Saturday, February 9, 2019

02.09.19 Striped Bass Stock Assessment news


     No surprise to most of us who fish without our heads in the sand that the Striped Bass Board of the ASMFC has determined according to the 2018 preliminary benchmark stock assessment that the striped bass stock is "overfished" and that "overfishing" is occurring. We have all seen the decline of the striped bass numbers over the years, with a marked decrease in the last five.

     While the naysayers point to the the Cape Cod Canal fishery and a weeks reports from the Captree fleet as proof "there's still a ton of fish around" they are stupid thinking this fishery is sustainable. Every dead fish is one less.....hundreds are hundreds less......thousands are thousands less.

     New York is taking some steps to help out, as I guess is Maryland. NY is trying to eliminate purse seine netting and banning reduction boats of bunker and Maryland is allowing 20 inch fish to be taken if charter boats continue with the mandatory circle hook use.

      Recreational guys are killing striped bass more than commercials, although the finger pointing and denials from both sides laughably continue. Poaching as always is on the rise...with mostly slap-on-the-wrist fines given for abusers. Now, every now and then an angler gets made an example and gets a few thousand dollar fine......but never gets cross prosecuted, like not for immigration status, but  will for child support payments or other warrants. Enforcement is a joke, the system, not the officers who do their best everyday.

     We continue to make strides but I still feel to little too late. The annual striper slaughter tournament put on by On The Water has gone the extra mile from to catch and release to negating the need for weigh ins......I like that move.

     It's early February, winter has been mild, hopefully remains the same, and spring rolls around sooner than later. The only problem looking forward as the bays and rivers are closed to angling is that soon the bunker chunk cold wether early season charter captains will be anchored up in the bays, specifically Raritan, to feast on the big females and smaller males, that are trying to make their way into spawning rivers for an easy take fishery. I say catch and release until June 1st except out front......that will save a lot of striped bass, or at lest give them one more shot at reproducing before making it to the dinner table.

Thanks to Capt. John McMurray HERE and Capt Paul Eidman HERE for staying involved in the fight and keeping us all in the lop.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

01.24.19 Happy Belated New Year


     Well, and maybe I am speaking too soon, but I'll take this winter all year. As I write on January 24th its feels about 60 degrees out at 645am with some wind and rain around. I haven't fished and there has been no first 2019 bass for me although the die hards were out the first few weeks and have a few on the board.



     Right before the New Year Joe was out and landed this nice 26" fish that was on the sand eels. 

     This weekend The Fly Fishing Show returns to the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center Friday through Sunday January 25, 26, and 27. Its always a great show, especially for newcomers to the sport, to meet the legends and pros, watch some casting and fly tying demos, and pick up some gear or fly tying equipment. 
                 

Monday, December 24, 2018

12.24.18 Interesting stomach contents from early December....


    So as a fly fisherman, well I guess most fisherman, you try and match the hatch, or at least have some idea what the bass are eating. Frank R. from down south was fishing the back bays in early December and caught a keeper for there table. He shared the stomach contents on Facebook after cleaning the fish.

     We see it ate some sand eels and what looks like a killifish or maybe a small weakfish?, not sure. But what I was amazed at was the amount of grass shrimp that were in its stomach. While I know crabs and shrimp are staples in their diets I wouldn't have guessed that in early December shrimp would be on the menu. I guess that shouldn't surprise me though as I heard that the two keepers caught along the Jersey Shore beaches this fall had a mix of sand eels and sand fleas in them. 

     As far as a report. Well, I am done two weeks ago. Here some guys here and there catching the 20 inchers depending on the day, time, and tide. If you are new here make sure you go to The Fly Fishing Show thats coming up in January. It'll feed the fix and break that long gap till April-May. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

12.15.18 Seven years ago.....


     I have to say thats one thing I like about Facebook. Every now and again an old post will pop up telling you about a post from days past. This one popped up yesterday of a cold outing from seven years ago this week. You can read the old post HERE. Funny thing is I wonder who the no show friend was, I bet Richie.

     And whats sad about that post is that guys were still catching fish, and keepers as well. If you look at the above picture its Deal back in "its hey day" when there was still a pier on Phillips and a place we called "The Hump". Lots of good memories and times there.

Friday, December 14, 2018

12.14.18 Well that's a wrap....literally


     I guess now moving forward I should plan on posting weekly. If people know there's a post a week maybe they will continue to come- so let's figure you should check each Friday- that's not saying there won't be more posts in between, but by Friday there should be something up. It will keep you into the game since "its over" now, and at least for fly fishermen, and it won't start up until April at the very earliest. In 2019 I'll be taking my drift boat in front of my house for some spring Delaware River stripers!


     On Tuesday I got down to Atlantic Highlands Marina and picked up the boat and brought it to Gateway. Within a day it was winterized and wrapped and ready for its new winter home in Titusville. I did hit the beach afterwards for about an hour and found no life. Water was high, annoyingly all over the place due to beach replenishment and then an angry Mother Nature who tries to take it back. You couldn't fish a trough with a fly rod if you wanted to. 




     Lots of white water that started at the lip and then rolled up the scarp to Ocean Avenue. So either you take a beating, have your fly washed up or left and right, or try and catch fish that are buried in the sand. Just for the record......I'm done for good for 2018. Quit number two I think.


    I am also done with school this semester!! Took my 4-1/2 hour final Thursday night. I'll still have clinical through the holidays but won't return to class until January 23rd.....then its only a few months until I AM DONE in April. Tossing around the idea of going right into a doctoral program. Any pause and I might just lose momentum. Problem is my student loans are up to $85,000 right now- not sure what Dave Ramsey would say about that.


      My buddy Paul from Reel Therapy was out yesterday and found some fish a little south. The weather is nice enough so while it might be "over" its still fishing and good for the mind and soul .


Friday, December 7, 2018

12.07.18 "I get fish with a little help from my friends....."


...okay so I pulled the trigger a little quick yesterday. After school drop-offs I hit the local beaches. Cold, wind blowing, not much protection from the NW. Didn't see much. My mission today was bring the boat from AH marina to Gateway for winterization, however the hitch I had from the camper, more on that later, was too big. Have to do that next week. 


Leif Petersen photos
     I hit up a few buds who said they were into them good at sunup. One on the fly rod the other using a spinning rod. So, still having my stuff in my truck, and realizing it just may a first light bite, I decided to give it a go. 

     When I got there there was a few guys fishing and I walked to fish alone. One guy walked down to me and caught at least a handful on a small rubber shad. I was using a chartreuse/ white sand eel and just when I thought about switching up I went tight. Nice fish, good fight, I decided to change up 


anyway. There was some whale action, with no birds diving, so my intention was to maybe entice a bigger, keeper sized, fish into eating. That never came about. I made a move and went back to the




sand eel imitation and found a honey hole where three came pretty back-to-back. The water on the ebb was pretty boring and after seeing Leif's first light pics I wish I was there. It was pretty but I bet pretty cold too. If this is it, which I think it is, it was a good way to end, at least getting a half a dozen to hand.




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

12.05.18 "That's All Folks......"


 .....Quit #1. I'm done. Season predicted just as I expected. No "peanuts in the back", no "big body of fish in Long Island".....what did happen was the sand eel bite that mostly would/will happen in Ocean County. So, and after todays finger numbing shot I'm done.


     Okay, maybe not, but I hope so. I usually quit three times each winter. Got down around 6 and met up with Leif. Nice 28 digress, wind NE, not bad surf, just no fish. I fished for a while and made stops at Long Branch (x2), Monmouth Beach, Sea Bright (x2), and the Hook (x3). Not a tap on the end of the incoming and a few hours on the ebb.


    The Hook looked the most promising as the birds were active both diving and looking. I feel good with being done, almost relieved its over. Ocean County is your best shot for fish now.....before that "big body" arrives.



Monday, December 3, 2018

12.03.18 Had some company this evening....


     Gave it a go on the end of the outgoing for about an hour. Couldn't find much water. Saw this dark "thing" moving long side me and turned and found the above friend sliding down the beach. Game, set, match.

12.03.18 Quick trip before nature called....

   




     Made the early trip from the west and got down to the water at 640. Beautiful water. Lots of it white. Outgoing tide. Big waves breaking on the trough. I lasted about 20 minutes before I felt that outing-killer-rumble in my lower intestines......later, got to go. I wish I was able to hang around and bet about 9am it was really good for the fly rodder.


     I spoke with a buddy who got five a little north before he had to go to work. At 55 degrees on December 3rd who can complain as long as there is something biting.


There was a little surprise, well a big one, when an alive bluefin tuna washed ashore down on IBSP. I wonder if it was in on the sand eels and got caught up on a tide or was sick or injured and just gave up. And more about big surprises is the beast caught down in VA, allegedly 75 pounds.

514 PM update- fish came in at 52 pounds 10 ounces. Trick photography and fake news.

Friday, November 30, 2018

11.29-30.18 Not a night sand eel bite....


     Heard about a good daytime sand eel bite yesterday up and down the shore but I was caught up in clinical and then class till 8pm. Hit it after and had an interesting 3-1/2 hours. Incoming, basically flat. Started in a good spot and found fish, either small bass or shad, busting out and in, but I couldn't get one to bite. Looked down at the water and found it to be off-color. I was using  300 gr line and sand eel thinking the bottom was the way to go. But I guess I was wrong.


     I moved north and hit two spots thinking I would find clearer water or the same busting fish....neither. So instead of going home I went back and re-rigged with an intermediate line and a floating sand eel and a small black Deceiver as a dropper. The slashing had died but I picked up two on the lip basically casting to rising fish. Now my fish were 18-24 inches but I heard of some keepers caught yesterday and more football shaped fatties in he mix. These weren't about to pop from the sand eels so I don't know if I had found the mother load of bait. 
   

     Before clinical this morning I had an hour from 830-930 and luckily this office is in Long Branch. Fished but didn't get a tap on the incoming tide. A friend a town or two away had fish biting on every cast and left them eating. I found the water not as clear as I thought it would have been with the steady west winds as of late. Gotta just get out there and go when you can and hope for the best. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

11.27.18 Tough conditions down south....



     Went down a little early before seeing patients in Toms River and hit Seaside Park on the incoming. Strong west wind had the surfers happy and the spin guys too but difficult with the fly rod. Saw two fish caught. One was 26 inches and the guy ran it back to his truck and then back to his house before returning for more. He said, 'It's a bonus tag fish". That program is a total joke. When is the last time you saw a guy leaving the beach with a short fish with a tag anywhere near the fish. 

     I'll be back in the Park before clinical on Thursday morning and will have a easier flood tide and hopefully it will have cleaned up and sat down a bit. 


Monday, November 26, 2018

11.16.18 Looked good but that was it.....


     Got down about 6ish and that had me about mid-tide. Water was clean. Wind SE-S. Problem was the surf was big in all the long places. Waves were breaking right at the waters edge, or on the trough if there was one, and the water ran up the beach on the scarp. It didn't take long for it to become


washing machine like. It was almost too dangerous to try and fly fish. Early on I started on the rocks and was chased off by the tide. On the beach I was almost knocked forward as the water retreated down the beach. These pictures kind of show the conditions that existed. It was hard to find fishable



water. The two pics below show the waves breaking on the trough and then a solid push of water that runs up and through your legs burying your feet deep in the sand.



     We must have got two inches of rain today and I am sure it will be off-color in the morning but dead-low is at 330 am. If the color isn't too bad 6 am might look good.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

11.25.28 Sunday after the blow...



     ......and what a blow last night it was. Gave it a rest this morning and didn't make it out yesterday when the going was good up and down the coast. Heard everyone caught the same sized football sized bass to 26" with a few keepers here and there mixed in. It's the sand eel bite I predicated, moreso down near IBSP but was north as well. Heard there were silversides mixed in. This year, like years past, the hickory shad are in the mix as ae some blues.

     Went down around 430 and found the incoming off color water not my liking and not the fishes either. Swung a sand eel where I could. Water running up the beach with a hard sweep kept me on my toes and not on my ass. It was pretty enough out there and comfortable over 50 degrees. Will give it a look before clinical in the morning, maybe it will clean up a bit.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

11.21.18 Happy Thanksgiving from out west...


     Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. We're out in Titusville so I didn't get down for the 20 degree first light fat school bite. I hope those that braved conditions were rewarded, especially fly anglers, I hope they were in close enough. 

Enjoy your day and thanks to those who serve us and keep us safe today, cops, firemen, EMS, nurses, doctors, military.....
  
                         

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

11.21.18 Lot of this going on today...


     After last nights disappointment I decided to not continue the self harm and go early this morning. By the time I dropped the girls off and got down it was about 845. Heard there was a flurry of a bite after sun up, mostly small fish on metal out a ways. I did see a guy catch two shorts and as soon as he did he was joined by a few guys on each side of him. 


     I stopped by a few places and even dressed when I saw a bunch of gannets diving in relatively close but I never wet a line. Today was half a school day for the girls and pick-up time started at 1130.  Most of the beaches I was on looked like the below picture. 


     My buddy Joe went in the afternoon and found one bass and a half a dozen shad. He said there was nothing showing as fa as birds or swirls but the bass were there. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the record cold is about to arrive. I wonder what that means for the start to the rest of this years fishing. I never said the fat lady has sung, but she is warming up.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

11.20.18 Not a touch in 4 hours....


     Well forget that idea. My thinking was that I love night sand eel bite and since they showed today the night bite would be just as good if not better. Today I was there in the boat about two hour into the ebb and tonight from the sand I was an hour in. I fished hard, covered a lot of steps on the beach, and moved and fished four spots without a tap. T ran into three others guys, one fly, and they didn't do anything either. 

     Thinking about tomorrow here's my prediction.....there will be a ton of guys "there" and it will be a dead flat sea without life. Or, there will be a ton of guys and it will be going good again. Most of the fish caught have been on metal and out a long ways. Fly anglers Jack and Charlie fished the shift before I got out and found some real good fish on the fly to 18 pounds. Right place, right time and right fly. 

     

11.20.18 Nice to be the first boat into them.....


                            

     Didn't know what to expect this morning. Got down at 5am and there was no one around...literally. I could have taken any boat I wanted outside the gate. At 6 security showed up and let me in. Once on the boat I rigged up as the rain started to fall.  I picked up some hand warmers just in case and had them at the ready. 



     My plan, as of last night, was to shoot across to New York and go due east, way east. I just wanted to find a good sand eel bite. But at the last minute as I got to the Hook I thought, "Let me check south before running over.....". I'm glad I did. My first stop was dead and then I rolled into a two-name town and it was birds over sand eels with bass pushing them around. I had the place to myself for about a half an hour. A few small boats joined in and then the fleet from the south joined in. I tried to stay focused but I don't do well with company. I caught over a dozen bass to one just about keeper size that I thought was 27". All of the fish were fat and heavy gorging on the sand eels. 




      I had the Pulse Disc on at first but lost a few and then went to the old reliable Brad Buzzi sand eel imitation. I love these flies as do the bass. I left when the hum of the engines behind me got on my nerves....they were still biting. I wanted to find "my own" fish again so I went out and up and found the north boats in heavy current between the channels. These just weren't fly rod fish.




      I did make it over across the pond and didn't find anything worth stopping for and after a ride home I had to travel to Long Branch to give the boat a nice wet and hot bath. The marina has turned the water off for the season so I need to bring water to rinse the brakes after putting in and travel for bath after I'm done. I was done by late morning and had time to hit the sand before picking up the girls from school.


     I picked a beach I could have to myself even though the bite was a zip code away. I went tight and had a good fish on only to loose it in the rolling waves in the wash. Barbless long shank hooks, rolling surf and fish, and a slack line = losing fish. That was on me. So there's sand eels and mostly smaller fish but I did here of a few keepers and a heifer or two in the mix. 

     I love sand eels and particularly a night sand eel bite. It is going to get real cold real quick so tonight might be a good shot for that......if the wife gives me her blessing.