Posts Tagged bluegill

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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Summer Sunnies

Summer Sunnies . . .

 

Bluegill: the Summer Sunfish — This one lured by a Woolly Bugger tied by Dennis Feliciano.
(NYC 06 2019)

The longest days of the year offer an extended opportunity to “fish local” even after a busy weekday at work in the big New York City.

No excuses. There is always time to tackle with some sunnies around the summer solstice!

— rPs 06 30 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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Summer’s End

Summer’s End . . .

 

The Beginning: Rain
(09 2018)

The autumnal equinox brings a change not so much of physical character, not at first, but in the immediate of light, light lost, as an evening falls so quickly, dramatic, perceptible, noticeable, between the beginning, the center, and the end of September.

 

The Beginning

FALLfish: (September Tarpon)
(09 2018)

 

The Center

September Sands (North Atlantic) (09 2018)

September Cocktail
(09 2018)

 

The End

September Bank Foliage
(09 2018)

Big Belly Bluegill
(09 2018)

— rPs 09 30 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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Bass at First Light

Bass at First Light . . .

 

Earth Day: Bullfrog and Boulder (NYC 04 2016)

Earth Day: Dawn, Bullfrog and Boulder
(NYC 04 2016)

 

Spring’s risen sun seems to hover just above the tree line when positioned beside the freshwater in Central Park. The Hudson River’s brackish waters on the West Side of Manhattan and The Bronx are still flowing under full shadow at this early daytime.

Trees just beginning to sprout leaves offer a canopy as fine as a newborn’s hair. Lots of sunlight filters through the bright green around the water. Slight haze of pollen catches sun as it suspends over large frogs and the occasional turtle that surfaces to swim by. One woodpecker provides the beat of nature’s jackhammer, a mellow sound on wood set a few decibels below that of steel on asphalt no doubt going on deeper in the city.

The water stirs by the early riser. The bass are active.

When, in spring, the pond weed returns in its first growth to just below the surface, a predatory zone forms. Below sits a few openings, a few here and there holding depressions, and the flat roof top of golden green weed.

Poppers and other surface gurglers draw strikes on top as does a Green Guarantee, unweighted, pulsing in the emergent column. The deer belly hair of the green pattern’s wing adds buoyancy as it pushes water when pulled to simulate a pulse.

Largemouth bass, bigger pickles in the green trout class, make up the bulk of the dominant Centrarchidae in the Five Borough’s still waters. Such bass are bright, alert, and frisky, able jumpers worthy of 4x tippet.

First Bass Of 2016 (NYC Spring 2016)

First Bass of 2016
(NYC Spring 2016)

 

Urban Angler alum, Christopher Chang, worked a selection of poppers on a conventional 3-weight floating line and landed several respectable bass of the first size class. Such fish range two to four pounds and are breeding females. Each one caught quickly and humanely released. Action enough to satisfy a busy world traveler set to serve the Peace Corp. in Peru for the next two years.

Christopher Chang holds a bass lured by a popper. (NYC 04 2016)

Christopher Chang holds a bass lured by a popper.
(NYC 04 2016)

 

Ebisu’s lillian slip-knotted onto the traditional tapered line of tenkara matched with a sporting 6X tippet again continued to produce good numbers in variety as well:

The Obligatory Bluegill (NYC Spring 2016)

The Obligatory Bluegill
(NYC Spring 2016)

 

The Obligatory Bluegill . . .

And,

Bass Above The Weed (NYC 04 2016)

Bass Above The Weed.
(NYC 04 2016)

 

Second Bass of 2016 . . .

 

– rPs 05 12 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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