Monday, December 31, 2012

12.31.12 Cold last bass shot of the year...and looking back at 2012

  Had to give it a shot before the kids woke up. Got down to the water with about an hour left on the flood tide. The W wind had the water flat, and the 32 degree air temp and the 46 degree water temp had me questioning if I would find a bass on the last day of 2012.

     I knew it was cold when my feet didn't sink down into the sand as I walked. On the groin I had to watch my footing just a little bit as ice had formed in the depressions in the rocks. Several times my line was stiff coming out of my stripping basket. And the water was just off color and didn't look very fishy.
     Even though I didn't move a fish I was able to reflect on this past year. It gave me an idea to go through the hard drive and pic out some pics and do a 2012 Year in Review. From great striped bassin' to trout on the Upper Delaware- it has been a great year.

     I believe last year, well, was last year. And the mild winter of 2012 will be remembered as an anomaly, and this years winter will be a little more normal, with ice cold temps in both the air and in the water. Spring will be here soon enough and in just a few months we'll be searching the back bays for those early bass on the mud flats and sod banks and awaiting out favorite hatches that will wake up the wild brown and rainbow trout in the Upper Delaware rivers.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12.29.12 Gave it a go on the morning outgoing....and went back to Takanassee

     Hit the beach for a little while with Capt. Paul Eidman. We caught the middle of the outgoing tide and found loons and cormorants at the ends of the groins picking up crabs. I wonder if we'll see that rock crab hatch like we saw last yeat. It started at the end of December and lasted into January. I know, much different year, but we'll keep looking at it. Saw a unusually high number of blue crab parts up and down the beach. We waited until the water lowered before making out way out to the end of the rocks. I stayed with the Joe Phiefer fly, Paul threw a chartreuse Clouser, both without a bump. I switched over to a black Velvet Eel and didn't do anything on that.
     I did watch as a guy on a groin just north of us catch and release a nice fish. I believe I found a picture of it on a post made by Topwater on Stripers Online- you can see it HERE, and the picture of that fish is below. Although I really stick to using my own pictures - it was nice to see a good fish CPR'd. (catch, photo, release) so I am posting it with credit to the angler. Kudos.

After a quick jump a few groins up and not moving a fish wee called it a day as the NE wind and rain kicked in. We did take a quick drive to Lake Takanassee to see how the water levels were holding up after our latest nor'easter wrecked the dam and spillway controls. With the water slowing down a bit we were able to see the old concrete spillway that Mother Nature unearthed. We were also able to get to the start of the spillway including the wooden planks used to control the outflow. The reason this is so interesting to me is because with all of the damage to these tidal ponds in Monmouth County that now is the time to research and plan for structures that could be built to have river herring return to these waters. Wreck Pond on the Spring Lake and Sea Girt borders, Deal Lake bordering Asbury Park and Allenhurst and Lake Takanassee are perfect examples of potential river herring spawning grounds. River herring are a great food source for striped bass- just ask the old timers who used to live line them just off the outflow pipes. Now is the time to bring them back. As Paul and I talked yesterday I suggested he call the DEP to make them aware of the situation. Not only were they interested, they called Paul back once they realized that the current conditions were exasperated by the latest storm.
Imagine a strong herring run in the spring in the next few years. Now is the time to act.

Friday, December 28, 2012

12.28.12 Found some interesting things today on both sides of the sea wall

     Well today I "pulled" the boat and dropped it off at Gateway Marine to get winterized and shrunk wrapped. While there she'll get some body work done on some fiberglass chips that were caused by 1) Clousers bouncing off the hull 2) Attempting to put her in and out at the damaged Belmar ramp shortly after Sandy and 3) a few tough load at the ramp in low water. So in March she'll be ready to roll. This spring I'll have on dual prop trolling motors to work in stealth mode in the rivers and on the flats. 
     On my way up to Middletown I made a detour and stopped at Lake Takanassee located in Long Branch. The water looked low and a quick glance from the parking lot where the old Takanassee Beach Club used to be, or as others may know it as U.S. Life Saving Station #5, was all it took to see why. After this last Nor'Easter the dam and the eastern end of the lake breached causing it to drop considerably.  
     I walked down to the beach where several guys working metal detectors worked the fresh sand and looked up. I tried to see if this was opened up by someone looking to control flooding at the back of the lake into West Long Branch, but it wasn't, at least from my eye. On the Elberon side the lake had cut a deep trench into the properties of the homes there, exposing both rocks and concrete deadmen that were placed there a long time ago to prevent erosion and breaching of the dam. I asked some guys who were fishing on the west end of the lake if they knew what happened. They said that yesterday the water was blowing under the railroad overpass from the smaller lakes in Takanasee Lake Park and Whale Pond Brook. They also said that wood was removed from the eastern side of the lake to let the lake drain. I didn't see any controlled area on that end of the lake or any piles of large wood or machinery that would have removed the wood. 
     I think this is a serious situation that needs to be addressed quickly. I spoke with Capt Paul Eidman of the Anglers Conservation Network, HERE, and he said he was going to contact the DEP. This could be a win-win for both the health of the lake and the return of river herring to a viable freshwater spawning ground. For sure a new dam needs to be constructed, and the installation of a fish ladder or some other type of passable diversion could allow fish to pass. One of the guys I spoke with said he recently caught a sea-run brown trout that was confirmed by the NJ DEP. ( I am going to follow up on that story). 
    With the current storms and rainfalls and flooding Lake Takanassee needs a good shore clean up all the way around the main lake and the smaller lakes in the park. So if you know any groups looking for a project, this one would be perfect. 


     So after leaving Long Branch and heading north on Ocean Avenue I saw this house located on the Shrewsbury River just north of the Rumson Bridge. I think this may be the only alternative homeowners have in the towns located on the rivers, bays, and oceanfronts. Get the house up high and on sturdy pilings. I read and interesting story in The Star Ledger about a home that survived where the breach occurred in Mantolocking, HERE.

     On my way home I couldn't help stopping in Sea Bright to see how the 13 million dollar beach replenishment fared after the latest storm. The first thing I noticed was the flooding that had occurred on Ocean Ave and the sand that was stacked on the road sides of the sea wall. I saw a few other interesting things. One the sand has been pushed up to even grade with the top of the sea wall, don't know if that is permenant. Two, at Galilee Road a swath was cut leading to private steps, and during the storm two days ago it created a funnel and the water and sand poured up and over the sea wall and onto Ocean Ave. Three, on the beach, sand had already been lost back into the sea. Check the pictures where the sand has been cut and carried away from groins that were covered in the past weeks. And fourth, as the machinery moves into Sea Bright and approaches the destroyed Driftwood Cabana Club, excavators there work feverishly to remove the building and debris so that sand can be pumped up onto the beach? And lastly, I noticed the make up of the sand in some sections of the "beach nourishment", it looks more like concrete mix than sand pumped from the ocean floor. 

I'll stay on it and keep you informed. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12.27.12 Time to clean-up and reflect after Christmas

     With Mrs. Claus back to work and the hectic holiday visits over today I got the task of the post-Christmas clean-up. What that usually means is relocating gifts to back under the tree, polishing off the remaining food and desserts from Christmas Eve, and vacuuming up dog hair along with small parts from toys. All this while my boys try and conquer the planet in Halo 4, my older daughter sleeps in, and my little one has a tea party with her friend. And this as my dog stares at me wondering when I will take her outside and play sticks.
     But, as I clean up I found some things that were interesting and made me smile. While the older teenagers are in worlds of their own (which is normal development they tell me) my youngest daughter is enjoying her time of life balanced between herself, her friends, and her parents. And boy do I love being the beneficiary of a young daughters love. My older kids lists were full of xBox games, iPods, make-up and gift card and some good old money requests - but my youngest made my holiday just by her wish list, and then gift alone.


     One page one of her list was a mix of assorted names and part numbers from the American Girl catalog. It took me awhile to cross reference the numbers and then figure out who I gave which number too in order for them to get her something that she wanted. Luckily in the end there were no duplicates. But on page two was the best request I could get from one of the kids-

" Dad can you take (me) on the boat. and te(a)ch me how to tay a fly".

It almost brings a tear to my eye as I picture her sitting there writing it out.

     I did good on some other gifts this Christmas as well. 10 pairs of non-white underwear are always a welcome sight under the tree, a book on fly tying, an old, 1927, edition of Outdoor America, a box of chocolate pretzels and an Orvis gift card.

     But again my youngest got me with her can't-wait-till-tomorrow- Christmas Eve gift. It was paper weight that read - "My dad rocks". And inside were magical words from someone who loves me as much as life itself. It read,

"Dad I love you so much you did so much for us. I love what you do for us. Happy Christmas to You"

     I have to say my boys got me pretty good, and made me laugh a little too. My boys aren't fisherman, or boaters for that matter. But they came up with the idea to make some coupon books. The ones we never cash in, but this year I will. In both of the books there is a coupon for fishing and boating. Great, I will have my boys out to fish one day, and boat another. However, if you read the fine print there are some stipulations in the coupons. One son put an expiration date on my boating coupon for May 2013, and the other put that my fishing coupon had to be used in conjunction with my boating coupon. Gotta love those kids.......they are the best. 



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12.26.12 "Baby, it's cold outside......."


     If you were out this morning then you might have had the same song in your head as I did. One of my favorite songs around the holidays is the 1949 song, "Baby it's Cold Outside" sung by Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting.

     It was 34 degrees out with a NE wind from 20-25 that reddened up the cheeks and made the hands a tad cold. I'd be lying to say that I gave it my all and lasted more than a half an hour. What is interesting is where are we with this years fall run. Last year the fall run lasted into February and March depending who you talk too.
    Right now we have water temps hovering around 48 degrees with the primary bait, that I have last saw, as herring and bunker. There was rain bait a few weeks back but I haven't see it as of late. Yesterday smaller bass were found eager to hit the fly, and we've had some great days this mid-December with bigger bass, mostly found while out on the boat. Today will be the start of winters first punch to our area. According to to the Weather Channel the next 10 days will have temps above the freezing mark. We'll see what the water temps and bait and bass do as the New Year rings in.