I don't know where to begin. So I'll begin with the end. Imagine Joe and I sitting down at a high top at On The Deck for a bite and a beer and my camera so we can look at all, I mean all, like tons, of cool pics from today. And imagine how my heart sunk when I looked at the back and saw - NO CARD. Are you kidding me? Yes, my camera allows you to shoot even if there's no card, and at no time during the day did I check to look at pictures.
So, here's my report. Today I had Joe out on the boat. It was going to be a call-it-at-the dock kind of day. When I arrived all, I mean all, of the head boats were docked. The marina was empty. No one was putting in. It was just me and Joe. I figured it would be a quick trip out until the wind against tide kicked in. The forecast called for steady S winds, rain with even some lightning mixed in. There was even a small craft advisory.
So we got out, a little choppy, a lot windy, but we had marks on the screen and schoolies willing to bite. The birds were here and there and there wasn't much for swirls or blow-ups. At one point, as I anticipated the incoming tide and things getting sporty I said to Joe, "Looks like about a 20-minute trip today".
Joe didn't have his right glasses on so his far vision wasn't to sharp. I decided to take the just-about-slack ride and make sure we weren't missing anything. Word on the street and social media posts tell of bunker schools getting crushed with big bass down near the Manasquan Inlet and guys trolling up here off a bit getting the big ones as well.
So after a short ride I was shocked to find about 2000 birds of all species over this "secret" spot. As we pulled up on some birds I looked, nearly shit myself, and said, "Joe, these are BIG fish". So with that I threw my large bunker fly at what looked like a bowling ball that just got dropped from the heavens. First cast, a violent take, and what I think was a amateur trout set on my part, and then an 10 wt Orvis Clearwater 4 piece that was now a 5 piece. I tried to hand line the fish in but when I got to the broken rod in the water the fish unbuttoned.
Jim Matson came through because in my box of big bunker flies was a "JM Special" (I named that).....and I tied that on and caught my personal best biggest bass ever. Just as Joe reached down to lip grab the fish the fly pulled, and quickly put another hand on its jaw saving the day. I will frame Jim's fly along with a picture of my fish. Thanks buddy.
We ended the day, or so we thought, catching up with the schoolies were we had started. We were all done there and then just before we turned into the marina the birds in the distance were calling. They we over fish, a ton of them, and we left them biting to end a perfect memorable day.