Wednesday, February 29, 2012

02.29.12 Former Fly Hatch owner co-takes top prize in the 2012 Salty Fly Tourney

Salty Fly image
     Most readers of this blog no doubtfully remember The Fly hatch and its' owner Dave Choinard. I was lucky enough to meet Dave, Dave "Frazz" Frazzinelli, and Darren back when the store was on Broad Street in Red Bank. I was a customer from then through the move to Shrewsbury until Dave and the fan damily moved down to Tampa. I even worked at the shop for a few years helping out around the holidays and prepping, working at, and then breaking down the Somerset Show, or when the crew went fishing or at to the big show in Denver. 
    I was always impressed with Dave's knowledge about anything to do with fly fishing. You could jump from Jones Brothers boats to fly tying to the drag systems on fly reels and he wouldn't stop from sentence to sentence. Some say, Dave was a salesman first - well he was- he ran a business that most of us came to miss and wish we had it back to this day. 

    Alright, enough about waxing poetic on Dave. Final word. I always liked talking, helping, fishing, or just hanging with Dave and I'm glad Jen and the boys are doing well in Tampa and him well with Simms.

If you are traveling down to Tampa Bay and want to fish for redfish, tarpon, and trout give drop Dave 
an email and set something up, or just drop him a line and say hi-

G.Loomis Skiff Casting Challenge
     So anyway the other day I saw a Facebook post about the winners this past weekends 2012 Salty Fly Tournament held in Tampa Bay. The tournament was started by Florida based photographer Sam Root. This is the second year of the competition that brings out the top guides in a performance shoot out. One of the parts was the G.Loomis sponsored Skiff Casting Challenge. Dave was teamed up with Captain Colby Hane and  during their heat Dave had to take a dive in the water to retrieve a stuck-in-the-mud pole. They went on to place first and each received  a G.Loomis rod and trophy. 

Thanks to Joshua Maitland for sharing this pic!
Salty Fly image


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

02.28.12 Manasquan River One Bug

     With a slow striper bite the last two nights and cold, rain, and snow in the forecast I decided to have fun for a little while. I decided to grab one fly and head the 10 miles over to the Manasquan River, my local stocked-put-and-take trout stream. When I can't get free and fish the Lackawanna in PA or the Upper Delaware in the winter I usually make a few trips to the water I started trout fishing on 30 years ago. I knew it wouldn't last long as the Manasquan isn't friendly to flies nor spinners or sinkers and hooks.



     I made my way down to the water which was running low and clear for the Manasquan. On most days  it's normal color can be described like Yoo-Hoo. My fly of choice cone head olive streamer which moved well and down low in in the water. After a half a dozen casts I bought a strong and healthy fish to hand. This water is best fished from the banks because as soon as you step in the water it dirties up and travels downstream, taking several minutes to clear.
     I made my way upstream and took a chance and entered the water a half a step at a time. I fished a run that usually produces and while on a slow retrieve in no-mans land I felt the streamer hit...a log. I tried to reverse casts out of it to no avail. In less than an hour my One Bug solo tournament was over.

Monday, February 27, 2012

02.27.12 How long will this kayak lay here?


     If you kayak, beach or fish the groins along northern Monmouth County regularly then you have seen this broken kayak laying at the foot of Marine Place for some time. I have seen it for so long that I have become accustomed to it seeing in when I stop by. This morning I went out to take a look at the water after having fished last night and drawing a blank. As I scanned the water I saw a few guys fishing, some gulls waiting and of course the bright yellow ocean kayak laying at the foot of the groin. But today I looked at it in a different way- How come no one has removed it from the beach? I'm not laying blame- but I might think that some one from the kayak community would take an interest in its removal. Now that's not to say that I can't remove it- and now that it's on my mind I might just do it myself- but when we are involved with something we kind of take ownership of it, and all things related to it. It could belong to one of the homes on the beach- either way- let's get rid of it!

What amazes me is how that kayak has survived in it's resting place. It gets moved around by water, wind and people- but it always remains. The below picture is from October 25, 2011- four months ago- and it has been there even longer.

October 25, 2011

Sunday, February 26, 2012

02.26.12 Tied up some bait for tonights outing

     Liking the way the water looked and high tide tonight at 1047 pm....could be a good one

02.26.12 Went down and found kayakers getting ready to launch

     Went down to see how things looked today as the wind has been howling and the water dirtied up the last few days. Well things are looking good today with a W wind that should sit down even more then is was when I was there and water clarity that is back to fishable. I talked with a guy whose friend did well last night although he had to brave the wind and cold into hooking up.

     Today a haf a dozen kayakers were on the boards in Allenhurst preparing for an outing that they say could last until sunset. That' s a long time on your butt and on the water. But these guys really do get on the fish and cover around a mile up, down and out from where they put in. I met a few of them last week after they had a real good day on the water, with bass blowing up on sand eels all around them as the sun went down.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

02.25.12 Gave a talk at the Ocean County Library

     Today I had a great group of folks at the Ocean County Library. It was  mixed bag, some fly fishers, some just fresh, some just salt, some wanting to get started. My JV AV skills from High School couldn't save me from my iPad not being able to displayed through the projector at the library, so that made for a lot of talking. I had to walk around and show some pictures on my iPad instead of the nice big screen behind me. Luckily the gang was very engaged and asked a ton of great questions. These talks are a good way to meet new people in the sport and potentially a new client or two.


Friday, February 24, 2012

02.24.12 My Jones Brothers is looking sweeeet....

     I went and checked out the progress on the bottom paint removal going on at Gateway Marina. The guys are doing a great job removing the paint and getting her all polished up. She'll look as good as new after some slight repair work and gel coating on the bottom. Can't wait to get her back out there.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

02.23.12 Remember to "match the hatch" in the salt...stoneflies are coming off!

     As a fly fisherman I always try and match the hatch...I do it on the Upper Delaware when the Hendricksons or Blue Quills are coming off...or when the stripers are on rainbait or spearing. Yesterday  Blitzbound Captain Jason Dapra told me he went trout fishing and had fish rising to little black stoneflies. This time of year year fly fisherman key on blue winged olives and little stoneflies which in the pursuit of winter trout. I remember two years ago I took the short, well long, drive to the Lackawanna and had BWO's on the surface of the water and stoneflies crawling in the snow underfoot.

So today I took a ride down to the water to see if the birds were back picking crabs off the fronts of the rocks or on bait a little offshore. I found some guys throwing Bombers or metal and went to make some images. As I leaned on the concrete wall I was surprised to find lots of stoneflies sunning themselves in the early morning sun. I gently grabbed a few and then they took off after several seconds.

So, if you go out today, bring your Clousers, crab flies, and stoneflies in sized 14 and 16's.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

02.22.12 Passed the USGC Captain's test....

I couldn't be more thankful and excited to have passed the USCG Captain's class. I am relieved as is my brain since I have been stuffing lots of information in it for the past three weeks. I had a great instructor in Captain Harry Vliet and great classmates to go along with a great class given by Mariner's School held in Toms River.


Now I have that out of the way I have to get ready for a lecture I'm doing this weekend at the Ocean County Library in Waretown on Fly Fishing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

02.21.12 Note to self..."Land fish then take picture"

     I was hoping for a different look picture this morning. Rather then have another striper laying on the rocks next to my Orvis Helios rod and Mirage reel, I wanted some kind of action? photo. Well, here's the action, right before the fish spit the hook.

Fished last night in semi-snotty weather. Saw one guy hook up and land a fish on a Bomber and then another angler drop a keeper on the same. Wind was from the N last night and throwing the intermediate line wasn't working. I shredded my Depth Charge line after I thought I was done for the 15th time in early February. I have to place an order for some of the new Hydros 3D Depth Charge lines for my 9, 10 and 12 wt rods.

Monday, February 20, 2012

02.20.12 Looks like those rock crabs may be "hatching" again

     Got crabs? After trying to digest and figure everything out that's going on with the bait, birds and bass I broke from studying and took a ride down to the water. Based on what I've heard lately I expected to find birds a ways out over unknown bait which is being crashed by stripers. However, when I got down to the rocks and put on a long lens with and extender I found birds picking at rock crabs on the end of the outgoing tide. It's a new moon and it's looking like it did during last months new and full moon. I watched as the birds hovered around the now exposed rocks and picked off crab after crab after crab.


It is such a screwy fall run? well winter no into spring that I hate to repeat or pass info on that I only hear and don't see.

Well I can say this, I haven't seen a bunker, nor a sand eel in a bit, but the crabs are obviously back, and, even though there's a N wind and it feels a little cold out, the water temps are today at 44 degrees.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

02.19.12 Done with Captains class...and trying to figure out what's happening out front

8th Ave 
    Well if my mind was a sponge it would be dripping after the last weekend of Captain's school. It saturated and can't possibly hold any more information. I test on Wednesday and will cram the next few days trying to remember all the info and how to chart and plot at the same time. I am glad it's over but I'm not looking forward to the test.

Since I have been busy with the Camden assignment and Captain's school, I haven't been in the mix of things out front. They've had some good days as of late, with fish to 20 pounds still being caught. Of course, tonight was slow off the rocks. I met a group of kayakers coming off the water when I got down just after high tide and they said they did real well. Bass crashing around them! I spoke with another angler whose 18 pound fish the other night had an empty belly? I spoke with another angler who said his fish had a 6 inch bunker in it's belly? I also heard that a dragger is hanging off the Inlet today. With that guys are being big blowups a mile or two out, bluefin? Now try and put that all together to make sense.

The water is 44 degrees according to NOAA. We had great sand eels around the last few weeks and anglers were snagging them and finding them in kept fishes bellies. The rock crab hatch has slowed to a halt. There are herring and mackerel around- and I have heard of but haven't actually seen a bunker with my own eye. BUT, I have heard of guys snagging bunker off the rocks. Spin fishers are doing well now with Bombers and larger rubber baits, imitating bait fish and not sand eels. There has also been great bird activity seen by guys scouting off the beaches and rocks.

So, what does it all mean? Who knows. I do know it's almost the last week of February and I'm still catching bass on the fly and it's not showing any sign of slowing. I'll be out tomorrow trying to make some further sense of all that's going on.

Friday, February 17, 2012

02.17.12 Final weekend at USCG Captain school

Spent the day back down in Camden and did well getting a lot of the images I needed. Unbelievable that during the 6 hours I cruised the streets I saw two cops, one downtown near the bus startion and the other in a single patrol car. Open drug dealing, hookers and pimps, strung out sidewalk sleepers amongst the garbage and vacant buildings. Loved it.

Then tonight started the last weekend of the USCG Captains class. The 4 hour test in next Wednesday. So many Captains I know say it is as hard as it looks. Hopefully I'll be able to join them on the first shot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

02.15.12 Continuing my assignment in Camden

Arthur and 29th Street, July 2007

     I'm recently working on a good story I can sink my teeth into. It's a large story on Camden and today I was back down there working on some portraits of key subjects and cruising the cities worst streets looking for a homicide or fire. I have shot in Camden before and have stuff from the last few years but I am looking for 2012 incidents.

It amazes me that no matter how some cities change, they tend to stay the same. I have seen hundreds of vacant buildings demolished in Camden over the years, but no matter which section of the city you travel, there are rows and rows of them today. 

I have a few more days of shooting down there and then hope to have a few more story ideas to pitch to several magazines.

02.14.12 Fished Asbury on the incoming

     Got down to Asbury with the tide coming in. Beautiful night with only one angler out throwing a Bomber. I fished just after the Flume and missed a real nice fish. He came in behind me right after and landed this 33" fish. I think it was the same one I should have had. It was the only fish we caught. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

02.14.12 Catching the sunning seals in Raritan Bay

     Recently I saw some cool pics of the seals that are wintering over in the Raritan Bay. Even though it was a little gray today I took a nice walk out and made some images. It will be nice to get back out when it's a little brighter and everything isn't so flat. The seals are aways off and I am using the Canon 7d with a 70-200 with a 2x extender. I wish I had a 400/2.8 to use to get some close-ups. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

02.13.12 Smoke on the in the sky

     I took a quick ride down to check on the water today thinking that tonight might be a good night. While out on the pier I looked north and saw a heavy smoke condition drifting out over the water. I thought it might be the old and now vacant Takansee Beach Club on fire. I took a ride up there and found that Long Branch had a good fire going on Brighton Avenue, also known as West End. The fire started in the old DJ's bike shop and spread east towards Ocean Avenue. The wind was blowing W at 15-20 and that didn't help in stopping the spread. 

Back to fishing I'm thinking late tonight and tomorrow night might be good. 

02.13.12 Nothing to do with fishing, but I remember this like it was yesterday

There are events that happen during our life that are markers in our existence. People remember where they were when... I remember when we were in the Persian Gulf War. I was working in the firehouse and we were watching the Super Bowl on January 27th 1991 and before the game Whitney Houston sang the Star Spangled Banner. It was amazing and to this day I think the best version ever.

I am saddened that Whitney Houston is dead. I always hoped her demons wouldn't win the fight.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

02.12.12 Was a 96 pound striper netted off Barnegat Inlet last June?

                        Would this have been a World Record striped bass if line caught?

So today I am in class and I start talking with a fellow student and he tells me a story about a huge 96 pound striped bass that was caught by a guy he knows while netting bunker off Barnegat Inlet in early June 2011. I remember some chatter on a few forums last June and I poked around a little little looking for a story or picture that goes with it. Luckily the guy had a picture of it on his cell phone and he forwarded it to me and gave me permission to post it. As the story goes after the angler got the fish out of the net he called authorities who came and took the fish. I haven't found any other info on the catch and will research it further.

As of that time the World Record striped bass was still Al Mc Reynolds 78 pound fish caught in Atlantic City in 1982. Then in August of last year Greg Myerson caught an 81 pound fish in Connecticut waters.

The current IGFA World Record striped bass taken on a fly rod was caught by Richie Keatley of Norfolk Va. on December 17th 2010. The fish weighed 51 pounds 5 ounces and caught on a 20 pound tippet.

Richie Keatley Fly Rod 20lb Class World Record Striped Bass
Tonight I took a ride down to 8th Ave and found the water too low to fly fish. While I was out on the rocks this guy tried to take his "beach buggy" out on the 8th Ave beach.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

02.11.12 A face only a mother could love

     After getting home from Captain school and dinner with mom I had to step away from the books and get out for a bit. Heard of a good bite last night so I went out on the incoming for a little while. It was 33 degrees out and snowing lightly with a howling NW wind. I tried to fish the white water on the north side of the rocks but had to give up after several casts that blew my fly line back into me. I stayed in Asbury for a while before heading up north a bit. I found a nice protected spot and fished the south side pocket. I hooked a nice fish way out and was able to land it on the beach. I made a few pictures and was able to get a look at its mug. That's one ugly fish but thankfully I was able to get a good corner  mouth hook set. It was the only bump I got but I'll take it anytime. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

02.10.12 Back at Captain's school this weekend

     Back at it for another long weekend. After trying to navigate around Long Island Sound I couldn't help to wonder how Christopher Columbus discovered America. Lot's of info and lots of charting and plotting.
Instructor asked me how I would handle bringing a vessel into New York Harbor- I joked I am only trying to manage a 20 foot Jones Brothers while in the hunt for stripers.