December 30, 2008

Holiday Play Day

Had the chance to get out and play one more time this year, and of course, had to take it.

The weather showed us a little bit of everything this weekend. Friday was bitter cold with gusting winds in our face and snow flying. It was also fishless. I had one, short-lived fight late in the day (last time I take long-shanked J-hooks with oversized barbs steelheading). It was truly one of those days though when just being on the river was all I needed. For some reason, white-outs are just beautiful when you're standing knee-deep in water a half a degree above freezing.

Brian fighting the cold snow blowing in his face.
Once we got off the water, nature started in with the typical northeast wintry mix. By the time we got out of bed Saturday morning, it was full-on pouring outside. We decided to make our maiden voyage to the DSR, seeing as we'd had no luck the day before, and it should be holding some fresh fish. Unfortunately, we had trouble finding any good-looking water that was holding anything more than fishermen. Note to self; next time you try pay-to-play, bring along someone who knows the stretch better.

After wasting the entire morning doing more walking than fishing, I made the call to stop back at the motel on the way to Friday's fishless hole. I could tell Brian was skeptical, and it didn't help that it meant giving up on the rest of the $30 worth of fishing we had just paid for, but it didn't take too long to change his mind.

We had changed out of our soaked clothes and the rain had mostly stopped, so we were feeling pretty warm, but of course, fishing started out slow again. I did manage a big take right away, but he took my leech and tippet with him on the hit. I'm guessing it was a steelhead, but will never know. Soon enough though, we landed 4 quality browns in under an hour span. Unfortunately, we were never near enough together for any fin-n-grin shots...

My first fish of the weekend...
...but we got to feel sweet redemption following a day and a half of freezing cold fishing and no catching.
Sunday morning started off well enough. The water had come up a full 10" and the flow had ballooned to 180% of what it was the day before. The high and rather stained water had me thinking it might be a washout, but early on Brian landed and released a real nice brown before I had time to get down to him with the camera. He also managed to land a monstrous chub, and miss a couple of takes. I myself couldn't interest anything in my offerings until about 10:30 when I landed this guy:

...and last fish of the weekend.

We gave it our best shot for the rest of the morning, but just before noon, the wind really started whipping up, and hot (relatively speaking, of course) gusts would occasionally warn me of impending doom. Rather than risk a soggy trip home (not to mention potential lightning strikes or falling trees), we called it a day, and a successful weekend. We didn't exactly slay them, but we caught fish and enjoyed ourselves.
I just want to know, why can't we seem to find the metal right now?

December 23, 2008

December 22, 2008

Winter Backpacking

It's almost that time again. I tend to save it for when I just can't justify trying to fish due to cold (i.e. February).

Why would you want to do such a thing as spend multiple nights in seriously sub-freezing temperatures?'s Jim Muller answers that question pretty well, and give some good first-timer advice, in an article for The Conservationist.

Couple more steelhead outings and I'll be yearning for the relative warmth of a fire-side lean-to in winter.

December 18, 2008

I'm not dead yet...'s just that our internet is still out from last week's storm...or rather...from the DPW worker cutting it to free traffic.
Stay frosty!

December 3, 2008

in the morningz we were always ready to catch more steelheads becuz we love steelheads!

The Biggest Pulls...worth a read if only for the hilarious captions. Some conservation up front as well, and that's always good.

The New Paradigm (or, two tasty trout recipes)

This is a long time coming, but, I just had the opportunity to try out a "new" fish recipe.

Tomatoes and Trout
Knowing I wanted to do justice to the trout I decided to keep Sunday (one filet went to my sister, the other was for Hannah and I), I went for a variation on a supposedly traditional Italian recipe. As laid out below, just use the quantities you feel comfortable with, and substitute to your heart's desire:

Fish filet, skinless - any fish will do, but, my preference is salmonid. While the recipe will probably hold up to meatier fish like tuna or swordfish, and is undoubtably outstanding with most any white fish, I think it really shines with the pink and orange.

Tomatoes - ripe plum if available, in quantity to roughly balance the same amount of fish, diced.
Garlic - FRESH minced
Onions - any mild onion, chopped or quartered (I used white pearls)
Capers - to taste
Olives - kalamata (or green or any other variety, if you prefer), pitted and halved or chopped
Parsley and/or cilantro and/or any other herb to taste (I kept it simple with just cilantro)
Coarse ground black pepper
Kosher salt (sparingly)

Prepare and combine "dressing," and drizzle and mix in a little olive oil and dry white wine (sauv blanc is my favorite). Prepare a baking dish (pyrex or stone preferably) with a little olive oil followed by a light sprinkling of black pepper and salt. Lay filet(s) over olive oil, salt and pepper, and cover with dressing. Drizzle some more wine over the top and bake at 450-475 until the fish flakes (approx. 20 minutes for 1 lb of fish).

This is my new favorite fish recipe. Bar none. For sides I went with a whole grain wild rice mix and green beans lightly sauteed in oil, salt, pepper, and of course, fresh garlic, with sliced almonds added in at the end. It was a garlic heavy meal, but the fish still came through, and it got even better with every bite. Hannah said it was good, but apparently didn't enjoy it as thoroughly as I. I'm OK with that.

Default Rub
For times when the time, effort or ingredients just aren't at hand, I will still stick with my all-time, all-food, default rub. It's easy, it invariably cooks quickly with fish, and I nearly always have some laying around. Think barbecue and you're halfway there. Just use more sparingly (i.e. sprinkle) on fish than you would on chicken, beef, pork...

For bbq, I go with the half-sweet, half-savory/spicy method;
Sugar - brown or dark brown sugar, to equal total of all other ingredients
Chili Powder - 4 parts
Garlic Powder - 2 parts
Onion Powder - 2 parts
Dried Mustard - 1 part
Ground Cumin - 1 part
Coarse Black Pepper - 1 parts
Ground Cayenne Pepper - sparingly, to taste
Kosher Salt - 1-2 parts
Use your imagination...add anything you like (or just have laying around), and keep in mind measurements are meaningless, put in as much as you want.

For fish, hopefully you have a cast iron skillet. Really, you can prepare it however you want, but I prefer to pre-heat a cast iron skillet with a healthy coating of oil under the broiler, coat both sides of the filet with rub, lay in skillet and place back under broiler until done, usually only a couple of minutes.

December 2, 2008

Smiling at this blessing, this life is the best...

Consider this my (belated) Thanksgiving. I won't even try to express how lucky I am to have the family, friends, job, ability to explore and enjoy my passions, and of course, woman who's company, I enjoy so much. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the day we reflect on our blessings, but I can tell you I count them every day. Top it all off with the fact that I was able to steal 3 days to myself (yes, I cherish solitude as well) to hit the Salmon River, and I feel guilty to complain about anything.

This is my hour, I’m never going to bed.
The sky is still black, but begs to be red.
I just put my book down, but it begs to be read
I’m not nod, I’m not napper, never rest my head.
Some days I feel I’m getting smaller and smaller,
but some nights, I seem to grow taller and taller.
And we keep shrinkin’ and shrinkin’ but this will not finish.
You’re never nothing, if you didn’t disappear.
Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they change it.
Just when I’m loving life, it seems to start raining.
I pulled the sail safe switch, sea sail and I’m into the stars.
I love the rain on my scars.
The sky’s now red, my eyes reflect jets.
Smiling at this blessing, this life is the best.

Made it to Pulaski around 2 am Friday. Grabbed a few z's in the truck before hitting the tackle shop and then the river. For most of 3 hours, I was the only one in the "prime" spot, but never so much as hooked-up. Managed to lose 3 steelhead and land "2" (more on that later) browns. As it turned out, I wouldn't even get that close to steel again all weekend, but who can complain? A trout is a trout...right?

Day 2 was a little more successful (if you can call it that). I didn't fish the whole day, sleep was calling me. Things started very slow, of course...and cold...

I want to notice chances I’ve passed without notice
I want to see details previously veiled.

I want to grab that chance, carry it home
so I can marry and know-

-That I noticed every chance
that I could have passed without notice
I saw details that to all were veiled.
And I grabbed those chances, carried them home
and then I’ll have had it with roaming

Though it turned out swinging would be the producer this weekend (peach egg-sucking purple bunny leech), the third fish landed was taken on a blue-and-orange estaz egg in a back-eddy. A little snakey and beaten, but a welcome reprieve from the long, frustrating, cold periods of monotony. As with most of the fish for the weekend, this one was between 18 and 20 inches.

I want to speak every cliche but tweak if i’ve seen change
in new way it could be said.

Fished the section of runs, pools and eddys hard with the eggs for a good long time before trying out the leech. I can't say it was at all expected when I went to loose my line from an assumed snag and found this stunning, if modestly sized, specimen struggling to free itself from the hook.

If it’s bleak, or if the week’s leaking down the street
or if any days wasted I want to face facts.
My time on this earth is my only penny,
wise is the gent counting every moment spent.
I don’t want to explain things, don’t wanna fill in the gaps,
I want to look at my friends and in that minute be at …

I wanted to swing through the full run one more time before picking up for hopefully greener pastures, but when I got to the head, the friendly spinner with whom I had chatted earlier (and helped net and release-with expediency-a foulhooked steelie) was occupying it, and another had drifted down and set up shop above. I weighed my options, and considered the hour, and decided to check out the access on the other side of the river.

After examining the main channel thoroughly with my fly, I focused on the base of the cliff along the side channel behind a small island. I got lucky. The fight was tenacious. After netting this jewel, a flawless 2 foot long muscle football that, luckily, was very well hooked, knowing it wouldn't likely be beat, and in desperate need of sleep, I headed back to the motel for an afternoon respite.

If spit like luck, you can only seem,
to borrow it, you can’t keep it.
When the wind of change whistles into play
will I blink or flinch away?
The wind of change won’t whistle me away
if I spin my tails and sail.
And sail away, let yesterday become today.

Sunday was very trying. Firstly, I made the "mistake" of accessing a favorite hole from the nearest downstream parking area. Lets just say the walk upstream is significantly longer and more technical than the walk downstream from the upstream access. Still, a solitary walk in the silent winter woods is hard to spite, even when drenched in sweat.

After burning nearly an hour just getting there and over an hour more fishing it hard with eggs and streamers to no avail, I burnt the next few hours swinging my way back towards my chosen entry with the only action I saw being from rocks and trees, both submerged and on the banks.

I arrived back at the truck, exhausted and disheartened, with 2 hours of fishing time left. Disappointed, I had promised my sister if a suitable candidate made itself available I would bring her a small salmonid feast, and knew that I had abandoned my best shot at doing so by leaving Saturday's "sugar" hole for barren lands. There was only one solution; speed the quick drive back to where I knew there were fish, and see if they were still willing.

Sunday's only fish once again came on the leech with an amazingly unaggressive strike. She must have been confused, because with all the jumps and tail-walking, she had almost convinced me she was a small steelie.

I was almost thankful to see she had been pretty severely marred by a lamprey right between the gills; it made dispatching her feel that much less barbaric.

I came to this world with nothing
and i leave with nothing but love
everything else is just borrowed
As time will say, nothing but
I told you so

I did briefly hook one more fish before the day ended. This one would have been returned if landed (I feel guilty enough taking 1 fish, there would be no reason to take another today), but I never got the chance. The 3-day outing ended perfectly, satisfied with well-earned success, in the midst of a snow squall heavy enough to make it near impossible to follow the line with my eyes. It wasn't a banner weekend catching-wise, but it was stellar for the experience.

Memories are times we borrow
for spending tomorrow.

So that's my story for the weekend, barring an interesting episode (no, not the one where the guy in the raft almost ran me over 5' from shore, then proceeded to anchor 50' downstream from me for 15 minutes before pulling up and rowing circles over the prime hole that I was dying to fish before finally, and thankfully, passing out of my sight to harass someone else); as I mentioned above, on day 1, near the end of the day, I finally landed my first...

look closlier...

...and shortly thereafter, second...

look more closlier...
Notice anything weird? Yup, same fish. I couldn't believe it either.
Who ever said brown trout are smart? In his (her?) defense, the first fly it took was a blue-and-orange estaz, and the second, as you can see, was a completely different blue-and-pink estaz.
Once again, who am I to complain?

November 17, 2008

Know Your Role

My role Saturday was getting to the spot, hooking the fish, getting back to shore, and landing it. Brian's role was trying not to fall down, staying off my leader, cutting off the escape route, and snapping photos. Mr. Chrome's role was being dumb and docile enough to make it all possible yet spunky and bright enough to make it that much more enjoyable. A tall order, well performed. And for that I am thankful.

November 14, 2008

Reading the water...

It's a very important skill when fishing. One of the more easily discernable (from the surface) places to likely find fish is along "foam" or "bubble" lines, where current seams trap and hold bubbles formed by turbulent water upstream. How'd you like to fish this foam line?

November 13, 2008

November 12, 2008

"Give a man a sea-kitten...

...and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to sea kitten and he’ll squander his day posting on sea kittening websites."

Oh PeTA, we love you so. Don't forget to read the comments.

November 6, 2008

Pay my respects to grace and virtue

Less than 3 weeks before new Killers. I'm such a homer. I can't get the new single out of my head, so I'll give it to you as well if you haven't heard it.

Baltimore for the weekend. Leaving early tomorrow. It's gonna be weird not standing in the Salmon River at 7 Sunday morning for only the second time in 5 weeks. "Wave goodbye, wish me well."

November 5, 2008

"Banning logging and fishing...

...would be conservation done wrong, because of a lack of vision."

See? Not all environmental advocacy groups are off their rocker.

November 4, 2008

Silly government...

...alcohol is for drinking!

I bet you thought this was gonna be an election-related post.

Gee...who ever would have thought ethanol-as-energy investments would be failing? (free registration req'd for full article, via Ted Williams)

I'll give you a hint...he's got two thumbs....

From the article:

Six of the biggest publicly traded US ethanol producers have lost more than $8.7bn in market value since the peak of the boom in mid-2006....

Ouch...but that's nothing compared to what you've lost....

Investor losses come as taxpayers have paid billions to support the ethanol industry. More than $11.2bn has been spent since 2005 on tax breaks for companies that blend ethanol into petrol. Billions more have been spent on direct state and federal subsidies for US ethanol production.

“We’re looking at an industry that’s cost $80bn to get to this point,” said Bob Starkey, a fuels analyst at Jim Jordan & Associates, a research group in Houston., it's just money. Money that continues to flow from your pocket to a failing industry built on a flawed rationale; one which private investors are running from despite it's massive subsidies. I would hope $80B is the going rate for an invalid fledgling, but something tells me we still have more to pay before people back down.

...ethanol has disappointed many who saw it as a wonder product that could reduce the US’s dependence on foreign oil while cutting down on pollution. Worse, a growing number of influential critics now say ethanol is helping raise the price of food.

Hmmm...where have I seen these issues before...?

And yet, people continue to deny, deny, deny;

“I’d challenge you to find any energy resource today that isn’t dependent on government support,” [Renewable Fuels Association's] Mr [Bob] Dinneen said. “If domestically produced energy is something that you want to have, then some of these subsidies are going to be necessary.”

That just doesn't sound...correct? Google, help me out.

Oil industry subsidies for dummies

The study estimates that the federal government has provided $725 billion in energy subsidies (including R&D funding and tax breaks) over the last 50 years. The biggest beneficiaries? The oil and gas industry. That’s right. Oil and gas got 60% of that $725 billion. Next in line is coal at 13%, followed by hydropower at 11%. Nukes come in at 9%, while renewables got only 6% — just one tenth of the largess showed on oil and gas.

Okay, that's a pretty good start. So, renewables have only been getting 6% ( hydro...ooops, forgot to include that in renewable?)...but keep in mind that is over the past 50 years. The actual study can be found here. Let's take a look at my favorite non-renewable energy (the atom) vs. ethanol, shall we...

From Energy from Thorium;

...most of the so-called research subsidy to the "nuclear industry", was not focused on conventional power reactor technologies. Only $5.8 billion was spent on light-water reactors, the only civilian nuclear technology used to generate power in the United States.

...getting there...

...only 6% ($1.68 Billion) of Federal nuclear research dollars since 1976 have been spent on light-water reactor research, despite the fact that light-water reactors provide 20% of power in the United States.

...I wonder how much ethanol provides. Now, here it comes...

Unlike all other energy sources there has never been a tax-based subsidy for the nuclear industry. In contrast, renewables as well as oil, gas, and other energy forms receive heavy tax subsidies. Most of the cost of hydro construction is paid for by the Federal government with no return to the tax payers. Most energy forms have received more money from the Federal Government than they have paid to it. The one exception is the civilian nuclear industry, which has paid $14 billion more to the Government that it has received.

Oh snap! We've given over $11 billion in never-to-be-seen-again tax breaks just over the last 3 years to companies that mix ethanol into your gas (someone could pay me to pour white lightening into my tank any day, who needs the middle-man?), while nuclear has been paying us back in full...and then some!? What are we? Stupid?

Granted, there's a lot to take into consideration...there is no silver bullet...but there does appear to be more than a hint of promise for a cheap, domestic supply of energy from a current technology, wouldn't you say? Let's hope someone smarter than I has been keeping track of this.

October 31, 2008

Wayyyy Behind...

But, I got stuff to share from the Salmon River...and heading back out there Sunday!

Just no time to do any of that now.

Also...more invasive species news. Doesn't look good. Hopefully my Queen stay's clean...probably won't be long though. Sacandaga's too close.

October 21, 2008

The Day the Music Died...

I'm depressed.

I've spent the past six and a half months living in a fantasy dream world.

Last night, it all came crashing down.

For the first time since I broke out the gear this spring, I actually put all the fishing crap away...because for once, I honestly don't know when I'll make it out again.

It's not away for the year. I hope to make a few trips a month still. But everything just got more complicated. Daylight hours are still waning, Default is closed for the season, and the chill will be turning the bass off if it hasn't already.

Putting the gear away is like sifting through the leftovers of a failed relationship. It just doesn't seem right. This has easily been the best fishing year I've ever experienced. Diverse and successful. Fly fishing trips have seen Adirondack ponds and local lakes, trickle streams and Ontario tribs, and have brought to hand all manner of trout, bass and panfish. Trolling Ontario has brought salmon, steelhead and browns, and we filled the coolers (and our stomachs) with mackerel and bluefish in the outer-banks, not to mention tangling with a few black-tips.

It was a year of firsts, and will hopefully continue to be, as my trusty new 8 wt carries me through the fall and winter steelhead season. I have nothing to complain about, but as I think of my poor rods stuffed into that dark corner, I can't help but be saddened by the fact they linger unused.

The boss is gone...I just may have enough time for a run to a lake I haven't seen since spring. A half hour from now the rod and I will be riding down Rte 66, and the world will have meaning again.

October 14, 2008

The Rundown...

Yeah, yeah, get off my back, I've been busy and I know there are thousands, millions probably, out there clamoring for an update.

Alex took me to the Salmon River a couple weekends ago. It was my first time out there, and it was amazing. I hooked up with a few salmon but didn't land any, and Alex still hasn't sent me the picture of the massive brown I brought to hand, but needless to say, it was a blast. Had such a good time I'm heading back out this weekend with Brian, and hopefully will meet up with a few guys from Fish with a Fly. With any luck, the crowds will be starting to thin out and the browns and steelies will be thick.

Alex fighting a king on his half-century-old glass 7 wt.

Apparently Alex is a little self conscious. Too bad he didn't have the same concern for the poor salmon (notice the torn up jaw; also notice the chartreuse egg inside the fish's mouth - see, they will bite in the rivers).

This past weekend it was time for a little getaway. I always yearn for the Adirondacks, and this would be the last chance to fish many of the ponds (trout season closes on most waters tomorrow). We hit up a not-quite-remote pond a few miles inside the park boundary. Columbus Day Weekend meant crowds, no open leantos, and a particularly obnoxious group across the water from us. But who can complain about the weekend we had? Great temps, gorgeous foliage, and (for once) a few cooperative fish. We didn't catch a lot, but enough to keep a smile on our faces, and even throw a few on the fire.

You probably can't see the little red speck that is Joe wet-wading in front of the point we camped on. You can see the colors of autumn though.

Waders are such flattering attire.

This girl was bigger than she looks. My hands are massive, I swear.

All I can say about this picture is I wish the angle was better. They don't get much prettier than this.

One of the few windless moments of the weekend.

I thought those brookies (my first ever on the fly) would be the last regular-season "trout" of the year. Luckily, I somehow managed up to Default Pool after work today for about a half hour. Once again, I didn't expect much other than to say goodbye for the season.

Is there any question why this is my favorite place to fish? I mean, besides it being literally next to the road, only 8 miles from my door....
Same vantage, downstream....

One final surprise. When I saw the beetle disappear under the water, I figured the size 18 prince nymph was hung-up. It was, on the corner of his mouth.

Who could ask for anything more?

October 2, 2008

To Fish or Tie...

So, my truck was delivered to the my office around 4 pm on Tuesday. Took 'er for a spin, completed the paperwork, shook hands, and was on the Mohawk by 6.

First time out in 2 weeks. Only had about an hour to fish before dark (damn you winter, I know you're coming). Thankfully, as soon as I stepped off the bank, I was hooked up. Managed about 20 smallies with 3 of decent size (12-14"). All on a cone-head natural/tan bunny-strip. Unfortunately, Brian didn't do nearly as well. He threw all his usuals (bug nymphs, buggers), but couldn't buy a fish. I almost felt guilty. (Almost.)

Now I have a dilemma. Heading to the Salmon River Sunday (gonna be a long day...), and should really tie at least something up. Tonight is pretty much my last chance. But...maybe I need to shake the rust off my casting arm....

September 23, 2008

Bear continues to get my Goat

Dear BG,

"You're tacky and I hate you."


OK, hate may be a strong word. I mean, how can I hate a guy who provides countless hours of entertainment as he laughably plays out over-the-top stunts and gives completely incomprehensible and illogical (and often dangerous) advice in his one-man outdoor version of Fear Factor? I suppose so long as we can agree that Man vs. Wild is a shock-comedy moreso than it is a wilderness survival series, than we can agree that it's good TV.

To be completely honest, I love to watch the show. I mean, my survival skills and understanding of nutritional needs are marginal at best, but sitting through an episode of "What Ridiculous Thing Will Bear Do (yes that image is from a MvW staged scene)/Say/Eat Next?" makes me feel like an authority on the subject. For example...

Monday night was my first opportunity to view the Louisiana episode (originally aired 8/27/08). Although I did miss the first few minutes, I have to say, I wasn't even sure at first that it was a new episode. I mean, how many times can you do a show about southeastern US coastal swamps without rehashing the same subjects?

First of all, we have learned that Bear loooooves protein. You might say he likes it more than your average man. Perhaps he sometimes forgets that bears (little b) are omnivores as well. Or maybe he just has an unnatural...well, we won't go there, he's a married fellow. What's my point? Well, lets take his selection of an alligator for his meal. Simply from an energy standpoint, probably not the best choice. Bear correctly ruminates on the lean, high-protein qualities of alligator (along the lines of chicken or fish...but not quite either or both). Excellent news if your priority is keeping your slim figure and muscle tone. Of course, if you're trying to fuel yourself out of a dangerous situation...well, carbs and fat are a good thing. Both are converted to energy much more quickly and at much less cost than meat. And generally speaking, carbs are easier to find. But hey, lets not bust him up too bad. If you're hungry and you got a shot at a 6' gator, you should take it, right? The equation is simple, Bear>Alligator. Everyone knows that. What could possibly go wrong if, lost alone in the swamp, you choose to fight an alligator that's relatively the same size as you, only much stronger, quicker and has more dangerous weaponry? Not to mention the fact that Bear states outright that once he had become engaged with the gator, there was no backing down. Yes, much safer to jump on his back and really piss him off rather than carefully move away and let him continue to be slightly irritated.

Well, I guess he did end up getting a lot in return for his risk. Probably could have pulled 40 lbs of meat off that gator if he wanted. What he would have done with it...who knows. Risk life and limb and kill 150 lb gator for a pound of gator meat and some "cordage." Yup. Smart.

Of course, even if you think wrestling a gator for some meat is a good idea, it's tough to support his next foraging attempt. Noodling? As a survival technique? Are you kidding me? All episode he's been playing up the dangers of these gator-infested swamps (which failed to deter him from tangling with one). And yet, he decides to feel around below-water tree cavities that he can't see, all the while commenting on the dangers of snapping turtles, snakes (which he later antagonizes in an old shack), and the "tooth-filled mouths" of the catfish themselves. He was afraid he might scratch himself on a nail while preparing his raft (in itself, another issue) and open himself to infection, but has no qualms about potentially losing a finger, hand, or worse in search of yet another protein-rich meal.

Listen, I'm not here to badmouth noodling. For some people it's a passion, and worth the risk. Fine. But if you're talking about survival, you live by the standard code of not making things worse. Nobody in their right mind would go blind-noodling in a survival situation.

Of course, it wouldn't be an episode of MvW if Bear didn't get an opportunity to urinate either on- or into-himself. Naturally, he gets stung by the catfish, and claiming to feel the effects of the venom, he goes with the sure-fire cure-all...whiz. Assuming the prick did prick the Prick, and said Prick did feel the sting of the venom (not just the pain associated with a prick, er, puncture wound...), how is whipping out his prick going to benefit anyone other than Mrs. Prick?

I know what you're thinking. Pee works for jellyfish stings, of course it works for catfish.

I'll let you in on a little secret. It doesn't. When a jelly stings you, it actually leaves lots (technical term) of little injectors (another technical term) that may or may not immediately bombard your skin with toxin. In fact, sometimes the jelly is already gone before you ever feel it. And, sometimes it may take minutes...even tens of minutes...for all the "injectors" to "fire." The ammonia in your urine does not alleviate the effects of the toxin. And even if it did disrupts any "unfired injectors" from firing, thereby saving you additional pain from a jelly sting, believe it or not, catfish venom, when present, is not particularly similar to jelly venom in either makeup or method of delivery. Pissing on a puncture wound might work better than washing it in swamp water in terms of preventing infection, but it is not going to take the sting out.

Oh yeah...and that was not a 20 lb fish. I'm calling bullshit.

His attempt at a raft...also laughable and equally pointless. At least he decided to abandon it rather than pretend like he really could construct a seaworthy craft. Enough on that.

Ahhh...then there's the loft he builds. Let's start with the gator-skin lashing. My first thought was..."that's gross...won't it attract bugs and animals?" Then he grabbed the Spanish moss, stating outright that as long as you pull it directly off the tree, it will be free of pests. There's no way in hell I'm about to believe this statement. First of all, what makes hanging moss any less attractive to pests than moss sitting on the ground? Pests can't inhabit or climb trees? Well, obviously they can. And on top of that, he directly contradicts the advice given by either himself in the Everglades episode or by Survivorman's Les Stroud (not sure which, but I remember one of them saying it; if BG is gonna have a survival show, he should at least pay enough attention to the competition to not make an ass of himself...I'm sorry, as much of an ass of himself). There are too many conflicting statements on whether hanging Spanish moss really does harbor pests for me to sort it out, but why take a chance? (USDA says it does...that's good enough for me) I hope he went back to the hotel room infested.

Well, maybe I'm being a little too hard on the ol' Bear. Come to think of it, the alligator and catfish meals must have been the right choice. I mean, at the end of the episode, after battling the elements, wildlife, floating deathtrap swamps, exhausting bog grasses, rivers and his own lack of smarts, he still had enough energy to monkey-climb around the rigging of a "deposited" shrimping boat and effortlessly Tarzan back to earth from a rope pulley.

Here's to you Bear Grylls. I sincerely hope you can manage to continue outdoing yourself with ridiculous stunts in the name of "survival."

September 22, 2008

Allergic... my office?

Maybe it's just the withdrawal from spending the entire weekend outside. Maybe it's just the fact that summer has indeed ended. Maybe it's the mish-mash of papers strewn across my desk, mocking me. Maybe it's all the organic/health food I've been eating recently.

I can't stop sneezing and my eyes are itchy.

Maybe I just want to go home.

Weekend Roundup:

Irish 2000 Fest at Altamont Fairgrounds - Why is 2000 still in the name? Anyway, spent a couple hours Friday night. The Guinness was delicious. Tossers actually showed up on time and, though the set was still short, rocked pretty well (better than last year's disappointment anyway).

Chowder Fest along Troy's Riverfront - A little warm for chowder sampling Saturday, but at least it wasn't August. What was with the country music though?

Sleeping Beauty - Rounded out the weekend by saying my final goodbyes to summer with a little hike. It certainly felt like fall. More on the trip later.

September 18, 2008

Ax Men Axing Salmon

Once upon a time I thought clearcutting had pretty much been abandoned. Maybe that's because, as early as elementary school, we were told all about the history of our local Adirondack Park. The potential impacts of stripping vegetation from forested hillsides and mountains was ingrained at an early age. At the age of 10 I had no reason not to assume that the rest of the country operated responsibly managed forestry industries. Then I saw the History Channel's Ax Men for the first time. Hard to believe that I had made it so far through my life without ever questioning my naive assumption. It's always enlightening to see the raping of our natural wonders glorified in HDTV.

Bacon's got some images of an otherwise picturesque landscape over at BWTF. The viewshed is the least of many issues related to clearcutting (and other irresponsible forestry practices). Who would have thought increasing the potential for erosion and landslides could ever possibly harm a species on the brink?

We present this as a reminder of the private, extraction industry’s intent on bending over a commonwealth public resource while that same public sits fat and complacent in front of their glowing 78″ flat-screen, putting their temporary pacification-disguised-as-comfort above our future generations’ right to walk their State Lands among big trees, drink clean water and fish over native fish.

It's important to point out our own role in this as poor citizens and stewards. Another thing I learned in elm. school was that, along with all it's privileges, American citizenship carries some hefty responsibilities. At the very least, we can educate ourselves about the impacts of what we are watching on that flat-screen.

And while I can't completely join in Bacon's sentiment of extractive industries as the evil empire, I will repeat the saying..."If you give them an inch...." Remember, it's our (and our legislators' and regulators') job to keep them in check.

September 17, 2008

Motivation Renewed

According to some, I'm not a morning person. But, if it means free breakfast and coffee with a pretty smile, I'll get myself out of bed at just about whenever I need to. If it's just to get to the office on time, trust me, I ain't rushin' (I love my job, but not more than the snooze button). It's a problem of motivation. (is this really the best clip youtube has to offer?)

Likewise, it's been tough to prioritize fishing lately, what with the weather, car shopping, intermittent lack of transportation...and general laziness. Last night I finally had (just barely) enough time (and sense) to make it back to default pool for the first time in weeks...months...and was rewarded.

Honestly, I didn't expect much. I just needed to get out, and had about an hour before it would get dark. As much as anything, I wanted to see the condition of the stream and, just maybe, spot a few fish that had made it through the summer.

I took about 10 minutes (an eternity for me) to just watch the pool before I decided to do anything. The water was perfect; that slight amber stain, flowing well above summer lows and well below spring highs. Still, fishing a dry would be tough; at this level, the currents are quite complex and it's tough to get a good drift for more than a foot. Not that it really mattered, because nothing was hatching or falling. There was the ever-present swarm of gnats over the bank, and one dragon still holding onto summer. No mayflies, stones or caddis to be sure. Even the waterbugs seemed to have disappeared from the surface.

I could see some chubs feeding along the edges of the rocks and under the 2 half-sunken trees. Nothing with the appearance of a trout. Out of the corner of my eye I could have sworn I saw a small boil, but even if it wasn't just the current, it was likely to be just another chub.

The decision to dredge was easy. Current and color were perfect for nymphing or even swinging streamers. There was no surface activity worth pursuing. And my 5/6 would let me high-stick something meaty in close before flipping it further out.

Of course, I don't like easy decisions, so I broke out the 3 wt and the dries. Just to make it a little more challenging, I tied on a fly I've never caught a fish on. Now, elk-hair caddis are deadly. I've heard others make this proclamation. I've seen others catch trout on them. I've even been hit on them regularly. But never so much as a chub or sunfish to hand with them.

It took a while to get the feel of the 3 wt back. With 10, 20, 30, 40 feet of line continued to feel like a toothpick after months of throwing a WF6F with heavily weighted, bushy flies on a poorly balanced outfit. Her action is still smooth as butter though. She needs a name.

I honestly didn't think I'd turn a trout. I had a few hits at the head of the pool, but most were obvious chubs. There was one splashy rise that I took to be a potential trout, but we just couldn't get on the same page so I headed the ten yards to the pocket-riffle above the pool. Here, casting cross-current, max (dragless) drift is about four inches. More often, it's zero. And cross-current is pretty much the only option.

And then, the gods smiled.

15 feet out, tucked behind a rock, between two strong flows, a little jewel must have been waiting for me. I've never seen a six inch fish make such a large splash. I immediately tried to get her on the reel simply to avoid tangles, but even in the current I couldn't get the fish to pull out the additional 3 feet of line. As I brought her to the bank, I knew right away she had to be wild. Born and raised very near where I stood. She was certainly too small to be a spring stocker. To my knowledge they didn't stock here in the fall. And the colors...oh the colors. She was so dark on the back that I at first pondered if she wasn't indeed a native.

In hand though, it was clear she was just a baby brown. A baby, wild brown. In a heavily stocked, chub-infested, recently polluted-with-sediment section of (overfished?) stream. Beautiful parr markings and spotting. Completely intact, long, membranous fins with white edging. Not a single scar on her, save the one I just put in her mouth. I fumbled for my phone to snap a quick photo, but realized she was hooked a little deeper than I would have liked. Remedying that and returning her safely took a much higher priority. Hey, I appreciate anybody that reads this, but knowing she is there is worth a lot more to me than sharing her with you. ('s an approximation...first photo...mine was prettier)

And that was it. I watched the water a bit longer before returning to the car. An unexpected wild trout is hard to beat, and I didn't feel like trying to. 1 fly, 1 hour, 1 fish...and a whole lot of motivation.

September 16, 2008

News of the day...

This just real news on BPA.

Another inconclusive epidemiology study for everyone to get excited about.

But the results do not establish a causal link between BPA and disease, and the study design does not allow researchers to determine which came first: higher exposure to BPA or illness. "I think our study definitely puts a scientific question mark over this compound," says epidemiologist David Melzer of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, who led the research. "Still, this is the first study. It has to be repeated."

Oh, there wasn't already a question about BPA's influence on human health? I guess at least they're continuing to study it, but does anyone else get tired of sensationalized reporting of minimal findings? Maybe I'm just feeling grumpy cause I haven't been fishing in...?

A bio-energy I can support.

Genetic engineering is amazing, isn't it?

Scientists at San Diego–based Genomatica, Inc., have announced success in manipulating the bacteria to directly produce butanediol (BDO), a chemical compound used to make everything from spandex to car bumpers, thereby providing a more energy efficient way of making it without oil or natural gas.

Ok, it's a little scary...they actually state that they had to make e. coli more resilient in order for the process to work. Hopefully they're not playing with fire here. But in general, it's a cool idea; particularly since it seems virtually ready for market.

"This isn't an aberration where we need $250 per barrel oil to be cost competitive," Gann adds. He says the researchers so far have produced less than two pounds (a kilogram) of BDO; he expects a pilot plant to be up and running next year.

As everybody knows, "it's the economy, stupid," and "every little bit counts," so this is exactly the type of development that we should be aiming for; simultaneous reductions in cost and ecological impact. Just keep an eye on your septic, you don't want it filling up with Speedos just because you let a few of these guys loose.

One more thing then...

Our national parks just might not all be trampled by snowmobile traffic. Hey, I got nothing against snowmobiles and ATVs...I just don't believe they belong everywhere.

September 15, 2008

This Just In - We're Still Killing Fish

Well, it's certainly no surprise to hear that more freshwater species of fish are in more danger now than were 20 years ago...but the numbers are no less disturbing.

September 11, 2008

Educate the youth

This would be funny...if it weren't so fucking lame.

The good thing is they're maybe they have time to recognize the flaws in their technique. Then again, it leaves many years remaining if they don't convert.

While you're there, check out the rest of JD's page. He mixes up hardware with the occasional bait or fly, and has good advice on all 3. Big time promoter of protecting the west coast's wild salmon as well.

September 10, 2008

Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed the World Yet?

Well, has it?

Thanks for the update Pat.


2 Evenings

1 River

4 Locations

12 Flies

100's Spotted

0 Landed

That's my story for Monday and Tuesday.

Sometimes exploring new territory can be frustrating. Especially when fish are immediately spotted but refuse to cooperate. The Mohawk has still been my venue this week. I had actually hoped (wished) to fish above just the falls, but couldn't quite seem to find access down there. So I worked some other areas.

Managed to hook up with one 6" smallie at stop 1. Of course, I couldn't even keep him on the line. But, the area looks to have potential for future visits. Saw some bubbles from what could turn out to be feeding carp.

Stop 2 looked to hold much more promise. Massive carp rooting, rolling and splashing everywhere. I threw everything I had in every direction I could, hoping that if they weren't interested, at least I could entice a largemouth out of the weeds. All I ended up with was a 3 second struggle with a 4" pumpkinseed.

Stop 3 was a little change of pace. It essentially comprises a small spillway around one of the locks. When I say small, I mean more than 15' across at most spots, and running for only about 150 yards in length. But it looked like perfect small stream smallie water when I stopped by Monday night. Tuesday however, after the rains, it was raging a little harder. Still, as I approached the head of the run from the concrete wall, I thought I saw tailing fish. Big ones. Black tails. Either these were gigantic smallies or random trash that had gotten sucked down the chute. Then one rolled. Drum. BIG drum. 10 lbs + big drum. And I could see about 10 from where I was standing, all holding in the current, tails high. I tried some buggers. I tried some bunnies. That was all I could really get down to them with the currents pushing hard. Nobody was interested. Then, I felt some weight. I was hooked up! The weight gave some and I saw why they weren't interested in my offerings. I pulled up a solid 3" square chunk of mussels. These things must be covering the bottom here. I gave up for the time being and tried swinging bunnies downstream for some smallies, but to no avail.

Stop 4 was actually what you might consider the "tailout" of the spillway run, when it re-enters the main canal. Water looked good. Good sized bass were taking things off the surface, along with some panfish. But once again, I couldn't find the key.

Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least I found some promising territory.

Unfortunately, nothing I do has been able to get this dish out of my head this week. This is the second morning in a row I woke up smelling it, only to be disappointed. Curse you FOTL!

September 8, 2008

Him wants fishes.

Haven't been out in forever (over a week is forever). It's tougher when you have no car. Planned to scout/scare up some local trout early on Saturday but Miss one-h-Hanna had other ideas. Now I'm jonesing. If I don't make it out this afternoon there's no telling what I'm capable of.

September 5, 2008

Looking for something to do?

I'm an EMS homer. I'm not ashamed. I love them. Don't gimme any of this REI bullshit. All I ever see in their catalog/fliers (which I never asked for, thank you) is overpriced gadgetry. Bean is good, even great. But when it comes to the shit you need at a price you can afford, EMS is my people.

OK, enough with the free advertisement, GoBlog tipped me off to EMS's new outdoor activity/planning site, mntnLIFE. Looks pretty cool so far. Essentially a collection of trips/trails for 9 different categories (under 3 subheadings...water, earth and snow...insert crack about using water twice).

Check out New York's hiking trails. Pretty expansive for only a couple weeks. Not so sure about the difficulty ratings just yet (Pharaoh Lake and Black Mt get the same rating as Dix, Algonquin, etc.?), but it's another resource, and it's got the potential.

Couple others I use...well...occasionally...

Summit Post - GREAT site. Gives area background, trail descriptions, often photos, maps, profiles, etc. Just for hiking though.

Views from the Top - I actually haven't used this site since they re-formatted (hey, I said occasionally). It basically lists reports and trail conditions for the Northeast, now in a forum (previously, literally, in a list of most-recently-posted).


September 4, 2008

What? What? You got somethin' to say?

Bring it! He don't give a f--...


Hungry fella?

In case you were wondering what he started with.

This falls under the "Things Occasionally Seen Just Outside the Office Window" category. This guy likes to hang around the office complex and watch for injured or dead ducks and geese...I'm dying to see him take a carp out of the pond. (above photos courtesy of Tim Massie)

Here's one from a similar incident in the not too distant past...apparently it was a blustery day...yes, that's carnage behind him through the whole courtyard.

We don't take kindly to folks that don't take kindly 'round here!

Palin, Pebble, Potato Salad (Potato Salad?)

Hamburgers, hamburgers, hamburgers...(yeah...I don't know...I'm tired).

These just links, no time writey.

Tom Chandler on Palin and Pebble.

Murdock on Pebble and the community (and big bows), live (though sick) from AK.

Ballot Measure 4 text.

September 2, 2008

Are you havin a laugh?

The great wide virtual world brings you the (hopefully intentional) comedy of Emo Guide Service.


via moldychum

This is what happens...

Or when you drink and drive. And then flee the scene. Young lady, I hope you learned your lesson.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, it may very well be the end of the "Grandma's Car" era...damn. She's served me so well. And even with all that damage to the trunk, only one of 5 rods came out broken (spinning rod, not too upset).
Notice the jeep in the background...little miss DWI actually hit that car, and propelled it into mine...while on an uphill slope, in the vicinity of a stoplight, in a 30 mph zone. People, don't be stupid, don't drink and drive. She was real lucky she only totaled 3 cars and not someone's life.
Me, I'm pumped. I've got a big mediocre insurance check headed my way, and I've already dedicated a portion of said funds for a new spey outfit. Maybe I will have a shot at the salmon river this fall. Definitely steelheading in the winter. Happy happy joy joy. replace a car...
On a fishing note, headed to Oswego again Saturday (after no sleep again Friday night...I must be some sort of dynamo). Thankfully, Joe drove. Incredibly, Pat joined us. Fishing was a little slow, but it was a hell of an experience. Pat puked...multiple times. But we had a blast. 3 salmon and a lonely brown in the morning, 3 more salmon in the evening. And then Joe took the suicide run back to Troy. Amazing that guy. Drive from 2:30 am to 5:30 am; fish from 6 am to 12 pm; eat, drive and mini-nap from 1 pm to 3 pm; fish from 4 pm to 8 pm; drive from 9 pm to 12 am. At least he got some sleep Friday night.
Not only that, but we got our good-deed in for the weekend...towed in a family who had a breakdown about a mile plus from port. It's good to be somebodies hero.
On a personal note, Congrats to Dave & Megan! (Finally) got engaged. Had a chance to celebrate a bit with them Saturday, Sunday morning. Finally got to bed at 4 am Sunday.
And of course, what would a holiday weekend be without a little smallie action? Hit the Hudson for a couple hours yesterday with Nate and Brian. Couldn't get anything from shore (save a couple chubs) so we trolled a bit and picked up 7 or so bass...all around or under 12"...a very relaxing trip.
So that's it. It's Tuesday and I'm back at work. Had a full weekend. Now I have some shopping to do.

August 27, 2008

Eating responsibly...I'm for it!

How do you feel about frilly toothpicks?

I try to eat with health, ecology and (personal) economics in mind. I do. I swear. I'm just not very good at it.

Alright, I'm just flat out lazy.

But I can appreciate articles like this one from Sustainablog. They're good peeps, even if some of them do run a (even for me). I think one thing that many people miss when it comes to living a "greener" life, even if they do get the importance of it, is the simplicity of the thousands of everyday decisions you make, and their impact. That's where I think Sustainablog is strong, giving us simple (well, sometimes not so simple) measures that we have control over.

So back to food. Listen, I agree with JVK here that the key is to eat simply. Of course, I'll still resort to occasional fast-food and other prepped items. And who can live without the aged prime ribeye splurge every once in a while. Some of the points he makes are right on. Some do strike me as a little...misconstrued(?)...though.

"Choose organic. Although an organic label does not guarantee good farming or business practices by the company/producer, you can at least be sure that an organic product will have required less chemicals and toxins in order to go from field to table. Besides reducing pollution going into the biosphere, you also reduce pollution going into yourself with organic foods."

OK. In many instances, organic is probably better, especially if you're worried about hormones in your meat and dairy. Just be careful, as with anything, generalities can be deceiving. For example, "organic" pesticides might pack a little more punch than you expect. And just because it's organic does not mean it is not energy intensive. Besides, let's not forget that the "organic" label just confuses the issue with some foods (such as fish, which can only be certified organic if raised in a farm, being fed a strictly controlled, manufactured diet, and usually still receiving high doses of anti-biotic and anti-parasitic medications; thanks, but I'll pass).

"Buy local. Shipping foods across vast distances has tremendous costs for the environment–from fuels required by the vehicles (typically refrigerated) to pollution. You may love strawberries in January, but if you live in New York, they just are not sustainable! Buying local goods reduces the miles your food has to travel, plus it supports the local economy. Or if you cannot find local products, then at least try to choose domestic over imported–say, an apple from Washington instead of New Zealand."

Indeed. Buy local. Except when you shouldn't. This one can be really tricky. In general, the more local the better, so it's a pretty safe "rule" to go by. But you have to be careful. Subsidies, growing seasons, other climate and ecosystem influences can convolute an otherwise straightforward idea, depending on where you live and what you want. Sometimes (often?) imported goods carry a lighter carbon footprint (a term I hate and appreciate at the same time) than locally grown equivalents. Additionally, we may be entering a time of global food crisis...we may simply have no choice but to grow what grows where it grows and send it elsewhere. Hey, I'm a fan of buying in-season, local goods, but make sure you know what you're getting when you do.

His other suggestions, going vegetarian/vegan (or at least, more so), alternative foods, grow and prepare your own food, I like them all. Hey, it's a good discussion. One thing I would have liked to have seen is putting insects on the map...seriously. Honestly though, I found Lisa K's post about stealing the fruits of your neighbor's labor more practical, but hey.

Then there was this...

"Give thanks. Whether you say “grace” or simply pause to reflect on the things that make possible your act of eating, taking a moment to thank the Earth and its collaborators for the food nourishing you is a great way to cultivate respect for the planet and make eating holistically healthier. Food is a blessing, and blessing your food only increases your mindfulness of how all life is interconnected and interdependent."

Uhhh...whaaa? Well, whatever floats your boat.

Eating economically is easy. Eating healthy, safe and green is hard. It does take homework. There are no hardfast rules...yet...but there are plenty of resources out there. So take everything on a case by case basis. And don't be afraid to break your own rules once in a while. And in the case of food, you'll never get everything right...there is no do, only try.

August 26, 2008

Suicide Runs

Sometimes there are fish to be caught, and that's all that matters. So this past weekend meant a trip out to Lake Ontario to hang some hardware in the Fair Haven Challenge salmon derby. Unfortunately for me, that meant I had to be at the Oswego launch for a 5:30 am departure Saturday. Thankfully I didn't have any trouble getting some sleep in before my 3 hour drive...that is to say, I did not attempt any sleep.

Started Friday off with a nice, fully organic breakfast sandwich and coffee. Got out of work in time to head up the Hudson a-ways with Brian for some smallie action (lost a magnificent fly to the biggest bass I've had on a fly...barely had the hook set, turned to see if Brian was watching my skillful maneuvering...and it was suddenly over. now I don't have any olive bunny strips.). Headed home early (about 8 pm) for some food and a shower, a couple beers, one scotch, and some Always Sunny. A quick workout to get the blood flowing, re-upped the iPod with the Gnarles CD I've been forgetting to load since I bought it the day it came out, and hit the road.

At the dock by 5:30; lines in by 6. 4 salmon (24, 17, 17 and 15 lbs each), one laker (21", released) and one missed fish. Weigh-in at 3, placed 5 out of 73, made enough back to cover expenses (a free day of fishing beats a free day of sitting around), back to Oswego to get the fish cleaned (Chuck is a master) and batten down the hatches. In bed by 7 pm.

Awake again at 4:30 am. LET'S DO IT AGAIN! Sunday was a little rougher somehow. The water started out rougher, but that wasn't the issue. The kicker motor was acting up, we weren't catching much (ended up with 2 20+ lb'ers, still good), and by 11 am, the wind was dead and the sun was blazing. Still...better on the water than the sofa. 6 hours of driving, 14 hours of fishing, 10 hours of sleep in 3 days. It was a good if we can get rid of some of this fish....

After this, wasn't sure we'd be trolling again...ever...(this is what happens to suicide-runners)
Alas, here we were. I love this view. Every time I see it. Something about duality. Some day I'll actually get a good picture of it.
The Cap'n with Saturday's catch. Trust me, those fish are bigger than he makes them look.

August 24, 2008

I wasn't gonna...

...but then I read Part II.

Kamchatka...heard of it? Doesn't matter, you have to read far Page 38 is my favorite... have to.

August 21, 2008

Some, some, some I, some I murder; some I-some I let go

That'll be the story (hopefully) this weekend. Generally C&R all the time (99% of the time, all the time), this trip the big boys stay in the cooler. When you feel a need for suspected carcinogens and bioaccumulated inesctisides, you head for the fish with "lethal poison through their system." Granted, Great Lakes salmon are relatively clean by modern, local standards...I guess...
So, now that John's boat is repaired, I'm playing 1st mate for the derbies this weekend. Hopefully we can sign up at least one other person...never been so hard to find people to go...not sure if it's because of Travers or...well...what happened last time (if I can find the pic, I'll show you).

Yeah, I'd rather be standing in the river with a brand new spey package (anyone...anyone...? hey, I'll take used, not picky) but this will do for now...cant let a guy down.
No one on the corner has swagger like us. (Why is this song stuck in my head for 3 straight weeks? Thanks Nate.)

This is just a baby compared to what we want this weekend.

Alternative salmon?

I was always told this stuff isn't edible...I guess $30/lb for the more traditional counterpart is making it look much more appetizing. Hey, the pros are doing it, it must be worth a shot.

August 20, 2008

Why? Why would you do this to me? Playing me like a drum...

Note the left-most section of the that necessary?

August 19, 2008

You're beautiful...I miss you.

It just occurred to me I haven't caught (or even targeted) a rainbow yet this year (at least not with the fly).

What is wrong with me?

Even this absolutely horrible picture of a 10-11" baby (my hands are big) from Vermont last fall shows her beauty. Gotta gets me sum dat.

Can you spot what's wrong with this quote?

"Over half of the world's native plants require animal pollinators, and most of those are bees," she says. "Native pollinators are serving as a backup plan for the honeybee."

Now, I take issue with the article itself to a certain extent; the title alone is sensationalist (Saving Our Bees: Implications of Habitat Loss) considering the bee populations that are undergoing significant declines in recent years are generally "domesticated" honeybees.

What have they found so far to correlate to these declines?

During the course of the summer months, they found that the further a colony was from natural areas, the fewer worker bees it sustained. shit? Nature is better at providing for animals than man? Interesting.

Their point is that "domesticated" honeybee populations that are isolated from wild(er) environs in favor of seasoned crops often fare poorly due to growing season issues and potentially lack of diversity. I get it...but what does this have to do with our native bees...unless we end up farming the entire land surface?

Back to the original quote.

To start with...what exactly qualifies a plant as one "of the world's native..."? The fact that it exists? To my knowledge, we do not have any earth non-native plants here...could be wrong though.

OK, so that's a little comical and irrelevant. The real issue is that these researchers (or, at least the media portrayals of them) are still looking at this from the wrong angle. Yes, some bee populations are crashing. Yes, it sucks. But the fact is, for the most part, they are non-native livestock. The sad thing is, the natives are being addressed only as "a backup plan," or "insurance." Um, excuse me, miss, you do realize that those "native plants" are best served by the animals they evolved with, correct? Shouldn't the beekeeper's crops be considered the backup in this regard?

Hey, it's nothing new, imported and potentially destructive species favored over natives. "Mustangs," livestock, illegal/invasive fish stockings, dam issues, birds, more incidents than you can count. It's just what we do. We fuck things up.

The point? I don't know. Maybe it's if somebody doesn't start thinking about these things from the native, natural side first, we're going to end up working our magic on the entire, flawless, natural world that surrounds us until it is completely sterile.

(both articles via Ted Williams)

Don't be an a-hole... barbless.

Badass movie, badass tie...

...if purple can be badass. I submit that it can. Especially in capable hands.

Unforgiven by Shaq

August 18, 2008

Pennsylvanians love their bread...apparently...

Seriously? You've got to be kidding me. This is the most controversial thing you have to fight about? (via Ted Williams)

Here's a kind of an open-ended question...what percentage of high-public-use areas that sustain wild- (or pseudo-wild-) life that you have visited display signs about not feeding the wildlife? There's a reason they're everywhere, it isn't just to rain on your parade.

In this case, the authority in question even accounted for the emotionally defended and entrenched practice of feeding garbage to garbage-fish by providing for a cleaner, and supposedly healthier alternative. OK, so they're going to be making the money off of it instead of the bakeries and local stores. OK, so you might only get a couple handfuls of pellets for the same price as a loaf of bread. OK, so you lose out on decades (decades? are we serious people? decades? fine, the 30's...that's almost 80 years, i can respect that) of tradition.

I will completely agree with you that these are all extremely important and equally terrible and destructive issues if you will agree with me that you are all morons. Seriously...why are you even fighting this...the fish will be there...the ducks will be can still feed them...suddenly all the 300k tourists are going to stop coming because the fish food costs twice as much per pound as the bread? Grow up people.

Mining is a dangerous issue to debate.

This is a bit old but I forgot to finish it last week...ooops...

BWTF picks up on a NYT editorial on the need for mining law reform.

On some level (the main level), it's a no-brainer. When it comes to mining, and the bill mentioned in the editorial, there are three major issues of concern:

1) Environmental and safety risks associated with mine development and operation.

2) Environmental and safety risks associated with abandoned mines.

3) Royalty payments as a method of "insurance" and/or revenue.

I work extensively with the mining industry in New York State (hopefully this post doesn't come back to bite shouldn't, but I do feel a little uncomfortable), and I find it incredible that other states have not taken the initiative to address these issues directly. I realize I'm a little close to the issue, but in my opinion, New York State's Mined Land Reclamation Law, and it's application by NYSDEC, does an excellent job of addressing environmental and public safety concerns.

The specific concern cited in the editorial, the dangers of abandoned mines, is spelled out right in NYS's program...Mined Land Reclamation. The entire program is built on the foundation that the site will be reclaimed for a future use, consistent with the surrounding area (anything from a field or lake to a golf course to industrial parks). In addition to all the environmental permitting hoops (including public comment periods, stormwater and process water planning, spill controls and procedures, blasting, etc., etc.), mining applicants in New York State must provide a reclamation plan (for approval by NYSDEC) and a financial surety that is held as bond to ensure reclamation, and in the event that reclamation is not completed to NYSDEC standards (ie the approved reclamation plan), is used to complete reclamation objectives.

What should happen (if you ask me) is a re-vamping of the federal regulations (or at least some guidelines for states to implement) that addresses these issues. Storm water and pollutant discharges have been addressed by EPA and are administered (at least in NY, I assume elsewhere) by state regulators. A similar system might work for mining. Hell, if they want, they can hire us to write it for them.

The issue that I think should be separated from the debate is mineral royalties. I personally think they are an inappropriate measure to ensure reclamation. I think ours (NYS MLRL) is a better system for that. However, royalties definitely have a role. Regardless of mineral, the landowner should maintain a share of the profits from material taken from their land. But, once environmental and health issues have been addressed, royalties should be an economic factor only. Hey, this is America people.

August 17, 2008

If it swells...ride it

One of my all-time favorite t-shit logos...even if it is immature (so is Dave...and it's his shirt).

Anyway, life is good, this weekend was awesome, and I'm just gonna ride that wave.

Disclaimer: I don't really get people who blog about their personal life, and at times that's where I've been lately, and this is no exception, so just bear with me people.

Reminds me of another favorite shirt..."Awkward mornings always beat a boring night."

Work was pretty stressful this week, so to relieve some of that Thursday, met up with Brian to hit Alive@5 in wasn't great but met some cool people and had a really good time...someone (not naming names) had a "better" time...

Friday, hung out at home, met some more cool people, had an amazing night.

Saturday, did some more hanging out with said cool people, hit a new (to me) spot on the Hudson with Brian, caught a bunch of smallish and one decent smallmouth, had an all-around great day.

Today, caught up on some sleep, got some cleaning done, had a relaxing day.

Hey, it's my blog, I'll write what I want.

No, I didn't make it out to the alarm went off at 5:30 this morning...then when it went off again at 6:30 I decided I just didn't have it in me. Hey, you can't have it all.

Life is good, and I'm just riding the wave right now.