Wednesday, June 3, 2020

06.03.20 It's that time of year....I hope

     While most striped bass fisherman concentrate on those baits that swim one of my favorite baits are crab flies. Those guys that have "graduated" from bait to fly fishing can recall those years when raking crabs, specifically shedders, were the ticket to a good striped bass. 

     One my years of internet "search" I couldn't talk about crabs, without mentioned Sand Fleas, aka Mole Crabs, without giving a thumbs up to MC55, aka Mike, from Stripers Online. He is one that I have seen use these and catch fish, at times big fish, when nothing else is going on. At times when I'm sharing the beach with Richie, I'll grab one of the ones he raked up, squeeze it, and put the juice on my own fly, the AMC, or "Archers Mole Crab". 

     My new house no garage so most of my "stuff" spends the winter months under a large tarp. This spring I uncovered it and found my crab fly box floating in a plastic tub full of water, no doubt one time frozen solid in the cold months. Most of them have changed color, rusted out, and are no longer usable. This box was my friend last summer when I walked the flats in Marthas Vineyard sight fishing for striped bass. Having told Leif my story he dominated the top crab fly. Joe gave me a new tie he came up with this year but two won't do, so I'll have to get behind the vice soon before our trip June 13th.........Oh yeah the trip.......

      We are booked for the week of June 13-20th on the Vineyard. Ferry is all booked. Massachusetts was all ready to open up for vacations June 1st, then that got moved to June 13th, now who knows. I have my fingers crossed and am not cancelling anything until the last minute. MA has come up with a four phase opening plan but it is confusing as to dates when looking that up online. 

Joe Pheifer photo
 Joe got out and got one on his crab fly this past week. Fish pictures always make a post better.

Monday, June 1, 2020

06.01.20 Guess I'm a Wildcat now......

     Well, "Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in". Today was day one of my Doctoral program at Villanova University. This week was supposed to be on campus in Pennsylvania but de to Covid-19 that was scrapped for a Zoom virtual classroom. Just not the same. If you have ADHD forget it. Zoom virtual classes are tough. Now I get what the kids are going through this year. 

  My program runs through the end of fall 2022. I need to work on editing down my Doctoral project and thesis. Its going to be a long road but I think its worth it. This is my last degree, cant take, or afford anymore. But as a Advanced Practice Nurse everyone winds up calling you Doctor so I might as well make it official. 

05.31.20 "I'll give you 5 dollars for every herring....."

....bounty on the herring. When I heard that I went back to my truck and got a herring fly. Guy said he caught a bunch of school to 32" inch fish over the last week, with pictures to prove it, after using herring. I explained to him its illegal to possess and use, and he didn't know that, in fact he said he came to the Jersey side because he checked online and "you can keep up to 35". You know when you believe someone, even though they are wrong, I believed this guy. 

     So I threw my big fly for hours on the incoming. Nothing. There was a boat hatch on the river and it looked at time like a bass tournament when the boats kind of got in the same stretch. I went ugly! I tied on a Ring Garfield "Ausable Ugly" and it was game on. Tons of white perch and micro striped bass to be had, I just wanted to see if there we any bigger bass looking for smaller stuff in the mix. After about 6 fish I was done. 

     On my way out I saw a guy in a boat. He was one of the first guys I met last year. He showed a fish he caught the day before on the PA side. 44 pounds. Dead low. From the pipe........He kept it, illegally. So I watched him set up, drop anchor, and begin live lining....something. Over the next hour he had a bunch of run offs and landed maybe six bass, one looked over 30 inches. Not saying he was using herring, but.....

05.30.20 Early bird doesn't get the bass...

     Don't know why I thought I would be into them but I did. I was thinking the micro bass are in the surf in the morning and evening and the big ones come in the middle of the night. Up at 2am, in the water around 3. I had tied up what I now can see looks like a Joe Calcevvecchia "Striper Dragon" spin off. I was sure it would produce. First stop Asbury Park. When I got out of my truck I was 

cold from the stiff S wind. Cold air and south don't usually go together but it was chilly and it was windy and it was south. Bigger swells breaking on the beach made it hard but I gave it a good try without a tap. Then I started my move north. You can see below my stops along the way. 

     When the light arrived I could see the water was that color I hate, not clear, not chocolate milk, just not my favorite. As the water ebbed I made my way out to the end of the jetty. To catch the mean rip and hopefully fish stacked up there. Not a touch and I weakened my fly line after it was caught on a rock. A few cats later on the backcast it parted and flew backwards. Then I really knew my outing was over, but at least I got my fly back. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

05.29.20 Back home for a morning outing....

 High tide at Trenton was about 830am so I got out about 6 and made my way down. Got out of the truck and found "blitzing" white perch and micro bass set up in lanes eating just about anything that would float past.

     I broke out the 7 wt and today knowing my 2020 shot of a big bass in the Delaware has passed. Lore has it that the end of May into mid-June is popper season so I tied on a Brad Buzzi popper and had at it. Several swipes, lots of follows, several to hand. I had tied up a Snake Fly version last night and gave that a go but had no takers. Off to work!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

05.27.20 One fish, two fish....thank God no bluefish

     Got some intel that the boys have been catching a bunch of micro bass mixed in withs all blues in the surf. They're not targeting the small fish, they are just hitting even the bigger, and Ugly Ass Fly. Decided to change it up a bit as my thought of leaving at 230 am to fish in the morning didn't go over well with the boss lady. 

    So I left about 5 and probably had a fly in the water around 630pm. It was an hour into the flood and I jetted to the tip of the jetty and found great water but no one home. It was pea soup fog on the beach which I thought would spark a good bite. Joe and Leif were down and they started getting those micros to hit and I just wasn't interested and either were they. About 730 I was done. 

     We walked out and where I usually make a left to go home out of Phillips I made a right to check a spot due north. After two dozen casts and not a tap I was done. So it was a right hand turn and heading home. But then I made a left and pulled into a street that I had frequented hundreds of times before. In the past guys would be out looking with big plugs waiting for the bait to get pushed in . This time just a lone guy on a soak.

     I made my way north of his coordinates and then south a bit fishing really nice water. About an hour in and halfway through the tide I connected on the nice bass in the top pic and the smaller version down below. I stayed till 10pm, even throwing a popper in the big swell waves off the jetty with no interest. Good outing and luckily no bluefish. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Monday, May 25, 2020

05.25.20 Nothing in the river for me but on the beach....

     Hit it just before high tide at 515am. Never saw so much bait in the water. Hitting the surface like it was almost rising fish to a hatch. Thinking it might be perch coming up for herring or shad fry? Not sure. Nothing on top but the fish were rising. Threw everything I had and had a swipe at a popper that broke off on a cast after hitting the concrete several times and wearing the flouro thin. 

     Tried a few different spots that looked real juicy but not a tap. Did find what I think they call a Redfin so that will add to my collection. There were a ton of boats and kayakers out most throwing topwater but I didn't see a fish caught. 

     Leif called to rub it in that he found a half dozen fish during an evening outing, including one keeper. I thought about making the trip to the beach this morning but I just don't have any confidence in any of the waters I call home. Bring on Marthas Vineyard! 19 days and counting.

Leif Petersen photo 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

05.23.20 Great looking fish

     Down by 530 am. Joe and Leif in the area. Started as close as the tip of the jetty as I could. Fished the incoming for about 2 hours. I had a touch, felt like a small bluefish and Leif hag a pull also. No fish to be had. Water was clean and green with a good swell. Nothing home for three fly guys. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

05.22.20 Time to put the 12 weight away.....

     Right before the deluge I knew I was going. I thought the added water might turn something on. I started in Trenton but the outflows were putting garbage down into the river. I tried throwing a big fly without a tap before moving upriver to cleaner pastures. 

     I didn't want to go just et so I jumped over the bridge and fished the ebb tide and the boulders that became visible with the drop. I couldn't believe I didn't get a good fish. Threw big, then a Clouser, then an UAF, and then a small fly and connected on a nice young bass. Its time to put the 12 weight away and go down to my river 8 weight. Its over. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

05.18.20 Been trying but not catching.....


     I've been running down to the river, trying new spots and different tides. Still throwing bigger flies trying to catch a bigger fish. Water temp are now above 60 degrees which means the fish are getting their freak on. Maybe thats why they're not eating. Yeah thats it. Sounds like a good excuse. 

     This morning on my Facebook feed an image popped up from three years ago. It was Theresa on the sticks when we float the Main Stem. Good times, Good memories. Speaking of the Upper Delaware, New York opened up its waters to guided fishing this past weekend and from whatI hear its bumper boats up and down the river. Years ago a large percentage of drift boats were operated by 
guides alone, now everyone has one, or its a group share between a few anglers. 


     May 15th New Jersey opened up guided fishing in the salt for the charter and headboats. The striped bass got a good head start for spawning this year, in my opinion May 15th should be the date when striper season opens. It could be catch and release artificials only before then, that way the guys who take people fishing for money can still run trips. The meat guys won't dig it but it good for the bass. 

     And lastly and surprise surprise, my wife has a Marriott time share and you know what popped up as an extra availability? A condo in Vineyard Haven from June 13-20.....for $229!!! For the week! It cost me more to get over to the island with my truck. I can't wait. But, its not a fishing trip....Yeah!