Thursday, September 17, 2020

09.17.20 Think I missed the first push of fish...

     Lucky for me I slept right until the alarm woke me up at 345am, they put me on the beach around 5 after a stop at WaWa in Jackson for gas and coffee. It felt good not getting there in the middle of the night and only an hour before light creeped over the horizon. 

     I fished my way north from my parking spot as the incoming tide started putting water up on the beach. I had about 2 hours till high. On my second set of rocks and an hour into fishing I landed the above fish which was a good fighter. I was hoping his friends hd joined him in the hunt for mullet but after 45 minutes I gave up and headed back to groin #1. 

     I stopped mid-way and had a nice bass, nothing large, jump my double Snake eye set up. There was nothing on those rocks near the top of the tide so I stated fishing the beach. Once set in a spot that

looked promising I connected on this little guy below who took the top Snake Fly, while the first fish took the trailer. I'm not looking to catch a double header but I think having two flys in the water not only increases your chances but also may create a little more of a disturbance than just a lone fly. 

    Today was a day I just didn't want to leave and stayed till about 830. The surf was still big and hadn't started draining yet. While up on the rocks I spotted my first mullet this fall and that classic v-shaped wake they leave coming down the beach. I caught a cocktail blue maybe two pounds and then watched as his buddies harassed the mullet, no sign of bass picking up the pieces or getting them by themselves. 

     We each have our own theories on what the bass have been doing, are doing, and will be doing. We think we know until we realize we don't. So about the mullet. Its thin around my parts, is the mullet run done? I mean done like good and done, not "Oh I saw some mullet the other day". I mean here they come down the beach and there's bass on them, like it used to be. Last year wasn't so good, a few back to back storms shut it down. 

What I will swear to is that this past week we had the first good push of good fish on the beach. Fly rodder good is different than a spin or bait guy. 28-32" inch fish are a fly rodder dream. Not too big and not too small. In the bigger water during this week those year class fish showed up. A 30 inch bass is 7 or 8 yers old so these would be the 2012-2013 class. The reason I believe this is because, in my absence, the boys had a blast avoiding not getting killed while catching good bass. Joe's the weeks pool winner with a 35" bass (below) while Lief was all alone and found a corner pocket full of bass 

that were on the mullet. He recalls seeing black clouds of fish, bass, not mullet, making their way into the pocket and wash. That outing he landed four keepers to 31 inches (below). 

     The last two days have been slow on the beaches, and I was lucky to squeak a few out this morning, most likely just our resident fish looking for a meal. Hopefully the next wave of bass will be in soon while the mullet are here. Yes, fall can be great and the fish "stay around" for days, to even weeks, 2011 comes to mind and the sand eels and 2016 with the peanuts. But if theres no bait to hold them, coupled with out shitty redesigned beaches thanks to Frank Pallone and the US Army Corp of Engineers, they will just ride by, and hopefully your fly will just happen to catch one of them. 


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

09.15.20 What was I thinking....

After a disappointing morning I took the drive of shame back to Mercer County. It was a day off so I took a shot at DMV to get my new 2005 Yukon Denali inspected. Previous trips to MV had me there 9 and 5 hours on two trips. Luckily this only took about 25 minutes, and it passed, so that was a win. With the stuff done, or at least to gibe me an excuse to go fishing, I headed down I95 to the beach. I knew it was going to be big, but I checked on the beach was a few hours earlier and the water was clean and green with tons of surfers and people on the beach. 

     When I got down it had become bigger as it was on the top of high tide. I went to a corner pocket I usually like but there was the broken-tip bait stacking crowd there with their five year olds running back and forth behind me. Since I didnt want to pull one of the kids eyes out with a Snake Fly I took a walk. 

     I started out on the groin and heard someone say "be careful" as they walked by. I looked at them, looked at the waves breaking, and walked back to the sand. I played hop scotch with the incoming waves in the pocket but couldn't get it where I wanted. Big water like that is fun but you have to be on the rocks, right next to the rocks, or on a beach that has good structure like a trough. 

     Before I left the wind went hard south which I thought would help. I decided to head south and when I got to my car I found the below scene. A guy so excited to fish he left his car door wide open with his wallet on the center console. Glad the people in this town have lots of money. I went down to another rock pile and got out about 1/3 of the way but I needed to get out 1/2 way or more to be able to hit any decent amount of water. So I had traded in last night for this morning, figuring it would be too honky and big. Plus that ride.....

     So with the benefit of living 5 minutes from the beach Lief texted me at 713 am. When I hear the bing from my phone that early its either a friend who caught or my brother who shot a deer, but I know he's not hunting. It was Lief reporting tough and sloppy conditions but he was able to do a one-and-done in about 45 minutes. It's nice fat 29" fish that took a black Snake Fly, extra large. 

     So it looks sporty the next week or so and I have to get serious with school and work so I'll be away from the salt. It will be interesting to see if the mullet are around next week after this series of continuous blows. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

09.14.20 Racoons, snakes and bumble bees.....didn't matter


     After squeaking out one fish the other day in big surf I was looking forward to this morning. NW wind, high around 530 am, mullet starting to show, and fish around. The problem is when I'm going fishing the next day I always wake at 2 am, regardless if the buzzer is set for 345. So I was up and at it again too early and fishing by around 415. Should have stayed in bed. 

     But last night I tied up some bait, a mix of sizes and colors that were sure to get some attention. One thing I have to work on is setting up my fly tying room in the basement. Its never organized, the air quality isn't the best, and any power requires a 50 ft extension cord. Other than that its perfect. I tie my Snake Flys with dumbbell eyes, good especially when the surf is up during high tide. Don't get me started about high tide, its the only time to fish on these new shit beaches. Waters there and then in an hour its gone. Each stretch will hold water, its usually within 20 feet of the rocks, north side only, and very little good structure in between. 

     I started with a hi-low double snake Fly set up, thinking the more the merrier especially in the dark. Wrong. Not a tap in the dark, nor in the light. I fished hard for the hours on the end of the tide, and 


by the time light came I was done. When the sun came up I didn't see any bait, except right before I bailed at 8am some small bait being harassed in the pocket by some fluke or small blues. I fished from the rocks, then the beach, then the rocks again and back on the sand. Leif was down and didn't get a tap either. 

     I hope the mullet come in thick and some bass meet them, it usually only takes one storm to shut it down, like last year. This week Hurricane Sally is about to wreak havoc down south again, and not sure where its path is projected for up here. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

09.12.20 One'll do....

     I looked down before I took my first cast and it was 447 am. Water about an hour and a half into the ebb, N-NE wind to 25, perfect. I didn't know what the water quality was but as I got the above fish in I figured it couldn't be too baad if he saw these tandem flys in those conditions. I stayed at it fishing both the north side off the groin, basically into the wind and slop, and the calmer south side from the beach, as the shoaling on the south sides haven't been dug out since its just the start of the fall NE weather patterns. For now, outside of any deeper water near the groins on the north sides, its water comes in and water goes out. Not much for structure and sadly any good troughs that bait and predators like to patrol. You're just hoping a fish comes in to sniff around the same time you let a fly go.

     Sun up lit the place up and I could see it was off color, big, and of course windy and gusty. I didn't know Leif was on a another beat until I had left around 7ish and he later sen me the below pic of a keeper at 28", the first one for the fly anglers that I know that hit these Jersey Shore beaches.


Friday, September 11, 2020

09.10.20 Third shift bass...

     I had planned on fishing Friday morning but got a text from Leif stating it looked like rain and NE winds 10-20 in the AM. I needed to go so I decided to make the trek after class tonight. During class I found my fly tying stuff but couldn't find a bobbin holder so hand to hand hold and tie the best I could. 


    Since I was going in the dark I tied up a Snake Fly. Now the thing is when you tie during class you kind of have to hide your hands so our professor and fellow students cant see what you're doing, so this was the best I could. Its ugly, not Ugly Ass Fly ugly, but I thought it would work. 


     It poured for a while during class but stopped when I got on the road about 930, putting me in a spot around 45 minutes. There was no rain, no wind, and the flood tide was about 2 hrs. in. 

     I fished some spots that I hoped would be productive but couldn't find the feeling with the incoming tide running up the beach. Decent sized waves kept me always playing catch up with my fly. I decided to violate my own new Yukon rule, well the second of them. First, no eating inside, that didnt last, and no wearing waders inside either. That diet last either.


On my second spot on a rock pile named after a president I liked what I was seeing. After a short cast on the south side playing time-the-tide I hooked a nice fish as I pulled the fly from the water. I had nothing on the Snake Fly so switched over to a popper/dropper, it took the small tailing fly. I thought it was a keeper, and after walking back to the beach end of the groin I could see why. The fish was about to split open, it has been eating very well. 


It was a one and done night, fishing from 1030-1230. I could have caught more if Iwaited for more water to arrive. Top ofnthe tide and the start ofnthe outgoing around 5 am would have been the ticket. But, I was happy. I needed to get out and catching a nice bass made it all worthwhile. I had a nice drive there and back just cruising and listening to the Grateful Dead channel on Siruis XM.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

09.08.20 This popped up on Facebook....


     The above pic was from a blog post I made September 8 2014, HERE. I remember the fall of 2014 well. Came home that Sunday night after a trip to Newport, RI with a date, fished early Monday, and then that night by chance Theresa and I reconnected. Rest is history. 

      Can't wait for the mullet to show up, next week or so. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

09.04.20 Shakedown run.....should have kept running

     Star Date Sept 4, 2020. Start of Labor Day weekend. Around 530 AM, two hours into the flood tide. Hardly any water. Not much for bait except bunker flipping a aways out. 

     Glad I made the trip.Good to shake the cobwebs out. Funny how I get weak in the knees when I go out on the rocks again, even in calm conditions. I think as I get older I just get afraid of wiping out really hurting myself. Oh yeah, check your waders! Just because you can hear metal as you step on the rocks it doesn't mean its good and meaty. It'll just cause you to skate and break your ass. Check your studs!

      First trip with the Yukon. I have it all dolled up so theres a mat and some bins for my gear. No more getting in it with waders and just running to a another block. I'm keeping this nice. I went through my gear standing on Phillips. Flies are old and rusty and not the correct ones. Leader material is getting low. Time to tighten it up and get ready. Snake Flies at the vice this week......MULLET!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

09.01.20 "My precious......"

     So before Covid hit I had a few heavily used, alright broken rods sitting in my home office. They are my favorite go-to rods. The H2 9 ft 10 wt and 9ft 11wt. I have used them hard, too hard, and they show the battle scars. One had a porcelain stopping guide ring pop up, which when not in place will 


eventually strip the rating off your fly line, and one that had a broken tip or mid-tip section, I think broke while battling a beast, maybe the day Joe and I were out tackling 30-40 and even 50 pound fish near Romer Lighthouse. So I went online, paid the repair cost and got them back a few weeks ago. 

     This morning I decided to break them out, anticipating an early go at the fall run. Both looked good, still beat up, but luckily I got them back in one, well, four pieces. Funny thing is, it looks one section is from a Recon, but I may have sent it in that way. So with a few good sticks and a few Recons I'm ready to break some more, but hopefully not. 

     In the pleasant surprise- I'm a disorganized mess department, I found an envelope that was delivered and never opened. It was from Andrew Warshawer, you can only know what that means. I had placed an order and sent in the cash but never opened it. Inside were a beautiful assortment of flies just in time for the fall. These will be great boat flies, missing and wishing I still had my boat, but thats okay, all good things happen with good reason. I love throwing big flies to big bass from a boat, lots of good memories and good times. 

     And on the report front I got one from Leif who found a few bass and has been on the fluke. This one took, well what else, an Ugly Ass Fly (UAF for short). I hope to make it down soon and scout out the beach and see whats going on. Lots of small bait, bunker out a ways, and predator fish like snappers, cocktail blues, bass, maybe some bonita and albies along with Spanish Mackeral. It shouldn't be long until we see the mullet making their way down the beach, about two weeks. Get out and scout!


Monday, August 31, 2020

08.31.20 Alrighty lets catch up before the season....

     Since this is a fishing blog and I haven't been fishing in the salt in about two months and not since Leif and I hit the Delaware in early August here's a quick update before things get going in the salt in September....

     Friends and clients have seen me evolve over the years in my rides. Never new, not always practical, sometimes a money pit, but always leave me attached to them full of good memories either towing a drift boat, my Jones Brothers, walking clients, or my wolf and kids. My latest purchase after Ryan died in late 2017 was a 2014 Ford F-150. Funny, I never knew how desired Raptor rims were until I owned this. I Ama truck driver guy, but not a truck knowing guy. People ask me engine specs ect. and I have no idea. What I usually know is the monthly payment and insurance amounts each year.

    I got the truck with about 35,000 miles on it three years ago, in August it hit just over 120,000 miles. I figured it was time to move it before there was no value in it and things would start to go. I put it on Facebook Marketplace, which to me is more addicting than Tic Tok to a kid. I put it up for $18,500 and after the buyer, who took an Uber down from Totowa, pointed out an oil leak we settled on $18,000. That took about 2 days.

       Just to note, a lot of these moves happened at the same time. So, I sold the Ford and found a 2005 Yukon Denali cross the river in Pennsy. One owner, a military man, old school, took real good of his vehicles. He was asking $6,995 and had recieved several lower offers. I offered $7,000 if he would throw in and mount the cargo carrier on the roof. Deal done. 152,000 miles. Hope she lasts. Love her so far. 

     And just before all of that we were at Holly Shores campground in Cape May, well just north of Cape May on Route 9. This years things were a bit different with Covid 19, but we still had a blast. One thing about having a camper, for me. I hate looking at it in my driveway/yard for the 50 weeks a year we didn't use it. So, we started looking into keeping it down there year round and even started looking at the Park Model homes that they had on site. One day after I trekked back home to see patients, Theresa found another seasonal place right at Exit 0 called Cape Island Resort. When I got back we stopped at the gate and arranged a drive through, within 500 feet we were sold. So, back to Holly Shores, clean it out and up, take some nice pictures, put it on FBM, sold within a day. $5,000. Bought it for $3,500, used it for two years, one of out better moves. 

     So now we go through Cape Island looking for a site to park something. We drove around the Cape May area checking out campers for sale. The ones we liked went for $17,000 - $22,000. Again, either trailer it home or pay for a seasonal storage. The front desk had given us a list of private owners selling their Park Model homes. Park Model homes, are well trailers, not ones you to around, but can be towed into a spot. Cape Island is all trailers, no renters, no in and outs, you put it in, you and your family stay, period. There are a lot of rues, which I like. So the list went from $8,000 up to $65,000. The first was sold the next one was $15,000, and after that $24,000. So it was a no brainer for us, $13,000 and we have "a summer home in Cape May". A 2004 Layton on the top of Bennet Creek in the Cape May Wildlife Management Area. Right away we went to work. Ripping up carpets and a new floor and some freshly painted steps. Its a place to go and use from May 1st- Nov 1st. We've been just about every weekend since.

     Above is the night hang....

          So $23,000 in, $20,000 out. A man needs a pick up. To be honest, I loved the newer Ford, but I was never comfortable in it. Too nice, too clean, to much nausea every time I put something in the bed or went to the dump. A scratch would make me feel faint. So I found this beauty in town. A young buck, freshly graduated form University of Colorado Boulder had her up for sale $3,000. He drove it back and forth, he took care of it, he loved it, and for $2,000 I love it now too. There are no interior door knobs, the interior is a mess, but she runs solid and has a cool look to her. This may be the vehicle that drives those walk and wake clients round, or tows my next boat to the ocean.....more on that later.

     And on the home front my chicks, now full fledged chickens, are dropping eggs. There are delicious, "meatier', and I love having them. Thanks to mom and out neighbors for keeping an eye on them while we're down in the Cape. We started with six, the fox got two, but I think four is a good number for us. 

    And then there is school. First year doctorate program at Villanova. Second class in. I wasn't checking emails and they moved the semester up three weeks. My classmates emailed last week and said 'Where are you", my answer "Driving to the Cape"....."um we have class". So I have to quickly get on track and am thankful to a very understanding professor who cut me some slack.

And then there's that last $1,000. I snoozed and lost on this little garage kept gem. It was $1,500 and would have been perfect for me and Theresa to do the Delaware River in front of our house, even in skinny summer water. But it's gone, I couldn't fir the ride to Lancaster in and someone got it. Wasn't meant to be. 

Maybe what's meant to be is another Jones.........stand by