Friday, July 19, 2024

07.19.24 At least I landed a flattie....


     It's been a while since I fished and posted something directly related to fly fishing. So I hit Leif up and see if he wanted to meet for a quick early morning trip to the beach. It was very comfortable at

68 degrees and I expected the beach to be empty during my 0530 arrival. But to my horror the parking lot was full of cars. The beach club or town must have had a "sleep on the beach" night and after deciding to just stay put on the beach we made our way down and found the cars owners. We made our

way down to the water and found good water conditions, not so much for the beach and structure. While summer winds effect the sand movement and subsequent shoaling, this stretch just didn't have much for structure. With the full moon tide bringing lots of water at the 613 hight tide there just wasn't much of a trough to fish. Most of the stretches had flat sloping sand with a sand bar out of range for crab flies. 

But the water was clean and green and looked real good coupled with rising temps (above 60) with the recent switch from two months of south winds. I worked a tandem of AMC's (Archer's Mole Crab) 

with some Anise dropped on right where the trough should be and quickly went tight on a sub- 18 inch fluke. I thought maybe I picked a nice beat and maybe the fluke were stacked up faced into the beach

scarp looking for dislodged mole crabs, and there lots of shells of sand fleas on the beach. These crabs shed just like say calicos do so it's not uncommon to find blanks on the beach where the tide line ends. 

     I jumped up on the rocks but it was for naught as the shoaling sand made it flat and skinny along both sides. I was hoping for a striped bass to show up and maybe out further off the beach they were 

patrolling around. WEW fished until an hour after high tide and the water hadn't really started to empty into channels or cuts. If we waited we would have been bothered by the walkers who look shocked when they see a backcast as the look seemingly unaware along the waters edge. We called it a day with

just one flat fish to show for it. It felt good to get out and good to catch up with Leif. On the way out Leif said, "Enjoy your bagel", and he was right with his prediction. This morning though I wouldn't be alone as my baby turned 19 today so me and her brother went for bagels, of course with a little white milk on the side. 

Thursday, July 18, 2024

07.18.24 I always hated political conventions, but...

      Not a fishing post and I'm not a fan of politicians or politics but do have an opinion, I know who cares, after day 3 of the Republican Convention. I'm an independent. That means I'd vote on either side of aisle or even for a third party candidate if I so chose. Voting is something we should all do as American citizens to keep democracy on the up and up. It is our duty. 

     Politics has become downright ugly. Yes if you look way back there were jabs here and there from both sides but the current vitriol and character assassinations have turned me off from just about everyone in politics and in the news media that covers them. It's no longer news reporting it's just an endless cycle of opinion pieces presented by skewed and biased networks. It's unbearable to watch. From Madlow to Hannity I bypass them all and haven't found that straight reporting without opinion newspaper, show, or post that interests me. But that's my choice. 

     I am done with the old guard politics we have today. Luckily some of the dinosaurs have filtered out as of late but there are still plenty roaming the earth, well Washington. In this great country I can't believe that there isn't a group of young politicians, true students of the game from both sides, that are working towards becoming President of the United States. Isn't there a developmental league or minor league system like they have in professional sports? Oh yeah I'm out on them as well, having just become a casual observer depending on the time of year. 

     Right now our political system is a mess. It continues to be a lesser-than-two-evils game every election cycle. Forever certain groups leaned more heavily one one party than another, white Christians seem to gravitate to the Right, while women, minorities, and the Unions stayed Left. That is no more. What remains are hard extremists on both sides that are becoming the face of each party. One of the things I liked about the 55 and over place, Latitude Margaritaville in Hilton Head, a few weeks back was the HOA rule that you can't fly political or social issue flags. I like that. I like that because todays flags and banners state things that are disrespectful to the Office Of the President of the United States and other candidates. Have we forgotten that children can read? I think years ago it was "Go Kennedy" or "Reagan 1984". Look around these days and see what's hanging off of peoples porches and from the beds of their pickups. To me, I'm good without flags. I don't care what candidate you like, what party you're with, what team you like, where you went to school, and what social issue you need every person that drives by to know like your house is protected by political correctness. 

     But back to conventions. I don't watch them, well I do, only when the Vice President and President or Presidential candidate speak. Before them there is an endless barrage of ass-kissing, knife throwing, basically liars, trying to get the audience all juiced up into a frenzy. I wouldn't have a problem with it if they stood up there and said, "Here's why X is my guy or girl", and spoke somewhat of the truth when doing it. Last night the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans, J.D. Vance was scheduled to speak. Unfortunately I came to early to that party. I had to be tortured by speaker after speaker and video after video and song after song before he spoke at about 1045 pm. Trump Jr. and his fiancĂ© Kim Guilfoyle spoke and to me it was like listening to someone drag their nails down a chalkboard. Who I really enjoyed hearing from was Trump's granddaughter Kai, and Vance's wife Usha. Luckily I was able to hang on for Vance's introduction after his wife's speech.

     And one of the biggest problems with all this political name calling and character assassinations is you never know where and when it's gonna come full circle. I have little to no respect for people who attacked others in the past only to reverse their position in the future, just about when that serves them well. Seeing Nicki Hailey, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio speak in anyway positive about Trump gives them little or credibility in my book. How can you go from a "Never Trumper" to "We all have differences"? And it's the same way on the Democratic side as well. Before they all switch you can see their true colors at any of the debates. My belief is, if you confident in your ideology and yourself, then there is no need to knock someone down. If they belong there they will find that out by public opinion and their votes. And before he spoke that was a knock for me on Vance. Didn't he once say Trump was a "Moral disaster" and "America's Hitler"? How do walk back from that? 

      When Vance came onto the stage I was impressed and relieved. Why? Because I didn't know the guy. Yes he's a Republican but I would have felt the same way if he were a woman and a Democrat. It was nice to just see a fresh, and young, face walking onto the stage. Why is young nice? Because if he (or if it were a she), got my or a listeners ear you could possibly see that they could be your person and someone you could actually have a political future with. Vance is 39. To me he has an impressive life resume. If I was fancied enough by him he and Trump might get my vote, and then in four years he would be the Presidential candidate, and then be President for say eight years. That's 12 years. I'm 56, that'll put me at 68 before I have to do all this lesser evil choosing like I've done in most elections. Remember I'm an independent so this scenario could include a candidate with an elephant or a donkey on their collar. During the last election that "lesser" had me casting my vote for then Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. I liked her a lot, and still do.

     Now I'm no great knower of politics and campaigns, but I do have some thoughts. Vance did good last night. He might just be enough of a buffer between the non-extreme Trump fans and the rest of the Republicans and the non-decided. He may be enough of a bright light for the future. Now it's early and I'm sure the "journalists" out there are busy digging up dirt to show that in grammar school he used to burn ants with a magnifying glass on the sidewalk. Oops, I used to do that as well. If I were a Democrat I'd be concerned and if non-decided really hesitant to throw my name into the Left. Forget all of the "stuff" that you should consider when voting, things like, safety, economy, and the future, it's more about the who's than the what's. President Biden is having a hard time these days. Depending on what you think and see and who you listen to he might have just aged out of this position. Couple that with how he handles his new Covid diagnosis and the decision if he is the Democratic candidate might be out of his hands. Vice President Harris, well I don't think she's a big fan favorite. I also think she'd get destroyed by Vance in a debate. Adding to your own opinion of the two, is the recent backlash from Democratic politicians, rock stars, and his constituency to bow out and let someone else take the reins a strong enough message for Biden to step down?

And who could step in this late in the game?

     If not President Biden and Vice President Harris who is in the developmental league on that side? I think Michelle Obama could be a crowd favorite ands really make the Right sweat. If the Democrats are worried about age, and Vance being 39, would they rush Corey Booker up to the major leagues? He's become the anti-Menendez as of late and his name is again in the news for that. Gavin Newsome's, the California Governor, name has been mentioned a lot. Remember Don Jr's fiancĂ© Kim Guilfoyle was once married to Newsome. That'll be interesting. 

How about Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg? Or some Democratic Governors that aren't really household names unless you live in those states? I think the Democrat's house is on fire and someone better call the fire department and quick. 

     Tonight I will watch Trump speak, hopefully timing it so I don't have to listen to the love-fest that is all too common during these red and blue conventions. In the meantime I hope President Biden recovers from Covid soon. I hope he makes the best decision for himself, his family, his party, his supporters and the country. And I hope the Democrats put their best foot forward as far as a nominee so that the citizens of this country can make their best choice, whoever they vote for in the end, for the good of United States. They say the U.S. President is the most powerful man or woman on earth. Let's show the rest of the world that is true and support whoever wins in November. 

I'm going fishing tomorrow so at least there will be a fishing related post this week. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

07.17.24 Staying put in front of the computer....


Click on to enlarge

     With the brutal weather continuing it was a good day to stay inside and get some work done before freshman orientation next week and the start of the fall semester. Of course my undiagnosed ADHD kicked in and I wandered off into fishing, Trenton, and some local history of the Delaware River. I'm not well versed in history but I do enjoy it. I'm not good with dates and events but I really like looking at the history of cities and their changing landscapes over the years. While Newark is my favorite city of all time, living down near Trenton has become a solid second. Not only did the Delaware River play a huge part on the history of industrialization and manufacturing in the city it also was a huge part in the fisheries and fishing from the days of the Indians until today. Those fish included American shad, alewife and blueback herring, sturgeon and striped bass. But I'll do fish and fishing another time. 

     The landscape of the riverfront in Trenton and across the river in Morrisville, Pa. has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. What lead me to this post was an image of the old American Bridge Steel Factory that sat where the Trenton Thunder baseball stadium now sits. Those factories changed 

names over the years and the last remaining part is now occupied by the restaurant Cooper's Riverview, which was previously Kat Man Du. Just north of Cooper's the old wharf has been dismantled to make 

way for a new waterfront park which is planned to connect Lamberton Street to The Island neighborhood opposite Rotary and Blaugard Islands in the cities most northern section along the river. Then there are the bridges, which haven't changed much as of late. Starting from the south there is the 

Morrisville-Trenton Railroad Bridge, the Trenton-Morrisville (US.1 ) Toll Bridge, the Lower Trenton Bridge or 'Trenton Makes Bridge", and to the north the Calhoun Street Bridge. 

     One of the biggest changes to Trenton's waterfront occurred in the 1950's when the John Fitch Highway, or Route 29, was constructed which cut through the waterfront neighborhoods separating, if you will, the city from the waterfront. Some say it was the worst planned highway built in the U.S. To construct the highway the city used Eminent Domain to seize homes, apartment buildings, and commercial buildings to make way for the construction of the 9 mile highway. Also destroyed was the once grand Stacy Park, which sat between the State House and the Delaware River. Interestingly just 

in front of the Capital building was a canal called Trenton Water Power which supplied the cities drinking water. There were a series of pedestrian bridges which went from State House building side

over to Stacy Park. From the 1940's until it's final end in the mid-1960's Stacy Park's size diminished. Parts of it were taken to make way for buildings and parking lots and the final parcels taken for the 

completion of Route 29 below the Calhoun Street Bride down to Lalor Street. Later, in the early 2000's the Trenton Tunnel was constructed and on top of it the six-acre River Walk Park now sits . 

     Across the river is Morrisville, Pennsylvania and that side of the river has seen major changes in the last 100 years as well. Starting just south of the Calhoun Street Bridge, in front of the Morrisville Water Works, are the remnants of the old wing dam. Looking below you can see it with the levee in the 

foreground. The wing dam created a diversion, or channel, on the Morrisville side around where  Morrisville Island once stood. You can see more of the wing dam in a section of the map below. You can clearly 

see the channel that sits between the mainland of Morrisville and Morrisville Island. (I can't imagine how good the fishing was off of that wing dam back in the day.) That all changed during the Great Flood of 1936 when the Delaware River crested some 25 feet flooding the Island and into Morrisville's and Trenton's downtown. On Morrisville Island the street that faced the river was, and still is, Delmorr Avenue. Today the landscape of that neighborhood is very different. 

     After that flood a levee was built along the river and the channel cut off and filled in to for what is now Williamson Park. There is no more Morrisville Island. If you go there today you can visualize where the river cut through and where is would have emptied just in the shadows of the Trenton - Morrisville Bridge on the Morrisville side. 

       Below the bridges on the Pennsy side there wasn't much directly on the river. That's  until you hit where the massive U.S. Steel Fairless Works plant sat on the Delaware River until it was shuttered and 

demolished around 2010. Currently from the area south of the Morrisville-Trenton Railroad Bridge on the Pa. side to where U.S. Steel once sat is a series of large warehouse complexes, some sitting almost on the river and around Biles Creek which enters and exits in Falls Township, Pa. And to come full

circle it's only right to jump back across the river and to Duck Island which sits in and around Lamberton Street. It was there where the PSEG Mercer Generating Station once operated and stood. It was a massive coal fired plant, one of three in New Jersey, which was shut down in 2017 and demolished in 2020. And heading north on Duck Island before 

you hit Route 29 and the Trenton Tunnel you'll pass what's left of the Trenton Marine Terminal. Since Trenton was an industrial powerhouse city located on the Delaware River transportation and shipping

were a major part of the waterfront. Depths of the river, and its nine foot tides, made Trenton the most northern destination for large ships. Not only did it become shallow around the Trenton Falls but the Trenton Makes Bridge and its piers made navigating the channels impossible. Ships could go as far as the train bridge, and before the wharf was demolished in 2023 you could see remnants of it (below).

     If you go to the Trenton Marine Terminal today you can see what's left of two large cranes that once stood there. The cranes, interestingly called the Hog Island Cranes, and not the Duck Island Cranes

which is on the ground where they stood, are on the National Site of Historic Places. The two gantry cranes played an important role in shipbuilding during World War I. They were originally located on Hog Island, at the Hog Island Shipyard, two of 28 cranes that stood on the banks of the Delaware River 

in Philadelphia. In 1930 the cranes were sold off as government surplus and sold to Trenton for $5,000 each for Trenton. The intent was to increase Trenton as a working seaport. What is noted in the National 

Parks service nomination form from 1980 is that "...Trenton is planning to refurbish and maintain the cranes in their current environment." For years the cranes were put to work and could be seen along the 

river and from points north looking south down the river. I did lots of digging online and couldn't find any information on what happened to those cranes. I did find out that in 2003 an ice dam and river 

flows caused part of the terminal to collapse. Maybe it was then the cranes were dismantled and most likely sold for scrap. As with everything else the heydays of the Trenton and Morrisville waterfronts are far in the past. The TMT was once a bustling terminal for passenger and industrial ships to call it a stop. 

     The story above is similar to so many other cities that have seen things change and not for the better. Can you imagine getting all gussied up to take a boat ride up to Trenton where you would visit the bustling downtown or visit your Italian family in the city's Chambersburg neighborhood. Or maybe 

catch a ride over to the Pennsylvania Rail Road Station for a trip to New York City. I tell you, without being there, those times were much better. Back in the day our ancestors survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and tons of other problems, like discrimination and unrest, and seemed to have found a way to survive and provide. The landscapes were different, the quality of things was different, and we were different. It wasn't perfect I am sure, but I'd would really have loved to have been around from say the 1930's going forward. Alright, time to get back to work. 

Monday, July 15, 2024

07.16.24 New push for single hooks on lures for striped bass...


      A few years back the use of circle hooks rather than J-hooks for bait fishing for striped bass was put into law. It eliminated the practice of snag and drop fishing mostly when large schools of menhaden are around and the big bass are surrounding the schools. While some may argue using a 10/0 snag hook 

doesn't lead to increased release mortality the truth is they do. And it's more relevant when we have a 28-31" slot and anything over, like cow sized females, have to be released. Not only was snag and drop used from the boats when big bunker are around but also from shore anglers when the peanut runs in the late fall are happening. Those that fish bait, and now use circle hooks, will tell you there are proper techniques when using circle hooks. Use them wrong and the hook won't catch in the corner of the mouth like they are designed to. 

     I have been preaching for some times about removing treble hooks from striper fishing, at least those tailing or belly hooks. Most of my fishing buddies are hard core plug casters and have slowly made the move to replacing the tail hook with a single hook or a flag. Flags are typically made out of bucktail and I think really add to the action of the lure, but I've never spin or plug fished before. 

     One of the reasons I have been pushing this is because the ASMFC has been zeroing in on fishing release mortality mores now that we have a slot limit and anything over 31 inches goes back. Dead discards floating off the beach and dead carcasses on the beach are commonplace during the early and late runs. Last fall I saw my share of dead bass over 40" while walking the sand. My thinking is if we, as a collective group of anglers, show that we care and take the steps to reduce mortality then maybe the ASMFC won't step in and mandate seasonal closures or how our baits, live, plug, or fly are fished. 

     There is a movement now to move to going single on lures. The American Saltwater Guides Association and Hogy Lures have collaborated on just that. Couple that with studies done by the Massachusetts DNF and interest by the ASMFC and it's time to make this a reality. 

     While treble hooks aren't used by fly anglers there's something we can do to do our part and make releases of striped bass easier and may led to a reduced fly release mortality. Crushing down the barbs or tying with barbless hooks can help if you so choose. I try my best but every now again one barbed hook slips through but when I find it I take my hemostats and pinch it down. 

     Mike Armstrong from the Mass. DMF presented to the ASMFC on release mortality in relation to  circle and treble hooks. Treble hooks not only do damage down their throat but the second hook can damage the gill plate, eye, skin, or lip. Hogy Lures made he initiative to no longer put aft hooks on 

their lures. Additionally they are moving to barbless hooks from the front treble. That's the way things are moved in a different direction. It takes just one big play to move the chains down the field. These 

days a lot of plug makers are selling their plugs without hooks. That way anglers can choose the type(s) of hooks they choose to put on their lures. My friend Scott Stryker offers his gliders ( below) without

hooks for just that reason. The truth is, yes, you may miss a few more fish, but, in doing so you save a few more fish isn't it worth it? You can listen to owner Mike Hogan from Hogy on the ASGA Guidepost podcast HERE

07.15.24 Trump survive's assignation attempt...

      Theresa and I had just finished up destroying some ice cream sundaes at a place called Fleck's Ice Cream in the Villas when we heard Trump had been shot. The incident was only a half hour old but you couldn't tell from the scenes of the various landscapes as we drove home. Back in the day when big news hit the world would pause and it wouldn't be uncommon to see people huddled around any television or radio they could find to hear any updates. 

    Well, not today. Not during these times. It's either because we've become numb to shootings, either mass or single assignation attempts, have multiple types of news streaming available, or for like many people, they just don't care. 

     Assassination attempts are not new to this country or for the Office of President of the United States. Four sitting Presidents have been assassinated, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. Additionally Ronald Reagan was shot and injured while in office and Theodore Roosevelt and Donald Trump after their terms were up. 

     Let's be honest. All of our elected officials have "help" writing their speeches. It has been this way for as long as people have been reporting on them. It's the delivery of those speeches that can make the person on the podium seem charismatic and believable, and therefore more trusting. I watched President

Biden's remarks after the shooting and during his address Sunday night. I found him to be credible and sincere. While neither of the potential candidates running for election is November would be my choice I respect the President of the United States and the process by which they are elected. Although, I must admit, from time to time there does some to be some minky-flinky going on all the way around. 

     From President Biden last night, 

     As a result of the assassination attempt on President Trump three people were struck by gunfire. Two survived and are now in stable condition but one was pronounced dead at the scene. 50 year old Corey Comperator, from Carver, NY, was killed as he shielded his wife and daughters from the barage of

gunfire directed to Trump. While we have become super judgmental and stereotypical of supporters of political candidates in recent years throwing a blanket over all is just not fair. Yes, there are extremists, trust me I have seen them, that bleed red or blue. I can do without the flags, of course not the American flag, and bumper stickers that are disparaging, especially to a sitting President, that are used as a weapon and a wind up dividing us more than uniting us. Yes, I know it's America and a free country and the 1st Amendment. Recently Theresa and I drove through a 55 and over in Hilton Head (which we plan 

on moving into) and as I looked at the houses I couldn't put my finger on what was missing row after row. Then I asked the tour guide, "Where's all the political flags and stuff (BLM, LGBTQIA, DEI, sports teams, etc) ?" "They are not allowed", he said. And you know what, it was a pleasant surprise. And you have to keep your garage doors shut when you're not pulling your car in or out. I loved it all. 

     Comperatore was 50 years old. Married with two daughters. Loved to fish. God fearing he attended church every Sunday. He was a local firefighter forever and recently served as fire chief. He was an engineer by trade. Is he the guy you judge standing behind Trump on the stage during his rallies? Be careful who you judge. And the same can be said for those that stand behind Biden, or did so for President Obama. Now, while I say you shouldn't judge, there are easy to spot nut-jobs out there from both sides of the aisle, those you can have fun with. 

     If you are one of the folks out there wishing the kid (shooter) was a better shot or should have taken lessons you are truly a sick f&%k. Jacqueline Warsaw, a staff member for Mississippi Congressmen Bennie Thompson and president of the local NAACP chapter, took to social media to voice her opinion, which she is entitled to. However, just because you have the right to say something doesn't mean others don't have the right to denounce what you said, or in Thompson's case, be fired shortly after her post. And those people are out there.You may be one. You may work with one. Live with one. Or live next to one. As much as Biden and Trump are adversaries and different down to the core of their being, I do not think for a minute that each of them would want the other dead. If you're a conspiracy theorist then maybe this falls right into your mindset. Do each of them want to win, yes. Are both of them playing gutter ball, as politics has now become, yes. But I think, well hope, neither would want the other dead, except maybe by natural causes. 

     This country is a mess. We're living in a bubble and have become trained on how to think and how to live. I believe the root of it all has been the advances in technology. I beg to go back for a year to having a television with channels, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13, house phones (and maybe pagers) instead of cell phones, and no cable television but daily newspapers. I wouldn't know, or care, what people who I don't even know, or care about, are wearing, doing, or eating. Just think about how much time in 2024 you spend on electronics compared to say 1984 or 1994. It's just stupid. 

     For years there has been a push to "Shop Local". Imagine if we lived that way. Imagine if the people or things we came in direct contact with each day occupied most of our brain energy, with a little space left for national or international thought. We, well I, continue to not live local, and in the moment. I 

spend way too much time in front of a screen, a phone, a computer, or television. While I wish I could go back in time no one forces me to comply with the norms of today. No one says I have to have a cell phone, or cable TV, or online banking or automatic bill pay. I don't have to allow for Cookies to be enabled and tempted with ads every time I log on. But after years of being programmed it is hard to break away from societal norms and what is expected of us all. And then there's Amazon. Is it good for us and our country? I really don't know. I wish I could go back to shopping local. 

If I had my way all of this would go away, and I guess that would include this blog as well. 
     I'm glad Trumps okay, RIP to Corey Comperatore, and I hope a speedy recovery to the two other who were shot on Saturday. I'm not into politics and truthfully it all makes me sad that these two are the best and brightest politicians America has to offer its citizens. In my opinion, this failed assassination attempt will only fuel Trump's campaign. If it's Trump vs Biden, Biden doesn't have a chance. I think the only way Democrat's can win this is to quickly put some else on the ticket.....