December 7, 2007

Holiday Cheer, Winter Blues.

Snow is blanketing my backyard as I write this from the North Shore of Massachusetts and unfortunately I can no longer deny that winter is upon us and the long wait for our saltwater friends to return has now begun.

One of the benefits of outdoor writing is that I receive books in the mail in hopes that I'll review them. I've received some good ones and some bad ones over the years. One that is very much worthy of mention is Rich Murphy's new book, Fly Fishing for Striped Bass . Rich is an accomplished fly designer, and a well known surf fisherman who is an accomplished saltwater fly caster. The book is packed with information that can help anyone, however there is ample talk about the North Shore of Massachusetts, which made the book an especially interesting read for me.

The Fly Fishing Show East will be held January 18, 19, & 20th at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlbourough, MA. There will be exhibits, casting demos and several notables from the world of fishing will be on-site including Ken Abrames, Don Bastian, Alan Caolo, George Daniel, Jack Gartside, Mike Martinek, Rich Murphy and Bob Popovics to name just a few.

The Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition will be from February 7-10, 2008 at the DCU Center in Worcester. The show is always a welcome respite from the winter and will offer many exhibitors and special events. A free Plano Tackle Box will be given to the first 200 children 12 and under who attend the show on Sunday, February 10th with a paying adult attendee, so get their early with your little one on 2/10.

Finally, to help the time pass during the cabin fever season, there are a wealth of excellent pod casts related to fishing here. Or you could always play Big Mouth Bass 3D for free online.

September 4, 2007

Oh Six! Chasing Funny Fish Around Buzzard Bay

If you've never done it, chasing false albacore, bonito and spanish mackerel either from shore or boat is an exciting and frustrating fishing experience. From scanning the horizon for birds and boiling fish to reeling as fast as you possibly can, this is not normal fishing.

Over Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of joining my long-time friend Andy and our buddy Craig for a trip off Falmouth in search of "albies". Bonito and spanish macks have also been in the area, but the albie fishing had been hot for the last couple of days.

As soon as we left the dock in Wild Harbor, we saw birds about a 1/2 mile from our position, and sure enough there were fish boiling under the birds. By the time we made it out there, the fish had dispersed. No big deal, soon the yell of "six o'clock" has Andy spinning the boat 180 degrees and heading back from where we came and towards another cloud of birds. (For the uninitiated, the bow is 12 o'clock, the stern six, port is nine o'clock and starboard is three. ) This time both Craig and I get a cast into the middle of the boils and each of us are tight almost immediately. Decent fights ensued, but the hopes of funny fish diminished as we each reeled in a decent sized bluefish.

We continued to chase clouds of diving birds and boiling fish for about five hours. I was lucky enough to land two false albacore's and a bluefish. Andy had an albie and bluefish and Craig landed a nice sized bluefish on ultra-light tackle.

The albies were active from about 7 AM until Noon at which time the action lessened considerably. Pound for pound, albies fight on 8-10 pound test like a large tuna on heavier gear. The drag-reeling runs happen several times and landing these fish is a thrill.

To land two in one outing was outstanding for me since I've only landed three previously, all from shore during trips to Martha's Vineyard for the Derby.

For a small dose of what it was like on the boat that day, you can visit this short clip of Andy and I in the throws of battle. Warning: Adult Language Contained in Video Clip.

August 19, 2007

There's always next year!

It's been an interesting Spring/Summer, and if you have not guessed, my column was "put on hold" due to budget constraints at the Eagle-Tribune. I'm confident that my column will return in the Spring of 2008 as I believe it is budgeted for the next fiscal year.

Besides working a relatively new day job at Oracle Corporation, I have been splitting my time between Golf (I know, the horror!) and fishing, with golf having the edge this year.

Overall, the fishing on the North Shore has been quite good this year. From Boston Harbor to Portland, Striped Bass and Bluefish have been quite active, while offshore anglers have been chasing Tuna off Tillies, Stellwagen and occassionally closer to shore.

Bluewater anglers have been fishing off Chatham and Nantucket in search of tuna, marlin, swordfish and sharks. Overall fishing conditions have been quite positive.

In the absence of my columns this year, the next best place to look is at Fly Fish Salt, a reliable and friendly community. Two of my favorite forums are the Offshore forum and the Massachusetts forum.

Until next time, see you on the water or around the greens!

March 27, 2007

Just Around The Corner

Northshore anglers have just over a month until striped bass return to our waters and before we know it the season will be in full swing.

Most of the following is common sense, but it’s always good to revisit the basics with the annual tackle cleaning tips. Take a look at your tackle and consider the following:

Rods: Check guides for wear and tear. Nicks and abrasions can fray your line.Ensure all guides are tight and are lined up correctly. Ensure that the reel seat is corrosion free and in good working order. If you have two-piece rods, ensure that the top and bottom portions connect easily and securely.

Reels: Reels typically require the most upkeep. Some can be complex, so if you’re unsure on how to take your reel apart or maintain it, visit your local tackle shop. Alternatively, most reels come with detailed diagrams to help you in this endeavor. Nothing gets the heart pumping like a whole table full of small parts that need to be put back together exactly as you found them! Reel spools should be taken off the reel, and all old line discarded. Reel oil should be used on most moving parts after the reel has been washed and rinsed in warm (not hot) soapy water. If you enjoy fly-fishing, these reels also need similar maintenance and care.

Line: I change my line not only at the beginning of the season, but several times during the season. Your mileage will vary, depending on how often you fish, and the conditions you fish under. At the very least, starting the season off with fresh line will hopefully be insurance against having a "the one that got away" story of your very own. In addition, I enjoy tying up several leaders of different size and test for the upcoming season, allowingme to be ready for whatever conditions might come up without having to stop to make up a leader. Fly lines also require cleaning, although typically won’t need to be replaced each year.

Lures: Lures of all varieties also need some primping to prepare for the upcoming season. Hooks should be checked for rust and if need be, replaced. If not rusted, hooks can be sharpened using a stone or a variety of commercially available hook sharpeners. Other lure dressing such as buck-tail, feathers and paint should be checked and spruced up as necessary. Once again, fly fisherman need to check their flies for wear and tear too, and if you’re like me, you’ve been stockpiling your favorite flies after a longwinter of fly tying.That certainly covers the basics, but when in doubt, you can certainly enlist the help of your local tackle shop. (or drop me an email)

February 11, 2007

Quality Basement Time

There are three things going on in the basement of the Dwyer household (at least worthy of mention) to pass away the cold winter. I received a ping-pong table and boxing training equipment for a recent birthday and my daughter and I have become quite addicted to ping-pong, and I to the speed and heavy bags. Excellent quality time for the entire family, including the two cats and the pooch.

The other activity of interest is fly tying. I'd started tying flies about 10 years ago, but had not done so for at least the last two seasons, well, mostly as Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".

In any event, the fly tying table has been dusted off and in between heated ping-pong matches, I've managed to churn out about 2 dozen flies so far this winter, all of the saltwater variety, and mostly variations of the old standard clouser and deceiver. I have been reading up on other flies and have begun to expirement with other patterns using epoxy, mylar and other synthetic materials.

The thing about fly tying is that you'd think you'd save money making your own, but much like the sport the flies are used for, the hobby takes over and you end up accumulating more and more "necesseties" for your pursuits.

Ah well, there's worse things to be addicted to!

February 9, 2007

Hard Water Anglers Finally Happy

The recent cold snap has left many people shivering but the ice-fishing crowd could not be happier. Around the North Shore, ponds and lakes are offering up several species of hungry fish.

Sluice Pond in Lynn has yielded brown trout to anglers over the last week. Baldpate Pond in Boxford, as well as Four Mile Pond have also been hot for anglers braving the cold with pickeral and bass being caught in good numbers. Small shiners have been tripping the flags the most. Rock and Pentucket Ponds in Georgetown have also provided good action to hard water fishermen.

Plug Pond in Haverhill has been the scene of broodstock salmon catches to 7 pounds. In Merrimac, Lake Attitash has seen good action for largemouth bass from 1-3 pounds, again, mostly taken on shiners.

And remember, only 41 days until Spring!!

January 25, 2007

Upcoming Events of Interest

Check out these upcoming events!

Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Expo

New England Boat Show

Salt Water Sportsman 2007 National Seminar Series

NE Saltwater Fishing Show