Tuesday, April 30, 2013

04.30.13 Schoolie bass after schoolie bass.....

     Great day, well sort of. Lost my keys when the button zippers of my Orvis Gale Force pack unzipped dropping them as I took a long walk to the water, then on a groin, then another, just before high tide. Next thing, we broke a rod. And the last, I got swamped by a wave at the top of the tide that swept me off my feet and deposited me headfirst in between the rocks. So as bad as that all sounds here's how it ended up. Keys, after a long search I found them 200 feet from car. Broken rod, it's an Orvis, and it's already on it's way back to Manchester. Swamped by the wave.....well that just plain hurt but I'm here to write about it.
     But it was a beautiful day. Fished the incoming to the top of the tide finding lots of schooies to 26" eager to take the fly. It was a great beginner fly rod charter type day. The fish ate, you didn't have to make hero casts to get to them, and there was no one around.

Now is a great time to come fishing along the Jersey Shore. If you are a freshwater angler or a new fly rodder and want to learn the salt come on down for a 4 hour or full day charter. We'll walk the beach and jump up on the rocks to find stripers lying in wait. I have all the gear and flies you'll need, just bring your waders, with studs or strap-ons with you, and we'll have a great day at the Jersey Shore. Call 732.261.7291

Monday, April 29, 2013

04.29.13 Another great One Bug weekend.....Team Orvis takes top prize

     The 6th One Bug is behind us, what a great weekend it was. After two years of high water and wind, the weather cooperated and the fish were up for a banner Saturday, and then a humbling Sunday.Working from Sunday night on. Above is a picture of half of the winning team from Orvis, with Ryan Bunn holding the trophy as his partner Tyler Atkins and the rest of the Orvis boys headed back to Vermont. Atkins also one the individual trophy as the angler with the most points. With over 1,400 points Bunn and Atkins have surpassed any team high total in six years. Below is Tyler with a fine brown trout landed with guide Jeff Church. 

     I headed up Thursday and picked drift boat from Roscoe and met fellow guide Charlie Limbert at the Capra where we'd call home for the next four days. We stopped by Border Water Outfitters and gave Coz a hand over the next few hours trying to assign the One Bug contestants to their beats for the weekend, all the while making sure the teams were split and on different beats each day, not on the same beat as their partner, and had different other team boat mates each day. May sound easy but it ain't. We ended up what two rivers meet and watched as the tail out came alive as big fish sipped Olives as they went down.  Below is a the fish that ate as the sun went down and the full moon rose.

We whooped it up Thursday at the Blue Stone Grill and woke up Friday wanting to fish before the opening On Bug dinner and auction. We hit the West Branch, and besides a dozen anglers bunched up and one here and there, we had what ever we wanted to ourselves only seeing two other boats all day. It was slow till the bewitching hour and then the Hendricksons turned on and the fish started to eat. It was a classic great day, missed a few, flossed a few, hooked a few, and landed well more than a few. The best part for me, as always, was just being there and watching it all go down. As 6 o'clock came and went we knew we had to go, but just as we rowed our we found some more fish bunched up and eating like it was their last meal. 

     Friday nights dinner and auction was great. Held under the big top at Firman's Park once inside you felt like you were back inside the Capitol Theatre. Good food, good drinks, good laughs, and a fun auction made for a great and late night. I found a lucky contestant who was the high bidder on a picture of a Hendrickson that I took and framed up.

     Over the next two days I had the pleasure of having Kristine and Joe and Martin (above- Nice hat!) and Ron in the boat on the middle East Branch. Ben Rinker was the other guide on the beat. Two days, two boats, two guides, and four anglers and two fish were landed and measured. It was tough. It was running 970 Saturday and 860 Sunday. We did a lot of hunting and watching and waiting looking for some fish to come up and eat, but it didn't happen. We had a few targets, and the best was a nice 18 inch sucker we set up on as it rose consistently in skinny water with bright sun over head. Ron made a great long cast coupled with a great drift and soon he was on. We were like school kids, until we saw the color and shape as it approached.

     We also did a lot of blind casting and Martin had a fish take as I followed his drift down the middle of the river. As he went to set the hook the slip knot I tied gave way leaving him out a 100 points for keeping his fly. He was then ready to take a nap as his boat mate fished looking to rack up some points.

     After a long weekend Sunday night came and the last supper and awards were given out. The Squirrel Award was up on the block and Coz asked for stories about the guide who saved the fly, and 100 points, for their client. This years winner was Ryan Furtak who waded through high water and scaled a limestone wall at Fireman's Park to save Terry DiSabatino's fly that was wedged in between the shale. There were all kinds of awards for the different categories and the one the guides always 

like to be in the running for is the top guide award. It's presented to the guide who has the most points over the two days, this year Darren Rist took the top honors. It was another great year and I am glad to be a part of such a great event with so many good people. Always a thanks to Dan Plummer and Sherri Resti and the entire FUDR crew who work so hard for the river and putting this all together.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

04.24.13 Back up to the Catskills for the One Bug

     Aaahhhhhh.....the One Bug. This year will be the sixth FUDR- Friends of the Upper Delaware River- One Bug. Competition? No, well, maybe. This year 18 guides and 18 teams will float the waters  of the Upper Delaware looking for rising fish, to have a great time, and raise money for the organization that looks to conserve and preserve the waters of the Upper Delaware, and so much more.
In keeping the pressure on for greater and more consistent flows so much is kept healthy, bugs, fish, birds. mammals, and directly and indirectly the people who live on or come to these waters.

     Basically there are 18 two person teams. They get a guide the first day on a certain beat where they can pick one fly. They can use that fly all day and if they keep they get bonus points. Each fish is worth points depending on its length. The second day it repeats. There's awards for the top team, top angler, top guide, and there's always the Squirrel Award for the guide that goes above and beyond to save his anglers fly, yes, that's me, the two time winner.


     Friday night things kick off with a dinner, open bar, and auction under the tent at Fireman's Field. It's $100 dollars and is a great time and helps raise money. There are great prizes for auction. This year I am putting in a Hendrickson print, hopefully it'll get a few bucks in the kitty.

A great weekend every year.....and this shall be just as good as the others.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

04.23.13 And Allenhurst votes.......yes to access for beach replenishment

     So the meeting started at 730pm, a new police officer was sworn in at 735pm, and they voted yes to Resolution #5 - Accept Beach Replenishment, at 740pm. By 745pm I was out of there.

     What they did was vote to allow, give, the US Army Corp of Engineers and the NJ DEP the access they need to do the beach replenishment. That's the first part. Next the towns have to approve the beach replenishment plan that will be presented to them. Imagine a bowling ball on top of a steep mountain. Or imagine a calf walking through the woods towards a hungry pack of wolves. That's what is happening with each yes vote.

     At the end of the meeting I was told they opened up the floor for comments. A surfer stood up to make the position against beach replenishment. It kind of reminded me of Nancy Pelosi and her famous quote, " We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Another nail in the coffin of a great natural resource that many people enjoy.

04.23.13 Vote tonight in Allenhurst on beach replenishment...

   Tonight the town of Allenhurst will vote to pass a resolution signing the town up for beach replenishment in Allenhurst. They will join the towns of Loch Arbor and Deal in allowing the Army Corp of Engineers and NJ DEP in unprecedented pumping of sand up throughout "Jetty Country" as it is known to anglers that fish northern Monmouth County.

    During the 1990's Elberon, Deal, Allenhurst, and Loch Arbor voted against beach replenishment. Beach replenishment has occurred from Sandy Hook down to Lake Takanassee and from Asbury Park down to Cape May, skipping a few State Parks and towns along the way. 

     Sadly, the momentum has already shifted and I feel this will happen. Although the initial plan calls for returning the beaches to pre-Sandy profiles, once the light turns green anything can happen. Sand will be pumped in, groins will be notched, natural beach structure will be lost, and the environmental impact in this area be great.

Monmouth Beach "nourishment" 2013
     Yes, for a season the beaches will be big, but Mother Nature will do what she wants to do. Just look at Long Branch and Monmouth Beach if you want to see what post beach "nourishment" looks like. Take a walk and don't fall off the steep cuts that are on the beach, and, in the summer be careful when you step, or dive in the water. 

     "Dunes" have become a dirty word as beach goers and property owners don't want valuable square footage taken up or their views impeded. 

Below is a part of the agenda for tonights meeting in Allenhurst- 

                                                    RESOLUTION #5


       Offered By:                                                  Seconded By:

WHEREAS, The wind and tidal surge associated with Hurricane Sandy has caused significant damage to the recreational beach facilities along the beachfront as well as beach protection structures along the entire Allenhurst oceanfront; and,

WHEREAS, As a result of this damage, FEMA has developed a plan to replenish the beaches along the coast of New Jersey from Sandy Hook to Cape May; and,

WHEREAS, It appears that the entire coast will be covered by a Federal Grant that should result in little or no cost to each municipality accepting this proposal; and,

WHEREAS, The preliminary proposal requires only public access to the beach every one-half mile of beach front and unrestricted parking in the area of beach access; and,

WHEREAS, Oceanfront property owners will have to grant access to the contractor to apply the sand and to beach visitors who wish to use this beach according to the rules that apply; and,

WHEREAS, The Board of Commissioners, after consulting with the Borough Engineer and Borough Attorney have decided that, subject to the final proposal for beach replenishment and an agreement with oceanfront property owners, they agree to commit to this program as required;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By the Board of Commissioners, that a preliminary agreement be made, subject to a discussion with the oceanfront property owners, where applicable for the acceptance of beach replenishment.

VOTE: Comm. McLoughlin____; Comm. Bolan____; Mayor McLaughlin____


Monday, April 22, 2013

04.22.13 Wind, wind, and more wind

     Got this shot of the flag in Allenhurst on my way to the beach. I am sure it was just as windy where you were today as it was for me. Steady ENE wind at 25 with gusts to 30 created plenty of white water but made fly fishing, well, interesting. Actually if you picked your spots right you could make good casts and work the water from the beach out. Gave it a short go in the morning on the outgoing, where I felt confident in hooking up, and then a little in the afternoon on the incoming, with a more sporty weather around. Didn't get a bump during either session.

     In between I went home and tied up a Clouser variation (sorry Mr. Clouser) trying to change it up a little. Well, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". I tied in some sparkle hair, artic fox, didn't tie in the bottom bucktail behind the eyes, and I'm sure something else non-traditional. It was hard to track in the water as it was off color, but it came back fouled a few times which is enough for me to scrap this pattern idea. I did like the red throat tied in, which I don't see on many Clousers.
     There's been the start of steady fish being caught off the beach, and the bays and rivers are giving up fish as well. I've seen that bluefish are starting to be caught so make sure you keep some heavy mono or wire with you when you plan on getting out.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

04.21.13 Great, but not easy, days on the Delaware

     Spent a few days on the Upper Delaware. The first day floating with another guide and the second part of a Joe D Orvis Yonkers group. On Friday most of the guides chose to float the East, figuring, correctly, that the tail wind would make for a more enjoyable day then a head wind blowing up the main stem. Well, we didn't believe the 30 mph gusts that were predicted and when with the upper main float anyway. When we got to Bard Parker there were whitecaps and swells, and that lasted for much of our float. But we had fun and fished, and rowed, hard. We had a 22 minute break in the weather and found hendricksons coming off with a trio of trout rising to the occasion. The above mandible challenged brown was a great way to finish up a long day. 

     On Friday night a tornado watch with an inch of rain was predicted and we were watching outside closely from the comfort of Lydia's as the rain started to fall. Luckily the tornado never came, and Saturday morning brought blue skies, no rain, but a little wind. Joe Demalderis, Orvis guide and owner of Crosscurrent Guide Service, and Shawn Kelly, manager of Orvis Yonkers, had put this trip together of 11 anglers. After meeting at the shop we broke up and myself and Joe and Emilio hit the West Branch. It was running 1040 cfs and was off color so streamers were on order all the while looking for bugs and heads. 
     We had a few short strikes before Emilio landed a nice brown on a white streamer before we broke for lunch. As we ate a small parade of BWO's, Blue Quills, and Quill Gordons passed us by. We hoped that the afternoon session might have the fish looking up and wanting to eat, but that never happened. We saw one fish rise twice, and one fish clear the water down on the Home Pool. The boys worked hard throwing a mix of cone, sculpin, and bead head streamers on sink tips lines all day. It was great to meet back up in town and listen to the stories of the fish that were turned, flossed, missed, hooked, fought and landed. 

Joe D and a tight loop

Thursday, April 18, 2013

04.18.13 Back up on the Delaware starting tomorrow

     After a long winter and time away from the Upper Delaware I'm heading up tomorrow to get the guiding season underway. My last float up there was in December and I have been waiting patiently for either the stripers to show them selves, which they did this week, or the third week of April to come.
     It was a busy week of working on the drift boat and getting my gear all ready, no doubt I will forget something. Painted the bottom, polished and waxed the sides, painted the wood floor, put in new rubber mats for the spike wearers, new carpets where carpets go, and replaced the anchor line.
     Things weather wise were looking good the last few days down here in Jersey, but it looks like we might get some cold and rain coming to the Catskills the next few days. Looking forward to seeing old friends and being part of a flotilla of boats Joe D put together to take the gang from Orvis Yonkers out on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

04.16.13 Found bait and birds, and bass on the fly out front...

     I started my day where I left off last night. Watching the coverage of the tragedy in Boston. My heart goes out to all those affected by the bombing. After seeing the story repeated over and over with no new developments I decided to take a break from it all and hit the beach to reflect, and wet a line. I think the only thing we can do for our fellow Americans is say a prayer and go on. This event will also have an impact on all of us as years to come. God bless Boston.

     It was peaceful and a beautiful day out on the beach. I continued to think of the events in Boston, and of last nights meeting in Loch Arbor....where steps for beach replenishment in "Jetty Country" moved forward. The birds were out diving on herring or bunker and as the tide entered hour three of the flood stage the fish showed up and ate. I was fishing for peace of mind, not for real. I had tied on a banged up old Clouser and made cast after cast, thinking that if I were really trying to catch a fish I would have picked the rivers or bay to increase my chances. After a move up the beach I hooked into a beautiful fish that was just under/over keeper size. I walked the fish back to the beach for a harmless and easy release. This year I am really trying to step up on my proper technique in releasing these stripers.
     So with this fish I picked it up out of the water, made the above image and tried to go down on one knee to get a shot of it in the water during the release. Well, as I kneeled I rolled over, met an incoming wave, and sank my camera and myself. I felt like I almost drowned in 2 feet of water. Luckily I had my Orvis Gale Force pack on, so everything else stayed dry.
     I will again have to send my Canon G-12, my favorite camera to carry when I take charters out or fish myself, back to Canon for a replacement. This one has served me well, but the saltwater visible inside the lens tells me it is done for good. No rice in a bag will save this one.

Monday, April 15, 2013

04.15.13 Deal and Loch Arbor sign on for beach replenishment.....

Loch Arbor beach 4/03/13
     Well, it's finally here. Beach replenishment, oh wait, nourishment, it's one of the things I hate most when you cross Mother Nature and "smart" humans. Well "Jetty Country" may not be spared the bulldozers and dump trucks and pump ships and pipes any longer. What Sandy did, or didn't do, it has given the Army Corp of Engineers, the NJ DEP, and now the municipalities all the reasons why re-building the beaches now makes sense.

     At 7pm tonight in Loch Arbor was the public hearing and vote on the Resolution # 2013-63, "Authorizing Right of Way to the New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection for beach replenishment in the Village of Loch Arbor." During the meeting we learned Deal has already signed on board.
     In the 1990's Elberon, Deal, Allenhurst, and Loch Arbor said no to beach replenishment. Over the last 20 years beaches have been filled, emptied, refilled, emptied, and refilled, and groins constructed, notched, reconstructed.....and inlets also. But "Jetty Country" remained intact. Well maybe not during Phase 1 of the next round of sand pumping, but in a later phase, re-nourishment will happen from the 8th Avenue jetty to Elberon, or to West End. The Army Corp has told Loch Arbor that they are looking to bring the Village back to pre-Sandy beach profile....yeah right. I hope they aren't going to tell Allenhurst that Wednesday, or already sold that island to Deal.
     So beaches will be bigger, drops off more severe, no dunes...because people don't like them, and the famous jetties will be filled in, and yes, trust me, notched. Look at Bradley, Spring Lake and Long Branch, and Belmar too.
     I have to say I was disappointed with the turnout from the fishing community tonight. The surfers had some good numbers and good speakers. Former Mayor Bill Rosenblatt talked at length about the 1990's when Loch Arbor and the other towns said no. Capt Paul Eidman from the Anglers Conservation Network spoke as well. In the end the four commissioners all voted "yes". Let the nightmare begin.

Allenhurst hasn't voted on this yet but keep looking as they will be having an upcoming public meeting sometime in the near future.

Bill Rosenblatt
Loch Arbor Mayor Fernicola
Loch Arbor Engineer Peter Avakian

Thursday, April 11, 2013

04.11.13 Went to check out the Keansburg Fishing Pier

Summer 2011

     Today I had a photo shoot with my partner Marc in Keansburg. We were following up on the construction at the boardwalk and I took a walk over to see the fishing pier. This time of year anglers crowd out towards the end of the pier looking for early spring striped bass making there way into the warmer shallower water. 
     Sadly it is going to be a long time before anglers can call this pier there home. Sandy wreaked havoc all along the Bayshore and this is just another example of one of her victims. Above is an image from a happier time on the pier, last summer, long before Sandy hit in late October.