Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11.30.10 Started south...fish were there...then came north...fish weren't

     Another day where I fought off the urge to get up for before sunrise to fish. I'm just not feeling they are here, or it's necessarily an early morning bite like we had. So after doing a few office things I took  ride down to Monmouth Beach to see how thing were, and if maybe fish were on all that bait that was here yesterday. Wind was up, from the SE, no birds to see. I drove down to Seaside Park and headed to 


H Street because there were  a few cars parked there. When I got onto the beach around 11am I could see that someone was going to catch fish down here today. The wind was kicking with strong gusts and big waves, and the water was a nice aqua-green color. I met up with a guy I met up in Asbury Park while he was fishing last week, he was fishing with his buddy and between them they caught 17 fish, two of which were keepers. They had been fishing most of the night into the day. I joined them for a bit and then started to fish a bowl that looked productive. They had fished it during low tide and did well there. It was a tough day with a fly rod. Guys tossing bait were using 5 oz to keep bottom, or close to bottom, and guys throwing metal had their heavy stuff on. Soon a guy using cut bunker above us hooked a fish and worked his way down near us. He fought hard and was tired by the time the fish was in the wash. A fellow angler helped him out, and he was rewarded later with a nice short he caught on an Ava. The fish was over 20 pounds maybe 25. I stayed a lit longer and then headed north.

     It was nice to see a fish, and a guy actually catch a fish because, for me and what I've seen, it's been dead. It has been a while since I had a fish on, hopefully this snotty weather will change that. I pulled into 8th Ave and there wasn't a fisherman's car in the parking lot. It was darker out then down south, but the wind wasn't as strong or as gusting as it was, at least when I got there. I just felt I would get one. Outgoing tide. Waves. Overcast. Nothing. Bounced the weighted clouser off the back of my head a few times, once taking my hat and putting it in the ocean. About 10 minutes later I saw it and made about 20 casts, and got it. That was a good catch, it's my favorite, The Average Angler, hat. So I chucked and ducked for about 2 hours, for a bit walking into the wash and trying the beach. I was surprised none of the usuals weren't there, maybe they're getting close to being done. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

11.29.10 Thought of going south...but stayed up north instead

Monmouth Beach

     I thought about heading south. I've just come to realize that this fall run has been better for the Seaside/IBSP angler. But, I decided to stay here. I got to Asbury before the high tide at 1pm, and found a beautiful and flat Atlantic Ocean, well, actually Lake Atlantic. Flat. Dead flat. High sun. Gin clear. Not many birds here. Then I moved up to, Deal, Allenhurst, Takanasee, Monmouth Beach, I decided to stick around Big Monmouth for a while. It was beautiful, and there were birds, everywhere. Birds and bait in the water, just not a fish on them anywhere. I was joined by another fly fisherman who casted his arm out too and didn't catch anything. I waited and waited for something to blow up but it never did. I did more watching and waiting and looking through the binoculars than fishing. 

A flat 8th Ave

 Watching the birds on Monmouth Beach

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11.28.10 Quick ride to Deal...with a coffee...in pajamas...


no spikes...no waders...no stripping basket...one rod...one fly. You hear about these guys that come down and with one cast hit on a big fish, or any fish for that matter. So, today I slept in till 7am and then snuck out without waking my gang and took a quick ride to Deal. First I stopped at 7-11 for a coffee. I got to Phillips around 720 am and the sun was up and the ocean flat. It was the start of the incoming tide so I walked out half way and made some casts. It was nice to just "come as you are and fish" even for a little while. There was one guy down by Brighton and the only other fisherman were guys on the charters heading up to the Shrewsbury Rocks. I fished for about 45 minutes, and made a stop in Asbury

Park on the way home. There were two guys on 8th Avenue, one was Gus. If you know the 8th Avenue crowd, Gus is one of them. And his red painting van is always in the lot. I spoke with him a while and he said there is just nothing going on. One guy got a short yesterday after a small pod of bunker came through off the end of the groin.
     We watched as a flock of gulls concentrated their flight patterns some target out off Allenhurst. Quickly a boat swung around and tried to find some fish underneath. Through the binoculars you could see the birds one something here and there, but the surface was flat and no sign of fish.

     Todays bust out the Christmas tree and lights day, hopefully I won't miss anything.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

11.27.10 Couldn't resist to try south again...it's been hot....of course not this morning

                       Fishing first light at 9th Ave in Seaside Park

     Finally went to sleep around 1230 am after posting last nights blog. Around 4am I started dreaming of big bass in the wash. As I concentrated on my dream I could make out the piers from the boardwalk in Seaside in the back as the stripers blitzed in the wash. I know, I'm nuts. So I gingerly got out of bed and made my way down to Seaside Park and parked in municipal lot next to the pier. There wasn't a soul around. Can't figure why it was a balmy 34 degrees. So I geared up and made my way down to the water to find an incoming tide just starting to bring good water over the sand bars and into shore. The only killer was the ocean was flat, and stayed that way the whole time I was there and later as I drove back up north. I fished for about an hour and when I couldn't feel my feet I decided to get out and move on. I met a guy in the parking lot who said south of K Street has been good. I wanted to see 9th Avenue where John from Betty and Nicks does his morning reports. I drove down and found guys spread up and down the beach. No birds working or fish, well I saw one about 1/4 mile out, doing anything. I fished this nice bowl but


didn't get anything. In fact I didn't get anything all morning, nor did anyone else, maybe 75 guys I saw all morning up and down the coast didn't get anything either. But that doesn't mean it won't blow up later. I traveled up the coast and talked to some guys, they had a few fish close to shore at Downer, Lyman was dead, Bay Head quiet, that after a guy caught a 29-1/2 pound fish there yesterday, and the Manasquan Inlet was quiet except for some charter boats heading out. So here's some numbers out of Betty and Nicks 11/26 report, 15, 9, 29-1/2, 9, 12, 15, 21, 13, 16 pounders plus more - from Bay Head to Island Beach State Park taken on a mix of clams, herring, bombers.

                            Scouting Lyman in Mantoloking

Friday, November 26, 2010

11.26.10 Let me try it at night in Deal...great..no parking in the lot 9pm - 4m

     There are plenty of real things to complain about in life, getting a ticket while you fish sucks. I got to Phillips around 9 pm to fish the outgoing tide. Here's the current moon phase, a waning gibbous.


So anyway went out on the groin, nothing, fished north of it, nothing, worked my way to Brighton, nothing. Decided to call it quits around 1030. As I walked into the lot two other cars were in the street and a guy was pulling up. We talked about the fishing and then he warned me that the Deal Police give tickets to "non fisherman" looking vehicles after nine. I looked over to my wifes Saturn and it had a ticket under the windshield wiper. I was furious. Not that the cop wasn't doing his job, but that you can't park in the lot on a cold-November-Thanksgiving-weekend-shouldn't-be fishing-anyway kind of night. I went and looked for the cop to see what he could do. I finally found him in Interlaken. Nice enough kid, but once it's written, "There's nothing I can do."

11.26.10 Everything looked good, and bait in the water

 Phillips south
 Phillips north

     So after a nice Thanksgiving Day with family and friends and eating too much, It was a little hard getting out of bed this morning. It was drizzling and SW winds with an incoming tide when I got to Deal. One or two guys. Water was flat but tit started to kick up the time I left around 730. Fished Brighton and then jumped to Phillips where I fished both bowls on the groin. While I was on the north side I noticed some flashes in the water and then a boil or two. Then a fish would leave the water, small fish. I am thinking peanut bunker, but it could have been silversides. I switched from a clouser to a deciver and then a cool bunker fly that I eventually lost in the rocks after taking a second, just a second, to clear my line up around my reel. Had to cut the leader as low as I could. Got soaked in the process. So I think today is looking pretty good. Some snotty weather, bigger waves, wind not the best, but at least SW. And with some bait in the water maybe all those fish I hear about hanging off Montauk will start their way down to their winter homes.


     Since it is Thanksgiving weekend, I must give some less than serious thanks. Thanks to the contractors who left the Johnny on the Spot open at the house they are building at Seaview and Ocean Ave. Much appreciated, in a hurry. And, just a tip, not that it happened, clear your wader suspenders before you squat. Yuk!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

11.25.10 Happy Thanksgiving....all quiet on the northern Monmouth front

     First from our family at The Average Angler to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and the start to a great holiday season. Earlier this week I predicted that if your were going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, then sadly you would miss great fishing here at home. Well, hopefully you had a great time on 5th Ave, in New York City that is. I was out way before first, false, or any sign of light. Absolute beautiful morning. Conditions weren't super- slight NE wind, flat water, gin clear, not a sign of anything.  


Started out with a few guys on the end of Brighton Ave in Deal, we had a couple of laughs and that was about it. We did more watching and waiting then blind casting. I counted 26 guys in Deal, not a fish, not a sun dial, not a herring, not a short. I made my way south back to Asbury Park, zilch, from 3 am on. Then I decided since it was 730 am to head up to Sea Bright, where there was some mention of a possibility of a sighting of one fish, maybe within the last two weeks. So I made some stops along the way, Pullman, Park, Takanasee, Monmouth Beach, and finally Sea Bright. Same conditions. Incoming tide with high around 930. Tons of stationary boats at the Shrewsbury Rocks. There wasn't anything to see or do. I did spend some time fishing, or casting, off those short groins behind the municipal parking lot, and the much needed Johnny on the Spots they have there, thank you Sea Bright. 

     I was following some reports from down south and according to Betty and Nicks they had great fishing in Seaside Park, near the piers, where I was two days ago, down into Island Beach State Park. They reported that Bob Popovics caught a 30 pounder, of course on the fly rod.  

     So we will continue to wait for the next bunch of fish to leave New York and show up. It seems they may leave New York, show up here for a minute or two, but land some where in that Mantoloking to Barnegat Stretch with a little more regularity and for a longer duration. I'd like to see how those boats did today. They were out there in bunches, and not moving much.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11.23.10 Couldn't resist poking some fun at myself

After today I realized how frustrating, silly, nutty I have been during the first half of this striped bass run.

Check this out here, it's funny,  http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7795945

or click on the image below,

11.23.10 Beautiful morning, looked promising, gettin' close...first stood in front of the principal

      I am sure we all remember what is was like getting sent down and standing in front of the principal. Most times, if we were smart, we would just stand there and take our licks. I am also sure that most of us fishing addicts have to stand in front of a girlfriend or wife, once, or twice, or several times per year and hear the music. I've never had to hear it, until today. My 2000 Dodge pickup is having problems, 165,000 miles, a newer trans thats not working, needs a fuel pump, yada yada. So I casually mentioned that I might take a ride over to see what kind of numbers a used pick up might be. Well, that was not good, it went from pick up to unfinished honey-do lists, to fishing, and then photography and then where ever else. I just stood and smiles, guilty on all counts. So I just put on my waders, gave her a smile and a kiss and left, to become one with the stripers even for just an hour or so.

    I was alone in the lot and Rich pulled in and I guaranteed a fish, well I said two, off the end of Phillips. We my spikes on out I went, crystal clear greenish water, nice high sun...well I caught or saw nothing. I worked my way back into shore and found my buddy Al with his grandson Matt ready to slay them. Right before I left it became overcast, the waves kicked up, the wind shifted from a SE to SW. It looked really promising. After some pics of the two I fished the wash and not a bump. BUT, those fish are on their way from New York. I hope you're not going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, beacuse, just my prediction, you will miss something special along the Monmouth County coast.

DISCLAIMER- The above prediction is based on no sound evidence.!

11.23.10 And the verdict is.....

     Remember this fellow I caught a few weeks back. I thought is was a hickory shad. A few other guys caught the same and they thought it might be a blueback herring. I put the question out to several guys who said they would get back to me after leaning towards it being a hickory shad.

     Well, tonight I asked Shore Catch Guide Service Captain Jim Freda who confirmed it's a hickory shad. He also added that we don't see bluebacks this time of year but that soon, Atlantic herring, aka sea herring, will be arriving by the millions and the big bass will be pushing them up to the surface. He also said when you see the gannets dive bombing, it's the herring they're after. Thanks Jim.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11.22.10 Quick ride to Seaside where I was told, "Save your money!"

     I was off to Trenton early this morning for an assignment at a construction project in the cities downtown. I was finished up at 130 and decided to take a long way home via Seaside Park. I have been following some of the reports from both shore and boat, yes I've seen pictures of fish, and decided to check it out. we're still in the full moon phase, it was still bright out, the wind was from the SE and steady to gusty, and the tide was on its way in. So what, I took a shot. My plan was to check out Seaside and then take the drive into Island Beach State Park. I saw a guy in the parking lot of the Funtown Pier and asked how things have been. "Nothin' " mmmm... a week to two weeks ago they were doing good. A few days ago the bunker passed by offshore. So I asked him if I should give IBSP a shot, " Save your money !"' he said. So I listened and stayed in Seaside Park. I found some cool water near the pier. Sandbars on bar sides with strong rips and deep holes. I am working on a "new" technique for fishing this type of water, borrowing some of the tricks used in fishing for trout in faster rivers. I fished the water hard with no results. I was nice fishing different water than what I have been on in Monmouth County. Nice to have a change of scenery and a cool backdrop with the empty boardwalk rides in the background. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

11.21.10 Figured I'd try the outgoing PM tide, full moon, hard SE wind...


So many factors, so little time. One of factors guys go back and forth on is what moon phase is good to fish. Well I decided to run down to 8th Ave to see what was going on. I pulled in and I was the only car in the lot. The moon was full and high, and the wind SE with a strong occasional gust. I walked out on the groin and made some casts, sometimes feeling the sting of the clouser against my back or neck, and it really hurts, especially the neck. I am going to start carrying clear safety glasses to wear when the wind is gusting and from a direction that is dangerous to cast into or alongside or against. I don't want to know what a Deciever in the eye feels like. I gave it a good shot fishing in front of the flume and working my way back to the beach. I spoke to a guy who had just drove from Bucks County to fish, and he was surprised no one was out. He was surprised to find a guy walking in the shadows and along the rocks with his "junk" hanging out of his pants and trying to make gestures to him from a distance. "Welcome to 8th Avenue!"

11.21.10 Glass till 6am, then the wind shifted and we all thought...

     ...that maybe things would change. I was out by 530 am and there a few guys out or making their way out.  I met up with regular Rich who was packing it in. That wasn't a good sign I thought. I made my way out to the beach to find water flat with no wind, at all, like glass. Some guys were on the groin, others in the wash. I made my way to Brighton and walked out half way and started to cast. Soon there were a few fish popping in front of us but no one hooked up. I caught a sun dial and by 6 o'clock the winds kicked in from the NE with an occasional gust. Another flyfisher, Steve, who's pictured above, also fished both groin and picked up a few sun dials. He caught four shorts yesterday afternoon. I didn't see a fish caught and 730 most of the early crew was heading out, several of them not wanting to burn any bridges at home because they were getting ready for another NFL Sunday. I hope to get south tomorrow afternoon after work.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

11.20.10 Visited the Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset

So after a do nothing on the beach morning I took a quick ride up to the Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset. As always it was a great show. There is a mix of tyers, vendors, and speakers, and private pay to play classes. It was nice to see some familiar faces out there doing good. Few things stood out for me while I walked around the show. 

Aaron Jasper, local buy from New Jersey continues his climb as an industry leader with his EuroNymphing lectures, ties, and soon to be released video. The trailer looked sick. Maybe one day he could quit his day job! (He's a teacher by trade.) Check out his website at www.flyfishingevolution.com

As always some amazing tyers. My favorite this year was Leon Piasecki who hails from Massachusetts. He was tying some really nice baitfish flies using a prodeuct called Devil N' Blends by Capt. Jan Devlin from Taunton, Massachusetts. The ties looked like a variation of what I have seen Steve Farrar and Bob Popovics tie.

And, even though I'm not big on pushing product that no one is paying me to push, the Fish Skull line from Flymen Fishing Company is super nice. I watched Rich Strolis tie some cool flies using the heads. They come in several colors and sizes and they are simple to use. Tie in your materials, create a thread head, apply some crazy glue, push on the skull (from the front of the hook!), and tie in the front and attach the enclosed eyes. It won the 2010 Dealers Choice Award at the 2010 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Denver this year. 

11.20.10 Beautiful morning, no fish Deal to Manasquan

     I was excited last night thinking this morning may be good. Saw some reports that were promising. Scheduled to go out of Shark River and fish the shore north an south of the inlet. I spoke with Joe who was taking me out, we looked at the NOAA site, S wind, possible big seas, small craft advisory....mmmm. So we decided to take a raincheck on the outing. Thursday late afternoon 2 miles out he had a bunch of fish, stripers and blues, ripping through big bunker. From what I gather there is a large streak of bunker running off the beaches. It may have come in to Mantoloking and Seaside over the last few days. This morning I was out in Deal at 515 am. S to SW wind had things pretty much flat, a few birds here and there. I just wasn't feeling it from the moment I stepped on the beach. I strapped on my korkers and headed out to the end of Phillips...nothing. By the time I left there were about 15 guys spread around with not a fish to be seen. Went down to Asbury Park, zilch. Then traveled through Belmar and Spring Lake...yawn. In Sea Girt a guy saw the bunker off the beach, our of Ava and power pro range, and caught a short. I went down to the inlet and found a small group of guys from Bayshore Flyrodders who didn't see anything this morning, and were thinking of hitting Deal before going to the Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset today. 

     I am going to pop in here and there on the beach this weekend, but I thinbk I will travel south Monday and check out the Island Beach State Park area in the afternoon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

11.19.10 Quick trip up to the Catskills, brought the drift boat home for TLC

     I left Monmouth County about 430am and picked up a friend on the way to Roscoe to check on the lodge in Roscoe and get it ready for winter. Of course we ate at the Roscoe Diner. After seeing the crowd there I think the town should also have the nickname, "Deertown USA". There were about 150 guys in the diner, most with pick ups in the parking lot, and a large percentage with some kind of four wheel drive in the back, or in tow. I guess tomorrow opens some kind of hunting season, so I hope the deer up there enjoy their last supper tonight.
     I had planned on continuing north up to fish the Gamelands on the West Branch of the Delaware, but I opted to hook up and my drift boat and start home early. I had planned on getting soda washed and repainted for the start of the season next spring, April will be here before we know it.
     As of now I will be out off Asbury Park and Deal tomorrow morning throwing flies to the groins and the shallows rather than from them. I hope the weather is okay and we get out and get into some fish. Also,  this weekend is the International Fly Tying Symposium, which is always a great event, check it out at www.internationalflytyingsymposium.com. It's a great day to see the best tyers in the world under one roof. If I get back off the boat early enough, I will go tomorrow, if not then on Sunday.

     I am following some reports from down south where conditions seem to be super and the bite, a late afternoon one, seems to be in full swing. I checked out reports from Betty and Nicks and Shore Catch. It could be a great weekend, hopefully things will get better up here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11.18.10. So...1) Do kayakers catch big stripers? and 2) Do big fish go in the river?

     I think the answer is yes. I opened an email today and found these attached! The angler is Judy, who I first met when she came and talked at our local Trout Unlimited meeting about Casting For Recovery. I met her again when we volunteered at the central CFR outing at Holmdel Park a few months back. She is a hard core kayaker and fisherwoman.

    This beast she caught in early November in the Shrewsbury River while out on her kayak. Nice fish Judy!

     Today after work I stopped by The Tackle Box in Hazlet after reconnecting with an old friend from high school, Phil Sciortino. I hadn't seen him for nearly 25 years. I then down to Sandy Hook and parked in the B beach lot and walked up and down looking for any sign of fish. No birds, no bait, no fish. Stopped and talked with a guy who was soaking clams with no takes. Hopefully this cold fron coming in will maybe bring some bait or fish around.

     I am heading up to the Catskills in the morning to check on the lodge in Roscoe and I might run up to the West Branch of the Delaware and drop a line in the Gamelands. Then hopefully it's out at 530 am from Shark River for some striper fishing from das' boat!

11.18.10 You know those days you regret not going...

I had about a one hour window this morning to fish from 445 to 545, and when my alarm went off at 430, I turned it off and shut the window. At 6 am I looked outside and the crazy wind from yesterday was gone and the early morning light was just starting to light things up. Maybe I'll be able to get out later, "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11.17.10 Blown out at 415 am...

     Started tossing and turning around 330 am. Starting picturing guys laying into fish as I lay in my toasty bed. I looked outside and could see that it rained and there was a decent wind. But I was getting up early to get the kids off to school so why not, let me join the guys down in Asbury.
     I pulled into the treacherous parking area for 8th Avenue and when I finally got a spot, I looked around, and saw no one. There were two cars parked away from where the anglers park, and if you know what I mean, then you know what I mean. So I went super simple. Crocs on my feet, pants, light windbreaker, baseball cap. Fly rod, reel, line and one fly. That was it. The water was looking good and I started to cast into the bowl. I was there about 10  minutes and it started to rain, and rain, and the wind kicked in from the west. And then it rained harder. By the time I got to my car I my underwear was saturated. I'm all for tough conditions, but I wasn't having any of this. I was done. I ran out to Route 130 to pick up some supplies and a few flies and the rest of my day is full of work and dad duty.

Here's what the rest of the week looks like, according to NOAA-

Hazardous marine condition(s):


Today...W winds 20 to 25 kt. Gusts up to 40 kt. Seas 5 to 8 ft.

Tonight...W winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 40 kt... Diminishing to 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 30 kt after midnight. Seas 5 to 8 ft...subsiding to 3 to 5 ft. 

Thu...W winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Seas 2 to 3 ft.

Thu Night...NW winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 30 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Fri...N winds 15 to 20 kt...becoming NW 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Fri Night...W winds 10 to 15 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Sat...W winds 15 to 20 kt...becoming N after midnight. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Sun...E winds 10 to 15 kt...becoming S. Seas 2 to 3 ft. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11.16.10 Started out a mess, none for me, shorts in Deal, nice keeper in Asbury

     I was pumped and ready to go this morning. Woke up at 445 am before my usual 5 o'clock alarm set. I grabbed a quick coffee in Asbury Park and headed to Deal. Surprisingly I was there before a few of the early morning regulars. I had the whole place to myself. I moved in alongside the groin to find 3 foot waves crashing out beyond the cut, and an outgoing tide. I waded out to just below my basket and stripped some line and made a decent cast. Just as I started to strip the line in, my reel fell off and into the water, which was now over my basket. Last night I took my reel apart and cleaned and lubed it, I quess I didn't make sure it was back together. I can tell you this, with all the line and backing it must have been about 11 miles long. One more thing going for me, there was an outgoing tide and strong pull in the rip. Well after about twenty minutes of hand over handing my line and backing in I finally got my reel in. I tried to walk my line and backing around so it wouldn't tangle while the reel bounced in the surf.  forget it. It was a big tangle with a few mussels mixed in here and there. 
I had to cut a large section of backing out and retie before I could fish again. I moved to a different spot on the beach and soon more guys showed up. I concentrated fishing off the beach and at the start of the groin. The birds started working off the end and those guys hooked up with some shorts. I stayed for a bit, but nothing 


doing for me. It seems like the fish are not on the sand eels at the moment. Most of the fish caught are on bombers or metal are small, with a keeper or two mixed in. I think the bigger fish are down low, maybe taking advantage of the rough sur and keying on bunker or other baitfish. It was good to see the birds working overhead.
     I moved down to Asbury Park to see how they did this morning. Guys caught fish, mostly shorts, and one guy a keeper that was still on the groin. He fished for many hours, first using clams for a while getting nothing. Then he started using peanut bunker he said he collected last week he on the groin at 8th Ave during the wild weather. I have to believe him, but none of the regulars ever talked about peanuts being around, or washed up on the groin.  His fish was about 34 inches, and I used my fly rod as a reference. I think tomorrow am I am going to lace up my spikes and fish off the groin.