Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Highlights

I'm no photographer but I have fun taking pictures and making images. Here are a dozen highlight angling photos from 2009. Thanks to all of you for making this past year's fishing season so enjoyable. I'm looking forward to doing it all over again in 2010.

Music by Seahorse Track: All Over Again

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Freeze Up

The 7th Annual Freeze Up will be held on January 3rd, 2010 at the Mousam River in Kennebunk, ME. Fish Stalker Guide Service, and Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop host this event. The Freeze Up is a gathering of fly fisherfolk who get together to celebrate the new fishing year. Jim Bernstein and Kevin McKay will be there setting up. The coffee will be on and they'll be cooking breakfast sandwiches for anyone who wants one. Many of the other participants will be offering all types of delicious home cooked grub. There will be a casting competition and the lucky winner will bring home a Scott A2 fly Rod. The Mousam River is a stones throw away from the event pavilion and is full of brown trout and some fat rainbows. This event offers you the chance to catch your first trout of the new year. Bring your gear and some food to share or just show up and enjoy the festivities with this years tribe of participants.

Location - Rogers Pond in Kennebunk, just off Water Street.

Directions - Get off at the I95 Kennebunk exit (North or South) and go into Kennebunk. As you come into town, Water Street runs down the east side of the river. Rogers Pond is on the right just before the road ends. Visit for more details.

Photos courtesy of and Henry Barber

Monday, December 21, 2009


Avatar is a film that the Way Upstream community might find entertaining this holiday season. James Cameron and a talented team of humans developed an intricately detailed story that takes place on a planet called Pandora which is inhabited by the Navi. The Navi are humanoid with their own language, culture and they posses a deep connection to everything around them. In this story the Navi are being steam rolled by a huge mining operation from Earth that wants a "valuable" mineral deposit sitting right under the land that sustains them. Extraction of this mineral will devastate their way of life forever. Sound familiar? Have a look at this 4 minute film trailer focused on the planet Pandora. Maybe they'll work some of the fish on Pandora into the Avatar sequel.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A World Without Fish?

Founded by conservation-minded anglers in 1973, the National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) has been a catalyst for fishery policy change, from a narrow single-species focus on fisheries yields to an ecosystem-based approach that reflects their expanding circle of concern for all marine life. In their efforts to Bring Back the Big Fish, they have evolved their programs to include protecting the prey base. NCMC has just released a two part video series that highlights this predator and prey relationship. These two videos contain some amazing footage of top of the food chain ocean predators (swordfish, billfish, tuna and sharks). They also focus the spotlight on the other end of the food chain (menhaden, herring, sardine, mackerel, squid and krill). To learn more about NCMC visit or call (703) 777-0037.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surf & Inshore Fishing 2009 - I, II & III

Surf & Inshore Fishing 2009 - Part 1 by Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Peter Laurelli put together the surf and inshore fly fishing season into a three part series that I think you'll find entertaining. He portrays a host of facets that blend well into a good representation of the coastal fly fishing experience (birds, deer, rocks, docks, boat decks, marsh, flats, channel markers, wave sets and more). I found these short films to be well composed and well edited with a healthy dose of humor (short strikes, missed casts and lost footing). The underwater footage adds a dimension that you don't often see when it comes to inshore cold water fishing in the salt. Have a look tell Peter what you think.

Surf & Inshore Fishing 2009 - Part 2 by Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Surf & Inshore Fishing 2009 - Part 3 from Peter Laurelli on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jack Gartside 1942 - 2009

Thank you for the years of inspiration Jack. Your creativity and unconventional, way upstream nature were unique. You did not follow the school. You found your own special path and opened many minds along the way. I wish you all the best on this next journey. Keep the line in the water and believe in every cast.

Words by El Pescador Photo by Dave Skok

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly fishing where only a rod, line and fly are used. It was perfected over centuries on the mountain streams of Japan where it originated. It is considered an ideal method of fly fishing small streams but it can also be effective on bigger water. Tenkara is about fly fishing simplicity. Enthusiasts say that this kind of angling eliminates complexities and lets you focus on the experience. The ultra-light, portable gear seems well suited for backpacking and travel. The rods are typically 11-13 feet long and collapse down to under 2 feet. Check out this 5 minute intro video and visit Tenkara USA to learn more about this ancient angling method.

Tenkara intro video from Tenkara USA on Vimeo.

Illustration by Steve Stracqualursi

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I was organizing some tool boxes and came across this magnet collection attached to one end of a red metal drawer stack. This fishing inspired set ranges in age from about 10 to 15 years old. They are beautifully detailed little objects. I don't quite think these creations qualify as relics yet but they will in a few more years.

Photos and arrangement by Il Pescatore

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I've been fiddling around with a relatively new filter called Photobooth that I thought I'd share with the Way Upstream team. The triptych below is an assemblage of Photobooth strips that contain various altered brook trout detail images. You can use whatever images you like and order them any way you want. I have a few ideas for other strips so maybe the concept will turn into a series. If you experiment with this Big Huge Labs toy let me know what kind of strip creations you come up with.

Imagery and arrangements by Steve Stracqualursi

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

River Portrait - 3

It's been a little over a year since I added a River Portrait to the stream of content. I got a few shots recently from Henry Barber and found one that seemed to fit the profile for this third edition. This is a cropped and reworked photo of Henry with a grilse he caught on the Tabusintac River in New Brunswick, Canada. The image was run through the FX paint filter at Big Huge Labs.

Photo by Chad Loebs Illustration by Steve Stracqualursi

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Michelada is an extremely refreshing drink after a long day of fishing. There are many renditions of the drink but here is a recipe from a Mexican restaurant called Pepito's located in Aransas Pass, TX. You can make the Michelada as spicy or as mild as you like.

Ingredients: One Mexican beer (Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo Especial or other Mexican lager), 1/2 can of tomato juice cocktail (Clamato, Goya Cocktail mix or Bloody Mary mix are good options), 2 Mexican limes or 4 key limes, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 shot of bitters, 1 shot of beef bouillon, generous amount of your favorite hot sauce, generous amount of chili Trechas (a blended chili powder with no MSG typically served on fruit), dash of sea salt, dash of freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the tomato juice cocktail in a very large frosty glass. Add the hot sauce, chili Trechas, bitters, beef bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, sea salt, black pepper and stir. Pour in the Mexican beer and stir gently (no vigorous shaking or stiring). Top it off with ice. As with a Margarita, the Michelada can be served with or without salt or salt/chili powder mixture on the rim. When you are finished, sprinkle a little chili powder on top of the drink and garnish with a slice of lime. It is very easy to become a fan of the Michelada. Once you've had one it might just become a regular post-fishing session favorite.

Photos and contribution by Capt. Billy Trimble

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fishing For Answers

Fishing For Answers

We argue about the philosophical underpinnings
of catching largemouth bass.

He says you have to know when to change patterns,
by which he means go to a new strategy.

Some fishermen stay with the same tactics too long
before finally realizing they’re not going to be productive.

The skillful angler knows very quickly when
to change to something else. He has vast experience.
He knows barometric pressure, wind conditions,
water temperature, thermocline, time of year,
hour of the day, position of the sun, effects of cloud cover,
structure at the bottom of the lake.

He’s making a good argument for skill over luck
but I’m still not entirely convinced.
He argues good science equals good fishing.

I think he has something there
until I recognize the great mystery
every time I cast a line into the unknown,
the sense of shock and surprise each time
a fish holds on to the hook, leaps out of the water,
suspended for a millisecond,
in a world it can’t possibly understand.

Poem by Alan Harawitz Photo/illustration by El Pescador

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

xmas card

I came across another relic to share with the Way Upstreamers. This is a painting I got decades ago. An art major college friend named Wayne Woodworth painted it for me (RIT). I don't think I have heard from him since. I tried some web searches but no luck. Wayne, if you are out there, thank you. I still love it. (5.5"x7.5")
Painting by Wayne Woodworth Photos by El Pescador

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

RISE in Maine

Coastal Fly Angler (Capt. Eric Wallace) is hosting two showings of the new fly fishing film from Confluence Films - RISE. The second full-length movie project from Confluence Films, RISE is a 70-minute feature that spotlights a line-up of interesting characters, captivating locales, and a series of stories that provide a fantastic look at the industry, the sport and the places fishing can take us. RISE showcases some of the world's finest angling destinations, including Venezuela, Idaho's Henry's Fork River, the Florida Keys, Argentina, New Orleans and the Katmai Region of Alaska. Mark your calendar and make plans to see this film plus support some good organizations at the same time. The location is the Frontier Cafe Cinema and Gallery (14 Maine St. / Mill 3 / Brunswick, ME). The dates are November 6th and 7th at 7pm. Profits from these two showings will benefit Stripers Forever for their striped bass game fish initiatives and the Crooked River Project to help restore Sebago Lake landlocked salmon habitat. Check out the 7 minute trailer and if you have questions call 207-671-4330. Operators are standing by.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Darkness and Color

As soon as I set out on a mid-October brook trout quest I was immediately struck by how deeply Fall had penetrated everything. There was a darkness about that felt secretly ominous. This darkness was expertly concealed by lavish splashes of color. Leaves ran the hue gamut from lime, tropical yellow and mango to spawning brook trout red. This was masterfully juxtaposed with rich evergreen and the blackness of forest shadow. The sky was a range of grays with cool blue peaking out of the rare cloud crevice. The wind helped animate the whole scene and fueled the seasonal take-over. I drove by Bath (“City of Ships”) and nodded to the Ironworks monument along the mighty Kennebec. I tooled by Wiscasset (“Prettiest little town in Maine”) and felt the summertime fire of the area fading to hearty coals. I rode down business Route 1 through Damariscotta and was surprised by the bustle in town, but then remembered the boost that the pumpkin festival infuses in this village as I passed massive painted pumpkins in front of almost every establishment.

I arrived at the quest location and met up with my friend and Master Maine Guide Sean McCormick. We wandered down the trail only stopping to peer into the “spring hole” surrounded by a patch of watercress. I saw a few finned shapes dart this way and that but couldn’t quite see any parr markings. We continued onward. At the trail’s end we readied the canoe and set out on the breezy Maine pond in search of Labrador-like cousins of the char. We quickened our pace as we saw several smashing rises near the lily pads along the far bank. Rigged with Buzz Balls and Serendipities we paddled to where we thought the trout lanes were and set our window sash canoe anchors.

I was shocked when a full head and shoulders came up to one of my early casts, so shocked that I didn’t set the hook immediately. I wasn’t expecting things to go easily. When you are told about wide-body brookies climbing on to dry flies you tend to protect yourself with the idea that it all could be a tall tale and that the pond could prove sterile. But the pond was not still on this evening. Our casts were met with some aggressive acceptance. Our 6X was put to the test (and occasionally snapped) by wildly colored slabs that you couldn’t get your hand around. Sean was concerned that the net he brought might be too small, though he didn't miss any.

After we both caught, photographed and released some special trout in the crystal clear water of this pond, a cold and determined wind changed the landscape. Small white caps put down the risers. We knew in a short span that the curtain had fallen. Darkness had overtaken color. We paddled back, stowed the canoe and shook hands, then made plans to fish for sea-runs in November.

Story and photos by El Pescador

Friday, October 16, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009


I took two ten year old boys fishing at a small freshwater quarry pond near the house. It sits less than a half mile from the open Atlantic. We were hoping to catch something armed with plain bread, minimal weight and tiny hooks. Here are the first images in a short art series of upcoming posts from that trip to the pond.

Photos/arrangement by Steve Stracqualursi Pond Series

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fish Dish

Seared Sheepshead fillets in white wine sauce with avocado/tomato salad and Laguna Madre green beans.

THE SALAD - Place halved avocado (pit and skin removed) on 2 thick slices of large vine ripe tomatoes, sprinkle coarse chopped cilantro over avocados then dress by putting several dashes of hot sauce in the avocado cavities, sprinkle w/sea salt/black pepper and squeeze half a key lime over them.
LAGUNA MADRE BEANS - Place a bunch of whole green beans in a medium sauce pan with a small amount of water, 2 cloves of whole crushed garlic, one small yellow onion quartered, sea salt/black pepper, cover and steam on medium high heat while the rest of the meal is prepared. Add a quarter stick of unsalted butter and coat bean mixture evenly before serving.

THE FISH - Coat 2 sheepshead fillets with "BT's fish breading" (1 part cornmeal-1 part flour/salt/black pepper/cayenne combination). Set aside for a while. When all other parts of meal near completion heat a pan coated with light olive oil to medium high, lay fillets in skillet until browned then turn and do the same to the other side. Sheepshead is a very light mild fish but tricky to get. Red snapper or black drum would make a good substitution.

THE SAUCE - Pour a liberal amount of white wine in a sauce pan then thick slice one lemon and place in the wine, cover and simmer on high until the wine reduces by about half. Remove lemon slices, add a bit more white wine plus 2 cloves crushed and coarse chopped garlic, bring to a high simmer then add 1/4 stick of unsalted butter, a couple dashes of hot sauce, sea salt and ground black pepper. Let that simmer for a while to reduce then add a 1/4 bunch of cilantro (coarse chopped) plus one spoonful of capers. As soon as that comes back to a simmer add one large spoonful of real mayonnaise and stir gently until the sauce creams, then let it simmer until it slightly thickens.

PRESENTATION - Place seared fillet in center of plate with salad and green beans on either side. Spoon sauce over fish and serve. The Estancia Chardonnay shown is a good match with this fish dish but you can substitute any number of beverage choices.

Food photo and recipe by Captain Billy Trimble
Mike Thompson's sheepshead photo taken by Ray Box