August doesn’t need to be dull…

August 6, 2018 – Connetquot – 


It was hot yesterday. So hot we didn’t even try to go out in the boat.  Stayed in the A/C all day.  Today is to be even hotter but I had committed to be a river helper for the Project Healing Waters Fly fishing folks so I was up at 5:45 – it was already sticky and humid.

Arrived at the Park by 7:15

Figured I would wet wade to stay cool.  Ira and Tom Casey were there and heading to Beat 10, Tom’s favorite.  Jerry from Idle Hour Fly Fishers was there with a crew.  They are working on the diverters trying to increase the river flow and clear out some of the silt. PHW Coordinator Fred Thorner was there, as always, and Jim Gilmartin was on his way with the coffee and donuts, tied up in traffic somewhere.

Jim usually assigns the guys to river helpers so I waited on his direction.  At first he sent me with Dave and Don but then asked me to switch to Fred (another Fred) and if she showed, a new gal named Ingrid who has never fly fished before. 

Well, she didn’t arrive so I met Fred who is a bit of a character, an older fellow with only a bathing suit on with his fly vest.  It is hot. He says he has fished here since it was a private club and some relative once lived in the cabin adjacent the Hatchery, and “…the trout used to be pink inside, not like these hatchery clones.” 

Mill Dam

So I ask if he has a favorite place to fish and after running down all the places he has fished says he wants to fish the Mill Dam.

I think about that for a bit and remind him that this time of year the downstream water will be too warm for trout.  Maybe we will get some bass.  He says that would be okay with him and goes to his car.  I follow him back down the road.

Mill Dam on Connetquot

The dam is a place I enjoy fishing and bass would be fine with me as well,  but I am wondering how he will fish it.  We walk to the boardwalk below the Mill and he says this is it.  I tell him I will go to the platforms on the other side. 

He proceeds to fish from the boardwalk.  I am thinking “Maybe he knows something I don’t know” as I have never seen anyone fish from there. I put the Dace on and cover the water with no reaction.  Then switch to a weighted Green Woolly Bugger – Bam.  Nice smallmouth.  I show Fred. 

He gives me a thumbs up, puts one on and moves off the boardwalk and into the stream. I would usually coach the Vet more than fish myself but Fred indicated that he knows what he is doing. Covering the water within reach, I keep an eye on him while continuing to fish my side. Smack! Another bass. This one a little bigger. 

I feel the presence of another person

Behind me is Ingrid.  She got lost and asks if I know where the PHW people are.  I welcomed her and said she can fish with us.  Introduced her to Fred and showed her the basics of flipping the streamer into the flow, letting it sink and retrieving it.  She was a quick study and had a fish on shortly, just what I’d expect from a fellow US Navy Vet.

After a while I took her to the pond side and put on a triple nymph rig.  I should have known better, but it was effective here before. After a few feudal casts we switched back to a streamer – the White Death Joe gave me.  Back at the tail water, she worked it well and flipped better than most. 

We saw an aggressive chase and we got excited

Worked the area again and again but couldn’t reproduce it.  By this time Fred has moved to the middle of the dam and is sitting on the wall over the water, allowing his line to drift into the area we are fishing.  I said to Ingrid that we need to allow a fellow Vet some indiscretions and we moved to the lower platform.

She continued to amaze me with good line control and flips without getting hung up in all the trees and bushes, but no fish.  After a while she asked to take a break, it was hot. She headed off for some shade and water.   

I was fishing, looking at Fred on the wall struggling to tie on a fly.  He had no water with him and I had a half bottle left.  I offered it to him but he shook it off.  I noticed he stopped trying with the fly, his rod kind of on the edge of the wall, precariously over the water.  He rolled forward and then down onto the saw horse that is there and called for help.

I ran over

Ditched my rod and bag and went to catch him from falling further, he is a big guy.  I asked if he wanted me to call 911.  He said “No, this has happened before.” I gave him some water.  He got to his knees and then up. I took his arm and we walked toward the Park office. 

I called Jim and he called Fred who is coming.  Ingrid came back and sat with us as we waited for both Fred and the Park officer to arrive. 

Long story short, I am home and Jim just called me.  Fred drove himself home and his wife is taking him to the doctor.

Note to all: Stay hydrated!

Ingrid thanked me for the time and is planning on going to the PHW Tuesday fly tying at the Northport VA.  She will do just fine.

Hey, if you have some time why not contact your local PHW group and get involved?

(Two bass.  Not bad for August and 90 degrees.)

August 7, 2018 – Levittown – 

Long Island Fly Rodders Meeting. 

They were having a BBQ and good speaker – Ozzie Ozefovich who has amazing dvd’s of underwater trout habits.  I have two of his 3 discs – Discovery and Feeding Lies –  on the bookshelf.  I got them when he last spoke at the LITU meeting in 2001.

Anyway I went to the meeting and its good to see familiar faces and friends. Its very hot and thunder soon boomed outside with the lights flashing. I had a chance to thank Ann and Rich Cosgrove for including a mention of my book in her Newsday interview on home decorating out east (Quogue).

Rich was also selling the last of the raffle tickets for a fine bamboo rod

It is from a collection donated to the club by the wife of a past member Neil Friedman.  A 2 pc, 8 foot, 4-5 weight which looks like it was never used and seems to have a good backbone. JD Wagner from Parma Heights, OH is the maker. 

I didn’t buy a ticket earlier in the year since I certainly don’t need another rod but my charitable side prevailed and I gave him $20…and later won the rod!

Its number is 1203-2 and is a Signature Model 280 TNS 4-5 wt. The current retail price is $2395. 

A good night!

August 8/9, 2018 – Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery – 

I assisted Bill Smith a second time at this year’s Fly Fishing Camp.  We had a number of repeat campers who I met last year.  We tied flies and cast rods as well as fished the raceway with most catching at least one. It is a great experience.

August 10, 2018 – Carmans River, Gate E – 

Tony, Doug and Gary have been working along with the DEC crew and other volunteers from Art Flick TU on the new wing dam all week. Friday I joined them and we completed the inshore section of the east wing dam.  The effect on the river is already apparent.  The west side will be done next week when I am upstate. Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and NYS Council of TU funded the project and DEC provided all the hardware, equipment as well as manpower. (see photo of completed project at top of post)

Volunteer builders Doug, Gary and Tony of Art Flick TU


Getting deeper already

For more stories why not try Letters to Mack