29 December 2011

News to Me

Apparently P:T got some press on OBN a while back that I was unaware of...

Check it out: OBN

And if you haven't had your fill of blogs there are a lot more here.

01 December 2011

Thanksgiving in the tropics

Complete with oven roasted chicken, in lieu of a turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and good company, last weekend we celebrated American Thanksgiving in the Philippines.  The iconic stuffing and cranberry sauce came in a gracious package sent state-side, while the rest of it, potatoes, veggies, 2 chickens, plenty of beer and rum, we found around the island.

There are no ovens to speak of in the Philippines, cooking is done on charcoal stoves, so preparing the bird was set to be the culinary adventure of the holiday.  We devised and successfully carried out our plan to roast our chicken in a beach oven.  None of us had done it before, but we figured it couldn't be all that hard.

Our setting was an abandoned beach front resort.  We had a charcoal grill, a table to eat at, plenty of room for our tents, and no one to speak of but ourselves.

 Here's how it went:

Dig a big, deep hole

Line the hole with rocks and dried coconut husks, they make great coals. Collect plenty of wood preferably not bamboo, but it will suffice.  Build a big fire.
Prepare the chicken(s) with salt, pepper, potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, and a bit of the brine.  Use a pot that doesn't have any plastic on it.

Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the lid (to keep sand out) and place on a hot bed of coals and rocks.

Build up the fire again, bamboo burns quickly so you have to keep it going.

Make sure the pot is surrounded by hot coals, then partly cover it with sand.  Do not completely smother the fire.

At this point we settle down on the beach with a half dozen San Miguels a piece, a bottle of rhum, and some red wine to watch the sun set.

After three hours, carefully remove as much wood and coals as possible.  Be careful of the sand, and remove the pot from the beach oven.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then peal back the foil to reveal the most wonderful, fall-off-the-bone chicken you'll ever eat.

Behold, Thanksgiving dinner...

and the company to share it with.

10 November 2011

Sea's Bounty

There are some strange fish in the markets.  These are from the biggest market on the island. In smaller towns you find more reef fish and less blue water species, but it appears that around here all fish are created equal.

08 November 2011

An Entirely Synthetic Fish

A tremendous undertaking by Anders has resulted in a tremendous read and transfer of knowledge.  This book details the history, politics, biology and chance that have established the Rainbow Trout as the premier catch around the world, with the Rocky Mountain west as it's epicenter.  The likes of only corn and livestock have benefited so much from human involvement in their biology, and whether it's for the better has yet to be determined.

This book puts into perspective a seemingly simply activity as an immense layer-cake of reason, ignorance, zeal, and happenstance.  It is well worth your time off the water.  You are less ignorant and perhaps less blissful after.


19 October 2011

From the Philippines

It is hot and humid here in the Philippines.  I've been up since 5:30, for a few days now, as that's when the roosters begin.  That, and I'm sleeping on a cot 6 inches too short and about the width of my shoulders, with a mosquito net that covers me waist up and provides little relief.  That aside, things are good.  Work is a daily sauna and goes slowly but it's only just started.

A briefing on the travel:
I left New York's Kennedy airport at 1  :45am arriving in Hong Kong a little over 14 hours later.  The man sitting next to me on the flight was from Pennsylvania and on his way to find a wife in the Philippines.  As far as I can tell the Philippines' top two exports are semi-conductor metals and wives.  Anyhow,  I watched the sun rise over hazy Hong Kong and then left for Manila, Philippines.  From there it was out into the city to catch a bus to the domestic terminal and a flight to the Island of Busuanga.  From there it was another bus to Coron and two nights spent in a PADI Dive hotel on the water, complete with good food and brew.

On first impressions, I've never seen such dramatic coastlines.  I took a boat out and went snorkeling, explored the beaches and checked out the fish market.  Limestone cliffs giving way to perfect beaches. Lagoons and estuaries with crystal water.  And warm water, salty and calm.  Often I can't see the horizon for all the islands.  Over 7,100 in the country and 1,700 in the western archipelago where I'm located.

After a short recovery in Coron it was another bus to Salvacion, where the field station is located.  The bus was scheduled to leave at 10:00 am, it didn't show until an hour later and left around 2:30.  I was sitting off the back between someone's legs with all my gear on the roof and my rods in hand.  Just over half way the engine erupted and steam and the already compromised radiator had fallen to pieces.  It had previously been jerry rigged with a water delivery system from the roof of the bus and constantly drained water out the bottom.   Three hours later another bus arrived to take us to Salvacion, with the first bus in tow.  The rest of the trip was slow and we stopped every five minutes or so for this or that.  Eventually we arrived at 12:30 am.

I've tried to find some information on fishing, we've eaten fish every day but none of them have been bigger than my palm.  The market in Coron had some jack tuna and other larger species and some people said marlin can be found off shore.  It's going to take something special to wet my lines and a miracle to catch any sort of game fish, but there's time for that.

01 October 2011

P:T Goes Abroad

P:T GOES ABROAD.  Announcing P:T's first ever international fly fishing adventure.  Where too? The Philippines.  The Philippines is not sold as one of the world's premier salt water fly fishing destinations, but with over 7,000 islands and world class diving there must be something to target on the fly.  That's right, I will be traveling to the Philippines, officially to work with a UK-based community conservation organization and unofficially to test myself in the waters of the South Pacific.  Giant Trevaliy, sail fish, exotic reef species, await my catch.

I will be located in Salvacion on the island of Busuanga, southwest of the Capital Manila.  My stay extends from October 15th or so until just before Christmas.

siargao island philippines
I will be traveling with an 8wt and a 12wt, floating and intermediate lines.  My knowledge of this corner of the world is limited, I know only of boxing, my grandfather's WWII stories, and the sort.  So a plea to anyone with word to share, hand me some intel.  Any insight into the fishing, people, culture, food, beverage, sailing, will help in my presence.

siargao island philippines

25 September 2011

Is Fly Fishing Manly, What?

 Every blog has a search page and one of the interesting things to look at is what searches turn up your blog.  Today I found this:

I can't think of anything more manly than fly fishing.  A fly fisher is a provider, an outdoorsman, a naturalist, a nomad, a sophisticant, a romantic.  As for myself, I once received the Elenor Longman Batchelder Award for Industry, Loyalty and Manliness.  I am the VI, of VI.  I travel, eat meat, wear bow ties, hold doors and call my mother on Sundays.  And fly fish.

These are the glorified images of manliness.  What being manly really is is far bigger than diet or hobby.  In fact,
 manliness is changing, and in a way reverting to a lost definition.  American manliness was defined during the industrial revolution when iron workers were hundreds of feet in the air building our nation's cities, when coal miners were buried working to power or needs, when car manufacturers we men, when soldiers were men, when men smoked Marlboros.  In that time men were building American, not because it was manly, but because that's what was needed.  As manliness increasingly feels lost in our society images of the antique man are becoming more prevalent.  Advertisements for Kettle One Vodka, Dos Equis, Monday Night Football, and shows like Swamp Loggers, Biker Build Off, Survivor Man, Man vs. Wild, and so many more target the absence of manliness in the society.  Building has become Chinese, Vodka makes be think of high school girls, and tv is for the bored and lonely.  But we don't want it so, and these are some of the things that make us think manliness is something other than doing what has to be done; they make us think the old manliness is still around.  In fact manliness is not here.  Doing the dirty work, the inglorious tasks the make the societal clock tick are not getting done.  What if that was seen as manly?

So, Yes, Fly Fishing is manly, as long as you do what must get done at home, in your community, the dirty stuff that early men did in the early days.  It wasn't glorious then and isn't glorious now.  As long as you do what has to get done, on your own time go fly fishing.

And again I will refer you to The Art of Manliness for more on the subject and P:T.

And This:

To be of use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
    I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
    who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
    who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
    who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
    The work of the world is common as mud.
    Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
    But the thing worth doing well done
    has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
    Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
    Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
    but you know they were made to be used.
    The pitcher cries for water to carry
    and a person for work that is real. 

"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.
From CIRCLES ON THE WATER © 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc

23 September 2011

Playing the Blues

It is often over looked, but New England, that provincial corner of the US known for it's yankee way, thick tradition, Ivy Leagues and maple syrup sports some of the best Salt Water fishing off the shores of  the USA.  New England's industry was built on fish, cod mostly but haddock, scup, swordfish and lobster as well.  With the demise of the commercial fishery, whether correlated or not, sport fish have gained recognition and attract pursuers to the North East waters.

Striped Bass are the king but there are others in the court.  False Albacore, most notably, along with Blue Fish, Tuna, Black Sea Bass, Swordfish and others.  The word has been that the Ablies are in thick and they are a rush on the fly, to be sure.  That being said the weather has not been favorable and should continue to piss on us for the foreseeable future.  I took out the MaryLou and with her low profile and short length I was content to stay within the break water off Watch Hill, RI.  Birds were active, the wind was steady and the tide was outgoing.  Not the most favorable conditions for a day on the water.  I put in some time and shrugged the frustration of not being able to go where the fish were, beyond the protection of the point and the breakwater, but managed to land and few nonetheless.

This gaudy bait pattern is reminiscent of a coho fly out of my AK box

Blue Fish don't have the sport fish aura but they are fun, blitz hard, and
are eager to please

Some don't like to eat Blue Fish but as for me, it's tasty.  It can be a little oily but that keeps it moist on the grill.  Some simple seasoning and a side of couscous, and a Narragansett Beer.

Stormy weather over the sound
Tying bait patterns doesn't require the finesse and dexterity demanded by midge patterns and dries.  They are bold, even gaudy at times (see above), but do take a certain type of attention.  Shape, size and color all matter but just like all fly angling the presentation, and in the salt, the retrieve is what separates the catches from the catch-nots.  I picked up some Enrico Puglisi Fibers at River & Riptide Angler in Coventry, RI (great place by the way) and have fallen in love again.  Paired with Yak Hair, Krystal Flash, Flashabou, Eyes, Deer Hair, whatever, it ties and fishes great.  At $5.99 it better.

Home-made rainbow anchovy pattern, as long as it looks
good and has eyes it'll work

EP Mullet patten

I swear by Black after dark.  Stripers love it; I love it

Tying station, if you haven't used EP Fibers for bait patterns, pick some up
Sharpies can add barring and gills of these patterns easily.  I carry a few for on-the-water alterations.

Check out Elliot's blog for some Albie action: eliotjenkinsfishing. (He's got a bigger boat.)  A new comer to NE, he's making it happen.  GreasyBeaksFlyFishing.

19 September 2011

There's a benefit to being back on the East Coast this time of year.  Stipers are running and word is the False Albacore are in thick.  I've made it out in the newly acquired Marylou a few times to no avail but last weekend that all changed.

She's not much but she's all mine

The Marylou and her casting platform

Narrows River, Narraganset, RI

Go Black after dark

A benefit of a boat, bare feet and lots of room

First salt fish on a fly, Striped Bass, RI

Stripers get hungry after dark

12 September 2011

Sticks and Stones

It's not often I get a terrible day of guiding.  In fact, it is very rare, almost never.  Days can be tough or low in numbers, low energy, nasty weather, general lack of luck, but never really awful.  But there are exceptions and this is the result of one of those really awful days.

X-Ray taken after surgery in Anchorage, AK

Taken 2 months after surgery
Lots of hardware 
Laid up on the couch in Hope, AK.
Ten days after surgery I was on the water again with my mother.  Blue bird day and plenty o' fish.

I still managed to get on the water once before leave the Kenai, 10 days after surgery

Farewell trout?

My mom got into some good fish

 Needless to say my guiding for the season is over.  But now my time is my own and recovery happens.  The East Coast (home) is laden with stripers so it is to the salt and away with the waders for a while.