The Functioning Fishaholics

Dec 202011

Well here at The Functioning Fishaholics we tend to embrace the DIY mentality.

We believe the best Christmas gifts are hand made.  Our plan this season was to make custom rods and give them out to 100 of our faithful readers but then we realized…  we’re broke.

Anyway, please enjoy our (hand made) holiday E-card below!


From our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas (or whatever other holiday you celebrate).  Hope you get some fishing related gear and REMEMBER if you do happen to get a fishing related item you don’t want we’ll be glad accept your donation!

Dec 122011

And what you can do about it.
(A guest post by: Josh Mann)  

One of the main complaints I hear from people who are interested in fishing saltwater for the first time is ” There’s so much water , I don’t know where to start.” I can understand that sentiment. The vast expanse of ocean and the miles of breaking waves visible from the shore certainly make the idea of catching fish from the beach seem like a daunting task. Add to that a wide variety of TV shows and Youtube videos showing people fighting huge fish and catching man eaters , and you have something that makes even experienced freshwater fishermen feel inadequate.

Most people who are saltwater enthusiasts don’t start out using 6/0 stand up boat rods and catching Marlin. It takes a great deal of experience to fight and handle the behemoths. A few people may have started out on a charter after big fish , but I’d say this is an exception rather than the rule. The majority of us start out on the beach or on a pier , and this is ideal for breaking into the sport. Just like you wouldn’t put a toddler on a motorcycle before they could ride a bike , it’s a bad idea to throw a 500 lb. tuna in a beginners lap.

There are tons of opportunities in the surf for a beginner to hone his or her skills on. Perhaps the easiest thing to start with would be the use of a simple two hook bottom rig ( ) to target fish like the Norfolk Spot , the Atlantic Croaker and other small species that hang out close to the beach. These “Bluegills of the Sea” are often found around the piers here on the East Coast and are a favorite among many anglers. I know several seasoned saltists who are just as proud of a cooler full of nice sized spots as they are of much more impressive big fish , mainly because the humble spot is excellent table fare. Another great thing about this style of fishing is the wide variety of species it can produce , like the Stingray and Blowfish pictured below.

Moving up the food chain a little , you’ll find the fish who’s diet consists mainly of other fish. Some of the more common predators caught close to the beach are species such as the Bluefish , Spanish Mackerel , Speckled Trout and Weakfish. These fish can also be caught using bottom rigs , but it’s much more fun to target them with lures and light tackle. One of my favorite things to do is to walk the beach in a pair of swimming trunks carrying a bass rod and a few lures to target roving schools of Bluefish. When you find a school , the action can be hot and heavy. Nothing in freshwater can compare to the carnage a school of these toothy critters are capable of.

Further up the food chain , you’ll find fish that are capable of topping 50 pounds. Striped Bass , Red Drum , King Mackerel , Dogfish and a host of other species are all a possibility from the end of a pier or in the surf. These are the fish to cut your teeth on if you want to catch big biters (sharks) or large pelagics (Tuna & Marlin). Most anglers who target these fish will use 10 to 12 ft. rods , big reels and big bait. The head or even a whole spot is a great piece of bait , as is a small bluefish. Just keep in mind that something capable of swallowing a whole bluefish will test your gear and also your skills as an angler.

So there it is. By starting out small and working your way up to bigger fish you can eliminate a great deal of the intimidation factor. In my experience , this approach closely mirrors what many of us went through as kids fishing in freshwater. By starting out small , you gain the experience and know-how that is necessary to pull big fish from the ocean. You can find out more on my blogs , Something’s Fishy ( and Surf Fishing for Beginners (

Tight Lines and High Tides!

Josh Mann is a devoted husband and father of two who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. He has fished the waters of the Mid-Atlantic states for almost 30 years, targeting both fresh and saltwater species that he writes about on his blog, Something’s Fishy.





Dec 032011

Hello fellow Functioning Fishaholics.  Time sure flies when you are trying to fish in November/December!

Lately life and work have been pulling me in two directions and neither one of them leads to a fishing hole.

Karma fish...

For those of you who are itching to read more stories of fishy fun and addiction STAY TUNED.  In the next few days I’m hoping to get back into my normal posting cycle (if there ever was such a thing).  I also have some good guest posts in the works.

While I have the new post window open, I might as well take the opportunity to apologize to fellow blogger buddy The River Damsel.   It turns out that I was leaving one of my favorite sites off of my blogroll and it happens to be hers!

So that being said, if you are looking for the best fly fishing site in the world make sure to check her site out!


Nov 232011

So my last trip to Valley Creek for wild Brown Trout was a bit of a strikeout but I did catch something special…

Caddis Larvae Caught on a 5wt

Yep, you read that caption right.  I caught this Caddis Larvae on my good old 5 wt rod.  (In his defense he was doing his best to hide in a big clump of moss)

I’ve decided that getting skunked while fly fishing is a good thing.  As a fly fishing rookie, it’s more important for me to get snubbed, grow my skills, and walk away with knowledge, than to catch fish (for now).

“Catching” this bug was a gift.  It was toward the end of my trip and I was tired, but as soon as I eyed the bug I knew this was my chance.  No fish were biting but Valley Creek itself was sending me a message.  Try this.

With a few detailed photographs and my fledgling fly tying skills, I decided to play around and see if I could come up with an acceptable Caddis Larvae fly.  Not one for following everyone else’s path I decided to “freehand” four different fly ideas.

I’ve included my “concepts” in this post because I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts…

All of these ties are on #14 scud hooks.  My first fly for the night was mostly green wire with a little ice dubbing for legs.  I didn’t think I’d like this one so much but after looking over everything a day later this one is a favorite.

Wire and Dubbing Caddis Larvae

For my second I tried to mix up the dubbing color with some olive and red and put some stretch tubing over the top.  I’m not a fan of this one.

Stretch tubing monster

The third one in my opinion left a little to be desired.  Perhaps if I could swap the color of the dubbing and the wire rib.

Hopefully buggy when wet?

My last tie for the night was easily my favorite.  Extremely simple too.  Green and black ice dubbing and that’s it.  After giving it a good brush I cut the dubbing  back a bit.  Next time I tie this one I’m going to add better legs.

Dubbing on a hook... Easy.

As a rookie I choose to not always follow the beaten path.  I’m sure I’ve lost lots of fish because of it but at the end of the day I know the hard knocks I take will teach me to be more than just a cookie cutter angler.

A few hours 4 flies...

So here’s your chance to troll.  Feel free to tell me what you like and what you hate.  Feel free to tell me I should stick to my spinning rod.  Your opinion is yours and I’ll try my hardest not to delete it!  (:


Nov 212011

Or not.

I just finished reading Greg Murphy’s 2011 Largemouth Bass Survey for Marsh Creek Lake.  I have to say this report was well written and I really enjoyed all of the awesome charts and statistics!  Keep up the good work Greg!  Chalk up another great piece of work for the PA fish and boat commission!

Now back to the rumor at hand…  The popular belief of the local fishermen at Marsh Creek Lake is, “Those @#$#@$ stocked Muskie are eating all of the bass!”

RAWR! I'm here to eat your Bass!

Well boys (and girls) it seems science just put the monster muskie rumor to bed.

The 2011 Largemouth Bass Survey for Marsh Creek shows that Marsh Creek is thriving as a Largemouth fishery.  In fact the catch rate for Largemouth Bass was well above other Southeastern PA lakes.

My own little survey result

I for one can attest to the great Bass fishing at Marsh Creek.  We’ve fished there a few times this year and we always leave with big smiles.

Here is the link:  If you’d like to read the 2011 Largemouth Bass Survey for Marsh Creek Lake. 

If you are a Muskie fishermen there is good news too.  The report notes that four Tiger Muskie were caught during the survey.  The size range for the Muskie were 18 to 40 inches!  So go tie on some 10/0 hooks, hook on some dog toys, and let er’ rip!  (I hear Muskie like the big furry kind with squeakers in em.)

Now to keep the rumor mill churning (and the local folks happy) here is a little proof of electric propeller Muskie damage on a Largemouth Bass from Marsh Creek Lake.

Muskie or motor?

One good thing can be said about the stocked Muskie at Marsh Creek Lake.  They are equal opportunity eaters.

Muskie on Muskie action

The picture above was taken of a stocked Muskie we caught last winter.  This picture has been edited to show you both sides of this young 20″ Muskie.  The glare makes it a little hard to see but there are bite marks on both sides of the fish.  At one point something wrapped it’s jaws completely around this Muskie.

Love em’ or hate em’ the Muskie are here to stay in Marsh Creek Lake.  I for one love being able to fish for these monsters in my own back yard!  I’m also pleased to see that the Largemouth Bass are still plentiful in the lake.


Do you like Muskie?  Do you think they are a menace to society?  Let us know in the comments below!



Nov 062011

Hello Functioning readers!  We’ve added a new commenting engine.  Feel free to abuse it and let us know what you think.

If you’d like to learn about the technical details check out the blog post we did over at The Outdoor Blogger Network From Comments to Discussion – Disqus Your WordPress Blog


Please comment, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.  Help us test this thing.  Feedback and random thoughts are welcome!




Nov 042011

Looking for a little belated Halloween fun?  Do you like SLIME?  This week’s Functioning Friday is all about a fish so grotesque that some refer to it as the “slime eel”.

A Humble Hagfish

Not quite a proper eel and arguably called “fish”, the Hagfish has an amazing talent for defense.  When threatened this primitive wiggler unleashes massive amounts of slippery goo.  While we could describe the copious amounts of funk these fish fling, it’s Functioning Friday and that my friends, means it’s time for some video!  Here comes the SCIENCE!

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Fish from Hell!  You gotta love those old school movies!

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Man I wish I got to play with Hagfish in college!

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Wow what a freak of nature eh?  If you’d like to learn more about the gooey goodness that is the Hagfish click here


Have you ever handled a Hagfish?  Let us know in the comments below!



Oct 222011

So I ran into a few videos that gave me a glimpse into what my life would be like if I lived in a City and had no access to “fishable” water.  I mean to what lengths would I go to feed my fishing addiction?  Would I put countless miles on my car multiple times a week to get to my favorite fishing hole?  If I were like the guys in these first two videos perhaps I’d have better luck fishing closer to home…

I'd have no problem fishing here (via wikipedia)

These 2 guys don’t do so bad.  I think I could even get used to this method of fishing.  Seems pretty chill.  Like ice fishing without all the cold weather and um…  Ice.


So that’s how they roll across the pond eh?  “I want to steal the fish, and he won’t let me…  I’m very upset”


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I’ll give this guy points, at least he took the time to explain the rig he was using.  Why is it that saltwater dudes are always about adding hooks?

This last video I’m throwing in because it’s Functioning Friday.  If you’ve ever read one of these posts you know they are often filled with things that defy explanation.

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Not really sure what she was talking about but Eel fishing in a kiddie pool seems like a fun enough thing to do in your backyard…  I think the method and pole she was using may even give Tenkara a run for its money!

Have you Fished in a sewer or lassoed Eels in your backyard lately?  Let us know in the comments below!


Oct 192011

Here’s a real quick video of a Largemouth Bass I bumped into at Green Lane Park last Sunday.

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Some people don’t think you can catch fish after Labor day.  They are wrong.   Here’s some serious proof that fishing can still be awesome in the middle of October.  Fishing is a 12 month sport.

Photo of a big mouth bass from deep creek

Fall Bass

Unfortunately he inhaled the 3″ Senko I was using.  I actually needed a hand from Jeff to help get it out without doing any major damage.  I should give Jeff 1/2 credit for this catch as his surgical skills were amazing and we returned this beautiful Largemouth Bass (pretty much) unharmed.


Are you still landing lunkers in the frigid Fall?  Let us know in the comments below!



Oct 182011

Today is the first birthday of the Outdoor Blogger Network or as I like to call it “O-ne (of the) B-est (sites on the) N-et!

Happy B Day!

In case you’ve been living under a rock (and have never read this blog)…  The Outdoor Blogger Network is a website that specializes in helping bloggers like The Functioning Fishaholics.  There is a directory, forum, contests, awards, and even free promotion for your blog posts.  If you are a blogger this site is a GREAT time!

They are running lots of contests for their birthday this week so if you are a blogger who needs some great gear to review head on over to The Outdoor Blogger Network and check it out!


Disclosure:  I am biased in my opinion of the OBN.  They have given my humble blog so much support and gear to review(here and here) it is hard to be objective in how I talk about the site.  I’ve gotten awards on my writing, more shout-outs and free promotion than even I know what to do with.  To top it all off they have even been letting me write for them.  I almost felt bad about writing this post about their one year birthday because frankly I already wrote one on their page!  (:

I can’t say thank you enough to these guys but again THANK YOU!



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