Saturday, February 25, 2017

02.25.17......frustrating morning

      Got down before first light. Top of the tide. Big surf. I was the first guy on the beach. I saw about 40 fish caught. I didn't get a tap. For some reason they wouldn't take the fly today. Fished the same beat as about 6 guys who all caught, the only ones to get the skunk were me, and the other guy with a fly rod.

     Started with black. Nothing. Went to chartreuse. Nothing. Went small. Nothing. Went bigger. Nothing. Went fast. Nothing. Went slow. Nothing. Went close. Nothing. Went far. Nothing. Guys were getting them on Bomber and Bucktails. Fish after fish after fish.

     Yesterday my buddy Joe got out on the flip and found what we're all looking for when the smaller fish are around in big numbers. Wonder if the cold front moving in will end this week or so of fun that we've been having.

Joe Pheiffer photo

Friday, February 24, 2017

02.24.17 Good for five more years......

      All renewed with the NYS DEC. This year I also have my Captain's license renewal, which is a little bit more involved. This time of year I am remembering all of the pains of the business side of guiding. The licenses, the insurances, the permits, the accounts, the documentation, and most importantly the cost of doing business before you even do business. So many people and inspiring guides don't realize all that it takes to run or attempt to run a legit and profitable guiding business.  I think many times guides, and their accountants, really question of their running a business or supporting a hobby. I know for me my attempts to running full time came up short. I made $250 doing a talk in January 2014, tough to survive the skinny winters unless the den is packed with cash from the fall. I always tip my hat to those that can truly do this as a profession.

Looking forward to a great 2017, and introducing more people to the great sport of fly fishing. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

02.22.17 Would've been happy with just one.....

     After a skunk yesterday today after a long day with homework I figured I'd hit the top of the tide and afternoon thing. I got out about an hour before high and hit a few spots without a tap. Still nice enough day but I knew something was somewhere. Didn't see the birds like yesterday and I wondered where they went.

     Hit a few spots. Made a bunch of casts and then hit a home run just as the tide turned. Saw swimming bait to far off the beach that looked wakey like mullet do, but it must have been herring. I had a white Deceiver on and didn't get a bite so I switched to the chartreuse, and that was the fly. Left the fish biting quitting just before dark at 615. While one would have done, the total had to be over twenty. Mostly 18-22 inch fish with a few micros mixed in. What kept me going at it, besides having a blast, was the thought of something lurking in the mix with the 3-5 year olds.

     I thought things might have been shut down with the south winds but the fish were eager and hungry. Water temps feel cold although I am seeing readings above 40 to 42. What's great is usually these early fish, if they are in fact early, or late, or never left, is that usually they only eat the bait. A few other guys out had them on plastics and a small Bomber. Maybe the opening day bite won't be limited to the rivers and bays.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

02.21.17 Nothing out there for me but nice to get out.......

     So with the nice weather and water temps still above 40 degrees I wondered if some fish might be sniffing round the beaches. While we haven't seen any bait since the beginning of January they might just be lurking in the deeper water rather than have headed north or south for the winter. I figured the blow a few weeks back might have scared them away till spring. I have a buddy that confirmed for me that there are still fish around. He got 13 the other day, 8 on consecutive casts. The fish were all around the 20" inch mark, but I thinking thee might be a few schoolies to just keeper sized in the mix.

M.P. Photo
     I started just as light arrived and lastly about 45 minutes before my fingers went numb. Yes, it's still cold when the suns not out, it was 38 degrees. It looked good on the outgoing tide with a NE then SE wind and I hit spot after spot after spot thinking it would be a scout "they're here or not outing". Well they were not. Went from Sea Girt to the Hook without a tap. I did see a lot of birds while south which made it at least feel more fishy.

Monday, February 20, 2017

02.20.17 Back from the balmy ADK's......

     I guess if we were skiers the warm weather and slushy conditions could be something to complain about, but Saranac Lake in February in the 50's is alright by me. Finished up the work week Friday afternoon and was able to split a little early to take a miserable Pathophysiology exam followed by homework until 2am. We were on the road by 6 am and in the mountains after noon. Got to see my new niece and my old niece, 3, and spend some time with my sister and bro-in-law. Always nice to spend some time at the Mark Twain Camp on the Lower Saranac Lake.

     The girls got to give the skis and snowshoes a go which was fun to watch an coach them, even though I haven't done either. It was a mad dash home to catch a 430 class at Monmouth. We left Saranac Lake at 10 am and I was a half hour late for class. President's Day weekend Monday traffic was brutal coming south, and from the looks of it many people went down the shore cause the Parkway north was crammed around the Driscoll Bridge.

Best part with this nice weather is I'm going fishing tomorrow, I hear my striped friends are around. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

02.18.17.......what a long week, can't wait to fish.

     It's been a long week, both at work and with school. Heading up to the North Country for the weekend to meet my new niece. Kids have off for President's Day but Monmouth University is open and I have a late afternoon class. Can't wait till the spring, it can't come soon enough. Hopefully gonna start tying upside bait starting next week. It'll be here before I know it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

02.15.17......shit's getting' real.

     Time to pay the piper. Been sitting at the computer for about 10 hours and will keep at it till my eyes bleed. First exam in Pathophysiology tomorrow night. 12 Chapters. Over 250 pages. Easy topics though, cells, fluids and electrolytes, immune systems, infections, inflammation, STD's, cancer, childhood cancers and stress. Heard this is the hardest class and the worst instructor.

     It's over the second week of April.....thank God it's not fishing season. I would be going even more nuts than I am right now. The march to Nurse Practitioner goes on!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

02.14.17 ......that'll ruin Happy Valentine's Day.

Photo Matt Doherty- Belmar Mayor

     Got a call early afternoon that there was a big marina fire in Belmar. Followed the news reports and found out the fire was at the Seaport Inlet Marina. It's reported more than 10 boats were destroyed or damaged. It looks like there some nice twin engine center consoles that were involved. That's gotta suck for the owners, and for Valentine's date night tonight. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

02.12.17 Nice weekend in Buck's County.....

     We were planning a visit on this weekend to our friends house in Pennsylvania but one of them got sick so I went with a Plan B. So I made a reservation at The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, HERE
We found this a few years back and have been there maybe a half a dozen times. While it isn't cheap, our room was $325 per night, the suites are really cool and the beds the most comfortable. Our suite had a fireplace and a jacuzzi and plenty of room for lounging around.

     We started the trip with some reflexology for Theresa followed by lunch in The Wine Cellar at Lambertville Station. We checked in and grabbed a quick nap before hitting an early dinner at Slate Bleu in Doylestown. The restaurant was set in an old restored agricultural building and the small plate French foods were perfect for me who has a hard time with a full entree. Foie frag was killer.

                                              Image result for slate bleu doylestown

     It was our first time to that town and I think it could be a place I could live but it's just too far from salt water, and I'm not sure if there's even a good freshwater fishery near. But while there I checked out Foundations, the behavioral and mental health treatment campus located right outside of town. We were at Sunday mass at 730 in Doylestown and enjoyed driving the streets and checking out the architecture and looking for homes for sale. Breakfast to order was back at The Inn and it is included in the price of the room. We spend what like seemed like hours at The Stockton Market on this side of the river and if you ever near there on the weekend do go, there's all fresh and organic foods from pastas, steaks, produce and prepared foods. You can eat your way around the place and most vendors have samples out. We loaded up on cheeses and breads and stuff for picking.
     I jumped next door and spent some more time with Steve at Large Format Digital Prining of Nw Jersey,, who I am looking to have make prints of my images that will be available for sale in limited editions. And before heading home we jumped back over to New Hope for some beers and lunch at The Dubliner on the Delaware, a fine Irish pub with good food and always good company at the bar.

                                                        Image result for running the coast

     I'm glad I got Valentine's Day in this weekend as on Tuesday we're heading down to the Atlantic Saltwater Flyrodder's meeting where they'll be showing the new movie Running the Coast. If you haven't seen the trailer it's below and you can buy the movie HERE

Running the Coast. 1,000 miles with the Striped Bass migration.   The new three-part mini-series. from Howard Films on Vimeo.

Friday, February 10, 2017

02.10.17 Got mine......

     I have a collection of old discolored inside and out Igloo coolers on my back porch. Luckily most of my parties are at night so people aren't scheeved out by my beer, soda, and water holders. And as far as keeping ice cold and solid, who knows, they don't seem to keep things cold that long. 

    For several years I have seen anglers and some friends that can afford and have a need for a high priced cooler, say one made by a company called YETI. Their cool, no pun intended, in their branding, effectiveness, and ruggedness, with some skippers even using them as a casting platform. 

    Around Christmas my Facebook feeds kept getting barraged with ads from RTIC, a cooler company that seemed to be making an exact replica as YETI. I didn't pull the trigger then, and waited about a month before all the hard coolers were sold out. I was looking at the 65, which YETI sells for $399, RTIC normally for $199 and the special had them at $124. Well I missed it. But I did order the Soft Pack 30 and it came today. This will be a great cooler replacement for use on the drift boat and on the Jones Brothers. 

     I am reading that recently YETI won a patent lawsuit over RTIC and that the loser had to liquidate all of their stock before they announce a unique and new line May 1, 2017. I'm not pimpin' but if you're interested you can see for yourself at

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

02.08.17 Nice to go back in time before the storm.....

     Got out of work at 2 this afternoon and since it was such a nice day I needed to go fishing. always tempted by the salt, I decided to change it up and check out my childhood haunt.....the beautiful Manasquan River. While it is no FlatBrook or Upper Delaware River, it is the place where trout fishing started for me some 30 plus years ago. Below is a pic of what I looked like some 30 years ago.....just as my passion for fly fishing became an addiction. Love the Trout hat!


      I felt like I was visiting an old neighbor hood as I approached the water......and WHAM.....I was on my back after clearly leaving my feet as I forgot how slippery the claylike mud is long the river. Funny thing is as you get older, after you fall, you pause, just to check and make sure you're not really banged up or dead.
     As I looked around and figured out where the trees were, in front of me, besides me, and behind me, I started to remember how I used to fish these waters. I had started with ultralight spinning gear before switching to the fly rods. The river is stocked well and receives a tremendous amount of fishing pressure. As a freestone it is at the whim of low water levels and high temperatures, and the fish that do survive the onslaught of anglers have to find refuge mostly from the downed trees and holes that they cover.

     I came upon my spot and felt like Norman in A River Runs Through It. I just knew there was a fish there. I had on a Rich Garfield Ausable Ugly and worked it up along the downed tree towards the other side. Strip...strip....drift.....strip. Then cast again. After a few casts I saw the shadow follow.....SET!!!! The only problem was I was about 5 minutes too early, and then the fish retreated.

     That bothered me. I walked and fished wherever I could get in and close enough to make some kind of cast. I had another fish bite the fly but I missed the hook set. I really enjoyed the weather but wish there was some more water and maybe a few more fish. I stayed for two hours but then made the

move to a place where I had caught a bazillion trout, and kept most of them. While it is the same color as the 191 Bridge over the West Branch of the Delaware this one is a tad different. But passing under both, one in a drift boat, and this one on foot brings back great memories of days gone past and fly fishing and trout. Today as I walked I looked many of these did you have? It was a Mini-Magnum tackle box. They came in assorted sizes. They were gold or rust in color. Opening this

just made me laugh. Tiny ass hooks for salmon eggs or meal worms and split shot in various sizes. After this find I remembered a section on the river that I always did well one. It wasn't too far

just made me laugh. Tiny ass hooks for salmon eggs or meal worms and slip shot in various sizes. After this find I remembered a section on the river that I always did well one. It wasn't too far and it became more familiar as I made my way through the woods. It was at the bend. You know the bend, with the one tree that sticks out that you basically hug to get out past the other trees and branches. I

found some deeper water past the bend and worked real hard getting my fly to work the drop-off and then along the bank.....nothing. I mean I worked it. As I walked back to my truck I remembered just how many times I had done the same walk, and how many times I had a leaky Arcticreel over my shoulder with a few stockies inside.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

02.07.17 Here's a look from May 2012.....

     So check this out. This was the scene from Big Monmouth in May 2012. It was at the height of the Sandy Hook to Long Branch dredging and beach nourishment. It just goes to further show what a waste this entire process is. Stop the madness. Rant never over on this one.

Monday, February 6, 2017

02.06.17 Where will all the beachgoers lay out this summer?

Seaview Ave., Long Branch

     The beaches are getting smaller and smaller. That may sound good, but the reality is way we now have is a gently sloping beach extending far out into the ocean. So unless you plan on sight fishing this upcoming spring don't get too excited.

     On November 21st while fishing in front of Pier Village I looked up and saw a good amount of birds in front of Seaview Ave. A quick ride there and I joined maybe four guys who were just starting to catch. Within twenty minutes the beach was full from Big Monmouth down to Pier Village. Below Charlie and I watched as Jack connected on his first cast.

     I wish I had a better pick to show, but where I am standing is at the end of the north side of the groin at the top of the page. Additionally, only one third of the rocks were visible and you could walk over them and not have to step up onto the rocks.

     It is really going to interesting this spring and early summer when the big bunker are getting blasted by the big bass, it will take a 14 foot spinning rod and a 6 ounce popper to get to where they are.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

02.04.17 No February bass....but they are definitely there

     Got some potentially shitty news on Friday so I wanted to clear my head and hit the beach in the morning. Decided I didn't need to be there at first light with dead low at 7 so I got down an hour into the incoming. Deal is shut down as the madness continues. The sifting for ordinances is ridiculous. Why wasn't that incorporated into the initial pumping of sand? Talk about "Drain the Swamp". People are cheering Pauline as he fights for two more and an inch less for the fluke this summer?? Please give me a break with this guy. Arrests him already for at least stupidity. 

     It was raw cold probably in the teens when you factor in the wind. Allenhurst was all buttoned up but I was glad to find the below structure which should make one local lady happy as this is one of her favorite spots. I fished Bradley until my fingers wanted to snap off. I drove north and hit Long 

Branch. You can see the start of how notched groins get hallowed out at the beach end. Soon there will be a water pass through and a pocket on the north side, similar to the ones that were notched down south. I stopped at Pullman and bellied up, well drove up to the concrete divider. As I sat there I shot the shit with two guys that, while feeling stupid, admitted they swore they saw some fish active in the water. And, the said it wasn't water fowl. I shook it off until I went to Monmouth Beach and with a rod in my hand, I saw the same thing. The birds were around but not diving. I didn't see any bait. I thought it was an illusion. Water temps are above 40 and it has been a relative mild winter though.

    I am thinking that if you were to catch a day where there is some white water, with the ebbing tide around first light, and the  air temps are enough to prevent frostbite, you would find that there are bass swimming around looking to eat. But, I stopped in December.