Monday, December 9, 2019

12.08.19 Might be a wrap for 2018.......

     23 degrees this morning. Dead air. Dead water. Freezing cold hands. Lucky I brought the hand warmers and gave them to Joe and Leif to keep their hands functional. These things work, at times too well. Started around 6am and fished in the area of others and everyone caught fish but me. Not a tap. It was near double digits and a double header for Joe. Don't know why I couldn't get a bite but

Leif, Joe and Andy enjoyed catching. Thats just the way it is sometimes. Would have liked to end the year with a fish but thats okay. It was a good time, a cold time, had by all. Not sure what the rest of the year will look like. Water temps around 47-48 depress. Cold spell and and snow on the way. We're still wondering of the herring, which are now around, will spark a flurry of good fishing. This is the time of ear when you get that surprise blitz or a big fish that wanders in to take a look and finds the bigger bait. I'm done, well I usually quit about 6 times every year, but living far away and busy with the holidays this just might be it for me. We'll see.

Friday, December 6, 2019

12.06.19 Near dead-low surprise.....

     Around 815 am I was thinking the title of todays blog would read, 'You should have been here yesterday" or "Nice morning, another skunk". But shortly before dead-low tide and after three fly tries I came tight on this keeper or near keeper sweet bass. On my other rods I have the measurements laid out with electrical tape or I could and should have used that iPhone measure app but I figured who really cares and I could just estimate it. But a keeper is a keeper is a keeper....or not. Its 28" to the ferrule so you be the judge.

     Yesterday Leif told me to tie up some black and orange Half and Halfs and I did but they didn't get me a bite, neither at 0530 or in the light. Tried a nice Jiggy sand eel fly that didn't get a tap either.  The last fly I tied was a tinnier yellow Deciever that I tied on about 815 - almost three hours after I started, and my hands started getting cold. 

     The wind was SW. The ocean flat. It had that still feeling when its really cold but without wind is wasn't too bad. Loons fishing in the washing but coming up empty. A splash here and there that looked like Hickory Shad. No swirls or top action that I saw. Some small bait here and there, shimmy bait, but not sand eels. It was pretty enough out there but just a little boring. Leif managed a couple of small guys that took his orange and black Half and Half as he expected. 

    As we reached the point to go left to the rocks or right to the trucks he went to work and I stayed to make a few more casts. I tied on the yellow fly I tied last night and on the second long cast I went tight and soon into the backing. The fish was at the beach side and edge of the sandbar and once hooked went with the current and made it to the end of the jetty before I turned her. I made my way back to the beach adding line against the drag as I tried not to fall. Soon I was at the beach and the fish up on the sand. A few quick pics and she (or he) was back swimming. 

    If you're going to one and done a morning thats the way you do it....or just get lucky. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

12.05.19 They're still biting.....

Leif Petersen photo
     So we are starting December. Air and water temps are down. The bays and rivers have gone through the chill and exodus of bait that made its way down the beach. We had some good peanut action but not like back in 2016. The boats have done well this fall, including me for a few days before selling the boat. 

     The sand eels are around and the mostly schoolie bite is on sand eel imitations. The fish are short, fat, and feisty. Good time to go down a rod size or two. I stick with the 10 weight all the time, cant remember what rod is which and where. 

     Fishing this time of year, well I guess all year, is they are either there or not. Its one or two and done "or 40 fish" mornings or the big skunk. Haven't seen or heard of herring or mackerel around as the gannets haven't invaded the skies and started dive bombing the water. 

    Hope to get out soon....I'm itching to catch and release some fish. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

11.23.19 "Took boat for a ride..awesome"

     That was a text I received from Pete who had purchased my boat a few hours earlier on Saturday. I had it for sale for a few days and thats as long as it lasted. They say a boat owners best two days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I loved that boat. Had great memories on it. Taking Ryan fishing and the 40 he caught. Taking the girls out fluke fishing. Montauk and the albies in 2014. My best days finding acres of bass all alone in the Raritan. 30s and 40s in June when the bass were on top with big bunker with Joe and Andrew. Me and Joe finding a Mother Lode of big bass in 2018 when the bass came into Romer on mackerel. A few weeks ago putting Leif on some big bass on peanuts. And then there was that one glass like day I had Al out. All good memories. 

     So Pete has the boat now and a few days have pst I hear he is running out front and over to Breezy. Guys think its me.....but those days on that boat are a chapter in my book. Drift boat sold. Jones Brothers sold. I'm now going to look for something smaller with a jet drive for the Delaware River. A new boat. A new chapter. I look forward being able to launch just 10 minutes from my house. I'll still take charters but it'll most likely be for that single fly angler looking for stripers, smallmouths and maybe muskies. 

     It was kinda sad leaving the Atlantic Highlands Marina for one last time. I won't miss the $650 deposit now due for next years land storage. Wont miss Gateways bill for winterizing and shrink wrapping. And won't miss seeing it in my driveway over a long winter. 

     Before I met up with Pete Leif and I hit the beach. I was hoping it was going to be good. We fished Pullman without a bump. Leif caught one on Roseld. A friend had "at least 40 fish" all to himself somewhere in the middle as the bass had sand eels pinned between the bar and the beach. 

     For me the only thing I could muster up was a hickory shad that took a peanut bunker imitation. Nice chilly cold morning that I wish was more productive. Seems like the days are one-and-done or stupid big numbers coming to hand. I just haven't had one of those crazy days yet this fall....and Im due and look forward to being at the right place at the right time. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

11.17.19 Time to say good-bye....

     Over the last few years, especially the last one since moving out near Trenton, I have seriously considered selling my boat. Tough decision. Makes sense. Time for someone else to enjoy.

I have had plenty of interest from, clients, readers of the blog, and strangers in, "when you're ready to sell it, let me know". Now I cant put a face to one of them. So I am putting it up for sale here because I know there is a guy from Chester, NJ who was really, really into it, so we'll see if he in fact does read the blog each day.

What she is a 1998 Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman 1910 LT. You can read the specs HERE  on the Jones Bros website. This boat was sold from The Fly Hatch when Dave Choinard was a dealer and I knew the original owner. This boat doesn't have a lot of time on it, this year it may have gone out 6 times. I have had her since late fall 2011and she has always been on a trailer. The trailer I bought new in 2014. It has a Lowrance HDS7, with a side scan option, but that isn't hooked up.

I am not a truck or a boat guy. I know a little about each. All repairs and maintenance has been done by Gateway Marine in the Highlands since I have had her. Right now she's on the trailer at the Atlantic Highlands Municapl Marina until December 3rd, so you can have a few good weeks of fishing before putting her to sleep for the winter.

The price is $20,000. It'll go fast when it hits Facebook and Craigslist. Call me if you want her 732 261 7291

Saturday, November 16, 2019

11.15.19 I just needed another 30 minutes....

     Well here's the current situation. Thanksgiving in less than two weeks and the below pic is of my kitchen. We are having the whole family over. It's crunch time. Luckily, in one way, things are slow with the office, fishing trips, and wood splitting. Helps me for time to play Bob the Builder but not when it comes to counting the Benjamins ($$$). Today I had to make the trip to Red Bank to pick up my daughter from school and take her for a bite to eat. I had to work on the kitchen in the AM but left a tad early to hit the beach. 

     I left at 1130 which put me at Marine Place at 1230. It was outgoing, flat, and no signs of birds or bait. Did the next stops. Pullman. Rosa Maria or whatever it is. Little Monmouth. Ship Ahoy. Lot C. Went back down to Tradewinds and just figured I'd make a few casts. Boats out aways. Birds working from time to time. Boring. 

     It was about 145 when I started to check my watch. Guys scattered up and down the beach every 1000 feet. Didn't see anyone catching. Then I saw the birds in front of Donovans out about 1/4 mile, then 800 feet, moving north, and fast. I looked down at my watch it was 2 o'clock. Pickup is at 230. 

     So I hurried to Ship Ahoy and when I pulled up three guys were just leaving, unaware what was about to happen on the beach. I jumped over the parking lot barrier and hurried across the sand. The birds were just over the bar and the bass were chasing peanuts. It was 221. There was one guy there and I was number 2, soon to be joined by over a dozen. I usually don't repeat pics in the posts but it helps the story. Knowing I was short on time and knowing the bait and birds were heading north this was it for me.....get it done in a few casts and leave. It was now 219. 

     I made my way down the trough and up onto the bar. There were still some bass chasing but most had moved north and the fisherman did also. You can see that I am alone on the bar. Before I left I took this pic which is grainy and out of focus because its from a distance but you can see the fish trapping bait on the beach. Some older guys didn't give chase and just stayed put others went with the birds. I wish I could have stayed and played the fish on the fly game, but not today. 

     So after pick up and dinner I made my way to the Parkway and headed south. At Exit 102 it started to bottle neck and I thought that was a sign.......Go Fishing! Called the wife for permission...yes permission, and soon I was on Deal Esplanade ready for a great evening. It was just dark at 5 pm. I went with a black and purple Deciever and a sand eel fly trailing behind. For the next three hours I didn't find a bass. Saw some hickories chasing bait in the pocket for a split second and that was it. Wind hadn't shifted and cranked up yet and the temps were in the highs 40's so it was a perfect night, I thought, for a sand eel bite. Nada, nope. Then I had to make the one hour long drive of shame back too Titusville.

     This weekend will be a blowout as 30 plus mph winds will blow from the NE. That will shut the peanut run down, IMHO, and then we will have to see if the early winter sand eel and herring fishery kicks in. Boats are still on them but I'm going if I don't have someone paying me to go, besides, its an all day affair and I just don't have the time. Below is a pic from Betty and Nicks FB page sowing a kept fish from the beach....sand eels! 

     And this fish.....oh this fish. 67 pounds weighed in at a Staten Island tackle shop. What do you do with that fish? If its not for a fish-of-a-lifetime skin mount then, to me, its a total waste. Outside of this fish, don't think that guys aren't putting abetting on these fish this fall. People know posting pics of dead fish isn't cool these days, but, outside of the words that say "released" "played catch and release" and "let them go to swim another day" there are still dead ones in the cooler and a more fitting wordage would be "release in the grease". 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

11.12.19 Yep, should have been there yesterday......

     On the road by 230 am- fly in the water by 4. By 530 I had made 1,000 casts and I was done. Incoming. Big water. Hard sweep. Off color. SW. Didn't see bait or working birds. Saw one small bass flip. Shit. 

What a difference a day makes. 

     Before joining Leif in the pocket I chose to fish a notched groin thinking the right to left sweep might be deflected off the beach end rocks creating a no. Water ripping. Fish not sipping. Shit. 

     After nearly four hours I had enough and made my way north. By then the wind went NW and it made this spot at the hook nice. Flat beach that leads to a nice trough that is kind of a bowl, and is one of my favorite bass fishing spots, especially when peanuts are around. Today, even on the end of the incoming, there was enough force of the water to almost put me on my ass in less than a foot of water.  The only thing I saw out there were a pain of what looked like sea lions patrolling the beach. They were the biggest seals I've seen in New Jersey.

     Got a text today with a request for a Sunday boat no. Thursday looks good but very cold, but at least no wind. Fish will be caught on Thursday, maybe the last of the peanuts emptying out.

Monday, November 11, 2019

11.11.19 Guess today was the day to be fishing......

Leif Petersen photo

Capt Paul Eidman photo
     Well we didn't know if today was going to happen. Would the peanuts empty out of the bay and river? Would those bay fish just exit straight out and not stage right? Was it over? Ot late? It sounded like if you had a line in the water today from the beach or boat, from the Hook to the Raritan, to West Bank to Coney Island, between the channels and down to Asbury you were kinds in the area where the fish were, and hopefully are.

Thats where I was
     I got good intel this past weekend while up in the ADK's with Lauren visiting Paul Smith's College. Today it was work on the kitchen, which is a total rehab, (with a countdown to Thanksgiving in progress), and drive to Clinton to pick up a chandelier. Very far from the salt water. What a beautiful day with temps in the high 50's and not much wind.

     I've heard the river temps and bay temps are dropping like a stone with mid 40 readings common, that'll push the bait out along with the moon. The big question is, are the fish I (whoever) caught today going to be there tomorrow, and if not, will another wave of bait and bass make their way down the beach? And hopefully while I am there.

Leif Petersen photo
  Temps are going to drop the next few days and that'll come with some 20+ mph winds out of the SW, W, and NW, depending on the day. Next week things will get back to normal temps. Hopefully hitting the beach tomorrow before the cold and snow......we'll see whats out there.

11.11.19 Thanks to all who serve.....

Thursday, November 7, 2019

11.07.19 That kind of morning....

     I guess I could make excuses. First I must have snoozed the alarm that was set for 245 am which made me panic when I woke at 430. Then it could be the tide was too far dropped. Or maybe I didn't fish enough in the dark. Maybe it was the SSW wind which kept them off. Or the fish weren't there. Or.....

     Made record time from Titusville even stopping near Great Adventure for a WaWa coffee and had a line in the water at 530. Still dark enough and I used the 9-minute fly I tied last night without a tap. Leif and I fished the beach for a bit before I went to the rocks hoping to find deeper water and bass patrolling the groins. Fished the south side with wind to my back before jumping to the south side. Found nice moving water but the rocks are spread enough that you have to thread the needle with the fly. Its cast, swim, and pick up. So I made a cast, swam the fly, and bam....I was tight. Good fish, real good fish, like better than the schoolies that have found the beaches as of late. 

     I looked right and left trying to figure where I would land it all the while staying tight so it wouldn't spit the barbless hooked ick and white Hollow Fleye. When I looked up my line was dangerously close to the partially submerged rocks out a bit. Little did I know the tipper, 20 lb floor, was being rubbed and just like that the line popped out of the water. First thought was the know pulled, but then I saw the frayed flouro and just shook my head. 

      Other than that it was quiet. No bait to see. Birds looking and off aways. Things going to get wintery the next few days but I'll be off at a college visit in the ADK's at Paul Smiths. Maybe the temps will drop a bit more and the remaining bait in the bays and rivers will empty and the fish move south down to my favorite beach haunts.