Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Transitory Days

We are now into those transitory weeks in which it is too cold to lake or river fish and yet not cold enough to ice fish. It is a strange time for fisher folk, who yearn to fish but cannot.

I stopped in to see my pal at Bobby J's tonight on the way home - to get some lures and tackle for a Christmas gift. He said that he had gone blue fishing yesterday. My eyes widened (of course, hoping for an invitation to go sometime). Personally, I don't mind the cold at all. Even 5 below on the ice without a hut.

Most of my friends think that I am crazy to want to sit out on ice with a few tip-up contraptions and wait for one of the flags to go up. But I say, what is more peaceful than a frozen lake in the wintertime? Crisp branches adorned in a blanket of snow, layers of ice to auger through, snow geese, canadian geese or other waterfowl left behind from the southbound commute. A frozen lake in the winter is an opportunity for solace which for me, is usually a welcomed event.

To date, I have never caught anything ice fishing. I have all of the gear - auger, tip-ups, tackle - all of it. I don't mind waiting for a fish. Again, it is all about patience. Patience in waiting for that strike to send the blood rushing through my veins. Patience is developed, not granted. I have plenty.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

When All Else Fails, Imagine

As the weather has gotten colder, I have been less eager to venture off to my favorite fishing spots. While I’m not quite ready to hang up the poles for the year, I realize each day that the likelihood of a fishing excursion is getting farther and farther away.

With the change of season and daylight savings time, my sleep patterns have shifted in ways that are odd and unpredictable. It could be my increasing age or the general stress of everyday life (not to mention the state of the world and all of its struggles). Whatever it is, I have been sleeping just 5-7 hours for the past month and I have started doing meditations daily. Sometimes, I use visualization to relax. It is kind of like having a daydream only you close your eyes. I guess it a hybridized version of a daydream and a meditation session. Either way, one of my most prevalent visualization techniques is a morning spent fishing.

Usually, what comes to mind are the mornings on Lake Oscaleta in South Salem, NY. As a waterside resident for 4 years, I was indulged by quiet mornings in the summers – 6:00am sunrise. The water would be calm and a slight steam would be flowing up from it. Some mornings, I would take my rowboat or the kayak and go fishing. With not another soul around and the calm water around me, this now provides amazing visualization imagery for me.

In my visualizations, I can see the steam and the glint of sun slowly rising on the water. I can recall the smell of the lake and its green laden waters – lily pads, leaves, and dark green hues. My favorite spots come to mind. Under large fallen branches or beneath the weeping willows – all of the environments that provide shade in the summer for the breeding largemouth bass. The docks. Wooden. Some are older and antiquated while others are trendy, new, and fiberglass. The floats. My imagination drifts to visions of children jumping, the shrill of their screaming as they plummet off of these tethered rafts.

Docks – these man-made objects that provide convenience for docking boats or dangling feet. They also provide a tranquil environment for some big, sleepy fish. As I coast around the fringes of the lake in my mind, I am able to unravel those experiences as wonderful fishing adventures.

Guess I will do some fishing this winter after all.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Some odd, recent fish talk has me immersed in deep analysis on the topic of goldfish. These gilled creatures, often admired in pet shops and homes, can serve as wonderful companions. Small enough to fit in a bowl or numerous enough to fit in a large tank, goldfish are often a child's best friend or a cat's entertainment. They live well alone and can get along with others.

I recently told a friend of mine that I wanted to get a cat. Unfortunately, the last time I had a cat, I was traveling so much for work that I wasn't home a lot. Eventually, the cat got mad at me and soaked my carpets with spontaneous urinary reminders. It was a painful bill to pay as I vacated my apartment, watching the carpet installers replacing the carpet in the spot she had chosen to remind me of her displeasure. Amazing how animals communicate their dissatisfaction. My friend - the one who I told about my recent desire to obtain a new feline friendie - advised me to get a goldfish. A goldfish. As an avid fisherwoman, I have difficulty with this idea.

How selfish is it to assume that a goldfish could possibly be happy in life when it is brought into this world only to share a large aquarium with lots of other fish and then be snatched up by a small net and placed into a plastic bag, only to spend the rest of its life alone in a small bowl on someone's dresser? And for what pleasure? Of watching people walk by, stick their face close to the tank and make funny faces? Or drifting to the surface twice a day to suck a few flakes of processed fish food? If I were a goldfish, I would jump right out of the tank and hop to the toilet or a nearby drain (similar to the concept illustrated in Finding Nemo).

Just today, I learned from a co-worker that he used to feed goldfish to his snake. He would leave them by the snake and it would slowly slither in and grab the fish. I had no idea that snakes desired fish, but a highly discernable palate is not surprising for a species that may have once survived on less.

Goldfish have an interesting predicament - life in a bowl or life in a belly? Which would you choose? Personally, I would run and hide every time the lid lifted in the store.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trips Down the Same Path

Spending time in nature offers the best meditative remedy. Peacefulness. Calm. Contrast. Light. Color. Warmth. The daily changes of the fall often produce these effects, even on trips down the same path.

I recently spent a week in Keene, NH, taking care of Wrigley, the chocolate lab belonging to my aunt and uncle. With the sweetest canine soul of any other I have known, he trustingly led me to this path. The path was dirt and rock, somewhat sedimentary, but upon reaching the top, he had led me to a path in the woods. The path that he and his papa walk every day.

There are no fishing holes along this path, but I am certain that Wrigley would want to swim in them if we had happened upon one. Wrigs is a swimmer - throw a peanut butter cookie in the water and before a fish can call it bait, "Snatch!" Wrigs gets there first!

Along this path, the prevalent mud puddles found their way into our path on many more occasions than one, forcing us to dodge and maneuver them as we whisked by. The colors - multiple hues of yellows and oranges from leaves that had fallen from the protective trees along this route - are indescribable. Adjacent to this path, you can see one or two of the fairways of Keene Country Club, a golf course that I played a few times in my 20s. The walks that Wrigs and I took down this path were reminiscent of weekends I would spend in New Hampshire as a child.

The smell of wood stoves or fireplaces. That smoky smell that permeates my soul, conjuring up my own dreams of living in a home with a wood fireplace, a huge kitchen with a Viking stove, and many dinner parties with laughter and love. I've been called a dreamer, but this is my reality. A simple week of walking the same path with Wrigley brought me back to some of the basic ideals that I have always held true to my heart.

Now all we need is a fishing hole...for my soon to be Viszla to swim in!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I've Got the "Blues"

No, I am not sad. I just caught 16 (yes, sixteen) bluefish today out of a shared skiff with my pal from BJ's in Milford Harbor. This afternoon into and past dusk.

I cannot begin to emphasize how nice it is to spend time with someone in a boat who doesn't require much in terms of conversation. It seems to me that my life has been requiring a lot more of that lately - talking. I enjoy talking, albeit to the people with whom I enjoy conversing, but when given the opportunity for some solitude, I'll take that for a while.

Upon catching each of these fish, I felt the same rush of excited adrenaline. The excitement of doing something completely fun with a friend - like rushing around a city to catch a show or the excitement of sledding. It is amazing, each time, to have that same feeling. That tug, pull, and then ultimately, returning the fish to the sea.

I find that I am somewhat contemplative today. I had a lovely opportunity to spend a good part of the day doing something that I truly enjoy. But there are other areas of my life that I think about - my work, my family, my love of ...oh, I can't say everything on a blog. I just sense that the universe has something great in store for me.

We'll see how long these "blues" last. Word is that they last as long as you feed them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

De"peche" Mood

These past days, I have longed for solace through casting a line on the open water in search of a strike, a pull, and the glorifying feeling of catching and releasing a scale-covered cronie. A few weeks ago, I was at a lake doing just that. "The fish are down deeper as the weather gets colder," the man says. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of an older man behind a tree, clad in fly-fishing gear. Yet another longing soul in search of this find that the surface of the water does not serve as the platform for displaying the tantalizing specimens so sought after by most fish.

In autumn, fishing is quite different than in other months throughout the year. The fish are typically more vivacious and lively, an uncommon occurrence in the middle of July when the temperature of the surface water is far more tepid. Perch prey and trout dine in the fall, whereas bass strike in the summer, striving north from their cooler, lower environs, often a far journey to the warm surfaces that cover their world.

The fall brings the crackle of leaves underfoot and the woodsy smell of fireplaces nearby. Lower, less-intensive light and colder water make wading a choice, not a mandate. Sweaters instead of short-sleeves. Spinning lures instead of poppers. Cotton and wool-clipped gloves rather than bare hands. Sunscreen on exposed areas rather than the entire body.

Autumnal fishing is truly a spiritual experience, as the light and warmth often comes from inside through the opportunity of experiencing the resulting gratitude of such an awakening joy. Appreciating nature, light, and the abundant glories of the fall can be yours, too, if you are in the mood.

As for me, I am newly intrigued with the notion of a strike, a pull, and the uncertainty of it all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Carp"e Mortalitas

"Koi"- vey!

A 64-pound carp, coveted by fisher folk in England, was recently found floating on the surface of the lake that it inhabited. Apparently, it was poisoned by nuts. (Of course, that makes me question the contents of those feeders at zoos and gardens across the world).

An article, which recently appeared on global news sites around the world, announced the death of the 20-25 year old carp which had been caught 63 times. Apparently, the local fishing community sought after this carp as the ultimate catch. Carp are amazingly strong; they are also beautiful. Their scales are evenly proportioned, resembling the scales on the body of a 'mermaid.' Their lips are soft, like room temperature butter. And they have these little fleshy feelers at the corners of their mouths, resembling catfish (but they are not poisonous if touched).

This is apparently a big loss for the fisherfolk in England. I've always thought that carp should be admired, not caught. Their life span is around 100 years (I think). Of course, I disagree with PETA on this one; but if offered a chance to catch a carp, I would turn it down. They are too beautiful, sacred, and precious (not to minimize the validity of other gilled swimmers)!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Distressing the "Damsel"fish

The damselfish population is apparently wreaking havoc in Coral Reefs in the Caribbean. Why, you ask?

Ask the Marine Park Manager who has done little, apparently, to curb overfishing of predatory species such as the grasby (much like a grouper) and the parrotfish. By allowing unlimited fishing of these two species, in particular, their presence has been depleted, allowing the damselfish to thrive and multiply. The grasby prey on the damselfish; the parrotfish dines on algae (little herbivores).

According to an article which recently appeared on the NPR website, the damselfish, which is a small fish (approximately the size of a goldfish), uses algae to build nests. It does this by sucking on coral. This frees the coral of the algae, however it kills the coral. Over time, the reef will cease to exist. Multiply this by the thousands and things could change more rapidly.

Parrotfish eat algae and they have been overfished. Grasby prey on damselfish but they, too, have been overfished. Solution? Limit the catching of parrotfish and grasby.

Given the situation, I draw a strong parallel to the limitations placed on striped bass. In order to ensure the species can grow and thrive, limitations are placed on the size of those that you can keep (i.e., no more than 28 inches and no less than 42 inches, depending on where you live). Fisherfolk respect these limitations. Why shouldn't the Marine Park Manager implement some laws with regard to this situation? I don't profess to advocate the control of certain fish species, but when the Marine Park Manager states, "Feel free to fish grasbys, but corals will decline as a result, indirectly. And everything else that depends on those corals, including the grasbys ultimately, will also go down."

It is a complex ecosystem - a coral reef. But the population of the damselfish needs to be in distress. Ignoring the problem is only accelerating the progress of this issue. Either introduce more predatory fish or add regulations. Marine Park Ranger, what say you?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lake Little Known-ah

...not for long! This little lake is an amazing find. I had heard about it through my friend Amy (who fishes there with her husband on a regular basis), but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I actually experienced it for myself.

I drove to Lake Zoar in Southbury. As I remembered (as it was explained to me), Lake Lillinonah is at the top of Lake Zoar. All I had to do was listen for the jet skis and boats...and follow them north.

And I did. I found the trail guide and fishing advisory board right in a small parking lot. I found a more remote spot to park and I proceeded to this isolated lakeside spot...that was already usurped by two fellow fishers. (These guys became my instant friends as we shared our catches across the lake).

My first cast with a hula popper landed me a nice lake bass. It was not large, but it gave some nice tugs and a good little battle. I gently removed the hook and eased him back into the water with care. The next spinner lures rewarded me with two consecutive yellow perch.

I spent most of the day at Lake Lillinonah. I could have spent the evening, too, as we all know that fish love the cooler water temperatures. But duty called and I headed back to Milford, a far cry from my new found fishing hole.

Try it - Lake Little Known-ah (can you tell I love Maine?)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sarah "Pailin' " Likes to Fish

I find myself in a bit of a quandary today having spent most of the day fishing myself. I really shouldn't tease another woman who happens to be passionate about fishing. But this one, I simply can't resist.

She resigns her post as Governor of Alaska (less than a year from the date on which she joined the GOP ticket as the candidate for VP). And she manages to find the time (while fishing with her husband) to grant a few interviews.

Sarah Palin, on camera and in papers, donning chest high waders and a plain white tee shirt. Looking natural, real, and calm. Was it that they didn't allow her enough fishing during the elections? She seemed pretty high strung during those times. Balance Sarah, balance!

At the risk of sharing my complete views on political parties, candidates, and recent events, Sarah Palin's personality makes me want to lean overboard, not jump. Let's say, "chum the waters." She just doesn't stop talking. My concern is that if she fishes, does she talk while doing so? I know that I don't like much conversation when I'm fishing (which is probably why I love to fish alone).

I don't mean to be judgmental. But with a last name like Palin, it makes me wonder why a bucket-making company hasn't patented the following: "Pailin'," by Sarah. The idea is a drop in the "pails" in comparison to other really holds its weight...I mean, isn't she looking for fundraising ideas to raise capital for her next campaign?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Most Fish are Bony but Not All Fish are Dubbed "Bonefish"

A decade ago, I sat in Miami International waiting to board my plane to Abaco, the northernmost island of the Bahamas. All of my friends and traveling companions were on the plane already, as was our weeks supply of frozen steaks, chicken, ribs, and chops. (There weren't many palatable eating establishments in Abaco, apparently). I was not on the plane because I didn't have a passport or a birth certificate. No one told me that I needed either and it wasn't so much that I couldn't GO to the Bahamas, it was that I wouldn't be let back in to the U.S. without one of these documents. After hours of effort to convince American Airlines that I could produce one of these documents while in the Bahamas (via my father and Fedex), they finally put me on the plane. The next plane. And I subsequently met up with my friends on the island.

We were going Bonefishing. With fly rods in hand, a rented boston whaler, and 8 days in the Bahamas, this was our plan. (Incidentally, the New York Times recently had a great article on bonefishing and I managed to find it online and include it here).

The water in the Bahamas is like nothing you have ever seen. It is like one large bathtub with lots of ripples in it. At a long glance, it is light blue / green, but you can see everything right in front of you. Fish. Coral. More fish. Everything.

Our bout to catch bonefish proved successful for a couple of my talented fly-fishing cohorts. It was a game of patience and skill. A bit different than fishing in a river and more challenging to actually hook one. My success occurred when fishing at night off the dock using strips of conch for bait. I caught many fish and enjoyed most evenings that way.

Bonefishing in the Bahamas. Try it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, No Fish

Recently, I have been reading many articles on our oceans including articles on oceanic pollution (including plastics and chemicals, to name a few), increased oceanic temperature, and the not-so-surprising disappearance of its residents. This includes fish.

Now I love fish. I love to catch them, put them back, eat them, buy them, and cook (roast, pan fry or grill) all types of fish. But one of the articles focused on what we can do to ensure the longevity of fish species. The argument of the article was that if we maintain this level of depletion for much longer, it is possible that a number of species of fish will become extinct.

When we go to a market, we make economic decisions. The products that we purchase contribute to demand. When there is demand, there is supply. But if there is no demand, supply will dwindle. When applying introductory economic principles to the purchases we make (including the types of fish we buy), we could very likely reverse some of the overfishing that is going on in our oceans.

Click here to see the list of OVERFISHED fish.

Just a while ago, I was promoting a Halibut dish. As long as it is not Atlantic Halibut, I still promote the recipe.

If each one of us can make choices that promote the recovery of certain species of fish, we will all benefit...and so will the mammals (standard predatory cycle in the ocean) that are also consumers.

Choose wisely!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Up a Creek without a Paddle

You know that feeling when your life heads in a direction where you feel like you are fighting a strong current without the proper tools?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Come to think of it, I'll have the Halibut

It's fishing season and although I don't expect to find any Atlantic Halibut roaming around the inlets of Long Island Sound (that I can potentially catch), I hope to place a nice fillet on my grill once or twice!

In this month's issue of Cooking Light, there is an excellent recipe for Grilled Halibut with Mango Salsa. My glands watered as I perused the article on my couch at home. I mean, take a look at the colorful salsa that accompanies this fish! Since Halibut is sweet on its own, the combination of fresh ingredients in this salsa will undoubtedly bring out the sweetness of the fish. I also found some other great Halibut recipes in Cooking Light.

Halibut is a wonderful fish for grilling. Since it is relatively dense (like Cod), it is less likely to fall apart or flake on the grill. I love a cold, crisp Pinot Grigio with this dish (like Ecco Domani). It is a great dish to serve friends or even moms...for Mother's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Florida Bans Fish-pedies

For those of you who have been following this story, Florida is now one of many states opting to ban the use of fish to perform fish pedicures. If you recall, I reported on this in my "Foot Peche-ish" entry back in July.

I'm not sure how the governor of Florida (one of the largest fishing states in the country) can actually ban this procedure. But Texas and Washington have banned it. They are arguing that it is for sanitation purposes. In a way, feet "en-pedicure" are serving as a nutrition source for the fish. I must admit that I am not sure how many of my friends would actually let fish suck on their feet. But if they knew how beautiful their feet would look, maybe they would consider it.

The fish, known as Chin Chin, are native Chinese fish that resemble guppies. American salons were introduced to them only recently and now, it is all the here for a look..until a state government decided to regulate it as "unsanitary."

Why don't state governments regulate tanning beds that increase the risk of skin cancer, driving up our health care costs? Or why don't governments mandate the use of flip-flops in public showers (i.e., at the gym)? The cost (and related problems) of foot and toenail fungus are also unsanitary (and costly). Rather they choose to regulate the use of fish to perform these pedicure functions. Why not compromise and have rules by which each salon must comply? This way we can have our fish-icures and they can eat our feet, too!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hike in Fishing and Hunting Fees?

Well, you may not have heard the news yet, but if you can believe it, we may pay DOUBLE TO FISH AND HUNT. Newfoundland is looking better and better.

Monday, January 26, 2009

WD-40: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease...and more!

Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is?
(This article is a forwarded email from a source unknown, therefore I cannot stake claim to any of the information).

WD-40. Who knew?

I had a neighbor who had bought a new pickup.
I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of this beige truck (for some unknown reason).
I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news.
He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open.
Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off.
It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck.
I'm impressed! WD-40 who knew?
"Water Displacement #40" The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts.
WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company.
Its name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound.
They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.
The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts.
Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.
When you read the "shower door" part, try it.
It's the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door.
If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It's a miracle!
Then try it on your stove top ... Voila!
It's now shinier than it's ever been. You'll be amazed.
Here are some other uses:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4. Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making them slippery.
5. Keeps flies off cows.
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7. Removes lipstick stains.
8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
9. Untangles jewelry chains.
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
18. It removes black scuff marks from t he kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub
nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
20. Gives a children's playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31. Removes splattered grease on stove.
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
37. Florida 's favorite use is: "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers."
38. The favorite use in the state of New York, WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
42. Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The
lipstick is gone!
43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.

P. S. The basic ingredient is FISH OIL.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ice, Ice Baby

It's that time of year. The hum of motor powered ice augers on lakes across the northern parts of the country (and world). I have never had the luxury of a motor powered ice auger, but did invest in a manual one. Talk about an arm workout!

Pike, pickerel, trout, salmon - the trick is that if you can stand the cold, the idea will never get old.

I used to use tip ups when ice fishing. That is when I ice fished alone and had multiple holes drilled in the ice. I couldn't keep track of all of them by myself. But when ice fishing with other people, it is kind of fun to have a few holes and a few people in a hut...and a sterno-fired grill with roasted veggies and hot soup. Or whatever.

The idea of ice fishing has changed. It is no longer for the "heartiest," but for those with the most heart - those who want to catch fish no matter the season. Or the reason. It's a great challenge to hook a catch from a hole in the ice - but once the fish is on, you've never felt such a pull! Try it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I still fish!

A nice guy emailed me through my blog the other day asking if I still fish and if I am still maintaining a blog. Working full time has usurped most of my free time, some of which was used to go fishing! Sorry if my site has been boring.

The other day, I read a GREAT article about stripers in Connecticut in the Milford Mirror. Primarily, the Housatonic River has had some great action over the past few months. Check out this great article (click here). I promise to keep throwing out my line!

Happy New Year!