Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tipping the Scales

Well, we are just about to head into another New Year. You know, that time of year when resolutions ring in your head and your credit card bill reflects a new gym membership or a weight loss plan purchase. Whatever your resolution may be, make it one that you can realistically achieve.

For instance, I recently had someone tell me that they were going to do more volunteer work this year. My resolution is to become a big sister through the big sister program in Naugatuck.

I'm not sure why New Year's resolutions tend to focus on weight loss. Why is it that we focus on what we have to lose as an individual when it is possible that there might be so much that another could gain from just a little of our time? Why not combine the two - for example, start an outdoor hiking/fishing program for underprivileged youth. This meets your need for exercise and provides a structured outdoor activity for kids.

So, let's Tip The Scales This Year in a different direction!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!!!

This time of year is truly about tradition. Historical traditions of family gatherings and regular events.

For some, this is a difficult time of year. It can often bring up emotions that may be difficult to handle. For example, the loss of a loved one can conjure negative emotions. It is very important to provide structure and support to friends during this time.

This year marks my grandmother's passing five years ago. A woman of conviction, intelligence, and sheer brilliance, my grandmother (AKA Gaga) taught me how to catch mackerel. She liked to eat them, too. She would take Critty (my cousin Chris) and me to the docks in Friendship, Maine. (Back then, the waters weren't overfished and you could actually catch something). She would wait in her car or sit nearby in a chair and watch us fish.

As adults, Gaga saw us off when we fished for the day. And there she would be when we arrived back at the dock to see what we caught. The sheer excitement in her eyes was enough to feed my soul for a lifetime. The way she would smile at us and make us feel so good about catching fish (and other things, too)...she is sorely missed. I know that she is in my heart wherever I go and I see her in some of the things that I do - like gardening.

So if you have a family member who is grieving this holiday season or a friend who might need a little extra support, reach out...sometimes gifts of a non-material nature can be worth more than any other gift.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

CMTA Hartford Boat and Fishing Show

For my birthday in January, I'm hoping to go to the Connecticut Marine Trade Association (CMTA) Hartford Boat and Fishing Show. Held at the Connecticut Convention Center January 24 - 27, 2008, this show also includes seminars. On Saturday and Sunday, there are sessions that provide instruction on fishing from kayaks (which I did on Oscaleta Lake in NY). There is another for catching monster bass using tubes and worms. Now the latter topic might not seem enticing to a lot of people, but the idea of kayaking with someone and fishing simultaneously would be a lot of fun!

Admission is $12.00 for this event. The list of exhibitors has not yet been posted, but stay tuned. You're bound to see Grady White, Boston Whaler, Evinrude, Mercury, and more. How much fun will it be to attend a boating and fishing event in the middle of the winter! Warms my fuzzy little heart!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I love Wasabi! The way that it makes your nose tingle, twinge, and then all of a sudden you can breathe the biggest breath! Better than any prescribed medication I know of!

What would sushi be without wasabi? What would a fishing blog be without a sushi review? Most of my friends tease me - just how much can you love and write about fish? Well, I am pretty sure that my interest in fish is innate. My father loves to fish and my mother was raised on a lake. I'm pretty sure that she liked to fish, too. Explains the connection, perhaps!

Anyway - sushi. I love sushi. Spicy tuna, eel handroll, bonito, and yellowtail. The key to sushi, for me, is the presentation and the consistent freshness offered by the restaurant. I have never had "bad" sushi - but it can happen. The tricks are:

  • Crowds - If the restaurant is crowded all the time and/or you need a reservation, well, you can rest assured that there is plenty of "tuna turnover"

  • Cleanliness - You know that cleanliness is next to godliness, right? Well, imagine raw fish in an unclean environment. Pick your sushi spot(s) carefully!

  • Sushi Chef - A good sushi chef acknowledges you and will often remember what you order if you frequent the establishment. A good sushi chef will be constantly cleaning the area, showcasing his or her work, and may even offer you a sample of something to try. Sushi chefs are very calm, even-keeled people. No wonder they work with fish!

Connecticut actually has some pretty decent sushi restaurants. I have been to most of the following restaurants. Having lived in Washington, D.C. for 10 years after college, I was exposed to some pretty great sushi places (Cafe Japone, etc.). It has been tough to compare, but Connecticut ranks pretty high. Must be the close proximity to New York...or maybe the ocean in general. Could be a fluke (pun intended). I know, don't quit my day job!

Here is my list (in order of preference):

Some of the best sushi that I've ever had in my life was definitely in New York - here is the BEST OF LIST. Major cities seem to draw the best stuff in many categories (must be the law of economics, supply and demand). Most are affordable; others are more than a car payment.

So, consider the list of tricks I have provided. If you have never tried sushi, there are all different types of fish and preparation styles. For example, you don't have to eat raw salmon - you can have the chef prepare a salmon tempura with asparagus, for example. Sushi is one of those types of foods that provides flexibility, fun, and festivity! Enjoi!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"The Catch"

I've decided to try restaurant reviews for the winter. This is the perfect topic for me because I love to cook and eat, I enjoy trying new things, and I love to write.

The Catch
is a restaurant in Ridgefield, Connecticut that specializes in fish dishes. They do offer other items (like Braised short ribs and steak), but the fish is the dish!

The restaurant presents a set list of fish (i.e., Chilean Sea Bass, Salmon or Halibut) with options for sauces. You can also choose two sides from a long list of options including sweet potato fries (one of my favorites) and sauteed spinach with garlic.

I was there last Wednesday with my friend Joey. We shared calamari which are lightly coated in cornmeal and cooked exactly right. They melt in your mouth. The calamari are served with 3 dipping sauces. One is a smoky tomato, one is lemon-pepper, and the other is a wasabi-based sauce that would be awesome on a grilled turkey sandwich with muenster cheese, crisp lettuce, and oops, I digress.

I had the Tortilla Mahi Mahi special - it was amazingly prepared, encrusted with cornmeal and served with a medley of color - like a salsa. It was prepared perfectly and needless to say, I was a member of the clean plate club that night.

The atmosphere at The Catch is not pretentious. With low level lighting, a giant bay window, and nice dining music, the main dining room has tables that are close together but not overly crowded. On the Saturday and Wednesday evenings on which I have been there over the past few months, the crowd has been steady.

The bar is a great place to sit, too, for an impromptu, more casual feeling. Plus, when you are face to face with the alcohol, well, you try different things. I had a Frangelico after dinner for the first time in a long time.

There is nothing fishy about this joint. The food is straight-forward, the staff are efficient and friendly, and best of all, they prepare all dishes exactly the way you want them...offering choices along the way.

Stay tuned for next week's review: top Connecticut sushi spots! (I'm hoping that all of this leads to the gig as the Phantom Diner for the Hartford Courant - I used to sing in the St. John's Church Choir in West Hartford as a child with the man that did this back then)!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


The concept of persistence touches many areas of my life. Between my interests (fishing and golf), my personal life, and the recent professional challenge of finding a new job during the holidays, experience with persistence has paid off.

Persistence pays. I can hear my grandparents as they drill this concept into my mind.

The key to persistence, as I see it, is knowing what you want and not settling before you obtain it. Sometimes considered akin to stubbornness, persistence is different. Persistence is an underlying passion, a drive, a motivation, an "I won't settle for less than what I deserve" approach to life. Persistence has paid off for me recently during my job search. I was selective and picky, focusing on four specific companies. I was able to choose which one I wanted at the time that was right for me. Persistence put me in a very fortunate position - for which I am grateful. I am also very lucky to have wonderful friends who helped me stay focused by listening to my ideas, goals, concerns, and what have you.

The level of persistence that I practice in my life has occasionally been viewed as overbearing (by some). I employ such levels of persistence not because of a deficiency, but more from the perspective of knowing exactly what I want and truly striving to get it. I have always been an extremely goal-oriented individual. I believe that my persistence will continue to bring me what I long as I am patient. One receives nothing without patience, time, gentleness of heart and soul, and perhaps most importantly, love, passion, understanding, and selflessness.

Persistence. It's like casting over and over again into the same spot because you know the fish is under that tree on the edge of the lake. Cast and you shall be rewarded. Persistence and patience shall bring you what you deserve.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Just for the Halibut

I received an email from a regular reader asking me for some fish recipes for the holidays. So, for the halibut, I am making a mid-week post. Hanukkah is already underway and Christmas is fast approaching. Enjoy these offerings from nos amis - les poissons!

Epicurious offers a great recipe for
Roasted Halibut with Walnut Crust
. I've done this with pecans or pistachios, so if you're a nut like me, try something different.

Nigella continues to offer some of the finest fish recipes I've ever known. She has a cold fish salad recipe that is to die for, not to mention a fantastic salmon mousse. The following recipe is simple, flavorful, and actually, delicious! Linguine, Shrimp, and Halibut

The most basic, tasty Halibut recipe I've ever come across (and kept and used repeatedly) is the Lemon and Herb Crusted Halibut from Food Network. This recipe is so easy to follow and the dish is amazingly flavorful.

Now I've recently been on this Asian - kick with my cooking. Ginger, soy, wasabi, and peanut sauce. It's amazing what you can do with ginger and soy sauce. And rice vinegar works wonders!

Sea Bass, which is my absolute favorite fish to catch and eat, offers many methods of cooking. One of my personal favorites is to clean and stuff the entire fish with a crabmeat dressing - but only in Maine! The following recipe is for Ginger Sea Bass over Wilted Greens. This recipe is healthy and easy to make. Give it a try!

And don't forget about my own trusty recipe: Chilean Sea Bass with Garlic Caper Aioli over Spaghetti Squash.

Now I am not a lover of salmon. I like smoked salmon on a bagel with lots of capers and red onion, but I don't fancy a hunk of salmon with rice and veg. I don't know why and I really can't explain it. But having cooked fish on wooden planks before, this is a delicious recipe and the mustard mashed potatoes are out of this world!

Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze and Mustard Mashed Potatoes

Thanks, Epicurious, Nigella, and Food Network!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Max and his Wellfleet Oysters

"This morning, I opened my eyes and saw snow falling from the skies..." Snowboarding, anyone?

No river fishing today...but in the late afternoon on Saturday, I decided to venture up to West Hartford Center for some Wellfleet Oysters and a glass of wine at Max's Oyster Bar. I had some Christmas shopping to do in the Center, so I decided to combine the excursion into one to ensure the consumption of some good seafood.

Now the rule about Oysters, as seasoned consumers know, is that you must avoid eating oysters in months that do not have an 'R' in it. Primarily, do not eat oysters in the summer (May - August). This is a general rule that I have always followed, as oysters are typically not as good when the waters from which they come are warmer.

Max's was mobbed. I'd been there on a casual Sunday before and once or twice for dinner on Saturday nights. All I wanted was a seat at the bar. Knowing that there would be a wait (1 hour mind you), I put in my name and off I went to complete part of my shopping.

As it turned out, I was able to complete all of my shopping (JoS A. Banks, The Toy Chest, etc.). My thought was that most people are probably out for the night, so why not shop (since I adore it so much). For those of you who really know me, you know that this is a complete stretch of the truth. I can't stand shopping in any form, with the exception of grocery/meal-related shopping, which I love.

Anyway, I returned to Max's for my seat at the bar and there it was, waiting for me. I swear, someone had spit-shined it because it looked particularly new. At once, I ordered a glass of the lone Malbec on the menu (Malbec Reserva, Terrazas, 2004 (Mendoza, Argentina). About 10 minutes later, I order a dozen Wellfleet oysters (raw), and I began a conversation with a lovely gay male couple sitting next to me. One was a doctor (Louis) and the other was a chef (Tom). They had just come from an afternoon Baroque quartet performance at the Hartt School of Music. One of my personal favorite things to do - listen to chamber music.

Tom, Louis, and I had a lovely conversation. The oysters were amazing. They also had Chilean Sea Bass as the fish of the evening. Sparks thoughts of one of my favorite recipes.

Thank you, Max, for a great evening.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

To Clear the Mind, Take a Hike

When all else fails and the fish just aren't biting, well, take a hike.

Hiking has always been a great way for me to clear my head. With resumes, jobs, and more phone calls than I could have ever imagined over the past few weeks (that's a good thing and Verizon thanks me), I was in need of a long hike. Today, I ventured off to Osbornedale State Park in Derby.

A rather small state park, I discovered a basic trail and just followed it. I discovered some outdoor meeting pavilions with fireplaces, a nice pond with geese (and fish), and a wonderful collection of birds to stimulate my ornithological tendencies. Next time, I'll have to bring my binoculars and bird book. My grandmother would be so proud of me.

I needed to hike today. Clearing the head going into a busy week is important. I have a good feeling about how things are going to play out for me this week. I have some big decisions to make and feel confident that I will have the opportunity that I seek.

Also, it is the holiday season. That time of year when all of your radio presets jingle Christmas music - I always feel sorry for Jewish people and those of non-Christian faith. How presumptive of American radio to play only Christmas music.

The holiday season is also a very warm, fuzzy time of year. My parents (Bill and Carol) will be visiting for a week around Christmas. This will undoubtedly be a very special visit, as Dad has made a complete recovery from his battle with oral pharyngeal cancer. It has been a long, arduous year for him (and us), but no gift can top his improving health. I'm sure I'll be spending lots of time in Canton at J & S's.

My new year's resolution is to become a big sister. Naugatuck has a Professional's program that enables you to volunteer time and help out a child who needs some guidance or support. A colleague does this with two wonderful girls; I'm inspired to do so myself - to give some when I have enough to share.

Wish me luck this week! Happy Birthday, Dad!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Peace can be found in many places but truly, peace comes from within. If you are not at peace with yourself, how can you be peaceful with anything or anyone else?

Today's entry has a lot of personal meaning, so hopefully, you'll enjoy it and perhaps begin to understand me better as a writer and a person.

Today, I fished the Naugatuck River. It runs adjacent to my new apartment complex. I caught a small rainbow trout, but was initially enticed to fish there by three guys in neoprene waders who vowed they had caught a 15 lb salmon. Although I did not succumb to the fishing story, I did find peace along the Naugatuck River bank. I walked up and down, casting under trees, getting my feet wet on a cold, November Day.

Fishing has always brought me back to an even keel. Even in the most treacherous waters (specifically, times in my life where there has been a lot of change), fishing is something that my soul craves. It nurtures me back to a steady cantor. It is a connection with nature, a rhythm, and I'm lucky to have this river right across the street from my place.

What is it that brings you peace? When things are up in the air in your life, what do you do to bring yourself back, reel yourself in, find that cantor?

I have always been somewhat of a loner. I enjoy doing things alone, I enjoy being alone, and I do some of my best work at 5:00am, alone. I'm a technical writer. Perfect fit. I like to garden alone (sometimes), but I like cooking with someone, not just for myself.

I'm wondering if the stars will ever align for me - if I will ever be truly fulfilled with the company of another? For me, it is like the Schopenhauer fable that Jen shared with me - about the porcupines. This fable says it all and it is only now that I realize the truth it represents. I am stubborn (I don't stop fishing until I catch at least one) and I always get what I want. Determined goat. I'm also a big mush and cry in the Hallmark store. Seriously.

There are advantages and disadvantages to self-sufficiency. It can attract those who are self-sufficient and simultaneously drive away those who need more...

This fall has been one of great revelation for me. There has been a lot of change in my life and some growth, as well as the possibility of a new job on the horizon. As always, I remain optimistic that the best position will come to me.

In peace, I hold my thoughts and feelings close, knowing that patience, honor, and respect will win over everything else. As long as I can soothe my soul, casting a line along the Naugatuck River in the meantime...

Happy Birthday tomorrow, Dad. I love you.

Peace. Out.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Casting the Employment Net

Just when you think that your life is stable. Good job. Nice place to live. Nice car. Savings for a year or so. Some investments. Then one day, you go to work. The HR rep calls you into a conference room. You look at her and say, "This better be a huge promotion," judging from the look on her face. Her face writhes in agony, only to reveal a meek, "please sit down." The big boss walks in and drops the axe - "your department has been eliminated."

This happened to me about a week ago. Part of my requirement is to support my manager in her effort to take over everything that our entire group was once doing. This means training her, explaining things to her, all the while looking for a new job for myself. Exhausting. Trying. Frustrating. Challenging.

So, I've decided that as of 01/02/2008, if I am not employed as a writer with a wonderful organization, I will be gainfully employed as a member of the crew on Sig Hansen's boat (The Northwestern). Slinging crab from sea-foam covered wire cages. Putting bait fish in, throwing the trap back overboard. Ahhh. I could dream of this for a long time. The scent of the sea and the smell of fish and the sweet reward of a giant paycheck and some tasty crab to send to my salivating father.

It's a real show. It's on t.v. - the Deadliest Catch. Can you imagine living in Alaska and making your annual income in 6 weeks? That would provide ample time for salmon fishing, hiking, biking, surf casting, and fly-fishing for sturgeon. I could live like a queen.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Off-Season Activities

Today's post is about activities that you can pursue in the off-season. Of course, this post could go in a completely different direction... but I will resist the temptation to wander down that path...

This morning, the clocks turned back at 2am. This is a very depressing time for us fisher folk. In New England, the fishing season appears to be winding down. The shorelines are barren of surf casters and the rivers are missing the usual population of fly fishers. A recent check on the Cabelas website reveals a nice stock of ice augers. Get ready, old man winter.

If you're not into ice fishing and cannot travel to Cabo San Lucas on a whim to do some Marlin fishing, here are some ideas for making use of the winter months to increase your enjoyment of the sport when spring comes around:

  • Take a fly tying class

  • Remove the line from all reels and put new line on

  • Clean out your tackle box

  • Get rid of equipment that you just don't use

The latter is like keeping mismatched socks. Why would you hold onto something that you don't need? Unless you are a pack rat who enjoys using orphaned socks as dusting cloths...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Just Keep Swimming"

If you have ever seen the animated movie "Finding Nemo," then this statement makes complete sense

Dory, one of the lead "fish" (narrated by Ellen Degeneres) strives to conquer the ocean with Marlin, the father of Nemo, who has been snatched by divers for an ultimate new life with a dentist's little niece, Darva! Despite her oddities, forgetfulness, and slight A.D.D., she manages to "just keep swimming" and leads Marlin to a reunion with his son.

Determination. Fortitude. Goals. Striving to reach new heights and accomplish new life dreams. During a very low time in my life a few years ago, my friends started calling me Dory. They called me Dory because they saw that despite the odds, I just kept swimming.

In life, do we really have any other choice? If you don't keep swimming, you are not moving forward. And if you don't move your fins and propel yourself forward, you stay still and cease to make progress.

Did you see a boat?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Surrogate Mommy Fishies

Something is fishy with scientists (or at least science) these days. Just when we thought the days of embryonic research were enough, it appears that some lab dwellers are engineering the offspring of certain species of fish.

This is actually a very interesting theory - because as fisher people, we all know that certain species are approaching declining numbers (i.e., stripers and certain types of tuna). Can you imagine the idea of "no limits" with regard to reeling 'em in?

In a recent article on NPR, John Nielsen states, "a team of scientists used the technique to inject cells from an endangered species of salmon into trout. If all goes well, the trout should produce salmon."

All I have to say is that if this is successful, we will never be justified in the excuse that they just were not biting....and "we have no bonito" at the Sushi restaurant? No more. And just when you thought that Chilean Sea Bass was $22.00/lb. Try the price of cod.

This story is prime territory for puns - scaling back the research, a "hook, line, and sinker" of an idea. I won't bore you. But I will tell you that this idea should have hatched at the advent of the human embryonic era. I guess they were incubating the idea...slackers!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What's in a Name?

I have to laugh. Yesterday, I was on the phone with one of my dearest friends in the entire world. Now a principal in Pasadena, CA, she still manages to see right through me. Amazing how your friends know you so well!

At any rate, she has a male friend whose last name is Trout. Now we went to college with a woman named Allison Trout. We sang together and I never felt the inclination to laugh at her name.

This gentleman's name is Lake Trout (how fishy is that)? Even more so - get this - you better go pee before you read this, now. His father's name is Brook Trout! Talk about 'swimming upstream' with the nomenclature! Couldn't their parents have 'cast' a little farther into the baby name list? I'm waiting with 'baited' breath for the name of his daughter....Rainbow Trout.

Now with a last name like mine, many ideas come to mind. Norman Bates. Kathy Bates. Master Bates. Bates a Hook. Whatever. But with a last name like Trout and first names like Brook and Lake, I don't feel so bad. When my principal pal told me this story, I swear, I just about pee-ed in my pants. I could NOT stop laughing. I haven't laughed like that in a long time - the belly laugh... The laugh that makes your gut hurt...

I'm thinking of other names. Brown Trout. Golden Trout. Gila Trout. Sea Trout. Something's fishy with this one!

Monday, October 8, 2007


Everyone should fish. I make this statement not only because fishing is fun, but it is an activity that is indicative of how life really is every day for everyone.

Every day when you wake up, you are casting a line. You wait patiently for a bite and continue to create action, cast, and reel until something bites the bait you throw out there. If everyone learned how to fish, perhaps the world would be a more patient place. a virtue.

"Patience...the ability to wait for something without excessive frustration is a valuable character trait. The proverb has been traced back to 'Piers Plowman' (1377) by William Langland and is similar to the Latin, Maxima enim..patientia virtus (Patience is the greatest virtue) and the French, Patience est une grand vertu. (Patience is a great value.)"

Patience. You need it to fish. In some instances, it should be a requirement to live. I believe that it is through patience that the greatest rewards are achieved.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Carpet Fishing

I had to share this DILBERT (thanks, Michele)!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Activities for the Soul: Fishing and Golf

I've always known that I can rely on a day of fishing or a good round of golf to rejuvenate my soul. I return, once again, to one of the activities that has calmed me since I was a child: fishing.

Waking early. Gathering bait or lures. Thinking of what the day will bring. Having a spot in my mind before I go to sleep the night before and driving to that spot. Getting there. Seeing the sunrise. No one else is there. Peaceful. Casting the first cast. Listening to the sound of the lure as it hits the water. Feeling the smoothness of the well-oiled shimano reel. Watching the ripple in the water as I draw the lure back to me. And cycle again.

Until wham! A bass strikes and I'm able to reel her in slowly, watching her jump on the line. A prize 3 lb female - clearly pregnant. I remove the hook slowly and gently place her back into the water, creating the motion of a fish moving back and forth until she realizes where she is...and swims off assertively.

At this moment, I am grateful that I have a way to find my way. I am grateful to my father (and mother) for teaching me how to fish. And for my brothers who fished with me. And my cousin who never stops adventuring, in search of bigger, better fish.

Fishing will always be part of my soul - part of what makes me who I am - the patience, love of nature, and contentment I find in time alone. Fishing, in its cast and wait rhythm, gives me the opportunity to reflect on what I want in my life and to dream of making that come true for no one but me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fish Tales

OK, so you've heard it all. When someone goes fishing, they come back with these grandiose stories of what they caught, how big the fish were, etc. ad nauseum. And of course, when they ask for proof (i.e., a picture), well, their hands were just too gooey with fish goop to wreck the $1200.00 Canon EOS.

My cousin Christoper and my father have been known to tell fish stories. I can remember when, as a child, my grandmother would always wait for us to return from our fishing ventures to hear stories of what we caught. Since her mobility was often limited (particularly in her later years), she reveled in the opportunity to hear our stories and to sort of live vicariously through us.

Throughout the years, summers in Maine progressed from dock side mackerel fishing to catching mackerel and using them (whole) for bait for stripers. In Crit's boat. With Dad. And Mom. Sometimes, we ventured up the St. Georges River to go plunking. I am convinced that this is a term my father invented. Truly, there is no other word to describe this feat. You cast as far as you can with this lure that resembles a broken (or wounded) fish into the rocks. With the surf crashing on the rocks, this tasty lure would look like a shoe-in for a quick bite to eat for any trolling striper.

My father - Bunk - likes to plunk! I love it.

Fish stories are truly fun to tell - especially on the days when you don't catch a damn thing. Like the time we took Dad on a tuna charter at 3:00am out of Noank for his 60th birthday. Caught two small Tuna, Katie was sea sick the whole time, and then coming in, one of the twin 275s dies. We had to create fishing stories to survive that day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fish 'n Chips off the old block

Fishing with children is so exciting! On Saturday, my brother and his wife hosted all of the children (Tanner, Ryder, Callahan, Samantha, Sydney), my parents, and my sister and me at her father's pond/lake in Avon (Lovely Street). Baiting hooks, setting up lines and bobbers, and removing fish from hooks quickly became my vocation for the day.

The smallest, tiniest bass created squeals louder than squealing wheels at NASCAR. These kids were so excited to catch these fish! The weather cooperated, opening up a nice sunny afternoon with a cool breeze. Syd took Tanner in the boat with a trolling motor. It was a blast!

Gives new meaning to the idea of taking a kid fishing. Inspires me to start a program for underprivileged youth. More on this later....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I tripped over my ice auger...

...been away from home for a while...check back in a few weeks for an autumn fishing blog entry...

Thought of the day..."finding that place in your heart where peace and love co-exist can be found when you're fishing...and sleeping..."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stripers on My Fish Hook Make Me Happy

...sung to the tune of "Sunshine" (on my shoulders, makes me happy) by the late John Denver.
It's the end of the summer. Kids are returning to school...and stripers are running upstream from the ocean to spawn.

In Maine, there are two excellent rivers for striper fishing. The Kennebec River and the St. Georges River. I've only had the fortune of fishing up the St. Georges once and due to mechanical issues, the trip was cut short. This summer, I'm on vacation in Friendship (as we speak) and I'm hoping to get a last minute charter. My aunt and uncle have a 22 ft Grady White with a 175 Yamaha OB. Fishing equipped with a live well. The boat is being pulled mid-week, so I'm not certain I'll get to fish in it.

Stripers are plentiful in August and September in Maine. Most have run the coast and are returning to the river beds. The fall is truly the best time to striper fish in Maine. Perhaps I'll return later in the fall to charter a boat up the Kennebec or St. search of the holy tail.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


'Tis the season to be fally. OK, enough with corny early morning puns.

In my opinion, Fall is the best time of the year to fish. Stripers are running up river to spawn but more importantly, it is the crisp crackle in the air that makes the experience envigorating.

When I lived in South Salem, NY, I spent a lot of time fishing Oscaleta Lake. The fall was by far the best time to fish. The light was different. You could see the reflection of the trees on the water and as the water got colder, the fish swam deeper. It is truly my favorite time to fish.

Since I'm partial to beautiful foliage and fishing, there is nothing more refreshing for the soul than a day on the water with leaves abounding in different beautiful colors. Fish are frisky and you just might need a fleece or a sweatshirt.

I grew quite partial to the solo kayak with the fishing rod holder on it (and no, that is not me in the picture holding the huge striped bass). I was able to get out and kayak and when I reached a good spot, I could grab my pole and cast away. I don't know who comes up with these ideas - it's like the cup holder in your car or the Griffin iTrip (which enables you to harness radio waves to trasmit songs off of your iPod). I should have eaten more shrooms in high school.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chilean Sea Bass with Garlic Caper Aioli over Spaghetti Squash

This week's entry comes a day early as I have plans to venture to the opening of the new LLBean store in South Windsor, CT tomorrow with my sister and her wonderful children. This week's entry is also geared towards the culinary presentation of fish (rather than how to catch it)...can you tell I'm trying to illustrate my malleability?

One of my favorite fish dishes is something I actually came up with on my own. Entitled "Chilean Sea Bass with Garlic Caper Aioli over Spaghetti Squash," it combines ingredients that I enjoy with a fish that is scrumptious. It is also healthy (lo-carb) and in my opinion, is perfect for date night, friends over night or even cooking for family.

Here's how:

1 nice filet of Chilean sea bass
1 med-sized spaghetti squash

For the aioli:

3 tblsp capers (more if you like them)
3 cloves garlic
(Marinate the two above overnight if you really like garlic)
juice of two lemons
salt and pepper

In a blender, combine capers, garlic, lemon juice, and s&p with olive oil until liquid and smooth but not thick. In general, at least 3/4 cup of olive oil.

Bake the fish (450/20mins). It is done when firm, overdone when dry, raw when mushy/jellolike). Boil or microwave the squash.

Note: For more information on cooking fish, see How to Select, Buy, and Cook Quality Fish.

The general rule: 10 minutes for each inch of measured thickness. Since sea bass is a relatively thick fish (most cuts are), 20 minutes/450 should do for a piece that is 2" thick. IMHO, there is nothing worse than overcooked fish.

Warm up the aioli a bit in the micro - 45 seconds or so. Be sure to cover it with a paper towel.

Open the spaghetti squash and scrape some off into in a nice wide bowl with a nice piece of fish on top. Stir the aioli and drizzle it on top of the fish and squash.

Serve with a crisp, cold pinot grigio (i.e., ecco domani).

This dish is easy to make and if you fly to Chile, catch it yourself, fly back and serve it to your friends, well, you da bomb. (Swanson's Fish Market in Monroe, CT sells a nice sea bass for those who are realistic and grounded).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Summer Stripers

Stripers love the summer! Eels in the grass, river deltas teeming with baitfish...stripers love to chase bait, particularly live.

Here are some of the more popular, tasty live baits (for Stripers in Maine, at least):

  • Mackerel: Early to rise and you're guaranteed to have a full live well. You just have to get out and get them before the seals do!

  • Eels: Live sand eels make the best bait - but don't set the hook too early. Try the one one-thousand to three and then jerk after feeling the strike. Stripers like to swallow their prey head first - so you must wait to set the hook while they flip it around!

  • Shad: These guys provide some of the best live baits for catching trophy stripers. Be sure to separate them with a collander container in the live well or other bait fish (like mackerel) will tear them up...or even eat them!

Both mackerel and shad are oily fish - stripers love tasty bait!

Before your expedition, look at the fishing reports. See what's biting. Stripers are here are some tips, courtesy of New England Sportsman:

Striper Tips

* Fish the out going tide, at night if possible.
* Don't fish on weekends, too much boat traffic.
* If the wind is blowing, might as well stay at home.
* Head up river on the incoming tide.
* Head down river on the outgoing tide.
* Get the bait down to where the fish are holding.
* Sharpen your hooks and bend the barbs down.
* No poppers till after July fourth.
* Match the lure to the size of the bait fish, small lures can catch big fish.
* Fish fast water like tidal rips near structure.
* Fish slow water adjacent to fast like eddies, pools and behind breaks.
* Fish structure, big fish are lazy and will shield themselves from the current.
* Troll with the current, use torpedo sinkers with spoons and surge tubes.
* Go often and experiment.
* When these suggestions fail, try the complete opposite!

Stripers are a blast to catch! Every state has their own regulations and restrictions. For example, in Maine, stripers must be between 20" and 26" in length or greater than 40". These regulations exist with regard to spawning and population concerns.

If your catch is within angling regulations (e.g., it is a "keeper"), try gutting the fish, butterflying it, stuffing it with crabmeat stuffing, baking, and serving it to your friends with a big salad and a chilled bottle of pinot gris (or even a nice ale). Yum.

Your friends will be impressed to dine on wild caught striped bass - the sale of which is illegal (except in MA in NY).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fishing Ponds and Lakes

Fishing ponds and lakes can be a different experience than any other type of fishing. You might find a spot under a tree or cast from a bank. If you're lucky, you can rent a boat and fish for the day (at a larger lake such as Lake George in NY) or you can bring your own boat (with a trolling motor).

With their usual educational flair, the CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offers a guide for fishing ponds and lakes in the state of Connecticut. Remember that wherever you fish, you must have a license (resident or non-resident) to do so.

When fishing in ponds and lakes, remember that the water is more stagnant than in a river or the ocean. Many ponds and lakes are fed by springs underneath. Others are fed by small brooks or rivers. The point is that you need to create the action to catch the fish. Here are some general tips:

  • Shiny crankbaits - these are the ones that you have to work!

  • Rubber worms (rigged ) - you can buy these pre-made (with hooks and eyelet). Cabelas manufactures rubber worms (like the example available through the above link) that are weedless (weed resistent) - they have a v-prong that connects to the hook to prevent entanglement in things like lilies or weeds. Bass love rubber worms!

  • Live Bait - fish are attracted to things that move. Crawfish. Sawbellies. Nightcrawlers, shiners. Again, it is all about action. Live bait is a fail safe method for catching fish. For example, if you're using fish to catch fish (such as sawbellies), you will need a bait bucket with an aerator to keep them alive and perky.

You can always refer to the guidance that is out there for finding fish (bass, in particular) in unfamiliar waters!

Overall, enjoy the opportunity to spend some time fishing in ponds a lakes. The fish are fun and lakes are calm and serene. Have a blast!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

<< * * >> Bullfrogs << * * >>

Bullfrogs have lots of things in common with fishing.

  • Bait

  • Sounds you might hear

  • Sunscreen

This morning, I was running. I heard the sounds of perhaps the most gigantic, enormous bullfrog ever. I envisioned him to be a foot wide with a deep, long ribbit. Wow. This guy was a big one! As I passed by on my way home, there he was again... ribbit!

So, my article today is about...Bullfrog...the sunscreen.

Do yourself a favor when fishing. Spray yourself with a good sunblock right before leaving. By the time you get out there and cast a line, you are not going to want to spritz yourself with sunblock. Bullfrog brand has paved the way for some excellent products. Waterproof, hypoallergenic, and available in unscented, you will be doing yourself a tremendous favor by investing in this sunscreen.

Your skin needs to stay young so that you can embark on many, many fishing excursions!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tying the Knot

Today's edition is not about marriage...or mergers and is about using the right knot at the right time when you are fishing.
Depending on your situation (fresh water or sea), you will have ample opportunity to revamp your line, adding new tackle or lures. You might get snagged and the line breaks. You might be blue fishing with a plastic leader instead of metal. Chomp, those sharp teeth steel the bait, hook, and half of the leader.

Here are some general rules for tying knots that might save you time (and line):

  • Knotting line to a swivel: My recommendation here is the clinch knot. Be sure to use a little saliva when tightening the knot so that it is tight, tight, tight.

  • Tying the line to a leader: The Uni-Knot is the failsafe method. I have witnessed the use of the wrong knot - which can lead to mayhem and lost fish. Be sure to learn this basic knot - if you don't already!

  • Tying line directly to the lure: I use a Rapala knot to tie the line directly to the lure. Click here for an animated demo. This is another type of knot that should be readily applied when needed.

The following sites have additional samples of fishing knots:
The Jump Net
Grog's Fishing Knots

So, before you "tie the knot," educate yourself on the use of different knots. It will reduce the chances that your fishing experience will come untied.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A License to Fish - per James Bond

Everyone knows that some forms of fishing require a fishing license. My advice to you is "don't get caught without one unless you have a wad of dough in your wallet."

The state of Connecticut, for example, has many different types of fishing licenses. What you probably want is the resident fishing permit. It is $20.00 and worth every penny.

In general, you need a license to fish fresh water (i.e., inland lakes, rivers, and streams). If you are deep sea (or inlet) fishing, a license is not required. But there are limits to what you can take (and leave):

The CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has done a tremendous job of organizing fishing information for residents of the State of Connecticut. Look into the DEP in your state.

And one more thing...even though some fishermen and women keep their secret spots to themselves, I have chosen to divulge my tip for the day: Trout Parks. The State of CT has designated 11 parks as trout parks. This means that these parks are stocked with trout (by the state) and with a fishing license, you can go get 'em...with your license to fish. Cast safely!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Organizing a Tackle Box

..this is why they call it a Tackle Box! By the time you've finished organizing it, you feel like tackling someone!

The key to organizing any tackle box is organization. Categorization, that is. First, if you saltwater fish and fresh water fish, you really should have two separate tackle boxes. You don't want to mix saltwater lures in with the fresh, as these lures may rust more quickly from exposure to the salt. In addition, having two separate boxes makes everything more accessible and organized.

Second, categorize. Let's use a freshwater tackle box as an example. In the "hull" (bottom) of your tackle box, you should have needle-nosed pliers, a collection of pellet weights, band aids, extra bobbers, extra line (a spool), extra hooks (in packages) if you are fishing live bait (shiners, sawbellies or even worms), baggies of rubber worms (if you use artificial bait), finger nail clippers (great for cutting the line close to the knot), bug repellent, a small flashlight, and dramamine. You never know who is going to get woozy. You might also want a regular pair of scissors, but you definitely want a good fishing knife. You can bring a scale, too, if you feel that weighing and measuring are going to come into play. There are some additional items from Ronnie Garrison that might provide additional insight.

So, you've got a full hull. Let's consider that the tackle box we are working with has three tiers. The first tier (on the bottom) of a tackle box has the longer lures (e.g., top water baits). You might also have rubber worms (hooked) in these slots, as well.

The middle tier should have your spinnerbaits and your crankbaits. I store mine with the head facing out (towards me) so that I have easy access to the clasp and reduce the risk of getting hooked in the finger.

The top tier should have an array of items that you use regularly. For example, leaders, pellet weights, snap swivels, etc. You might have your favorite hula popper up there, too, for easy access.

Remember to categorize your tackle box before your next expedition. You'll spend more time catching flounder than floundering!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Parental Influence

As a child, I can remember fishing on Doctor's Lake in Orange Park, FL off of the dock of my maternal grandparents. We used cane poles, saw sea cows (commonly known as the protected Manatee), and caught mostly perch and an occasional bass. Most of this fishing was done alone, as my grandparents weren't truly fisher people. They lived on a lake and they didn't fish. Whatever.

In my recent adulthood, I had the pleasure of living on Lake Oscaleta in South Salem, NY. Bass and trout heaven. I could fish any time I wanted. Bliss. My father, the true fisherman in the family, would revel in each visit. He even caught a 25 lb carp while we were eating lunch. Email me for the picture!

My father taught me everything I know about fishing. Loading a reel. Tying knots. Which bait to use. Instincts. Using live bait. The ethics of catch and release. Trying new things. Getting up at 3:00am to go fishing. Finding the "spot." Casting right in to the spot. Trolling during downtime.

My cousin Christopher and I both love to fish. We have since we were little. In Maine, we catch mackies (mackerel) to use as live bait for the highly coveted striper (located in a cove to go unnamed near Muscongus Bay).

My grandfather had his own worm farm (vermicompost) - I remember lifting the plywood to toss in some cornmeal. He was interested in fishing. But he was more interested in breeding worms than threading the hook just so. In other words, he was not the "influence de peche" for me.

My father always has been and will continue to be the best fisherman I've ever known. Patient. Knowledgeable...My dad buys sawbellies (AKA alewives) for lake bass and trout and eels for stripers. Who's your daddy?!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


In 1995 (or thereabouts), I was at a party. I overheard someone say that they would never buy a bike unless it had Shimano parts - and only Shimano. Soon following, I went shopping for a used bike and what do you think I bought? Every single part (chain, breaks, you name it) was Shimano.

The same applies to most of my fishing gear. Shimano poles and reels. The Shimano name lends itself to quality, durability, and good, solid equipment.

Shimano is also promoting a program called, "Take Me Fishing." This program encourages children (and families) to spend time outdoors instead of indoors and stresses the importance of nature and its beauty.

I know that for me, fishing has always been a source of respite - a chance to face the challenge of getting the fish while exercising patience. I have found that fishing is a true way to connect with nature while respecting it at the same time. I love to fish - even if I don't catch anything, the anticipation of knowing that I might only fuels me for the next experience.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hula Poppers

Sounds like a sexual lure...or maybe some kind of Hawaiian dance...or maybe a drug...

Truly? A hula popper is a surface water lure that drives bass, in particular, crazy.

Some hula poppers are comprised of two pieces - this makes the lure appear "broken" or "injured" to the fish. Yum.

Other hula poppers have multi-colored skirts that almost "dance" in the water.

My take is that the term "hula popper" serves to tantalize the fish. Using material that resembles a grass-skirt and a fluid popping motion (set in motion by the fisher-person), how can a big bass resist?

The Patience of a Teacher

If you have spent any time fishing, it takes patience.

Casting. Waiting. Reeling in. Casting. Reeling in. Losing bait. Casting. And on and on...

One of the best ways to spend a summer day is to take a kid fishing. It might be your child, someone else's child or even a child without a provides a way to connect with nature while teaching patience (which incidentally, is a virtue). To learn more, click here.

This site is dedicated to fishing - lures, tackle, equipment, and bait. But more importantly, this site explores the human side of fishing - the patience, early-bird-gets-the-worm approach that drives us to the sunrise...

Enjoy...and remember, you can't catch a fish if you don't cast a line.