Saturday, October 3, 2015

An Interview with Matt Craig Part 2

Dug Pinnick of King's X at Jarrod's in
Attleboro June 6, 2002. Both Pictures have Matt and his
friend Keith
Due to the fact that I spent many nights after work and most of my days off in Narragansett during September, I did not get a chance to write this post as soon as I would have liked. I want to thank Matt once again for taking the time out to answer my questions. He told me on multiple occasions he enjoys doing it. That got me thinking, if someone started asking me a bunch of questions about fishing, I'd enjoy answering them. Given the chance to think of happy memories and give advice is fun. None the less, Matt did have to take time to write answers on his computer, which I appreciated
very much. So without further ado here is part 2

Don't know if you saw on the blog post someone sent in a question. I think it might be Eric Lowe. Here it is,

1. .Great Article. Can't Wait for Part 2. I have a couple question: How many shows did Matt see at Club Babyhead? What was his favorite show there?

Answer- Club Babyhead. I've been there probably 6 or 7 times. The best show I saw was easily Dream Theater in Jan '93. Still have the shirt from that show. The last show I saw before it closed was Fear Factory in '96.

.2.Which big groups/ singers have the most value for how good the show is compared to ticket price. For me, you can't beat Kid Rock at 20 dollars.

Answer- Best value is probably Dream Theater since its always long sets. Metal shows tend to be most affordable shows and allows me to go to a lot of them. Average price is @$30. Obviously Kid Rock gets props for his $20 tickets

 3. Which big groups/ singers do you think was a waste of your time. For me, it was country group Sugsrland? they only played one hour and twenty minutes.

Answer- Honestly cant think of a band/artist I found to be a waste of time.Their are some I saw once and wouldn't necessarily go a again but not becasue they were bad just not a big fan (ex. Madonna I saw her once at it was good but once is enough). Ive never to best of my recollection after a show saying what of waste of time and money. Even though I go to a lot of shows I love a wide variety of music. Seen Gloria Estefan and Kelly Clarkson but also seen Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus and every types in between

4. I like to take pictures of everything. When I see an animal in the woods, I sometimes have to remind myself
Scott Ian of Anthrax but this was an S.O.D. gig. It
was at Living Room in Providence 12/1/99
to enjoy the moment because I'm looking for the perfect photo.  Since you like to remember setlists and get pictures, do you ever find yourself forgetting just to have fun? Was it something you ever had to "overcome"

Answer- I do tend to take a lot of pics and focusing at times on setlist I occasionally forget to just have fun and then just stop and enjoy. For the most part I just take a few pics during a song I'm not a fan of it and then watch rest of the show

5. Most money you ever spent on a ticket? who was it? was it worth it? 

Answer- Most spent was was @$150 for Big 4 at Yankee Stadium. Locally it was $130 for Tom Petty at Fenway and Paul McCartney also at Fenway

6. Right now, who would be your perfect 3 concert? an opener, middle act, headliner?

Answer- Need to think about my favorite 3/dream show However I went to see Dream Theater headline Queensryche main opener and Fates Warning opening in '03. 3 bands I all love and to this day best 3 band lineup Ive been to and could easily be the 3 Id pick.

7. Obviously I know you like metal, classic rock, rock, do you like country or rap? if yes have you gone to any concerts from those genres? If yes, whose shows did you really enjoy?

 Answer- I saw Carrie Underwood on Carnival Ride tour. It was really good. I saw 2 rap groups WuTang Clan and Gangstarr but that's only because they were on separate occasions opening for Rage Against The Machine

8.When I saw Bruce Springstein, he played for three hours, can you remember a few acts that put on really long shows? ( this question is in case I like some of these groups I'll know I should go)

Answer- Longest show was Dream Theater playing 3 hours. The year escapes but I believe in was 2002 but not sure. Dream Theater tends to play long shows. Paul McCartney played 2 hours 45 minutes at Fenway. He was on stage the entire time. He only left for a few minutes before encore. Pretty remarkable for a guy who at the time I think was 72.

9. Non concert question- Did you see Rock of Ages the movie? If yes did you like it? It is one of my favorite movies!

Answer- Never saw Rock of Ages and no desire to

10. Have you been to any Fenway concerts? If yes please give a venue review, sight lines, is the stage in the outfield? etc... I wouldn't be thrilled that you can't tailgate.

Answer- Ive been to 5 shows at Fenway and all were amazing. Roger Waters, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, Billy Joel. Never been on the field and sat in different parts of the park at each show. Not only were they fantastic and long shows but being at Fenway makes it a little more special.

11.Who would you most want to see, that currently is retired or broken up (with most of the memebers still alive)?

 Answer-Led Zeppelin. 'Ive never seen them and there's still 3 of 4 alive

12. Who would you most want to see that you've never seen that is dead? If it is Elvis or the Beatles who would be next?

 The obvious answer is The Beatles which is true but also the classic lineup of The Temptations. Only 1 (Otis Williams) is still alive. The other Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) and Melvin Franklin are all deceased. I love answering these questions. 

I have known Matt for  over 25 years. I can't say that we have been close since high school. Sometimes I'd go years without running into him. One thing that hasn't changed in twenty five years is his passion for music. I truly believe even if my mother never took me fishing, I would have found a way to have it become a huge part of my life anyway. I'm sure I was destined to love fishing and the outdoors from birth. Without speaking for Matt, I'd bet he feels his love of live music has been inside him for as long as he can remember. As I said in part 1, I admire every person that truly lives life to the fullest and has as much fun as they can in our short time on this planet. I't's safe to say Matt lives it up. Also it's nice to have a friend that I can ask any music question too, and he will most likely know the answer.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Arnold Arboretum

Today I did one of those daytrips that I have been hoping to do all year. I've never been to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston and have always wanted to go. The Arboretum is a 260 acre landscaped piece of land that has thousands of different species of trees and shrubs. By no mean am an expert on dendrology. However I certainly am interested in seeing things I've never seen.

I went to the Arboretum a little later than I wanted. I got out of work fairly early. My plan was to watch a little football then head up. A sudden migraine made for a change of plans. Luckily for me, an hour nap and some migraine medicine, and I was ready to go. I got there about 4:15. I stayed about
two hours. I wanted to be south of the Boston city limits by dark, so I made sure to give myself ample time to get home.

All information that is needed is found on the Arnold Arboretum website. The Arboretum is owned by Harvard University by the way. It was designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted, along with many other parks in the Emerald Necklace (the Emerald Necklace is a chain of parks in Boston for the public to enjoy, not to be confused with ZZ Top's Pearl Necklace) The website has directions that were accurate to the tenth of a mile. Parking is on street around the arboretum. On a Sunday afternoon I found a spot about 75 yards from the main gate. Maps of the arboretum with trails can also be found on their website. I printed a copy of a map along with a couple walking tours.

I knew going in that I wouldn't be able to see all of the trees in two hours of daylight. I wasn't going to rush, whatever I could see would be fine with me. The park was specific areas where families of trees are. For instance, all the birch trees are together. Although oaks seemed to be scattered, one area was clustered with some real monsters. Most of the trees have signs on them saying the species, scientific name, and part of the world they originate. The ones that are not labeled have a metal card somewhere around ground level with the same information.

I learned today that my favorite family of trees are the pines. I couldn't get enough of them. I saw a
Dawn Redwood, which is so rare it was believed to be extinct. They are from China. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have spent so much of my time around the conifers. They will look exactly the same over the winter or any time I choose to go back. The deciduous trees on the other hand will shed their leaves within a month. I didn't think about this until I was walking out.

By far my favorite tree in the arboretum is the Giant Sequoia. The have one that stands about 50 feet tall. This is obviously puny compared to the 300 foot monsters in California. None the less, I was blown away by the tree. I got that feeling of "awe" that I crave. I took a few pics of it, I could have stayed there all day.

I very much enjoyed my time at the arboretum. Although the place is dedicated to the study of trees, many people were doing other activities. People were walking their dogs, bike riding, and roller blading. I can't tell you how many people had a blanket laid out under a shade tree picnicking.

I will certainly go back again. It will probably be this year during the foliage season. I wouldn't want to deal with Boston traffic on a weekday, so it will probably be on a Sunday again. I am sure the place is beautiful in the spring when the lilacs, Magnolia and Tulip trees are blooming. On top of the beauty, I know the Arboretum is a great place to bird in the spring, so I am sure I will find a day to go there again in May. If your looking for a nice place to visit that is easy to walk or bike ride or want to take a picnic, you might want to consider Arnold Arboretum. I'm sure 95 percent of the people there,
Giant Sequoia
just enjoyed the open space and could care less if the tree they were under was a red oak or a white oak.

There are many dirt paths off the main
paved walkways

Friday, September 25, 2015

Got One

As I noted yesterday, the water in southern Rhode Island is kicked up big time thanks to a persistent northeast wind. As I said I would, I went birding in the morning. Instead of taking the long drive to Parker River, I chose the thirty minute shorter route to Trustom Pond. I ran into some of the best birders in Rhode Island and tagged along. Birding was okay, as we didn't see too many birds and nothing out of the ordinary.

It was still early when I left Trustom. I decided to head home via the Narragansett route. I knew the water would be a mess but couldn't help myself. At noon time I was the only person fishing any of the avenues or at Galilee. I was rewarded for my effort. I caught one schoolie, I got it on a float and a bucktail jig fished in the suds. Not a big fish, but a reward none the less.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The streak of great September fishing ended for me today. It ended for one reason, rough water. I went to Narragansett last evening. The water was rough and many places it was dirty. However, right before dark I hooked two schoolies and a small keeper. 

I went back first thing this morning. I knew the water would be even rougher thanks to persistent winds and an offshore storm. None the less, I felt confident I'd find fish. I snagged some bait last night while fishing. So I thought if there was bait in the rough water, I'd surely find fish.

No such luck. I fished eight hours today. I saw a couple albies and had one striper blow up on and miss my Kastmaster XL. I tried five different spots multiple times. Except for one spot, I never saw any bait. Oh well, can't win them all. The bad news is that the offshore storm is probably going to shut down the fishing for the next week. Guess that means I'll be birding

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Float and Albie Deciever

Float/Leader/Albie Deceiver
I caught most of my albies yesterday on a float and fly. Specifically the fly is what's known as an albie deceiver. It is a combination of blue, chartreuse, and white. You can experiment with the colors. For the most part I like using blue for the tail feathers. I like getting some chartreuse somewhere near the front, either the top or the body. I am not an expert on making flies. However, I get no greater satisfaction than catching a false albacore on a fly that I made.

Albies have fantastic eyesight. They are so picky because they can distinguish if something is food in an instant. Since I can make the entire rig from wooden egg, leader and fly, if I catch an albie on it, I feel really good about myself.

Of course, metal works as well. I guess some days the fly will out fish the metal and others it's the other way around. I have not caught enough albies to  really have that happen. Given the choice, I'd much rather start with the float and fly. For those of you that don't know, when I use the term "metal" I am talking about long thin spoons like a Kastmaster XL and Deadly Dick.

If you want to try making your own flies, my friend Dave put on his blog a short video on how to make them. It's quick and easy. The best part is, you can follow along and pause it as you go. That is how I learned to make them. Here is the link;

I hooked so many fish yesterday on this fly,
the hook eventually broke off

Friday, September 18, 2015

Best Day Ever

The fantastic September fishing is getting even better. I probably experienced the best fishing of my life today. I went to the ocean in southern Rhode Island early this morning. I woke up at 5:15 this morning and drove down hoping to catch the early morning bite.

Did I ever! From first light until about noon time false albacore were everywhere. Early in the morning they were breaking all over. They were not in schools. It was more like single fish, however there were so many fish it didn't matter. They were aggressive, as they nearly ripped my rod out of my hands while I was using a float and fly. The guy to my left always seemed to have a fish on and he was using metal.

The hits slowed down about 10 o'clock (so I thought). At that time my friend Dave came down. He noticed fish breaking far to the right and went towards them. Ten minutes later I followed him down to the breaking fish. In the matter of fifteen minutes I caught a huge blue,  a keeper striper, and another albie! The albie was actually caught on a Rebel Jumping Minnow.

After this blitz ended we went back to my original spot where we landed even more albacore. As I
This is how my day started. I got to watch dolphins
off shore. I should have known today
was going to be special
said, about noon things slowed down. We decided to try another spot. Sure enough, within five minutes I caught another albie. Then Dave hooked up. Then me again but I missed it

. At this point Dave's friend Dennis showed up. Nothing else happened at this spot so we tried another. For the first time all day, we failed to see any fish. Dave and Dennis decided they were going one place, but I wanted to try another. So we split up for an hour.

When I hit the shoreline at my next spot, I walked into breaking fish on my left. I ran to them as fast as I could over uneven rocks. I got there just as it was stopping. I managed a hit, but not a hook up. I waited and a few minutes later more albies erupted in front of me. This time I caught one. Nothing else happened, so I went back to meet Dave and Dennis, who at this time were where I started out my day.

And yet again we saw breaking fish. Between us I think we got three albies and two stripers. At this point the sun was dropping behind the trees. The fish seemed to shut off, but man, what an amazing day.

All total I caught/fought somewhere around twenty albies.I had over thirty five hits for a species, you
just hope for a chance to catch. I was actually trying to have them come off at the end of the fight. Assuming if I didn't land them, they would most likely survive the battle. How many did I actually put my hands on? I lost count, but safe to say it was around fifteen. Throw in the three stripers (one keeper) and the big blue and I ended up with a RI hat trick. Dave got seven albies and EIGHT keeper bass. Dennis who got there late, picked up two albies and a bass. Besides myself and my friends, I saw at least fifteen other albies caught today by the very few fishermen that were out.
One of Dave's first fish

Other than bottom fishermen I saw, less than ten guys were fishing today. All four spots we went had sight lines of a half mile. Yet I saw so few guys. I have no idea why. This is shaping up to be the best September I can remember. As for myself I've had days where I caught more fish. I've had days where I caught bigger stripers. But in terms of overall experience (hat trick and I obsess over albies) then I would say today was the best day I have ever had fishing!

How caught-

Albies- about 3/4 on a float and homemade Deciever
one shockingly on a Jumpin Minnow, the rest on a four inch Kastmaster XL
I saw many others caught, mostly on Kastmaster XL

Bluefish-  popper
Stripers- one on float and fly
one on a Jumpin Minnow and the keeper was caught on a popper

Now that's a blue!

Dave fighting another false albacore

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yesterday Albies, Today Big Blues!

the first blue that I caught
at least eight pounds
I am on a surf fishing roll that I haven't been on in years. I've been out four times in the last two weeks before today. In those times times, I've had two really good striper nights, got rained out by a thunderstorm that wouldn't quit, and caught the albies yesterday.

Since all I did was think of albies for the past twenty four hours, it was a no brainer that I was heading back to the ocean after work today. My plan was to check out a few spots on my way to where I caught the albies yesterday. I didn't plan on fishing for more than five minutes at each place. Either I saw action or I was leaving. After all, I felt confident, the albies would be at the same spot today.

At the second place I went to I was standing on a high rock above the water. I looked down into the crystal clear water and saw a huge school of bait ( four inch peanut bunker) After my disbelief I looked up, there was a wall of baitfish that stretched out twenty five feet from the shoreline as far as I could see. I looked down into the water again and saw false albacore swimming right through this wall of bait. This got my heart racing and I started casting.

Within minutes I had a hook up. The fish was strong, but I could feel the tell tale head shakes of a bluefish. Since I haven't seen any blues this year, I brushed it off and thought it was a hard fighting albie. I was waiting the whole fight for it to run in on me like albies do. Then my fish jumped out of the water. It was a ten pound bluefish. Soon after it popped the hook.

I never left the spot. For the next three hours I was fishing into all this bait. I hooked up with several more large bluefish (all over eight pounds,most over 10). I landed seven. Since I had seen he albies and knew they were around, I was targeting them with lures that they would hit. For the most part all my damage was done on a wooden egg/ zoom fluke combo. Although I never caught an albie, I was more than happy to have big bluefish as a "bycatch.

 If I would have used a popper I would have caught blues on almost every cast. I know this because I watched a guy catch one after another on a popper. Usually he had a fish on before it made the third splash. None the less I was content to catch a few blues on my single hooked lure.

At times there was so much bait, I could not fish. No matter how slow I reeled in my fluke or how high I kept it on the surface, it would snag a peanut bunker. Fish were breaking everywhere and I had no chance of catching anything because of all the snagged menhaden.  I moved a couple hundred yards to my right , there was still plenty of bait, but it wasn't so concentrated, I started catching fish again.

There is so much bait in Rhode Island waters right now. Stripers and blues have been around, and now blues have joined the party, this is turning out to be a terrific fall. No one can predict if the bait will be here one day to the next, so who knows, it might be gone tomorrow. That said, if ever there was a fall to make a few trips to the ocean, this might be the one!