Thursday, September 23, 2021

09.23.21 Nice morning to remember Ryan...



     If you're a reader of this blog you might as well know that two times a year you are going to get a Ryan post. One on his birthday, August 18, and then one on the anniversary of his death, September 23rd. Today was a beautiful morning on the beach to spends some time with Ryan and my thoughts. Same ritual. Walk out on Phillips Avenue jetty and stand on "Ryan's Rock" where


I scattered some of his ashes four years ago. It's a funny thing, these deaths of our loved ones. The four years since he has been gone have seemed like and eternity, while the 21 years that I had with him seemed like a blur. Maybe you really know the importance of something until its gone. Not that I don't realize how important he was to his parents, siblings, and friends- but how important it is to have continued interaction with for the sole purpose to not miss the opportunity to create a lasting memory. And about memories, I have so many, so many good ones, and so many shake


your head memories. From the good, to the bad, to the ugly. Below is a memory I will share. Ryan hated water. Not that he didn't like to shower, but he hated getting wet. Don't know what that fear, or non-preference was, but he hated to go under a sprinkler, hated jumping in a pool, and hated jumping into the flume on the Ausable River in Wilmington, New York.....enjoy!


     While the reflection on this day for me is about Ryan, its also about me. As a man, a father, a husband. How is my family doing? What can I do for them today? Has it been enough? I have always been a work to live rather than a live to work guy. Everyday I have done something that puts my family and I towards another experience which means another memory. Now not all my ideas have been stellar, but as I pour through the hard drives of thousands of images and videos I see I've done alright. I hope Ryan reads this blog, and can share it with his new buds up in heaven. I may have seemed a little short with him towards the end, but f'in jump already! Peace. 



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

09.22.21 More driving than fishing....

     A couple of late afternoon cancellations in the office had me with nothing to do....so why not go fishing? I drove a different way down to the water, coming in from the north. Hit the Hook and found swimmers, beach goers, anglers soaking bait with at least 4-6 ounces to hold, and a bunch of spin guys in my spot. Didn't see any bait or splashes, not close nor far in the distance, and no birds working. 

     Second spot, watching the incoming tide for a bit. No bait no splashes nor working birds, just gulls flying around on the hunt for something to happen. 

     The next spot was more of the same. Guys soaking bait. Birds flying around, no bait or fish. 


     Last spot. Docks were destroyed bu Hurricane Ida. Saw the most bait here, and an occasional blow up way way out in the channel. Stayed until the end of the incoming but couldn't stand standing there watching and getting mauled by the mosquitos when the slight east breeze let up. 

You don't know if you don't go. 

 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

09.21.21 Four years ago.....


     I was recently able to get into a hard drive that was in an old iMac I had that blew up. Scrolling through the images I found some from a trip Theresa and I made four years ago. Newport Rhode Island had been one of my favorite places to go to. That was before I finally opened my eyes and realized Cape May has a similar feel to it. So many miles and so much gas to get there. My first trip there was in 1993, and my first striped bass was caught in 2002 on a half a day charter with The Saltwater Edge. 


     One of my favorite places to fish is in Newport, and this groin sticks out into a rock field where bass chase bait. I've never caught a big fish there, but many schoolie bass, from August through late September. I like it on a bigger tide, where its gets dicey making your way to the rocks. Most angler squish their way around getting to a good perch to fish. That I'll let them have. I can't imagine me in a sausage skin swimming out between the ebb and flow of the tide.



 

09.20.21 One fish, two fish, too many bluefish...


     Late report from the weekend and before the Harvest Moon. Hit the outgoing out front and in the back. Nothing out front, but the 2-5 pound blues were non-stop threading anything I threw in. Didn't see the amount of bait that I had been seeing, and it has been reported swimming happily along the beaches basically untouched. While there are mullet moving, the Monmouth County beaches just aren't holding many fish, and we haven't started the fall run ye


     After fueling the up the sled up this week out in Pottstown PA I took the opportunity to enjoy the fall weather and dropped her in the Delaware. The Trenton boot dock were destroyed during Ida so there was only one small section to load and launch from. On the way back the low tide made it interesting. Thanks to Captain Eric Kerber who noticed a tire rub on the trailer fender. Some nice guys at the dock helped me get it out of the way, surely saving me the tire. He and Joe Cermele, of Hooks Shots fame, we just getting back from a  banner day chasing snakeheads in the back waters off the main river. Below is one of the beasts they landed, and harvested to eat. 


     As far as eating, my plan was to hit Curtains in Burlington City bait they are closed for the season. We motored down to Bristol and had a great meal at King George's Inn. Good atmosphere and good food. If you boat the Delaware its a must find, with very boat friendly docks and ramps to tie up to. 



     Yesterday was Christmas in September as I got my Helios 2 back from the Orvis rod shop. This one fell to a broken tip thanks to me closing the window in my truck on it. Its now ready to be broken again. 




     These photos came from Leif who has found a pick of small bass and blues chasing bait through the bigger swelly water around the full moon, which has created big and lower tides depending on which one you hit. Tides aren't too good right now if you're a early morning or evening angler. Its incoming with high hitting the 8-9 am mark, which puts the outgoing in the early afternoon and during the graveyard shifts. 


 

Friday, September 17, 2021

09.17.21 Why?, just why?....


.....did I feel the need to drive east to catch the end of the outgoing and the start of the flip. That is the question I repeated thought in my head as I took the drive of shame home and then spooked my wife as I tried to sneak into bed. Just why? Anyway that's what I did. Two hours left on the ebb tide, some bait, nothing on them up. Fished near two guys and saw one connect on a small bass. Stayed 1/2 hour into the flip but the steady E wind just created ripples across the top which I wasn't dealing with. I liked the calm flat outgoing. 


     After some appointments in the late morning I decided to hook up the boat and test Lauren's brake job. I headed NW, I think, taking the boat and a bunch of 5 gallon gas containers to get ethanol free fuel. They say these HPDI engines and ethanol don't work together well and I am not testing their experience. While out in Pottstown I of course stopped by Laura's house and had a nice lunch, some homemade cookies, and visit. The bonus was looking in Jim's barn and finding the brackets which secure the radar tower to the center console. How this thing didnt rip off during trips in snotty weather last year baffles me. Now its nice and secure and I can take off that stupid green noodle wrap I had put on to slow the movement. 


     And for those that creep on me while I a,m fishing, joking with that of course, I got my new redone AVANGLR plates in the mail so they replace the standard plates issued when I got the Yukon. 


Thursday, September 16, 2021

09.16.21 "Got Bait?"....


     Didn't know what to expect this morning...well I kinda did. Usually the second week of September we see the mullet run, and there's bass on them. Sometimes its a week early or a week late. On Monday we have the September Harvest Moon, which is full. That should get the bait moving. Of course I was way to early this morning hitting the water just after high tide, about 430 AM. Ran a snake fly across three beaches without a tap. When Leif showed up I was making my way to my truck. 


     I took a ride down to the Manasquan and found a guy seining on a flat for bait, and it was like when Jesus told the apostles in the boat to cast their nets. It was silversides, good sized ones, and a lot of them. As light arrived I watch as bait swam around mostly without being bothered, looks like some snapper blues were in chase. After a short ride I found more peanuts than spearing, and they too weren't



being harassed by things below the surface, although a variety of birds attached from above. Can't wait until next week after the moon to be there when the bait pours out front, hopefully there's some bass.


 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

09.15.21 Mechanic in training in the house....


What to do when your 19 yr old automotive technician student wants to help with your screeching brakes? Set up the lights and start handing her tools to replace pads, rotors and calibers. That's Lauren turning the wrenches. PS- I know nothing about cars. #chixfixcarstoo


 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

09.14.21 Woke up to go but didn't....


     If I lived closer I would have went. Woke at 3 am just before the buzzer was set to go off. Thought about it and rolled over and went back to bed. Today is a late start at work but I couldn't face the dejection of driving home tired and fishless. 

     Its that week. Full moons a coming in five days and the bait has started to show, spearing, bay anchovies, and depending on who you talk to some mullet, thats out front. In the back of the bass and rivers the bay ebbs and flows with the tide and there are some bass and blues around to chase them. But you have to be ready to fish the tides, regardless of the time of day that they hit. High tides have been around 2 am, so you know that means graveyard shifts. 


     I had the need to fish so I took the short drive downriver and made some casts without a bump on the incoming tide. I'm do for a graveyard shift, one of those 3 am - 8 am tries, but it just is such a pain and it seems the bass haven't shown up yet or are not moving in on the bait. I know, wha wha wha. Just shut up and fish. 

 

Monday, September 13, 2021

09.13.21 Twenty years ago today....


     This past weekend we remembered the 20 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. Its been a long time and a lot has happened in this country and the world since. Twenty years ago today while working as a Newark firefighter I brought my father and brother over to the WTC site. They are both union ironworkers and by day three ground zero was in the need of skilled labor to assist with cranes and machinery while rescuers searched the rubble for survivors. Sadly, in only hours after the attacks, no survivors were further found. I was and am proud to have been able to work alongside of my father and brother that day. The above is the only picture I have of the three of us as we visited the rehab station after a long shift that morning. 

Never forget, and let us not let history repeat itself. 

 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

09.08.21 Fall rituals have started....


     Last two off to school fall 2021. Lauren starting her automotive technology studies at Mercer County College and Erin her junior year at Red Bank Regional. I have done these photos since kindergarten, long before cell phones were born and way before social media, and maybe even before personal computers. 

     School has started, bring on the mullet and the fall run!


 

Monday, September 6, 2021

09.06.21 Tough week for New Jersey....


     Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc through some parts of New Jersey this past week. Seven tornados touched down, rainfall that caused flooding that claimed lives and property. In Hopewell, where I live, we had 9.31 inches of rain in two hours. Two residents were killed, and we almost lost a police officer who was trying to rescue one of the residents who was killed. It was just that fast. While the Delaware hit 100 year floor levels, it was the smaller tributaries and the canal that did the most damage. 


Lambertville during the storm via Pearl Gabel on Twitter

     On Wednesday I took the below image when I made some casts on the higher tide, the top image was taken Friday, 24 hours after the worst of the storm had hit. In our area Lambertville, above, took the brunt of the storm, as well as other towns that are surrounded by the smaller streams. Our neighbors 3 and 4 house away lost their homes when Jacobs Creek rose over 20 feet bringing water to the second and third stories of their homes. 



     We were lucky, inches of water in the basement that knocked out old Betsy the Oil Burner and left us chasing the unrelenting flood for 8 hours through the night until it subsided. Luckily I had my father's dump trailer empty and on hand which made disposing of waterlogged stuff from the basement easy to get rid of. Towns around us still continue to empty their house to the streets and shovel out mud and sewage from the basement and floors that were flooded. I would say, this is their Sandy. In years past it has been the Delaware River that has done the damage, but, again, it was the water from the high ground that flooded the small streams and trapped residents in their cars and houses with no where to run. Many lives have been changed forever due to this, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. 




     After cleaning up the house we headed south to see how our Cape May place held up. It was mainly a wind event there, as evidenced by the tornado that hit the South Jersey town of Mullica Hill. Some branches down and some flooded yards at our place but we got lucky once again. 

     We were invited to stop by a Cape May beach and join one of Theresa's friend's sons as he spent the night shark fishing. It didn't take long for the rods to bend. Erin gave it a go on the reel and her shark was a sand bar shark but the largest while we were there was the below bull shark that fell to a dogfish chunk on a 10/0 hook. All were hooked in the corner of their mouths and released quickly after the hook out. Pretty cool to see. We were there for about an hour and half and up to that point he had landed 15 sharks. 


 

Monday, August 30, 2021

08.30.21 Tough week for America....


       Yesterday while attending church services on the boardwalk in Cape May the flag was raised to half staff in honor of the 13 brave American service members killed in Afghanistan this past week. We, well they, continue to sacrifice and give to serve others and protect us. I hope and pray that we learn from these senseless wars and tragedies and prevent putting out people in harms way in the future. I believe we need to focus on the homeland putting out interests first, and then lending a hand to others after that. We are a mess right now, for many reasons, and any normalcy of traditional fall rituals, like returning to school, have already been fractured by the ramping up of Covid infections. 

                          

     And over the past few days the Gulf Coast has seen Hurricane Ida hit with winds to over 140 mph which is nearly a Cat 5 hurricane. Ironically it happened the day that Katrina hit 16 years ago. As of now there have been no levy breaks and hopefully the damage and death toll stays to a minimum. I remember Katrina well having gone there as a photojournalist and nurse. Pulling shifts as an RN at a makeshift hospital at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge before heading into New Orleans 


and switching over to a photojournalists role capturing the rescues and aftermath of the hurricane. Below is a picture of me standing at the intersection of Desire and Marius Streets in the city's St. Clause section. It was an experience both as a nurse and photographer I will never forget. I can still feel the heat, smell the stench of bayou meets fuel meets sewer, and the sights of desperation on the faces of the residents in the poorest neighborhoods of New Orleans. 




     Ans this week comes as the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, another large scale tragedy I was involved with, but more on that in a later post. I just pray that there isn't any action from our enemies as we remember the destruction and death we suffered on our American soil. 


     This past week I had the girls and my nephew down in Bradenton visiting my mom. We had a busy week, hit more thrift stores than I can remember, ate too much, enjoyed her air conditioning, and hitting the beach and docks. The best fishing was there, some frozen shrimp on a barbless circle which provided a constant stream of bites and fish landed. 




     Sometimes I forget what fishing is supposed to be...just having fun and catching fish. Its not about the fly rod, its not about being anti-bait and spin fishing, its about the smiles like the ones above enjoying, and respecting, the fish and the thrill of a bite on the other end of your line.