This is what early morning in late June fishing on the Jersey Shore is supposed to be like! After a great April, okay to slow May, then dead last couple of weeks, the striped bass are back vacationing, and eating, on the beaches in Jersey. Now I know one day doesn't make for an all out bass-blitz-panic -attack, but it is cause for a little celebration.
The birds have been out within the last week picking at sand eels in the wash and post the last full moon some sheds have been on the beach and the crab rakers have been having success in the wash. So, " Find the bait and the birds.....and you might just find the bass."
This morning I got down to the beach at 5 am with just about 2-1/2 left on the ebb. I went down pretty much bare essentials, two Clousers, a stripping basket, and my camera, which I almost sank again!
Within a few casts a striper grabbed the fly in the rip along the rocks. Several minutes later I had a large tangle in my line and did what I normally do, cast out of it. I made a cast to get the tangle to my hands and the line off the rocks at my feet. With the fly dangling in the water don't you know a slob came up and crushed it. The tangler made it way down my guides until it couldn't pass any further. I saw the take and the tail and would say the fish was +/- 30 inches. I gained a little back and got to the tangle and started to work on it. Forget it. Luckily the fish spit the barbless hook leaving me just standing shaking my head cursing at myself.
I made my way out to the end trying to keep up with the falling water. I was in a prime spot, well two, jumping between the north and south sides of the tip. It was fun but I didn't get a bump. I worked my way in, in being midway on the groin and figured I would drop the Clouser to pick up a fluke. I made a cast in the skinny water and watched as the fly swung and then danced in the rip. Don't you know the above super healthy +/- keeper sized bass came up and crushed it. It was a great fight as the fish jumped into the current and traveled out along the rocks. I landed it in a puddle on a shallowed out rock on the groin and got my camera ready for a picture. Of course a rouge wave came and crashed on the rocks soaking me and my just-got-it-back-from-Canon G12. Here we go again I thought. After two quick frames it was back in and on it's way.
These are the summer mornings I dream about all year. Out before first light, some fish biting on flies, and passing the early beachgoers and surfers as they make their way onto to the beach just after sunrise.
All that and back in the house with coffee in hand as the dog and the family are still asleep.