Sunday, May 30, 2010

05.30.10 Few stripers, but none for me at 8th Ave

My brother Ryan came over at 515 am and we hit 8th Ave in Asbury Park. Including us, 9 guys fishing, three fish caught using plugs or bombers. Two other fish caught before sunrise on bunker, one on chunk the other live. I made about 1,000 casts. Lots of boats offshore, no bunker or blitzes on the horizon, and no birds in sight. Heard a theory that the full moon throws thing out of whack, so maybe in the next few days things will pick up.

Rumor has it the releases from the Cannonsville Reservior will happen 6/1. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

05.29.10 No stripers this a.m. at Asbury Park

Hit the beach this morning in Asbury Park, got there before 9 and the high tide. Nothing doing. Guys said one fish caught around sun up. Just blind casted into the shallows along the jetty with no results. Boats were all over and not staying put in one place for long. Supposedly June 1st will start the releases out of Cannonsville Reservior at 260 cfs per day. Things are bad up there with the little bit of rain not denting the low water or high temps on the Upper Delaware. Luckily there has been some cloud cover which brought temps down a touch. That high, hot sun, plus the lack of releases has been bad for the system up there. Should be heading up there this week, probably Friday for my Trout Unlimited chapter annual Beaver Kill outing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

05.25.10 Long hot, hard day on the West Branch, and then "snap" at Buckingham

Woke up around 545 am from the sound of cars passing over the Hale Eddy bridge. When I tried to turn my neck it hurt from my head being jammed up against the back of the seat in my car all night. I got out, stretched, took a leak and headed down to the bridge to see what was going on. Fish were up in the large pool splashing about and there were clouds of tiny caddis in the air. I got my rod and left the size 16 rusty spinner that was on from last night and by 6 am had my first fish on, a pretty 5 inch brown. I headed up through the fog into Deposit and checked the no-kill section, where I found two nice browns trolling the shallows. I got dressed and set for the morning and carefully, or so I thought, approached the water. Needless to say didn't get a cast off before they were spooked and headed to deeper water for cover. I parked at the Laurel Hill access and spent the morning working the riffs above the sewer plant with a hares ear and princes nymph with not a bump. By 930, the fog had burned off and the sun was high and hot, water temps there were 48 degrees. I pulled out of there and headed downstream and met a

guy getting ready for the day who said they had good hatches of sulfurs and few hendricksons up at Stilesville yesterday. So up to Stilesville I went. I have to say, I am not a big fan of this stretch. The nice thing there was the water temp, 46 degrees. I managed a spot there and dropped into the water. I waked about 500 feet and realized that I didn't want to fish there. So I was back in the car and headed back down to Deposit. I was starting to feel a little hurky-jerky about the day. Running here, casting, running there, casting, over here- just not my kind of fishing. So I decided to hit my spot and wait. When I got above the no-kill I was the only guy there.
While crossing the river I saw a stonefly nymph pulling itself up onto a rock and got out the
macro lens and took some photos. I then stood riverside and waited, and waited. 10, 11, 12- around 12 a truck with three guys showed up and surveyed the section and then moved in and set up shop below me. And guess who it was, the guide I always talk about because I am always impressed with how low his guide number is, John Dembeck, #0189. He got his clients set up and had them nymphing the faster water at the head of the pool, while I was above closer to the train trestle. Both his clients caught a fish while I just stood there and waited, "protecting" my section. As I surveyed the water fish started to rise taking emergers. I tried some sulfurs and then hendricksons, nothing. The hatch wasn't in full swing so the fish were sporadic. I started o wonder if they hadn't moved down into the big water to escape the sun. I could feel the suns effects on the right side of my face and neck. My right arm was a painful red color. Then I saw a fishing working, then another, then across the river, a huge fish...rising, rising, rising. Somedays I like to catch a lot of fish, other days I want just one, today is was that one. He was set up for lunch across from me, across several current changes, and I knew it would be hard to get a good drift. It was almost 2 o'clock, and it was over 40 feet away. I started to cast, and cast, and cast. I heard the guide point out to his clients that he saw some big fish, and pointed to where I was casting. The guys stopped to eat, I still casted. Here is what I threw, sulfur and hendrickson emergers, nope, both of those in duns, hope, comparamergers, later, comparaduns, ha, cdc, parachutes, soft hackles, back to deer hair comparamergers. Got him, he took the fly, but I had too much fly line on the water and couldn't set the hook. I was dejected. It was 330. I had made casts for 1-1/2 hours. I layed off for a few minutes and he came back up, this time with two other fish. I finally decided to put on a rusty spinner dressed with a little floatant. Second 45 foot cast, bamm. Good heavy fish. His first run was downstream, and I kept my fly rod as high as I could to keep him pointed up towards me. The three guys stopped and watched as I brought the fish to net almost five minutes later. I wanted to take a picture before the release, but I didn't want to look like a goof so I put him up against my 20 inch tape mark on my fly rod, just shy of 20 inches, and let him go. It wasn't the one I wanted, but after 2 hours I had to tip my hat to the bigger fish and be happy I caught his friend. I moved back to the side of the river and saw more fish working and went at them with the same spinner. I had a great take from a big fish but he ran towards me and I couldn't set before the hook was spit. I decided to pack it in at 530. I needed to cross and went down to where one of the guys was seated waiting for maybe a later spinnerfall. The guide and the other client had moved downstream. I said to the older fellow that he had a great guide there and amused him with my guide number story. I also told him I hoped that the three weren't that amused with my super long casts for hours to one fish. The man said 0189 said that's the way you fish, one spot, sometimes one fish, so you don't spook and disrupt the section. That made me feel good, and I got a good fish. I decided to end the day on the Mainstem and drove down

to Buckingham. When I pulled in I thought I was at a drift boat convention. There at least a dozen truck trailer combinations there, plus another half dozen cars and trucks. There was also a Park Service officer out and about taking pictures of the vehicles. Kind of looked like Eliiot Ness hunting for Capone, taking pictures of license plates at mob funerals. I got down to the nice huge long pool and was hit in the face right off the bat by a big March Brown. I took the water temp, a very warm 72 degrees. When are these guys at Cannonsville going to release water? So I waded out where a pod of fish had set up and were taking the March Brown and sulfur duns. It was about a 30-40 foot cast and on the second cast I heard my Orvis fly rod

splinter. I was done, and had no spare. As I walked out two Pennslyvania Wildlife officers were setting up an interrogation section at the boat ramp. I had heard of this on one of the fly fishing forums but here it was with my own eyes, and their first victims were coming around the corner. The first boaters didn't do well at all. The officers had sheets of guide license numbers, boat launch numbers, National Park CUA use numbers, it was a frenzy. They start off like their your friend and really care, but you could tell they were as phony as a three dollar bill. So as I walk past, I hear the officer say, " How come your boat has no numbers on it?" And for some

reason I say, "Because it doesn't need to be registered." The reason I said that was before I purchased my drift boat I called Harrisburg and the boat commission and asked if it needs to be registered, "No" they said. I was furious when Deputy Dawg said, " Yes, it does, and that they, Harrisburg, gave me wrong information." So, I just split my rod, fish were up, but it was too warm to fish anyway, and this guy is just pissing me off with his I-am-so-good-at-my-job-attitude. He took my name and number, gave me his card, and said he will look into if Harrisburg is giving out bad info, and that he would help me get the drift boat registered, some how, since I don't have a title, but a transferable registration. I wanted to stay and just enjoy watching the fish and the bugs but these two guys ruined that scene. I drove back to Hancock and got on Route 17 in Hancock at 8 and pulled in the drive way in New Jersey around 1130.

05.24.10 Got into Shehawken late around 8

Ran up to the Delaware after work, hit Shehawken around 8. Water there was low and warm. Stayed into the night with the help of a high bright moon, but with no results. Had a few nightcaps at The River Run Restaurant at the West Branch Anglers, and then set up camp in my car at the Hale Eddy Bridge.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

05.23.10 Just missed big stripers in Asbury Park

Even though I am in all out trout mode, I still can't help checking in on the striper fishing which is less then a mile from my house. High tide today was at 450pm and I got down to the 8th Ave jetty around 615, and missed it by an hour. These two guys caught a 27 pound and 29 pound striper each, and a few just smaller. They stayed around to see if any schools of bunker or pods of fish were coming back in. They say it's been a really good spring so far, and will hopefully get better. Oh yeah, West Branch Tuesday morning followed by the Mainstem in the afternoon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

05.17.10 A great Project Healing Waters outing

Today the NJ chapter of Project Healing Waters had a great trip to the Pequest Trout Hatchery with some local veterans that we have been tying flies and fishing with. Today was the grandaddy of the all the days. Previously we had tied some flies and last month fished a sunny and bass pond, but this was their first shot at some trout on the fly. The volunteers met around 9am and set up up the rods with leaders, tippet, and flies. Some guys ventured down to the teaching pond at the hatchery and had fun casting to fish that ranged from 18 to 25 inches, and the biggest going ones over 5 pounds. The veterans came around 10 and were eager to get fishing. Some of the guys casted by themselves while others who weren't physically able worked
with a volunteer who casted for them and gave them the rod to strip and bring the fish in. James and I had the first fish on, and then had about a two hour drought with nothing. Guys were catching fish all around us. It was funny to see one guy gently release his 22 inch rainbow by throwing it about 30 feet into the center of the pond. Needless to say his "guide" for

Andrea Tarr photo

the day had a quick lesson on a better catch and release technique, and that was the last flying trout we saw. Before lunch James and I caught the hot hand and had four around 20 inches to the net right before lunch. We all had lunch together and soon James was ready to go back to work. We picked up where we left off, casting a barbell eyed wooly bugger that this pod of fish

couldn't lay off. I had met Wally, another veteran, who hadn't caught a fish yet, at lunch and asked James to invite him over to share in our secret spot. Soon Wally was yelping it up as he

Andrea Tarr photo

landed two big rainbows. The afternoon seemed to pick up as guys were landing fish all around the 2 acre casting pond. I had to pull out early and get to my daughters track meet back home, so I said my farewells and left them casting, catching and yelping- but not throwing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

05.16.10 Week ahead

Today I took a walk down to the 8th Ave jetty in Asbury to see what was happening. Incoming tide, about 5 hours till high tide. Guys were throwing clams with nothing to show for it. Had the fly rod in hand just in case. Tomorrow is a Project Healing Waters outing to the Pequest Hatchery in Hackettstown. Then on Wednesday it's a quick one dayer up to the West Branch of the Delaware to hopefully catch the March Browns in full swing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

05.12.10 Busy day, wild trout stream, shad on the "D", Big Flatbrook

Up at 5am for the long drive out to Worthington State Forest on the Delaware River to meet up with friends Al and Loretta to give shad on the fly rod a try. No matter which way you go, 287, Parkway to 280 to 80, Parkway to 78 to 287 to 80, it just always seems long. Just before I got to the Old Mine Road exit I made a quick stop at Dunnfield Creek to see if I could start the day

with a wild trout. About 10 minutes after parking I was gently releasing a 5 inch wild brookie back into the crystal clear water. I tried a few other places in the hour I was there and missed one other fish. I did find trash, SURPRISE, sitting on the bank. Two Italian ice cups and a spoon. A nice romantic desert streamside, take your garbage with you back to your hotel room!! Where is there a ice cream shop anywhere near there? Soon after that I was at the campground at Worthington and getting ready for the day, which was overcast, cold, and rainy.

We took Al's boat upstream and fished a large pool below the PA campground on the river. I rigged up my 5 weight and 8 weight rods with a floating line with 7 foot 4x tippet and first tried a wooly bugger, then through the day a sparkle fly in pink and green, and finally a few shad dart from 1/4 ounce on up. Managed one bump on the fly rod. We trolled, we drifted, we anchored. I

stripped fast, I stripped slow, I dead drifted, nothing. We did have the same set ups on the spin
rods and managed about a dozen shad up to five pounds. Even though I had up to 3 non toxic split shot on the fly rod I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't take. I was able to get a few decent images between the raindrops. We fished for about 4 hours and one of the coolest things happened on the way back. Up in the big pool I started to see Blue Winged Olives on the water, tons of them. Then as we made our way back I saw a sulfur, then another, then tons. The

smallmouths or rock bass were on them like trout up in the Catskills. We caught a few bugs and
I held an impromtu portrait session with them. Back at the campground we took off the damp and cold gear and had a great lunch Loretta made for us. We talked about the day and they broke out their new Sony Cybershot camera with the panoramic option, that is cool. As I sat there I realized I was 15 miles south of the Big Flatbrook, and it was 5 o'clock. Later! I said my good byes and headed to the lower section near the USGS Gaughing Station. I saw a few fish rise there and managed a quick 14 inch rainbow on a hares ear. I continued down past the dam and picked up two more, and missed about four. I left there at 730 and retraced my steps alongOld Mine Road, to 80, to 287, to the Parkway, to 18, to home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

05.11.10 Found the anchor mount !!

This morning around 530 am I found the anchor mount on the northbound side of Route 18 in Eatontown. What luck!! Tonight I am getting ready for a day trip tomorrow on the Delaware for shad above the Gap.

05.10.10 Floated the West Branch, Stilesville to Hale Eddy

Paul Fleming photo

Floated the upper West Branch of the Delaware River today in the pontoon boat. River was @ 471 cfs at the Hale Eddy bridge. My "client" Paul and I left Red Bank, NJ around 6 am and had a quick 3 hour ride to Roscoe, and then stopping in Hancock to try and find a taxi service to shuttle us around. We stopped by Border Water Outfitters and learned of their 30 dollar shuttle service, that we passed on. We got some lunch to bring with us and headed north up 17. We were going to the West Branch Anglers to see what tthey could do for us but when we got to Hale Eddy we saw the HE Tackle Shop so we gave that a shot. We met Tony, originally from Nutley, and his wife who works at the shop also. We told him what we needed and after dropping Paul and the boat off at Stilesville and parking the trailer at the Hale Eddy bridge Tony was giving me my 20 dollar ride back to Deposit. We were gearing up and getting the boat ready when I realized the anchor part of the boat was missing, it had fallen off on the way up

here. Paul tied the anchor to the front of the boat and soon we were off. We fished the riffs below the launch site and continued down to the Deposit bridge, only stopping once to get out and fish. It was windy and there were a few caddis in the air and the swallows made a quick snack out of them. We settled in below the train bridge and waited a little while before the fish

Paul Fleming photo

started to rise. A lot of fish, and a few big fish. This was going to be easy. Just like that though the wind kicked up. I soon broke a nice fish off, I saw the take, he went left, I set right, 6x, good by. No problem, this was going to be easy. Over the next 3 hours I threw everything at them. Hendrickson emergers, light and dark, comparaduns, dries, caddis emergers, dries, March Browns, emergers, dries, Blue Winged Olives. This is why I love the humbling-no you ain't that good-in fact you suck-Delaware River system. I had two other sets that I missed and Paul had a ton of lookers and one taker that didn't take. I saw three fish caught and released in the large Deposit Sewage Plant pool while we were there. Around 530 we loaded up and headed down river. Paul made casts right and left while I rowed. It was a pretty ride but not easy in the hard

Paul Fleming photo

wind and in the skinny water and in the pontoon boat. We anchored up in the large pool above the Hale Eddy riffs and waited for a spinner fall that never came. We moved down to the bridge pool to give it a shot till dark, but only a few small fish were seen. The only eventful thing that happened was we nearly got the pick up stuck on the boat ramp at the Hale Eddy bridge. The ramp angles down at 45 degrees and after I backed down to the boat the tires just spun on the smooth rocks. So, we had to disconnect the boat and trailer and get the pick up up, and then push the boat and trailer up the hill. We made the trip back, each of us fighting to stay awake, and I was in bed at 2am.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

05.08.10 Floating the West Branch tomorrow

Hopefully the wind will have died down a bit and the upper West Branch cleared. Taking a float tomorrow thinking Stilesville to Hale Eddy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

05.06.10 Tossing mouse flies for bass in Deal Lake

Spent an hour or so tossing mouse flies hoping to raise a bass in Deal Lake. Couldn't complain, beautiful day, a little casting practice with the 8 weight, and I had a great "client" to guide.

For today's "Take your limit, please", I took a beautiful brandy bottle of the bank of the lake.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

05.04.10 From browns to blues

Back to my reality. As much as I would like to tell you I live in the Catskills or Adirondacks, I live at the Jersey shore. A week ago I was in heaven watching large brown trout sip hendrickson spinners and this week I'm in hell with these savage bluefish hitting anything with reckless abandon. I've heard from a friend that has been hitting the surf lately that the stripers and blues are in. I stopped by the 8th Ave jetty, or groin, as I have come to learn from Chris Roslan's article in Eastern Fly Fishing magazine, and there was nothing going on. I headed next to the Navesink River and the Oceanic just before high tide at 130pm. There was a few guys fishing and one caught the above fish on a metal jig. I spent about an hour casting in between the passing cars on my backcast before calling it a day. As I made my way back to the truck I couldn't help but notice that every 5 feet of the concrete was blood stained where anglers had bled out their bluefish from the blitzes that have been happening. This was fun, but I'm thinking of March Browns coming off on the Delaware!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

05.02.10 Jetty story in Eastern Fly Fishing magazine

Today I picked up the May/June 2010 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine which has in it the story Chris Roslan and I did on fishing New Jersey jetties.

05.01.10 Project Healing Waters fishing outing

On Saturday I met up with Bob Cohen and guys from the New Jersey Project Healing Waters. This is a great group that does great things across the country. Fly fisherman and guides meet up and teach veterans of all ages fly tying and then fly fishing. This day we took veterans from Lyons Hospital out to Osterman Nursery in Hillsborough to fish a large pond that was loaded with big bluegills and bass. About 15 veterans came out for the day and 10 volunteers from PHW. I remembered some of the guys from when we tied flies last month so it was easy to just get back to where we were. First came some fly casting lessons and then some fishing. Luckily these guys picked it up fast and the fish hit just about everything we threw at them. A good time was had by all. The next trip out is to fish the Pequest River on May 17th.