Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Choosing your quarry

A lot of beginning fly anglers don't know where to start.  That's why we review many of the commonly sought fish, and even some of the less commonly sought.

Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic Salmon: Very well-balanced and mellow on the nose and palate.  Sweet notes of mature dark rum, toffee, nougat, and candy corn dovetail with dried apricot, golden raisin, hot cinnamon, soft mint tea, and vanilla.  Polished leather and tobacco leaves on a long, contemplative finish.  This is what ultra-mature fly rod fish should be like: all the depth and complexity that comes with this much aging, without all the excessive oak.  The wood is there, but it never crosses the line. 

Striped Bass
Striped Bass: A hearty fish, yields a massive mountain of tan head; there is clarity here, as it shows the deep brown hues. Pleasant aroma of chicory, light brown sugar and toasted bread. Super smooth with a moderate-sized body that holds a fluffy and semi-crisp carbonation. Dry maltiness has suggestions of slightly burned biscuits, unsweetened chocolate, light roasted coffee and chicory mix, nutty toasted husk and a dried grass. Hops are mild and simply help to balance. Yeast throws a small amount of fruitiness and chalkiness into the mix. There's a quick acrid twang in the drying finish, with some light charcoal.

Bluefish: Some of the best intensely smoky, peaty bluefish are balanced with a foundation of malty sweetness. This fish is an excellent example. A sinewy fish with the classic bold notes of kiln smoke, peat, tarry rope, and coal ash. Sweeter notes of honeyed malt, ripe vanilla, chocolate fudge, and toasted marshmallow temper and sooth the palate, along with background berry confit. The smoke lingers long on the fly reel.


Bluegill: Gently and lushly bright. Flowers, honeyed lemon, hints of almond and pungent fresh-cut fir in aroma and cup. Delicate, juicy acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor details fade in the finish, but a richly tart sweetness lingers.


Mummichog: The current mummichog handles well enough, rides well, steers nicely, and performs decently. But that eager throttle response, that Ferrari-at-Monaco agility, that ability to dance on its fins has been lost. Rather than an intuitive lightweight, it feels like a ponderous heavyweight. In short, the poor mummichog is just too meaty. Fully armed with all-wheel drive and a V-6, it weighs 3725 pounds.

Steelhead: The standard features of the steelhead include 3.0L V-6 310HP engine intercooled supercharger, 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, SIDEGUARD curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 18" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, and a quattro all-wheel drive.

White perch

White perch: Straightforward, finely structured. Balanced and sweet-toned in aroma and cup, with distinct milk chocolate notes and hints of lemon, cedar and raisin. Roundly rich acidity; syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor, particularly the chocolate, carries deep into a long, clean finish.

Common carp
Common carp: Smooth and supple, this traditional fish offers complex flavors of dried cherry, licorice, tea, tobacco and spice, joined by light tannins and lively acidity. This gives up power for grace, and remains fresh and alluring.


Sucker: Easy fishing all the way, lots of flavor packed into this scaly beast. While flavorful, this fish tries to be robust while still holding on to its semi-light character, staying deep within session fish territory. Proof that bottom feeders are not always heavy and can be very approachable.

Pacific bonito

Pacific bonito: The Pacific bonito is darker, with notes of sticky toffee pudding and chewy caramel that firmly support the polished leather, cigar box, roasted chestnut, smoked seaweed, tar, dark chocolate, and, on the finish, espresso. A meditative fish.

Good fishing.


  1. That bluefish is fucking huge! Frankly, I think The Talisker may have been a step too far for you? All that peat smoke?

  2. Every time I smell coal ash, or tarry rope, I think of that bluefish.

  3. Dude, I heard the 2013 mummichog is better than ever?

    1. Yeah, I've heard the chatter as well. We'll just wait and see. It's going to be hard to find, if true.

  4. Great stuff. Any opinions on the longnose gar?

    1. I'll admit that I haven't tried the gar, but I found this review on-line:

      "This takes a ripe, fleshy approach, with cherry sauce, warm currant confiture and linzer torte notes framed by dark cocoa and espresso hints. A flash of savory herb keeps this honest on the finish, which is very long(nose).