Thursday, May 31, 2007

the not wholly unexpected double posting: bass fishing

This is about as good a time as any to show you a picture from my trip to Central PA last week. From Penn's Creek. One of the most famous trout rivers in Pennsylvania, on the east coast even. It's very hard fishing. The fish are ultra selective and fight like bulls on acid at a bullfight on acid. I hooked up with a couple big ones on the elk hair suplhur emergers but they broke me off. After an hour of casting at the one trout sipping something delicately off the surface under an overhanging hemlock branch, losing three or four flies in the process, the breaking off is a real let down. But, such is life. I'm walking up the river, about a mile or so upstream from the Poe Paddy bridge and I come across a very deep run along the bank. It looks maybe six or eight or even ten feet deep. Very deep and very long for Penn's. So I tie on a Wool Bugger, run that through the hole a couple times. Nothing. I know big brown trout eat crayfish. So I tie on one of my big, fat, #4 crayfish flies that I use for bass, weighs about seven pounds, and toss that thing in there, ticking it off the bottom.

Now I hope you all remember the lesson I learned a couple weeks ago in Pennsylvania, because it is immediately relevant. If you use a bass fly, you'll probably catch bass.

So I'm ticking it off the bottom. Tick. Tick, tick. Tick. SHAKE. SHAKE, SHAKE. I set the hook. Missed him. That was a big fish nice. I throw the shotput back in the hole. Tick. Tick, tick. SHAKE. BOOM. I set the hook. The fish makes a run downstream, sending the reel's drag into a screaming fit. HAHAHA. Nice.

Smallmouth don't fight as long as big trout, in my experience, but they fight strong.

What I love so much about this is that I caught this big smallmouth in a famous trout river. Nice. Click for bigger.

Today is a good day to post this picture because yesterday, thank the good lord, I caught two decent sized smallies at Clear Creek. Finally. That was probably my six or seventh trip there and it finally paid off. Caught a lot of fish last night. Sunfish, rock bass, some other bass I think. All on a green popper. Nice top water fishing. But a little after eight, it began to get dark, and BOOM. A big take. Made my reel scream again. I love that. It's rare when I trout fish.

R fucked with my camera when I saw him last and I thought I fixed everything but I didn't. He had the ISO set at 400. So these fish look a little funny. They really were a little on the yellow side though.

Click both for bigger.

And yes. Please do check up on our friend Stunt Pilot Buck Jones in the post below.

stunt pilot buck jones, part deux

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones flies around camp in awkward, stilted loops. Ducking. Dodging. Flapping. Fighting with his loose, membranous wings to stay afloat.

Hey Mr. Buck Jones, where is it that you go?

He lands on the trunk of a young Tulip Poplar, sucked to it like magnetism. Clinging to the rough bark with tiny claws so high, his head hangs down towards the ground. I see his pig nose expand and contract, gulping air, recovering from aerobatics.

“I have rabies you fat fuck. Why the hell else would I be flying around in the middle of the goddamn day? Bats are nocturnal, dumbshit.”

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones still seems to have his wits about him despite the daylight flight.

“I’m sorry sir. I know bats are nocturnal. I suspected you might have rabies. I’m very sorry.”

“You can stuff your sorrys in a sack mister. Who the hell are you anyway? Coming into my woods, my mountains, gawking at my poor infected soul like I’m some sort of fucking circus freak. Well I’m not. I’m a little brown bat that’s had a rough go of it lately. So what. You win some, you lose some. That’s what my mother always used to say at any rate. Cold comfort at a time like this.”

He comes unstuck from the tree and flappity-flaps his way through three big rings around the grove of trees and then fwhip, right back to his perch.

“I know I shouldn’t be flying around,” he says, gasping for air, his tiny pig nose pulsing purposefully, “but I can’t help it. It’s amazing how powerful the desire is to just fly around in circles. I know it’s the little virus in there like a commando in my brain, making me do things I shouldn’t. I know that. I’m not stupid. But it feels just like any old desire I might have. Eat. Sleep. Fuck. Fly around in circles in the middle of the goddamn day. Whatever. I’m a slave to my neurons, you know?”

“So you feel completely normal?”

“100% Buck Jones.”

“That is fascinating.”

“Maybe for you. I’m a little worried myself. But enough of this. You sound big. What are you, 298? Three bills?”

“Well, more like 330 these days, not like I keep track.”

“That’s not good man. A guy like you. You’re young, right? Your vocal cords sound fairly young.”

“I’m impressed. I thought the radar was just for catching bugs and what not. Finding your cave.”

“I wish I could find my cave. Got a bit turned around here. Well, it’s like Gould and Lewontin said, or was it Gould and Vrba? Aptations my man, aptations are where all the money’s at these days. Evolve it for one thing, use it for another. Done alright by me so far.”

“Sure, sure, I see that. But the fact that Gould and Vrba got credit for an idea that’s been around since, well, at least since Darwin, bothers me sometimes. I mean, sure, Gould had a way with words, and Vrba, that’s a catchy name, right? But back to my weight. This is interesting. It’s kind of like your rabies, my weight. I know I shouldn’t eat as much as I do, but I can’t help it. The commandos in my brain tell me what to do and I pretty much don’t have a choice but to listen.”

“Ah, I see. So you don’t believe in free will?”

“Well, yes. You’re right. I don’t really believe in free will. But that’s no excuse you know. And I don’t think that’s really what’s at issue here either. I’m really just trying to sympathize with your case of hydrophobia by recounting a similar problem in my life. Seems to help people. Get them to sympathize with you for a minute. Makes their problem seem a little less pressing. Maybe. I don’t know.”


“Yeah. Hydrophobia. I heard somewhere that when you have rabies you’re scared of water.”

“Huh. Come to think of it, I am mighty parched. All this flying around and what not. Maybe I’ll get a drink.”

“Yeah, let’s go down to the creek there and have a look.”

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones releases his grip on the tree and glides very close to the ground before clapping his skin flaps and heading, more or less, towards the stream. He alights on a small Witch Hazel trunk, about three feet high, just above the edge of the water. I sit next to him on a large, flat, gray rock. He is at eye level.

“Yeeeeaaaah, soooo, I’m not thirsty now.”

“You just said you were ‘mighty parched’ a minute ago. All that flying around…”

“Well, that was a minute ago. I ate a big juicy bug on the way over here. I’m fine.”

“Ok, but I think it’s the hydropho…ack! Goddammit Buck Jones! What the hell…get off of me…OOOWWW! GODDAMMIT YOU BIT ME! ON MY FACE! SHIT!”

“Sorry dude. The commando. I guess you’ve got him now too. Oh well. Gotta go. Give my love to the kids!”

Sunday, May 27, 2007

a goose in the woods is good

The Brothers Dunn production company is proud to present a Mushemeelin production:

a goose in the woods is good

Featuring the Little Juniata River, brown trout, sulphur emergers and a goose in the woods at Penn's Creek.

Click the image to watch the movie:

If you can't watch WMV format videos, go here to watch it, although the quality is not as good.

And I've added a "video" archive section under "labels" to the right. Watch all the cinematographical magic from posts past.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

nymphing with dad

The extravaganza is rolling along smoothly despite some massive potholes on the home front. Been drinking at Victory two times now, went to Spence last night to see Colin's band Downhill Racer play, and The Bob and I are heading down to State Line Liquors near Newark Delaware in about an hour to buy $100 in fine fermented beverages. We might even swing through the Illadelph on the way back to hit up Monk's Cafe. Also made it to the Drafting Room last night and enjoyed a very fine Double IPA: Legacy's Hoptimus Prime. One of the best I've tried in a while. Intense, lingering bitterness with bountiful juicy hop character. Much better than Legacy's Hedonism I had at Boxer's Cafe last week, which was good, but much less flavorful with an intensely high perceived bitterness.

I head back out to Central PA tomorrow. Wish me luck.

So I went back to West Valley creek yesterday and caught this decent brownie on a Sulpher. Definitely looks like a stocked trout from the gills back. But look at the gills forward. From the gill forward it looks wild. I wonder why wild trout look like that and stockers look all silvery? Click for bigger.

Then, because I caught that Brook trout on a woolly bugger the other day, I threw a streamer in the hole a couple times. A Clouser Minnow. A bass fly. Know what happens when you fish a bass fly? You catch bass. Click for bigger.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

the giant summer extravaganza continues

Extravagant extravaganzas have rough patches just like other happenings, events, and goings on. And the GIANT FUCKING SUMMER EXTRAVAGANZA is no different. Michael "The Plucky Irishman" "R" Kelly canceled the North Carolina leg of the summer extravaganza. He's "in Canada" and "just has too much going on man". So we're scraping that leg. Which means I get to stay in the Dub-C [insert hand gesture here] until Sunday AND fish throughout central PA next week, including trips to hidden wilderness Brook trout streams with 70kg of fish per hectare. That is a shit ton of brook trout. I will also hopefully get to hang out with the Plucky One in Clairton and perhaps even be lucky enough to spend some time with Princess Kathy Yeo in Pittsburgh before she departs for the Iberian peninsula.

So, anyway, I fished West Valley Creek last night in the delayed harvest/artificial lures only section. I grew up fishing West Valley Creek, but the section I fished growing up is now closed. Remember when we got kicked off the property? Bitch.

Anyway, West Valley Creek is a small limestone stream that is about 5 minutes from my folks house and, somewhat miraculously, 2 minutes from Victory Brewing Company. There are a TON of fish in the delayed harvest section, but they weren't very interested in eating any of my flies. I missed a couple rises and a take or two on nymphs. I did catch a FAT Brook trout on a wooly bugger though. Which is weird considering the Pennsylvania Fish Commission says they only stock the creek with Rainbows and Browns. This makes me feel somewhat worse about making this fish bleed. Maybe it's a giant, secret native?

Anyway, the fish was hooked pretty deep and bled some, but after a minute or two of recovery darted off into the deep dark hole from whence it came.

Click for bigger.

Monday, May 14, 2007

breaking the slump, a photographic extravaganza

The only way to break a fishing slump is to keep fishing. Things started out well on Wednesday. Caught a big brown trout. And a couple smaller ones. But then things slowed way down. I met my dad on Penn's on Thursday night and we didn't get shit. My father and I each caught one small fish on Friday. My brother caught three in about an hour that evening though. Decent sized, 10" brownies. That was on the Little Juniata again because even though we were staying within a stone's throw of Penn's Creek at the Feathered Hook in Coburn, Penn's was completely "blown out" by thunderstorms.

But we hit Penn's on Saturday. Drove out to Ingleby which is a tiny little group of houses and camps accessible only by 5 miles of dirt road. It's in the middle of nowhere. Morning started off great. My father and I each hooked and lost several decent sized fish on March Brown nymphs. But then they just stopped feeding and we never did manage to catch any. But Penn's Creek near Ingleby is beautiful.

That night we went back up to Coburn and fished a nice deep, flat stretch during an amazing March Brown hatch. But the fish weren't feeding at all. Very sporadic rises. I thought this was weird. Thousands of giant March Browns and no feeding! Frustrating.

Fished a bit on Penn's again on Sunday morning to no avail. But my dad and I went out to Valley Creek this morning in Valley Forge National Historic Park where there's a nice population of wild brown trout about 15 minutes from Philadelphia. And about 15 minutes from my parent's house. I missed one fish on a Sulpher, but other than that, no action. I'll have to go back out tonight somewhere to try to and break the slump.

The big brown trout from the Barree Gorge. Maybe 17". Caught it on a size #16 blue Copper John. A couple versions. Click them for bigger.

This is the first train bridge as you head upriver on the Little Juniata in the Barree Gorge. No road in the gorge. But a lot of trains. Click for bigger.

Before meeting my father on Penn's I tried for some brookies in the east fork of Standing Stone Creek in Greenwood Furnace State Park. No luck. But then I drove cross country style through Rothrock State Forest from Greenwood Furnace all the way to Boalsburg. I spent a good bit of time in that area in college. Particularly around Bear Meadow Bog and Alan Seeger. A view of the mountains. Click for bigger.

Here's a view of the bog. You can't enlarge it. Sorry.

This is looking up Penn's Creek about 1/4 mile below the trestle below Coburn. You can make out a bunch of March Browns in the air. Click to make it bigger.

My dad fishing Penn's in the fog. Click for bigger.

My dad and brother fishing Penn's in the midst of the huge March Brown hatch.

Up close view of a March Brown. March Browns are a group of very large Mayflies that hatch early in the season out west, but typically in mid May here in Pennsylvania. They are rather large Mayflies, but not quite as large as Penn Creek's most famous Mayfly, the Green Drake.

The path on the old railroad grade that follows Penn's from the Trestly below Coburn.

Two little Brownies I caught on the Little Juniata. That second one seems to have had a tough life.

Some one had a bad canoe trip on the Little Juniata.

My brother (and dad) on the Little Juniata with some of his fish.

Looking up the train tracks along the Little J.

My dad along the trail along the Little J. Click for bigger.

Funny story about this snake. Maybe I'll tell you about it some time.

My mom, dad, and brother on our annual mother's day hike in the Brandywine Conservancy's Laurel Preserve in southern Chester County. Look at the wilderness just a half hour from Philly! Click for bigger.

And, last but not least, General Maxwell's quarters in Valley Forge. Maxwell was from New Jersey and camped with the army in Valley Forge from 1777-1778. He had a nice house.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

my lushfulness

Now that I have a laptop I can blag from the road. Welcome to the future. Watch your step, the GIGANTIC FUCKING SUMMER EXTRAVAGANZA has begun.

I was up at 6:30am this morning, left Bloomington around 7:15 and drove 552 miles in 8 hours and 22 minutes with one stop for gas and peeing. That's an average speed of about 66 miles per hour.

Not bad.

I now sit in the Day's Inn of Huntingdon PA. I was supposed to camp out, but I decided against it for a number of reasons. Not least of which is the fact that my lushfulness is big and round and soft and pleasurable. Juniata College, my alma mator, is located here (in Huntingdon, not my lushfulness). I bought a bumper sticker and a t-shirt at the bookstore. Then I went to Boxer's Cafe, one of my favorite bars in the whole world, for some food and a pint of Legacy's Hedonism and short pour of Appalachian's Pils. Both were very nice. Huntingdon seemed very different to me. I've only been back once or twice since college.

Then, around 5pm, I drove 10 minutes down the road to the Barree Gorge. You remember Barree Gorge, right? Where that guy shot his deer rifle at me that time? I caught a very big Brown Trout. I will show you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

the bob loblaw law blog

I have made many grievous errors in the life of this blog, but one kind stands out particularly...ummm...brightly. Why hasn't somebody pointed this out to me before? That all my photographs I post are washed out. Too bright. Shit. Pure shit.

I purchased a new laptop on Saturday (and an IPOD). It's monitor is bright. Crystal clear. And when I look at my pictures on that computer, they appear to be washed out. I've had some suspicion that my desktop monitor is dark (it's 5 years old and was a discount, refurb to begin with), but the contrast between the two monitors is striking.

I apologize for any and all seared retinas and I will attempt to edit all new photographs using my new laptop.

The GIGANTIC FUCKING SUMMER EXTRAVAGANZA begins tomorrow, 6:30am. Prepare for an onslaught of blogging so fierce and varied it will confuse you.