We are all officially enjoying meteorological winter. Basically, meteorologists divide the calendar year into quarters which puts winter as December, January and February. They don’t take into account snowfall which might happen earlier or later and the first of this last month ends our hurricane season so we can put back the deck furniture only to see it get buried in snow. But all that also means there are holdover stripers, White-tail deer and winter’s most anticipated event, the Narragansett Surfcaster’s Surf Day New and Used Tackle Sale on our agenda. Yes, winter means Surf Day.
No one wants to hear that word “winter” just yet, unless you’re Bruce Leduc harvesting a tree stand deer just minutes into his season,
Tom Houde catching holdover stripers, surrounded by thin ice,
Steve Default taking an eight point buck,
Jason Anctil covered in Carhartt while finding piles of small and largemouth bass,
or those offering collective prayers for real fishable ice. With such talk of ice and snow, here’s some outdoors related fun to carry us through the dark months.
Winter’s a good time to tie one on
The Saltwater Edge in Middletown, Rhode Island will host a series of fly tying nights for tiers of all skill levels. Owner Peter Jenkins has a new 3000 square foot shop at 1315 West Main Road and really has perfected not only top notch customer service but the art of gathering people to share something they love in a fun atmosphere. At his previous shop, he’d be out back grilling steak tips, tapping his Grundens to a legendary 1977 Cornell University Scarlet Begonias-Fire One The Mountain while fly rod fanatics worked their vices and twirled their hackles close to a cooler full of ice and such.
Peter has more room at his new store and likely a bigger cooler for refreshments but he’ll still be grilling. If you have an interest in learning from some of the best known and underground fly tiers, to see how Lunchbreak Eddy Stahowiak creates Northern pike flies which also look remarkably like his dog Mac or watch a local ace create a surreal pattern for early season striped bass, gather your tools and feathers, head to The Saltwater Edge from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm on January 6, February 3, March 3, April 7 and just in time for some lice covered stripers escaping the Chesapeake’s 19” minimum harvest size, May 5. There is no cost for all this fun and did I mention he provides a cooler full of ice? For the month of December, his shop will donate 1% of total sales back to the American Saltwater Guides Association. That’s even more reason to visit during shop hours as well.
Winter’s Most Anticipated Event: Surf Day!
Meteorlogiocal Winter-Fish, Deer & Surf Day really has a lot to do with the latter. If you’re more of a Ron Arra rod type than a fly tier then you absolutely need to be at the Narragansett Surfcasters Surf Day 2022 Used and New Fishing Gear Sale on January 15. As renowned rod builder and South County historian Steve Babcock would say, “long story short…”, Surf Day is the mid-winter salvation we all need.
Pulling open a frosty Narragansett Community Center door against a hard north wind,smelling that first whiff of clam chowder, hearing long-overdue sounds of chit chat and stories being stretched even farther than when we heard them last fall, seeing a room packed full of gear we need, want, don’t really need but will buy anyway, with cases of classic plugs both ancient and new, will warm the heart of even the crustiest fisherman, or woman for that matter.
Surf Day has become a much anticipated celebration of fishing, friendship, tip sharing and our love of ways to find and catch fish. Walk the isles, fill a bag with reels ready to go and ready for some workbench repair, maybe a book from Charley Soares or that one fantastic wooden needlefish, scarred from blitzing bluefish that will look just perfect on your wall or on your favorite boat rod. It’s all there for you next January 15.
The day starts at 9am, no early birds thank you and runs until 1pm, which is about when Joe Coppola might signal they are down to their last bowl of chowder anyways. Look them up at www.narragansettsurfcasters.com or reach out to Joe Coppola at email@example.com for more information.
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association will finally host the twice postponed New England Saltwater Fishing Show at the RI Convention Center in Providence on March 11-13, 2022. Organizers are full steam ahead, thanks to new Executive Director Greg Vespe, with a full slate of speakers, seminars and vendors from local, national and global companies. If you could take Surf Day’s excitement, spread it out over 100,000 square feet, add a few hundred more vendors, a casting tank, a worm bar, loads of head scratching fashion, a few early morning samples of Narragansett and that good feeling that charitable organizations like RISAA are back on their feet, that’s the Saltwater Fishing show. We’ll feature the show in a few weeks so for now, grab that big red pen and make circle the calendar.
It’s not all about fishing…
Alas, life is not all about fishing or dreaming we were. The Manville Sportsmen’s Rod and Gun Club offers trap shooting to the public through the winter and pretty much year round. With pheasant, duck and goose seasons in the rear view mirror, it’s easy to let our aim get soft so a few hours on the course will help keep us in shape. Their members will assist with safety rules and the basics of shooting trap, one of three most common variations of shooting clay pigeons. A 25 shot round costs just $3.50 and is a whole lot of fun. New England enjoys a long history of outdoor sporting traditions, like hunting, fishing, walking the beach and competitive shooting so supporting a local club helps cement our legacy of sporting men and women as demographics change and some try to limit what we love. Contact the club at 401.762.5916 or check out their website at www.msrgc.com.
Great job as always Todd. You know, I believe I’ve got a copy of that Cornell show on a cassette tape in it’s raw form, just “crackling with energy” as JG would say, I’ll have to look for that. Looking forward to working my first surf day as a member of NSC and my first sportsmen’s show as a member of RISSA. Throw in a trip to the Kennebec or Eastern River for smelt, a couple of trips to Massachusetts for yellow perch and maybe a trip to Moosehead for giant brookies and it could be the best winter ever. One can dream right? Thanks for the tip on the fly tying sessions. Hope to speak with you somewhere along the way.
It was a wonderful year for sure. “Crackling…” GD Movie highlight right there. NSC is a fine and wonderful bunch of fishermen and conservationists. You’ve made great choice to join. I hope you get to do all that and more. Moosehead in the winter sounds like a challenge. I’ve never gone for smelt but I’m sure there’s a very good story in there. Maybe I’ll see you at a fly tying night. Although if I do get there, I should do little but pay attention to instructions; tying is clearly not a skill I possess. Thanks, as always, for reading Fish Wrap, I really do appreciate it.