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.