Manhattan Usual

Flyfishing NYC Style

Archive for the ‘In the Field’ Category

December 1st, 2012

Juliana’s Anglers take the Salmon River by storm ….

There were only three of us. And yet the burley cigar-wielding unshaven masses lining the banks of the Salmon River snorted nervously, as though ready to whirl and bolt like a herd of water buffalo at the first sign of trouble.

We were focused on other quarry. With egg flies and indicators and spey flies on the swing, we stalked. With our trusty guides, we left no pool unplumbed or riffle unruffled. Our plunder is legend.

Staking out our claim

Staking out our claim



The fight is on!

The fight is on!

I'm swingin' here

I'm swingin' here

For the win!

For the win!

December 1st, 2012


It was a lovely day. The Landlords kept a wary eye on a poorly camouflaged vagrant, and the brook trout whispered from under emerald boughs.

Connetquot River

The Landlords

Fearless Warrior

September 30th, 2012

Stay Awhile

A Sunday afternoon goofing around with iMovie, QuickTime and GIF Animator fails to capture the day before, a lovely Fall outing with the fly fishing ladies of Juliana’s Anglers.

I enjoyed the company of friends, and also a submerged snake, a poaching osprey, and at least three distinct species of carnivorous fish. I asked this skeptical brown to hang out for awhile, but he had things to do and places to go.

Housatonic Brown

August 15th, 2012

Postcard from Nirvana

How about that New Fork River running around Pinedale, Wyoming? Thank you High Spirits Unlimited for hooking me up with the guides at Two Rivers Outfitters, guides with E-tickets, secret handshakes and keys to the kingdom. Antler expert and laid back dude Brad Hartley showed me where to find this fine brown:

New Fork River Brown

Ok, now that the plug and brag is out of the way, let me tell you that it was a hot hot day. We started out on the banks of a spring creek-fed pond, teaming with gargantuan rainbows placed there a few years ago, back when they were puny 16-inchers. Having nothing to do with their time but enjoy the smorgasbord, they have achieved a size at which their airborne assaults produce waves that actually crest and break against the shore.

I was lucky enough to land a couple of these bombers, and play head games with a few more as we sight-fished the meandering creek. As fun as that was, my waders were not ‘breathing’ adequately in the sweltering heat, and I longed to jump into the fast-flowing river nearby.

Finally we hiked through the brush to a promising river bend, with sand on the nearside and a deep cut against the opposite bank. It was all I could do not to dive headfirst into the deepest pool, but after 30 minutes or so of quiet stalking in the shallows, I was refreshed and ridiculously happy. Rivers speak to me and the New Fork was loud and clear.

So the ham-sized rainbows were cool, but it’s this wild brown I’m proud of. He was fierce, dragging line from my 4 wt rod while torpedo-ing upriver, thinking to fake me out. Where the fly line met the water, a rooster tail tracked the trout’s run against the current. Finally, we had a meeting of the minds, shook hands, and went our separate ways.

July 31st, 2012


DDB's Brook Trout

He’s out — my man in his new Patagonia waders casting alongside anglers renown.  The annual Farmington River outing of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers happened on a very hot July Saturday.  Standing waist deep in the cool tailwater was heaven.

Then, a lovely brook trout attached itself to his line and was landed.  I’m sure the fish is fine now, despite the slightly longer than usual out-of-water experience.

DDB Farmington River 2012


July 14th, 2012

A Pictorial Recap

I actually have been doing some fishing, quietly.  There was an excursion to the wilds of Westhampton to see my friend Kat and fish from her flats boat.  I didn’t take my camera along, so I’ll just use these hijacked images to tell the story.

Here are the fish that Kat caught:

A Fluke.

A Bluefish.

Another Bluefish.


Another Bluefish.



Here are the fish that I caught:

A wtf is That.  Also known as the Sea Robin.


Here is a representation of Kat’s fly line management skills while simultaneously twirling a boat around the inlet in pursuit of feeding fish:

Mainstream MSF & MDT


Here is a representation of my fly line management skills while simultaneously trying not to fall out of a boat:



I’m not keeping score though.
May 27th, 2012

Bucket List

Friday.  My man, wading with a fly rod for the very first time.  Bucket full.

May 26th, 2012

Spey Ballet

Grace is not my strong suit.  In fact, to call me graceful is a grotesque fib, according to many in the know.  But for a moment on the Beaverkill, I felt it.  The way the line peeled from the river, left to right upstream, my hands light on the cork across and up, en pointe, a breath, and forward.  Line flies itself across the river, whispering through the guides.

My friend Hyun had arranged for the lesson with a Balanchine of Spey, Andrew Moy.  Exacting and inspiring, Andrew is a teacher par excellence and a master of the cast.

Spey Casting Lesson May 2012 - 08
Spey Casting Lesson May 2012 - 07
April 29th, 2012

Gone shopping — um, fishing

The best and (possibly) worst thing that can happen for an angler whose loved one doesn’t angle is a capitulation. In my case, it was the gear that finally wore him down. He’s a trooper when it comes to sitting streamside, reading and thinking Thoreau thoughts. But fish slime and poison ivy are just a little too one with nature for this Big City man.

My mission, if he chose to accept it, was a drive to the pleasant town of Pauling, NY, where there is history (the former headquarters of George Washington), a quaint town center, bakeries and bookstores.

Pawling NY

Oh, and just in case, a well-regarded fly shop. We checked a Zipcar out of the parking garage and headed out of Manhattan on a bright and breezy day.

Once we were clear of westside traffic I dropped a few hints. Two hours later we sat down to lunch in an Irish pub on the wrong side of town, and the mission was all but accomplished. I had mentioned a few brand names and as soon as Patagonia found its way into his subconscious he was ready to wear his NYS DEC license like a badge of honor.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I admired the store signage and the logo stickers on the back door. This was looking good. But what’s that note in the window?

Anglers Den               Anglers Den Closed Sign


Seriously, late April does not seem like an ideal time for the entire staff to go fishing for the weekend. Maybe business had been that good already! God bless ‘em and I hope they caught and released their limit, but the next time I see or hear the name of this fine establishment I’m going to feel one thing: disappointment.

There was nothing to do but retreat to one of my favorite little streams in the Croton watershed. We hiked a little way into the woods, and as we approached a pool I saw a rise. Still distracted by the recent letdown, I stumbled hastily into the stream and had cast to the little brookie three times before recognizing the green sludge that my line was lifting from the water.

The little jewel of a stream with its wild and wary trout had become a didymo-slicked water slide. I looked at my boots and realized they would have to be burned, and the only fly shop for miles around was closed.

But there was my companion, cheerfully reclining in his camp chair, listening to woodpeckers, happy to enjoy my enjoyment of fishing and ready to rescue me if I fell in. And you know what?  It was a great day.

April 8th, 2012

You big beautiful Hendrickson, you …..


It was 45 degrees on the Beaverkill at 2:30 pm, and the last thing I expected to see was a massive hatch of plump not-so-little duns. They emerged under the bridge in drifts. Too bad it’s too chilly for the fish to rise, I thought. They’re missing a great meal.

Not a trout in sight. Until splash behind me, a pod of 15″+ browns were drafting each other within easy reach of my cast. One, two, three, four they nosed through the surface and tailed away again. Number four always finished with a splashy flourish.

I started drifting what I thought were appropriate patterns down the feeding lane. Parachute dun. Nope. Emerger, tied upside down on a waterwisp hook. Nope. CDC spinner, nope and nope. Ok, forget the Hendricksons, how do you feel about BWOs? Little black Caddis?

Mayflies Ahoy

Not only were these fish not interested, they weren’t even worried; they just kept on sipping dinner, letting my offerings hit them on the head on the way by. It was thrilling, holding my breath and hoping. Watching each long golden form move up the water column and back down again, flashing in the lowering sun.