving faster than others.

Thanks to Joe for the time and effort programming the "random quote" application. I've got a feeling I owe him something a little more tangible as a thank you, I'll come up with something.

Right now it is displaying a variety of "inside joke" quotes and movie lines...I know, inside jokes don't translate well. In general the database needs some overhauling. Many will be added, some deleted, a few simply shortened (there is a scroll feature for anything that is a little bit long right now).

In the (hopefully) near future, FoulHooked will be going through some additional evolution. It will become pretty before your eyes. Additional browse/search functionality may be added to the quote application. And FoulHooked will discover it's very own "logo"...still working out ideas for that one. Eventually, once everything is more or less established and satisfactory, I will most likely throw a huge monkey wrench in everything by porting this over into a dedicated multi-page site. Until then, I need to focus on reestablishing FireFox compatibility.

November 19, 2007

Calmer 'n you are.

Spent the weekend in Newcomb. Nobody bagged anything, but everyone agreed it was a much needed break, relaxing and whatnot. That's whats important.

I spent a total of about 1 hour on the river (Indian River, below the dam), and about 20 minutes of it fishing. It was a bit cold (mid- to high-20's), but with the sun, that really didn't bother me, I was prepared. The wind was irritating though, and combined with an inability to keep my feet warm, casting difficulties from the wind were what forced me to head back to the warmth of the woodstove and the comfort of some John Updike short stories. It was still a gorgeous day, and I got to scout a few spots and just generally enjoy the scenery.

While I wasn't in the river much, I did get a chance to check out my waders. Last time out I made a couple pinhole leaks via walking through thorns. I couldn't locate them so I slathered the most suspect looking area with some AquaSeal, and when I got out of the river, my legs were still dry, so perhaps I got them. For some reason, my feet just wouldn't keep warm. I was prepared (so I thought) with comfortable layers, socks, etc, and the rest of me remained warm. It wasn't a circulation problem either. I guess I'll just have to give those chemical warmers a go next time.

I wasn't the only one who got skunked. The fellas at least saw a few grouse and deer (I don't know whether that's better or just more frustrating), but couldn't make a shot on any of them. We agreed that we should at some point get me shooting so I can join them when the fishing isn't so hot. I don't exactly have an overwhelming desire to shoot and kill animals, but any opportunity to further enjoy the outdoors is welcome, and I've always loved the taste of wild game, so there is that.

I would have liked to at least try for some smallmouth in the Flow, given the river was a bit of a drive and I didn't feel like going through the hassle again. Unfortunately, ice season has begun, and there really wasn't much access. On top of that, the water is quite shallow in the vicinity of the camp (read no smallies in casting distance where the water was open for about 8 hours of our stay), and with the water level lowered for winter, getting the boat out is also a bit of a hassle. So I was more than content to sit and read in the safety of the cabin and keep the fire going.

I guess it's time to focus on Glass Lake rainbows and Battenkill browns.

November 14, 2007

Get the new Killers album...Shadowplay...or else...

Shakin' like the Devil when she lets me go
Got a new place, and how it's so much better
Falling over myself, the televisions' on,
I turn it off and smile
Oh, Jennifer, you know I always tried
Before you say goodbye

Leave the bourbon on the shelf
And I'll drink it by myself
And I love you endlessly,
Darling don't you see I'm not satisfied
Until I hold you tight
Give me one more chance tonight
And I swear I'll make it right
But you ain't got time for this
And that wreckin' bell is ringin'
And I'm not satisfied
Until I hold you

Jennifer, tell me where I stand
And who's that boy holdin' your hand?
Oh, Jennifer, you know I always tried
Before you say goodbye

Leave the bourbon on the shelf
And I'll drink it by myself
And I never liked your hair or those people that you lie with
But I'm not satisfied
Until I hold you tight

And I love you endlessly,
Darling don't you see I can't be satisfied
Until I hold you tight

Leave the bourbon on the shelf
And I'll drink it by myself
And I love you endlessly,
Darling don't you see
I'm not satisfied



Hoping to get a good weekend in coming up...gonna need it after this week. I'll hopefully be stalking browns on the Indian (if i repair my waders by then) while the boys are chasing bambi and some birds.

November 5, 2007

The Brooklanthead

To my knowledge, I have yet to catch a wild trout on the fly. Being only a season deep, this doesn't bother me just yet. But it has gotten me thinking about some goals; some "pinnacles" of flyfishing that I hope to achieve.

Perhaps the most commonly sought-after "purist" fly fishing experience is fooling a wary, wily, wild brown of trophy proportions. Fair enough. It's a goal I seek and one I intend to accomplish, but as far as an ultimate experience, it ranks pretty low for me. Other big ones on the list might be the blazing runs of a bonefish on the flats or the sheer power of a tarpon, perhaps taking a 50 lb king salmon in the PacNW or a similar sized musky from the northern continental lakes, maybe it's mountain cutthroats or amazon peacock bass. All very respectable, and to each his own. My top 3 are as follows:

3. Backwoods brook trout. I bought my setup (LLBean Streamlight 3wt, 6'6") with the intention of packing it into overgrown Adirondack streams for bejeweled char. It doesn't hurt that it is very well matched for the local streams (Poestenkill, Kinderhook), but for me, mountain brookies are a quintessential part of the Adirondack/Catskill/New England angling experience. They may be small and eager, but it is as much about the surroundings and the journey as it is the fish. This is by far the most solitary endeavor on my list...perhaps part of what makes it so appealing. While it may be my highest immediate priority, I numbered it at 3 because it will be the most achievable in the near-future.

2. Winter Steel. Talk about suffering for your sport. OK, the fish themselves are worth the trouble; they are absolutely gorgeous in all stages, they fight and fly like a jet-fighter on a tether, and (if the mood suits and they are fresh to the river, though I probably wouldn't keep) they are delicious. But once again, it's about the surroundings and sacrifice. I once saw a picture on the cover of a fly fishing magazine of a lone angler wading a river, with a grand total of about 8 square inches of flesh showing, watching his drift over bone-chilling water as snowflakes melted into the current and replenished the still-virgin snow on the banks. You could hear the silence that is winter all around. I saw this picture years ago, long before I put much thought into seriously taking up flyfishing, but I knew then that someday that would be me. Once again, it has a solitary quality to it, even if you go with friends (if you have any foolish enough). No crowds of salmon snaggers*, no chumming bait chuckers*, no drift-boat-riding plug-dragging charter-tourists*, no competing and fall-binge-stressed bears*. Just the angler, the water, the cold, and hope. There is opportunity here in the northeast with great-lakes steel, and perhaps a few other places, but I think to do it right might require a trip to the west coast...we'll see what my finances and life circumstance think if the time ever comes.

1. Salmo salar. I once caught a landlocked (Atlantic) salmon on a "fly rod" while trolling Lake George as a kid. At the time, it was the most beautiful fish I had ever seen. Nearly all silver and built like a torpedo, it was torturing when it turned out to be too small to keep and yet too stressed to successfully revive and release. There is only one Atlantic salmon (unlike the half dozen or so pacific species), and it's population has been decimated over the years by overfishing and irresponsible river management (read dams and pollution), among other impacts. Once again, there are some "local" opportunities for landlocks (LG, ADKs, Finger Lakes, even potentially the Great Lakes), but Eastern Canadia (thats right, Canadia) is where it's really at. Number One really is all about the fish. OK, the surroundings are likely to be stunning as well...let's call it 93% fish, 7% everything else.

These are lifetime goals. While mountain brookies shouldn't take long to bring to hand, communing with them will hopefully be a life-long endeavor. The logistics of pacific steelhead are intimidating by themselves at this point. And who knows what is to happen to the Atlantic salmon fishery as a whole.

Pat has already "committed" to the hunt for winter steelhead. I guess i shouldn't take that too lightly, he did join me on the lake once last year. Still, it makes images of Randy Parker standing in a river in full winter garb flash in my head...

*Note: I know not all salmon fishers are snaggers, nor are all bait fishers scum-sucking chummers (I do still bait fish on occasion), but the crowds are still objectionable to me. Additionally, I have nothing against drift-boat charters or dragging plugs for salmon, but I see how it could be annoying to a wader. Finally...hopefully the bears will be hibernating by then.

A FoulHooking Story...

With a name this good, there has to be a story behind FoulHooked. Well, there is...I couldnt think of anything and I thought it sounded cool. The more I think about it, the more I like it, and what it may very well represent. Hopefully, I'll figure out what exactly that is.

FoulHooked does remind me of a story though. I think it's one of those stories everyone has, but each one is distinctly special.

Throughout the years, my attitude and approach towards fishing has been inextricably linked to my relationship with an individual...let's call him "Dad"...and have evolved over the years as has the relationship. The two issues aren't really very related, other than fishing has always been a passtime we enjoyed together...that and my thinly veiled assertion that fishing parallels and can symbolize life's trials.

Our excursions began as seeking out stocked and wild browns, brookies and the occasional rainbow with hook and worm, and slowly progressed through canal fishing and into chucking hardware for LMB. For a decent stint in my jr high and highschool years, we frequented a small bass and pickeral lake in Warrensburg, often venturing out in the stout and not-so-sturdy vessel currently in my employ.

The fishing was often spectacular, with topwater hits on nearly every cast, and probably 20% of the catch over 12". It was often hard not to get overexcited as the anticipation of the strike often led to overzealous hook-sets, which would set the canoe teetering on the edge of capsizing. One day...that edge was reached...and exceeded. There is always some good ribbing about whether it was his hook-set, or my over-compensation which put us in the water, but truth be told, it was a combination of efforts. I, being quite slender in those days though, still hold that Dad is responsible for the larger portion of that combo.

Wouldn't ya know, in a lake that averages about 4' deep, we spilled ourselves into about 12' of water. I returned to the surface, and our recently emptied vessel, first. Dad, God bless him, was so concerned for my well-being, that he came right over to see if I was alright. Well, until that moment, other than being a little wet, all was well. Nobody knows who was snagged first, but until he brushed up against me, we were not linked together by a block of balsa and two treble hooks...very much barbed thank you.

Mind you, dear old Dad is, at this point, no longer concerned for my wellbeing (already having established...and then negated that), nor is he concerned with the fact that we are adrift and connected (my wrist to his elbow). No, for you see, Dad is near-blind, and his only concern currently is retrieving his glasses from 6' below our toes. Fearing for my safety, I made it clear that we were heading to shore, not the bottom, as my death was more intimdating to me than his temporary lack of vision. The white-knuckle car ride home left me questioning that logic, but we made it.

We lost an assortmant of gear that day, two pairs of prescription eyewear (regular and sunglasses...good thing he didnt leave the spare in the car...), and I lost any desire to sit in a canoe with Dad for about 6 or 7 years. But I think we took more away from that than just the story, including a new respect for each other. While he wasnt quite ready to let me drive, Dad was forced to rely on my passanger-seat instruction ("slow down, light's turing red...ummm, ok, we'll worry about the next light"). And for me, he took it upon himself to tear the hook out of his arm to spare me the pain (good thing, 'cause after 45 minutes of torture at the hands of my aunt, "The Nurse," and a trip to the emergency room, it was clear I had no chance of popping that thing out).

I still have the scar, it's one of my favorites. It's also a good reminder to pinch down your barbs. Something I often bypass out of haste. I am sure that, soon, my lazyness will provide me with another story and life-lesson. So let that be the legacy of FoulHooked. Now i just need a cute catchphrase to sign off with...

Danger is my middle name...

OK, maybe that's not strictly true. Maybe Lazy would be a better moniker. I've already succeeded to fail (what?) at my goals for this page...oh well.

Made it out 3 times in the last week (hooray!). This weekend I hit up the local lake twice, trolling for rainbows and such. Saturday was a bit hairy (hence the danger) what with the wind and 1' chop (may not sound bad...but when your esteemed vessel is 10' long and 3' wide at the center support...and you have a split paddle shaft repaired with packing tape and a plastic bottle...well, you get the idea). But the wind and recent chill must have put the bite on. I only brought in 1 raibow...about a 12-incher...but had at least a dozen near misses (time to sharpen the hooks?), plus two nice pickeral and one ever-agressive sunfish.

Unfortunately, yesterday was not quite the same. The clouds had dissappeared, the wind was down, and the fish just werent enjoying the hardware. However, there was plenty of surface action (I must have seen at least six 15-18 inch trout jump completely out of the water), just not for me. If not for two overgrown shiners taking pity on my lonely gnat/blood midge tandem fly offering, i would have been skunked. Am i proud of the day's conquest...no...but I'll take what i can get...and without them i dont think my knees would have forgiven me for the 7 total hours I cramped them in the canoe for this weekend.

Last weekend was a completely different story. I knew the rain was coming. I had hoped to get some stream fishing in while it was falling. At the very least there would be time to scout the Kinderhook for some November spots. Alas, it was not to be. Saturday the rain fell hard enough to dampen my spirits too much to venture out, and my hopes of salvaging some streamtime Sunday were dashed when I saw all that rain now coursing through the river. It was too high to even think about donning the waders and going scouting...at best I would have gotten a good look at some streambead from up-close.

Tuesday I was able to get to the stream early enough in the afternoon to investigate...but the water was still high and fast, though it had cleared significantly. Two hits, no hookups, and two wader pinholes later, it was time to go home frustrated.

Once I do a little repair job, I plan on making the Battenkill my winter refuge. The Kinderhook can wait 'till next year, there's barely a month left to fish it anyway. And with the clock change, there's absolutely zero chance to get to it between work and sunset now.

And now for something completely different, Edward John Burian (aka Frankenstein, according to Brian) was born on Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Four weeks from tomorrow I head to Palm Bay to meet him. Between now and then I'll have to split time between the lake and the river i guess. My winter goal...to catch a large (15"+) stream resident brown trout (I'll settle for a bow) with snow falling around me. Weather permitting, I'll get that chance within a couple weeks when we head up to Newcomb. Indian River, be kind to me.