Thursday, August 30, 2012

News: Chemical Spills into Westfield River

From Masslive.com:

“ Westfield - First responders are on the scene of a chemical spill underneath the Great River Bridge that is dumping an unknown blue liquid into the Westfield River.

Officials are trying to determine where the chemical is coming from, what it is, and whether it constitutes a hazard to health or the environment.

Police were alerted at about 3 p.m. by officials with Appalachian Press, a printing shop on the north side of the river off Railroad Avenue, who spotted hundreds of gallons of an unknown substances pouring out a culvert underneath the bridge and down an embankment and into the river.

Fire Chief Mary Regan said the spill involved “a substantial amount” of the unknown chemical.

She said officials do not believe it is from the print shop, but are now trying to determined where it originated. Firefighters are canvassing businesses along North Elm Street up to Union Street, she said.

The fire department has set up a string of baffles on the river to contain the chemical from going down stream. A command post has also been set up in the area as officials try to determine what the chemical is, and how to safely proceed with a cleanup.

On scene in addition to Westfield police and fire are the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Hazardous Materials Team, and the Western Massachusetts District Four Hazardous Materials Unit. “

News: Sharks Cause Cape Cod Beach Closures

Another beach closing due to sharks, this time in Chatham.

From Masslive.com:

CHATHAM — Officials in Chatham have closed all eastern, open ocean-facing beaches because of increased reports from fishermen of sharks nearby.

The closings Wednesday affect beaches from the Orleans-Chatham town line south along Nauset Beach to Monomy. They are in effect until further notice.

Other public beaches remain open in the town.

Swimmers are warned to keep aware of their surroundings, and stay at least 300 feet from seals.

Sightings of sharks, including great whites, have increased off Cape Cod in recent years along with an increase in the population of seals, which sharks feed on.

In July, a man was bitten on his legs by a great white shark while swimming off Ballston Beach in Truro, north of Chatham.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

Evening Hatch & Daylight Rainbow

Last night I got out of work early and stopped by the Swift River. First thing I noticed was a large hatch that was going on. I couldn’t get anything interested in what I had for the couple hours I was there.

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This morning I woke up and went out to see if I couldn’t trick some pressured fish into taking my offerings. Third cast I got a taker who put up a good fight. He wasn’t a jumper but he shook his head and tried to dive and throw the hook. It didn’t work and he was soon brought to the net.

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That was the only fish I could fool in the three hours I was there. I got a few light hits later on but it seemed like the fish were just nosing it instead of trying to eat it.

News: Another Drowning

It looks like three men, who couldn’t swim, went for a canoe ride without PFD’s. Unfortunately one man lost his life.

From Gazetttenet.com:

GOSHEN - A 49-year-old Westfield man drowned in Upper Highland Lake at the DAR State Forest in Goshen on Saturday night.

The Northwestern district attorney's office identified the victim Sunday night as Orlando Burgos of 40 Franklin St.

Massachusetts State Trooper Reid Bagley said members of the Northfield Dive Rescue Team recovered Burgos' body from the murky water about 11 p.m.

Joe Roberts, a member of the Select Board who lives near the lake, said he went out about 9 p.m. Saturday to find out what was happening. "They had three search boats on the water, a helicopter circling the lake, and the big spotlights trained on the water," he said.

Roberts said Police Chief Jeffrey Hewes told him Burgos had been camping with family members.

According to witnesses interviewed on Sunday, three men launched a canoe just before dusk. At some point the canoe capsized, leaving the three men in the water. One man was able to swim to shore, and another was pulled to safety by another boater.

"I noticed some loud noises coming from the water, but I didn't think much of it," said Shawn Roy 36, of Peru. "The next thing I know, the canoe is capsized and people are yelling for help."

Roy's fiancee, Crystal Beasley of Peru, said people on the beach who knew the men in the canoe at first did not realize that they needed help.

"I think the woman on the shore was the man's wife," Beasley said. "They thought he was joking around. But after the third call for help, they realized he was not joking."

She said no one in the canoe was wearing a life jacket. Burgos was wearing jeans and T-shirt, Beasley said.

Bystanders called 911 and Roy said he drove to a nearby ranger station for help.

"When I came back down from the ranger station, I dove in to try and help. Someone gave me a life preserver and we went out searching," said Roy, who spent two or three hours helping to search for Burgos' body.

"The water was so deep and murky that I could only go by feel," he said.

Highland Ambulance personnel, headquartered in the Goshen firehouse, were the first to arrive. Goshen firefighters and police also were called in along with the Northfield Dive Rescue Team and a helicopter from the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing.

Mike Winakor of Salem, Conn., was at the forest camping with his two boys, Colby, 11, and Spencer, 14, when he saw the helicopter.

"It was surreal. We were hanging out at the campsite when a helicopter started circling, I realized he was gridding over the water, so I went down to the beach and spoke with a trooper to see what was going on." Winakor, who is a parole officer in Connecticut, said Sunday.

April McLean and Michael Delaney, both of Hartford, Conn., were camping with Winakor and said they were anxious about all of the commotion.

"It was scary. We wanted to know what was going on - if someone had been hurt or if they were looking for someone who had done something bad," McLean said Sunday. "Now that we all know what happened, it is very quiet around here today, It's a little eerie," she said.

Roy, who a day later was still clearly shaken from the ordeal, said he had been coming to the DAR for years and had never experienced anything like this.

"It was very sad. (The victim's) wife was a wreck. She was sitting on the beach and bawling," Roy said. "I just feel like I could have done more. It is such a tragedy. My condolences go out to the family."

Burgos' death appears to be accidental, according to the DA's office.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dolphins Stranded on Cape Cod

From Masslive.com

“WELLFLEET, Mass. (AP) — Six dolphins have been stranded in Wellfleet and two of them have died.

The animals were found Sunday morning at the Wellfleet gut, a sandy strip connecting Griffin Island to Great Island in Wellfleet.

The Boston Globe reports that marine mammal specialists have released the four surviving dolphins in Herring Cove in Provincetown, where the water is deep.

On Friday, several dolphins were stranded onshore at Eastham and one of them died.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rainbow Trout Vengeance!!!!!!

Over the last week there has been one fish that has tormented and haunted my dreams. I can’t stop thinking about it. I spend all night and day planning and thinking how to catch it. I got to the river later than normal today (10am) thinking that it would be somewhat empty. I was mistaken. There were 20 cars parked at the fly fishing only section, which is catch and release right now. There were a couple guys that I think were dunking worms and I think I overheard someone on the phone with the Environmental Police ratting them out.

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I walked the path by the river hoping that the area I wanted to fish was empty. As I walked down some rocks and turned a corner there it was.

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My empty fishing hole. I was overjoyed to not see anyone there and quickly started picking the water apart.

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At first, I tied on a hare’s ear nymph and it didn’t work. I changed it out for a san juan worm, still nothing. i tied on a copper john, still nothing. I tied on a pheasant tail nymph, nothing. Confidence was starting to fly out the window and I was running low on flies. I had a “to hell with it” moment and tied on an elk hair caddis. I figure that I tossed out everything below the surface, might as well try the top. My first cast at the end of the drift I dragged the fly back a bit and had quite a few interested trout follow and swirl it. I even saw one nose at it a few times. Next cast a big rainbow destroyed the elk hair caddis. I could tell by the pull and somersaults that this was my fish. This was the fish that has beaten me on multiple occasions in the last week. On this day it did not win, and a chunky 18” trout ended up in my net. My net was dwarfed at the size of the fish.

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I admired the fish for a few moments and let out a sigh of relief. I had finally landed that fish. I tied on another elk hair caddis and tried to land a few of his friends. A few casts later and another one was on the line. This one however jumped out of the water and spit the hook. I few casts later and I got another one hooked. This one couldn’t throw the hook and he landed in the net as well.

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At that point I packed it in and chatted with a fellow angler for a bit, then left. I left knowing I can sleep the whole night without waking up on a cold sweat due to a rainbow trout breaking tippets.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Broken Tippets and Spotted Fawns

We got to the Swift River parking lot at 5:45 am. We were the 3rd car in the parking lot and the rain was moving in. We fished a few spots down river and walked all the way up to the spillway of Quabbin but landed no fish.

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While the upper section of the river produced no fish, it did produce two spotted fawns eating breakfast.

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We went back down the river to fish a pool that was just to fishy to pass up. There were two main parts to this pool. We split up then traded spots. My friend hooked into a rainbow that pulled like a locomotive and majestically somersaulted numerous times before breaking off his 6x tippet. We figured the color was red and the only thing in my fly box that’s red, was a San Juan Worm. I drifted the worm under a tree and it was attacked by that same trout. As quickly as the fly was taken, the tippet was snapped and the fish got away. I’m fairly confident that it was the same fish that broke off on the 6th of this month. So we nicknamed the fish “fly shop”. When someone catches it they’ll get a two free copper johns and a san juan worm.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Swift River Fishing

I recently started Tenkara fishing and decided to head to the Swift River catch & release area to see how I can do with some extremely pressured trout. If you’ve never been, give it a shot. You might not catch any fish but it’s such an enjoyable place and it’s very well taken care of. It gets extremely crowded (shoulder to shoulder) but if you’re willing to explore you can usually find water to yourself.

The moon was full and there was fog in the fields and on the water. With yesterday’s thunderstorms a few branches had fallen and the cobwebs were easy to spot near the river.

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Last week I had a surprise fishing partner, a doe, and this week she brought a friend. I was walking back downstream and across the river I spotted the doe and a small buck.

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I walked to some fishing holes that weren’t pressured as much but didn’t have much luck. I walked much farther downstream and saw some fast water. There was a text book slack pool and I casted a copper john nymph right on the edge and almost instantly it was hit by a hungry rainbow trout. I was happy the fish was hooked, but this being my first fish on Tenkara I knew I was in uncharted territory. I played the fish for a little bit and tried to bring him to the net. Just as I got the net out he made a run downstream and snapped my 7x tippet. I knew I didn’t need 7x for this section but kept it on anyway. After the fish broke off I tied on 5x and cast into the same area. A couple casts later and a brook trout decided to take my offering. This one was much easier to bring in since he was hooked upstream. HOORAY my first fish on Tenkara. After I released the fish I waded back to shore and left.

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