Posts Tagged Green Sunfish

Happiness

Happiness . . .

Green Sunfish along a New Jersey road. (photo taken 07 10 2014)

Green Sunfish along a New Jersey road. (photo taken 07 10 2014)

That little brook beside the road, a scene repeated across this globe creased by moving water. My most often wonder as a child until now is what may swim toward the artificial fly within this flow or that flow.

This one, near Passaic, New Jersey, poured forth in runs shin deep along the green edge of a Jazz Age duplex neighborhood bordered by a small park. This run of preserved water flowing through a garden city urban setting offered up on a sunny July afternoon a final treasure, finality found in a firm belief:

One Rod. One Line. One Fly.

One Fish!

Green Sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus, is my favorite freshwater tenkara tackling opponent that does not fall under the separate heading of Salmonid.

Lepomis cyanellus, the fins of this fish often exhibit a commonality with the east coast’s native char, Salvelinus fontinalus. Both fish possess rusty fins edged precisely in white.

The mouth of the green sunfish, like the rock bass and the redbreast sunfish, presents an elongated jaw like the largemouth and the smallmouth bass. Coloration, in addition to the fins, may exhibit barred or mottled jade. Sky blue vermiculation often decorates the cheeks and pronounced jawline.

I dedicated an entire chapter to the green sunfish in my most recent book, Small Fry: The Lure of the Little. One included claim of experience included the observation this species will take the wet fly when swung or pulsed beside submerged ledges of rock. Stretches of this little back alley run runs deeper along a smooth rounded ledge, casting shade at high sun and the rest of the day throughout. New Jersey bedrock: carved by water.

Additional shade here is often provided by Norway Maple trees. This introduced species, a popular planting during earlier generations, holds broad leaves that can cast a lush cover of shade over a city sidewalk and its parallel greenway brook. Numerous green sunfish dared forth from the ledges under tree shade cover and savaged passing offerings with the voracity of brookies swarming a floating beetle pattern just as it lands on a foothill creek flanked by hemlocks.

The length of the two fish runs in parallel fashion, ranging between three and eight inches in small streams. A plump green sunfish of six inches marks my personal best so far caught and released from this Passaic-area creek. This fatness counts in the strength department. The rounded green sunfish body holds more bulk against a tenkara rod’s tenderer, Lillian-tipped, rod tip.

Between dapping and pocket picking between banks set ten feet apart, successful narrow casts can be made. I practice my bow and arrow here, too. A careful bow flip can land beneath the branches where frequently a larger brooding fish often holds. Tenkara rods cover this variety of water well.

Outings spent in intense fishing, green sunfishing in a tight quarter, will leave most anglers exercised after a summer day’s length. Happiness comes from the experience, perhaps accompanied by ice cream with a fishing amigo, with which one enjoys also a cooling sunset. Fireflies began a cold, incandescent dance beneath the tree canopies as Sol submerged behind cumulus cloud and the tree line standing behind living city water.

A tenkara lesson learned with the green sunfish pointing the way.

Happiness.

– rPs 07 14 2014

Leave a Comment

Gray and Green

Gray and Green . . .

Bluegill and Ebisu (photo taken 05 15 2014)

Bluegill and Ebisu (photo taken 05 15 2014)

Weather patterns vary by season and region. One consistent to spring in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania is a stretch of about three weeks between late April and the middle of May. I call these the gray and green days when the trees bear pastel leaves and flowers under an overcast gray sky that gives forth a fine mist or scattered light showers. This is a time dominated by water, cool temperatures, clean air, and the palpable smell of earth.

Ponds become stage center for a community of living things during these salad green days. Cattails, phragmites, and pickerel grasses have reached halfway to maturity and stand about knee high. The yellow flag has not yet begun to bloom, although the dandelions on the surrounding lawns now blend golden blooms with pale gray spheres of seed. Wakes in the shallows could be a turtle surfacing for a breath, or bluegills and bass sprinting below, preparing to construct beds for spawning.

The overriding dampness will normally keep most people engaged in indoor activities. The angler, however, and this angler for certain, becomes compelled to go forth and fish as often as possible.

Tenkara equipment provides an ideal tool here and now. Between the edge of the flooded grass and the mats of pondweed starting to form at pond center often resides a strip of open water varying between five and thirty feet in width. Here fish can even be seen for sight casting chances at times. The long telescoping tenkara rod easily reaches over the shoreline vegetation and the limber nature of the pole allows accurate fly placement along the near and far edges of the plants where aggressive panfish and cruising bass swim in abundance.

Tenkara fishing along a pond edge. (photo taken 05 08 2014)

Tenkara fishing along a pond edge. (photo taken 05 08 2014)

Evenings tend to produce the best fishing. The stillness that often settles after the day allows for more accurate casting and also the opportunity for topwater action using dry fly patterns (Deer and Elk Hair Caddis) and panfish poppers (Foam Gurglers and Rubber Leg Spiders) . Two recent visits to my local waters have produced some good catches, including:

Bluegill

(photo taken 05 15 2014)

(photo taken 05 15 2014)

Green Sunfish

(photo taken 05 15 2014)

(photo taken 05 15 2014)

Largemouth Bass

(photo taken by Tony Panasiti 05 08 2014)

(photo taken by Tony Panasiti 05 08 2014)

The gray and green days have about another week or two left in them before brighter, warmer weather arrives. Go forth and fish if you have the time.

– rPs 05 16 2014

Leave a Comment