Friday, October 20, 2017

10.20.17 No birds, no and done

     I needed that. After not feeling it on the beach lately I decided to head down anyway before Theresa and I head to New Hope, PA for a change of scenery this weekend. Beautiful morning but nothing showing. Started out in the dark throwing a black Snake Fly mostly standing on Ryan's rock and not getting a tap. Worked my way down the beach and to more rocks but didn't do anything there either. I switched over to a Joe Pheiffer pastel Hollow Fleye kind of tye and started my way back up the beach. I saw Leif in the distance working his way south so I figured I meet up with him to say hello. 

     We had almost met and maybe were 30 feet apart and I made a cast which was most likely going to be my last, or close to it. Out of the trough came the strike and zoom, soon I was way out into my backing. At first thought maybe an albie, then maybe a big bluefish, but when it rolled on the other side of the breakers we saw it was just a huge bass. Luckily I had the incoming tide and some wave help to beach the fish. I almost blew it a few times and thought for sure the 20 pound fluoro would pop. We kind of measured it as it lay flat across my arms and it was around 40 inches, maybe more maybe less. A fish that size going by the charts puts it as an early teenager weighing between 22-29 pounds. Luckily I had Leif there for some nice photos.

No birds, no bait, no splashes........I guess you never know. Glad I found one. Made me happy. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

10.18.17 Six hours of albies up......

    Needed a change of venue. I have ben half-heartedly fishing the beaches some mornings with nothing to show for it. When I get there I'm just not feeling it. Not getting the joy I once did. Hopefully that will return. 

     Today I jumped in the boat and after getting saturated getting out of the bay the albies were up. I went south looking for bass but found none and turned around. It was easy peasy albie fishing. Not easy to get them to eat, but they were there and predictable. Outgoing. Ripping tide. All you had to do, if the other boasts cooperated, was take turns drifting a long drift and getting the albies when they blew up in your area. It wasn't that the others didn't play nice, it's just that twin screws idling while waiting for fish to surface doesn't make for fun times. I hoooked up and then left there heading across the pond. 

     Didn't even get over to the other shore and found fish all over and no one around. It was great. When I got over it got better. I stayed and had albies up the entire time I was out. I was really out for bass, and stayed too long waiting and watching. I wanted to head up river and then way in the back. I settled for a ride to the Statue of Liberty not finding any birds or marking any bass. 

    It was, like most albie days, frustrating. I threw all kinds of flies at them. The pink worked and then it didn't. Went to a bigger Surf Candy, and it looked huge in the water and got no takes. I settled in on Brad Buzzi's Albacore Candy in size #4. You can buy them in cool cartons HERE While you might think they are too small to use in the salt water, that's what these albies, especially the New York ones wanted today. I know, they eat big Sluggos and Deadly Dicks. Well for me, 20 pound flouro was out of the question, 16 spooked them at times, I went down to 12, and broke two off. 

     You didn't need the birds today as it was blow-ups for what seemed like miles.  When running solo I can't handle the runs and gun approach, I like the find a line, setup for a drift, get comfortable and wait. Eventually you'll get yours, unless other boats have different ideas. The birds were out, but spread out over the pods when they surfaced and dove. 

     While I haven't been on the bass, friends have. Lief is still doing well and finding near keeper sized bass on the beach.  Richie landed his first albie today on the beach. I found bunker along the beaches at Sandy Hook. Lot's of bait, albies are thick, waiting for the bass to show. Guys are killing them drifting live eels, just haven't heard anything about bass up on top yet.

Lief Peterson photo

Sunday, October 8, 2017

10.08.17 Dreary day...not much happening

     Slept in but took a drive to the bay to see if anything is happening. Dead bay. Birds down. Only some bait here and there. No signs of anything on their tails. The below image popped up on Facebook this morning. every fall there seems to be a Montauk or Capture image that makes its way around just illustrating the killing that occurs. I know it's probably all legal, but does anyone think this is sustainable?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

10.04.17 Found one in the late evening....

     Need to be down on the water. Headed down about 630 and stayed until 830. Moved a bit south and got one and dropped one in the dark. The moon was in and out of the clouds which made it light enough to see but not to light to shut it down. I miss fishing nights. 

10.04.17 Found a new special place.....

     Therapy. My friend Leif took this photo of me this morning perched on now a special rock. The other day we received Ryan's ashes and I took some of them down to Phillips Ave which has always been favorite of mine. I went out to the furthest flattest rock and spread them. While this wasn't his place, it was mine, and I start each day going out to that rock, just to say hello. 

     It has been a difficult week and a half. Last week fly-fishing and Jersey shore Captain Bill Hoblitzell also lost his son, Ryan, in a fishing accident. I told Bill that God needed two good men, and he got two good men from good men. May they both rest in peace.

     I have fished several times since then, spending most of my time on that rock. I haven't caught a fish. I was looking to Ryan for a little help with that, but that'll come. I stayed put while others caught fish to my north and south. There seemed there was a little push of fish, either the early teenage stripers are heading south or they just woke up and have come ashore looking to eat. Fish to over 30 inches have been around, but you have to put your time in. They've been taking poppers and Snake Flies.

Leif Peterson photo
Joe Pheiffer photo
      There main bait has been mullet, and at times thick enough to be seen in the waves in front of the sun. This morning I found some, what looks like baby weakfish, washed up on the beach. I have seen rain fish and one morning albies under the birds way out of range. The wind has shifted around the horn over the past week and with the September Harvest Moon now past, bait should start moving and the fish more active. Today we all caught the skunk, but that's just the way it is.

Monday, September 25, 2017

09.25.17 Hate to have to share this news.....

August 27, 2017
You all know that this blog for me was more than fly-fishing. Over the years I have shared both professional and personal, maybe too much, with you all here. Today I write the hardest blog post yet.

     Early Saturday morning my son Ryan took his own life, after having a great day on Friday with as many members of his family as his could be around. I took the above photo on June 22, 2016. It was a great evening. He caught one fish, and that was it. While fishing is my thing, and something he grew out of during adolescents, his real passion was music and reading, and most of all learning.

    The stages of death and dying is a process that we're as family and friends starting to experience. I will question, deny, be angry, be distraught, but will always love my first born son who arrived August 18 1996.

    Ryan's service will be at John Day Funeral Home, Red Bank, Wednesday 5-9. A memorial mass will be Saturday 1215 at St James Church, followed by a kick-ass send off at Downtown on West Front Street from 1-4

    In lieu of flowers a scholarship fund has been established at Rowan University in his name for two students, one that shared his passion for physics, and one for literature. Donations in his name can be made to....

Rowan University Foundation
c/o Ryan Archer Scholarship Fund
Steen Hall
201 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, NJ 08028

    My buddy Joe asked, as so many of you have, if there was anything he could do. I asked him to take me fishing Sunday morning. When I got to the beach this is what it looked like. It was beautiful but somehow I was drawn to the clouds and the colors. I felt something. I guess I was just reading into and hoping for a sign.

    I decided to step back and sit and take in the sunrise and watch the flooding tide roll in. I wished he could have sat with me one last time and I could have shared with him how I felt about him and that he could do this. But, then I felt a peace, for a moment, that he was at peace.

     I have-heartedly tossed a fly up and down the beach. Didn't see any bait or birds. The waters still dam near 70. Fall is delayed this year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

09.20.17 Imagine is this was allowed in New Jersey?????

     While in Newport this past weekend I spent some time surfing Craigslist on my iPad. I typed in "striped bass" looking to find any fly fishing or cool books, paintings or mounts that might be on sale. I was shocked to find an add for a couple of striped bass for sale. I thought it was a joke, but then remembered Massachusetts has some kind of crazy private/commercial fishery for striped bass. I guess with a permit and on certain days regular old folks can enjoy the sport and make a few bucks. Imagine if every boat owner in the New York/ New Jersey area wants to cover costs or just make a few bucks while hobbying? 

     Somehow, somewhere, people are actually defending this practice. I guess I have a lot to learn about what happens with the fishery in other states. Between this, and seeing what's happening in New England with striped bass, like in The Canal and around Block, my hopeful move to Newport is going to be an eye opener and a gut wrencher. 

     As far as Jersey. I always enjoy rushing out the day after coming back from striper fishing somewhere else for a few days. Monday was no change. I got down with an hour left before high and two days before Hurricane Jose. It was basically un-fly rod fishable, at least with any effectiveness. I gave it a go on the south side of a few groins and dm near lost my life getting pushed down into the sand as the water rushed down the scarp and turned me sideways. 

     I wonder what things will look like after Jose, and then Maria. Might have kiboshed any kind of mullet run this fall. There's lots of bait in he bays and rivers and that will be making it's way out later this fall. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

09.15-17.17 Love Newport....

     Theresa and I had a great weekend up in Rhode Island. Got a little later start then we planned but that put us in place for a lunch stop in New Haven for the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria. We pulled into town around 4 and made the loop around Ocean Drive looking for and signs of life before checking in. We stayed at the Marshall Slocum Inn, HERE, on Kay Street, a place I have been coming to since

1993. If you like a casual bed and breakfast with comfortable rooms and a great breakfast then I highly recommend it. The inn is near the Viking Hotel and close enough to walk to town but far enough away from the crowds and noise.

     On night one we ate at Stoneacre Brasserie, a new place that went in where Yesterday's used to be. We sat at the bar with the owners of Bouchard's, the best French restaurant in town, and had a great time. The restaurant opened this week so there was a bug about the place. We hit the usual spots, Scales and Shells, where the night just didn't go as planned. Busy, less then enthusiastic bartenders, wine with too much sulfites that sent me off into a dam near anaphylactic reaction, but strip scampi that was good as always. Brick Alley was great for one lunch and Caleb and Brown for the other. And Wickford on the way back on Sunday is always good and we ate at the new outside tent at Gardnier's Wharf Seafood where we got to sample their new fish and chips.

     While it wasn't a fishing trip, I did bring my gear and did look both mornings for any signs of albies. Didn't find any, and didn't see much for bait, but Sunday morning on the outgoing tide I gave it a go. The day before we went to Sachuest Point but I found it hard to find fishy fly rod spots and the grass seemed to find me on every cast. I learned a few things. This ain't New Jersey. Beaches are different, hardly any. Tidal ranges are greater, about 6 feet. And long casts are a must, like long casts, if you plan on fishing anything but high tide or plan on squishing your way out to the furthest rock. 

     Around 7am on Sunday we stopped Brenton Point and I made my way out to my favorite groin. I always seem to squeak one out when ever I fish there and this trip was no different. Luckily the tide was on the way out but casts needed to be long and line management on point because the water moves in every direction there. I can see that waders are not the first choice of gear that should be


used here. Any attempt of getting out to further rocks means you're walking through water and climbing over smaller rocks in order to get to the bigger ones. I tied on one of Joe's flies and landed a small one before we made one more stop before breakfast. We parked close to the Cliff Walk and

walked and looked finally stopping in front of The Breaker's where there's a spot to walk down and fish, or surf, which there were many due to Jose's building swells. This area also seems to be very spey rod friendly, as most of the steep cliffs behind you would interfere with a back cast. I am sure there are endless fishy spots to fish in Rhode Island but I get the feeling it is really a fly fisherman's boating heaven with lots of points, shoreline, and rips to work.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

09.14.17 Quick 100 casts before work......

     I can't wait until we put the clocks back. Getting up at 5 and to the water by 530 am gives me about 45 minutes to fish with 20 minutes of light. Threw the black Snake Fly and then a popper on the outgoing this morning. By 615 I was stripping down to change into my scrubs for work, sweaty from the humid early morning air.

     That was my last go until next week when I know the mullet will be on the move and on the beach, well at least I am hoping. Hopefully the albies will be in just a little thicker than they are now. I'm looking forward to a few good back-to-back days either on the beach or the boat. Thanks to my friend Joe who snapped this pic the other day while we were looking for albie blow-ups. We're heading to Newport this weekend. I'm in need of a change of scenery and some R & R before the fall semester and run go into full swing. I'll have a rod, but only to stop if I see something going down.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

09.13.17 Stopped by the bay for a bit.....

     Got out of work early as luckily the census in the unit continues to remain low. First week of school for kids is usually and super stressor and opens up the flood gates at work, but not this fall. I stopped by the bay and the table is set for the upcoming weeks. I had emptied my Orvis Sling Pack and only had the fly I had tied on from yesterday. I didn't get a hit as I am sure the tiny blues, and I'd bet occasional bass, are keyed into the peanuts. I wish I had a Banger on me to get them biting.

     I love when Facebook brings up memories, and today when I looked there was a picture from today six years ago. My man Al, just north of Phillips Ave, when the pier still stood. Many good memories there, and with him. I miss seeing his car in the morning, I miss trading stories, I miss fishing near him, hell, I just miss him. We're hoping to get out for one good last day this fall. I am hoping when the bass find the bait in the bay we can reconnect. 

     And although I don't want to go there, this popped up on my Facebook page from Block island. High teens, 20's and 30's. I know, each guy on the boat kept one. I just have to shake my head.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

09.12.17 Fall Shakedown run....

     Started out today getting ready to do homework, but thought my time would be better spent getting the boat out and giving things a scout. I've been getting calls for fall boat trips so it was a good move.
     Put some hours on the engine looking both near and far. Found all the 1-2 pound bluefish you could ever want or get bit off by, and steady albie action with a little more than half a dozen boats and a pair of kayakers in the mix. All played well except one guy. That guy.
     I hate albie fishing solo, well at least with boat company. The run and gun is out. The best you can do is pick your line and your drift and wait, and hope it comes. At one point my friend Ian in the next boat yelled, "They're coming your way Colin.....". And he was right, they were up and eating and coming right to me. What I didn't see was "that guy" coming in on my left. He moved right in and put them down.

     I was hoping to get some cool albie/guys fly fishing for albie picks but I forgot to load the camera with film before I left my home office. That bothered me as much as that "one guy". Oh well. 

     And while I don't want to start the fall run off all pissed off and tree-hungingry, this picture showed up on Facebook from a recent trip out of Montauk. Eight dead bass. One trip. Early season. After seeing what happened up in the Cape Cod Canal it just blows my mind that this species can sustain itself with the daily catch-and -keep pressure they endure. And that doesn't even take into consideration catch and release and die, shark, seal, environmental, and by-catch deaths that occur. I wish they just shut it down for 2 years. No harvest. Or better yet made it a gamefish and catch and release only.