Saturday, November 30, 2013

11.30.13 Quick check on the Roscoe house.....and bringing home the Christmas tree


     Cindy and I and Erin and the dog took a ride up to Roscoe for the day. Base camp for the Upper Delaware 2014 season is coming along nicely. This coming spring I'll be staying in the Roscoe house and passing on the comforts, and closer location, of the Capra. Recently we had some tree work done around the property and had a new roof and basement door installed. With new electric service in all we need to do is get a plumber in there and it will be just like home. While we were there I threw the switch on the Christmas tree that we keep up all year round, it's finally in season!

     While I was up there I had to position the boat for the winter. I had to chip some ice off the cover and get her stern in the air so she drains. Everyone knows I love the stripers, but it only takes a quick


visit upstate to remember all that is good and what I love about the Upper Delaware. We had a quick visit before hitting Roscoe to take part in "Shop Local Saturday". We hit a few stores in town and of course bought something in each. We hit The Fisherman's Wife, The Beaverkill Angler, The Little Store, the "new" Roscoe Fine Wine and Spirits, and dined at New York City Gyro - a nice country meal!

     During lunch Erin got teary eyed because she said we didn't stay in Roscoe long enough. It was 23 degrees around the house, and my Crocs weren't repelling the snow and cold too well. She said she wanted an adventure, so after lunch we went back.
     Years ago on the property Christmas trees were planted and they grew quite large. Cindy suggested we look for a small one to take home back to New Jersey. Luckily I had left my chainsaw in Roscoe so I grabbed it and off we went. We soon found the perfect tree, although kind of Charlie Brown Chritmassy looking. It looked like it wanted to be harvested. It was bare on the bottom and only green up top.
     As the girls and Lola watched I Edward Scizzorhands that tree down in no time. We had the Jeep Compass with us and it has no roof rack so securing it down was a little bit of a chore. We tied rope around the tree to slim it down and placed it on the roof and tied the rope through the rear windows and closed the windows tight. And off we went.

     We made it back to New Jersey and had a tree raising just after 8 o'clock. It's a little uneven, kind of bare in some spots, and leans to the right no matter how you adjust it, but for our family this year it is the perfect Christmas tree.

And it wouldn't have happened without a few alligator tears and the quest for an adventure from Erin.

Friday, November 29, 2013

11.29.13 Black Friday scout....

     So as the rest of the world went back to work, slept in from eating too much yesterday, hit the stores or the mall for the Black Friday sales, a hand full of anglers hit the beach and the yaks this morning. Flat conditions post blow on the outgoing tide. I fished for a bit under some birds before taking a ride to check on the status of the recent beach replenishment in Monmouth Beach.

     I could just let the pictures do the talking. Needless to say after a few months since the machinery has left Monmouth and Sea bright and reloacted to Long Branch and Manasquan things are nearly back to where we were before the 20 something million dollar project. Who thinks this works? and is a good use of money? 

     I watched as a kayaker made his way around a now exposed groin and alongside a 8 foot cliff of sand. In my estimation over 100 foot of sand, times 8 feet tapered down, has been given back to the sea. What we now have is a straight lined beach with a sand bar located 150 feet off the near low tide mark. Anglers this morning casting metal picked up 12-20" striped bass throwing metal. Below is a fish that a spin angler caught while I walked around and took pictures. They're small but some are real fat.

     One thing that was interesting was to see the different levels of sand and the different materials that were used to fill the beach. Some fine sand, some more shells, some more rocks. I am sure a geologist would have a field picking through the sand identifying what it is and where it came from. 

     As I write, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright's "new" beaches continue to erode back into the surf. The dredging of the False Hook on Sandy Hook continues, and the pumping of Long Branch and Manasquan continues part of the 102 million dollar "emergency" contract to return the Monmouth County beaches to pre-Sandy conditions. 

     It's not good for the environment, not good for the wildlife that swims and crawls along the sandy bottoms, not good for the anglers and the surfers, not good for people walking the beach and not in the know, and not good for the bathers getting caught in rips or diving into sand bars. 

So really, who is this good for? Just like fish management it comes down to two things- money and politics. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


     From everyone here, well just me, at The Average Angler have a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Hopefully your day will be a good one with family and friends and lots of good movies football games on the TV and a great food and drink. It's really a day to be thankful for all that we have and have had.


     Well what a difference a day makes. If you ventured out yesterday you were met with air temps of 62 degrees, which was great, today 30 degrees, which was not so great. Yesterday the surf was huge and angry, today it sat down a bit. The water is still off color and moving but hopefully it will be realistically fishable and fish catchable over the weekend.
     You had a better chance of catching a surfer than striper this morning as I counted 31 surfers off the end of the groin I was stationed at for a bit.

                            Enjoy your day and keep your fingers crossed for good fishing soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11.27.13 I thought I was nuts for being out.....

     Got down to the water about an hour into the flood tide. Wasn't figuring to wake up to 62 degree air temps, but by the time I was on the rocks it had dropped to 52. Big waves, big water, lots of white water, but underneath was real off color. Went to work in between the sets with a chartreuse Snake Fly


tied on a 12 inch leader of 20 lb. fluoro. Stayed in the pockets and got out without a bite, but more importantly not losing my fly line as the waves pushed it into the rocks. Fishing this type of water calls for sinking lines and a short leader no doubt. Below is a pic of the set up I use. Went to a second spot

looking to see if anyone else was fishing but no one was. There were some people watching a lone surfer tried like heck to get out to the big waves. I watched for a little bit but then grabbed my camera and watched him work hard but finally get out. I stayed as he caught a wave wishing I had a longer lens on my camera. Below are some of the images I made.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11.26.13 Tough day finding them, getting the flies to them, and getting them to bite.....

     Tossed the idea of putting in at a few different ramps. Finally made my decision and went north. Hit it at first light and had a bumpy ride out front with the NW wind, incoming tide, and SE swell. Couldn't find life for awhile and when I did it was more birds and bait then bass. The birds today weren't a help. An occasional bass would break the surface but none you could set up on. They were like one and done risers.
    Finally found some birds with a purpose and landed four to 27" on a sand eel fly with the Pulse Disc, HERE,  before trying something a little unorthodox to fly fishing. I wanted to really swim a sand eel fly with the Pulse Disc on it so I decided to go on a slow troll to see how it would work. I played out the line and creeped frorward. I went about 100' and I was tight. It was my last schoolie bass of the day.

    I stayed through the hail and was tucked inside when the rain started. Water temps out front ranged from 45-49 degrees. With the weather we will be getting over the next several days it should be interesting to see what the bait and bass will do. There's been a pick here and there of short to keeper sized bass. Not the 12-20 + pound bass that we had up north and then south but to the low 30 inch mark. Yesterday after my photo shoot I stopped by the beach just as things started to go off. The bass came in and I watched the birds overhead as the bass swirled underneath. I put my waders on before realizing I had no fly rods. So I watched 20 fish get caught and released. A few keepers were caught after I left.

    After cleaning and covering the boat I decided to hit the beach for a little while. I made two stops and on my second I saw black clouds of bait travel up and down the groin. They were schools of gizzard shad which the bass just love. I fished and waited for something hungry to show up but left them for the night anglers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

11.25.13 'Peanuts, get your warm, well chilly, peanuts"

     Of course if was a chilly morning out there, but more on that later. WNW wind at 10-15 had the ocean flat calm but there was signs of life. Did see the birds in closer than I have seen and there was the occasional blow up underneath them. Great day to be out there in the boat.
     I drove around a bunch at first but settled in on a spot and threw a baitfish fly with out a bump. At one point saw a small pod of peanut bunker running right alongside the rocks, and a nice side striper shadowing them where the rocks met the sand. It was really cool to see. A bunch of casts in that direction didn't produce.
     As I fished alone, for miles either way, I saw this black cloud approaching me in the water. It followed the beach and then it the rocks, swam along the rocks to right in front of me, and then back down to the other side of the beach. I took out my point and shoot camera wishing I had my "pro" setup with a polarizing filter.
     It was peanut bunker and I made a bunch of casts trying to snag one for a photo. Find the birds, find the bait, and you should find the bass. No doubt the bass are around, and will push in on that bait, you just don't know when.

     I started to get a little cold and my fingertips were getting numb. I figured it was time to leave until I saw the guy below walk onto the beach, strip down, and dive into the water. He stayed in for about 15 minutes doing a lap up and down the beach. Watching him get out of the water made me more cold then I already was. Hey, to each his own. But I have to figure he won't warm up till tomorrow!

                                  Off to a photo shoot today, hope I don't miss the blitz.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11.24.13 Perfect day for some father and son fishing......

     Nice to sleep in this morning. Got out in the nice brisk temps which was 23 degrees but in the teens with the wind chill. Contemplated walking the beach on the start of the incoming tide but decided to watch and wait in the comfort of a heated truck and a warm coffee. Listened to talk radio and the predictions of todays NFL games. Saw a good amount of birds working off the beach a ways which was encouraging. Had another angler pull up next to me and we shot the breeze about the recent conditions and fishing. 
     I was just ready to call it a day around 8 without even wetting a line when I saw a brave angler parking his truck getting ready to fish. At first I didn't see his fishing partner, probably because he wasn't taller than the tailgate of the truck. His dad said he just really wanted to fish today and he didn't care about how cold it was. Scanning the beach and groins from left to right these two were the only anglers out on this morning. 
     One day this boy will be telling the story of how his dad used to take him fishing in even the most harshest of conditions. I wonder how many striped bass he would have caught between now and then and if he will one day take his kids fishing on the same beaches. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11.23.13 Hit the International Fly Tying Symposium....


     So of course I hit the Fly Tying Symposium today. When I was at the table to buy a ticket I went for the two day pass. I won't be going back tomorrow. That's not a complaint, well maybe a bit, but I got what I needed to get done in one day.


     So let me just go with my ramblings on what the show was for me. Slow at the start but it got busier. Walked around and said hi to some friends and some "Facebook friends" which was nice. Found a buzz at a few places, Brad Buzzi drew a crowd with first his air brushed poppers (above) and then his sand eels tied with the Fleye Foils (below). Next door Pat Cohen always draws a crowd and next to

him Rich Strolis had the streamer guys watching and answering questions. Dave Nelson and Jonny King were set up at Greg Becker's Whitewater Flies and across from him the guys from Partridge of Redditch came across the pond as they were offering new hooks to the market, of which I brought two packs. These guys were the guest speakers at the Atlantic Saltwater Flyrodders this past week so I was aware of the new and improved hooks after seeing their presentation.

    There were a lot of tyers, a lot of them. Most were freshwater and salmon fly tyers, and there were a hand full of saltwater guys. Sadly a few that I always like to see were absent this year. Leon Piasecki and Ray Stachelek to name a few. Talking with Rich Murphy is always informative, but I always leave him with my mind in a twisted mess of striper info. His book is one of my favorites. Good to see the guys from Regal Engineering in the house, as well as all the tyers that use them, like John Collins and John Kavanaugh. Mike McCauliffe hooked me up with a sweet Regal Sticker which was cool. Jim Matson of BrineFly Innovations creator of the Pulse Disc was there and if you go tomorrow, or fly fish at all, check out and purchase some of these for yourself. They will help your fly swim better. Joe Calcevecchia was there and it's always fun to stop in, say hi, and watch him tie up a couple of Striper Dragons.


     Of course I had to sit, well stand in, and watch Steve Farrar tie some baitfish and sand eels with his SF Blend and next to him Bob Popovics was tying up some flies for his presentation on Baitfish Movements. Bob had to drop down and go low in order to hand swim some of his BULKhead Deceivers in the small pond. He demonstrated various flies with and without the Pulse Disc and man does this guy know his shit. He had young and old attend his demo and then his presentation on tying

using his  Fleye Foils which was attended by a good number of people. There was a few places to buy tying materials but it was disappointing. Collins and Keogh were there. It's always fun to pick through
the bins that Tight Lines brings to the show. I saw Blane Chocklett's 'Game Changer" over at The Flymen Fishing Company booth. They have a tank that swims his fly in it and it really shows how the articulated moves in the water.

     I looked for something that jumped out at me, a product, a theme, a tyer. Mmmm. This year I saw a lot of big flies, big musky flies, seems to be more streamers that are articulated with stinger hooks hanging off the back. But all in all I walked the halls at least a dozen times and nothing blew me away this year. The show hall is full of talented tyers, some good booths to pick through, but nothing eart shattering new that I saw. If you go early tomorrow know you be home in plenty of time for the Sunday NFL games as this show, for me, is few hours in and out.