Friday, May 29, 2020
High tide at Trenton was about 830am so I got out about 6 and made my way down. Got out of the truck and found "blitzing" white perch and micro bass set up in lanes eating just about anything that would float past.
I broke out the 7 wt and today knowing my 2020 shot of a big bass in the Delaware has passed. Lore has it that the end of May into mid-June is popper season so I tied on a Brad Buzzi popper and had at it. Several swipes, lots of follows, several to hand. I had tied up a Snake Fly version last night and gave that a go but had no takers. Off to work!
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Got some intel that the boys have been catching a bunch of micro bass mixed in withs all blues in the surf. They're not targeting the small fish, they are just hitting even the bigger, and Ugly Ass Fly. Decided to change it up a bit as my thought of leaving at 230 am to fish in the morning didn't go over well with the boss lady.
So I left about 5 and probably had a fly in the water around 630pm. It was an hour into the flood and I jetted to the tip of the jetty and found great water but no one home. It was pea soup fog on the beach which I thought would spark a good bite. Joe and Leif were down and they started getting those micros to hit and I just wasn't interested and either were they. About 730 I was done.
We walked out and where I usually make a left to go home out of Phillips I made a right to check a spot due north. After two dozen casts and not a tap I was done. So it was a right hand turn and heading home. But then I made a left and pulled into a street that I had frequented hundreds of times before. In the past guys would be out looking with big plugs waiting for the bait to get pushed in . This time just a lone guy on a soak.
I made my way north of his coordinates and then south a bit fishing really nice water. About an hour in and halfway through the tide I connected on the nice bass in the top pic and the smaller version down below. I stayed till 10pm, even throwing a popper in the big swell waves off the jetty with no interest. Good outing and luckily no bluefish.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Monday, May 25, 2020
Hit it just before high tide at 515am. Never saw so much bait in the water. Hitting the surface like it was almost rising fish to a hatch. Thinking it might be perch coming up for herring or shad fry? Not sure. Nothing on top but the fish were rising. Threw everything I had and had a swipe at a popper that broke off on a cast after hitting the concrete several times and wearing the flouro thin.
Tried a few different spots that looked real juicy but not a tap. Did find what I think they call a Redfin so that will add to my collection. There were a ton of boats and kayakers out most throwing topwater but I didn't see a fish caught.
Leif called to rub it in that he found a half dozen fish during an evening outing, including one keeper. I thought about making the trip to the beach this morning but I just don't have any confidence in any of the waters I call home. Bring on Marthas Vineyard! 19 days and counting.
|Leif Petersen photo|
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Down by 530 am. Joe and Leif in the area. Started as close as the tip of the jetty as I could. Fished the incoming for about 2 hours. I had a touch, felt like a small bluefish and Leif hag a pull also. No fish to be had. Water was clean and green with a good swell. Nothing home for three fly guys.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Right before the deluge I knew I was going. I thought the added water might turn something on. I started in Trenton but the outflows were putting garbage down into the river. I tried throwing a big fly without a tap before moving upriver to cleaner pastures.
I didn't want to go just et so I jumped over the bridge and fished the ebb tide and the boulders that became visible with the drop. I couldn't believe I didn't get a good fish. Threw big, then a Clouser, then an UAF, and then a small fly and connected on a nice young bass. Its time to put the 12 weight away and go down to my river 8 weight. Its over.
Monday, May 18, 2020
I've been running down to the river, trying new spots and different tides. Still throwing bigger flies trying to catch a bigger fish. Water temp are now above 60 degrees which means the fish are getting their freak on. Maybe thats why they're not eating. Yeah thats it. Sounds like a good excuse.
This morning on my Facebook feed an image popped up from three years ago. It was Theresa on the sticks when we float the Main Stem. Good times, Good memories. Speaking of the Upper Delaware, New York opened up its waters to guided fishing this past weekend and from whatI hear its bumper boats up and down the river. Years ago a large percentage of drift boats were operated by
guides alone, now everyone has one, or its a group share between a few anglers.
May 15th New Jersey opened up guided fishing in the salt for the charter and headboats. The striped bass got a good head start for spawning this year, in my opinion May 15th should be the date when striper season opens. It could be catch and release artificials only before then, that way the guys who take people fishing for money can still run trips. The meat guys won't dig it but it good for the bass.
And lastly and surprise surprise, my wife has a Marriott time share and you know what popped up as an extra availability? A condo in Vineyard Haven from June 13-20.....for $229!!! For the week! It cost me more to get over to the island with my truck. I can't wait. But, its not a fishing trip....Yeah!
Friday, May 15, 2020
River is dropping and even at high tide there's not as much water as I would like. I'm thinking next week, after 6 days of rain, it might turn things on and I might get one more shot at a good fish.
This evening Erin had one good blow up from the elevated perch and she held a little guy that we caught on a small white fly, going from big flies to little flies to cover the spectrum of their interest.
If I only knew a month ago what I know now......looks like I have to wait another year.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
"Can I go?" It's better than music to my ears. I told Erin on the way there, "Don't expect much", "I didnt catch anything last night", and, "I think the fish have moved". That was okay by her, she just wanted to go. So I started with big long casts doing my best to air a few out around 80 feet. I had a good pull way out but missed the hook set. We moved up and down as the sun set behind the famous Trenton Makes bridge.
After I about blew my arm out Erin wanted to fish, a little closer in than where I was. So I made shorter casts and we played cast and strip. Well her plan worked as the fish were closer than I had thought, its good thing she came. We watched another turn on the fly, and then one blow up on it as Erin walked upstream with the fly dragging on the surface. It was cool to see. Sometimes you just have to catch a fish, because it can either hook them, or drive them away from the sport.....Winning! That is picture of her, something that is like timeless, how cool will that be in 30 years? Hope I'm still around to see her sharing it with her kids.
Lucky for telepsych I am able to some days work from home. Today was that day. I told Theresa I had to run to the bank....and I didn't lie, it was the river bank I went to. Wanted to see about dead low. Found some new structure, was able to scout some new spots. Didn't get a tap not see any interest.
Well, I'm about two months late. My learning curve has shortened exponentially in the last three weeks regarding striped bass fly fishing in the Delaware River. Not in the entire system, but in the waters near my home. Tides, temps, turbidity, and most importantly access with the fly rod are all things I have explored and am finally feeling it. Problem is the big fish have moved down, or down and out.
Speaking with a few guys over the last few days I've learned about "the good old days" when you could catch and livelive herring. I took these photos in 2009 while on assignment in "when things were good". Selfishly I am glad that is over and I don't have to compete with the bait and the crowds. Last year with all the rain I saw tons of dead herring on the banks, this year, although less water, not a single one. They say that the fish stay until the last of the herring leave, which used to be mid-May, which is about now.
They also say its like someone pulled the drain, and the fish are here one night and gone until next year, thats the big ones of course. What will be left are the schoolies and micros that are here in better numbers from that mid-May exodus until June. Early morning top water and pocket-picking during the day.
Yesterday I ran to Monmouth County to pick up the girls. Took a look at the Navesink and it was chocolate milk from top to bottom. Made a quick stop over at Joe's house to catch up since we haven't seen each other since Covid-19 came around. In his spare time he has busy at the vice an I noticed this sick Mole Crab, aka Sand Flea, fly that he tied up using a mix of materials, including his dogs hair. Really a nice looking fly that will produce.
Before he left he asked if I needed any flies. Mmmm. Funny you should ask as my go-to Delaware herring fly is starting to show its age being bounced off the highway railings, stuck in the tress, and even a few fishes mouth. I picked the below fly as a suitable replacement. It goes about 6 inches and swims beautifully. Joe is one of the best fly tiers I know. Outside of the commercial guys like Warshawser (where's he been?), Stryker, and Buzzi he's the best local tier, and then comes Popovics and Farhar, and then me.....that was a joke.
And speaking of jokes at the vice, I went back again shortly before the high tide and wanted to have something dark and purple with me. I whipped this up, in 8 minutes, it might show it, but it worked well in the water, just didn't have any hits. I spoke with two different boats that were coming off the water and both had one school fish each.
One thing that was cool to see was the ducks mowing down bugs on top of the water. That's right HENDRICKSON"S !!!!!. These are the males, or Dark Hendrickson's as they call them. That makes me want to head upriver about 200 miles to the East or West Branch. The Delaware River is about 330 miles and Trenton is mile marker 130. Amazing that theres a nine foot tide 130 miles up river from the ocean. I'll be back to there sometime today, trying something a little different to get one last nice fish.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Didn't have patients today and was supposed to be building our chicken coop. That's okay, its too cold for them to be outside overnight anyway. Thats said, Theresa was off and out of the house early for a home delivery. Coupes are hesitant to deliver in the hospital due to Covid-19 so she's been busy delivering babies at home. So since she was gone......gone fishing.
I fished the drop, hard, for three plus hours. Moved good fish within he first dozen casts and nothing after. I jumped around, fell down, got wet but had a good time. But I was frustrated.
I came home, looked at the chicken coop in progress, left the chickens out to free range, and, well went back. This time I fished hard on the other side of the river, again frustrated. Wondering if the fish have moved out to sea. Thing is, over 60 degrees is spawning temperature, so they must still be here. With the rain and snow of the last few days the temps have dropped, but so has the river.
Before I gave up I had to give something a try. So I jumped across the bridge and hit the wall. On my first or so casts I moved another good fish. I kept at it with the NWWN honking wind trying to get my fly out there. Backcast across three lanes of traffic and wind carrying my fly line down river, but it worked. Missed four and landed one on a Joe Pheifer fly....which I'll need a replacement soon as this one has taken a beating.
This time I was able to lan the fish and release it into bigger water, although fro a distance, kind of like that jetty toss, only a bit higher. Of course tow of the fish that I saw eat were better fish, but I was lucky to get one. Wonder if Mommy will let me go before work tomorrow.