Before I get to today's fishing I would like to send out my heartfelt sympathies to the victim and all those involved in yesterdays tragic boating accident which occurred off Long Branch. Sadly it takes a tragedy sometimes to realize just how dangerous boating can be- today I was extra careful as the incident remained on my mind all day.
Today Charlie Limpert and I headed out in some snotty conditions with strong N then NE winds, pelting rain, and footing-losing swells. It was rocky from the start and we didn't see a bird or mark much bait or a fish early on. We played it safe and held till the slack tide to make a move south. On our way found birds galore diving on adult bunker and big(ger) bass on them. We had some topwater blitzing bass but didn't hook up, having better luck with large bunker flies underneath. We had about a half a dozen boats with us mostly jigging, but I think the fly rod was the way to go- and always more fun, just my opinion. Charlie worked hard wrapping himself around the front leaning post most of the day in order to fish.
After the birds left we had good marks but fish that were tight lipped. One of the highlights was watching a bird enjoy a meal of adult menhaden. It took him a while to choke it down so I was able to get a bunch of frames off. And then they were gone.
I decided to check out the "inside" and found some nice bait marks with birds floating overtop. Didn't see much for fish but I wanted Charlie to work it. I knew we could find a fish. The best part of this stop was the NE winds didn't affect the water that much, but did help us get some good drifts. On the first drift Charlie went tight on the biggest fish of the day.
After five hours of up and down, rain, wind, and plenty of action, we decided to call it a day. All went well heading back in, getting the boat loaded up.....and then I fell in. That was the perfect ending to a great day. Thanks for a great day Charlie and for the great flies.