Posts Tagged New York City

Lefty’s Stamp

Lefty’s Stamp . . .


Lefty’s Deceiver
(NYC 03 2018)

Bernard “Lefty” Kreh left us at the age of 93 on Pi Day, March 14th, a date almost fitting given the man’s full circle of a life.

One of his many achievements occured just a month after the passing of his great colleague, Lee Wullf, in the spring of 1991. No less an institution than the United States Postal Service honored Krey with a 1st Class postage stamp picturing his immortal Lefty’s Deceiver.

Lefty’ Deceiver and a 1925 Standing Liberty
(what a quarter looked like the year Mr. Kreh was born)

That stamp, part of my extended collection, keeps a central special place in my pantheon. Chuck Ripper’s photogravures, which also depicted the Apte Tarpon, Jock Scott, Muddler Minnow, and Royal Wulff, were an early artistic inspiration like Dr. Burke’s plates found in Ray Bergman’s quintessential treatise, Trout, an inspiration for my own artwork.

I have two books in print full of my own fly pattern art, yet had never attempted Lefty’s Deceiver, until now:

“Lefty’s Deceiver (of fish!)”
(pencils and rubber rub on paper, 2018)

I never fished with the man, but in person in private we talked, and I am happy to report he liked my comparison of tekara fishing the fly for crappie to that of saltwater fly fishing for the awesome Megalops, the tarpon. Both fish share a similar shaped mouth and gulp a fly in like manner; we agreed!

Memories, good memories, and a lifetime of lessons documented in interviews, videos, and a number of wonderful, readable books.

Lefty Kreh – you inform us, involve us, and your words shall remain stamped in our hearts and minds and our fishing.

Lefty Krey With Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
(from Tips and Tricks of Spinning by Lefty Kreh, c. 1969)

Lefty Kreh, 1925-2018


— rPs 03 19 2018





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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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Fly, Eagles Fly

Fly, Eagles Fly . . .

(Philadelphia on the) Fly, Eagles Fly
(02 2018)

Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles have won Superbowl LII.

The tenkara angler, artist, and author of Philadelphia on the Fly could not resist the photo op.


— rPs 02 05 2018

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The Aliving I Do

The Aliving I Do . . .


Hook to Hand: In Memoriam. (NYC 01 2018)

Winter, short days of natural light, on one a free hour to daydream over flies tied and once and for one tethered to a memorable fish brought to hand.

Retired, rowed under the white January light, the patterns, kebari alined in the Flybrary convey a line of gravestones, hand-to battles with individual fish, now in memory, ending well.

Two books in print gives one imagery of grace enough to give away, for a time, useful insight.

Writing, the noun, one encounters antecedents where Albert Camus traces the artist at work, or an artist, Gertrude Stein, who to the end collaged grammar and vocabulary into grand reads.

My first book in hand, dimensions of a collection of poetry. Oh, I forgot to mention in the preface:

“Start steady and seek the click rhythm worked into the prose and the cadence will carry you, ceate one of those satisfying read-in-one-extended-sitting kind of poetic books that Poe, Melville, Dostoyevsky, Kawabata, Camus, and Hesse have delivered.”

My book, at last, delivered and signed for at the cornershop on a July afternoon, picked up by me and back out on the sidewalk I raised copy #1 above the view of the leafy neighboorhood treeline in light sunny yellow and warm: I saw, I witnessed the punctuation mark to a project. I had completed some thing, words separated on purpose, as the thing itself seemed huge, philosophical, existential.

Book in hand, solid rectangle of heavy paper, cultivated, communicated a similar slab: the gravestone.

Yes, books, books you yourself author, are gravestones. Here lies, truths, of an atc lived within the intervals of your creative life.


Yes, it is in the living, at times fishing, and in others kindred, in the documenting of the living in writing and at times select image, rendered, that drives the alive, the aliving I do.

Gertrude Stein, born in West Allegheny, PA, resided in Paris for a majority of her creative life; she wrote a lot.
(NYC 01 2018)

A New Year. 2018

— rPs 01 30 2018


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Xmas Prince

Xmas Prince . . .


Four for a Dollar
(NYC 12 01 2017)

The kebari for the season is the Xmas Prince; my festive variation on the distinctive nymph with wing of white; my standard weighted with wire on a size 10 wet nymph hook.

Waters local cold, dark with tannins from nearby copses of oaks. Wind, sometimes sustained, can spackle the surface. The decision to dip deeper, forced, yet logical and a fun way to angle. The nymph finessed, hovered, just above the submerged bed of leaves, fished at a crawl with slow lifts in the manner of Leisingring.


Fishing the Xmas Prince
(NYC 12 01 2017)

The quarry for the season wears bars of dark green on gold. The yellow perch, Perca flavescens, colored like the last leaves branched on the nearby Norway maple, Green Bay Packers’ colors, autumn dressings under the blue and white New York Giants’ sky.


Manhattan Yellow Perch
(NYC 12 01 2017)


Fly and fish matched to the season.


“Ho. Ho. Ho.”

— rPs 12 01 2017



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New York’s West Coast

New York’s West Coast . . .

Lake Erie
(11 2017)

My one fly kebari for the local freshwater, The Green Guarantee, required a second thought for a November trip to the tributaries along New York’s far west coast.

The fish from Lake Erie, migratorial steelhead, salmonid with shoulders and a girth exceeding a foot of inches, settled me on size 8 streamer and salmon hooks. The results, tied, packed, fished, finished positive.

Lake Erie Chrome
(11 2017)
(photo credit: Stephen Kasperovich)


Green Guarantee, meet . . .

The Ho Holiday

The Ho Holiday
(NYC 11 15 2017)

The Ho Holiday

Fly tied, alliteration activated, for a kebari salmon steelhead fly named to honor a variety of levels of meaning. Honor for the mighty steelhead river Ho on the Olympic Peninsula. The holiday red added for the steelhead’s predilection for hot color when streambound. Tinsel added for the traditional barber pole spiral dressing, the necktie of the fly.

Steelhead take such a fly in places autumnal beautiful in a way always graceful followed by a force up, down, side to side, in and out of water, sprints that push water, jumps that land on the water with a bass plunge that resonates sheer weight. Magnificent animals, each and every steelhead represents itself.

Quick Grip Before Release
(11 2017)



— rPs 11 15 2017

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The Leaf Hatch

The Leaf Hatch . . .

Autumn Pond
(NYC 10 2017)

Today is Halloween. The tree leaves of Manhattan have at last begun to change with the season. This situation can turn tenkara fishing into more of a trick.

Pond tenkara at all times requires animation of the kebari pattern. When the leaf hatch occurs, the problem of unwanted hook ups arises. The best technique, or strategy, to skirt shed leaves is to fish slow.

Creepy crawly rises and falls of a pattern on a tight line can usually pull through top or bottom leaf litter. Leisenring’s classic lift, developed in the 1940s for stream trout, is also a sure bet in still water, the trick to make the fishing more of a treat.

Find the Bass in the Leaf Hatch!
(NYC 10 2017)

Happy Halloween . . .

– rPs 10 31 2017

Postscript: You can read a new profile of Jim Leisenring in the current issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine:

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