Good For The Soul, And The Body? Yep!

smallest-fish“Whoever catches the smallest fish has to cook all of them, OK?” Brad called across the pond to Rhonda.

“Sure,” Rhonda called back. “I guess I’ll be doing the cooking tonight,” she whispered to her dog, Shadow, as she struggled to get her worm on the hook. “I never should have agreed to this.”

Shadow lazily opened one eye and peered up at her.

“I know,” Rhonda said quietly, “I only did it to spend the day with the cutest boy in this whole campground. Well, I can’t look like I don’t know what I’m doing. He might never ask me to go fishing again.”

Rhonda watched as Brad expertly cast his line into the water and waited for the fish to bite. Then it was her turn. With one hand she clumsily threw the line into the water and almost let go of the rod. Once she saw the …

Chautauqua: Hard To Spell, Easy To Fish!

musky-fishingTo improve the quality of bass fishing on Cassadaga, DEC implemented a slot limit that requires anglers to release all bass between 12 and 15 inches long and encourages them to remove the overabundant smaller bass. The benefits of this regulation are paying off. Last season, during a three-hour stretch, two anglers caught two largemouth bass that each weighed over five pounds, and several others that weighed between three and five pounds.

Access to Cassadaga Lakes is easy. From the Dunkirk exit off Interstate 90, head south on Route 60 until you enter the town of Cassadaga. The lake is just west of Route 60, with several signs leading you right to the lake. There are two boat ramps; a state ramp and a marine ramp at Lake’s End Marina.

Chautauqua Lake

Chautauqua Lake is truly a diamond in the rough. Historically known for its excellent musky fishing, Chautauqua …

Fishing The Baja: Booyah!

fishing-the-bajaTwenty years ago, Baja California, the 800-mile strip of land that extends down Mexico’s northwest coast like a pinkie finger, was not much more than barren desert wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes. Today Los Cabos, at its southern end, has been transformed into a resort area that may draw more private planes on winter weekends than even Palm Beach–and the parade on the tarmac will most certainly be more entertaining, as Los Cabos’s regulars include Bill Gates, Cindy Crawford and Barbra Streisand.

Los Cabos (“the capes”) refers to a twenty-mile stretch extending south from San Jose del Cabo, a historic Spanish colonial town, to Cabo San Lucas, the fishing village-turned-vacation capital (complete with a Hard Rock Cafe) at Baja’s tip. The area has always had a glorious climate (with an average temperature of 75 degrees and 350 days of sunshine a year) and a ruggedly …

When “Crappie” Is Good

crappieCrappie fishing; continuously changing, with no “typical fishing day.” In fact, when it comes to crappie fishing, you can count on one thing–that for every generalization you make, the opposite frequently applies. For instance, crappie are often caught through the ice, but the best fishing is in the spring, from ice-out to midsummer. While early morning and evening are prime fishing times, crappie will bite throughout the day. I usually fish with white or silver lures, but sometimes only black will do. Depending on the time of the day and year, crappie can be found in one foot of water or the deepest part of the lake.

Known by a variety of names, from calico and strawberry bass to papermouth, the correct pronunciation of this fish is “crop-ee”. Classified as a warmwater fish species, crappie occur in almost all types of water including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and impoundments. They …

Oystering Rocks!

oystering-rocksIt’s almost balmy the morning we set out in search of “half shells”–oysters, that is. The engine of our 24-foot boat purrs as we move out into northwest Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. The water runs wide beyond the bow, streaking a few bluish shallows tufted with tiny whitecaps and lit by Florida Panhandle sunshine. When our captain, Fred Register, finally curs the engine at Sylvia’s Bar (oyster bar, of course), we hear the soft cadence of clacking “tongs.” The bar bobs with boats and a few dozen other oystermen and -women who’ve come to “tong” the bottom in earnest. They send official oystering greetings our way. Register tells them he’s got first-timers onboard. He says it with a measure of exhilaration, as if he can barely wait to watch us pull oysters from the water.

The 30-year-old captain comes by his oyster addiction honestly: He’s a third-generation Eastpointer (a few oyster …

Fishing NYC Style: Yes, It’s Actually Decent

fishing-nycEach of the NYC boroughs has its own anglers’ stories to tell–of piers, bulkheads and beaches. In turn, we’ll visit five areas known for their shore fishing opportunities. Discovering a bit about these areas can be a great adventure in itself.

Pelham Bay Park

New York’s largest city park, Pelham Bay’s 2,764 acres offer abundant areas for shore fishing. Located on the eastern side of the Bronx and bordering New Rochelle, anglers are welcomed here by the waters of the Long Island Sound. A great spot for fly fishing, Turtle Cove offers a secluded fishing spot with a marshy field ringed by abundant trees. For those anglers who prefer beaches, the bridge to City Island makes for a wonderful spot to cast a line. Here, blackfish, sea robins, stripers and blues are caught in abundance. The rocky beach is great for enjoying the warm days of summer; however, there are …

Fishing On The Fly

fishing-on-the-flyFly-fishing is a lot cheaper than bass fishing (no depth sounder, no fiberglass boat, no country-music CD collection); it just takes a little more practice.

Gear up: You can buy all the gear you need (rod, reel, fly line, tapered leader, flies) for less than $250 at L.L.Bean. The equipment you require roughly depends on which side of the Mississippi you’re on. The smaller creeks and closer quarters on the east side of the country call for a shorter, lighter rod–about 8 feet; the bigger streams of the West call for a 9-foot rod, which will help you cast for greater distance. Buy a good-quality 5-weight line and a pair of polarized sunglasses (for spotting rising trout) and you’re set. Before your trip, log on to The site has a finder that will locate a fly shop just about anywhere you’re headed. The shop can give you the 411 …

Alzheimer’s Affects So Many Of Us

alzheimer-disorderIn 2000 the state of Florida declared February 6 “Alzheimer’s Day,” in honor of former President Ronald Reagan. In 1994 President Reagan shared with the American people the fact that he had Alzheimer’s disease. It is difficult to imagine someone who was once a world leader being stricken with a disease that makes you forget even the names of your closest family and friends.

President Reagan is not alone in his suffering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 4.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease. More than 19 million family members are affected, many of them teenagers; it can be emotionally traumatic for all of them.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder that causes the gradual loss of brain cells, mostly in older adults. People with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty with memory, thinking skills, and communication. You may notice someone with Alzheimer’s asking the same …

Team-Players Come Out On Top

team-playersEleventh-grader Bryan plays percussion in the school band. For years, he has been competing with Sam, another percussionist in the band. Both of the boys want to outperform the other, which could create a problem if they let their personal struggle interfere with the band’s mission. Bryan, however, sees it as a positive for all the members of the band. “The competition actually makes us better because we are continually motivated by the thought of the other person gaining an edge,” says Bryan. By playing to their highest potential, the boys help the band reach its goals while motivating other band members to excel.

“Teamwork is the ability to work with others in a group,” explains Sharon Williams, teen specialty consultant for the YMCA of the USA. “It is not simply one person leading and others following, but it is truly a group working together, using the variety of skills …

Ah, My Dad And The Old Times

old-times“A seven-inch bluegill on a worm and bobber. You were four, fishing off the dock at Laurel Lake. It was a hot Saturday. You were wearing a pink bathing suit with a picture of Big Bird on the front that Grandma had given you for your birthday. You were so excited that you almost fell off the dock.”

As he continued fishing, I tried to remember the event. The only part of the story that I could validate was the pink bathing suit, apparel I remember seeing in a picture in a family scrapbook.

Later that day, as we paddled through some unproductive fiat water, I asked my father when I had caught my first trout on a fly rod. Without blinking an eye he answered my question.

“You were seven, it was near dusk on a no-kill section. I had just tied a #10 Dave’s Hopper on your tippet. …