Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crater of diamonds

Brothers John and Bill, and friend John Paxson enjoyed a great trip to Murfreesboro Arkansas to hunt for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park, and to fish Lake Greeson for crappies. The trip was a novel christmas present from John to me, and John made all the arrangements.

John P. purchased and used his magic cast iron pan to keep us well-fed, we caught a mess of crappies with Capt. Jerry and first mate Owen, and Bill kept all-night vigils for tornados! No-- no diamonds were found on this trip, although we suspected that Bill was hiding some in his shoes, rather than have to share them!

Picture album at:


Favorite meal-- 1 1/2 pound t-bones with mushrooms and onions, bought by John, cooked by Paxson!

Thanks John!

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harker's Island Albie Blitz

Harkers Island Albies- 2008

Friend Jim Kosa was kind enough to invite me to join him on Harkers Island, North Carolina to fly fish for False Albacore, affectionately called fat albies, or little tunney. Jim booked early and hooked up with Brian Hoarsely, considered by most in the area to be second only to his wife Sarah Gardiner ! Jim chose Halloween weekend, because it is peak of season, and there is a wonderful pigpick barbecue for all fisherman that Saturday night.

On the way down we were excited to see that Brian had a featured article in Saltwater Fly Fisherman magazine- great pics and a real good buzz about these spectacular fish. A relative of the tuna, the albies are not edible, but are extremely fast and quite beautiful—metallic green missiles chasing anchovies in the blue waters of these lower Outer Banks islands.

We stayed at Calico Jack’s Hotel, this east end hotel was owned until recently be renowned local guide, Donnie Hatcher—Donnie was a kick at the community Pig Pickin, telling us about his favorite method and flies for catching monster reds in 8” of water!

Breakfasts were memorable at the Fish, Hook and Grill (two eggs, grits, sausage patties and coffee- 4.50) along with a waitress, the 70-something wife of the cook, who was known to over or under charge even-handedly.

We had a warm greeting and finger licking by Marley the dock hound, and were blessed with the nicest dawn in two weeks—

This was a beautiful trip highlighted by the catch and release of a half dozen albies each, dozens of blues, sightings of dolphins, whale, ocean sunfish. And the first albie blitz of the season—schools of the green bullets, in rolling seas 3 miles from shore. Which also meant that Ben was soon on his knees praying for solid ground.

We heard later that squalls and 60 mph winds arrived two days after we left! Guess we had that good old Hungarian-Italian luck going for us!

Thanks Jim- great trip!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rainbows - Have a great day, unless you decide otherwise

Received this email and photo from our "Italian" friends (Adrienne, Nick and Leo) this morning:

We woke up to a dreary, rainy Monday morning. In the usual scramble to get out of the house (chasing Leo's naked splendor from room to room to get him dressed, searching for a missing shoe and finally finding it in the toy tractor's rear cargo space, remembering to look in the mirror before I leave with banana plastered to my cheek...) I glanced out the window and saw the view attached. It took my breath away. I put the mad rush on pause, grabbed my babe and the camera and thought - oh, what a beautiful day!

The only thing rivaling this beauty are pics of the aforementioned "Leo"-

Monday, November 10, 2008

Man Plans, God Laughs

I think this is the obvious maxim for 2008. I started listing supporting evidence and events, and quickly realized they are many and obvious.

It's ok though, He is just chuckling and letting us know He has other ideas.

Hopefully "this too will pass" takes place in 2009.

Sunrise at Haleakala, Maui. Some say you can see Pele behind presenting the sun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Colombia River Sturgeon

August 27- 28, 2008

My brother Bill has been on the front line facing the challenge of this very difficult real estate market and really needed a break…. Sounds like a good rationale, ‘err I mean reason for me to plan a fishing trip!

Bill and I have previously had success on bait for tarpon in San Juan, alligator gar in Texas, and sharks on Sanibel Island--
A little web surfing brought me to this video on youtube:
You tube video-


As a young boy I had a Disney book about the tale of Hiawatha and the Giant sturgeon, based on Longfellow’s poem about Hiawatha. The concept of a giant fresh-water fish towing the great Hiawatha in his canoe was too cool for me.
A very unique fish- check Wikipedia-
So Giant Sturgeon sounded right up my alley!

A little research led me to Capt. Dennis Hull, who fishes the Colombia and Williamette Rivers for Giant Sturgeon, keeper sturgeon, Salmon, and steelhead- www.NWFish.com
Check out his blog there. I contacted Dennis and booked two days of fishing the end of August.

What a great choice! We met Dennis at the dock—his boat newly painted, clean, efficient, all the riggings…. More important, the guy just plain knew his S**t.

He told us they brought several 6 to 10 footers to the boat the day before—to which we chuckled and thought we just might have heard that “shoulda been here yesterday stuff “ before. Twenty minutes later we were a mile upstream, baits in the water, eagerly watching our line tips. Dennis complained the action was slow as a half hour went by, then some major tugging started on the left rod, which was softly slipped from the holder, walked to the stern, then pow – a major pull to set the hook. Battle on!

Dennis released the boat from the anchor float and started up his 8 HP trolling motor to follow the fish—line screamed from the reel and the 80 lb. rod bent like a willow! Dennis had the drags cranked down to almost dead tight, and I levered all my weight and strength, pumping and reeling furiously for the first fifteen minutes… before I realized I was expending way too much energy too quickly… this was going to be a marathon, no a sprint!

Bill and I gaped as the giant sturgeon ran several hundred yards and decided to leap fully from the water; it was unimaginable that a fish so large could be so acrobatic!
Forty-five minutes or so later – with superb boat jockeying by Capt. Dennis, we had the fish at the boat, my hands in its rubbery, toothless mouth, as we measured it up around 10’ along side the boat.
In the U.S. it’s illegal to pull the fish’s head from the water, or to get in the water with the—length and girth estimates the fish around 450 lbs! I was ready for a deep tissue massage and an oxygen tent!

Less than 20 minutes later, Bill was into his first giant—a magnificent sturgeon which proceeded to leap three times in a row, then once more on the way to the boat—measured up by the skillful and lucky angler Bill in 10 minutes! Figures the younger strong guy gets the fish that wears itself out.

Fighting these fish is like tying a fishing line to a young steer and reeling it in— then when you finally get it to the boat, it proceeds to circle, dive under and otherwise attempt to tangle and cut off your line (a six foot piece of braided nylon mason’s line).

We have pictures of the five fish we caught day one, and the 6th on the second day at:

The largest nearly 13’ long and estimated 700 lb, we think we hauled over 3,000 lbs. of sturgeon in the two days, on a river surrounded by world class beauty!

Many thanks to Capt. Dennis for a remarkable and memorable trip in the Colombia Gorge!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Micro rod Smallie!

What a great night-- Cydney got me a J. Austin Forbes micro fly rod for Christmas, which i just started using the last couple days. I've been wet wading in the Neshaminy cause the water level is too low for the kayak. The rod makes panfishing a blast-- it's 30" long, check it out at http://www.jaustinforbes.com/micro.html.
You really get to feel the take and it takes some delicacy handling the fish.

Last night i caught 50+ fish up to 10" , 5 young smallies , couple Largemouth, rock bass, sunnies, bluegills, all fishing the undercuts and tree overhangs.

Went back tonight, a little earlier so i could get further down stream. Caught another three dozen or so fish -- then found a tree fall in the water and started fishing the leaf scum line---- caught 5-6 fish, then bam- the beauty in the pic grabbed my epoxy minnow fly and ran me in and out of the tree for ten minutes-- what a beauty! Went right back in after the pic and caught it's slightly bigger twin brother, then another an inch shorter, but fatter.

three terrific smallies on a micro rod, on a beautiful evening, fishing the stream i used to practically live on when i was a kid.

Packed up my rod, and made it back to the truck at dusk, grateful for a wonderful, memorable outing. Never dreamed I'd have so much fun with such a tiny rod!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wine, wine, Wineberries!

Morning runs are special this time of year-- at 2.1 miles there is a large patch of wine berries, and i grab a dozen to enjoy on the last mile. They are a special combination of sweet and tart.