Frank Pina, Jr, Guide and Owner of AuSable RiverWalker Fly-fishing Guide Service, was destined to be a fisherman from the very beginning of his life. He was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, close to the ocean. His rich cultural heritage gave him a strong foundation for his love and respect of the natural world. On his mother’s side, Frank is a proud descendant of the Wampanoag Indian Tribe of Cape Cod, the first native peoples to greet the Pilgrims of the Mayflower. His grandfather, Julian E.T. Youngblood, was a WWII veteran, a carpenter, a chef, an avid gardener, a historian, and a fisherman who designed many of his own lures. He was also a great storyteller. He imparted his wisdom, experience and reverence for nature to Frank and his brothers.
On his father’s side, the tradition of the sea was passed on to Frank by his Cape Verdean ancestors. His grandfather, Alfredo dos Santos (who later took the name, Alfred Pina), was born on the island of Fogo, one of the Cape Verde Islands. Alfredo was a crewman for two years on an American whaling ship, The Carleton Bell, which eventually brought him to this country. He was “the strong, silent type” who worked hard to care for and advance the lives of his ten children. He taught Frank to respect others and value family and community. Frank’s father, Frank, Sr., was most significant in educating his son about all of nature’s creatures. He had a “hands on” approach to teaching Frank and brought home all types of insects and reptiles to be observed and then returned to the wild.
Frank began fishing at an early age. His father was the first to take him. He remembers his first trips with his father. On one such trip, at the age of 7 or 8 years old, Frank recalls catching a pickerel and excitedly running down the road to show it off to his father. His dad’s urging to return it to the water so it wouldn’t die was Frank’s first experience with “catch and release”, an ethic which has stuck with him ever since.
Fishing with his maternal grandfather is another precious memory of Frank’s childhood days. I remember one of the last trips with Julian. I watched Frank and his brother, Wesley, help “Papa” over the craggy shore to feel the sea air on his face and watch the excitement of a battle with a bluefish. Julian was 87 years old. Although both grandfathers have now passed on, Frank’s interest in the natural world is without limits as a result of their tutelage.
Frank’s young-adult life took him to Nantucket Island and I’ve heard many stories of the huge stripers caught on the beautiful shores of this New England jewel. He says it took one whole year and many nights in rough water for him to master the skills of surfcasting and finally land his first fish, the elusive “line sides”, which happened to be a 40-pounder (What Luck!) The bluefish stories are even more “colorful”.
Next came our fishing ventures together: bass fishing in the Ozark creeks and lakes of southwest Missouri; jaunts to Block Island for pond fishing and surfcasting; fishing the “rocks and docks” of Long Lake in the Adirondacks; fly-fishing the Housatonic River in Cornwall, Connecticut; our trip to Ireland; and most recently, fly-fishing in Colorado (I think I got most of them).
But nothing compares to our move from New York City to the Adirondacks for the rest of our lives and Frank’s on-going love affair with fly-fishing. Since 1996, he quickly mastered the technique, gained knowledge of the AuSable River, and switched careers from restaurants to guiding. Oh yeah, he actually did have time to work in between fishing forays. His extensive experience waiting tables in restaurants from New York City to Nantucket Island, catering and as a self-taught chef is sure to make your adventure with the AuSable RiverWalker a well-rounded and tasty event.
Frank had guided with a local fly shop for four years and, in 2005, decided to venture out on his own. His demeanor is pleasant and his approach patient. He is eager to share his love of the outdoors, respect for nature and enjoyment of the art and sport of fly-fishing with you.
Frank’s wife and “Fishin’ Buddy #1
On Easter Day, 2009, Frank’s friend, mentor, and “the best fisherman he ever knew”, passed away. A father, grandfather, and “hell of a good” gardener, Pat Dellapi was and continues to be an inspiration. He loved the Adirondacks and, as a young man, came all the way up from the Bronx “just to fish”. Living here in retirement, he knew the woods, the river, the fish, and fly-tying and he passed his knowledge on to Frank. He is sorely missed. To honor Pat, Frank dedicates this fly-fishing season to him.
To whom it may concern,
I have known Frank Pina for many years. Frank first guided with me in 2002 when I was just learning the difficulties of fly fishing. I was very impressed that I found someone who was very technical, however, managed to keep things fun and exciting. I felt each time Frank was my guide that I was learning and not just fishing. Frank’s knowledge of the outdoors is also second to none; this makes for a great time outdoors.
I had a memorable trip with Frank and my 70 year old dad. Frank had great patience working with him to learn how to make a cast and catch a fish with a dry fly. He ensured my dad’s safety and moved at his pace. While still keeping me busy and in fish. This was fantastic. I have been fishing for over 30 years and have fished with many guides coast to coast and in Canada. I find Frank the best all around guide who always takes time on the lighter side with a laugh. The treatment he gives his clients with restaurant quality hospitality is a real treat with the best Breads, foods and beverages.
The most amazing thing is that Frank figures out what may be happening with the fish and the river. He then teaches and explains what is happening. I have chosen Frank Pina for his many qualities and have recommended him to many. He is an absolute professional. I have the utmost trust and respect for his character. I really appreciate his understanding and care for nature and the outdoors.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter of reference in support of Frank Pina and AuSable RiverWalker Guide Service. I have often used guide services while hunting and fishing around the country. My experiences with AuSable RiverWalker Guide Service were excellent! Frank was very professional and an excellent teacher. He did everything possible to make my day an enjoyable and educational experience. He was very thorough in asking me about my prior experience in fly-fishing. Having only saltwater fly-fishing experience, he patiently explained the difference between the two. He taught me valuable casting lessons, as well as, showed me how to present different types of flies. Throughout the day, he corrected any mistakes I may have made to insure that I had the best day possible during my guided trip.
I’d like to share with you an e-mail I sent to Frank after a trip in August 2008.
“Hey Frank, I just wanted to drop a few lines to let you know how happy I was with our fishing trip. That 15” Brownie will stay in my memories for a long time. You gave me every opportunity to succeed and helped me with my casting. That’s all you can ask for in a guide. Tell your wife if she is as wonderful as that zucchini bread you are a lucky man. If you need me for a reference feel free to give my phone number or if you need something written for your web site I would be happy to do so. Thanks. Anthony LaBarbera”
In closing. I would like to say that I would recommend his services to anyone looking to fish the AuSable River. In utilizing his guide service for that trip, not only did I meet a experienced guide, but I also made a friend. I hope my experiences with his service, offer you assistance in your decision to give this top notch professional guide every opportunity to expand his business.
To whom it may concern:
I am writing this letter in regards to Frank Pina’s guide-service: “AuSable RiverWalker”.
As a fly-fisherman who has used guide services throughout Canada and the US, I can strongly recommend Mr. Pina’s services, the quality of which has made me become a returning client for a number of years.
To be successful in this type of business, a guide service has to deal with four or five different skills. These skills are in a way quite different from each other and Mr. Pina excels in all of them.
Firstly, the guide must meet a new client on the water, spend a whole day with him/her and walk the fine line between being easy-going, on one hand, yet firm enough to push the client in a direction that they may not want to go in. The guide must do it so that at the end of the day, the client would have used techniques that will be more successful than those he/she would have used without the push. This is, in my opinion, the most difficult aspect of running this type of service. I have been with fishing guides who although may be extremely good technically are not able to walk this line. They are either too easy-going, on one hand, or too easily frustrated with the client’s lack of ability to follow instruction, leaving the client ultimately dissatisfied. This is in my opinion an area in which Mr. Pina excels and it is an important factor in getting return clients.
Secondly, do you catch fish? Simply put, I have never gone out with Mr. Pina and came home having caught nothing. In fly-fishing this is harder to do that it sounds.
Thirdly, at the end of the day, have you learnt something? It is one thing for the guide to put you in a good area and tell you where and how to fish, it is another thing all together, to explain it in a way that you come to understand general principles that you can apply anywhere. Mr. Pina’s knowledge of insect life, fish behavior, current flow, and seasonal changes (to name just a few) is superior and he takes time to make sure that you come away understanding rather than just catching.
Fourthly, there is one area where I can say that Mr. Pina (his wife also) excel above other excellent guides. Even if a guide is accomplished in all areas, when it comes to providing a meal on the water, you can usually expect a sandwich and some chips at best. Mr. Pina and his wife have evidently had prior experience in the food industry and provide restaurant quality meals on the water. This is something I have never seen anywhere else.
Lastly, Mr. Pina imparts a sense of deep respect for the river and life around it.
So, in conclusion, I can strongly recommend “AuSable RiverWalker” to you.
To Whom if may concern:
I have know Frank and Debbie Pina since the summer of 1990. I was the Food & Beverage Manager of the Spring House Hotel on Block Island . When I interviewed Frank and Debbie for the positions of headwaiter and bartender, respectively, I was quite impressed. Frank had an impressive background working in some of the better restaurants in New York City. Debbie seemed most professional and eager to service our guests. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
That summer, Frank and Debbie became my most trusted and valuable employees. Servers and bartenders came and went but Frank and Debbie stayed the entire summer and became the anchors of our guest service operations. Their commitment to quality and pleasing guests was unmatched and we quickly gained the reputation as the most reliable, caring, and professional food and beverage operation on the Island. Without Frank and Debbie, this would not have happened.
Since that summer, we have maintained our friendship. At least twice a year, my wife Carolyn and I visited Frank and Debbie in Lake Placid, and now we visit them in Jay. Though we are great friends, we always feel like we are going away on vacation when we visit. We experience unprecedented hospitality as if we were staying in a five star resort. The room is set like a fine hotel. The food is outstanding. And I must say, Debbie’s pies would make any of our great pastry chefs at Johnson & Wales University proud. Our nights outside by the fire make us feel like we are in the most luxurious outdoor setting. We take many vacations, but staying at Frank and Debbie’s is like staying at a rustic upscale resort.
Carolyn and I travel to Italy every chance we get. I manage a culinary school in Singapore and we travel there at least once a year. Business travels take me to Asia, Europe, and Africa and I’ve stayed in many five star properties. We know great hospitality and appreciate both rustic and outrageously upscale adventures. However, there is something about spending time with Frank and Debbie that just warms the soul. I have fished with Frank from the salt-water cliffs of Rhode Island to the trout streams of upstate New York. He knows more about fishing that anyone I have ever met. Frank and Debbie are two people that simply know how to treat guests, and love doing it.
Both Frank and Debbie are hospitality industry naturals. They both love the outdoors, hiking, foraging, bird-watching, and fishing. They are great teachers, great naturalists, and pretty darn good cooks. I simply cannot wait to be back in the Adirondacks enjoying their hospitality.
Chef Jack Chiaro CEC, CCE, AAC
Johnson & Wales University
Providence , Rhode Island
To whom it may concern:
I am honored and pleased to provide a reference for Frank Pina, The RiverWalker.
As a guide on the AuSable River, Frank is outstanding in his skills and knowledge of the area, its wildlife, and their habitats. He is a superb fly fisherman and teacher of his craft. He is prompt, respectful, well spoken, polite, patient, well-organized, and sensitive to the environment be knows and loves so much.
Frank worked hard to help me improve and I have terrific photos and memories as a result! We share the same love of the outdoors and the fish in our waters.
His fees, as a guide, are more than fair for the knowledge and experience one receives in exchange. He kept us well-fed, safe, and comfortable every minute we were in his care. We look forward to returning to the region and spending more time under Franks’ tutelage,