Two Days

Two Days . . .

Clyde E. Drury, Jr.

Clyde E. Drury, Jr.

1.

Clyde E. Drury, Jr. passed away at the age of 85 on July 31, 2015, the Thirty-first of July; a Friday.

Clyde E. Drury, Jr. He edited and introduced the standard annotated edition of The Autobiography of Dr. James Alexander Henshall.

Henshall in ways lasting brought the black basses of North America to codified attention. He was a nineteenth century angling author. Clyde devoted a facet of his long life of service to books of the black bass. His work reached my attention a decade ago as the smallmouth and largemouth bass receive a major role as characters in my two collections of stories. Stories, in part, of the black bass.

His mind was open to my work’s inclusion into his open-ended online bibliography. I consider that a high achievement in my life, as satisfying as knowing my name is included on a CD-ROM affixed to the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by Pluto and Charon in early July. Clyde, who served in the United States Air Force for some two decades, lived to appreciate American aerospace ability completing a survey of the entire Solar System. He witnessed all of the essential moments leading to the Moon and from the Sun itself passed Mercury, Venus, and comets, Mars, and the asteroid Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, all of the way on to Pluto and its moons orbiting at the far edge of the planetary property. That thought celebrates life and encourages happiness beyond the loss of a friend.

His span of years marked by service and generosity reached and sustained me for years. When I contacted him first by email, Mr. Drury was kind enough to include my project within his authoritative online bibliography of black bass books. Our mutual affection for the black bass in part brought Small Fry: The Lure of the Little into print in 2009. Our interaction became a friendship, a conversation, a seed sprouted into occasional notes, Holiday Greetings, and mutual appreciation.

A forthcoming print edition of Clyde E. Drury’s collected Books of the Black Bass may be a book written, compiled, conducted in an ongoing manner, composed of a planet of authorial voices. My own was one shared with him through his gifts of direction as well as a bibliography to keep my life busy until I myself am 85, even beyond, maybe.

Thank you for your service, Sir.

Clyde E. Drury Jr.
March 21, 1930 – July 31, 2015

Happy Anniversary, POTF!

Happy Anniversary, POTF!

2.

The First of August, a Saturday, the day after Clyde E. Drury, Jr. passed, marked an anniversary milestone having been reached. My first book, Philadelphia on the Fly: Tales of an Urban Angler entered the “Published” category on that date a decade ago and the title remains so. Websites online list the official publication date as August 1, 2005.

Ten years is often quoted as span of time required to integrate mastery of a subject, a sport, a discipline. Perhaps the tenkara rod in my hand is a kind of baton. I shall honor the angling and writing craft, as did Clyde, and keep the illustrated angling book a living, growing body of Literature with a capital L.

The tenkara rod: this tool, this baton, like a pencil to paper. When put to water one encounters pools of stories to be pulled from the clarity. Lines are necessary. Body and mind, combined in tenkara’s case, serve as the real reel. My mountain bike, back cover star of the first edition of Philadelphia on the Fly, still in service ten years later, carries me to the water unless a Manhattan subway shoulders some of the commute, or on a day like today, after writing in rumination, I get up, get shoes on, and go off, running . . .

. . . On The Fly.

– rPs 08 07 2015

Postscript:

The Autobiography of Dr. James Alexander Henshall: The Father of Bass Fishing in America, Annotated Edition. Edited and with an Introduction by Clyde E. Drury

http://www.whitefishpress.com/bookdetail.asp?book=54

Philadelphia on the Fly: Tales of an Urban Angler by ron P. swegman

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1571883614/qid=1125520154/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-5425795-7768125?v=glance&s=books

Leave a Comment

The Girth Hitch

The Girth Hitch . . .

 

When Is A Knot Not? 07 2015

When Is A Knot Not?
(07 2015)

 

When is a knot not? The knot of and in itself, an infinite loop object, that meets the immovable object. The Lillian end, the knotted silk tip of a tenkara rod, offers its utility of simplicity to the loop as one meets the other in an essential equally blended architecture.

The Girth Hitch; this one gives traditional tapered line, with its silken loop and double helix weave, an impressive connection to a tenkara rod’s tip. The head yank of the trout and the pounce of the bass all require secure connection: The Girth Hitch.

 

***

“The Girth Hitch Gives Hedge. “

I pointed to the glass countertop, passed an open hand over the open tube with its cap set to the side, the rod, and the rod’s tip plug set aside on the unknotted sock. Father and Son, their eyes followed my hand like two in study of a wily card trick magician. “The tenkara rod held in this travel tube makes a great academic introduction to flycasting types and rod action as it relates to the artificial fly.”

Father and son were entertained. The flybox was clipped closed.

“Tether the three together. Rod, Line, Fly: The Angler Knots, my pun on tethered astronauts. Your main option here out may well be the line. I am on the level when I say I’m happy to see you have started with traditional tapered.”

Father asked for more, suggested as his son hugged a stuffed toy snook. “The black line looks like one on a largemouth bass.”

We knew local pond water offered plenty of largemouth bass and sunfish. “Have fun. Use the pattern your son insisted upon. Yours, right?”

The son hugged snook and raised up his free thumb. Thumbs up.

Several hours later the father emailed a photo: youngster, smiling, tenkara rod perpendicular, line tight to a grip holding up a planed hand of barred brass and blue. “Tenkara Bluegill.”

The Girth Hitch (07 2015)

The Girth Hitch
(07 2015)

 

“Small Fry” . . .

– rPs 07 29 2015

Postscript: Small Fry: The Lure of the Little

The Whitefish Press

http://www.whitefishpress.com/bookdetail.asp?book=87

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Fry-Ron-P-Swegman/dp/0984267700/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260539926&sr=1-3

 

Leave a Comment

Tippets and Tibbetts

Tippets and Tibbetts . . .

 

Tibbetts Brook (06 2015)

Tibbetts Brook
(06 2015)

 

George Tippett, a colonial loyalist, lost his land where a major skirmish in alliance with native tribes was waged against the British crown during the American Revolution. The battle was lost, the war was won. The outcome turned the land over and again, a name alteration emerged into a new standard, and land acquisition through marriage came to Jacobus Van Cortlandt.

Tibbetts Brook flows, rather meanders, meanders down through a forested vein in The Bronx. Two parks: Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt, give the northern frontier of New York City freshwater fishing as close as the salt of the Hudson River where the striped bass swims.

Water Lily, Spatterdock, and sediment flats offer a few fit and fat Centrarchidae with an appetite. Females, finished doing duty and ready for a meal, make up the bulk of the menu in June. Scattered few have fallen for a kebari. Others have been and may be in future flushed by frisky waterfowl or a passing cyclist if one pauses to inquires “How’s the fishing?” or “Catch any?” The most polite individual encountered, the one I ally with, is instead the semiaquatic genus Ondontra. The only one of its kind, the Muskrat deserves a most elevated status for its humble, pleasant nature and mild, herbivorous ways.

Calm water, or perhaps rippled from a sustained breeze, both enjoy the presence of the solitary bass of several pounds lurking below. Patterns may take the form of a size 6 Green Guarantee streamer or perhaps a kebari of a different kind, such as the foam Panfish Spider. Experiments on the latter pattern using all game feather and fur remain ongoing and make for awesome time at the vise.

Tippet, here in 2015, takes the form of three to six feet of 4x monofilament knotted to a twelve foot Level Line or Traditional Tapered Line. The less opaque Level Line makes a better choice in skinny water and finds itself used more often for this fly fishing. The line and leader formula gives a surging bass of three pounds sporting opportunity to break free into cover. Fishes with a face full of weed can come with this territory, making a stiffer 7/3 flex like that of the Tenkara USA Yamame rod a prudent choice.

Fights are fun, and fishes landed by bending rod and body in the protracted wrestle strike the profile of a true football. Nerf nerds might appreciate a comparison in the mix as well. A female, long and muscled, at this time of year will feel deflated and seem somewhat airy next to an earlier one heavy with eggs, the kind of bass an angler with a soul let rest, as she is best then left alone.

Aggressive females: the after party is a second story. Hungry, collected, they strike if presented a morsel of opportunity during a cruise in open water. A big girl emerges from cover with a slow, confident pulse that excites. Casting form may suffer from adrenaline jitters unless absolute focus is maintained.

The female Largemouth Bass now wants to bite, to pounce on prey lingering too far from a green algae mat or lily pad or stand of pickerel weed. The pond permit, the Bluegill, shares the pattern. Olive and silver in tone with distinct vertical bars, the ladies inhale a fly, hold it in mouth often without the hook penetrating, making release easy if forceps have been brought along.

 

Aggressive Female Bluegill (06 2015)

Aggressive Female Bluegill
(06 2015)

 

Meanwhile, male Centrachidae are too busy to bite. Young bucks are swift, nimble, and chase instead of take. Try your best. The men are interested in pushing you away, not pulling. Noses nudge a fly pattern along, far away from nests full of fry, far from from a potential hook set. Smart behavior expressed by strong fish.

From bottom to top, from end to end, full fishing reportage takes at minimum a full day to cover. The explorer angler’s hike, jog, or bike best includes some time in between to stop and read the informative historical markers and enjoy the wildflowers. Tippett’s land has changed, as has the legacy of his name. Still, scattered spots along this namesake brook in the Bronx may offer encounter with the kind of Largemouth Bass that can begin and end a memorable day in one respectable cast.

 

A size 8 Panfish Spider lured this solid female largemouth bass to the top. (06 2015)

A size 8 Panfish Spider lured this solid female largemouth bass to the top.
(06 2015)

– rPs 06 12 2015

Postscript: In Memory of Andrew Victor Amici, United States Navy, 1950-2015

Leave a Comment

Trout 3, Ebisu 1

Trout 3, Ebisu 1 . . .

 

Eastern PA Trout Stream (05 2015)

Eastern PA Trout Stream
(05 2015)

 

Streams that for whatever reason hold a sparse number of trout, perhaps two or three per mile, can make even a stocked trout fishery a challenge tenkara can handle.

Handle of pine: the Ebisu this time out. The 12-foot rod’s more limber 5/5 flex allowed tighter casts within side channels the width of city sidewalks. Runs walled by spring green, everything from tenacious native saplings to the shallow-rooted immigrant Japanese Knotweed.

 

Side Channel Drift (05 2015)

Side Channel Drift
(05 2015)

 

The traditional tapered line with six feet of 6X tippet landed soft hackles and nymphs with stealth along promising seams. The pine handle gives the Ebisu the feel of a baseball bat tapering to a 1-weight graphite tipped with a matching fly line.

 

Pointing In The Trout's Direction: Ebisu, Line Holder, Traditional Tapered Line (05 2015)

Pointing In The Trout’s Direction:
Ebisu, Line Holder, Traditional Tapered Line
(05 2015)

 

The Philadelphia Phillies, hosting the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, in that order, brought me to Philadelphia for a few days. Valley Creek, French Creek, and Pickering Creek were nearby. The Wissahickon, The Schuylkill, and The Pennypack were within range. Waters borne on the pages of Philadelphia on the Fly and Small Fry: The Lure of the Little.

What mattered more than destination this time was the full fishing experience with all of its supporting details. Spring fishing offers riparian zones flush with wildflowers and songbirds and streams, some marginal at other times of the year, now with trout, holdovers, survivors from the weeks following the opener.

Reports of “little black stoneflies” were replaced by the actual witness to a few scattered rising Hendricksons approximated by a size 14. Forage of the moment took many, more meaty, forms: tiny black tadpoles, parent frogs, crayfish, and earthworms all were sighted in and along several streams. The flows were solid, clear, and warmer than expected given the long winter that had encased the Northeast in snow for three months.

My India Hen and Herl and Silver Ribbed Deer Hair and Black soft hackles in size 12 fit just as well a hatchling tadpole. They were that small; the squiggling creature’s head and tail resembled a comma.

 

The Ronnie Cash: Soft Hackles Dressed In Black (05 2015)

The Ronnie Cash:
Soft Hackles Dressed In Black
(05 2015)

 

Both patterns worked.

Trout, the simple fins to face direct encounter, were few. Again, these were scattered survivors of the opener. Natural forage was on their menu. Artificial colors and sweeteners had been by now learned to be avoided. Imitation, a general for the surveyed stream forage, called for some personal combination of thread, feather, perhaps fur and various glitter of some material, the blacker, the better.

Tussles on the Ebisu were strong, yet static, a kind of slow motion take that saw trout drop the fly three out of four times along two wades of a mile and back.

One rainbow in the net serves posterity enough. One rainbow a caudal fin short of a foot. The fish landed, and all the fish lost, were appreciated in light of the effort involved to lure their strikes.

 

Rainbow Trout (05 2015)

Rainbow Trout
(05 2015)

 

Insights on fly pattern awareness, as well as sightings of Baltimore orioles in full song and flight, wildflowers like the Mayapple, wild Mustards in abundance, plus a single Jack-in the-Pulpit, made a satisfying spring weekend of baseball and fly fishing that ended: Trout 3, Ebisu 1.

– rPs 05 13-14 2015

Leave a Comment

Tenkara & Sabiki

Tenkara & Sabiki . . .

Sabiki: pencils on paper (04 2015)

Sabiki: pencils on paper
(04 2015)

Sabiki rigs employ another Japanese method of catching fish. Perhaps some variation might be employed using a tenkara rod? Last year’s toe dip into the world of saltwater panfishing proved tenkara equipment was up to the challenge.

A Typical Sabiki Rig

A Typical Sabiki Rig

Stay tuned for more reportage from the salt. Meanwhile, traditional tenkara kebari remain a model for some of my sketches-in-progress.

Kebari Model and Sketch (04 2015)

Kebari Model and Sketch
(04 2015)

— rPs 04 30 2015

Postscript: Here is a link to last year’s initial foray into saltwater tenkara: http://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2014/07/25/the-salt-on-the-level/

Leave a Comment

Swegman’s Sunfish Catches A Fish

Swegman’s Sunfish Catches A Fish . . .

Swegman's Sunfish

Swegman’s Sunfish

Swegman’s Sunfish lured Lepomis with orange breasts to match the twitch, hooked, and tethered to a hook holding hair rather than feather.

Swegman's Sunfish Angle

Swegman’s Sunfish Angle

Will mention also another mention of the Green Guarantee:

Green Guarantee Incite Bluegill

Green Guarantee Incite Bluegill

As well as the smaller Deer and Green soft hackle:

Deer and Green Incite Bluegill

Deer and Green Incite Bluegill

Green guaranteed even as the NYC region remains brown.

– rPs 04 13 2015

Leave a Comment

April Gray

April Gray . . .

Gray Ghost

Gray Ghost

The image at the head is a photo in situ of Gray Ghost, an original work reproduced in color on the pages of Philadelphia on the Fly.

Check “A Very Scary Fish Story” next time you crack open the first edition.

A Very Scary Fish Story

A Very Scary Fish Story

— rPs 04 07 2015

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.