Friday, August 29, 2014

Green Sunfish

When I caught the green sunfish, I promised a picture, then sort of forgot about it. Yes it is just a sunfish, but man was it beautiful

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Albie Addiction

Please Lord, let the albies show up in good numbers!
We are coming to the time of year where a lot of fishermen will be hoping to tangle with false albacore.
Albies are a small tuna that occasionally come close to shore. They are the perfect fish. They are super fast ripping yards of drag in seconds. They are beautiful, there skin shines like metal. Fishermen will spend every free minute they get for the chance to catch a couple of these fish each fall.

I have caught a total of five albies in my life. I caught them all on the same day. September 12, 2012. Twenty twelve was probably the best year ever for albies. I was lucky enough to be down in Narragansett, during the best day of the year.

Needless to say, everyone was hoping 2013 would be just as good. Albies barely showed up. Almost none were caught from shore in Rhode Island. A few were caught by boaters. Here is what I know, fishing for albies is an addiction. After I caught them, I spent weeks thinking about them every waking moment. Last year was a crushing blow for an albie addict. Lets hope this year is better. Whether I catch one or not, I'm going to think about them constantly the next six to eight weeks, so I'm really hoping they show up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fishing with my friends Steph and Alyssa

A couple of my work buddies Steph and
Alyssa, who are inseparable best friends told me they have never gone fishing. We made plans to go years ago, but somehow it never worked out. We decided to try again this week.

We chose to go today, Wednesday. Sadly, the weather was not in our favor. It was hot and sunny, and we were to meet at 3 pm. Since neither Alyssa nor Steph had never even held a fishing pole, I figured the best percentages would be to use worms and bobbers.

After a quick tutorial on how to hold the rod, open the bail and cast, they started. Even though they didn't think so, they quickly picked up casting technique. I know some fishermen, that couldn't cast that well in a year of fishing.

After a few slow minutes, Steph struck first with a sunfish. Then not to be outdone by her bestie, Alyssa caught the next two. I am greatful they caught a couple fish, for worm/bobber fishing it was really slow.

For some reason, they thought I was annoyed with them. First, I enjoy teaching people to fish. Second, the girls were awesome. They put their own worm on, they held their own fish and they excepted advice. Despite slow action from non cooperative sunfish, I think all three of us had fun. I'm looking forward to going with them again.


Mount Pierce and Mount Jackson

The bald summit of Eisenhower from Mt. Pierce
A lot of people ask me about which mountains to hike. There are some easy hike in New Hampshire and

just as many knee killers. Obviously everyone wants to hike Mount Washington. Washington is hard, it is a hike that will turn off a lot of beginners. The view goes for hundreds of miles. I however think there are much prettier views on other mountains. Although you can see so far from Washington, I think the views are better looking at it than from it. Also with all the people, the Cog Railroad and the Auto Road, the top of Mt. Washington is not a wilderness experience.

When non hikers ask me where they should go, I usually suggest Mt Pierce and Mt Jackson. Both of those trailheads are right near the AMC hostel just north of Crawford Notch. Both mountains have relatively short trails with minimal elevation gain for mountains over 4000 feet.

Mt. Jackson-

Poking just over 4000 feet at 4052 feet, Jackson is one of the smaller of the Presidentials. However the view is awsome. I believe the trail is a little over two miles. There is a rock scramble near the summit. Its not really a hard scramble, more fun than dangerous, but it might make parents a little nervous. DJ hiked Jackson as his first mountain when he was seven. It is just above timberline and views across the Presidentials are incredible.

Mt Pierce-

Mt. Pierce summit view
Pierce is one of my favorite mountains. The trail goes up the Crawford Path which is the oldest still used hiking trail in the United States. The trail is 3.1 miles to the top. I hiked Pierce the other day. It took me two hours from car to summit. I am probably an average hiker and I only say how long it took me as a point of reference. We each hike at different speeds and to enjoy a hike, stay at your speed.

Almost the whole hike is protected by the safety of trees. Right near the top, you come out above the timber and a short 200 feet will get you to the summit. The main view is towards Eisenhower with Washington over the ridge. This mountain gives a lot of bang for the buck. If it's still early and you have the energy, Eisenhower or Jackson can both be climbed the same day.

There other "easy mountains"  such as Canon and Hale (no views at all on Hale) but for great views and the taste of mountain hiking these two mountains are a couple of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Man, I hate paying to camp

Site 9 in Deer Mountain Campground
When I was in Pittsburgh, NH I stayed at Deer Mountain Campground. Deer Mountain is state run. It is primitive. The only amenities are a picnic table and fire ring. There is no running water and the bathroom is just an outhouse. I could care less about creature comforts. I got up at 5:40 in the morning and was getting back to my site at dark.  The first two nights I had my own "road". No one else camped on my branch of the campground, so it was quiet. My site was nice and flat and all in all very comfortable.

However I remember laying in my tent the first night thinking "I can't believe I just paid sixty nine dollars to sleep". I understand thousands of people sleep at campgrounds across America every weekend. Many people enjoy the campground experience. I do not, and I forgot how much up until this trip.

Normally when I go to New Hampshire I sleep on a road with dispersed camping. My closest neighbor is usually a quarter mile away. Sometimes I will sleep in the woods at tent sites or a lean to.

So lying there I couldn't believe I spent $70 to sleep. However it was my choice so I sucked it up. however the last night (Friday) reinforced my dislike of campgrounds. The first two nights everyone was quiet very early, even in other parts of the campground, I couldn't here anything from that direction. Then Friday about 10:30 a car pulls up two sites from me. I've arrived after dark before and setting up a tent in the dark sucks. I excepted that it was going to be noisy for a few minutes.

However these people showed no etiquette what so ever. The whole family talked very loudly. The father whistled to get his kids attention like you would a dog. The kids were swearing at each other. To top it off, they made a four foot fire within five minutes of pulling in.After they set up the tent they decided to cook supper (at 11:15 pm!) banging around pots and pans slamming there car doors over and over. I wish I could say I was exaggerating and just being a whiner, but trust me it was worse than I can type here. I actually packed up my tent (by light of their fire, I did not even turn on my headlamp). I drove down the logging roads and spent the rest of my night sleeping in the car.

It's funny how it only takes one rude camper to ruin the experience for every other person within listening distance. This was a not so friendly reminder of why I shy away from campgrounds

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pittsburgh, NH

This past week I went up to the northern tip of New Hampshire to for a magazine article assignment. I spent two and a half days fishing continuously. I'm not going to write extensively about it, but the little getaway inspired me with many ideas.

Pittsburgh is the most northern town in New Hampshire. It took me 5 hours to get there from the MA/RI border. Access is simple. Follow I-93 to Exit 35 (Route 3). Follow Route 3 for two long yet scenic hours. Pittsburgh is home to some very famous water. The Upper Connecticut River is widely considered one of the best ten trout streams in the country. On top of that are the world famous Connecticut Lakes.

I did not go up to fish any of these famous waters. The area is loaded with many small ponds filled with trout that don't get much attention. I fished eight bodies of water catching trout in six. None were that big but they were plentiful. I mainly used nymphs fishing with my fly rod and the trout did not seem at all fussy. Finding fish was harder than catching them. It seemed like they were all holed up in one little cove. I could catch a bunch in one little spot and none in the rest of the pond. This happened on more than one water body. This probably was the case because some of the ponds are spring fed, and chances are when I found fish they were over coldwater springs.

For someone that truly want to discover water with very little fishing pressure  Most of the ponds close on October 15, and most are fly fishing only.I suggest taking a trip up north before they close. There is plenty of lodging and campgrounds in the area. You will feel like an explorer since you may be the only person to fish that pond all day.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thirtieth Species of the Year

I apologize for not writing lately.  I still haven't bought a new computer. So when I post, it is by phone. As you can imagine, I don't want to be typing 1200 words one finger at a time.

I went to northern New Hampshire right to the Canadian border for a couple days of trout fishing. I will write more in the upcoming days but I did want to post this.

I have been at 29 species of fish caught for a couple weeks now. I purposely have avoided catfishing so I wouldn't catch a white cat. I was hoping for species 30 to be an albie or short of that a hickory shad.

Well that did not happen. While trout fishing I caught a bunch of fallfish, also known as chubs and dace. I am certainly glad to reach my goal of th
irty species for the year so I am not complaining. As a matter of fact I targeted fallfish three times earlier in the year.

Up north I caught at least two dozen. I'd have been just as happy to catch them as I would be trout if they were decent size. I caught one that was about 5 inches the rest were the size of a medium shiner. Although I'm thrilled to reach this year long goal, here's to hoping for 32 since I really want to catch albies and a year isn't complete without playing with hickory shad a few times.