Saturday, December 31, 2011

12.31.11 Last striped bass of 2011...I swear...

     I had to do it. Even though I put away all my saltwater fly gear for 2011...I had to bring my new 7wt setup with me this morning just in case. I started out in Asbury Park around 630 at low tide. It was a balmy 49 degrees, and four anglers were at the end of the rocks. There was one keeper on the deck and some shorts that were back in the water. 


     The water hadn't starting moving yet so I took a ride up to Monmouth Beach, to use the Johnny On the Spot (thank you Monmouth Beach), and then headed south. I stopped and fished the Fletcher Lake outflow and down near the Shark River Inlet without a bump. I didn't see anyone else fishing except in Deal and AP. Just as I was ready to call it a day about 8 o'clock I decided to give Deal a go. There were a bunch of cars in the lot, some were anglers and some surfers. I didn't think I would stay long but when I rounded the beach club and saw Brighton I found fly fisher Joe out mid rocks working the incoming tide.  Joe always makes for good pictures and the first I made while walking up towards him. 

I was lugging around my work camera and my Orvis Hydros 7wt, with a floating line, a 4x tippet, and the fly I tied yesterday. Joe had already caught a few so I moved past him and gave it a go. 
I concentrated tight to the rocks and hooked a nice fish that I saw grab it right before I lifted the fly out of the water. I had him on for a few good minutes and as I tried to climb down he spit the barbless hook, just as well as I would have busted my ass getting down to lip it. The 4x tippet isn't meant for lifting. Joe hooked up again and shortly I hooked up with a nice, fat, football size schoolie. They have been on fish at night, in the morning, and afternoon up and down this beat...

Tomorrow I'll try for the first striped bass of 2012. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

12.30.11 Sat down at the vise and put on Ask About Fly Fishing....

     Took a break from the Joan Wulff video and sat down at the vise and put on Ask About Fly Fishing, . This internet radio "channel" has weekly programs that feature various fly fishing personalities. Today I listened to Capt John McMurray and his program on bluefishing in Jamaica Bay. The programs are about and hour long and are a perfect background if you're down in the mancave.

12.30.11 Things blew up in Asbury this morning...well fat shorts at first light

     I saw on one of the forums yesterday that there was good fishing, actually "things went off", in NoMoCo yesterday. For you non-forum guys NoMoCo is Northern Monmouth County. I got down to Asbury Park around 830 and talked with Gus and Serg who each cad caught a half a dozen fat football shorts to 26 inches this morning. Low tide was at 4:50 so it was at the start of the incoming when they hit them. The above angler was a set of rocks south and caught a short or two soaking clams. He had the right idea as it was a beautiful morning to sit, relax, and fish. While at the parking lot the city had a machine filling in the pot holes that come back after every rain. 
     I saw some birds diving out a ways and the water temps are still holding at 51 degress (NOAA) so it doesn't appear to be over. 

I am sure the beaches will be busy this weekend as anglers attempt to catch their first day of the year striper  in 2012. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12.29.11 A month before my FFF CI test....

     Today is a perfect day to continue my preparation for my Federation of Fly Fishers CI (Casting Instructor) test that I'm taking in a month. I put in Joan Wulff's video, Dynamic's of Fly Casting, and grabbed my newly purchased Fly-O and started from the beginning. I have been watching plenty of Mel Kreiger (in German subtitles), Steve and Tim Rajeff, Lefty Kreh, and Joan Wulff videos lately.
     The test requires a 9ft 7wt and I just got a Hydros setup for Chrismas for me to use. Tomorrow I'll be taking my rod and hula hoops out to the park for some more practice.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12.28.11 " I shouldda' been here yesterday....."

      That's what this lone angler said to me this morning on the beach in Seaside Park. This morning I grabbed my cameras and headed out to see what the ocean looked like after lasts night blow. As I drove up to 8th Ave I saw about 30 cars parked in the lot, either there was an all out blitz or the waves were ripe for surfing. The tide was incoming, the wind howling out of the West, and the waves were 5-8 feet. There were surfers everywhere. I saw Gus who just sat in his truck and shook his head. I got out with my iPad and figured I'd make his day and show him the pics from yesterday. He was shocked. He thought I had dug up pics from the spring.  "Nope Gus, that was yesterday."
     I made my way south and just as I got over the Shark River Inlet I saw a guy landing a short striper off the north jetty. Things were quiet down at Manasquan Inlet and the beaches down to Seaside. I did find one lone angler in Seaside Park that made a good subject for the above picture. I went up to him and asked him how he was doing and he said, "I should have been here yesterday, or the day before that." His buddies called as things were going off yesterday but he couldn't break free and come down. So he came down today.

We've all been there. It's just part of it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12.27.11 Got a few dozen of John Collins' "JC Electric Caddis"

     For those in the know of super talented New Jersey fly tyers then John Collins name should ring a bell. Besides being the #1 Packers fan, John ties great flies. Besides having seen John speak in person and online at Rise Form Studio, HERE, I have seen a lot of John's ties on Facebook lately so I reached out to him to see if I could purchase a few dozen of his- JC Electric Caddis. Lucky for me John was coming down the shore for a visit and we met up for what looked like a quick drug transaction in the parking lot at 7 Presidents Park.
    John is a member of the Catskill Fly Tyers Guild and on the pro staff for several fly tying related companied including Regal Engineering, Flyman Fishing Company and Clear Cure Goo. To see some of John's other ties you can see him at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset or at myflies HERE.

I can't wait to wet these flies, I know they are productive.

12.27.11 "Yes NJ striped bass fishermen, there is a Santa Claus.....

     I discovered two things today. One, the fall/ winter striped bass run is not over. Two, I forgot how much I like to take fishing related pictures with my real work cameras, and not the point and shoot I keep with me while fishing. 

I heard that yesterday things had heated up on the Point Pleasant and Bayhead beaches. Even though I have "officially" out away my fly fishing gear for 2011 I awoke this morning and had to take a ride down. I had with me two cameras instead of two fly rods. I started Belmar and caught the beautiful first light at the Belmar Fishing Club. I was only there for a few minutes but caught it just right. Then I went down to Bayhead and took a quick peak to find some birds, beach anglers and boats in the hunt. 

The birds were going south the anglers walking north and the boats back and forth. I got back in the truck and moved north to Point Pleasant were things were a little bit busier. There more birds working and I saw a few caught and released. I saw more birds down south so I got back in the truck and headed to Lyman Ave and gave it a look through the binoculars. One guy said to me,  "What does it look like?" 

I answered, " The plague!". There were a ton birds off Brick Beach, so back in the truck and a quick drive south put me right in the perfect spot. There were birds everywhere. Some moving north to south and others south to north. I started walking south and stopped where I was pretty much all alone and I starting shooting the birds. Gannets diving on herring, gulls picking at the surface. At one point the two large schools of fish met, just to my left and soon the beach buggies pulled up and out came the anglers. A line formed and quickly guys were hooked up one after the other. Rather than schoolies with a few keepers mixed in, these were keeper fish, and a few monsters mixed in. 

     It looked like everyone was throwing metal, still those Ava's, and bigger Hopkins since the herring were around. They were all good fish and soon all the action was concentrated right in front of me. At times I wish I had my fly rod with me, but the guys were tight on the beach and the action just out a lit far. I had seen Shell E. Caris from Shore Catch up a few towns north of Brick earlier in the morning and he pulled up behind me and very casually got out smiled and made a few casts. Soon he was hooked

up with a real good fish. Still quiet and nonchalant he fought the fish for a good bit and soon it was at he feet. He got slightly mugged when he hooked up but just smiled and continued with the fish. I made some images of it next to my Croc, and it had to go 44 inches and weigh 30 pounds. He did a good job modeling it for me and I gave him a hand getting it into the cooler in the back of his truck. He gave me a ride up to the beach access at Brick Beach before continuing north to join up with beach buggies and birds that were now in Mantoloking.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12.26.11 My fishing related Christmas keeps rolling along...

     Love Christmas and fishing related Christmas gifts. First it was a Hydros 7wt set up, then fingerlings for Tanzunia, today it's an Orvis gift card, courtesy of my father and stepmother.

Even though I vowed that I am done with striper fishing for the year and won't cast anything but my new 7wt in getting ready for my FFF CI test, I am so tempted to hit the Pt. Pleasant and Bayhead beaches tomorrow still continues!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12.25.11 Neat Christmas gift from my mom....helping fishermen in Africa

    My mother got me an interesting gift this Christmas. Knowing that I always like to help, and like all good things fishing, she purchased on my behalf fish fingerlings through Heifer International. This nonprofit, humanitarian organization id dedicated to help ending hunger on earth. The program that I'm now apart of is the stocking of fish fingerlings in Tanzunia.
    Most farmers build ponds on their land and stock nile talapia for sale at market or for their villages food source.

12.25.11 Merry Christmas...forget the kids-look what I got

     First, to all the clients and friends at The Average Angler Merry Christmas to you and yours! Christmas is all about the kids, but not here. I scored a nice Orvis 9 ft 7wt Hydros fly rod and Hydros IV reel! Of course the kids had a blast opening gifts, and giving them too, but I couldn't wait till the family split so I could go out and give it a try. I have to say I'm used to throwing that 10 wt with the Depth Charge line with weighted Clousers almost everyday, so, honestly, casting this 7wt in no wind was a mess. I better figure it out quick and get my game on before the end of January when I test for my FFF CI certification.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

12.24.11 Cold morning in Deal....I'm going to figure out how to cast an Ava on a fly rod

      I don't know if Rich is a great fisherman or Ava's are just that good of a lure. I started out before first light and it was cold just around 32 degrees. The water was pretty flat just at slack tide and I worked a large  white Clouser along the rocks. Lots of guys out along the beaches in Deal. They were there before I got there and left before I did. Didn't see anyone hook up. Just as I was ready to go Rich shows up. I was convinced he wouldn't get anything and I let him know that. Somehow I was inclined to stay and sugject my hands to the biting cold. We started out onto the rocks and shortly thereafter he lets me know he's hooked up. He's got an Ava with a red tail on and lands a nice and fat just below the keeper mark fish. 
     We worked our way out to the end and he hooked up with two more schoolies. I concentrated close to the rocks and didn't move a fish. I think that today was my last day, but I have been saying that the last few days. Lot's of birds still around and gannets diving off in the distance. Bet there's even more of them around the Manasquan Inlet as the herring starts to pour out. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

12.23.11 "Had just settled my Jones Brothers for a long winters nap"


     Picked Corrina up today after she got a complete engine diagnostic check, tune up, winterization and shrink warp. Lucky for me the guys at Gateway Marina did a test patch on removing the bottom paint down to the gel coat and it looks like it can be taken down and polished out. No sand or soda blasting and no need to re gel coat or bottom paint her. Looks like that'll start in mid January. The spring will be here before we know it.

Looks like I'm sneaking out again in the morning, love schoolies on the fly!

12.23.11 Snotty fishing at 430 am...but things got better and it picked up later

      I was set on fishing early Friday no matter what. Mother Nature and Poseidon had other ideas. It was pouring, blowing, and honking. Started on the end of the incoming and worked alongside the rocks in Avon. It wasn't fun, nor effective. I grabbed a coffee and went up to 8th Ave and sat in Bertha for a bit and when the rain stopped and the tide started to move I hit Deal as the light came up. The water was up and I was only able to safely get out onto Phillips about 30 feet. I was using a black sand eel pattern and picked up a fat schoolie along the rocks. As time went on it got better. I moved down to Brighton where the water was cleaner and a few birds were in the water and occasionally scouting the water. I started at the beach where I picked up a sand dab in the wash before moving out onto the rocks. I fished with Rich who quickly hooked up on a fat short on metal. I hooked a nice fish but poor line management had me trying to figure out a line nest in my stripping basket. The line went slack and the bass spit the barbless chartreuse and white Deciever I had tied on.
     Another angler was on the same rocks and between us all 5 fish landed and a few dropped. Between hearing from guys and following most boat reports it seems the short to keeper ratio is about 5:1, maybe even higher. As the schoolies start to dominate it appears the fall run is winding down. With waters temps out front still just at 50 degrees and with plenty of bait and bass around it looks like they'll be staying for Christmas if not longer.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12.22.11 Going out for most likely the last time for 2011 tomorrow

I had to dig through my corner of the basement to find my gear and make sure I had at least one fly to take with me tomorrow. Hearing things have been real good for the anglers that have stuck it out and put their time in. Even Monmouth County beaches are giving up fish! Hope to find some in the early a.m.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12.21.11 Great time and a little spey casting in AC...and the first "Phillips Ave Gang" outing

     Love the Borgata! Thanks to them for the nice two night comp. Cindy and I had a great time there and during a run down to Cape May for dinner at the Pilot House and Christmas in Cape May. We were both surprised when we found most, well all but three, stores closed before 5pm? Some nice lights scattered here and there but a disappointment overall. Back at the Borgata we broke even at the tables and slots. that was great.there's nothing like playing with house money for hours- with free drinks!
     Today we took a drive to the up beach neighborhood and parked on seedy Oriental Place where I gave it a go off the jetty at the Absecon Inlet with my 12'6 spey rod. It was low tide and nothing hit on the few dozen casts I made along the rocks there.

     I got home just in time to make the inaugural "Phillips Ave Gang" first outing. We met up at Mister C's in Allenhurst and traded stories and tales over drinks and apps. In attendance was Al, Rich, Bob, Kevin, Steve , Roger, and Colin. I met all of these guys while fishing in Deal, and there are a few more regulars from there who I wish I got to in time to extend the invite. It's a good group and hopefully this will be the start of something good that will stick around for a while.  In the picture below, Bob explains what he felt the first time he caught a striper, and below that, the gang at Mister C's. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

12.19.11 Off to Atlantic City for a few...

Love those Borgata and Cindy heading down to Atlantic City and Cape May for a few. All packed up...including one fly rod and two flies.

                                                                Cape May Inlet