Monday, August 26, 2013

08.26.13 Off to Puerto Rico for a week.....

     Cindy and I have loaded up the kids and are heading to Puerto Rico. We'll be there for a week and yes I did pack one fly rod. I also reached out to a local guide for a half day trip. Oh wait, this is not a fishing trip.

By next week we'll only be a few weeks away from a good moon and the fall mullet we go!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

08.26.13 Basement surprise on the West Branch of the Delaware.....

     While up in Hancock NY for the kids fly fishing camp my friend Sherri invited fellow camp instructor and guide Charlie Limpert over for dinner. After a great burger, some local corn, and some cold beers Sherri told me she wanted to show me something.

     Sherri recently purchased the home from a gentleman's estate. He was a fly tyer and fisherman, and also a huge saltwater plug maker and user. She took me down to her basement and we went to work looking in very drawer only to find, plug, after plug, after plug, after popper, after popper, after plug. There must be close to 100 plugs and loads of metal and bucktails and hooks, just perfect for a saltwater fly fisherman.  We had a blast going through each box and drawer looking for the next treasure to "pop" out.
     When I got home I laid out some of the items we found and took a few shots. For a minute it looked like the plug makers tables at the Asbury Park Fisherman's Flea Market held each year at Convention Hall. To a fly fisherman this stuff looks foreign to us....but I wonder to an old time plug maker or thrower if this collection has a few treasures buried down deep.

I am going to enlist the help of a few guys from the Asbury Park Fishing Club that make plugs, I'll keep you posted if we hit gold.

And, I found a back up unit for my Jones Brothers, just in case.

08.25.13 I feel a little like Waldo....or Wally...

     If you are a forty something like me then you can remember the late eighties and "Where's Waldo?". WW was a series of books originated in England by illustrator Martin Handford. In England the character was named Wally and in the United States it was Waldo. Waldo was tall and skinny and had

a red and white striped shirt and red hat. Basically the books were two page spreads and the idea was to find Waldo hidden amongst the very busy scene. You would look for the telltale signs of the shirt and hat, but, there were always teasers to draw your eyes to which weren't him.

     I am starting to feel like Waldo. Everyday I get several emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and phone calls calling to ask how I did, where I got them, and what I got them on. The inquiries come from friends, family, old clients, hopefully new clients, and people who I don't know, but say they know me or that we have met or are "friends".
     Hey, I can't complain. I write this blog as part of my business and share stories about trips, fish, conditions, fly fishing, casting, beach replenishment, ect from where I work....basically the good, the bad, and the ugly. A lot of people read this blog with most days it getting 250-300 reads. (Now, just sayen, if each one of those readers hired me one day a year that would really make the blog effort worth it!)
     So back to Waldo. If you read my blog than you are most likely a reader of others blogs or forums on fly fishing or striped bass fishing. On the reports page posters get ridiculed and blasted when they do any kind of spot burn. Spot burn is basically the divulging of a fishing location by name, inference, and pictures- with pictures being the most innocent, but yet most frowned upon. An angler will have to hold up a fish, take a picture, and then at home Photoshop the background away or blacken it out so as to not "violate" the code and get belittled or bullied on-line. It makes for some great images.

     A year or two ago my buddy Al pulled me aside. It was actually the day that I fished with an Orvis representative while going for my Orvis Endorsement. We were fishing and I saw Al and told my "sport" for day that I was going over to say hi. He was familiar with Al as he frequently reads the blog.
     As I say hello Al looks at me and basically says - " Colin, the guys down here aren't to happy with you putting all this stuff up on your blog. Stop it." He turned away, then I turned away and felt like I just got yelled at by my dad. At first I was angry, but as time went on, and to this day I see why he said that. Peoples insatiable quest for information and fishing "success" is ridiculous.

     My blog posts are basically about what I DO or what I SEE happening everyday somewhere on the Jersey Shore or the Upper Delaware. As a photographer I enjoy taking nice pictures and between the two places there's no place else I'd rather shoot pictures and fish. I used to just take pictures of locations and clients with fish composed to make a nice it's different. I now even go as far as Photoshopping out rocks in the surf and on the groins. Believe me there are some pretty sly sleuths out there.
     While I was up at the Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp I got a call from an old friend. He reads the blog, calls me for intel from time to time, and is always willing to reciprocate if I ever need anything or a place to stay while I'm up on the West Branch.  So he calls me and tells me that "I don't know if you're trying to be slick but I figured out where that picture on the boardwalk was taken last week.". I had to think, then he told me where I was, then I knew. "You were in Avon.....!!!!!!, he said." and I just laughed.

Yes- this is Avon
     Some people stare at the blog pictures, some try and decipher the "location" from the words- "I fished a cut near some rocks on a long beach.....", others will look for my truck and follow, some just write or call, and I think that's about it, unless someone has attached a GPS tracking unit under my truck. You might think this is a rant, but it's not. Just an FYI. A good example- last week I came upon an all out August 15th bass blitz. After my blog post I received 13 "inquiries" about who, what, where, and why.

     Yes, sometimes it's frustrating having to re-compose a picture so I don't give "it" away. Or other times it's frustrating when you give just a little too much information and the next day a few fly guys are in that same spot at the same time on the same tide.

     And yes, I am a fly fishing guide and I do strive to have more clients than "friends". But if it helps, on any given day, I am fishing by beach or boat from the Raritan Bay down to Island Beach State Park or on one of the rivers of the Upper Delaware system. I enjoy sharing my business with friends, clients, and readers of this blog, and enjoy hearing stories and learning from them as well. I believe when I find my own fish though I feel rewarded that much more. It takes a lot of things lining up in order to catch a fish on the fly. Do the homework, put in the time, and it will make the fishing experience, and victory, that much better. Any if you don't catch a fish, maybe you will see all those landscapes and pictorials that dot my blog posts.

     I did fish this morning after being away for four days. Fished two towns, used a popper, raised four fish, didn't hook up, beautiful morning, lots of swells and surfers, and below is a picture of where I was,
hope it helps!

And don't laugh - someone knows where these pictures were taken!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

08.22-24.13 Another great year at the Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp

     Had another great opportunity to join some other Upper Delaware guides to work at the annual Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp. Like last year the camp was held at Camp Weequahic in Lakewood, PA. Joe Demalderis, Charlie Limpert, Brandon Alexander and myself had a blast introducing kids to fly casting, tying, and fishing. We started out by giving the non-returning students Orvis Clearwater set ups that included rod, reel, and line. Over the four days, which ends Sunday, we started with casting instruction, demonstration, and practice on the lawn before moving to the lake. Mixed in was fly tying instruction and practice before tying on their flies and hitting the beach, docks, and boats for a shot at sunfish and bass. In between were fun games, good eats, and a lot of laughs and fun.

    During the camp the boys met Dave Canfield, the late Bill Canfields father, and were given a talk about Bill, their father and son fishing trips, and about what fly fishing has meant to the elder Canfield and his sons over the years. Bill passed away four years ago after a brief battle with cancer. This camp was created in his memory by his father Dave, brother Doug, and their long time guide Joe Demalderis. After the talk Mr. Canfield then joined us on the "great lawn" for some additional casting lessons before going "live" at the lake.



     One of the kids favorite part of the camp was the fly tying instruction and time at the vice each morning. With Charlie Limpert leading the classes the boys tied up some Wooly Buggers, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, San Juan Worms, and some un-named and interesting flies.

     In between the fly tying the boys played the ever so popular Ga-Ga-Ball and had lunch prepared by the kitchen staff at the camp.


     We brought our drift boats to the camp and during the afternoon sessions we loaded up the boys and gave them go fishing the deeper water and lake sides of the lily pads and down trees along the shore. There was more of a bluegill and pumpkinseed bite then bass, but a few small bass were caught on a variety of flies the boys tied up. For many of the boys it was their first fly rod fish which brought all parts of the camp together in one little fish. 

     The guides and the kids will be looking forward to having the camp next year. There are plans in the works to expand it including inviting kids from towns up and down the Delaware. This camp was started in honor of someone who loved fly fishing, the Upper Delaware, and kids. Joe D said the idea for the camp came to light based on something the late Bill Canfield said several times on guided trips on the Delaware. He would always say, "Where are the kids?", as he floated down the river. Well, hopefully as this camp continues and as more kids attend, the seed of the great times and benefits that fly fishing and fly fishing the Upper Delaware can give someone will be planted. So when Bill looks down he will see drift boats, wading anglers, bugs and rising trout, and kids dotting the shoreline enjoying the fishing and the beautiful outdoors. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

08.21.13 Went out looking for some early bonito and albies but found mahi instead...and then off to the Bill Canfield Fly Fishing Camp

     After last nights Atlantic Saltwater Flyfishers meeting and a presentation by Tom Gilmore on false albacore, I was really ready for a quick early morning look for some fish. I have heard of a an albie and bonito caught here and there and wanted to give it a look. 


     Wet the boat at 430 am ( at a dead low full moon tide!) and was out on the scout by first light and the sunrise. I didn't see a thing. A few scattered birds, one guy fishing the tip of the Hook, one other fishing boat, and large car carrier ships traversing the channels. That was it. 

     So I went with plan "B" and motored out and around looking for flotsam, seaweed, pots, just about anything a mahi-mahi might camp under looking for a meal. My fly rod was rigged with some albie flies I had tied last year when I got my first order of Clear Cure Goo so I just went with it. I was tight on the first cast.....and the second......and the third. 

     I was into schooling banded rudderfish, seriola zonata, which is one of the three species of amberjack. I caught a handfull, maybe several handfulls of these fish. The younger ones under a foot have lateral marks, after that they just maintain the strip that starts at the dorsal fin and extends down over the eyes. Like mahi-mahi, they too like to hold near pots and floating debris.I can attest to that as every stop produced several of these feisty fish. After a few stops I saw a few different colors and shapes in the was the mahi-mahi. They were juveniles and no bigger than 14-18 inches, but I did see bigger mahi below the schooling and aggressive fish. I wonder what a few buckets of chum would have done to the fishing.
     As soon as the fly would hit the rudderfish would shoot out and one would hook up. I decided to go with a sinking line and throw past my targets, let it sink, and hope for the mahi to bite. Luckily it worked. I started get more follows, lightning fast swipes, and hook ups. They weren't big but it was fun while it lasted. 

     Today I leave for the Catskills and the Bill Canfield Youth Fly Fishing Camp. Myself, Joe D, Brandon, and Charlie- all Delaware River guides- will spend the next four days introducing kids from the Hancock, NY area to fly fishing. Last year was a great time and this should be great as well. They are the future of this sport. Below is last years group photo.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

08.20.13 Beautiful morning as father and son hit the surf with fly rods for the first time.....

     These are great outings for a guide. New fly anglers anxious to learn and fish for stripers, bluefish, fluke, and anything else with the fly rod. In addition, its great to be part of a special outing between a father and son. As a son, and a father, I can relate to how nice these moments are. 

     John and his son Dave booked a while back and we kept getting cancelled out due to the weather. Well today we picked a beauty. It was a 5 am start and the sunrise didn't disappoint. We started out with poppers and then moved to Deceivers and Clousers. There was a slight west wind and flat glasslike conditions with a soft swell, until it broke at your knees or basket. 
     The boys did great and piked up a lot of tips and techniques, but the best part was, they knew when a cast or retrieve wasn't "feeling right". John started out with the Depth Charge 300 grain line, and was loving it, until we switched up and gave him the stick with the intermediate line. He quickly came to realize how much easier the heavy line loads the rod, and how much more distance you can get. (We all also learned how easily sinking line finds where the strings of mussels were getting trapped up in the trough!)
     We ended up on the groin and watched as schools of snappers followed each fly in on every cast. Dave went tight with a Clouser on what was most likely a fluke, but it unbuttoned as he got the line onto the reel. It was a great morning and I hope to fish with them again. 
     Both are avid spin anglers and my question of the day was - "When will you decide to fish the spinning rod and or the fly rod?" It's not easy when 1) you are used to casting a mile and catching fish, and 2) are learning something new and don't have the same experience and knowledge. Hopefully, they will catch some stripers and bluefish on their fly rods first, if not, they just may not get the usage that their trusty surf rod and reel will. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

08.19.13 Had my best sport out today....and put her on the fish

     Today was a day with no fishing...or so I thought. Slept in till 6 am and was up to see my oldest boy off to gt his drivers license today. The driving school picked him up at 645 and he was home by 830. He successfully passed his test. The next one goes in November when my daughter hits 17.
     So with no clients, and no time to check out first light, I planned on spending the day doing office work (my taxes!), answering emails, and confirming upcoming trips. I got a lot of work done and got all set for tomorrows trip when my daughter came in and said, "Dad, when are you gonna take me fishing?" It was like someone dragged a needle across a record.
     A little panic set in since I'm not zoned in on the kid-spinning-river-bay fishing. I figured there must be a ton of bait and snappers in the Shark River so we took the short drive there. We jumped into the pack of folks fishing near the boat ramp and after a few casts Erin was tight on a fine bluefish. We were


a Snapper Stopper and even though the blues were small they followed and swirls and splashed and bit it. We brought two to hand before heading home for dinner. Between the beach and the boat and the Upper Delaware I can say this is the first client that teared up and sniffled on the way back to the truck. Maybe that's why I didn't get a tip!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

08.18.13 Great morning out with Dave....then the fluke went on the bite

     Had new fly fisher Dave out his morning for some fly casting lessons and fly the fishing the surf instruction. We started on the grass going through all the basics before gearing up and heading to the beach. Had a steady east wind and waves breaking at our feet, creating plenty of fall like conditions and white water. With going "live" clients soon realize the added challenges of fishing the surf - wind, waves, using different lines and retrieves, and the always a favorite - the stripping basket.
     Dave is looking to fish the rivers, bays and ocean and today was a great, but frustrating at times, introduction to the salt. Him and I will be at it again in a few weeks just as the bait and fish start their fall moving.

     After the session and as the tide finished ebbing the fluke were on a mad bite. Chartreuse Deceivers on a 300 grain sinking line had their interest with five on the fly rod to keeper size was great for an hour or so. The below fish had white dorsal and pectoral fins, almost like it was the underside but reversed. I fished near a spin angler who must have landed a dozen while I was around, and he was at it before I got there and stayed when I left. I wouldn't be surprised if he wound up catching 30 for the day, although I don't know how his short to keeper ratio was looking.