Monday, June 18, 2007

Going Down to Liverpool

"I'm going down to Liverpool to do nothing
all the days of my life."

Spent the last part of last week at my Dad's and Kim's place in Liverpool, PA. Had a great time; it's always relaxing up there. I don't have any photos, but Kyler created a journal of his experiences and I'm including his art work.

On Thursday we boarded the Roaring Bull No. 5 and headed across the Susquehanna to Millersburg. It was the third time in my life that I crossed the river on a ferry boat. I remember as a kid going across with my grandparents but then didn't cross again until two years ago.

In Millersburg, we visited the Ned Smith Center. What a great place. The grounds are beautiful.There is currently an Audobon exhibit in the gallery, which is definetely worth seeing. We had to move quickly, because what is fascinating to me is not always fascinating to a 3 year old. The kids were more interested in getting outside and running around, which we did.

Thursday night was the Liverpool carnival. The kids rode all the rides and played games to the strains of Shamma Lamma. A slice of Americana on the banks of the Susquehanna.

Friday, we headed over to Lake Tobias Wildlife park. I wasn't sure what to expect. Everyone I spoke to said it was really nice, but I still had reservations. I am now disabused. The park was beautiful and very clean. The animals were well tended and had a lot of room. They also appeared very healthy. We took a "safari" through the grounds and saw numerous, hoofed animals and large flightless birds. During one stop, I looked up the hillside and five Emus came trotting down the through the grass which reminded me of a scene in Jurassic Park.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'Gills for Thrills

The Enck boys were rippin' lips tonight.

Donegal Report 6/11/07

Hit the Donegal early this morning. The water was up and off color. Started fishing around 5:30 a.m. using a bead head nymph, but switched to a bead head green weenie, because of visibility. Worked through a couple of holes at the lower end of the fly fishing section and didn't move a fish. Moved up a little and picked up a rock bass. Moved to the next hole and picked up a nice brown which appeared to be wild. It put up a nice fight and saved the "skunk." Tried to get a picture, but while I was fumbling with my camera bag he was able to liberate himself. Final score: fish bites 2, mosquito bites 10.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


It's getting harder to find time for extended fishing trips, but occasionally the stars allign themselves in such a way that I'm able to get away. I had been trying to get out on a saltwater trip with Andy for two years, but just couldn't arrange it until yesterday. Andy had some time and so did I, so he suggested that we meet Tony and Jaime at Cape Henlopen for some flounder fishing using fly rods. He billed it as "Flounderpalooza," and I was eager to give it a try.

Headed down to Andy's Friday evening and after a great meal at Sean Bolen's Irish Pub we headed back to Andy's place. I didn't have any saltwater flies with me, but I was able to tie up a few Clouser minnows at Andy's tying bench after returning from supper.

Got up early on Saturday and headed to Cape Henlopen. We arrived around 9:00 a.m. and Tony, Jaime and another guy, Sawyer, arrived five minutes after us. I borrowed a stripping basket from Tony and an Abel reel from Jaime and heeded their suggestion to wear chest waders. While we were rigging up, we had the opportunity to meet the "original-go-to-the-right-guy." He was, as the name suggests, a guy who always fishes to the right of the fishing pier. Despite his name, a name which he gave himself, by the way, he felt we were wasting our time going to the right for flounder. Time would vindicate us.

We headed down to the beach, and I couldn't believe what I saw. There were 50-60 anglers on the fishing pier, but not a single person on the flats to the right of the pier. We timed our arrival to coincide with the incoming tide. The tide was just beginning to shift when we waded onto the flats. The only drawback was that there was a strong north wind and the bottom was churned up. Not the best conditions for flounder fishing, but then the best time for any type of fishing is whenever you can get away.

The water was about waste deep 100 yards or so off the beach. I'm not a great caster when it comes to chucking large flies, but I got into a rhythm and was able to get the fly to land where I wanted it. We cast and moved, cast and moved for about an hour, but no one picked up a fish. The wind and the cloudy water seemed to be working against us, but we kept at it.

Another hour went buy, and still no one had a fish. Andy and I took a little break on the beach then headed back out. I began to work a sand bar about 50 yards off the beach. I made a cast and as I was bringing the fly back in I noticed something dark near it. It seemd like the shadow of a bird, but then my fly disappeared and I was finally into a flounder. I shouted to Andy and Tony who were on the beach and they came out to help me. Tony had a net and we landed the the fish. A quick measurement proved him to be a keeper. I was going to throw him back, but Jaime wanted him, and since he lent me the reel, the least I could do was provide a meal for him.

I'd like to say from that point the fishing picked up, but it didn't. We headed into the beach around 2:00. As we approached the parking area, I attained celebrity staus with my flounder. People were gawking, and I got my picture taken and placed on the counter of the bait store. Andy began to call me the "Flounder Pope." I'll take my fame any 15 minutes that I can.

We said good bye to Tony, Jaime and Sawyer and headed into Rehoboth for lunch at Dogfish Head. No trip to the Delaware beaches is ever complete without a stop at DFH and a cold 60 minute IPA draft.

On the way home, we decided to go smallmouth fishing on the Little Gunpodwer just outside of Bel Air. Andy and I are having a competition to see who can actually invite the other on a smallmouth trip where we actually catch a smallmouth. Andy has come up to my place twice for smallies and has caught nothing but channel cats. I have gone down to Maryland only to catch a green sunfish. We got back to Andy's and he grabbed two rods and two reels and off we went for some more fishing. On the way, we discovered that even though he grabbed two reels, only one actually had a fly line on it. No problem, it's a small stream, we'd fish together and share one rod.

Arrived at the Little Gunpowder around 7:00. I asked Andy what we should use and that's when we discovered that he forgot the flies. No worries, he still had a bunch of saltwater flies in the car, so we tied on a bonefish fly. Fished for about an hour, but no smallies came to hand. At the last hole we fished, Andy spotted a trout that came out from under the rock we were standing on. He cast to it a few times then handed the rod to me. Two casts later, I landed a rainbow on a bonefish fly. You can do those kind of things when you are the "Flounder Pope."

All in all a great day of fishing with friends. I look forward to doing it again. And, the smallie challenge is still on.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Guns of Navarone

All apologies to Alistair Maclean

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Living and Riding in 3/4 Time

Man, I love my job. You can't beat having the summer off. To kick it in, I went for a 30 mile ride this morning. It was nice, because I didn't have to start riding until 7:00 a.m. Usually, I'm up at 4:45, but today "as a door turns on its hinges so did this sluggard in his bed."

I'm fortunate to live where I do when it comes to bike riding. Within a mile or two, I'm riding entirely on country roads. The only distractions today, besides a few passing cars, were cows. And, they were only a distraction, because for some reason, they have to run with you as you bike by.

Today's route took me to the northeast and into my old stomping grounds as a kid. It was nice breathing the fresh air and smelling the vegetation that I remember as a boy. I also enjoyed hearing the birds, especially the red-wing blackboards.

I passed a church along the way who's sign always has a "chestnut" for passing motorists and bikers. My favorite from a couple of years ago was "A hangover is the wrath of grapes." Today's was fitting for someone exercising, "The body is the only machine that wears down when not used."

The machine felt good today and could have gone farther, but I decided to ease off and turned home when I had the chance. Actually, the last half hour of riding was getting tough, because the wind picked up significantly. Wrapped up by lifting a little, showered, then headed to Qdoba's for lunch. If you get the chance, eat at a Qdoba's sometime. Their burritos are awesome.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Pinchot Park Triathlon. Before I get to the report for that race, I'd like to mention that last weekend I ran in the "Got The Nerve" (GTN) triathlon held in Mount Gretna, PA. Since I'm only now beginning a blog, rather than write up a report for that race, I'll begin with yesterday's race. I will say that the GTN was my first triathlon with an open-water swim. I made a lot of mistakes, but gave the race my best effort. I finished, and only missed my goal by 30 seconds...and those 30 seconds were the impetus behind me arising at 4:30 a.m. yesterday.


Last week, I tried to do everything right: taper, hydrate, rest, diet. This week, I rode when I felt like it, ran hard or easy depending on my mood and only swam for 15 minutes in our community pool - and those 15 minutes were broken up with "daddy, can I get a snack; daddy, when are you going to be done; etc." I ate what I was hungry for, and the night before the race, my wife and I hosted a red wine tasting party. As the co-host, I had to set the example and do my part in selecting a winner (Congratulations to Scott and Cindy). I was in bed by 11:00. Unlike the night before GTN, I slept like a baby. I arose without the alarm clock at 4:30 a.m.

Race Day

So, who gets up at 4:30 to race? Someone who was not happy with missing their goal by 30 seconds the week before. I was determined to learn from my mistakes and I was determined to swim/bike/run more relaxed. I arrived at Pinchot by 5:45 and already people were there setting up in the transition area. I made my way to the registration table, paid my money and got my number.

This race was not as big as GTN, which was nice. I got a good spot in the transition area, right on the edge, and had plenty of room to spread out my gear. I got everything set-up, and then was able to mingle and talk with the other racers. A former student of mine and his father who were also at GTN arrived shortly after I did. we had a good laugh about how these races are a sickness and wished each other well. Unlike at GTN, I didn't warm-up, but I wasn't nervous either. At 7:15 , I donned my wetsuit, and along with everyone else, made my way to the shores of Lake Conewago.


The swim was a half-mile inverted triangle. This was 300 yards farther than GTN. Announcements were made, and then the first wave entered the water. Now that I'm an old-head, I was assigned to the second wave. The command was given, and the first wave was off. Three minutes later, so was I with the second wave. I decided that this time I was going to enjoy the swim for what it was: a leisurely dip in Lake Conewago on a Sunday morning. I started at the back and was able to get into a rhythm almost immediately. I wasn't swimming fast, but I was smooth and relaxed and I was able to maintain a good breathing pattern. I rounded the first buoy, looked up and made my way for the next one. I couldn't believe how good I felt, no one was around me and I was enjoying the swim. Then, I heard a voice. The sound of that voice, brought me out of my daydream, and I thought that I should probably look up and mark the buoy. Good thing I did, in front of my was a kayak, and the voice was directing me to "swim in, swim in." I was swimming at least 45 degrees off course, heading to the far side of the lake. But, with my newly acquired philosophy of relax and enjoy, I merely laughed and got back on course. I came in behind most, ahead of a few, but most importantly, I wasn't winded.


I'm new to road biking. I bought my first road bike, a Giant OCR 3, last year to help me cross-train for the Marine Corps Marathon. Since then, I upgraded to a Felt F75. Although I'm a newbie, I feel I can hold my own on two wheels. My transition was good, but once again, in my haste, I had trouble getting clipped into my pedals. It was a temporary set-back and soon I was off and spinning. The course was 18 miles and much harder than GTN. I quickly got my legs into the race and started picking off people. I am especially fond of attacking on hills, and every hill gave up a new victim. I passed many and was only passed by one that stayed in front of me. I even got into a dual with a pack riders. We exchanged the lead two or three times, but near the end on the second lap we came to my favorite incline and I was able to spin up, while they had to stand. I gained a lot of ground. I had a fast transition to the run and away I went.


My legs returned quick and I was able to pick up my pace sooner than at GTN. The run was on trails and it was very scenic. I was relaxed and once again, I was able to pick people off. Then I heard the sound of feet gaining on me. In a flash, one of the dualists from the bike leg was by me. Turns out he was an All-American runner for Millersville U. back in the 80s'. Oh well, I had my moment of glory, now he was returning the favor. Happily, he was the only one to pass me and I moved up in the standings as I caught and passed runners ahead of me. I had a strong finish and was able to raise my arms in triumph. My efforts were awarded with a third place finish in my age group: My first medal, WOOHOO!

Post Race

I'm taking it easy this week, and next weekend, instead of swimming/biking/running, I'm going fly-fishing for flounder in what has been billed as "Flounderpalooza." Of course, the guy who assigned the title is also the guy who invited me to Smallmouthpalooza" two years ago which resulted in me catching a 3" green sunfish (and since all anglers stretch the truth, you can surmise how big that green sunfish really was).



Welcome to my blog. The title is derived from a painting by Paul Klee also call "Fishmagic." I came by this title a few years ago when I was prompted to create an email address. I didn't want to be to prosaic, but I didn't want to be cute either. As I was thinking of a name, I looked around the room and my eyes fell upon our framed print, "Fishmagic." I have been fishmagic ever since.