Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wet Lines & Good Times: First For 2013

Great outing today. Limited on time, I ran out the door with Tess to grab what little river time I could get. The first fish came quickly, and although it was small, it was that wonderful first fish of the season that seems to set the precedent for the rest of the season. Nothing beats that first take, that first tug - especially when it's still early for a hatch, and yet you manage to get them to take a dry. Today's magic was the ubiquitous Adams parachute indicator - one of my favorite go-to flies. I did see, and subsequently try to fish, some small cream midges, but to no avail. The brown pictured was my second fish, and if it's any indication of the healthy life in the river, this season's going to produce a lot of good fish and great memories. I'm sure with the coming week's warming weather, the bugs should be emerging and the fishing is sure to heat up.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Stoneflies

Headed out for a short mid-day woods and water jaunt with the pooch - my constant fishing companion. I nymphed the riffles for a bit and threw a March Brown/Hendrickson dry with an emerger to see what was what. I had three takes on the dropper set up, but blew my hook sets (a real fisherman can admit that). Around 12:00ish, I noticed some bugs flying around and happened to capture this guy (pictured left). I quickly switched to a quill-winged Stonefly, but a few casts in, my efforts were cut short with a phone call, requesting that I pick up Easter goodies for the kiddies. Remembering again why I try to stay off the grid when venturing out . . . until next time . . .

Saturday, March 23, 2013

First Casts of 2013

Had some time to head out today for a nice hike with my furry, four-legged friend and hit the river for some more scouting and general soul-cleansing. Blackbirds were out and buds are on the trees, so not much longer now until the hatches start. BWOs and Stoneflies have been seen and the river was green and flowing at 152 cfs. I threw some deer hair-winged black stones to fish the riffles mid-afternoon, but didn't have much luck. The water is still in the mid-30s and the few fish I spotted didn't have much interest in moving. The wind was my nemesis today, but as always, it still felt good to get out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pre-Season Scouting

Cabin fever leads to funny things - trying to fill the void between hunting and fishing seasons without losing your mind. Whether it's tying your own flies, attempting to become an amateur bourbon aficionado, researching loading your own ammo, or trail running with the pooch - whatever it may be - it's all a futile attempt to stay sane and satiate the need to get outdoors and do what you love. I guess the upside of some of the hurricanes and weird weather patterns we've experienced lately is that it alters your home river(s) - effectively making the old new again - with new holes, more structure and changed runs. I took the opportunity recently to venture out this winter to explore my stomping grounds and strategize . . . even if that first tug is a few months away.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Freestone First


Just got back from an amazing vacation in Lake Pacid - one of my favorite places on Earth. I managed to get in one good evening of fishing with my friends at The Hungry Trout, on a private, catch-and-release, fly fishing-only section of the Ausable River. This freestone river was vastly different than my home tailwater and was as equally challenging as it was exciting. I now understand why so many fisherman were so bummed when felt soles were banned, as my rubber-soled, carbide-studded boots did little in the way of traction. I relied heavily upon a wading staff to navigate the combination of current and slick rocks. I caught four nice browns and lost as many (plus two I missed on slow hook sets at the start). The Adirondacks provided a gorgeous backdrop, despite the pouring rain and thunder.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Man, His Dog and Some Fish

Another incredible night on the river. Weather cooled off just enough and I headed out after dinner to fish until it got too dark to see. Had Tess with me and she enjoyed full run of the trails and river. I have to leash her when I'm fishing though - trying to keep a Lab out of the water is like trying to have the sun rise in the West. She was not pleased being restrained. I caught a few good fish and somehow lost my Dr. Slick clamp (argh!). I toggled between a rusty spinner, sulphur spinner and sulphur. Much of the action came right at sunset and I even fished in the dark for a bit trying to hook up just by listening for the take.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Browns

Awesome Father's Day fishing jaunt. Headed back to the same hole as the other day - this time with my headlamp - preparing to stay until I couldn't see my fly anymore. Early on, things started off slow and I picked off a few smaller ones here and there using sulphurs, spinners and caddis. The action picked up two-fold as it got closer to sunset and I caught some really nice-sized browns using a size 16 Royal Coachman.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rusty Spinner - It's What's For Dinner

Hit the river tonight from 4:00 p.m. until dark. I spent the first chunk of time feeling things out - looking for bugs, rises, etc., but it was slow going for a while. A few sporadic takes from mostly small browns like the two pictured above. I lost quite a few fish too - hook sets were too quick and I even had some issues with fish trowing the hook (lost what was probably THE biggest brown I've ever caught just as I was about to net him). I switched it up a lot between orange-bodied sulphurs, spinners and rusty spinners. I was expecting more of a spinner fall, but not much was going on bug-wise. The action picked up around 8:30 p.m. and I was getting into bigger fish (it really is true when they say the big boys come out to play when it gets dark), but ultimately had to bail since I was in a new non-trail area and forgot my headlamp. Gorgeous evening though and I shared the river with a huge beaver and a heron, who were only feet away.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sulphurs and Spinners

Another gorgeous night on the river. I hit a new spot around 5:30 p.m. and fished until 8:00 p.m. Despite not seeing any naturals at the outset, I still fished a sulphur dry and after a few casts, they started to rise. I noticed some small cream midges and ultimately some big orange sulphurs. I hooked but lost four or five initially (due to bad knots and dull hooks - argh!). I settled in, however, resharpened some hooks and laid into them with sulphurs and spinners. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Gunpowder Ghillie

Hit a new section of the river last night with friend and guide Jason DuPont, for a solid four hours or so of fishing. Despite the reports of severe thunderstorms, it turned out to be a gorgeous evening. We started off swinging nymphs/emergers in the shallow riffles for a few takes, then switched to sulphur dries and absolutely laid into them. We even saw a few caddis. Lots of naturals and lots of big takes, replete with loud slurps and big jumps.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Out With Hendricksons, In With Sulphurs

I stopped in my local fly shop, Backwater Angler, this morning to pick up some flies after seeing a report on an early Sulphur hatch. As always, they were dead on and I had an epic morning. If I brought to net every fish I caught, I would have made it to eighteen. The takes were awesome too - super noisy and aggressive. I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful spring Sunday morning and plan to hit the spinner fall later!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

San Juan Special

Went to some new spots along a catch-and-keep section of the river tonight with Coke and caught a few nice trout. The weather was gorgeous and we wrapped up just before a big storm. I had some luck with a light pink San Juan Worm. We had a few suckers and fall fish as well. And despite the general lack of quality substrate in this area, there are a few holds and there is a bit of structure. I turned over some rocks and even found some Mayfly nymphs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fish On . . . With Conor

Hit the river with Conor this morning after dropping Owen off at school, to squeeze in a few casts on this 71 degree March day. I caught two very nice browns, again on a 24 Adams parachute/indicator. They seemed to be hitting emergers hard, but I didn't have the right arsenal. I had Conor help reel in the fish. First one broke off at the net, but we landed the second one. Conor held it for a second then we let it go. What a way to spend the morning! On the way out, I ran into the Commandant of the US Naval Academy and we chatted about our flies and successes. He was hittin' 'em hard with BWO emergers as I suspected.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Stink is Off

Got out this afternoon for some solo fly fishing - first time this year. Hit the Gunpowder down from the dam at a nice hole. After some experimenting with a small stonefly and then a tandem midge rig to no avail, I sat and watched the water for a bit. I noticed some surface activity around 3:00 or 3:30. They seemed to be eating little gray midges, so I tied on a 24 Adams parachute indicator and caught four nice browns in short order. Tess sat on the banks in a patch of warm sunlight and watched. Each fish got a sniff and then I let them go. Gorgeous day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Fly Fishing Foray of 2012

Well, I finally had my first fly fishing foray of 2012 this past Thursday. Couldn't help but take advantage of the late spring-like temps before things got cold again. Hit a catch-and- keep section of the Gunpowder with my friend and outdoor sage, Coke. I'm not a fan of catch-and-keep areas - they're stocked and attract a less-than-savory crowd who fish with worms or corn niblets, etc. There's a blatant lack of quality substrate and those that don't get caught wind up migrating to the more quality catch and release sections of the river anyway. Either way, it's still fun to get out with a good friend, listen to the river and once again polish up my casting skills after the winter hiatus - especially on a week night. Coke's seen here with three nice trout - two rainbows and a brown.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goosebreast Rendezvous

Hit our goose pit today with Greg, Coke and Rich. We managed just two geese and had a fair amount working our spread. It was cold and gray, with clear skies and a touch of drizzle to make things perfect. The migration's been off a bit this year. Normally we'd have crushed them by now. Apparently, the first Canadian clutches of the spring were devastated by an early bad weather system, so the migration cycle's been off by a month or so. They finally seem to be here now and I look forward to ruffling some more feathers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Backstrap Boogie

This doe was taken with my bow at Coke's Camp in November, 2011, during the rut, just before Thanksgiving gun season. I hunted alone and used my climber. I hunted half over freshly cut soy bean fields and half into the woods. Now enjoying her in family-sized portions!

Savage River Retreat

Went on a great three-day fly fishing trip this spring (2011) to the Savage River with some fellow Maryland Trout Unlimited board members. Incredible time. Water levels were crazy high, so we fished most of the tributaries of the Savage and crushed the native brook trout. Fishing, camp fires, good friends, adult beverages . . . does it get any better?

Gunpowder and Lead . . . and Owen

Took Owen out with Uncle Greg to brush the goose pit for the 2011 season. Owen got to take his first ATV ride and shoot his first 12 ga. shotgun. Awesome bonding with my future hunting buddy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sulphurs on the Gunpowder

Hit the Gunpowder this evening for the Sulphur hatch - first fish of the night with the new Winston BIIx 9' 5 wt. and Hatch 3 Plus reel. Cast like a dream - can't wait to try this rig on some Western Maryland pigs!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sulphur Hatch

Hit Glencoe tonight with Coke for some evening fishing. Nymphs and streamers weren't producing, then noticed sulphurs and some risers as dusk approached, so I switched to a BWO (covered in Dri-Shake to look white) and got this nice Brown (and a Fall Fish). Also saw a baby beaver - must have been days old. He was having trouble in a current, so I brought him back to his dam. Pretty cool night.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Another great night fishing with Coke. Hit up Blue Mount Road and caught a nice Rainbow, Brown, and two fall fish. Rainbow was 12" and Brown was a solid 8"-10".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Double 'Bows

Went out tonight with Coke to one of his favorite catch and keep haunts. Landed these two very nice Rainbows. Also caught a large fall fish - they are a good fighting fish, but can be annoying after a while when you're trying to catch trout. As the light faded, I tried drifting a dry over a deep pool and watched a HUGE Brown rise to my fly ready to house it, only to flare at the last second. Pretty cool to watch the stalk.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Dry Fly of The Season

Headed out around 3:00 p.m. today. Nymphed for a while and didn't have much luck. Around 4:00 fish starting hitting the surface, although I couldn't figure out what bugs they were eating. I tied on a BWO and second drift caught this nice native Brown. Cast a few more times and missed a strike or two, then switched over to a Mr. Rapidan and caught a monster Brown. Threw the hook just as I was about to net him. Argh! The "movie" below is a test with my cool new Flip camera/software.

Friday, April 2, 2010


What a morning! Hit the dam end of the Gunpowder on Good Friday - not one other fisher. I caught 11 fish and lost at least twice as many (not sure why - hook set was too slow I guess). I caught the big three - Rainbow, Brown and a Brook. Figures though, the day I slam 'em I have no camera. I tried to use my wife's cell phone to capture the slaughter, but barely caught a few.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Over the Rainbow

First fish of the season. Went out tonight with Coke to Blue Mount Road to try our luck and scored a very respectable 14" 'bow. Not a bad start to the season. My goal this year is to fish every month of the year - no matter how hot, cold, snowy, rainy, etc.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hunting With Sean Mann

What a killer goose hunt today! I had the fortunate opportunity to fill in a last minute spot with some buddies (for free!) to hunt in Wye Mills (Talbot County, MD) with Sean Mann and his crew on a 380 acre farm along two miles of the Wye River. We worked it hard from our pit blind and came away with nine geese. Unfortunately the day turned out to be a gorgeous, sunny, blue-bird day. Add that to late season, pressured/educated geese and it made conditions tough to limit out. Either way, we had a blast. We hunted mostly over those new Real Geese silhouettes (I found out that geese see in 2-D, so the big, expensive 3-D dekes don't make much of a difference).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Pit Stop

Great morning goose hunting today from our pit blind. Tons of Canadian Geese overhead, but it was tough pulling these late season ganders into shooting range. And the wind kept switching direction, which didn't help our cause. We had a great spread of silhouettes, shells, and full bodies and plenty of good calling. Sean Mann would be proud.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

They call me Gig

Man I love frog gigging. Had a great time this spring and even took the little ones down to camp for a family camp-out and late night gigging. Big ol bullfrogs and tons of fun. I am still waiting for a new challenger to step forward and beat my record, which earned me the nickname, Gig.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let 2009 Bow Season Begin!

Great start to the 2009 hunting season. My fourth bow hunt and I arrowed a beautiful doe at Coke's Camp around 5:30 p.m. Weather was 20 degrees colder than the average and it had been raining since yesterday. Used new Beman MFX Team Realtree arrows with Shuttle T-Lock broadheads and they did NOT dissapoint! Awesome blood trail and she was down within 50 yards. I love doin' the backstrap boogie!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

O-Dog Strikes Again!

Great morning at Uncle Coke's pond with Owen and my God-Daughter Caroline. Owen and Caroline caught 7 nice Bluegills (not counting the ones released). Owen also helped me reel in a nice Largemouth Bass too, which I caught on a Texas-rigged plastic worm. I took home the Bass and cooked it up for us as a treat. Fishing with Owen is quickly becoming my favorite thing to do. Another year and he'll be casting a fly rod like a champ!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bass Fishin' with Owen

I took Owen fishing at Uncle Coke's pond Saturday. He caught five Bluegills and a small Bass with the rod his Uncle John gave him when he was born. I cast one out myself using the same rod. I felt a bite, set the hook (lightly, figuring it was another Bluegill), and saw a huge tail splash. The rod doubled over and somehow I fought a 3lb. Bass to the shore on his baby rod with floss-like line.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Future Angler

My future angler, Owen, working out his gear. I think his first word was, "Flies." Expecting another boy in August - soon I'll have my own guide staff.


I am now a proud board member of Trout Unlimited, Maryland Chapter. I will be serving on the Communications/PR Committee with Maryland's very own Dan Rodricks (of Baltimore Sun and WYPR fame). If you are a fly fisherman/woman or are simply concerned about conserving, protecting and restoring North America's cold water fisheries and their watersheds, I urge you to join Trout Unlimited.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Slab of the Week

Headed out this evening around Lower Glenco (Gunpowder River) with my Scott S4 and Bauer M2SL reel and had an interesting evening. I started off catching my share of those annoying little "Fall Fish." I then caught a tiny Brown and a huge Rainbow! I also caught a Sulphur on my waders, although not much bug action was going on overall. Most of the fish I caught were on a Sulphur. During one back cast, I caught up in the scrub and lost my fly. Since I was having success with the Sulphur, I faked the rest, applying Poo Goo and Dri Shake to a Green Drake and a searching pattern - seemed to work when they were at their whitest. Cool evening. Fished 'til dark.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Weekend Giggin'

We had a big crew for our camping expedition at Coke's Camp - 11 total. We had a blast. Grillin', drinkin' fireworks, tree stand inspections, guitar and stories by the fire...well, you get the picture. We had a late night foray with frog giggin' at a nearby pond. One pass from two groups yielded 11 big bullfrogs. We even brought the little ones with us to enjoy the experience.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sulphurs on the Gunpowder

Great mid-day action on the Gunpowder. Caught five decent Browns on a dry fly (Sulphur). They weren't just sipping either - they were hammering the fly! The new Scott S4 cast like a dream and the Bauer M2SL reel had the smoothest action of any reel I've ever owned.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My New Baby

Your buddy pulls on the oars to line up for the drop and you make a rapid fire cast into a small eddy as the boat spills through the narrow drop. You high stick over the froth to get a few precious seconds of dead drift on your dry fly. That’s all it takes to bring the big brown to the surface. Now you’ve got to land him and there’s no back rowing to slow you down. With knees jammed in the lean bar, the boat bucks through the rapid, while you put the heat on and reach for the long handled net. Scott S4 flyrods handle the big tough stuff. High line speed, tight loops and power. Bring it on. What can I say...I am in love with my new Scott S4 10' 4wt. All Scott rods are built by hand, one at a time, from the highest quality materials. Paired up with my new Bauer M2SL reel and, well, what more can I say. Stay tuned for fish porn.