Wednesday, May 30, 2012

05.30.12 Gonna leave them biting as I head to the Adirondacks and the Catskills

     I was going to try and fish looking for a late night bite last night, but my son had other plans for me. While playing Little League he slid into second base and got opened up by the spikes by the shortstops cleats. Luckily there was no nerve or tendon damage so a few hours after it happened we were walking out of Monmouth Medical Center with 16 stitches needed to close, 4 in and 12 out.

     I was going fishing last night because today I am heading up to the Adirondacks to check on the houses and tighten up the yards and plant some bigger for sale signs. Then I am heading home Friday and joining my Trout Unlimited chapter at our annual Beaverkill trip.
     The fish, at least from the surf, have been here one day, gone the next. I had some fish within the last week, but didn't fish yesterday so I was determined to get out this morning. And it was the right morning to come out. I tried a different spot on the last of the outgoing, which was right about first light. I spotted guys on just about every beach and groin as I drove on Ocean Avenue. My first two choices were taken so I settled on a section that looked fishy. I started from the beach end and got no further than the middle of the groin before I was into some fish. I fished the rip along the rocks, nearly high sticking my Clouser, along and if I got the sinking line down just right and had a good drift, WHAM! I landed three fish to 32" that was a blast because there was a good chop and landing them on the rocks was a challenge. I only stayed for a little over an hour, and had my flurry of fish for about 30 minutes of that. I would usually stay and pound the water with my fly but I just happily left and drove home to pack for the trip up North.

     Today I used my new iPhone camera choosing to leave my Canon G-12 home. The images look good when they are small but withe the Lifeproof case and screen protector on top of that the sharpness and details weren't there. I used it on the gaping wound above, which was just fine for the scrapbook.

Monday, May 28, 2012

05.28.12 A reminder of the danger that water brings us

     I got out this morning around 430 am and gave it a go before the dead low tide and the crowds arrived. Didn't move a fish, well except for the stargazer that I caught, that buried himself deep in the sand before I could get a hand on it and throw it out into deeper water. Low tide was at 630 and it was about that time that I started to fish and walk my way back to my truck.
     I scouted out familiar water and decided to walk out onto the sand bar and fish past the breakers. If you look at the picture of the area below you can see the cut in the center with the waves breaking on either side. I walked out on the right sand bar and made some casts but picked up grass with every cast.

I decided to call it quits and took a step towards the beach and went down into the cut, losing my balance, but luckily regaining my footing. It is during those moves that you realize how we're just one step away from being in a bad spot. Last fall several angler-on-angler rescues were made in IBSP as guys tried to get out "just a bit further" and stepped off the sand bar. Also last fall a guy I fish alongside in Avon found the body of a fisherman on the north side of the Shark River Inlet, and two cousins died on the Manasquan Inlet jetty last August while fishing. This spring I had a client out on Deal and the body of a surfer washed up on the rocks one groin away from where we were fishing.
     On my way out I saw Judy and we touched base about how things have been the last few days. She told me how last night she saw the emergency response along Ocean Avenue to a missing swimmer in Long Branch. A 17 year old and his friends and sister went in at Pier Village around 530 pm and he didn't come up. It was low tide, and not very rough. After some more fish talk I made my way up to Long Branch to find the authorities resuming their search for the young man. Every news crew in the area was camped out waiting to report the story. It's the Memorial Day weekend tragedy that everyone jumped on. I made some images and gave The New York Times picture desk a call figuring they would want some pictures if they decided to run the story. The story itself is bad enough, only compounded by the fact that the body is still missing. Hopefully they recover it soon.

To me its a reminder of how dangerous the place we to choose to play in can be.


And on this Memorial Day weekend we must remember all those men and women who gave their live while serving in the United States Armed Forces. They gave so that we can be free. Thank You

Photo by Colin Archer/Agency New Jersey
A Marine pays his respects following the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Jon Hicks who was killed in Iraq in September 2007. Hicks was 20 when he died and was from Atco, New Jersey.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

05.27.12 An early morning fly fishing with Al

     How lucky am I that I can say that I fly fished this morning with my 88 year young friend Al? Al has caught more fish than days I've been alive and forgot more than I think I know. I am lucky to have met Al  when I first started fly fishing for striped bass. Even though things were slow today we had a great time on a beautiful morning. Rich also joined in and we covered the water pretty good. I fished alone and I dropped a fish after going tight and looking to see if Rich had arrived yet. How many fish have we, or I, lost by going tight and looking left or right to see if anyone is watching? Why do we do that?
     I stopped by Allenhurst and found some anglers waiting for some bait or bass to show up. I know it's fun watching and waiting, but isn't it just as fun to just fish?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

05.26.12 Nice beach trip this morning as we go from casting to fishing

     This morning I had Craig out to the beach for his first time fly fishing the salt. We've been doing casting lessons for a few weeks and he's doing great. We're at the point now where we're working on our single and double hauls. He bypassed fresh water fly fishing and went straight to the salt, and doesn't fish the salt with conventional gear so we're having fun with it all. Today was a great day for him to get his feet and line wet. We worked the start of the incoming and didn't move any fish but definitely put the fly in fishy water. We had a 630 am start, and that brings me to the question, " Is it cool to fish before you have a lesson or charter?" I know the answer that a guide fishing during a trip is a big no, but this? 
     Well, I got down to the beach at 5 and found my buddy Rich hooked up as I watched from a distance. I joined him and we worked a short stretch of the beach well with him landing the best fish of the morning. I followed that up with a nice fish I got casting into the rocks. I was surprised to find a sand eel up on the beach but now know why Rich got his on an Ava. Around 830 am the bunker line went from Long Branch to Asbury Park, with it touching the ends of the rocks in Deal. I watched and shot the shit with Al who came to scout things out and we didn't see a single fish blow up on them. I saw lots of boaters coming in to snag and drop but didn't see anything come over the gunnels. 

Should be a parking lot out there today, but for me, the shot below of Rich at sunrise always works for me.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

05.24.12 Stopped by the river this morning...and some big girls caught yesterday

     While driving through town this morning I found the bunker flipping happily on the incoming tide. Then I saw the water go nervous, and something run through them. The fish were out of reach but I waited in the light rain to see if they would get close. With them starting to move out I took a position at the end of the rail near the boats. After being just so close, I thought how it would have been a great morning to be out on my boat in the river. Maybe tomorrow.

     On a better note, yesterday I got a message from guide Blaine Anderson, who said he had just caught a 70 + pound striper in Connecticut. Remember last year the new 81 pound recond was taken in the same state. The best part was Blaine attempted to revive and release the fish but after a while it went belly up. Nice to see that was one his mind though, and gave it a good try. You can read more on his blog, HERE.

     On the Jersey Shore angler Paco Wagner did himself proud, catching a 50 pound cow in Ocean County, and then made me proud releasing it to spawn and continue the species. That's all good until he meets some of the meat takers I see up here in my parts in Monmouth County. It was really nice to see a trophy fish caught, photographed, and released. And if he kept it, that's within his right and the law, and I wouldn't have anything to say. But, I do like to see the big ones, well almost all of them released.

     And my last rant of the day concerns the pictures I see on the web and on Facebook. Can we please stop being enthralled with images of a group of anglers standing in front a pile of fish on the dock? Can we stop holding fish out of the water for far to long while we take pictures? Can we keep our fingers off their gills? Can we think of pushing down the 6 or sometimes 9 barbs that these lures have? And the same goes for the flies with barbs that are ripping the trouts lips and gums up? And lastly, can we please learn how to hold a fish, with wet hands, and a net underneath it so it doesn't hit the rocks or the bottom of the driftboat? And please, stop shooting the angles where your fingers look like sausages on the underside of your fish and your head looks shrunken and four feet away from your hands?

We all know you're a great angler.....what are you trying to prove?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

05.23.12 Got a taste of the salt...and some Oreos too!

     Went out for a ride down to the beach to see if anything was going on. No sign of life from the beach, although my buddy Jason Dapra from Blitzbound Charters was out on a charter and he said he was on them good. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bag of Oreo Doublestuffs under the seat in my truck. They were leftover from one of my Upper Delaware trips this past weekend. It was finding a bunch of change under the seat when your on the Parkway and without cash. 
     I switched the fly line over on the 12 wt Access, going from the Salwater All Rounder to the Depth Charge 550 grain. There was big waves and the heavier line made casting, mending, and cutting easier. I fish for a hour and didn't get a bump. Earlier in Long Branch I found the guy down at the bottom crossing Ocean Ave with a fish in hand. I saw a large pod of dolphins in Deal slowly cruising heading north. It looked fishy....but that was about it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

05.22.12 It's only new before the first time you take it fishing

     Headed out today to check and see how things were looking at the beaches. Big waves and lots of surfers and not many anglers out. Today I broke out the Orvis Access 12 wt and the Mirage V reel. Settled into Deal and took the walk out onto the rocks and gave it a go throwing some large flies. Loved the rod, but the line didn't match up well with it, in fact when I got home I called it in and sent it back. I'm looking forward to the next few days and getting some fishing in before my next trip with a client in the salt on Friday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

05.17-20.12 Great four days on the Upper Delaware


     Had a great four days with two groups of clients and had the chance to float the East, West and Main stem and had good days on all three. When I mean good I mean we had targets to shoot for and bugs on the water and in the air and trout looking to eat. On Thursday it was a great father and son team from NYC who had a great day starting out throwing streamers and ended the night tossing flies amongst a potpourri of bugs that the trout were wreaking havoc on. We flossed a few, pricked a few, hooked a few and lost a few. The next day they went out with a different guide and I heard they caught some nice fish which I was glad to hear. 

     The next three days I had a lovely husband and wife team that hailed from Cananda. We started off on Friday with a bang getting into a great sulfur hatch within an hour of our launch and ended Sunday night with March Browns just before the takeout at dark. The best part was these two were sticks! Long accurate casts and "on the bank" to both of them was within three inches consistently from 40 feet! They were dry fly anglers and were looking to primarily fish to the banks. We caught some big fish which is always nice for the pics but better than that was hunting for, finding and then executing good casts to the fish that took the fly. I felt we worked well together and I lived each cast to a rising fish with them, and sometimes we celebrated a take and a hook up, and then awed when we missed a fish, it was a lot of fun. We had a day where the fishing was good start to finish and then two where it was spotty till the late evening and then popped off. It was bug soup during the four days- Isonychias, March Browns, Grey Foxes, Brown Drakes (no Greens for us), big Stones, Sulfurs in big and small, blue winged olives, and probably one or two more. Two of the coolest things I saw, well three, was big  Stoneflies coming out of the trees and then some getting blown into the water and getting picked off by cruising trout, seeing the silhouettes of the Iso's just as the sun set behind the trees, and then the thickest cloud of Sulfur spinners I ever saw flying overhead as we floated over an East Branch riffle.

What more could you ask for, some of my favorite bugs on my favorite river with clients that were a joy to fish with....who's doing better than me?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

05.16.12 WOW...50,000 visitors to the blog....

How cool it that. Today we hit 50,000 visitors. If we keep this up I'm going to start selling subscriptions!
Thanks for your support and interest, Colin.

05.16.12 Got the word from the ortho doc

     I have heard from many of you, especially the die hard fly anglers, who have gone through the shoulder routine before. One thing that is common through all of the experiences is, it hurts like hell before you get it fixed, it usually feels better after the fix, but the 3-4 month rehab is not fun nor does it go quickly.
     Today my ortho doc took a look at the disc of the MRI that I had done two weeks ago. It confirmed a rotator cuff tear caused by bone spurs on the bottom of my collar bone, a done that I had broken twice in my youth. So, yes, he could go in and shave and repair, but he wants to take the physical therapy route before breaking out the scalpel. It looks like 5 weeks of pt, three times a week, plus the at home exercises.

     I'm busting out of here early tomorrow heading up to the Catskills for three days of float trips, then it's back home where I'll get the Jones Brothers wet. I can't wait to pole it around the Shrewsbury looking for those tailing blues!

05.16.12 One of my favorite ways to fish

     Today I ran around tightening some things up before I head up to the Upper Delaware for three days of float trips. I had my fly rod on my hood mount and on a whim I decided to take a look to see if anything was going on. I first stopped at the river and found bluefish tailing in the shallow waters of the outgoing tide. They were out of reach but I enjoyed trying to wait them out to see if they would move in. As far as gear, I had a pair of Crocs on, one rod and reel and one fly...and a camera. But I didn't care. Sometimes the more I dumb it down the more I enjoy it. I don't get into my super-serious frame of mind but rather just enjoy being out and casting a matter what that fly is. Today I had a white and black Clouser on size 2 and that should have worked okay in the back since silversides are everywhere.
    I made a stop out front and hit the rocks. There were 4 foot swells that came every 6-8 seconds so the surfers were out in force. It was dead low tide but I didn't care, the cool fog and breeze felt good. I worked the wash maybe hoping to catch my first flounder of the year but not today.

That's okay.....I still had a good time, and my Crocs stuck to the rocks like glue

On another note I got a package on my doorstep the other day. It was my 20 foot TFO push pole for my Jones Brothers boat. It comes in sections and when I get back I'll have to assemble it. I can't wait to get it the boat wet, and give those tailing blues a go!

Monday, May 14, 2012

05.14.12 Just a check on the 12 million + dollar beach replenishment in Monmouth Beach

     I spent today catching up in the office and organizing the truck which has a mix of fresh and saltwater gear strewn throughout. I did take a ride and make a few casts in the river without a bump and on the way home I stopped by to check on the effects of the recent beach replenishment in Monmouth Beach. If you can remember I have been taking pictures since the project began back in the fall where sand was pumped onto Little and Big Monmouth beaches. At the time of completion in January the groin/rock wall in front of Big Monmouth was covered and sloped down into the water. Soon a hard cut with a 6 foot drop ran along the beach, and now the rocks are exposed.

It will only be a matter of time before Mother Nature does with the sand what she wants to do...and fly-fishers will be able to fish the fall blitzes in the pocket where the rocks meet the beach (see below)

With some interest I stopped along the way as I traveled south to see if anything was on the pods of bunker that have been traveling along the shore. I found these anglers watching and waiting as happy menhaden popped and splashed just out of range of the snagging treble hooks. I have heard of a blitz here and there over the last two weeks, with the lucky anglers who were there catching big fish.