|WFFJ Fall Outing
(by member Terry Brykczynski)
Upon certain extraordinary occasions in our angling lives, we find ourselves having to choose between two opposing actions -- either to actively pursue a trophy fish rising to our fly or to be caught ourselves and held powerless, entranced by the spectacular surroundings that nature bestows upon the lovely homes of trout. On Sunday, November 25th, each of us who participated in the WFFJ fall outing faced this paradox -- and we were thrilled at the challenge!
The day began auspiciously as we gathered at the parking lot of Connetquot State Park, exchanging greetings and eager to wet our lines. The weather was especially favorable -- an overcast day, unusually warm, and full of promise! Especially fortunate omens were the flocks of wild turkeys and herds of inquisitive deer that welcomed us to this unique shrine of flyfishing only an hourfs drive from Manhattan. Off we tramped to the river, refreshing our senses with the aromatic scents of pine straw, budding mushrooms, and ferns heavy with morning dew.
For over a hundred years the Park
has retained its status as a spectacular natural oasis, protected from
development first as a private sportsmanfs club open only to very
wealthy members and then, after being sold to New York State in 1963 for
$6 million, accessible to anyone for a nominal fee to enjoy hiking,
horseback riding or fishing among its 3,500 acres. The current manager,
Gil Bergen, began his involvement with the park as a teenager in 1945
after he quit his job milking cows on a nearby millionairefs estate to
guide anglers on the spring-fed stream that ambles through the pristine
forest. Today, Gil oversees a hatchery that each year raises and releases
over 60,000 fish to not only the Connetquot, but also the nearby
Nissequogue River in Caleb Smith State Park.