Thursday, June 21, 2018

06.21.18 Tough day with quality over quantity....

     My early plan was to hit a new spot but I found out a resident parking pass is required. With the rental we are good for one pass....and we have four cars. So I had Gerry drop me off and I took a walk out onto the flats. It was mid incoming tide and it took about another hour until the fish came up onto the flat. The fish were there in good numbers but I couldn't get them to eat. As the water became too high to sight fish I pulled out and headed down beach to where I thought I'd see more fish in the shallows but no one was home.

     I grabbed my ladder and made a position change one of about a dozen I did this afternoon. Saw a few more fish but with the clouds dancing in and out I couldn't see them in enough time to set up. After an hour balancing on the second to the top rung of the ladder I followed Gerry out and we headed down beach. Here's where the fish story starts. I was ahead of Gerry and my fly line had grabbed a horseshoe crab shell and empties out of my basket. I walked back and just threw it in figuring I'd take a minute to gather myself when we got to our spot.

     Gerry was carrying my cooler and I the ladder which I wanted to set in my spot where the day before I had seen good numbers. As I planted the legs I look into the water and a good fish is moving left to right. I got up on the first rung, made a 15 foot cast, saw him eat, and then take off......until the line stopped.

     When I "threw" it in the basket it found its way into a know and stopped two eyes short of my fly tip. Gerry had just turned to walk to another spot and I called him back. I headlined the fish while Gerry undid the know and handed me the rod back. I was lucky he was there and glad he was able to get a few shots of me and the fish as single fish pics get boring.

     The water was still coming in, even after the tide charts said it shouldn't and between the wind, clouds and fog front seeing the fish was hard, but they were there. We had an east wind that picked up as the day went on and it dumped all kinds of eelgrass and stuff right at our feet. Gerry went to work the channel as the tide ebbed and I walked waist high along the spit as the tide ebbed planting the ladder to see the picking fish. In total I probably saw 50 fish today, had a bunch of looks and refusals

and two eats both on this below fly I tied up on day one after catching the first few fish on a Leif Peterson crab fly. It just feels better when you get them on your own fly....not that much better but a little. The second and last fish was really cool because he was a long cast and a long follow and he finally ate after I stop retrieving. There's nothing like sight fishing for striped bass. I'm hearing from the guys that back in the day Dogfish and Lobsterville would give up 15-20 pound bass during the day while sight fishing. I hope one day to see that.

06.20.18 Day 4 A long and tough day.....

     I'll start from the midday 12-5 shift. Joe and Gerry dropped me off at the pond and I went in 3/4 of the way on the incoming. I set up my ladder where there were a plethora of fish passing by the day before and waited, and waited, and waited, and then waited. In between waiting I ate lunch and took a nap waiting for the drop of the tide. When I woke up the water was even higher. I can't figure out how high the tides are, and low, being one week off the full moon. 
     When it did finally drop I moved my ladder to where the bottom is sandy hoping to see some fish. In the end I saw about two dozen fish that were passing by, some stopped on my fly, one ate it, but didn't hook. 

     In the morning I joined Joe and Gerry for the crosstown ride to fish were the tide was better. Wind was up and I only saw two fish when I first walked in. Gerry had a few micros from the sedge bank. I went fishes and couldn't wait to get back to slay them in the afternoon, which you have already read I didn't. 

     So at 6 pm, dead tired, I contemplating taking a shower and joining the boys for dinner but I had visions of those bass rising on the outgoing tide. So I loaded up and headed for the long ride east. When I got there it looked different, no pretty sunrise, lots of wind, and waves coming into me. It was

a bust. I packed it in and took a ride to the drawbridge in Tisbury and it was well into the outgoing. I fish the pilings and then the wall leading out without a tap. Frustrated and tired I was done. As I way my way across the Big Bridge I looked back and saw a beautiful evening sunrise that I just had to 

take a photo of. I stopped by Lobsterville, for my last time, and didn't find any life. There's just no bait around, nor fish, at least there. Looks like it's rain and clouds in the morning, and of course some wind, so we'll see how it goes. 

06.19.18 Day 3 evening- one and done

     Took a lone ride across the island to try the outgoing. One thing we've learned is that we are here for tough tides. Dead low has been 7- 9 am and high 2-4'ish and then night tides high after midnight. The last few days we've had more wind and less sun. To sight fish you need both or at best just one. 

     So on Day 3 night I waded into the pond to see if I could see anything popping. Nothing. The bugs started getting the best of me as the wind died so I decided to back out. Once in the truck I approached a packed Big Bridge and saw the back-up lights light up as someone was pulling out. I pulled in and sat looking out as the sun set. Most of the anglers were on the jettys on the outside of the pond and no one was inside.

     Just when I thought I was done I saw fished started to rise in the moving water in the channel which was in casting range. Funny thing was they looked like trout rises, and I saw heads. I jumped out, threw my waders on, and loaded a black floating sand eel fly. As I stood waist deep I still didn't know what kind of fish I was throwing too, then I saw the dorsal fins.....bass!

     First cast was dead on and let it float from right to left without a tap. The fish were still up and the second cast was just as good but this time I twitched and BAM! Explosive strike and the fish went straight out from me in a line and had me quickly into my backing. With the current I thought it was a 20 pound fish. 

     So now the question is....where's the picture. Well I got the fish to hand, thumbed it with my left as I used my right hand to pop the fly from his thick and big upper law. As it popped the fish bit down and wriggled in a way that turned my wrist. My thumb is raw and some pain sensor, coupled with then twisting action, made me release the fish. It was as big as my 33 inch from Day 1 on maybe even a touch bigger. I wish I had a picture but the memory is just as good. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

06.19.18 Had to see over 100 bass....

     Just about perfect day on the Vineyard. The water was flat but did pick u[p which made sighting them hard in the big water with a ripply top. Out early on the start of the incoming but it didn't get going till the end of the flood tide when the fish, a lot of them, started to come on the flats looking to eat. Problem is.....what did they want. I saw clouds of micro sand eels and the occasional crab swim 

by but that was it. I threw the bag at them and was lucky enough to land 5, dropped a big that I had one on a for a bit, and the prize of the day was setting up open a sea robin in the shallows that ate. 
     Today I saw more fish than I have probably combined in the last six years, and there were some bruisers mixed in. I had more refusals then I can count. I tried sand eels flies, bunny flies in black and white, micro Semper Fi's, crab flies in various assortments, and then a few just plain old ugly flies. 

     One of the coolest things I saw today was watching big fish follow the hooked schoolies in, every time. Hopefully tomorrow is more of the same....just don't know what fly I'll tie up tonight for tomorrow. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

06.17-18.18 Happy Father's Day from the Vineyard

     Happy Father's Day! Kinda bittersweet since this is the first since Ryan's passing but my other children make me proud and give me the strength to carry on. I met a father and son fishing Dogfish Bar last night and it stopped me for a minute and gave me a chance a reflect. I sure do miss that kid.

     This year it was tough leaving my family on Father's Day. It just works out that thesis the week each year. I don't know if I'll make it back next year, but I say that now. I left Titusville just after midnight on Saturday and by mid-Connecticut I was falling asleep around 230. I set my alarm for 3am and woke up at 4. I missed my 7am ferry from Wood's Hole but was able to catch the 815 and that put me on a flat Sengekontacket Pond. I saw a few fish as the tide flipped from low to incoming. 

     Sunday was beautiful so I new I had to fish as much as possible. I met Steve and Dick at the house after helping them offload I made my way out. The sun was still high and there was minimal wind. I found fish, casted to fish, pricked fish, spooked fish, and landed fish. The biggest was 33 inches and there we're two more keepers. It was the best day in sizable fish in my six years. 

     I ended the evening at Dogfish where I stayed on the incoming to just after dark. I spent a lot of time on my back enjoying the sunset and the clouds as they passed by. The bass never came in while I was there but the hickory shad were eating sand eels inches from the shoreline.

     Day 2. Woke up snd it was blowing pretty good and the sun was in and out of the clouds. I brought  my ladder and spent hours perched on it only seeing three fish. The end of the tide was late afternoon and the sun came out and even thought I had already been picked up I loaded up and headed back. I walked the flat without the ladder and blind casted a crab fly into the darker water and picked up two, one keeper and one under. Tonight the heavens are supposed to open up so we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

06.12.18 Spring is holding on.....

     This morning it was in the high 40's which seems a little chilly for this time of year. Coupled with the 6 feet of rain we've had it seems spring doesn't want to leave. I got out early this morning and joined Joe and Leif throwing flies into the bigger end of the incoming tide. Both connected but I did not. Mostly small fish less than 25 inches which has been the usual take the last few springs. We need the fish to stop running by and settle in for summer when the fall baits and crabs are the offerings to keep them around. Yesterday, Joe used a crab fly to grab this nice fish in the incoming slop.

     Leif continues to be the pool winner catching most on the flies below. While they may not make a fly tying book they are the biggest producers we've seen. You may say that a chartreuse over white Clouser (tied perfectly) would do the trick....forget it. I don't know if it's the big eyes are whatever but it kills them. I used one today.....and got nothing. Maybe Leif is just a good stick.

     On Sunday I'll join the boys, well almost all of them, up for a week on Martha's Vineyard hoping to stand in a spot for hours looking to sight fish for striped bass. It's my favorite way to fish for them. This is my, I think, 6th year and we haven't have a banner year yet. Usually bad weather and small fish, hopefully this year will be different. Either way it'll be a much needed mental health break from a tough year spent with some great guys. Looking below the weather doesn't look bad, just hope the wind lays down to nothing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

06.05.18 Away way too long....

     Been a long time. Like everyone else busy with life. Doesn't mean for a minute I don't miss being on the water, fishing, and just enjoying the time and space away from the stressors of life. My last post was in February and a lot has happened along the way.

     Sold the house in Red Bank. Bought our dream home outside of Lambertville on the Delaware River, well not directly on, but across Route 29 and the Delaware & Raritan Canal and then the river. Got an apartment in Red Bank to keep the girls grounded in school. Work continues to be challenging and suck the life out of me. School, one more year, with no break this summer. The fall and 2019 spring semesters are difficult and loaded with clinical hours, hundreds of them. But this time next year, God willing, I will be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner close to opening my own practice.

     The house is beautiful. An old Georgian Colonial built in 1928. Bigger than any house I have ever owned and we love every square foot of it. We went from a 35 by 80 foot lot to an acre and a half. We been challenged with water, lots of it, as the water table out west in high. Every time it rains I run out to make sure the basement isn't flooded. I bought an old Case tractor and after one mow the engine blew. We've been taking turns with our little 20" push mower and it has been a chore.

     Fishing, haven't done much of that. Got my drift boat back from Rinker's place and hope to float this section for some smallies with the girls. I missed the striper and shad action, just too busy. My Jones Brothers, which I thought about selling, is almost ready to launch. It's been delayed as funds are tight with the new house and apartment. I have snuck out a few times, regardless of the tides or time, and have only found the cutest of samples of striped bass. It has been a good spring for the bay, river and boat guys, things haven't kicked off in the surf just yet.

    Soon I will be making my way north for the annual Martha's Vineyard trip with the guys. I need it, especially after Ryan's passing and being pulled in so many directions. We leave on Father's Day, which won't be easy, but hopefully I can take the week to exhale and spend some time with friends and the water. I hope to stand in one spot for hours waiting for a bass to come down the beach, with high sun overhead and no wind front or back. 

     I miss the blog, miss my son, miss fishing, but life's book is a series of chapters, I just seem to write many at the same time. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

02.21.18 Seventy degrees today- but not when I was there.....

     At 120 pm in Red Bank it was 74 degrees. This morning around 9 down on the beach it was 46 and felt just about freezing. Figured I would give it a go and I did. Incoming tide, supposed to be warm, was warm yesterday, figured maybe a few smaller early birds (bass) might be looking for a meal. Well I didn't. Found a buddy who's been hitting it on and off and he hasn't got his first 2108 bass just yet. 

     Glad its the slow season as I've been busier than ever. Our Red Bank house is under contract, we're out of attorney review for our purchase out near Lambertville, and work, school, and clinical keep my schedule tight. We have stuff in storage and can't find things, I wear the same clothes more often than I should, and we are starting to hoard boxes and begin to pack what's not in storage. And then there's moving day......that'll be a hoot. Like mama always said though, don't count your chickens before they hatch. I am also looking for a small apartment rental in Red Bank if anyone knows of one drop me a text 732 261 7291. We would be bringing our house dog with us. 

     I've been missing tying night with friends since they started a month ago. Work and school keep me unavailable for most Tuesdays and I couldn't find my vice and fly tying stuff if my life depended on it. The picture below is from a Tuesday night session at Roe's house. I was able to pop in as the guys were tying albie flies. 

      I bought a little somethin-somethin for those Tuesday night that I can make. It's the FishSkull fly tester. I remember when these came out a few years ago and were the cat's meow. It'll be neat to tie one up and swim it at the table. Great for finding what and what doesn't work.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

01.28.18 Wow.....only two posts this month !!!

     Yep, little bit of a late entry here this week. I gave it a go this past Monday when the air temps were about 50 and the water somewhere around 40. I didn't get a bump but it was nice to just get out and air out some casts. I ran into Andy whose been at it on and off since the New Year and he hasn't got his first 2018 bass just yet. That cold spell really shut things down. 

     This past weekend was The Fly Fishing Show at its new location in Edison. I heard some good things and some things that need to be worked out. Weird flow, maybe less crowds, food and drinks not the same as the other place, more boats and less vendors. Also heard the soundproof partitions between the seminars were like talking next to a screen door. But friends saw friends and guys picked up gear and supplies and hopefully the local shops and tyers made it worth their effort and time. I didn't get there. Work Friday, clinical Saturday, and a big open house on Sunday. Its okay. I was okay with missing a year. Lot going one, and maybe lots of changes coming. 

     Looking forward to a good 2018.......

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

01.03.17 For Sale by Owner- 41 Leroy Place Red Bank

    Happy New Year! Hope 2018 is a great year for you and yours. We are starting off the year putting our home at 41 Leroy Place in downtown Red Bank up for sale. Work and school are taking me to the western part of New Jersey so it'll be catching the striped bass when they're in the Delaware River more than when they're going up or down the Jersey Shore beaches. 

     It's a great house, super location, a few hundred feet to downtown Red Bank. 3/4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, finished basement, and a sweet man cave in the back. Sale price will be $495,000. Texting is best for anyone that is or knows anyone looking in Red Bank...732 261 7291. We're heading to Florida tomorrow and will be starting to show it after January 16th. 

     And yesterday I took a drive down to the beach. Of course it's cold with the arctic blast just freezing us out. Didn't see any birds working. Water temps probably 42-44 depending on the tide. I'm done till the spring. Time to organize and pack up. Time to move.