Monday, September 30, 2013

09.30.13 Nice morning in big surf with Ron.....and always love triangular packages on my stoop

     Had Dr. Ron out as the tide started to ebb to just about low tide. Plenty of big surf and white water but not a bite. The current moon phase - a waning crescent- means a weak tide with a tidal range of bout 3 feet. On a big moon tide it could be range as much as 6 feet. So whatever surf we had was big but not a lot of moving water. We saw no bait, no birds, and no fish. Ron fished hard and we moved few times to find some places where we could tuck into and fish. We had a nice morning and with each outing we are experiencing and learning more about fly fishing for striped bass on the Jersey Shore.

     There were some fish to be had as a friend of mine landed a 29" weakfish that went over 8 pounds. That fish will feed his family tonight for sure. It is great to see the weakfish showing back up. Another friend landed a few bass on bucktails, and a keeper, but out of season now, fluke.

     I was really happy when I got home and saw some triangular packages lined up at my door. The 10 wt Orvis Clearwater rod that I ordered was delivered as were two rods that went in for repair. Many thanks to the folks at the Orvis Rod and Tackle Department. They work making new rods and repairing broken rods that customers send in. They have been a great help to me as a customer and endorsed

guide over the years. This latest round of repairs couldn't have come quicker as this week I have several trips where the clients will need me to provide rods for their use. Basically as a guide you need a fly rod for each client to use, as well as a backup rod shouldn't one get damaged during transport or use.


If you ever have a chance to visit Manchester, Vermont, stop by the Orvis mother ship and ask for a tour of the Rod Department. If you've never visited a rod department it is a sight to see, especially when there are people in the shop working.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

09.29.13 Jonesing to get back out in the salt....

jonesing - English, verb - to have a strong need, want, or desire for something

     I am jonesing to go striper fishing tomorrow. After I got home and settled in from the weekend I went through the mail and a package that had come for me. It was Lou Tabory's book, Stripers on the Fly. I had never read it and ordered it off Amazon last week.
     With that I decided to go downstairs to the basement, man cave, well just plain mess and crank out some bait for tomorrow's trip. I'm not sure if we're still in the mullet run but I tied up some Snake Flies (thanks Lou!) and a variation that may be a combination Snake and Slab Fly. I tied in some barbel eyes because we'll be fishing early on the outgoing with a little NE and E wind.

While the rest of the world is watching the last episode of Breaking Bad, I'll be reading Mr. Tabory's book.

09.27-29.13 Nice fall weekend in Roscoe....

     It is a beautiful time to be in the Catskills. Fall is in full swing and the air temperatures are nice around the clock. Headed up after a salt trip Friday with my daughter and my dog. We settled into the house in Roscoe and had a nice night before being joined by the rest of the gang on Saturday.
     Saturday morning Erin and I ran into Hancock where I saw some friends getting ready for their drift boat trips on the Delaware. (Fishing has been real good and there's more to have so get up there while you can. I'm available for a float trip so call me if you are interested, 732.261.7291.) We had breakfast at the Circle E with my friend Sherri and then I introduced Erin to Ray Turner. Turner runs Delaware

Delicacies Smoke Houseand sells smoked eels, trout, other fishes, and cheeses. Ray was great with Erin and gave her a tour of the operation and showed her the 32 eels he had harvested that morning from the East Branch. If you haven't been there, come out of Hancock towards Cadosia, make a right on Rhodes Road and take it to you can't go any further. Signs along the way will help you out.

     I picked up some smoked eel and trout and mozzarella, none of which was a hit with the kids, or the wife for that matter. I brought the packages right to the table....and that was a mistake. Oh well, more for me. The rest of the weekend was great fall cleaning, some painting, farmers markets, bon fire at  night, and breakfast at the Roscoe Diner before heading out today. Time to get ready for a trip in the salt in the morning.

Friday, September 27, 2013

09.27.13 Steppin' away from the salt and heading to the Catskills....

     Loading up the gang and the beast and heading to Roscoe for the weekend. Nice to have a change of scenery for a few days. Fall is in the air up there and a few nights of campfires should be fun.

Back at it Monday morning - not sure if we're going boat or beach.

09.27.13 We're putting the time in....results are imminent

     Fished with Dave this morning looking for his first fish on the fly rod. We've been working steadily and we're just waiting for things to line up. We are close!
     Today we started in the dark not wanting for the bass to feed without us. As light arrived we saw some bait and a swirl or two but it was slow going from then on. We had a nice chop to work the standing waves along the trough and as I watched him swim that fly along I was just waiting for a bass to jump out and bite.
     I remember the day my buddy Al told me the story of when he started fishing for striped bass. In was in the 1950's. He fished for THREE years before landing his first bass. And he wasn't fishing just on the weekends are during the "hot" times either. That was 50 odd years ago, and he is still at nearly every morning I'm out there.

Good things come to those who (work hard) and wait......

Thursday, September 26, 2013

09.26.13 Great day out, and about, today with Mike...

     Through a series of bad truck events that happened to a friend I got to fish with Mike today. I got a call yesterday to see if I could help out and I was glad to. Mikes been fly fishing for a few years and a handful of times in the salt, including a trip this summer to one of my favorite places, Newport Rhode Island. 
      We got out in nice weather and water and had fun with wind and against tide when we got out front. Tons of birds working over hickory shad and cocktail blues. At times it was like a washing machine and Mike did well and learned to use that leaning post to his advantage like a pro. 


      Since 'You don't leave fish to find fish!", we stayed and went over some instruction and technique while landing a few more fish. Then we went looking for heads (like they say on the Upper Delaware), but really birds, bait, blitzes or blowups.
     We went across the pond and it was quite with several boats riding around or blind casting. Of course we were hoping to see albies but not a sign while we were there. We stopped on some obvious structure and fished before breaking for lunch. This morning I grabbed some subs from my buddies new place, the Red Bank Sub Shop. Mike ordered a tuna sub. Now you know that goes two ways- delicious, or, shit. Mike said it was an excellent sub. I had a turkey and provolone and mine was just as good. Well made and good bread! Stop by and see Canio and tell him I sent you.
     After lunch the E wind started blowing 15-20 so we gave it a shot before heading in the back and working some spots on the end of the incoming tide. We had a great day with a lot in common, mostly multiple marriages and lots of kids! He did a great job in some slop and we were glad to catch a couple of fish, no matter how small they were.

09.26.13 Sweet fish in less then two dozen casts...but a snap put a damper on it

  Snuck out early before todays boat trip. Down on the beach before first light and started to work the end of the ebb tide. Didn't take long to see some life and after a short walk while casting a nice striped bass blew up on the fly.

     It was a standard nice fish fight making sure I didn't allow slack with the barbless hook. Once I started to beach the fish on a wave exiting the trough....the rod snapped. It wasn't a lift-snap. I'm not sure what it was. I got this rod back from Orvis yesterday and applied ferrule wax and put it together right by the book.


I was sick....and wanted to throw up. In a pinch I saw a friend on the beach who had an extra rod in his car that I was able to use today as a backup backup rod. After my boat trip today I ran to UPS to get the rod on a plane, train, or truck back to Manchester.


Don't want to take away from the fish because it was a beauty, but, gotta keep it real.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

09.24.13 A bass just makes the early morning a little prettier.....

     Love those first-light-all-alone bass. Fished with Rich this morning and we had to work hard for a trio of striped bass. Started just before low tide working Snake Flies and Clousers in the moon lit semi-darkness. As light arrived and the tide started to move the surf became perfect looking. Nice waves created lots of white water and current to work. The bigger bass are a welcome as the hit and fight harder than their schoolie cousins. It just keeps getting better. As they say in the NBA - "I love this game!"

Monday, September 23, 2013

09.23.13 Afternoon delight.........

     After this afternoon my bass thumb is coming along nicely. Traveled south to find bass to 15 pounds that were hungry and aggressive. They hit the fly hard, fought hard, and the biggest ones weren't easy to land on the rocks. But I am no way complaining.


     The nice fish on the top had markings of sea-lice which is a sign that this fish came in from the open ocean. All of these fish are bigger than what has been around so it's good to see a push of fish coming in close to eat.

It's a great time to come and fly fish the Jersey Shore. Walk and wade and boat trips are available. To book a morning, afternoon, evening, or night trip give me a call 732.261.7291

09.23.13 Banger at 4 am dead low.....popper/dropper at first light

     So what to do at 248 am when the dog rolls over on the bed and the wife gets up. I thought about going I did. With a morning with no trips and a day full of photo editing I figured it was good time to get out and in early.
     I started with a Banger in the dark, which wasn't so dark with the waning gibbous moon overhead and lights from town behind me. I worked into dead low tide and connected on a super nice 27" fish that I couldn't get a good shot of with my dSLR camera. Canon couldn't be fast enough as both my G12's are in Virginia getting repaired. Both were suffering corrosion from exposure to salt water. The big camera is nice but it can't be worn around your neck when fishing and doesn't play well into a quick CPR -  catch, photo, and release. So it was one frame and that's it. From the image it doesn't even look like a striped bass nor 27" inches....


     After a move, as night became day, and as the flood tide entered it's second hour the fish started to show. They were on bait in the wash. It was a short cast out straight or a slightly longer one along the beach. I had about a half a dozen blow ups on the black Banger that I had on but none stuck. I decided to go popper/ dropper and added a small epoxy baitfish 20 inches of the bend of the popper's hook. Again a few more swirls and tail slaps before the above fish hit it almost on the beach and ran. I didn't measure the fish but the Banger goes 6 inches. It was a fat football shaped fish that has been eating well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

09.21.13 Ken does with one what most of us try to do with two....

     Ken is a great fly fisherman and fly tyer...period. That said I have in the past had the pleasure to watch him tie flies and today fish with him on the beach and groins. Ken was born with acheiria, the absence of a right hand. I can say that doesn't slow him down, make his flies swim funny, make his loops less tight, or limit him in fighting and landing a fish.
     As fly fisherman we find our strengths and limitations and work with and or around them. Bad back, or bad joints we compensate and alter our casts, retrieves, and hook sets accordingly. All day Ken shot easy 60-80 foot casts, worked the water far and near, and found the bass. He is inspirational to watch and showed me that anything can be accomplished if your heart and passion are willing.

    We started early on the mid flood tide. We watched as bass rolled and swirled on mullet and some rain fish as the night turned to day. We went with a black Snake Fly switching to white as the light grew brighter. We had a take that dropped before Ken made a nice cast, two strips, and hooked and landed a nice 22" striped bass. Being Saturday there were others anglers out and we saw some spin fisherman land a few small bass, blues and a hickory shad.


     Ken was interested in learning more about and fly fishing from the groins. As the tide rose we jumped on the rocks and discussed groin and jetty structure, effects of current and tides, and where and how to fish from the beach to the tip. Around slack we jumped in the truck and grabbed a coffee and did a quick tour scouting some of the various groin types and locations in the area. It was an easy and fun morning hanging out and fishing with someone who has a love of fly fishing and striped bass as I do.
     At the start of the ebb we jumped back out on the rocks and switched to a sweet sand eel pattern Ken had tied. I introduced him to Jim Matson's Pulse Discs and after some work on the south side we hooked a bass that came unbuttoned. As the clouds and rain arrived we called it a day. It was a great day and I can say I won't be bitching anytime soon at the vice or while casting because I can't get it done. Seeing is believing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

09.20.13 Ron picked a beautiful fall morning to fish....

     Had Ron out for his first trip in the salt this fall. We hit it last winter and will be at it in the boat in a few weeks. So today was a refresher and primer.....mission accomplished. Also, Ron snuck this trip in before heading out later today to attend the Orvis Fly Fishing School at the mother ship in Manchester, Vermont. He'll have fun going from throwing the 10 weight all morning to the 5 weight all weekend. He should have a great time up there with the wife as the fall weather and leafs are in full swing up there. I had to get him to smile as this fish was smile worthy! This one's a little better.

     We started with a few hours left on the incoming and found some bait and bass eating. We flossed a few and even had a few on that came unbuttoned. It was great sight fishing to swirls and jumping mullet. We had some big full-moon-tide-surf as the flood ended and we both were soaked down to our socks.

    At the turn we picked up a short bass and a fluke and again went tight a few times. Elimination of slack lines on the cast, and in the water, helps the line go farther and keeps the hooks set. It was a great morning for us fishing all alone with the only other people out were a few surfers.