Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12.28.10 We got a ton of snow but luckily we're heading up and outta here

     I don't know what the totals are, but here in the Ocean Township - Asbury Park area we must have received 24-30" of snow. My daughter took this shot as we took a ride through Asbury Park this afternoon. It took over 24 hours to get a plow down our street and tonight Route 18 still is shut down, it's one lane each way on Route 35 and the Parkway is open, but the lines on the road don't match the lanes in the roadway, if that makes any sense. My friend Dave called me from Florida tonight to check the roofs on the old Fly Hatch, as he was worried about the snow load on the roof from the blizzard. Anyway, we are heading out tomorrow for a trip to the lodge in the Adirondacks. It should be a fun winter trip, but I can't wait to be taking some guided trips out up there this summer. 


NEW this week. Check out my spread in issue 15 of Catch Magazine, it'll be out January 1, and you can see it HERE. It's my first time working with Brian O'Keefe. We already have a few more projects lined up for 2011.  Hope you like what you see.

Lastly, hope you and yours have a safe and Happy New Year!! 

All the Best, 

Colin Archer
 The Average Angler

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12.25.10 Merry Christmas from our family to yours

Cindy, I and the kids would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12.21.10 Quick trip to Roscoe and Orvis delivers again

Today Cindy and I took a quick trip up to the house in Roscoe, I mean a quick trip, up and back, not even a meal at The Roscoe Diner. I went up to check on some work an electrician is doing to the place. Last year during an ice storm branches fell down on the service and after that it became evident we needed to do over the service all the way to the box. We're putting in 200 amps to cover all the improvements we have planned. Roscoe looked, well, like Roscoe, only a little colder 24 degrees, and a little less busy. I was surprised Catskill Flies and The Beaverkill Angler were both closed, especially a few days away from Christmas. One thing that was different in town was that the fire department was now in it's new home where the car dealership once was. On this trip we brought up a new (er) couch and some end tables and lamps. We wrestled with this antique sleeper sofa that weighed at least 500 pounds.  I'll be dropping that off at Mazza in Tinton Falls tomorrow. 

     I received a nice Christmas present when I got home. I had sent my Orvis Power Matrix TLS in for a stripping guide repair and I guess since they have had it a few times already for repair they sent me their newest, a 9ft 9wt Orvis Access. This line is replacing the Power Matrix, and at 375 dollars it's their mid range fly rod. I can't wait to give it a shot. I was checking some specs on it. The Helios is 3-1/4 ounces, so is the Access. Here's what Orvis says about the new line,

Access Fly Rods
Cast this rod once and you'll question the low price.
Cast it twice and you won't fish without it.
Pay more for remarkably lightweight performance? There is no longer a reason. The new Orvis Access™ Rod Series offers true premium-rod, weightless performance at a remarkably accessible price. The carbon-based composite blanks are impregnated with a new epoxy-based resin system with plasticizers for a stronger composite. This is a proprietary new material demonstrating an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, making these rods even lighter than some higher-priced models. Using proprietary tapers and actions perfected on Helios™ by Orvis rod designers over the past two years, Access rods offer a performance-to-price ratio unheard of in the industry until now. Access rods cast with the same power and precision as the highest-price rods on the market, are just as light if not lighter, and yet come at a price that is accessible to everyone.
Access rods feature:
  • New material with remarkable strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Lighter than most premium rods.
  • Remarkably smooth and precise casting stroke.
  • Root beer blank and woven-graphite carbon and champagne anodized aluminum gold reel seat.
  • All chrome guides.
  • Sunburst wraps with gold tipping.
  • Gold ferrule alignment dots.
  • Saltwater reel seat with cork-and-rubber butt.
  • Super-grade cork handles.
  • Safe Passage rod tube with internal dividers.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12.19.10 Between Christmas shopping and parties I gave my flies a visit

     Like you, I have been busy getting ready for the holidays. Either you celebrated this years early Hannukah, or have been caught up in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or are doing last minute shopping for Christmas. In a way todays kids make it easy for us, it used to be the latest or hot gift that we had to search or wait for, but this year and for the last few years, it's been some kind of electronic something or other, and there's plenty available, if you want to pony up for it. Let me set the stage, my five year old has an ipad on her wish list. Funny, huh. So shopping has been easy, just a little expensive. So amongst my craziness with kids and the season, I spent a little time going through some of my fishing gear that was still in the bed of my pick-up. I pulled out my fly wallet and took a look inside. I found a collection of new and unused flies, and mixed in were several flies that have done some hard duty this fall. The ones that took that hardest beating were the barbell eye flies. Most of the ugliest ones had no barbels at all, the only thing left was  some bucktail and flash. Or their eyes were mishapen from the endless battery against the rocks and sand. It was kind of sad this collection, bound for the garbage or recycle pile that I keep near my vice. Some of them caught fish. Some fell apart before they could. I tried to think which ones made it into a stripers mouth or graced the pages of one of the several magazines I contribute to.
     As I sat and went through the flies, I realized how much I missed the daily striper beat, and missed the daily updates on this blog. Believe it or not, the hit counts have only gone down a few per day, so anglers like you still visit. Most of us will be busy through the new year, maybe attending a holiday party for one of the several fishing clubs that are out there, and then gear up for the Fly Fishing Show that travels to the east coast in January. Between it all some will tie some flies and go through our gear, but for most of us our used and beat up flies will spend the winter in a ball at the bottom of our gear bags, waiting till next spring with the hope to be tied to a tippet one more time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12.14.10 Scouting new water, from the 37th floor of the Borgata in A.C.

    If they keep sending us comps, we'll take them. With striper season over, yep, it's over, the Queen and I decided to take advantage of another generous comp from the Borgata. Two free nights, dinner, and a comedy show for two- perfect. While down in Atlantic City I cruised around Absecon Bay and checked out the waters there. We also looked some houses, just in case we wanted to pick one up! The town we liked was Brigantine. We found a good place for breakfast both mornings, The Pirates Den. Amazingly enough, we came back north ahead 25 dollars between us. 

Fishing is slow this time of year, especially with this ridiculous cold front across the eastern seaboard. The West Branch of the Delaware is 2,000 cfs at 38 degrees. I will probably be up there some time this week checking in on the house in Roscoe, don't know if I'll fish the Gamelands or not. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12.12.10 Good news for Delaware River!

Got this email last night-

Catskill MountainkeeperBREAKING NEWS
December 11, 2010
Logo - neatIn an amazing victory for the citizens of New York State, Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest.  New York State becomes the first state to have a formal prohibition on high volume horizontal hydrofacking because of concerns about environmental impacts.  Regretablly instead of signing the "Moratorium Bill" legislation sent to him that included a prohibition on vertical hyrdofracking that was passed by on overwhelming bi partisan majority in both houses of the State government he decided instead to succumb to industry pressure and issue the Executive Order that eliminates vertical wells from the prohibition. While the Executive Order is historic and proves that our concerns over hydrofracking are legitimate it is also a disappointment because vertical wells are also dangerous.
The gas and oil industry lobby deliberately misinterpreted a section of the Moratorium Bill claiming it would bring all gas drilling in New York State to a halt.  The bill only specified a moratorium on drilling for wells using hydrofracking, whether they are vertically or horizontally drilled. 
A moratorium banning the fracking of vertical wells is very important for several reasons:  
1.    Gas companies have been clear that they plan to drill vertical wells in the Utica and Marcellus shale with the intention of converting them to horizontal wells.
2.    While the State Senate was considering a two-year moratorium on horizontal wells the gas industry threatened to drill and frack 16 vertical wells every square mile in retribution if a moratorium on fracked horizontal wells was passed.
3.    Some of the worst water contamination problems, such as in Dimock, PA came from vertical wells drilled and fractured in the Marcellus Shale.
We now look to Governor Elect Andrew Cuomo to protect the Citizens of New York from the dangers of hydro fracking by any method including vertical drilling and horizontal drilling and including all shale formations.


Governor Paterson Issues Executive Order on Hydraulic Fracturing

ALBANY, NY (12/11/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety.
"We in government must always focus on protecting the well-being of those whom we represent and serve, but we also have an obligation to look to the future and protect the long-term interests for our State and its residents," Governor Paterson said. "Therefore, I am proud to issue this Executive Order, which will guarantee that before any high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing is permitted, the Department of Environmental Conversation will complete its studies and certify that such operations are safe."
Permits for high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing can not be issued until the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completes a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), which is currently being developed. As a result, there is already in place a de-facto moratorium on such permits.
The Governor issued the Executive Order contemporaneously with his veto of S.8129-B/A.11443-B, which would have suspended the issuance of new oil and gas drilling permits through May 15, 2011, including all conventional, low-volume, vertical oil and gas wells.
"This legislation, which was well intentioned, would have a serious impact on our State if signed into law. Enacting this legislation would put people out of work - work that is permitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and causes no demonstrated environmental harm, in order to effectuate a moratorium that is principally symbolic," Governor Paterson said. "Symbols can have great importance, but particularly in our current terrible economic straits, I cannot agree to put individuals out of work for a symbolic act."
"I am sympathetic to the sponsors' desire to protect the environment and public health, and I respect the concerns that produced this legislation," the Governor continued. "But this legislation does not accomplish this purpose, since the activities at the heart of the moratorium are not currently taking place, and would not take place until well after the legislation's proposed moratorium."
The bill goes well beyond high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing and effectively would result in a moratorium on all new oil and gas well drilling in this State. The cessation of such new activity, even for a limited period, would have substantial negative financial consequences for the State, local governments, landowners and small businesses involved in conventional oil and gas production.
The Division of the Budget estimates that the bill would cause a substantial reduction in State revenues from the loss of permit fees and tax revenue. With a $315 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, and a projected gap of over $9 billion in the 2011-12 State fiscal year, New York simply cannot afford to send hundreds and perhaps thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in capital investment to Pennsylvania and other states to our south.

Friday, December 10, 2010

12.10.10 More on the Tampa trip

     So let me recap. I had been back and forth with Dave Chouinard about going down to Tampa to visit and do some fishing. In November I started looking at Spirit Airlines and found a short window where the flights were cheap, 25 dollars down and 69 dollars back, total round trip was 120 dollars, BUT, with no carry ons or checked luggage. That would have been 30 extra dollars each way. You are allowed one "something" 16*14*12 inches. So I took my Domke camera bag and loaded it with a camera body, two lenses, a flash, and three shirts and some underwear and a windbreaker, and a toothbrush. I measured it up and was ready to go, hopefully passing by the size police. I drove down to the Atlantic City Airport and then flew to Tampa where Dave picked me up. We stopped by his fly shop, The Tampa Angler, which he is shutting down December 31st, and then he gave me a quick tour of the area and where we would be fishing. Dave has been busy since he became the southeast Simms rep. He is responsible for a large territory including, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We drove to
his house where it was nice to see Jen and their boys again. After a great home cooked meal I fell asleep.



Temps were down in the high 20's overnight in Florida, and it took a while to warm up to 45-50 degrees through the day. We towed his skiff down to the beach off the Causeway Boulevard and launched to fish the flats at Caladesi Island. For those who know, you know how knowledgeable, and intense, Dave can be. Well, he was on as always. We had the tide rolling in over the flats, which brings the redfish with it. He poled and spotted fish as I stood ready at the bow. The first day we saw some fish, one really good close fish, that I totally spit the bit on causing the big red to blow out before I made a good cast to it. Dave couldn't be happier with the fishery he has chosen to live near and guide on. Redfish, tarpon, and snook- all within 15 minutes of the airport and his house, some of it even closer. As the clouds started to move in we pulled the boat and headed over to Tampa, where we hunted fish just below the planes coming in to land. We didn't see any redfish, but it was fun watching huge mullet, compared to our mullet, jumping out of the water with abandon. That night we all headed to a local eatery and had a nice meal and soon I was asleep again, tired from balancing on the bow, attempting to make some good casts, and from the cold wind blowing on my underdressed body.



      Things were looking better yesterday, the sun was high, it was supposedly going to be warmer, and the wind, well the wind was a bit more 15, with a gust, throughout the morning. We started today where we started yesterday. As Dave poled, he was using all his senses to gather information to store in his mind, time of tide, direction of the wind, layout and depth of the flat, and the size and location of the fish. We had a steady north wind blowing with the tide, and bringing with it redfish onto the flat. We were drifting south, so we had more fish behind us, and thus I needed to make casts into the wind to the approaching fish. Sometimes I would be looking south out past 12 o'clock, and a fish would blowout right below me, I just couldn't spot them with a 3 o'clock sun, and milky horizon. We had trouble seeing fish, well at least I did. My 179 dollar Smith Optic polarchromic amber glasses were useless as it was too bright. We both looked like puppies being talked too as we move our heads side to side to have the "polar" in the polarized help cut the glare. It was again him spotting a good fish and me not making the cast, too short, too right, too long, too left. It's not a knock- it's just the location where you have to cast to when he sees the fish and you can't. So Dave sees this fish 25 feet at 12 0'clock- I can't see a thing into the glare. "Now" he yells. Of course I'm an extra false cast away. "Going away now", he says, and I let it go, "Too far, you put it on him." And then I hooked up. Thank goodness for Dave's sake. I would have hated for him to have invited me down and not catch a fish after all the work he did for me. The fish was slow and lethargic, probably because the water and air temps were so low. But once he came too, quickly he had me deep into my backing. After a few pics we continued the drift and hooked up on a nice sheepshead that we worked for a few minutes and watched as he stalked the fly and attacked it. Within 20 minutes we were through St. Johns sound, back on the trailer, and at the terminal at Tampa Airport. It was a great quick trip and I look forward to going back.

It's a world class fishery practically right next to the airport. You can take a cheap flight, stay in any kind of lodging you like, fish for a day or so, and fly home. It's that's simple.

For all of you old Fly Hatch customers who want to take a quick trip down for some great fishing, with a great guy and guide, give Captain Dave Chouinard a call. He can be reached at 732.610.9700.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12.09.10 "Give me 50 feet at 12 o'clock..okay that was 25 at 2 o'clock?"

It sucks to hear that, and I heard that more than once over the last two days. Tough conditions down in Tampa  as the cold front from Canada stretched all the way down to the Gulf Coast. 30's when we woke up. 40's out on the water, wind that was a steady gust at times. But, a great visit with a friend and his family, and time on the water with the most knowledgeable fly fishing guy I know, Captain Dave Chouinard. Today I did hook up with a nice redfish, and here's a quick shot below, I'll recap the last two days on Friday, gotta unpack and warm up!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12.08.10 When they say you have a shot...it usually means one shot

Quick note from Tampa. Out redfishing. One good shot, I spit the bit. More to follow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12.07.10 How lucky am I too escape this cold to go to Tampa where it's....

38 degrees right now. So much for signing off on striper season and heading for redfish today with friend and former Fly Hatch owner Dave Choinard. His text from yesterday was, "It's f#&%in' cold down here!". Here is todays Tampa Tribune front page,

I fly out of Atlantic City at 1pm and get in around 4. I have my camera gear packed up, why I don't know. I pimped the idea of a redfish-in-Tampa-a-stones-throw-from-the -airport story around, I wonder how the editors react to seeing images of fly fisherman in Florida with winter parkas on? Oh, well, just my luck. Be back up when I get back. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

12.06.10 Okay ..it's over...at least that's my call

So...it's time to put a fork in it. I will still have my fly rod and gear in the back of the truck for the next week or so, but I am calling it a season. Time to move on. i went down to Deal today, Water was tinged, 51 degrees, nasty cold air @ 34 degrees, just nasty. Just done. I did see gannets plunging into the water out off aways, probably on herring.

It's time to turn my attention to tying, going over the gear, booking trips for next spring, and maybe an outing to the Catskills or Adirondacks for some winter trout or landlocked salmon. I am sure this thing


thats blowing down from Canada and putting us, the east coast, in a deep freeze. We had snow here in Ocean Township, my sister has it in Saranac Lake, and it's 22 degrees in Deposit with light snow. So I am sure that will shut things down for a while. Forget the fact that Dave called me today and said it's really cold, 56 degrees, in Tampa. You know what that means, the redfish are burrowed in on the bottom and any remaining snook that didn't get killed off during last years freeze are worried.

Look to the bright side. Hannukah is here, Christmas is coming, and it's almost New Years. Soon it will be the Fly Fishing Show at Somerset just as cabin fever sets in in January.

Stay tuned to the blog as it will shift from the daily striper hunt to more of the in between season things I do as I get ready for the spring.

I'll let you know how Florida and Dave is when I get back Thursday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

12.05.10 There's still fish around...went to the Nets-Celtics game instead

It's busy, busy, busy time nowadays. I do believe things are super slowed down, but not yet done. I do hope to catch some striped bass for the next week or so. It's getting out that's the problem. Kids, holidays, parties, honey-do lists, and today the Nets-Celtics game in Newark. Too bad it was a yawner, Nets lost by 25 points. Got my 50 dollar a seat tickets for 40 bucks for two on a internet ticket website 3 hours before gametime. That's was pretty cool, and easy. I drove and parked for FREE on the street a block away. They charge 25 dollars to park.

But the big news I read about off of Betty and Nicks website was that the Berkley Striper Club had their tagging weekend this weekend and the teams of 38 anglers caught 265 bass from Brick to Island Beach State Park. One guy had 34 bass, the biggest was 31 inches.

So it seems the biggest of the fall have moved on, but there are plenty around for those who dare to brave the elements. Glad I'll be in Florida on redfish starting Tuesday!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

12.04.10 Wow..no post yesterday...checked it out today...new "The Average Angler" ride

Yep- took a day off. No fishing, no shooting, no blogging. Even slept in today and got up at 7am. I jumped out into the brisk morning and took a quick ride to Deal to see what was going on. On my way I found a very pleasant surprise, I looked up and saw a sign in Loch Arbour that said, Grateful Deli...sccreeccchh. I pulled Bertha over...my cool ass van that is named after the Grateful Dead song,

Bertha. Inside I met Mary the owner who was really cool, great coffee, great menu, and a good bacon, egg and cheese. The outside of the place looks like this,


So when I got to Phillips the parking lot was packed, and on the beach guys were lined up north and south. The tide was just heading out, water flat, no birds, "Shoulda been here yesterday.", no really that's what I was told, fish in the wash on sand eels. One fly guy was out on the tip of the rocks when I got there, and I made a few dozen casts with nothing. Not a fish caught all morning, from guys there since before sun up. Later in the day I spoke with a local reel manufacturer rep who lives locally and fishes the salt water. In his opinion, " It hasn't even started yet.", wow now that sounds good. I'll be checking out the local scene for the next two days and then it's off to Tampa for redfish with Dave Choinard from the old Fly Hatch in Shrewbury.  So those that know me know I keep vehicles for along time, keep them clean and try and do the right thing and keep my mechanics in business.


Well my Dodge Dakota that you've seen and read about here, the one I dropped a new tranny in during the spring when I broke down in the Adirondacks, well, she was tired, and ready to move on. So I started looking for a nice new or newer, mid size pickup, for the family and the drift boats, something good on gas, low miles and not too expensive. Forget it. I looked at 30,000 trucks both in person and online. It's pretty simple, the more you pay, the better shape it's in, and the less mileage. I saw trucks with over 75,000 miles for over 20 thousand dollars. So, I finally found one real close to home, a trade in at a dealership that they knew for years and here it is. Oh, yeah the Smog and Green Rating on this, like Blutarski's GPA in Animal House, 0.00. It's a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500, 8 cyl 5.7 Hemi, with a quad cab and 8 foot bed. Sweet, sweet, sweet. There a few drawbacks-  it's 57 feet long and gets 10 miles per gallon on gas. Perfect for those client trips to the Catskills or the Adirondacks. Anyway I liked it, hemmed and hawed over it, and did the pros vs cons list, came down to this 48,000 miles for 15 thousand. Sold! I will be gladly accepting gas cards for Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12.02.10 It went from "It's gonna be a late season."' to "I think it's over."

     That's what I heard walking past some guys scouting out the area off the Phillips pier. For weeks I have heard guys speculate that we'd be catching fish through Christmas. Well there's a few doubters out there. So anyway, due to work and the kids today I was able to go out at, well, dead low tide. 1010am. I got there  at 955am. I stayed till 1105am. There were surfers out, but nobody fishing. The water was clearer than yesterday evening, but still tinged. I took the opportunity to scout out the underwater landscape while the water was low. I walked to the tip of the groin and made some pictures and then fished to the north off the beach where I was able to better identify the structure there. There were birds working out a ways in the same spot they were last evening. I didn't see any fish on the surface. As I digested what the guys were saying as I was leaving I heard the other guy say, "Where's all the bunker?'

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12.01.10 Weather slowed, wind from the west, took a shot...

     So I thought maybe since the wind changed and the rain stopped that maybe the seas kicked it down a notch, nope. When I pulled onto Phillips off of Ocean Ave I could see it was a surfers convention, that meant big waves. Yep, big overhead to 10 footers breaking off the groin. I still liked my chances. I fished on the north side and in between the waves that snuck into shore and crashed at my knees and the strong rip, I thought I could squeak one out. The water was filthy and I felt like I was fall trout fishing because every other cast I picked up leaves. I did see a huge flock of gulls out a bit diving and feeding on something. I didn't have my binoculars so I couldn't see if there were fish underneath. Looks like things may be okay tomorrow, I'll give it a go mid morning.

12.01.10 Super snotty...found one hardcore angler...

      Took a quick drive down to the Shark River Inlet. Looks like we're in for some nasty weather. NOAA has it as follows,


Today...S winds 25 to 35 kt...becoming SW 25 to 30 kt late. Seas 8 to 11 ft. Rain with a chance of tstms until late afternoon... Then showers late. Vsby 1 nm or less...increasing to 1 to 3 nm late.

Tonight...W winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 30 kt. Seas 6 to 9 ft...subsiding to 3 to 5 ft after midnight. A chance of showers in the evening with vsby 1 to 3 nm.

Thu...NW winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Thu Night...NW winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Fri...NW winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Fri Night...NW winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas 2 to 4 ft. 

Sat...NW winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft. 

Sun...NW winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft. 

winds and seas higher in and near tstms.

 I did find one hardcore guy out on the jetty on the Avon side of the inlet and then I took a walk over to the Belmar Fishing Club to watch what I thought would be the flag pole come down. I did get word from Rich who's on the pulse down in Deal who said yesterday before high tide 1145-130 pm he got 6 fish and a keeper on a bucktail. I knew things looked good when I got back up to Monmouth County yesterday, but I picked 8th Ave rather than Deal. 


My advice for today, go to work, or at least get some of those Christmas decoration boxes out of the basement or attic, that'll keep the Queen happy.