Sunday, March 25, 2012

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so

I recently picked up an interesting book called Tenkara: Radically simple, ultralight fly fishing, by Kevin Kelleher and Misako Ishimira. In it, Kelleher presents the ancient angling method that apparently arose sometime in the 1600s. It involves a long, wispy  ferrule-less rod and tapered line used to flick small flies in tranquil Japanese mountain streams. He wrote that it began with poor people fishing for food and that it was favored by samurai warriors in their off time. Sounded cool to me.

After more reading though, I realized that Kelleher wrote a 145-page book about fishing with a cane pole.  Despite details about hand-furled line and techniques that look a Karate Kid training session, it is basically the simple cane pole that I grew up using in Indiana. We used them to catch crappie and bluegill in tight spots near logs and weeds.  It is an efficient way to fish tight water, which is just what I was looking to do this Saturday.

I stopped by Suds-n-Soda and picked up a 10 foot telescoping rod for $7.95.  They had a nice selection of rods ranging from 10 to 12 feet that apparently ice-less smelt fishermen use in Rye Harbor off the docks. I bought a sleek one called ":Black Widow", an oddly aggressive name for a long fiberglass stick.
Just a light, tapered 10' fiberglass rod - Black Widow!
I could gently drop the worm so it danced on the surface
And fish went crazy for it. 
I could look at fish all day.  Nice male bluegill. 
About the size of an adult banded sunfish, but no such luck. 
Small bluegill. Banded sunfish have a rounded tail, not forked. 
Banded sunfish share habitat with golden shiners, so catching  this one gave me more hope. 
Dark male bluegills, probably cause the water is clear and the vegetation is dark. 

I bought some red worms and headed out to Ice Pond in Hampton, where banded sunfish have been collected by NH Fish and Game biologists.  We have been trying to catch this small sunfish for months and I figured that cane pole fishing, I sorry - tenkara, would be an efficient way to catch tons of small sunfish, thus increasing my chances of catching the one we needed for the quest.
Ice Pond is a nice little shallow pond in Hampton. 

The  nice thing about fishing with a fiberglass cane pole is that they are wicked light. I could easily hold the butt of the rod and wave it like a conductor at the pond, dropping the hooked worm in every little nook and cranny in the weeds.

As expected, I caught many sunfish, mostly bluegills, but some pumpkinseeds too. All in all I probably caught 50 fish in about an hour.  One after the other.  My volume fishing theory failed though. If  banded sunfish were there, they were getting out competed by the aggressive bluegill.  I did enjoy the simplicity of tenkara and I will likely do it again for some of the small fish still remaining in the Quest.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Turn your Jerky Fish into Jerky- Maple Blackberry Pike Jerky

After finally catching a keeper Pike we decided to make this jerk of a fish that cost us 11 trips to the Connecticut River into Jerky....
Chris Call caught us this nice pike, Sammy helps measure the length. 

Fish Jerky is a popular around the world and is a great way to preserve fish if you have too much or just want an interesting way to eat it.

We chose to make Maple Blackberry Jerky because we make our own maple syrup and had a freezer full of wild blackberries that needed to be used.

1 fish filleted and cut into thin equal strips
a small pot of salt water
maple syrup

Add salt to a pot of boiling water (salt helps cure and preserve the fish) then add a bit of maple maple syrup and a handful of blackberries and let that boil for ten minutes to combine flavors.

While the marinade it boiling fillet the fish. Pike are harder to fillet than you might think but it's worth the effort.

Take the pan off the stove and allow it fully cool to room temperature. Once it's cool place the fish in a shallow dish and completely cover the fish with the marinade and refrigerate it over night.

In the morning take the fish out and rinse it, then place the fish strips on your dehydrator, but don't let the fish touch or overlap.

Dehydrate until bedtime and remove the fish from the dehydrator and refrigerate. This should keep pretty good, but I would not store this at room temp. We froze ours for eating later.

Enjoy and let us know what you think

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finding Nemo???

Found this on Facebook, couldn't help but share it here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The luck of the Irish was with us as we caught fish number 36! Northern Pike

We finally can cross this fish off the list, we made a second trip out on the Connecticut River on St Patrick's Day with Chris Call the mighty Pike Slayer.

We had a nice blue bird day and My kids (Sammy and Zoe) joined me on 18inches of ice with air temps nearing 60.

As we arrived on the ice we saw Chris catching this Northern Pike. He has a great method for landing these beasts.

Before I tell you that let's talk pike gear. Chris uses three feet of 20# fluorocarbon line attached to a 7/0 hook. The threads a flasher along the line and ties that to a barrel swivel on his tip ups.
He recommends baiting the hook with a huge golden shiner hooked directly behind the dorsal. Traps are set with the bait just below the ice.

When the fish strikes be patient. Let the fish run, when it's making it's second run and the spool is threading out give the fish a couple quick hook sets and slowly work the fish towards the hole, never leaving slack in the line.

When the fish gets to the hole get the head out and grab the fish behind the gills and fight it onto the ice.

 check back for a Pike Jerky recipe.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Northern Pike Are Out To Get Us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday we made the trek out to the Connecticut River to hunt for the mighty Northern Pike.

We were invited out to another super secret spot by guest angler Chris Call, he is on his own quest to catch the NH State Record. He was confident that he had the perfect spot.

When we arrived we noticed that the river had risen a few feet from the day before (Chris had scouted the spot in advance) This was not a good start, we had to cross several feet of open water to get on the 2 feet thick ice.

Once we got on we were good to go.

Chris immediately drilled a dozen holes and we began to set up the tip ups. As soon as they were all set up we had our first flag. And it was a hit and run, probably a perch or crappie banging on the large bait.

10 minutes later FLAAAAG! We sprinted across the ice and landed a pretty but small Northern Pike, probably 14inches in length. Half the size we're looking for. After a few pictures we let it go.

We reset the flags, had a cup of coffee and FLAAAG! This time we were in business, the spool was unraveling so fast the water on top of the hole was boiling. Chris coached me (Clay) through landing a large fish through the ice. I set the hook and felt the fishes weight. It felt like a log was on the end of the line. Except logs don't fight back like this. I got excited and pulled the fish towards the hole. When the leader got to the hole I felt the fish do a massive head shake and... NOTHING.... he broke free...

We had several more flags after that but the only fish we caught the rest of the day was a terrible looking but fun to catch 5lb large mouth bass. Check out the sores on this fish's face!

We're not giving up on pike and will be back for more abuse. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Maple time!

So we tapped our trees and are now in the process of making our own maple syrup.
It's a weird year but the sap is flowing.

Last year we boiled our sap over an open fire, we boiled 120 gallons of sap and ended up with 3 gallons of syrup... it took forever!

So this year we decided to build an evaporator, I went to the dump to look for materials, here's what I came up with.

I found an old metal two drawer file cabinet (the doors were missing) and a piece of old chimney pipe, probably from an a hot water heater or something...

Anyway the build took almost ten minutes, I placed my boiling pan on top and traced the pan, then cut a hole so the pan fits snuggly, then I had my four year old (Zoe) trace the circle for the chimney.

I drilled a couple starter holes, then took my jig saw with a metal cutting blade and cut the shapes out. Then I forced the chimney into the hole and dropped in the pan.

The results were great and a ton more efficient than boiling over an open fire.
The cost of maple syrup for us this year (Because we already had the boiling pans and tapping supplies) Is Zero... just our time!

Let us know what you think!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We're going to be on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio

Hey Fans
If you're around almost anywhere in New England on Thursday March 8th at 1pm,
 please tune into WGBH 89.7 FM or
 you can stream it live! 


Callie Crossley will be interviewing us during her live call in show. Please call in and show some support our way, get your quest questions answered!
Call: 877-301-8970