Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

January 30, 2012

Saltwater Fly Retrieves - with Angelo Peluso

One of the perks of my business is that I get to meet and work with the most interesting and accomplished folks in the industry. And, through these varied relationships I also get to grow professionally and personally. Each collaboration takes me and my associates down some challenging, fascinating, and very rewarding roads.

Angelo Peluso is a highly regarded fisherman and expert fly-tier. He's also a successful author, contributor, and talented photographer. His books include Tia, The Story of a Mouse and an Eagle, Flyfishing Long Island, and most recently, Saltwater Flies of the Northeast. He and I will collaborate on his next flyfishing book in the coming months.

While my enthusiasm for fishing far exceeds my ability, Angelo's ability has been honed and perfected through years of experience. He recently posted the below video. Simple, clear, and concise instruction. The fly he's using is one of his variations (of which there are many) of a large Lefty's Deceiver. He said he's had some really good luck with it on larger bass both on Long Island and in New England.

If you'd like to visit Angelo's site, Click Here. If you'd like to check out his books, check out the link below.

PS: I suspect his handwriting is a bit like mine (see below)... but I'll let you know :)

January 29, 2012

Kayak Fishing

(Cory reading A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes during a lull in the fishing :)

Disclosure: I may be a talented artist, but my handwriting makes me look like a serial killer. It's illegible. Horrible. Scribble. It's jerky, heavy, loopy and sloppy. You'd never know by looking at my writing that I can paint accurately, precisely, and beautifully. So when I'm at book signings, I pray that I'm not asked to write anything more than my name on the title page of my book. Because even penning my own name leaves me panicked.

Last summer my cousin asked me to personalize his copy. Before I did, I warned him my handwriting was awful. Not surprisingly, when I handed him the signed book, he read my inscription, laughed, and said, "Stick to painting, 'cuz!"
About four months ago. I'd just wrapped up a presentation and book signing which my wonderful niece had attended. Afterward, I lamented how bad my handwriting was, and how embarrassed I was by it. Bless her heart, Georgia told me, "Don't worry about it. All authors have horrible handwriting."


I don't remember how I became Facebook friends with Cory Routh. Doesn't matter. He's a fishing fanatic, as am I. He's also an environmental specialist, conservationist, hunter, writer, and photographer. Recently, he published Kayak Fishing: The Complete Guide. Great book! Expertly written, chocked full of images, and designed for both the novice and experienced kayak fisherman. Cory is a pro who's passion for kayak angling and the outdoors shines through. His book covers everything from rigging and gear to launching and safety. It is particularly helpful for the beginner, but it would also make a great addition to any angler's library.

Anyway, he suggested we swap books. I said, Sure! But, this meant I had to personalize my book for him. Oh no...not handwriting! But I did my best and sent off my book to him. A few days later, his book arrived at my office. And like I'd inscribed my title page for him, he'd inscribed his title page for me. And ya know what??? His handwriting was as scribbly as mine!

Georgia was right.
And...turns out, I'm in good company.

Click here for Cory's website.
Click on link below to check out Cory's book. Have fun, and Go Fish!

January 26, 2012

Sharks on the Wall

Odd post title, but couldn't think of a better one...!

When Steve Lewers approached me to collaborate with him on a series of note cards, folding guides, and posters, my initial reaction was "OK, we'll see." I don't enter into any business relationship without first doing some research. This was no exception. I wanted to check him out, talk on the phone, and hear from some of his other artists. One artist told me, "Steve is great. A machine. Completely trustworthy." I also wanted to make sure he produces quality products. I've spent my career building a reputation centered on integrity and high quality. Steve's reputation and work passed all my litmus tests. So, I signed on and several months later, we have rolled out a dozen different products. The shark poster, to me, is a highlight.

My readers undoubtedly know I have a thing for sharks. And anything I can do to help preserve them is time well spent. I think this poster accomplishes this if only to help people appreciate their beauty and diversity. I foresee donating several to charity.

Click here for the link!

January 22, 2012

Photo Worth a 1000 Words.

This photo doesn't need an editorial... it speaks for itself.

January 20, 2012

Tarpon Tournament

I'd no sooner want to be fishing among these throngs than I'd want to be crammed into a crowded subway. To me, this isn't fishing. This is competing - and the biggest losers are the Tarpon.

January 18, 2012

Don't Touch! Or, if you are a Goatfish... Don't Sleep!

I have a HUGE library in my office. The majority of books are about fishes - but I have a sizable collection of books about many other of aquatic life forms. One of the creepiest, and more informative books I own is Dangerous Marine Animals, by Bruce Halstead, M.D. When my kids were little, I actually hid this book from them because it contains numerous, graphic photos of the injuries people have suffered due to misencounters with venomous and toxic marine animals.
The book includes the well-documented outcomes of encounters with sharks, barracudas, jellyfishes... but it also includes the not-so-well-known dangerous critters like corals, sea urchins, and sea snails. Yep, sea snails.

Cone snails are one of the most venomous gastropods in the sea. A puncture wound from a Cone snail may result in intense pain, numbness, tingling in the mouth, dizziness, and paralysis. On our coast, these snails are mildly toxic, in other parts of the world fatalities have been reported.... from a SNAIL sting! Invertebrates and fishes in the wild don't stand a chance against the Cone snail. Some Cones have lightning-fast barbs that shoot out and harpoon their prey. Other Cones use stealth to approach their prey.

In the video below, the Goatfish is at rest. While the narrator says the Cone is releasing chemicals, I haven't read anything to corroborate this. But clearly, the Goatfish does not respond by swimming away.

Bottom line: it's a snail-eat-fish world under the surface. My rule of thumb? When you're in the ocean, DON'T TOUCH! Especially if it's a Cone snail.

January 15, 2012

Fishy Friday - Smalltooth Sawfish

Sawfish ancestors first appeared in the fossil record some 100 million years ago. That's a L-O-N-G time ago! They are more closely related to skates and rays than to sharks - their pectoral fins are connected to the head, whereas sharks and their relatives have distinctly separate pectoral fins that are low on the body.

The 'teeth' in a Sawfish's rostrum, are not teeth at all. They are actually modified scales. Their real teeth are tiny, numerous, and arranged in bands along the jaws. The rostrum is a very long, flattened, cartilagenous snout. The skin on the underside of the rosturm has hundreds, if not thousands, of sensory pores that help the Sawfish locate prey in bottom sediment.

Once prey is detected, the Sawfish digs around in the bottom with its long, toothy rostrum. The Sawfish then dines on wounded fishes and invertebrates. The Sawfish also uses its rostrum to slice through schools of baitfish.

Unfortunately for the sawfish, its saw is its greatest asset and its own worst enemy. Fishermen hunted this fish for its curious snout. In addition, the saw gets tangled in nets, lines and rigging. Frustrated fishermen would kill the Sawfish in an effort to save gear. On top of these challenges, Sawfishes have to share their shallow-water habitat with millions of water-going humans. The Smalltooth Sawfish once ranged from New Jersey to Brazil. Now, populations are restricted to small pockets. They are now considered Endangered and have total protection in the state of Florida.

Most folks will never see a live Sawfish in the wild. I know I probably won't. The fishermen in the video below were obviously aware of the Sawfish's status, and had the foresight to contact Fish and Wildlife scientists. While it's sad to see such a rare fish dead, at least its body will help further conservation efforts.

For more on Sawfish, CLICK HERE, and... HERE!

January 11, 2012

Open Letter to my Sons

By way of explanation, we have a cat named Pluto who has been with us for over 17 years. We adopted him from our local SPCA. Family stories about Pluto's escapades are too numerous to recount. In the simplest terms, he is a part of our colorful family fabric.

Recently, he's begun to decline. Blindness has set in on top of recurring ear issues. Antibiotics help his ears, but only to stave off dizziness. He's almost completely deaf. His remaining senses are smell, and touch. If he walks straight, he walks straight into. If he walks abreast, his whiskers signal him to turn. Corners trap him completely -- so when he gives up, he sits and stares into nowhere.

As we approach the end of our relationship with him in this life, I want to keep my sons abreast of developments. They have known, loved, and helped me care for Pluto since he came into our lives. But they are both away at school, and I am in my office with Pluto as my charge. And, this cat has been my ever-present companion. For many many years, he made homes in the cubby holes among my shelves of artwork. He chased the shadows of birds feeding at my windows. He meowed to get into my attic, and I waited for his meows to get out... But I digress...

Open letter to my sons:
Pluto is doing really well, considering.
After much thought, I've realized much of my fear was not about how he is - he seems OK. He's not sick sick, and besides weak kidneys, he's just disabled! I was afraid I couldn't take care of him. But, how would I know if I didn't try???? It's going to take some effort, but that's part of the deal when you adopt a pet. You're in it for the long haul...

So, after a couple of weeks of his blindness and deafness, we seem to be figuring it out. He gives signals, I read the signals and try to give him what he's asking for. Loud MMMOOOOW! may mean he wants to go out, or he's just lost. After he eats, he sometimes likes to have some water. So, if he can't find the bowl, I take him there and put his paws on the rim. He realizes he's at the bowl, and either tests it with his paw, or begins to drink. Fascinating.

He had challenging potty visits to the mulch beds today. RAIN! He did not like that. And I did not like the cold. But, whatever...

This afternoon I went to visit Tory and Bill, and left Pluto asleep on the couch. I'd checked all the doors, including the cat door. When I got back, I couldn't find him!! Freak out! I turned on all the lights and searched every crevice. He was No Where. I thought, 'No way he's in my office.' But, lo and behold, there he was, curled up and asleep on my floor. How the HECK did he find his way up there??? Who knows. He seemed happy.

Then later, he went down the stairs on his own (!), but after bumping his way around the fish room he decided he'd had enough and started to meow. I rescued him; took him outside; he did his business; then found his way to the dog bed and licked himself in front of the fire.

I've ordered Dad NOT to leave Pluto outside by himself. Fingers crossed.
See attached pic of Pluto in my office.
Love you guys. Be good!

Goldfish Salvation

I hope each of my dear readers gets to watch this... It is absolutely incredible. And proof that art takes all forms, but artists all share one trait: passion.


January 10, 2012

Dolphins Go Fishing

All trapped up and no place to go!
This is the aquatic equivalent of wolves hunting caribou -- they weed out the weak, the sick, the slow, thus leaving the strong (and their genes) to breed. It's a good thing :)

January 4, 2012

Mimic Mimics Mimic

The Mimic Octopus is well known for its spot-on imitations of numerous tropical fishes. Who would have guessed that a fish would join in its party?

Jawfishes are tiny, burrow-dwelling mouth-brooders that do not typically stray far from home. This is the first record of a fish mimicking a cephalopod. Dr. Rocha's hypothesis is that by mimicking the octopus, the small and vulnerable jawfish can venture to new places.

Interesting. My questions are: did this relationship happen by chance, or over eons of evolution?

If you'd like to read more... Click here!