Posts Tagged Black Crappie

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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Minted in March

Minted in March . . .

 

Two for a Cent (NYC 03 2016)

Two for a Cent
(NYC 03 2016)

“Two for a Cent” is an early short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The author describes with a mannered eloquence the ember at the end of a lit cigarette. That scene from a mellow night remains one of my favorite descriptive passages in American Literature.

My essential pattern, the “one fly” for the tenkara fishing I most often do, begins with The Green Guarantee, two of which are pictured above with a wheatie from Fitzgerald’s era. Coins and fly patterns model well together and give me a chance to combine two of my interests in a single frame. As for the pattern, its universal color and shape viewed from a fish’s underneath perspective, dressed in fur and feather activated by motion though water, attracts all of the pond’s residents at some various points in the season, including season’s start.

 

Fifty Cents for a Quarter Dozen? (03 2016)

Half Dollar for a Quarter Dozen?
(03 2016)

 

“Half Dollar for a Quarter Dozen” is a possible title of three Muddy Moreblack arranged with an American half dollar to scale. The Muddy Moreblack continues the use of the double consonant and offers a pun on the mirrored famous last name of an acclaimed guitarist whose band’s music I hear played on fly shop playlists all the time.

This pattern matches tan and black on a size 6 or 8 streamer hook and, being weighted, smokes under the water. The effect conveys the colors of late winter, something waking, emerging from the water bottom’s silt and leaf litter. The dobsonfly nymph, hellgrammite, crayfish, and stonefly all the Muddy Moreblack may be. The pattern worked along banks, within the sticks that dropped those bottom leaves, can produce the one earned fish of a day when sudden sun chases the fishes from more open areas.

Freshwater fishes may suspend in tough spots as a defense mechanism. The clustering of various species of Centrarchidae also brings to mind an expression of conscious social interaction. May such gatherings be a fishes’ summit to plan the following growing season? Perhaps territories within the pond’s perimeter are hashed out here with the whiskered bullhead given free reign along the bottom and the entirety patrolled by a few scattered schools of carp prone to basking just out of conventional and fly casting distance.

Carp have been nowhere to be seen during the Ides of March. Sudden sun and warmth during the winter to spring transition has pushed New York’s sunfishes down or into what dense shaded cover may exist so early in the season. Fallen trees and a nest of limber overhangs then present the long fly rod throwing a line a more complex scenario. The fishes, still hovering, appear to challenge:

“Catch us if you can!”

 

"Catch Us if You Can!" (NYC 03 2016)

“Catch Us if You Can!”
(NYC 03 2016)

 

I did.

 

Bluegill (NYC 03 2016)

Bluegill
(NYC 03 2016)

 

Minted in March Black Crappie (NYC 03 2016)

Black Crappie
(NYC 03 2016)

 

Sunfish the color of a penny nestled in the sticks. Black crappie as iridescent as a silver coin.

Minted in March: Season’s Start

– rPs 03 18 2016

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“Let Me Go”

“Let Me Go”

 

Home to a Swan Prospect Park Lake (12 30 2015)

Home to a Swan
Prospect Park Lake
(12 30 2015)

The news of the passing of Ian Fraser Kilmister, Lemmy, hit me as hard as his pulverizing yet melodic bass solo on “Stay Clean” – the Motörhead track that has fueled my final kick during many a road race. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, bearing the news of this loss in a year full of it, including childhood role model, Leonard Nimoy, my own friends, John Mutone and Ketan Ben Caesar, and extended family, my uncle Andrew Amici and grandmother Marie Amici, there was only one thing I could do to find peace.

British angler Dominic Garnett helped to point the way. I have just received his new book of stories, Crooked Lines, in the mail and a recent post on his blog of the same name describes “Casting into the Wind” along gray canals lined by dry, tan reeds. That angling image offered me some light.

“Let me go,” I said to myself. “Fishing.”

I decided to repeat last year’s example with a visit to Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn. Unlike the bright and blue day I enjoyed at the close of 2014, the weather this time was gray, cold, with a hanging damp in the air. The lake sat gray and calm, the surrounding woods brown and still. The light tan of the shoreline reeds offered the only warm color to the scene, which was quiet but for the bird song of coots, geese, ducks, and gulls.

With the theme of “Letting Go” floating in mind, the decision seemed natural for me to also relax the rigidity in my fishing approach by bringing along a conventional nine-foot 5-weight matched with a floating line. The idea was to compare and contrast the equipment with my Ebisu tenkara rod with traditional furled line to learn how my casting (and hopefully, catching) may have evolved after four years spent focused on stillwater tenkara.

The lesson learned to my experience is I now cast rod and line better. I find myself entering into that easy rhythm of The Zone much more easily than before tenkara came to my attention. I fished the 5-weight in a fixed line manner, lifting line and leader off the water with very little use of the reel or stripping in of line. Slow swimming lifts were used to bring my size 8 Green Guarantee home to the bank.

 

Ebisu in the Winter Reeds (12 30 2015)

Ebisu in the Winter Reeds
(12 30 2015)

 

What's This!?! Conventional 5-weight for comparative fly fishing. (12 30 2015)

What’s This!?!
Conventional 5-weight for comparative fly fishing.
(12 30 2015)

 

Fishing? Yes. Fish? I missed one light tug on the Ebisu. I switched to another section of the lake where I brought the 5-weight into action. Like last year, during the last hour of light, a connection was at last made.

Not a perch, not like last year. This time something intercepted the fly along the far edge of some reeds where a few sunken branches also projected. Slow and solid, the taker pulled in rippled descending waves of resistance. The rod bent in a deep way as the fish, a large black crappie, rolled, splashed, and at last reached the surface and the mouth of my beaten but unbroken Brodin net.

 

The Best, The Last, 2015 Black Crappie (12 30 2015)

The Best, The Last, 2015
Black Crappie
(12 30 2015)

 

One fish, a nice one, allowed one more catch, photo, and release for 2015. Finished, the fish darted from my underwater grip. The sky had become noticeably darker. Low clouds began to roll in and my breath steamed. As I had been reminded far too many times over the course of this year, time races more than passes. “Letting Go” is necessary.

 

“Let me go,” I said to myself. “Home.”

– rPs 12 31 2015

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