Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't forget Nawlins...

In light of all that HAS happened with Katrina and IS happening down in New Orleans with the BP oil spill I found it appropriate to share some of my experiences down there with the fishing community. I've been to Nawlins to fly fish for redfish and met some incredible people one of whom was the gentleman who married my husband and I, Captain Gregg Arnold. Gregg and his wife are two of the most gracious people I have ever met and give until there is no more to family AND friends. Gregg is a redfish guide and has already seen the destruction of his livelihood when Katrina came through but is now about to experience an oil spill that may just shut down redfishing and all activities related to that wonderful stretch of coast line for many, many years...some say forever.

Here are a few photos that sum up my experiences with Captain Gregg and some of the other wonderful people who we have met in Nawlins. I don't know what they are going to do during and after this spill but hopefully their lives are not ruined. This is a precious and fragile ecosystem that is about to be smothered by oil. It makes me so sad to know that it is on the brink of such a horrible catastrophe.

Whatever happens...we can't forget Nawlins, the people who live there and the creatures that inhabit her coastline.

For the many redfish tales that have been woven on the flats south of Nawlins...

One of my biggest reds!

Conway hooking up along the banks

A true Nawlins treat!

The marsh on approach from the plane...will this ever look like this again?

Hopedale at dawn...

The boys who fish for big reds...

Some of the wonderful birdlife from the marsh

Enjoying a beignet at Cafe Du Monde with Capt. Gregg Arnold...perhaps touristy but so good and you can't beat the company!

Capt. Gregg's house special...fresh shrimp with cayanne, salt, pepper, butter and lime...cooked to perfection and finger licking good. Each person is served up a bowl of shrimp with a fresh baguette to soak up the butter. DELICIOUS! Do not serve this to your cardiologist!

I believe this was my first red...2007

Nawlins classic even after Katrina.

And of course, oysters on the half shell...

And my favorite...boiled crawdads with cold beer on a hot night with live Nawlins jazz playing in the background. I really does not get ANY better than this!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More old skool talk

I was checking out more of my grandfather's cool vintage reels and was admiring the beautiful workmanship on the reels. You just don't see stuff like this today on the mass marketed gear that is pumped out of "who knows where" and sold on the shelves of your local shop. Just look at these two Penn reels...the Surfmaster and Squidder. That's a pretty neat image on there. These days it's all about shiny...everything has to be shiny and bright! I don't know...these images give the reel some pretty neat character with a few shiny screw heads and chrome here and there.

I guess these days the reel companies are putting photo images on reels and that's pretty cool too. I've seen some neat custom etching that is starting to come out on a few Abel fly reels but those will cost you a few extra bucks. Ahhhhhhh, the good ol' days...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Old Skool...old spool

Yikes, it's been way too long but fishing season is right around the corner so this should kick off many more blogs to come! I'll start by taking a trip into the past. I was recently given some vintage tackle that used to be my grandfathers. Now, my grandfather was a surgeon and as far as I knew he never went fishing. Well, at least he knew how to buy gear! Most of it's in pretty pristine condition and hardly used. Do I use it or keep it all in good shape? And the manuals that came with the gear is classic! Check it out!

I can honestly say that the times have changed! No more suits and dress shoes on the boat these days. It's all quick dry shorts, bikinis and SPF!!! But I'll wear a suit if it means I can catch something like this beast!

And how about the prices back then! This little gem coast $1.10...what can you buy for that little these days in a tackle shop? Maybe a little tide chart if you're lucky.

Um, does that really say...712lb tuna? I'd be over the side of the boat trying to haul that beast in! Sashimi for everyone!!!!

And check out the sweet suit on this "gentleman" in this surf casting demo in the manual.

Penn Reels...only the best for my grandfather! Catalog #16...wonder what # they're up to these days? 5,394????

Ok, getting to the good stuff...tackle! Not an ounce of rust on this thing. Clearly it never hit the water. Wonder how well it works...

This Hawaiian wiggler looks like a classic bass lure. Might have to take it out at Lake Hodges some day and give it a try.

Liquid gold...reel oil for keeping everything in tip top shape!

I'll probably change the line out on this one before casting at any big fish with it. Still runs smooth though.

Yet another rust...maybe grandpa didn't really fish!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free Tuna?

Last week San Diego had "the storm of the decade" according to some forecasters and "the storm of the century" according to the national news. Now, when this happens in San Diego the Tijuana River flows from Mexico, under the border fence and into US waters at a beach known as Imperial Beach. This water is, how shall I say, full of it? "It" being crap...yes, literally...raw sewage that overflows from Tijuana (commonly known as TJ) as well as the tons of garbage and debris. It makes the Tijuana River Valley on the U.S. side look like a recycling center in a pool of thick brown water and it all flows out into the ocean there at the beach. And I"m not just talking about a little flow and then it dissipates into the gorgeous blue ocean. I'm talking a digusting brown plume of water moving north along the beach for miles!!!! Millions of gallons of this nasty stuff flowing into the ocean per day! YUCK!

Click here if you want to see a cool scientific link about the plume and watch as it flows out of TJ.

I mention this because last week's storm also brought huge waves in the 15-18' range to Southern California and probably bigger in Northern Baja Mexico. These waves apparently tore open some of the aquafarm pens that house blue fin tuna down in Northern Baja. The tuna, having been raised in the pens their whole life are weaker, I imagine, than their free swimming counterparts. It seems the loose tuna got caught up in some currents and have been thrashing around in the shore pound along the beaches in Imperial Beach (IB).

Some folks have headed down there to grab up these 20-40lb blue fin in waist deep water and take them home for dinner. I guess the fish are so beaten from the big waves that they're easy to just scoop up and take them home.

Wouldn't common sense tell you...or me...or anyone...that wading waist deep, into chocolate brown sewage water that is flowing from the Tijuana River wouldn't be an ideal place to collect your dinner? No matter how free it is? The risk of getting Hepatitis is so high that there's actually a free clinic down in IB for surfers to get inocculated so they can go surf in the winter when it's huge but the river is doing it's thing and flowing into the water right there.

Is the price of tuna and our desire for it that great that people have to risk getting sick over it?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter sharkin'!

With the beautiful weather we're having this winter the sharks on the fly have been plentiful!!! We've had some insane days with blues circling the boat and then a small mako shows up and the blue high tail it outta there as Mr. Mako takes his (or her) turn at the chum bucket and our flies! What a great winter we're having...better not jinx it!

Circling blueshark...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kicking off the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Just returned from The Islands (aka Hawaii) where I spent some unbelieveably relaxing days on the beach and in the 80 degree water. I saw plenty of bonefish but alas the Kona winds kicked up and on the days I had planned to fish they didn't want to play or were hanging out in the marine reserve areas. Brutal to see huge bonefish practically swimming at my feet and not being able to throw a fly at them! Conway made a play on some of them but visibility was tough with all the wind...bones 1...humans 0!

Coming up on the calendar is the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey January 22-24. Conway, and I will be there every day. Conway's delivering his presentation on mako fishing on the fly each day. If you're at the show it's a must see! Check out their website for info and times:

I'll be wandering around the show, seeing all my fly friends and definitely sitting in on some of the talks. I'm crossing my fingers for good weather...Hawaii to San Diego to New Jersey in January...ouch...that's tough!

Hope to see some of you there!