Posts Tagged Black Crappie

Distance

Distance . . .

Rain on the Tenkara Rod
(NYC 03 17 2020)

I have long noticed that New Yorkers, prone to tailgaiting, often keep their distance from anglers fishing the city’s park ponds. Add a gray day with a little rain, and one can be positively alone.

The conditions have been ideal for late winter and early spring fishing. Add the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional space of social distancing, and there has appeared ample room to cast the long tenkara rod with fixed line, even along what is usually a busy path.

Such a spot afforded me my first take and solid wrestle with a fish in 2020. St. Patrick’s Day, normally a bustle of less than sober revelers in and around the usual business, gave me several hours of therapeutic solitude and a solid bluegill dressed in rich purple and orange colors.

Lucky Start: First Fish of 2020
(03 17 2020)

Spring arrived on March 19th, the earliest such equinox in 124 years. A similar gray and rainy start inspired me to go out again.

I’m glad I did, as the city of New York has since entered a stranger than science fiction time. Like the character Roux in The Plague by Albert Camus, I have witnessed the public space of Manhattan gradually empty into a quiet stage set of sorts. Spring flowers and singing birds have since taken over, giving a heartbreaking natural beauty to the city under siege.

I worked one fly for a few hours in Central Park in the shadow of the Mt. Sinai hospital complex (my employer!), and the reward, in a spring now without baseball, was the local grand slam:

Black Crappie

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Bluegill

(NYC 03 20 2020)

Largemouth Bass

(NYC 03 20 2020)

What a positive start to the 2020 fishing season.

I must set aside my angling avocation to focus on my professional role as a CRCST, managing the sterillization of surgical trays and assisting any way I can in the hospital’s PACU. The fear of sickness subdued by the duty to serve, and soothed by a few hours of good fishing.

Grateful I continue to be for fishing in general, and tenkara specifically, for the distance, physical and psychological, the sport provides from the weights of the world.

Hope
(NYC 03 20 2020)

— rPs 03 31 2020

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The Second Fish

The Second Fish . . .

The Lake in December
(NYC 12 2019)

The day, overcast, the sky white, and the water of the lake reflects a deep chocolate gray from tree leaves now settled on the bottom.

The bare branches and dry rushes speak within the wind as waterfowl patrol the lake. Mated pairs of mallards share the water with flocks of geese. Two swans, their sheer size impressing, provide the brightest sight to be seen.

End of the Year Gathering
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s until an equally white fly, chenille and herl imitating a baitfish, fished very, very slowly, gets picked up with a sudden flash and grab near the bottom. The rod bends, the weight ascends until the surface of the lake ripples and a slab of silvered black and white comes to hand.

The First Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

The black crappie is the primary cold weather fish of New York City’s lakes. A few largemouth bass and yellow perch may be encountered, too, but the crappie predominates.

Near evening the geese descend until dozens begin to call to one another across the water. The white sky turns gray and a steady mist begins to fall. Just before the shivering angler’s will decides to call it a season, as it is the end of December, another strong take awakens the inner heat and happiness as one more battle of catch and release takes place.

The white fly has done its job and the second fish gives satisfaction in the knowledge that the first fish was not a fluke. The second fish is the grand finale for the year.

The Second Fish
(NYC 12 2019)

That’s a whip finish for 2019.

— rPs 12 31 2019

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Spawning Season

Spawning Season . . .

A Gathering of the Tribes: (bass, bluegill, crappie)
(NYC 05 2019)

 

Shoals of small bluegill gather just below the surface of the open water as the very long shadow of a largemouth bass passes nearby. A large crappie holds guard over a cleared nest within an opening in the weeds near the bank.

It’s May, when all the fish of the pond are active and in sight: Spawning Season.

What a delight it was to see so much piscatorial action in the good company of Garrett Fallon, publisher of Fallon’s Angler, this month. He was in town on business, but found a few hours of time to go fishing in the center of New York City.

He was not disappointed.

First Fish for Mr. Fallon
(NYC 05 2019)

Tenkara offered a new twist in his seasoned hand, which managed to pluck a feisty bluegill from Central Park’s Harlem Meer after just a few casts.

The golden shiner, so much like the European rudd to which he is well acquainted, also rushed to the artificial fly in the bright morning sun.

Golden Shiner, Golden Sunlight
(NYC 05 2019)

Our little trip ended with the big one. The shaded banks and weedy waters held some very large black crappie, the kind some like to call a slab.

A Slab: black crappie dressed in spawning colors
(NYC 05 2019)

May is spawning season; a great time to fish, alone, or with a fellow angler.

— rPs 05 31 2019

 

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Happy (7th) Anniversary

Happy (7th) Anniversary . . .

 

Ebisu tenkara rod tipped by an Olive Woolly Bugger tied by Urban Angler’s Dennis Feliciano.
(NYC 04 2019)

The best way to celebrate seven (7!) continuous years of tenkara in Manhattan was to fish, photograph, and write all about it.

April, still mostly cold and gray, offers the local season’s most consistent angling for black crappie and the golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas, a hard hitting, fast sprinting fish that in almost every way resembles its European cousin, the Rudd.

My first, and favorite, TUSA Ebisu rod retains it’s fine 5/5 action and good luck. A few overcast afternoon hours spent along the banks of Central Park’s ponds produced the two key species of the season:

Black Crappie

Black Crappie
(NYC 04 2019)

 

Golden Shiner

Golden Shiner
(NYC 04 2019)

 

Tenkara continues to take Manhattan seven years on, and counting.

Happy Anniversary, TTM . . .

— rPs 04 09 2019

 

Postscript: Revisit the first post of TTM by following this link:  https://tenkaratakesmanhattan.com/2012/04/09/hello-world/

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Icing on the Lake

Icing on the Lake . . .

 

Open Water = Hope
(NYC)

Punxsutawney Phil predicted on February 2nd an early spring. He has been correct but for two spells of clear, cold artic gale.

 

The ice left behind the windswept spells retreats by half after just a day or two warm enough to compell the morning doves to coo.

 

One can walk the pond’s bank, hear garrulous bluejay’s, and the polite tufted titmouse can be seen in the park’s bare deciduous trees. A streamer shuffled across the ice until it drops with a wake into open water can at this time of year lead to a large largemouth on the line.

Winter Bass
(NYC)

Black Crappie, too, the icing on the lake.

Crappie in the Cold
(NYC)

Thanks, Phil.

 

— rPs 02 27 2019

 

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Olympic Winter

Olympic Winter . . .

 

Fresh Fish: First Fish of 2018
(NYC 02 13 2018)

. . . or, Mardi Gras at the Meer

February weather in the American northeast often experiences a string of damp mild days followed by a day or two of sun, clear sky, and very, very gradual temperature drop.

Winter Olympics in mind; I set out in such weather on my own biathlon of cross-country running and tenkara fly fishing, dressed for movement during the afternoon of Mardi Gras. I arrived to the welcome sight of open water over all but one end of the Harlem Meer.

Fishing Conditions Favorable
(NYC 02 13 2018)

Ice-free plus kebari equals fishing.

Herly Werms
(NYC 02 2018)

My one fly kebari for the day,: the Herly Werm, a size 12, weighted, fished in slow lifts until late in the afternoon when wakes, chasing swirls, appeared from motion just below the surface of the Meer.

The sun had turned to orange and the evening feed was on. I began to swim the nymph, dressed with a red bucktail. Connection was made.

The limber 5/5 action of the Ebisu rod, my favorite, the one each season I fish first, helped me to wrestle with the one hooked now to the Herly Werm. Surfacing and diving in repeated short runs, the profile of a sizeable crappie dressed in silver and gold and scattered patterns of black, like metal, a medal of tarnished electrum, fresh, the sight and solid feel of the first fish of the year.

Black Crappie, Herly Werm
(NYC 02 13 2018)

The chilling intermittent breeze faded from concern as I slipped the fish back into the water. I stood, and shivered, satisfied.

Fishing accomplished.

I packed up and set out on the return run toward the high ground of Central Park to watch a sunset the color of Olympic Gold.

Sunset from Central Park
(NYC 02 13 2018)

— rPs 02 16 2018

 

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When Sunsets are Sudden

When Sunsets are Sudden . . .

 

Bluegill in November (NYC 11 2016)

Bluegill in November
(NYC 11 2016)

Sunsets are sudden in November. A day filled with fine mist and nimbus sky can open up, sprint into a quick dip of the sun, a sudden appearance by the moon, indigo sky meeting a horizon silhouetted for a brief period before an almost liquid tangerine infinity.  Venus glows star-white bright low to the southwest.

Leaves give tannin to the color tone of darker autumn water. Some lower branches of the Norway maples hold onto pennants of green and gold. Ginkgo like old gold coins pile into wind-drawn patches along the pond path. The oaks above and behind keep a full coat of the most russet leaves that whisper in low passing passages when the weather is best for angling. Mitten weather, still air, cold enough for a fingerless weave if dressed for comfort.

 

 Mitten Weather: Autumn Impressionism (NYC 2016)

Mitten Weather:
Autumn Impressionism
(NYC 2016)

A city park light switches on and the scattered bite of bluegill juveniles ceases. The bite become as light as the feather and fur assembled onto a crimped barbless salmon hook. The size 8 shank gets nibbled in and a light set of the rod raised connects to heaving sideswipes repeated four or five times before the fish in net measures out to ten inches, a quarter pound. Small fish this time of year bolstered by the stronger resistance the finned ones use in the angling wrestle.

Black crappies by the light of the night, and then, after a final fish, an early “Good night.”

Days follow that might be bright and cold and clear. The city soars into Holiday Season. The coated oaks then chatter and even roar in a strong sustained blow from the Canadian west. Days bright, best spent recasting, spent writing.

 

Black Crappie at Dusk (NYC 11 2016)

Black Crappie at Dusk
(NYC 11 2016)

 

– rPs 11 28 2016

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