Tuesday, May 31, 2011

05.31.11 Stripers are glad the holiday weekend is over...seems to be a lull in the action

     Wow...what a difference 12 hours makes. Last evening you couldn't get a legal parking spot on the side streets off Ocean Avenue in Elberon and Deal, this morning hardly a soul around. Seems to be a late day bite, but how can you beat this. Beautiful sunrise and the entire groin to yourself behind the Breakwater. Saw some bunker this morning off Allenhurst, but no sings of any fish. A few anglers along the rocks but no hookups that I saw. Maybe the biat is still here but the first wave, or the wave, of stripers has came and went, or were all harvested at the end of last week. Hopefully there's two smart pregnant cows left that will make it past the New England coast and somehow continue the species.

Monday, May 30, 2011

05.30.11 PM Update...all quiet on the beach in Long Branch

Just can't get enough of this sh%t! Stopped by Pullman after seeing about 150 cars at Garfield. Same bunker as this morning, same location, lots of watchers and waiters.

05.30.11 Thanks to fallen U.S. service members on this Memorial Day!

Placing flags at Arlington National Cemetery

     Let us remember and thank all of our fallen U.S. service members today who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Country's freedom, past, present, and future. It is because of them and the others who serve that we are all able to be free and live in the greatest country on earth!

Weather moving in over Deal from the west

On a lighter note. Went out today around 5am catching the high and then outgoing tide. Fished the end of Brighton. It was a beautiful morning with a light south wind. I turned to check my backcast and found the sky behind me an ominous gray and black, and then wind turned from the west. About 15 minutes later the heavens opened up and lightning started to fly. I waited it out with a few regulars and after wards it cleared up pretty quickly. I fished Phillips with no result but did see a guy get a short on Brighton. I drove down to Allenhurst and saw guys arm to arm both there and at 8th Ave as pods of bunker where just out of casting range, with no signs of fish on them. There were about 150 boats back and forth from Deal down to Bradley Beach. I was on them with the binoculars but didn't see any fish caught, except for one from the groin below the beach club in Allenhurst, and that one looked just, just, about 28 inches. It was filleted quickly and put in the cooler. I suppose the fish will make a push later, if the boats will allow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

05.29.11 Friday it was take a dad...today it was take a brother fishing

Ryan on Brighton

     This morning I got a chance to go fishing with my brother. I am 43 and my brother 38. We grew up as kids fishing together in the ponds and lakes of Millstone where we grew up. We then graduated to the trout fishing waters of New Jersey as we got older. Ryan moved to hunting, I stayed with fishing. We still fish several times a year when we can. It's always fun weather we catch fish or not.

Me and Ryan at the Big Flatbrook 2004

Ryan at the Willowemoc 

     After he heard about the fishing with my dad on Friday he really wanted to go. Yesterday he went through his gear and took a ride to get new line on his 20 year old fishing pole we bought when we went to the Salmon River in 1991. I know nothing of hardware and bait fishing, so I couldn't give him any advice. The only thing I've heard of is Power Pro braid. I'm not even sure what that means but I mentioned it to him.
     So when I pulled up at 5am this morning he was walking back to his truck with a mess of line in a ball. We tried to untangle it, but we just cut off 50 yards of it and went fishing. We walked over to Brighton and waited a bit for the tide to go out so we could get to the end of the groin. Ryan was throwing a shiny new pencil popper. On the third cast his line was fouled again.

     As he was untangling I hooked up with a nice schoolie that Ryan helped me land so I wouldn't snap my rod like I did yesterday. After a few pics the fish was released back in the water and we were back at it. I was fishing, and he was cursing and trying to figure out if it was the line, the reel, or both.
     Around 7 am he couldn't take it anymore and called it quits. I stayed there and then moved to Phillips and later to Allenhurst with only a few strikes to show for it. Hopefully we'll get to go out again, and maybe next time all three of us can get out together.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

05.28.11 Out way early, hard gusty south wind, then it turned nice, then SNAP!

         I figured  I would beat the Memorial Day weekend anglers so I got up at 340 and was walking to Brighton at 4am. It was just high tide and the wind was blowing out of the south. Not what I had in mind. I made about 1,000 casts both north and south of the rocks picking up a nice 17" flounder. I had to wait for the tide to start out because the waves were breaking from both sides in the middle of the groin.
     By 630 I was out almost to the end. I had it all to myself, and only a few guys were around. I made some casts and worked along the rocks almost high-sticking my way around. I hooked into a nice fish that spit the hook shortly after it was on. I figured I was on my way to a 5 fish morning, including the one that I promised Cindy for dinner! I hooked up shortly after that right at the rock line. It was a nice fight, and I figured landing it would be a task but doable. I would wait for a wave to bring the water in, find a sloped rock to slide him up on, grab him by the lip, and take a picture and release him. Simple. So I had some weight on my favorite 10 wt Helios rod waiting to time the wave. The wave came, I pulled up on the rod, the water surprisingly left, and the rod SNAPPED. I almost threw up.
     So now my fish is stuck somewhere below in the rocks. I have 3/4ths of my rod in my hand and the tip section is down with the fish. So I now have to risk my life getting down to get the fish by the lip. Luckily I didn't snap my neck in the process and got the fish up, a guick pic, and back in the water.

Within the hour I was on the phone with Orvis and by 10 am it was on a UPS truck heading back to Vermont. Looks like I'll be getting comfy with my 9ft 9wt Access rod for a few weeks.

Friday, May 27, 2011

05.27.11 "Take a kid, well a dad, fishing!"

Me and dad at Allenhurst

     Well things have been red hot, as you all, and every angler within 100 miles knows. It's great for the meat harvester casting pencil poppers, swimmers, and plugs. Great for the clam and cut bunker anglers. And not bad for the fly fishermen and women.
     Today I had the opportunity to take my dad striper fishing. He has wanted to go for some time. I emailed Jim Freda over at Shore Catch to see if he had any openings for today, ha!. Jim said he had an opening in July and a few in August. So we decided to hit the beaches and groins along Monmouth County. We were out at 430 am and started in Allenhurst with a quick scout and moved to Deal to fish. We were all alone and I fished Brighton and hooked up with a nice 15 pound fish at the end of the groin. I fought him to the rocks where he spit the barbless white/pink Clouser.
     My dad was throwing a Bomber in the surf and then we moved to Phillips where he risked his skull and walked out to the end with a pair of garden boots. He busted his ass several times but did get out there. We had bunker out front but no fish were on them. We picked up around 830 and headed to Steve's in Sea Bright for some breakfast. I might add, if you ever want the best muffins in the New Jersey, then head to Steve's in downtown Sea Bright.
    We then hit Giglio's where my father stocked up on pencil poppers, swimmers, leaders, a shoulder bag and pliers. If I didn't pull him out in time he would have went for a new 11 foot G-Loomis rod and Van Stahl reel. We moved to Takanasee and then settled in Allenhurst and fished the start of the incoming tide. I fished the "cove" at the L groin below the beach club and had a nice fish on for a few moments, I think it was a flounder.
    I wish we could have stayed longer so he could have at least seen a good blitz and guys catching those big fish blowing up on the lures he had purchased. We put in a good day, from 430 - 1pm, hopefully we can do it again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

05.26.11 Question...how does this species survive?

      I had to wonder this afternoon as I made my way down to Allenhurst, then Deal, and ended up in Long Branch. Guys on the end of every groin. Casting swimmers and poppers and plugs and whattayacallits. Some fresh faces, but mostly the same guys you see in the spring and fall. I saw a tight groin in Allenhurst this morning. Then I saw Long Branch tonight. It was nuts guys right on top of each other all trying to get a window to make a cast. And then the big girls chased the bunker within the 1/4 mile casting distance these guys can hit. Fish, after fish, after fish, after fish, after bigger fish, after I just caught this 35 inch fish let me throw it back so I can catch a bigger fish. What are we doing?


     I know the ocean is big. I know there are millions of striped bass out there. But I wonder how this onslaught of angling pressure from south of the Chesapeake Bay to above Massachusetts does for the continuance of the morone saxitalis? I also know these blitzes come and go. You have to be lucky enough to catch it. When it happens, hope your here. I am seeing the same guys in the morning when the bass push the bait to the beach, and then seeing them at night. Fish after fish, after fish. I don't even know what the boats, small boats, are doing, but I see them hooking up and catching fish, after fish, after fish. And what about the big party boats?

     I stayed for about an hour. I thought about asking gently if I could sneak in there with my 10 weight and give it a go. But I just turned and followed out a guy dragging two 40 plus pound fish to his car. As I hit Ocean Ave something stuck out at me. It was a pickup with striper stickers and deer stickers. "New Jersey Hunter" it said. Hey, what about those doe and buck permits. What about tagging and weighing deer in. I'm not into so many rules, but why can't we do that with striped bass. Keep one cow over 40 pounds per season. Catch it, tag it, go weigh it in- and you're done. If a 90 pound doe calls for it, how about a 50 pound egg laden female striped bass? Something has to be done. I didn't enjoy seeing what I saw tonight.

05.26.11 Things are heating up...and blow up this morning

     As I fished my way last evening fishing from IBSP to Mansquan to Avon, things were blowing up a little further north on the beaches. I spoke with a guy this morning who was at Pull man when big hungry cows pushed bunker up onto the beach. He got a 38 pound fish and his buddy a 52 pounder, all in the wash. He had pictures to prove it, and his other four friends were in the frame with big fish.
     This morning at 5 am I fished Deal all alone for about and hour. A few guys came later but it was quiet. I drove into Long Branch to check the horizon and it was flat. On my way home I stopped by Allenhurst and saw a few guys on the end of the groin and a boat parked tight with a fish on. Mmmm. Bunker must be  close and fish are on them. So I geared up and made my way down. Within 10 minutes the fish were blowing up between the boats and beach. Guys were throwing big swimmers and plugs 1/4 mile out and one guy hooked a 25 pound fish as soon as his lure hit the water. This all happened when the wind shifted from the south to the east, bringing with it fog cover. Then an hour later it changed back to the south and things shut down.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

05.25.11 Trout release for TIC...fished IBSP....and oh yeah...a fox!

Ken and Bill overseeing the release

   Busy day all around. Started this morning at the Forest Resource Education Center in Jackson for the annual Trout in the Classroom Field Day. NJ Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited chapters from throughout the State deliver eggs to 106 schools in October and then help with the release starting in May. Today was release day for six of the schools. Jersey Shore TU has 25 schools that we are responsible for. In addition to Ken adn Bill and myself, Duane and Rick were at Allaire State Park where another school was releasing into the Manasquan. In addition to the releases educational programs were held. Our favorite was the Macro Invertebrates class where the kids sift through and identify insects in the river. The Toms has MAYFLIES. Believe it or not. 

JSTU members Ken, myself, and Bill

The kids are briefed before the day starts

Releasing the trout

Macroinvertebrate class

     Then I had to go finish an assignment I am working on in Atlantic City. That has been a three day shoot over several weeks but it is finally wrapping up. On the way home I stopped off at Exit 82 and took the ride to Seaside Park and then into Island Beach State Park. Of course I stopped at Betty and Nicks and supported the shop. I had to, I read their fishing reports everyday. It was funny because as I was waiting in line one guy said he was up in Deal this morning and caught a 35 inch fish near Roseld, and that Deal has been super hot. That's funny, when I talk with guys from Deal they say IBSP is where all the action is. It I drove into the park and headed to Area 21 where Ken said he was last night and had some fun with blues to five pounds. I started there on the outgoing tide and jumped the road and fished outside. There was nothing going on. I asked a few anglers who said today, even with the wind shift, was dead. As I exited the park I pulled over to get some shots of this very calm and freindly fox. It's either been fed by humans and is becoming used to humans or has rabies running through her veins and needs to be shot.
     I then drove up Route 35 and hit both the Manasquan and Shark River Inlets. The only fish I saw was a stargazer, a small blue, and a 35 pound fish a guy held up as he went through the SR Inlet in a sweet center console.

On the outside, IBSP

An ISBP female fox

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

05.24.11 Nice morning but the wind didn't budge

Steve on Brighton

     A beautiful May morning. Outgoing tide, clean water, but the winds stayed put from yesterday at 12 S- SW. I spent most of the time on a groin with fly fisherman Steve. He worked the tip on the south side and me midway. We switched back and forth figuring for sure one of us would hook up. Rich was on the beach with clams with no results. It looks like the wind is going to stay out of the south-southwest for a few days. We'll see how things go.

Monday, May 23, 2011

05.23.11 What were they thinking?...and got out for a bit today.

     I forgot to share this earlier this month when I was up in Roscoe picking up the drift boat to float the Delaware. When you getoff at the Roscoe exit on Route 17 you are greeted with the Roscoe Diner and a bear holding a BARRACUDA???? Welcome to Roscoe, Trout Town USA. A few years back the Reynolds House under went a makeover, and an interesting paint job. I am all for an owners right to do what they want, but c'mon! Isn't there some historic or commercial zone guidelines that must be

    Today I had a short window, but did get out. Deal was looking good on the incoming tide, but gusty S winds. I was fishing a bunker fly and had a fish blow up at it on the surface. The wave sets changed shortly after I got into a grove and 4-5 foot waves were breaking in the wash, one catching me in the stripping basket and nearly breaking my back. I'll be out at daybreak tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

05.22.11 Sunday morning bass on the Jersey Shore

Rich with an early Sunday morning keeper on clams

     I couldn't get out early for the outgoing tide so I settled for a quick drive along the mid- Monmouth County beaches. Things were a little different than yesterday, 12 E winds, with the air and sea temps even at 56. I found things quiet in Asbury Park and watched a guy hook up in Allenhurst soaking bait, I wasn't sure what he was serving up. Then I moved north and found the always-fishing-in-the-morning Rich out fishing with a friend. They had a few poles set up with clams and worms. I stuck around for about an hour and just after I turned to leave Rich hooked up right along the groin. After a nice fight he beached the 30 inch fish. With the tide starting to come in I wouldn't be surprised if they hooked into a few more fish.
     I also saw a guy throwing flies for a long time in a pretty steady wind with no results. He is a regular who puts in a ton of time and gets rewarded in good numbers on occasion.
     My planned float of the Upper Delaware isn't looking good for Tuesday. Around the beginning of the month of May the West Branch was rolling at just under 12,000 cfs. On May 15th the West Branch was 785 cfs and today it was 4,150 cfs- and that is down from just under 7,000 two days ago.

     We went from throwing big Double Bunnies to size 18 Blue Quills to now back to big streamers, waiting for the waters to recede and the fish to start rising to March Browns. Floats trips should last well into June and I have days available, to book call 732.261.7291.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

05.21.11 Fresh cut bunker...it's what for breakfast

    I was out fly fishing by 6 am today at one of my favorite haunts in Monmouth County. Several guys out on the beach and along the groins. Saw 1 good fish taken on cut bunker and later a fish pop for a plug. I saw some regulars and one fly angler, Steve, who is a fly fishing madman. He fished all over the world, all the time and catches lot's of fish.

I'll be at it again in the morning. Hoping to get one to bite on a fly and leave the nice juicy bait on the bottom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

05.20.11 Check out Eastern Fly Fishing magazine


      Check out the May/ June issue of Eastern Fly Fishing magazine. New Jersey based writer Chris Roslan has two nice features in this issue. Chris and I have worked together on stories for this magazine. His first story is about a father-son outing to the Rapid River in Maine and the second is about the local trout streams in the Blairstown, NJ area. Good reading!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

05.19.11 HELP! PLEASE...I need to find a clam fly, quick!!!!!

40+ inch striped bass, Deal

    Well, it was a long day. I was in pursuit of some bluefish to shoot for the upcoming Cookin Wild issue and I was able to deliver, on my own and with a little help from my friends, well strangers. I started out in the Manasquan Inlet where an angler hooked up with a cocktail blue on a Deadly Dick. Before he released it I got a few frames off. With that in the bag I geared up and fished Fishermans Cove there with no results.

Fishermans Cove, Manasquan Inlet

     I traveled north, and first stopped at Bing's in Avon for a bacon, egg and cheese on a hard roll. If you're ever in that area and need one there delicious. After swallowing that I stopped at the Shark River Inlet where a pod of blues were on the munch in the inlet. They were on anything silver, duh, and took a gray Jiggy Fly. After a few were caught I shot them and then moved over and gave an eddy behind a jetty a shot for stripers with no luck. The water looks great- clean and green. So my bluefish mission was accomplished, now it was time to find some stripers.

Shark River Inlet cocktail blue

     I drove along Ocean Ave and hit all the usual spots with nothing really exciting going on. I parked my truck in Deal and headed down where two guys had each caught a keeper on clams. I watched as one of the guys rigged up about 8 ounces of drippy-clammy-rubbery-wonderfullness and then looked at my sad gray fly hooked into my fly rod. How can you compete with that. Big, fat egg carrying hungry cows hugging the bottom and laying in between the groins on a snotty day. So they can either go after a Big Mac being held in place with 8 ounces, or chase a french fry swimming around somewhere in the water column.

Rigging up fresh clams

Egg laying females- they should go back

Clams- what stripers want for dinner

A 40 + inch striped bass, Deal

    So as I spoke with the angler he threw his clam in and about 12 seconds later his rod bent and he set the hook and started the fight. After about 5 long minutes his brother was picking up a huge 40 + inch fish from the wash. It was a nice fish. I then looked through my fly wallet to see if there was anything that could be mistaken for a clam, a big fat juicy clam.....nope. I settled for a chartreuse Clouser Minnow and worked the waters on both sides of the groin. After a while I decided I would move and take a trip over to the Raritan Bay to see if those big bluefish were about.
     I pulled into Leonardo and found some anglers talking. I told them about the action outside and they said a few bluefish were taken this morning. They haven't had the herring/ bunker/ bluefish action like they had last year. At times monster bluefish invade and turn the waters of the bay and rivers red with bits of bait mixed in. I fished along the Naval Pier with another guy throwing a plug and neither of us had any action.

So, what I need is a clam fly, that's juicy, hugs the bottom, smells great and tastes good. If you have one please drop me a line!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

05.18.11 Got the "Take Your Limit, Please!" logo

      I recently received the logo for "Take Your Limit, Please!" from Jersey Shore based artist Sarah Dowman. When I decided to launch a campaign to get anglers to remove some of the garbage they see when they are fishing Sarah was eager to help. We sat down and came up with a few ideas and the above is the final version. T.Y.L.P. is a national campaign where anglers decide how much trash they can take out with them before they fish, basically setting their own "limit". Sarah's "fish" is made up of trash we see in and along our waters everyday, cigarette butts, cans, lost fishing gear, condoms, screws, ect. Within the next week a press release and printable poster will be sent out along with the launch of a Facebook page. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

05.17.11 A search for bluefish during the snottiest part of the day

 Plum Island, Sandy Hook- Shrewsbury River

   Today I was on a quest to catch a bluefish. I have a hard deadline for the story on bluefish cakes for Cooking Wild  magazine. I started out the day on the outside, stopping by Phillips in Deal only to find chocolate milk surf and plenty of hard gusts. I then made a move to the inside, stopping by the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson only to find lots of chop, a little less wind, and no signs of fish. It was then on to Leonardo next to the marina near the Earle Naval pier, which is always a hotspot, only to find a little less stained water and high winds.

Phillips Ave, Deal 

Leonardo Marina

     In the end the most promising water was the Shrewsbury River at Plum Island on Sandy Hook. I was there at the outgoing tide and things looked really good. Moving clear water and lots of places for fish to lay in wait. When I got to the water an angler was trying to release a gannet from his line. He had the bird wrapped up with both wings caught. I held the bird and stuck out my finger which he bit down on pretty hard for the duration of the "operation". We worked for about 20 mins and finally got him free. Just before he flew away he took a few steps back to me and bit me on the arm. Not very nice.
     I fished for about an hour worked my way around the point with no results. The other angler worked the same area with a shad, a bomber, and bucktail. So if there was a fish around, one way or the other we should have caught one. I'll be back at it tomorrow.

Plum Island, Sandy Hook- Shrewsbury River