Tuesday, July 31, 2012

07.31.12 Ass-water carp on the fly at the Jersey Shore

  Things were slow out front this morning so in the late afternoon I took a ride over to give my local carp watering hole a shot. I know fly fishing for carp has become the rage. In both an effort for some to discover new elements in our sport and to protect our coldwater species now carp are not safe from a fly and hook. So, today I followed along. I had tried this location several times and hooked up a few fish but never landed any. Today was different.

I am calling this adventure- ASS WATER CARP ON THE FLY

      Fletcher Lake is in Ocean Grove and it borders Bradley Beach. It is a pretty lake on one end and on the other is a nasty swampy garbage filled oasis where large carp and snapper turtles wallow in the disgustingness. Today when I arrived I found several carp vacuuming away along the garbage and scum that had accumulated on the western end of the lake due to the E wind. Perfect!
      I broke out my Orvis HYdros 7wt and tied on a small Wooly Bugger. I put my first cast right on top of the scum in between the three feasting carp and one of them circled around and it was fish on! It blew out and disrupted the whole end of the lake. After a good fight I had to lean down and put my hand in that nastiness and cradle the fish in order to get a quick pic and release. I have to say I was skeeved out putting my hand in that water. After the release my arm was full of s%@t and it stunk.
     I worked my way around the lake sneaking up on the tailing carp....well their heads are down so I didn't really need to sneak up on them, and made lots of casts. Sometimes they were just swimming keeping pace with the slight current and those fish would blow out if they saw you first. My next fish was set up next to a floating hypodermic needle and again I cast it on top of the scum but let this sink and I knew it was hooked when it took off into cleaner and deeper water. 

I try not to spot burn but I am sure there won't be too many of you running to fish this water after seeing some of the pictures. The last picture is the larger and cleaner end of the lake, but the carp aren't as easy to find, stalk, and conquer! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

07.29.12 Shad, blues, and fluke all in tight

     Hit it early and found the N wind had the surf kicked up a bit. Fished alone from 5 am starting on the groin and then moving along the beach. The water was great and I caught hour 3,4,5 of the outgoing. Caught a bunch of fish, hickory shad, cocktail blues, and fluke..and this crab while dredging the trough.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

07.28.12 Great early morning with a friend.....

     I was looking forward to getting some stripers to bite on the fly I tied up last night. I got out early on the outgoing stepping foot on the sand around 420 am. I started a cast count, that way I would know how irresistible the fly was to a hungry fish. I figured if one hit in the first 10 casts then I had a winner. I stopped counting at 20. I fished along the beach finding some real good structure and rips but the fish weren't there, weren't hungry, or were laughing at my fly. I did get a small cocktail blue to take the fly but he flipped of as I reached for my camera. But today the best part wasn't about the fishing.
     I saw Al down the beach from where I was in ankle high water throwing a Clouser in the wash. Al goes back and forth between the fly and spin rod and I am always happy to see him throw the fly rod. We eventually met up and talked about what we did and didn't do up to that point in the morning. We talked about the bait, the tide, the wind, the approaching clouds, the lack of fish....and then I realized how much the relationships I develop while I fish mean to me. I love to fish alone, and I love to make images of anglers fishing alone....but I enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that I share with people who have the same love of fly fishing as I do.
     When I catch a fish, or when a friend catches a fish.....we can't wait to hear the details as if we are re-living that moment as our own. Yesterday when I texted Al that I caught a striper he texted back, "I'll be dammed. Where, when, how. Want to relive with you". And if you are telling or listening you're just as excited as the person who caught the fish. You can almost picture it as if you are there at that very moment.

     Although today I was strictly just trying to field test my fly and see if something would bite, it became a nice morning of standing next to a friend tossing flies in the wash. I forget sometimes that Al is twice my age, with me at 44 and him at, well if you can't do the math, 88. He has probably caught more fish then days that I am alive, well maybe not, that's 44 years times 365 days which would be 16,060 striped bass, and sorry I don't think he's logged that many! But his experience of fishing for over 50 years is evident every time we fish together or talk about fishing because I learn something every time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

07.27.12 Tying up some breakfast for tomorrow...

     I have wanted to sit down and tie some flies for a while now. My fly wallet is a little unorganized I realized I need to get some more Clousers tied up and ready. I started playing around and came up with this fly that I've called the "Sandsweeper"*. I wanted to have a Clouser type fly that will push some water in combination with a nice tail that will give the fly some life.

*There seems to be a trend that fly tiers are taking credit for claiming to invent or come up with new fly patterns.....I am not claiming any of it.....but I did name this variation of several flies put together the "Sandsweeper"

I'll be fishing with it tomorrow so I'll be able to check out the action and see if any fish are interested.

07.27.12 Post storm schoolie striped bass this morning

     We had some good weather come west to east last evening but this morning was clear and wind free. As I made my way through town I could see lots of surfers making the same trek I was. That only means one thing,  swells. They were 3ft at 7 secs so it wasn't bad at all, you just have to time your cast correctly.
     I got down to the beach around 515 am and tied on a chartruese/white Clouser minnow . I found some real nice beach structure and had good current moving in a nice rip two hours before low tide. When I first started I realized my two handed retrieve was pulled the fly too fast and hard through the water, so I slowed down and the fish were there. You know if your fishing good water when every time you take a step you are at a different elevation or step into a trough or pocket.
     The surfers were out in force but I had plenty of beach to myself.

There are bass around you just have to work for them. I know the back bays in southern New Jersey are alive with life and producing well. I read a forum yesterday where a guy said he was fishing in the back and he stopped counting at 50 stripers in a few hours. That sounds like a great outing but I don't know if I would have needed to stay that long!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

07.26.12 Bought out the long rod this morning

     Got to the beach around 5 am and met Al who had on a solid colored pair of shorts on today. Good for me he got a chuckle out of yesterdays blog post. I forgot my stripping basket so I broke out the spey rod and hit the rocks. I watched as cocktail blues cornered and ambushed silversides against the groin.
     Al stayed on the beach tossing a popper into the wash and neither of us moved a fish. It was a nice morning to be out there even without a bite.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

07.25.12 Took my girls for a Shark River Bio-Assessmnet

     The other day I received an email from the American Littoral Society about a program they are running called SpillSpotter. In a nutshell it is compiling data of life in a certain location of a river, bay, ocean to have on file should a spill or disaster strike. With that info in the bank authorities can use it to help figure out what life has been affected if it is still around after the event or not.
     We seined a part of the Shark River in Neptune and collected samples from the net and also clam rakes. My oldest daughter is showing interest in marine life so I thought this might be a good fit. And, as always, my 7 year old was up for anything her dad was doing. Juliet jumped right into a pair of waders and got busy with the seine an sorting through fish, crabs, and mollusks that were collected. The group included us volunteers, two college interns and the coordinator from ALS Stevie.
     We caught 2,000,000,000,000 Silversides, okay a bunch, some neeedlefish, mullet, mummichogs, killies, and bluefish. If I were a fluke or bigger blue I would hang right about where we were because all of the food you'd need was right there.

I also tag striped bass for the ALS and have been a member for a few years. It's a great cause and one thatyou can involved not only by writing a check but hitting the beach and water with a garbage bag, shovel or seine net.


07.25.12 Nice July surprise....striped bass on poppers at sunrise this morning

     It's the dog days of summer. Some parents, well of us, at some time during this haltime week are counting down the days when school is back in session. It's not that we don't enjoy having the kids around 24 hours a day 7 days a week, no not at all. I think it costs me $200 a day to have them home, rides to and from work, extra food, activities, adventures, ect. Just an example, the other day I alamost ran over a quarter sized red eared slider turtle. I made the mistake of bringing it home to my two daughters. Of course they wanted to keep it, and I tried my best catch-and-release, home with his family, it's best for the world speach, and then I realized that these types of finds are what got me hooked on the outdoors and fishing and ect. So luckily I had the 15 gallon tank and the wire mesh top to start with. We took a nice daddy and daughters roadtrip over to the local pet store and got what else we needed, a basking lamp, food, calcium tablets, and aquarium filter. That cost me a quick $60. Below  please meet Squirt, named after the turtle in Nemo. 


     It's also a slower time of year work wise which kind of works with my family. I'm busiest in the spring and fall into winter when everyone is in school and slower when they are around. Most older guys tell me to treasure these summers, as the kids are grown up and gone before you know it. I am continuing with fly fishing instruction and casting lessons and will be up on the Upper Delaware teaching a camp with Joe D and Coz the first week of August. 
     Outside of fluke off the beach it's been quiet where I most like to fish. I was happy to get the below pic from my friend Al yesterday who said he caught a few cocktail blues while throwing a popper in the surf. Even though today I had to take my son to work by 7 in Marlboro and my daughter to work by 815 in Ocean I decided to make plans to fish with Al. 


     I pulled in at 515 am and Al was already busy working the rips with the same productive popper as yesterday. I soom joined him throwing a Bob's Banger on my Orvis Access 9ft 9wt. We fished for about 20 minutes and were surprised when an angler about 200 feet away from us hooked a nice striper on a small plug. I went over and made the below image and we went back fishing. Shortly thereafter I saw Al go tight and he had on his own fiesty schoolie. This fish were fat and healthy and free of any lice or red skin lesions which can be, but not always, a sign of mycobacteriosis. 

     Now I always poke fun at myself but I can't pass up this opportunity to have some fun with a friend...below is a nice picture of Al and his July surprise striper......

.....but the full body shot just makes me laugh! I don't know if it's the shorts or the legs but....at 88....does he really give a shit!

Way to catch em' up Al

07.25.12 Popped up nice bass at sunrise this morning

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

07.24.12 Okay, okay, okay....have to plug my LOCAL shop


     So I walk into my favorite local, well not so local to me, tackle shop and the owner Max says, "I see you really like that Rob and that Orvis shop......" I know what that means, "Hey, can I get a little blog love every now and then?" So here's my love to a newer start up tackle shop....
     Owner Max Berry opened Pride Fishing Tackle on East Front Street in Red Bank in 2011. In these difficult times, with fly shops especially closing down, it's always good to see a new store thats conventional or fly open and make it. Pride is located next to Riverview Hospital and is a stones throw away from the Navesink River.

      When I stopped in today Max was making Islander rigs to team up with ballyhoo he has in the freezer for those heading out for tuna or sailfish. In addition he's loaded up with all the stuff you need for the fluke and bluefish bite and the upcoming fall run. 
     Max said this weekend is Red Bank's sidewalk sale throughout the town and he'll have lots out front with great deals on clothing, tackle, and rods. 


And then, in the far corner of the store is something I can relate to. Max was given two fly rods that he said he would be breaking out sometime......that was in the spring, and they're still in the same spot!