Thursday, July 9, 2020

07.09.20 One and done and I'm done....


     I should have known by the flag that air would be dense and the humidity would be around 150%. I was sweating the second I got out of my truck at 4 am. It was about an hour before dead low but I have to fish when I have to fish. I started with a black popper and a Erin fly dropper. There wasn't


much for water around and I walked through the troughs and up and out on the bar to try the deeper waters. I made my way out on the end of a groin and fished some good water without a tap. In very skinny water I did manage to catch a small bass on Erin's fly, no need for a picture, you've seen 14 inch bass before. I thought maybe it would get better.


     I fished the beach end of a notched groin for an hour, popper/dropper and UAF and dropper without a touch. I know we hate notched groins, but when the water is coming south to north, and its deep on the north side, it does look good, just none home this morning.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

07.07.20 Erin's flies work!


    So late last night, well around 9pm, I again went to the well and asked Theresa if I could go fishing. She said "Of course", which is a bit scary. So I went downstairs to tie up a couple with those UAF big eyes. On the way to bed I said to Erin I'm going fishing and could use some more of your flies. By the time I went to sleep it was about 1030. 

                       

       When I woke and went down around 3 am there were two new flies Erin had whipped up while I slept. My mission now was to catch a fish on one of these, and not lose one to a bad know. So all-happy-dad-proud I went to my truck and realized that I left my key in and my ignition on all night. The battery was dead as a doornail. So I had to wake up Theresa, ask her where her keys were, then realized I had them last, and then jump the truck and go on my way. 

   
     When I got down there the W was E-SE and I could here the surf rumbling from the parking lot. I looked at Erin' flies and figured black in the dark and the white and chartreuse when the sun came up. I of course went popper/dropper and made my way down to the beach. It was about 2 hours into the flood tide and the W kept coming from a different direction every time I would cast. But the water


   I climbed up and over the rocks toke my way as far out front on the groin as I could. A few casts in and I had a bass jump on, and miss the popper, even with a pause between strips. Between there, and back along the beach and on another groin I had about 5 good jumps and swipes, but couldn't get one to commit on the first or second fly. I knew I had to get it done at some point, conditions were




looking good as light arrived, water filling in, good wave action, no waves breaking at your knees or in your stripping basket, and plenty of structure to hold bass. So it was time to switch it up, white and chartreuse Howitzer popper with Erin's fly tailing behind. I thought the rocks would be a good place


but it seemed the fish were patrolling the sand off the rocks, so current seams and troughs were where you wanted to be. Just as I was getting nervous of another disappointing report to Erin, and after stopping to pop one up,  I went tight and had a fish that ate her fly. After a quick picture I had proof to show her the reward for her efforts. Her fly worked! And to boot, they ate her, and not my fly which was the lead fly in the tandem set-up. After that it was just staying put and giving it a shot up and down the beach. Leif was around and we eventually hit the same spot before calling it a morning.




    As we held on to each, this-is-the-last-cast, I saw him go tight. I didn't react until he said "This is a good fish". So I got my camera ready, busted my ass falling over a log that I thought I was sure to snag on a backcast but wound up tripping over, and got a pic before he let it go to swim another day. 


Monday, July 6, 2020

07.05.20 "Dad catch a fish on my fly...."


    Don't knowehat's got intoErin lately but she's all about fly fishing....and now tying flies. So late last night I was sitting down trying to tie some flies before getting a few hours of sleep and getting up at 230 am to hit the beach. 23 should early, but with, yes I'm tired of writing about it and complaining, that drive, I get there at 4 am just as the light arrives, and so do the people. 


    So as Erin started to tie it started to look like one of my least favorite patterns, the Leif Ericksen "Ugly Ass Fly", he had given me a bunch of the large dumbbell eyes so I had her tie it on. Before she went to bed she said, like only a daughter to a dad could, "Dad catch a fish on my fly". 



    So I arrived before 4, got my set up all set up, which included a newly tried Double Barrel popper and her fly as the dropper. I tied it really good. My first cast went well, plopped on the water between the incoming waves, two stripes, went tight, and then unbuttoned....the know at the bend of the popper must have been bad. Nice job dad.....I suck. 



     When I was down there I was fishing to a light ing storm that was moving right to left from NYC out. Water was coming in, a balmy 85 degrees, or so it felt, and throngs of people walking the beach. It was a morning where you really had to watch your six, or you'd put a Clouser between someones eyes or warped around the family pooch. 


     The guy below was my favorite. He was like the gatekeeper to the pocket. No reason to camp there, obviously doesn't know about a backcast, he just sat there and stared into the water. He has every right to be there at 623 am when I took the photo. he was camped there, and his family was keeping Leif on his toes down the beach. Between me losing Erin's fly, the water being hot, the beach loaded with people.....it just sucked. Done for now in the salt for a long while. 





Saturday, July 4, 2020

07.04.20 Might have been the ugliest striper I ever touched....


                        

    If I had a gun I might have just shot it. Half a tail, covered with something, didnt smell the best, but ate a crab fly. I changed it up a bit stopping south around 4 am and giving it a go. Hard fishing water you haven't been dialed into in the dark. I made a few stops before settling in and waiting for the light and water to arrive.



     Had some action, jumps at the popper, landed one on a crab, but had some interesting things happen with my hopper/dropper setup. Had two good fish swim away after a good fight. First I thought was a bad dropper knot, but then it happened again. And it happened last week. After talking with Leif we came up with that the 20 pound flouro is cutting cut by he pinched down barb on the lead fly, which is usually a popper or bigger weighted fly. Might go to 25 or 30 lb. 


     Went north to pick up Erin in Red Bank and stopped "home" and fished a bit. Incoming water is much diffeent than south incoming water, why? Because of the change in structure...mostly due to the pumped up sand that made its way out and then gets shoaled up or just a plan gently sloping scarp that leads to the ocean without a trough, or even a true outer bar with a rip somewhere in the middle. Waves come in and up and exit the same way, if it wasn't for the littoral current the fish would only swim east to west.  Leif got one on an UAF.


    It seemed like the school bass have settled in for summer, although there are nice sized fish mixed in. Joe got this nice 30 incher on Friday on a crab fly. You just never know whats swimming in front of you. I prefer to tick its the Orvis Recon 10 wt, which is a slower rod and fished like an 8 or 9 and I find going down to a 6 wt might make it hard to land a good fish in bigger water or one thats buried in the trough. Okay when there's a run of smaller fish but summer can always surprise you. 


Friday, July 3, 2020

07.03.20 Gonna stay local.....



    First patient was 1 pm. Up at 6. Decided to spend some time with the chickens, do some weed picking, hit the Trenton Farmers Market with the wife and still get some fishing in before work. That's what happens when you stay local. So my choices are striped bass (too hot leave them alone), smallmouth bass (would be great from a boat), sunnies (lots of them), snakeheads (saw two but no interest, or carp (saw bunch not a touch).


     This is what I was looking for along the Delaware and Raritan Canal after I gave up on the almost drought like conditions in the Delaware River. So if you look above and at the the slight left of the weed line you can see a silly brown cloud. That's the carp. Saw some nice sized ones. Caught sunny after sunny and they just got in the way. If you don't believe me look closer at the picture, you'll see the carps scales, that one that got away. 







Wednesday, July 1, 2020

07.01.20 "Little different than freshwater....."





     Had Tom out at 5am about an hour after high tide and we enjoyed the playing jump rope with the swells that pounded the beach. They came in quick sets, and every now and then Mother Nature would pause and it would be flat, just enough to get lured to take a few steps out and then swamped by a good wave. The surfers were out in numbers and while they played out, they always use the exit along the groins to get back to the action. 


     Tom's a freshwater fly fisherman but has lived near the beach for years and finally decided to give the salt a shot. It was a TOUGH day for the first timer. He did great. He had a bass jump his popper just as the waves receded down the scarp. I caught a 14 inch bass as I demonstrated a crab fly.



     Tom asked me if he could wet wade and I said sure, not knowing at times the Hawaii-Five-O waves would be crashing into his stripping basket and bringing his fly line up the beach and around his feet often. He only fell in once, most likely caused by the pull of the water as it crashed into his stripping basket. We tried the popper, a Clouser, and a crab fly without a touch. I'm thinking this stretch of beach is holding smaller resident fish as the fish that moved in have moved, what I think, a little south.



     The beach was disappointing. It was cut up nicely a week or so ago after a sustained week of N/NE winds while I was in the Vineyard. Then the S and the littoral current just shoaled up everything so there's just not good structure or good water flow. Yes, there's a sweep that brings the water along the groins and then out, but put an angler or two out there and you're competing for the same water. By the end of our trip it was low water with the waves breaking on top of the bar. If the bass were there they would have concussions by the end of the day, no where to hide.

    Toms said he wants to do this again.....mission accomplished.








Monday, June 29, 2020

06.29.0 They're back....



     When I got to the beach the other night at 230 am I looked up the beach to see what looked like lights from the Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Later that morning I took a drive and found the source. Heavy machinery and workers at it pumping sand and "replenishing" the beaches north of Pullman Ave in from of Plaza Court and Adams Street.



     This contract calls for 200 feet of replenishment down past Pullman Ave near Park Ave. Its a shame because that stretch has been carved out nicely and has been holding fish even at lower water, well it was before the S winds started to shoal things up. The homeowners along that stretch must be happy, Frank Pallone keeping them with their own private beaches with little public access, and hardly any parking during the day to enjoy the "public" beaches. 


Sunday, June 28, 2020

06.28.20 "Dad I want to go fishing...."

"

     I thought my fishing day was over after a long, long night but just after noon Erin asked if we could go. Nothing hardcore, nothing annoying, just a rod and some fish that you can see and catch. We headed to the Delaware where I haven't been after putting in some serious time this spring. Water was down, refreshing to wade in, crystal clear, and fun to fish. 






      Erin was able to find a carp and a smallmouth bass which she had fun casting to, or placing the fly near, the fish. It didn't last long, didn't have to, it was mission accomplished, time between father and daughter on the river enjoying time together away from the harsh reality of times today.


     In other fishing news from the day. Had two guys bite on a walk and wade trip and then spit the bit when it was time to confirm. So I headed out before another scheduled trip on Wednesday. Why scout? Because the beach conditions have changed drastically since I got back from Martha's Vineyard. It was blowing N/NE and it carved the beach up nice. Since then it has been S and SW and now W but effects on the beach are evident. Cooler temps, keeping the fluke away, and filling in of all that good structure that Mother Nature carved out. 


     I left my house before 130 am and was making my first at 230. Took about a half an hour before I landed my first bass, didn't measure or grab a pic because this was going to be a GOOD night. I dropped a big fluke, that I had eyes on, on the next groin and then went on a multi-hour skunk before 


switching over reels to my intermediate line and throwing a popper/dropper. Had a few jump the popper, then lost one on a bad knot on the popper, and then lost another on a bad know on the dropper. So I switched to a black Half and Half and Snake Fly but by then it was getting light. One thing I can say is, outside of the obvious honey holes where water remained, I couldn't find a groove to get into as far as a rip or fishy water that wasn't near a groin or an outflow pipe. The water came in and up, from right to left, and exited in the same fashion.  I finished up with the AMC going down the beach with one grab and go, felt like a fluke. I finished up around 7 am as the water was just about gone. I should have done better, but I think it was on me this time. 

Spoil alert- If you look at the sunrise pic you can see vessel on the horizon, more on that tomorrow!