Thursday, October 31, 2013

10.31.13 Should be fun on the beach at first light tomorrow....

     Looks like SW 24-51 tomorrow, now that's sporty, and fun. Time to break out the 11 weight with the 350 gr sinking line and some slightly oversized flies. Couple the winds with high tide at 6 a.m. and it should be challenging.

But it just might be what we need to get things going.....

10.31.13 Beauty and the Beast on this Halloween...


Happy Halloween!

No question which one is the Beauty....

     After a quick first light scout and then getting my "mermaid" off to school I took a ride back down to the beach to see if anything was going on during the end of the ebb. A few flurries of birds off the ends of the groins was it. Didn't see any fish under them, nor pushing bait, bait that I didn't see, around in the pockets or troughs.
     My daughter didn't think I'd wear my costume down while fishing, well I did, but the plastic "hands" made it difficult to cast and strip. Saw a few guys, some thought it was funny, I'm sure others thought I was an idiot. Both probably right.

Hey, you're never too old to have a little fun on Halloween.

As far as it "going off" on Halloween, the start to many anglers fall season, better hope it's a night bite.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10.30.13 Mischief night solo bass.....

     After todays ho-hum surf I decided to forego soaping up cars for mischief night and watching the World Series and hit the beach. Went down around 8 and stayed till 10. Before I left I tied up an Ultra-Hair sand eel pattern that would fool one, well two bass, one that I brought to hand.
     When I tied the fly I applied Clear Cure Goo at the bend of the hook looking to see if the cured goo would help help the fly from fouling. It did for awhile before eventually working it's way off the fly. It's fun tying up a fly and within an hour having a fish get fooled by it.

10.30.13 Blah, blah, blah day on the beach....

     Out for a scout and some casting for a few hours at the start of the incoming. Things just looked dreary and dead. No wind, overcast skies, floppy surf, no birds, no sign of bass or even blues.

Looks like the winds are going to pick up, on other sites I monitor they say the gusts could be to 50 mph. Time to break out the big guns!

This is from NOAA Marine Forecast:


10.30.13 My cardiologist said...."Just do what you do normally...."

     So after last months cardiac episode and my up and down blood pressure my cardiologist orders 24 blood pressure monitoring. You wear the monitor and it measures your blood pressure during the day and night while you are active or not.

     He tells me I should go about a normal day...which, at some time, includes fishing.

     So yesterday after I got rigged up I hit the beach with a nice looking surf with manageable NE winds. Lots of surf and white water that looked to good to be true, but it was. Not a bump on the north or south sides, no sign of bait, and not a bird around.

     There's some weather coming our way which will hopefully get things going.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10.29.13 Well, today a victory for many, but not for the striped bass

     I am disappointed, angry, hurt.....but not surprised. Not surprised that the ASMFC, well really the commissioners , today voted to remain status quo for the year 2014. Basically that means they see nothing wrong with the striped bass numbers, harvests, and fisheries.

" Stock assessment was accepted, stock is not overfished, and overfishing isn't occurring."

What happened today at the ASMFC 72nd Annual Meeting held in Georgia was a real shitshow.

While the transcripts of todays meeting and vote aren't available, one result is out based on the following question,

"To implement a 28 inch minimum size and one fish daily for coastal recreational fisheries with an equivalent reduction for coastal commercial quotas for implementation in 2014."

Motion failed 2-12

Our New Jersey, Governor Christies rep, Tom Fote - voted it down. (More on the other votes and Mr. Fote's direct quote at the hearing to follow.)

Let's just say that this is a huge victory for the commercial interests, the RFA, the lobbyists, the politicians, and almost all of the commissioners.

In the's a defeat for the striped bass and everyone who worked hard to protect the striped bass by fishing responsibly and conservatively (Just because your fishing "legal" doesn't mean responsible) and who believe that the striped bass numbers are in danger of collapse.

And here's the bone.....

Monday, October 28, 2013

10.28.13 Quick run out front produces a nice trio of bass.....

     With no clients available for a days fishing I took a solo run out front to check on conditions. Everyone is waiting for the big "collision" of bass on the bait, with birds overhead. Found lots of birds working over the bait and some bass spread throughout the water column.
     I got out at noon and was done fishing by 2 o'clock. I started with a Snake Fly but quickly switched over to a sand eel pattern that fooled three keeper sized bass to 33 inches. It was a run and gun day, but a set up and drift into the fish day, kind of like a Delaware float trip day.
     It was a beautiful day out there with the air temps up and the winds down. Lots of anglers are getting nervous that it's "over" before it ever started, or the fish are "out" and wish pass us by. You know what, "who knows"? All you can do is go out and enjoy the day and hope that your fly will fool any fish, or fishes, that are there.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10.26.13 Lots of bigger bait around on the beach....

     This morning it was corn cob mullet at my feet. Late this afternoon I went out for a scout and brought the fly rod with me. Found lots of bait, including this gizzard shad that was on death's door and crippled in the wash. These are prime bass and blue blitzing fodder.

I had my portrait session and tossed it to an inquisitive seagull for a nice dinner treat.

10.26.13 Don't put away those Snake Flies just yet......

     Hit it at 4 a.m. with a few hours left on the outgoing. It was a little chilly with the air temps at 38 degrees, but that's helping get the water down to 60 which is what I found on the boat yesterday. Started with a sand eel pattern before snagging this corn cob mullet in the wash. Time to switch flies. Went with the Snake Fly to match the hatch but had no takers. With the low water the mullet were stuck in between the beach and the sand bar, a perfect ambush spot for bass and blues. 

     I fished until I couldn't feel my fingers anymore and just watched and waited as the tide flipped. Flat glass-like conditions out there except for the birds on sand eels and the bat traffic starting. We had nine days of a northeast blow, now have this west-northwest, southwest steady winds for a bunch of days. We need it to flip and get some stripery surflike conditions to get the fish excited to hit the bat on the beach. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

10.25.13 Some anglers hate could you hate this on a fly rod

     They say the BIG bluefish come around and invade the inshore waters in the fall.......why yes they do. Had Mike out today in less than perfect conditions. We were met with NW winds blowing 20-25, but, also blitzing bluefish running through bait. Went deep with a 14" bunker fly and quickly hooked up. Mike fought this beast perfectly, and for awhile, before we landed it and get a few images off before releasing it. The fish may actually have been rounder than it was long.
     We put in lots of miles following the flocks of birds up and down the coast, most on sand eels, and most without the help of bass pushing up the bait from beneath. We did find a plethora of spike weakfish that eagerly took the sand eel patterns. Didn't see anything on top except for that quick up and down blitz when we first got out. It didn't matter, that above fish was a good enough one and done kind of catch. We did watch a whale swim it's way through the sand eels which was cool.
     It was a great day with a great guy who hung in during tough conditions. Next time we'll pick a touch nicer of a day, and not come in until we find the bass, and get them to bite.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10.24.13 Beautiful middle of the night into fist light.....


     Looked at the tides and figured 3 a.m. could be good. It's definitely fall out there in the dark. Crisp, cool air temps and dropping water temps. Fished hard for hours jumping around to several spots before settling in on a spot that held some fish.
     Just before first light had a few hit the Snake Fly but not on the sand eel dropper. As night turned to day I saw a bunch of swirls as the flat water got lit up by the sunrise. The west wind has the surf laid down nicely to scan the horizon for bait, birds, and bass. Had to leave them swirling in order to get the home to get the kids off to school.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10.23.13 Got wind.....

     For the few fisherman that were out this morning the ENE wind at 15-25 was a eye opener. With the air and water temps dropping and big wind and surf things are at least looking stripery. Talked to a few spin fishing friends that went out last night that did well, including a sweet 20 plus pound fish that fell to a swim shad. 
    Picked a few spots and fished mostly the south side pockets with a bump. Did see some birds picking out a ways but nothing in close. I was out just at the end of the flood to the start of the ebb. The water is clean and fishy, just need that bait to draw them in close to the beach. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10.22.13 Morning nice, evening nice, mid afternoon....not so much

     I had a short window to run outside on the boat. The morning was beautiful.....the afternoon....a little snotty. The wind was from 10-15 first from the southwest then a little better when it west. Just as I made my way down the clouds started to show and it looked a little ominous. As I turned north I saw the sky full of birds....find the'll find the bait......and the bass. There was birds and bait but only a few marks of bass and none would take a fly. I think the mass exodus of the bait from the bays and rivers has started.....that means it should draw the bass and blues in. I stayed out a few hours

and on the way in found a nice little honey hole that gave a trio of schoolie bass. They weren't big, but good fish, as they were in current and fly fishing and driving the boat for a good drift was a little tricky, but fun.

Monday, October 21, 2013

10.21.13 Some days the best fishing is just watching and learning...

     Hey, we'd all like to get to a spot and wet a line and catch a fish or two. Today I hit the Jersey "The End" or "The Top" or "The Tip" and spent more time watching and learning then hauling and retrieving. And you know what, I was alright with that. With boat trips coming up towards the end of the week it was cool to scout out and watch how the boats fished this very cool water.

     I was alone except for a half a dozen spin and fly anglers spread out around the tip. I was there for about 2-1/2 hours and saw one fluke caught, and a hickory shad get hooked, jump, and get unbuttoned. 
I fished a bit as the water left slack and start to ebb without a bite. I found a nice and intact chair and planted myself and just took in the show and the beautiful day. 

Tomorrow I'll be out at work in the boat searching for the bass and the stupidly huge bluefish that have invaded the inshore waters.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10.20.13 Watched the Red Sox game...fell asleep....woke up....went fishing

     I finally fell asleep when Detroit was leading the Red Sox 2-1. For some reason I woke up at 148 a.m., and I was up, might as well go fishing. I knew low tide was around 215 a.m. out front so I thought I'd give it a go and scout some water at dead low at night.

     As I made my way down the beach the west wind carried a pretty foul smell into my nostrils. I met another grave yard shift angler who directed me to the source of the smell, a large dead Atlantic Leatherback Turtle. It is the largest of all sea turtles and can grow to six and a half feet and weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds. It is the only sea turtle that lacks a hard shell, instead the body is covered with a layer of rubbery skin with seven ridges (keels) on the back and five underneath. One interesting point is that the primary food source is jellyfish. This information was found HERE. Below is a picture of a living leatherback.

     As far as fishing, tough coupla days on the beach. Yes, a northern tip has been producing but I've haven't hit that beat yet. Today was fishing during a high and bright sun, oh, that was the waning full moon, and a stiff west wind. Water was clear and flat and really no signs of bait or bass. I did see a pod of mullet swimming happily along as I stopped and peered out on the water. There was also a lot of birds on boats, actually boats on birds, and what looked like big blues running through bait. 

Tuesday will be the next available boat day so if you, or you and a friend, want to go out and find and chase some bass and big blues give me a call 732.261.7291. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

10.19.13 Nice introduction to the New Jersey salt.....

     Jason travels around the world shaping the finest golf courses. He is a craftsman and artist...that paints with a bulldozer. He shapes the greens, fairways, and bunkers that make or break a golf course. His current assignment is working on one of the finer country club courses her in Monmouth County. So, what do you do in your spare time when you're a fisherman in a "strange" land? You find the best fisheries and fly fish. Jason just spent a bunch of time on the Upper Delaware rivers where he fished for several days, now, he's moved to the Jersey Shore salt in search of stripers. A good plan.

     His goal today was to learn the areas near where he is staying for the next month or so. We started out before first light throwing poppers out back before moving to the beach as light arrived. We took up our spot that connected a long line of spin, and one other fly fisherman, as far as you could see. During the hour we were there we saw one sun dial caught on metal. As the full moon flood tide filled the beach we were able to hit the key points of fly fishing the surf for stripers. One thing you can tell as a guide is how hard core and angler is.....and this guy is hardcore. Lots of questions, couldn't wait to cast, ready to get wet, and ready to catch a fish.

     We jumped around a bit exposing him to different types of spots he will encounter as he fishes this fall run. What a great time to be here to fish for a few months. As we hit out last spot we noticed an armada of big and small boats bunched up and slowly traveling south. No doubt they were on fish, either those big gator blues or bass, or a mix of both. I explained to him a little about fly fishing for stripers from my boat and he signed up on the spot.

                   Just hope the fleet below left a few for the rest of us to catch and release!

     If the scene was anything like on the Laura Lee out of Long Island yesterday then I fear not. Here's just a quick recap on their Thursday report-

Thursday 10/17/13: Today's 7 AM trip caught 55 striped bass keeping 53 up to 30 lbs. Today's 1 PM trip caught 20 stripers keeping 18 up to 28 lbs.; 6 big bluefish; 2 weakfish. Tonight's 6 PM trip caught 3 stripers up to 17.6 lbs.

But hey, they released 2. 

Check out their website for more incredible numbers large female bass harvests, it will make you sick. One boat, out of one marina, in one state, during one week of a long year. 

More on this another time.