Sunday, September 30, 2012

09.30.12 Flat day and night...with albies at light and shad at night

      Flat at first light, flat at night. Best part, well two best parts, beautiful morning, and seeing albies busting in a flash about 600 feet off the groin we were standing on. Another fly angler had a short in the wash...and that was it. Off in the distance we watched as birds hovered and dolphins worked bait.
Night brought more of the same, but tonight hickory shad had bait pinned in tight to the rocks. A quick switch to a Jiggy and the "Poor mans tarpon" were on. I just waited for a big swirl or blow up that never came and got home just in time for the start of the fourth quarter of the Giants-Eagles game.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

09.29.12 Love seeing anglers getting hooked on fly fishing

     My family is having a heavy week. My Mother In Law has been in the ICU for 13 days so if you pray, please include us in your prayers. It was good to get out this morning, not knowing how it would fish on the full moon and front that had just passed. Of course we were looking for our three favorite fall species, stripers, blues, and albies. Well, we stayed out there for about 6 hours and didn't see any large predatory fish, but tons of fun fly rod sized ones.

     Rich fishes a lot, and catches a lot of fish. He spin fishes.....but 20 years ago he fly fished a little. Well lately he's been itching to give salt water fly fishing a go. So the other day he asked me about flies and some line for his fly rod and he said he was going to give it a try off the beach. So he pulled it out on a day that I wasn't on the beach solo or with a client. Don't you know within an hour he's texting me pics of just under keeper sized fluke and small blues.


     This morning we got the boat wet before six and when we turned the Hook we had tons of birds on small bluefish and hickory shad on bait. Rich landed a nice blue to start things off and then we went on patrol. We marked a few deep fish but couldn't get a swipe or a bite. We started on the outgoing, wandered around through slack, and then caught a bunch as the tide turned.
     Throughout the morning we talked about new reels, and rods, and line....and flies....and he said he spent some time on the Orvis website....which he knew I would I gave him the Helios to throw which I knew that he would like.

We also talked about how one would handle having both a fly rod and a spinning rod in the truck on any given morning......what to bring? Because everyone knows you never come back once you leave the sand or rocks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

09.25.12 A bunch of flyrodders up and out at first light

     I was at the end of the rocks at 5 am. Had a S wind on the outgoing tide. Ocean was pretty flat and couldn't see my feet yet alone if there was bait in the water and if it was being bothered. Started with a Deceiver, then went to a Snake Fly. When I turned to look towards the beach I was surprised to see two flyrodders  casting off the beach. I usually know who it is, as do most fly anglers, because there is such a small group that are out day to day. As I made my way down off the rocks I noticed one of the guys was Bill Hoblitzell. I remember Bill from when I worked at The Fly Hatch and more recently from early mornings trips down near the Shark River Inlet. Bill is a Captain and guide who ran Outback Charters for years, one of the first fly fishing guides here along the Jersey Shore.
     Bill had the same Jones Brothers boat as I do and anytime I post something on my blog or Facebook where I'm looking for an idea or help he always comes through with a quick response. I had previously made some images of Bill fly fishing and did some more of the same today. These are from a Canon G12, a souped up point and shoot. I would love to have a session with Bill when I have my work cameras on and can really try some cool things.


     In addition to Bill and his buddy Marco, Leif was throwing his Snake Fly in the wash as well. Al fished his popper along the same beach as Leif and between all of us we had jus a few bumps with Rich landing a small blue and a fluke. I would bet we covered it pretty well and the fish just weren't around this morning.

Below are some more pics of Bill from this morning.....

Monday, September 24, 2012

09.24.12 Schoolie action at sun up

     Beautiful fall morning on the Jersey Shore. Outgoing tide, W wind, lots of bait, and schoolie bass and blues on the prowl. When I arrived at the beach in the dark I was the only one there so I had my pick of the beach. I opted to to take the walk out on the tip of the groin to see what was up. I threw a popper in the dark without a bump and then went with a white Snake Fly as first light light painted the horizon. My buddy Rich came in behind me and moved into a spot off the beach. I watched as bass blitzed rain bait off the tip of the rocks and made a move to get even further out, but waves crashing where I wanted to go held me at bay. So I went and joined Rich.
     Just at sun rise he hooked into a nice schoolie (which is the above fish) that grabbed a Bomber. He had landed 2 more while I was out on the rocks. We continued to fish a the sun rose and the by then the bite had slowed. Cocktail blues continued to run through the rain bait but the bigger fish had moved out.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

09.22.12 Went from bass to blues....and found a sweet fly in my window

     Out early this a.m. catching the last of the outgoing and fishing to hour two if the incoming. The bass have moved, and my friend came up with a great theory. Two days ago we had a good bass bite here in Monmouth County if you were up and out for it, yesterday Ocean County had a good bite. I think that was the first wave of fish that came in got on the mullet, and made their way south. It sounded good to both of us as we talked about it, but as always, 'Who really know's".
     We had blues crashing mullet and rain fish and I had a schoolie bass breach for a popper in the wash. I had a gator blue tail up on the crest of a wave but it never got hooked. A few other anglers out and they  had the same results, blues- including a huge gator, and a keeper fluke. My buddy landed a few blues on metal.
     When we left Rich as me if I wanted to try some bluefish he had put in the smoker yesterday. Now, I hadn't had a cup of coffee yet, and wasn't looking forward to that nasty bluefish taste in my mouth, but I gave it a shot. After a few bites and swallows, I thought I might just put "Smoker" on my Christmas list. Man was it surprisingly good. When I walked over to my truck I noticed a sweet Snake Fly tucked into my window. I assume it was left by Leif, a hardcore angler, who breaks out the fly rod in the fall and fishes the mullet run hard with his own tied Snake Flies. One day he was explaining how he likes to tie in the marabou rather than wrap it. He says he prefers the action, and from the looks of it, it looks like a more meatier fly.

Friday, September 21, 2012

09.21.12 Going through hell upgrading electronics

     What a pain in the a%4 this has been. I've been doing my research and talking with guides and boat owners about which brands to consider. Needless to say, ask enough people and they will mention each  brand. I settled down with Lowrance and was going to purchase the HDS 8 Gen 2 with the Structure Scan. Then I bumped it down to the HDS 7. There's two transducers and they have to be placed properly or your outboard will shadow on the screen. My Jones Brothers 19'10 LT has trim tabs so that eats up transom space......

I like a one stop store like **** ****** but really wish there was a dealer store or marine electronics store where you could bring your boat and find out which set up would work best...and a wet demo would be great. In the last week I have been in the store for hours and on the phone with both **** ****** and Lowrance for the same amount of time.

People take electronics of all kinds for granted, kind of like here it is, buy it......and if you don't like it just return or if you do like it it will be outdated in a year or two.

Hey, it's almost a $2,000 investment......I'm taking this seriously!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

09.20.12 First light bass bite

     With low tide at 440 am I slept in a bit to catch the start of the incoming. I was on the end of the rocks at 6 fished the south side as the NE wind made throwing the fly a challenge. The mullet are here so I open with a Snake Fly in fluorescent blue, materials I picked up from the Orvis New York City store the last time I was there. I tied up a bunch of white but thought this color might show up nice in early light or breaking waves.
     The bite lasted over a half an hour with several anglers far and near hooking up and losing or landing bass to keeper size. There was also some small blues in for the breakfast meal.
     It's not much, but the water is 71-72 degrees so it starting to slowly drop. According to NOAA this half of the month average water temps should be around 66, you can see that graph HERE.

Remember last year fly guys and girls, a few fish in September with the mullet, then a looooooong dry spell as IBSP lit up, and then it was our turn late fall through the winter. Easy does it, you don't want to burn yourselves out early.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

09.18.12 Nice to air your backing out every now and then

     I took a ride down to the beach to see how things were looking compared to yesterday. The wind  was howling from the S at 20 with gusts over 25. I decided to give it a go and went with my Orvis Depth Charge line on my 10 wt and a white Snake Fly. I fished the north side pocket with the wind at my back. There was another angler throwing bucktails out midway on the groin.
     I moved up and back without a bump and then saw some mullet being bothered in the wash. From my position and with the wind at my  back I was able to the paint the beach with my fly. I made some casts and then felt a hard stick dead strike. The kind that feels like when you strip a fly into the rocks, and it sticks. So that's what I thought it was. But it wasn't. My line was moving out at a steady, deep, and angry pace. So I was quickly into my backing and I moved down along the rocks and jumped down onto the beach.


     I watched as my backing disappeared off my reel and went farther out along the rocks. I was easily out 175 yards of backing, and I thought it might go. I tried like to turn the fish but to no avail. I was able to crank down a few times, but it just pulled again, harder. This lasted 8- 10 minutes and then it snapped off.

As I reeled in, and reeled in....and reeled in, I couldn't imagine what I had hooked into. My first guess was a cow nose ray. Don't know if it would grab a Snake Fly out of the wash. If it was a would have been more like a halibut. It wasn't a bluefish, and if it was a striper it was a 50 pounder. Cobia? Drum?

I wish I had just got a glimpse of it.

I pulled out of there and went down a blocks and saw my buddy who watched my fight unfold from a distance. He made me feel a little better when he said, " I knew you had something good on..."

I guess you never know what is lurking under the waves.

Monday, September 17, 2012

09.17.12 Got out to look before some nasty weather rolls in tomorrow

     I had the afternoon free so I posted on Facebook that I was going to look for fish out front. 20 seconds later my phone rang. It was Captain Paul Eidman of Reel Therapy and the Menhaden Defenders. He said he was looking to do the same so we met up at the Belmar Municipal boat ramp and got out. Paul runs a Jones Brothers 19'10 LT so I felt right at home. The tide was just incoming and the winds were from the S at a steady 7. We were looking for albies and chased some birds up into Long Branch but only found bluefish under the birds. We drifted along the beach working as close to the groins as possible before heading out a bit to watch as the birds picked away at the rain fish. Paul had a spinning rod on board and teased the birds up with a popper that made shooting them a little easier. 

Looking forward to hitting the beach with some snot coming our way over the next few days. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

09.16.12 Back from a great two days in Montauk

     Well, I made it out and back. I joined my buddy Capt Jason Dapra of BlitzBound Charters as he traveled from the Garden State to "The End" to bring his 23 foot Jones Brothers out prior to the start of his season. It was my first time out there and I was looking forward to seeing "live" what I have read about and seen so much of. 

     We got up there Friday late afternoon and dropped the boat and fished the evening and on Saturday put in around 1 and fished till 6. Had a blast chasing albies as they pushed through balls of bay anchovies. The fish were up and down quick so if you were in range it was a cast or two and they were gone. It was snotty Saturday morning so Jason gave me a tour of Montauk including a stop at Camp Hero, located at Camp Hero State Park which includes the famed Montauk Lighthouse. I was able to make some images of surfcasters on the rocks below and watched several take a beating as they walked, floated, and swam their way out to the best rock they could find. 

     At night the eats and drink were great at some restaurants in Amagansett where we stayed for the two nights. Things weren't in full swing just yet as the bass were starting to show up and show only for a bit maybe each day. The ones that were caught by other boats were dredged up on plastics, although I don't know what the surf guys were doing at night. And, of course, boats drifting eels at night I am sure are finding good bass. 
     It was to see so many fly fishing "reminders" while at Montauk. There were several Jones Brothers boats at the dock and on the water, and it seems more than 3 quarters of the anglers out were throwing flies for the albies. Below is Jason's buddy and fellow Captain Paul with two anglers that hooked up on several albies while on Montauk's South Side yesterday. 


     It was a great but quick trip and I had a lot of fun with Jason. We did have a few moments that stick out and some really make me laugh as I sit and pen this, unfortunately I can't repeat them.  I love the below picks as this albie desperately made a run for it to get back in the water. Also, on Friday we towed his buddy back as it turned dark from the North Side near the lighthouse. But yesterdays return in was the most memorable.
     We were on the South Side with a N-NW wind on the incoming tide. We had albies up here and there and ran around almost alone as the sun went down. It was about 6 o'clock and Jason and another Capt in a 19'10 LT Jones Brothers decided to end the hunt for albies there and to hit the South Side to take a look before we went in. He told me things may get a little sporty and we might get a little wet as we crossed the rips as we went to the South Side. But, once we cleared them we would be in good shape. So it was just a classic wind against tide, over the rips, that we had to get through. It was rough, and several times we looked back at  his buddies 19'10 Jones and admired the status of his bottom paint. Then we cleared Shaqwong....and it got really interesting. Tight 3-5 footers and then a stretch of washing machine waves kept us both "concerned" and saturated, well I was saturated as I didn't bring rain pants to wear.
     Needless to say we didn't stop to take a look for albies and both Captains got back into the inlet safely. As we passed the West Lake Marina a small boat with five on board waved to us as they headed out for what appeared to be a nice sunset cruise. Jason yelled over to them to cancel as conditions outside the inlet was dangerous. They just smiled and cruised along on flat water and continued out....we just shrugged our shoulders and made our way for the dock.

Captain Jason Dapra of BlitzBound Charters runs his 23 foot Jones Brothers for fly fishing and light tackle trips at the Jersey Shore in the spring and off Montauk in the fall. There may be one or two days open this fall, but if interested you should drop him an email to get a day for next year in his book.
Email address He's a great guy, great fisherman, and after two days of being in the boat with him and yesterdays return trip in, a great Captain.

Friday, September 14, 2012

09.14.12 T minus two hours before heading to Montauk....

     Yes, I'm a last minute guy. Kitchen Magic is coming Monday morning......and I'm heading to Montauk for the weekend. Trying to paint the kitchen before I head out. And pack up my gear, and fly tying stuff, and clothes, and take a shower.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

09.13.12 Got a delivery in the mail....and tied up some micro bait for Montauk

     Got my Clear Cure Goo shipment in the mail just in time for Montauk. Went a little heavy on the order, but I figured it was better to have it than not. With the Owner hooks and CCG each fly costs about $ 4 to make. Since rain fish (bay anchovies) seem to be what's on the early menu I tied up a bunch of small flies to hopefully match. I went through a bunch yesterday having being bit off plenty by the toothy blues. Hopefully, these will last a little better in New York. I love tying on my Regal Medallion Series vice with the big game jaw. If you are in the market for a new vice, consider Regal, you can visit their website HERE.