April 30, 2008

HUGE BREAKTHROUGH IN BIOFUELS VS FOOD DEBATE!

From your local hometown paper, Construction permits granted for proposed biofuel plant in Hampton .

I knew this was in the works (even got a friend who plans (planned?) on capitalizing on a new farming opportunity), but still, my first thought was, "oh great, more focus on replacing food and feed cropland with fuel cropland...when will people catch on?" (via Ted Williams)

Fine, I realize that Washington County is not what it once was when it comes to agriculture...sure it's still prevalent, but it has been in significant decline over the past decades. That's about when I got to this part;

"The crops would be grown in the spring and fall seasons so vegetables for human and animal consumption wouldn’t have to compete for space, he said."

Alright...I'm no farmer, granted, but I'm pretty sure that's not how it works. Since when do we have 3 growing seasons in Upstate New York and Vermont? If somebody can set me straight on this, please do. Of course, you can tell there is no leap in logic there from his next sentence;

"'This addresses that food versus fuel debate,' Fox said."

Oh, ok, as long as you put it that way, I'm satisfied.

Hey, I'm not saying one way or another on whether this plant will be a good thing (for the area or in general), I can't; I haven't done the research and I just don't know. I don't even have a problem with bio-fuels per se, but sooner or later the people making the big decisions have to realize that, even if there is some magic, fantastical silver bullett somewhere to solve (or even slightly improve) our energy and emissions problems simultaneously, bio-fuels are most decidedly not it. I'm just saying the way the bio-fuels vs. food debate was "addressed" had me in stitches.

April 29, 2008

All work and personal stress makes me a dull boy...

But THIS brightened up my day, that's for sure!

Big fish matched to one of the best songs by one of the best bands ever...even on 3 hours sleep Knights of Diversity has me pumped for whatever comes my way. Although, I gotta admit, I was kinda hoping for some lazer-wielding ninja-cowboys.

April 28, 2008

Insanity...

...repeating the same behavior and expecting different results.

That fairly well sums up where I'm at right now. Although, despite everything, I still feel I have my sanity (wait, that's another sign...), so I guess maybe it's just stupidity. How many times can you take something (say, someones words and actions) on face value, only to have it later turned upside down, before you yourself become a lost cause?

My apologies. Then again, what would this be without struggles? Like the struggle to find time to actually complete a report on the trip from 2 weekends ago?

Phuk it, it's 1:00 and raining...I'm going for a fishing break. At least you can always tell how the fish feel about what you have to offer.

April 23, 2008

What to do...?

Weather is amazing, and I just dont know what to do about it. There is one obvious answer...go fishing. The question is what for and where? I need a trout fix. Water conditions seem to be excellent around here, but I'm just not seeing them in their usual spot. So far I've been catching lots of bass and sunfish...can't complain, but I've been dying for trout for months now. Maybe tonight I hit the lake with everything I got and hope trout are in the mix...or maybe I head to a different stream and risk another skunk. A fishless day and a half in the wilderness was not what I was hoping for this past weekend (and has simply increased the thirst), but as you can see, we had our fun.

IMAG0052

More to come on that, but for now it's work and play...no time for internet.

April 16, 2008

My hands smell like fish, and it's nice

First, get your head out of the gutter.

Now that we got that out of the way, first fish-on-the-fly of '08 came today. The skunk is off...kinda....

OK, so I cheated. The trout aren't where I want them to be, and I haven't had time to go exploring. OK, so I had time to go exploring last weekend but was far too lazy. By no means have I given up on them, but it was time to find some easy fish. And man were they easy.

This week I've been scoping out potential lunch-time trip locations. Not fishing, just looking. Of 4 options within 5 miles of the office, 2 were a bust, 2 showed potential. One is a very hidden, very nice looking pond not 100' from a busy road, completely screened by trees and with 2 residential properties on the "far side" of the easiest "public" access (in this case, public means private but not posted; I promise not to make a mess...might even pick up some beer cans for you). The other is a (well, actually 2) very busy, very public park(s) on the Mohawk, with many options as to where to fish and what to target. One of the several ponds at the park was the option I took after work today. And it felt good.

It was cheating, plain and simple, and it was just what I needed. A fish on every cast of the 3 wt. makes it hard to mind that they're all 6" pumpkinseeds. Add a couple of small largemouth (on my own fly) and a chance to work out some remaining winter kinks, all while in the warm sun, and it makes for a pretty good afternoon. I didn't even mind the swarms of mosquitoes. There just wasn't enough time to swat or scratch.

This is how it went down; couple sunfish on a blood midge larva, switch to small stimulator to see if anything bites (anything did not), about 20 fish on a black BHGRHEN, then a few more (including the bass) on my fly (essentially black marabou leech with krystal flash). All in under 90 minutes, including walking time and waiting for cars, bikes, roller-bladers (already used that joke last week) and pedestrians to pass between casts. Decided to hang it up after finally losing my leech-fly on a tree (better that then a biker I guess).

Now for the exciting part...leaping carp. There are carp EVERYWHERE back there (as well as some large bass I couldn't seem to interest). At one point, as I was walking along the edge of the water, there were dozens of large wakes just keeping ahead of my shadow. Apparently one of them was having trouble swimming straight (or he wanted a closer look at what was making the sky so dark), and came clear out of the water several times. What I need now is a fly that a medium-sized carp will eat that a small sunfish will not. I don't know that such a thing does or ever will exist, but if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears...er eyes, until the interweb goes audio.

Friday it is off to the Great White North, which is hopefully not white at all any more, for some general purpose leanto camping. If the weather (and luck) holds out enough to melt them, I'll be fishing Adirondack ponds for browns, bows, brookies, and maybe even splake. Now, if I could just find a repository of the secrets to successful fly fishing and brush up by then...

April 5, 2008

TA-DA!

So a few too many Genny's last night put the kabash on my plans to scout a couple mountain ponds for a weekender later this month...blessing in disguise perhaps. I made the best of the situation and headed to the lake. Got my first fish of the year...then a few more. All rainbows between 11 and 15 inches. The fish were definitely chowin' down on what appeared to be midges on the surface, but I had no luck with flies (kind of tough chasing random rises across the 50 acres they were feeding under)...they all came on a 2" floating minnow, (ironically?) rainbow-parr colored.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to hit the stream for a little bit, late afternoon style. Water's still quite high, especially after this week's rain, but the winds seem to be quieting down at least.

April 3, 2008

Fishy Trout?

It boggles my mind.

People describe things in different ways. I understand that. We pull from different experiences, see our own versions of things. We prefer different foods for different reasons. But when someone says their piscine meal tastes "fishy," I tend to think pretty much everyone is on the same page as to what that means. Anyone who has eaten a decent amount of fish likely understands how distinct that "fishy" taste is (anyone who has only ever eaten fish once probably does as well...though they may have incorrectly attributed it to all fish).

That's why I don't understand how my experiences and description of what tastes "fishy" can differ so significantly and basically from what I hear and read from others.

This certainly is not the first time I've noticed someone mention the "fishy" taste associated with trout and salmon, and (not to pick on Mr. Streeter, but) I just don't get it.

Don't get me wrong, I do think the pink-orange flesh of a trout or salmon is a little more full-flavored than a white flesh, but at worst, it's like comparing whole milk to skim. It isn't (inherently) a "fishy" flavor. That's not to say I haven't had "fishy" trout or salmon, but like most any fish, that is due to improper preparation or storage (or, as I've noticed, sometimes having been freshly stocked).

The other thing I don't get is fish eaters who prefer panfish to the "too fishy" trout. Now, I don't eat a lot of fish, but drawing from 20-something years of solid-food experience, panfish (sunfish, bluegill, even perch and bass) have outscored trout and salmon on the occurrences of "fishiness" at least 4-to-1. I do like to pride myself on preparing certain foods...maybe I just can't handle panfish prep.

Or maybe my sense of taste is confused as to what "fishy" means. Seeing how I have personally convinced at least three (3) people, contrary to their individual and long-held beliefs, of trout/salmon's utter lack of "fishiness" by preparing it for them, I just cannot accept that.

So we are at an impass, trout-haters. I realize that there are other reasons to dislike eating trout (too fatty, too bony, too delicious) as opposed to other fish, but if you believe it to taste too "fishy", please consider the following:

-Are you sure your experiences to-date have included fresh trout cared for and prepared properly? Have skin, dark meat, and any other "waste" been properly removed? Has it possibly sat too long either before or after cooking? We all know to stay away from "fishy"-smelling fish, but there may be other subtleties that you are not yet aware of.
-Can the "fishiness" be attributed to hatchery-fresh fish or fish from poor living conditions or strange diet?
-Can fishiness be species-specific? I have never eaten a char, but it seems strange that so many people love the way brook-trout taste, but hate the way lake-trout taste (perhaps attributable to diet?). I have eaten Great Lakes king and coho salmon and steelhead, eastern New York stocked rainbow and brown trout, wild Alaskan king salmon and farmed Atlantic salmon in the past. To me, none of these have been inherently "fishy" tasting.

Where else can this "fishy" trout perception be coming from? I guess it would be better to perpetuate it and leave more fish for C&R and occasionally my plate, but I'm just so confused I wish someone would at least explain it to me.

Hey, maybe it is just a conspiracy to keep the hands of others off the true prize.