Friday, August 31, 2012

08.27.12 Back from Raystown big stripers but plenty of big carp

     Just getting back in...and then heading out for a magazine shoot. We had a blast at Raystown Lake and I highly recommend taking your family for the 5 day week houseboat rental adventure. We had a great week of weather and hardly any other boats around. Tried for stripers but settled for 30,000 sunnies on the fly rod and a few big carp on....bread balls on the spin rod, barbless hooks of course. Erin had her hands full fighting these very strong fish that go from 1 foot of water to 60 foot in a second or two.

Great time again, glad to be back. Looking forward to some time in just a little smaller Jones Brothers boat rather than the 60 foot houseboat.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

08.26.12 Getting ready for Raystown Lake


     So tomorrow we're off for the last summer hurray of 2012. Don't know if your kids go back soon, but mine go back September 10th! That should be illegal. Anyway, we're off to beautiful Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania. About five months ago my daughter was flipping through the PA Fish Digest and found the add for Raystown Lake. When we got home we looked it up and and found Seven Points Marina and their houseboat rentals. After gathering the clan and seeing what everyone thought we decided to give it a go and were lucky enough that they had an opening and one that is dog friendly.
     Today my buddies Capt Jason Dapra of Blitzbound Guide Service and Canio from the soon to open Red Bank Sub Shop gave me and my sons a help getting the cap back on my pickup. I like my rig with the cap on because that means it's either spring or fall, and that means fishing and charters! We'll be on the boat the Weekender, a 60 foot houseboat with two bedrooms, full kitchen, large bath, two levels, hot tub on the roof, and slide off the second level in the rear.

     So after we loaded up the cap and washed it my daughter and I went to WalMart to see if we could get any remaining tubes that the kids could have some fun on. We found four of them, and only one, was marked. It was the small whale and it was $12. So I went and found someone to help me price the others which I though total would be about $50. After I explained that I needed help she said, " Honey, get those things out of here. Two dollars a piece and I'll throw the 1,000 big balls in for free. Take everything please!" So, we loaded up our cart and now we're set up for some fun.

Now, this is a family trip, not a fishing trip. Kind of like when Cindy and I went to Newport, RI a month or two ago. See below.

Oh, yeah, there's 50 plus pound stripers in the lake! Along with large and smallmouths, muskies, salmon, trout, perch, and more and more and more. But back to the stripers. There's supposedly a lot of them and the current PA record of 53.12 pounds comes out of Raystown, caught by guide Sparky Price of Trophy Guide Service.

Sparky Price of Trophy Guide Service
     So while Erin and were at WalMart I grabbed a couple of Mister Twisters for the kida and a some big jigs and metal that I'll throw on my one and only big fish spin rod, a Quantum XR-7. Don't know how old it is, how old the line is, or where I even got it from. So even though I have no real knowledge or experience with spin fishing for stripers I somehow feel okay with our chances. I have heard the best way to catch them is liveline rainbow trout down deep. It can't be that hard to find them without electronics on the boat, hey it's only 118 miles long!

" I do not like spinfishing, I do not like spinfishing, I do not like spinfishing...."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

08.25.12 Stopped by the marina while down in Belmar

     During a break in the action I took a quick ride down to West Marine in Belmar to look further into the Lowrance HDS-8 Gen 2 unit. I am pretty settled into that unit and I'll couple that with the

Lowrance 4G Broadland radar. I enjoy that store and always manager Dan Kroll very helpful, as he was today. After I went over to the marina to watch as the headboats came in. The Miss Belmar Princess was loaded with anglers and gator bluefish alike. I watched as burlap bag after burlap bag came off the boat. The mates were busy weighing for the pool winner and filleting fish that customers caught. Between the boats at the dock there can't be too many big blues out there because they put a hurtin' on them today.

Friday, August 24, 2012

08.24.12 Today I said good-bye to a dear old reliable friend...Bertha

     Well, after 20 years of Bertha being part of the family, today I went and sold her off. I kind of feel like a schlub. Like I am abandoniong a member of the family. And she was family, and treated my family well. My father purchased her in 1992 and she did hard duty for my dad,and Patty and my little sister. She towed boats and horse trailers made several trips down to Florida. Since the first day, she was a little not right in the head. She kind of like seizures. Her wiring was all messed up and it was somehow attributed to an after market alarm system that was put in. They grew frustrated with her and she eventually was parked in the graveyard of personal and business vehicles in the Archer Steel yard. And then she sat.
     About 10 years ago I needed something big since I had two boys and a house in the Poconos and we were just a rolling kind of foursome. So I talked to my dad about giving the "white van" a new life. The four tires were flat, she had kegs of bolts and lumber stored inside and that electrical system was shot. I got the new skins on and gave her a jump and took her to Douglas Auto Electric and met Tom the mechanic. He worked wonders on her...and she was back. We were on the go and most times just gone. Disney, Poconos, Adirondacks, Wildwood, and all points in between. We had two vehicles for work and running around, and the the "white van" for fun.
     Then life happened, and I got with three kids. Then I met a woman with two girls...and we got married. So my clan was now seven. And the "white van" became Bertha, after the Grateful Dead song of the same name.

Bertha at Vero Beach 2011
     My new life started and I picked up rolling like I used to. Bertha was happy, and happiest when we were rolling. With Sarah, the oldest, off to college and beyond, it was the six of us. Florida, Montreal, Adirondacks, Wildwood, the Poconos. She even got used for those photography assignments where my partner and I didn't want to spring for a room. We would jump into her for ice creams runs and family parties where we didn't want to take two cars. She was getting old, but she was still great.
     Well this year, I figured it would be our last together. This coming Monday my gang will be boarding a houseboat on Raystown Lake in PA. I thought this would be her last trip. But, recently, I parked her and then when I went to start her up she wouldn't. It's not a battery or electrical. But, it is time for her to go to a new home. I am looking to upgrade my electronics on my Jones Brothers boat and I don't want to sink more money into her, especially with my oldest two starting to drive and having no interest in Bertha as a first car.
     I posted an ad on Craigslist, Bertha $750. I got a hundred emails and phone calls. This morning I cleaned her up and vacuumed her out because a guy was coming at 1230. He came, he looked around and said, "Sold, I'll take it."

And that was it. I felt guilty. But I did feel better when he told me as we were filling out the title that he and his son were taking her to Missouri with a trailer in tow with a couple of old motorcycles they'll ride when they get out there. I immediately felt better, as did Bertha when she heard she was going on yet another long journey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

08.22.12 Out looking for albies at sunrise but found blues blowing up rainfish...and another rod back to Orvis


     Had Rich on the boat today and it was a great day. Beautiful morning as we turned the Hook and found a flat ocean where we could see any commotion on top for miles. Found lots of bunker around North Beach and then made the run down to Monmouth Beach. When we pulled in we found birds working about a mile off and took a ride over. We found pods of bluefish on rainfish and Rich started


 out using metal to land a few then took the Helios and casted for an hour without a hook up. I wanted to see some topwater action so I tied on popper that my buddy Rob over at Orvis New York sold me last year. We watched and waited and when the birds and the fish were in range a quick cast into the middle almost always got a hit. Surprisingly the popper held up to a few good bites and swallows from the bluefish.

      So there's the downer part of almost every outing, trip, or vacation. Well, the bluefish dispersed so we made a move out to the Shrewsbury Rocks to prospect for some fluke. As soon as we stopped we hooked up but they were all shorts. It was a lousy day to drift for fluke, and we tried several locations and caught a bunch of sea robins, and sea bass before putting two keepers on ice. On our next stop near a bunch of lobster pots on structure Rich stood up, set the hook, took a step, and stepped down on my Helios. The picture below tells tells the rest of the story.
     The wind turned from the S and we decided to drift the Bug Light before heading in. We had a great time, caught some fish, had a fly rod in Rich's hand.....and under his foot!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

08.21.12 Left the bluefish tailing after I snapped my spey rod

     I made it a point to have nothing to do mid afternoon looking to catch the end of the outgoing into dead low tide. It's been fishy on that tide with bluefish coming in on the hunt for what we think is spot tucked into the rocks. I got down there a little earlier then I wanted to and had battle the E wind that was pushing chest high breakers every 5 seconds. I went with my spey rod this afternoon knowing I would need a little distance coupled with a bigger popper I would be throwing.
     I worked the beach for about 2 hours occasionally seeing the large blues out of range. I found my way out to a sand bar to get a little closer and on my second cast I felt the rod splinter. Dejected, I reeled in my popper all the way to the tip and walked off the beach, and then drove home.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

08.19.12 Good morning for some casting lessons

     Beautiful morning along the Jersey Shore. Stunning sunrise gave way to cloud cover with a N wind at 5-8. It made for a good casting lesson morning. Had Craig out getting ready for the fall run and he's right on target to be a bass threat in a few months. We had the wind, we had the incoming, and into the high tide so line management in the air and in the water was the lesson of the day. After a nice long cast a feisty fluke hit his Clouser which was well deserved. We've been working together for a few months, and I wish I could have been there when he caught his first striper. But recently he spent two days fishing with Orvis Endorsed Guide Tony Biski in Chatham, Cape Cod and Tony put him on bass and blues both days.

Craig with a nice Cape Cod bass aboard Capt. Tony Biski's Jones Brothers 

Friday, August 17, 2012

08.17.12 Mmmmm.....somethings not right here on the beach

I'll get to this later, first a little about the last two days....

     Back from Wildwood Crest where it was beautiful for the two quick days we were down there. Beaches were super clean and the sand off white and fine. Seapoint Village is gorgeous and a perfect family place if you can swing it. Now, the Wildwood Boardwalk wasn't what I remembered, not only as a kid, but from last year. Bad T-Shirt place after bad T-Shirt place with audio loops of foriegn salesman telling lies of the prices of the shirts they sell. "Everything 10 dollars", then you go in and what you want is 15 dollars. Couple that with games where you can never win, yet along the kids. I did win a big stuffed animal at the water cannon booth, narrowly beating out a few 6 year olds for a choice size prize. But, the stuffed animals these days are highly flammable, toxic, and abrasive when you cuddle with them, and, our seam ripped so all the styrofoam balls fell out.


     BUT, the highlight of the two days for me, besides being with the kids (yada yada), was dinner last night at The Crabhouse Seafood Restaurant at Two Mile Landing. We had the perfect night for dinner there outside with a one man band playing as the sun set. We waited just over an hour to get our party of 10 seated, but then my daughter and I put the beating on All-You-Can-Eat blueclaws on spread out brown paper with mallets in hand. There was something for everyone on the menu and a beer, some live music, tons of crabs, and family was a great way to end a few days in Wildwood Crest.


Now back to today....

     This morning I had a bunch of business stuff to do and fielded a ton of phone calls from solicitors from online fishing magazines and websites wanting me to advertise with them.....I guess my info was pimped out by someone on one of those dreaded lists. After all that I decided to run down to Deal to catch the outgoing tide for a little bit. As I was parking I noticed a large number of SUVs with surfboards on top pulling into the street and kids getting dropped off by their parents. Not 1or 2, but more like 20 or 30. I tied up a new leader and picked a fly that would hopefully seduce a keeper fluke into biting. I made my way onto the rocks and looked over and wondered if someone was running a surfing camp for kids. They had some tents set up and the kids were broke up into groups with several instructors on shore and in the water. Now this is a public beach, and we're all trying to enjoy the resource, and, we all like to see kids getting out and learning new things, BUT, at what point does it interrupt someone elses space and ability to enjoy the resource themselves? I watched as a lady had to walk down the beach to an area where there were no surfers or instructors, BUT, that was exactly where I had been casting! Just see the below picture....

     I wonder how it would fly if I lined up 20-30 kids of the same age and put fly rods in their hands and had them give it a go like we did last week at the Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp?

Today I watched as pod after pod of bunker headed south into the wind. Every now and then a bluefish would run through them but they never got in range. Had a bump on the Clouser on the bottom but that was it for my 30 minute outing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

08.15.12 None for me today, but there's schoolies on the beach

     Gave it a go an hour before high tide throwing a popper between the chest high waves. I didn't move a fish but two guys that fished the beach with me and Al each had a small bass, one using a fly rod the other spin. I was using a Rainy's popper, which isn't the easiest to throw but man does it move water and make a commotion when stripped in.

     Heading doen to Wildwood for a guick two dayer then it's back to business as usual. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

08.14.12 Walked the beach looking for albies

     There is a mixed bag of fish in the surf right now. We are finding the usual species, and some not-so-typical ones thrown in. I have been hearing albies have shown up starting mid-July which is a good month early. Today I got down to the beach around 5 am and watched as I walked. There are several spots where albies show themselves every fall and Monmouth Beach is one of them. Saying that isn't spot burning because when albies blow up of the beach it usually is short lived. I found one angler crankin' metal and figured he was out for the Little Tunny. He caught one yesterday, and had them off Long Branch about a week ago. We talked for a while and watched as bluefish chased small bait around.
     This beach was the scene of a 13 million dollar beach replenishment earlier this year. I have been shooting pictures every time I'm on these beaches. For those that know, these rocks were covered after the work was done, but since, the sand has been washed back into the ocean. One things for sure, watch your kids if you're on these beaches, the drop off is quick and severe. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

08.13.12 Edited up a short piece from the Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp this past week

Whoa! Had more pictures then I knew what to do with. Hard to edit down even to fit a 2-1/2 minute piece. I may have spent most of today doing this but I had fun remembering some great times from this past week. I know some of the boys will remember this for life. Enjoy!

08.13.12 Out for a scout for early little tunny

     Just getting my New Jersey legs back after a long week up at the fly fishing camp. This year reports of little tunny caught off the beach started as early as July 15th. If they were out chasing bait this morning was a perfect chance to see them. Nice light NW wind on the mid outgoing tide. Found these anglers plugging for early morning bass.

I can't wait till the fall.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

08.07.12 Just a quick post about the Bill Canfield Fly Fishing Camp

     On Monday night we started with a group of boys from Hancock who never held a fly rod in their hand and secured a hook in a vise. Well this morning we said good by to boys who know how to tie a fly, cast a fly rod, and catch fish....all the while most were experiencing their first time away from home. 


I am going to edit the tons of images I made during the week, but I just don't have the time tonight to get it done.  It was a great idea and a great time for both the students and the staff alike. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

08.06.12 Heading up to the Upper Delaware for a week of kids camp

     Got a call last month from Joe D asking if I would like to help teach a fly fishing camp for kids from the Hancock, NY area. It sounded like a great opportunity and well, this is the week. One thing I do hate is trying and crossing over from salt to fresh or fresh to salt frame of mind. I ran around this morning trying to find my freshwater fly fishing gear and load up the family putt-putt before I headed out.
     Recently Dan Plummer and Sheri Resti had some kids from that area out teaching them fly casting. I know several groups like FUDR have been trying to expose our kids to the sport of fly fishing. Orvis is running their Fly Fishing 101, 201, and 301 classes with much success.

     Hopefully the weather will be good and not to hot for the kids, or the staff!, and maybe after the day I'll get to wet a line on the upper West Branch since that's the only game temperature wise up there now. Below is a graph from the Delaware River Club blog showing today's river line-up,

West Branch at Stilesville, NY350 cfs @ 48º
West Branch at Hale Eddy,NY377 cfs @ 53º
East Branch at Harvard,NY153 cfs @ 61º
East Branch at Fish’s Eddy,NY626 cfs @ 71º
Mainstem at Lordville,NY886 cfs @ 72º
Beaverkill at Cooks Falls,NY353 cfs @ N/A
Cannonsville Reservoir Level & Release74.1% – 325 CFS release

Sunday, August 5, 2012

08.05.12 High stickin' keeper fluke off the end of the rocks

     There were no bass around for me this morning but after a lot of hard work the fluke bite came on the incoming tide. Started out tossing flies for bass but didn't have a bite outside of a small bluefish that flipped off on top of a wave. I decided to take a short drive and hooked up with Richie who had already made his way up the beach one time. We decided to make another "drift" and picked up the just  shy short below while fishing the wash. Looking at the picture I think I should have measured it again because it looks keeper sized to me now.

      We worked our way down the beach until I hit the rocks and decided to hit the end and see if there were any fluke hidden among the rocks on the incoming tide. I made several long casts, then shortened up and high sticked my 9ft rod with the 350 grain line and I felt a strike that I missed. I made a short cast, raised my arm and this time didn't miss as I saw the 19" fluke hit the Sandsweeper just before I pulled it out of the water. Landing the fish was difficult because the rocks were wet and covered in a black slime that made them extra slippery. I had to lay down on the lowest rock and tried a lip grab, ouch, before getting the fish behind the gill plate and lifting it out of the water.

     I made a few more casts hoping to catch a second one for the table tonight but that didn't happen. Luckily my family likes fluke and my daughter cooks them up just right. The only problem is this one fish won't feed my small army of six.