Friday, February 28, 2014

02.28.14 Offering something new for 2014.......

     As a guide running a business I am always thinking of ways I can offer clients different kinds of trips that meet their needs. I have found that a lot of the time single experienced anglers are looking for a different kind of trip.
     They may not need the one-on-one instruction and guiding as much as they would like to just meet up and fish. I get tons of offers to meet up and fish, or share the expense of the boat, or a combination of the two.

     So for 2014 I am offering 'Fish Along" trips to my single (not in life) experienced anglers that would like to join me on the beach or boat and do just that, "Fish Along." It is tailored for the fly angler that has their own gear and flies and wants to fish with me. The price for these kinds of trips are half of what a one on one guided trip would be. There are a few restrictions. It is for the lone angler, they can only be booked two weeks out, and can be re-scheduled by myself, well, if a full guided trip by another angler or anglers is requested.

I will start to run these trips in May and you can reach me by phone or email to set a date. As you know, I fish around the clock so these "Fish Alongs" can happen anytime day or night.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

02.27.14 It's been a year since my life changing surgery.......

      A year ago today I was laying up in a hospital bed at Monmouth Medical Center post op day 1 after my gastric sleeve surgery. A few days before that I decided to strip down and take a picture of what would become my "old me. Although it was embarrassing and a little personal, it was for me to expose the hulk of a man I had become, but at the same time I would be saying goodbye, well, to at least that old body of mine. You can see that old post HERE.

     One thing they say, which is true, they operate on your stomach, but not your mind.

     Ove the past year, coupled with the surgery and a new approach to eating and exercise, well most of the time, I have watched as my weight fell from 260 down to my current 190. I have shrunk before my own eyes. I used to wear a size 42, even 44, waist pants, and now that's a 32-34. I have donated old clothes in big numbers, and still have a hard time keeping clothes that fit around for a month or so.

     Not only do I wear clothes differently, but things like waders and all that associated fishing apparrell has had to be replaced in smaller sizes. I'm not complaining for a minute. On the health side, I feel better, I move better, I sleep better, and I live better. No more near stroke blood pressure readings and no more medication. That is the best part of what that surgery did for me.

     One thing that is funny about losing so much weight, coupled with a now tight haircut and lack of facial hair is......people don't even recognize you anymore. If I wanted to, I could have spent three days at The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset undercover. I spoke with a guy that I know pretty well, for five minutes, and he didn't even know it was me!

     Having nearly 3/4 ths of your stomach removed and donated to science no doubt changes your life but it changes what you can eat. I am now a cheap date. I basically go out to dinner knowing I have two choices, I can drink, or I can eat. Doing both is rough, and over the past year I have had my share of, 'Excuse me's" at the table to go to the bathroom to puke.

     It's a day full of protein, and protein, and more protein. Egg whites, protein shakes, protein bars, chicken, salads, ect........but staying away from the sweets is still hard to do. Some people, myself included, found comfort and a friend in food, that especially true when life throws you a curve ball and you're not right in the head.

     So this has been a great chapter in what will be a lifelong journey post gastric sleeve surgery. In a way, or actually, food, to me, was an addiction. And addictions have a way of returning if you let them. So I try and live in moderation when it comes to eating, I don't deprive myself of a taste of something, but know it's easy to get back into bad habits.

    Two things that are said all the time at the support meetings, which I still and enjoy attending-

" My only regret is I didn't get it done sooner."


" They only operate on your stomach, not your head."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

02.25.14 If you were down on the beach before the clouds rolled in......

     It was a nice way to start the day. As I made my way down to the beach I could see the fiery sky in the distance. I got a little delayed by a NJ Transit train making its way north into the city. As the gates went down and people boarded the train and sat and wondered if I would be too late.

     I can't wait to fish from the rocks or the boat in such a beautiful setting. Thankfully, there's only 53 more days of winter.

Below is a graph showing the water temperatures at Ocean Grove....we're still a ways away.

Monday, February 24, 2014

02.24.13 Quick, and cold, check on Bradley Beach progress.....

      Just wanted to check and see the progress as the beach "nourishment" hiys Bradley Beach. Below is a shot of the groin at Brinley Ave before any sand is pumped up to and around it. That should be happening in the next few days. I also went back up to the Ocean Grove border to check things 

there. Below is the area near the Fletcher Lake outflow. If you know that area you can see they extened the beach by about 25 feet and elevated it. At the picture on the bottom you can see how well the old

sand and the new sand go together ??? Between the winds and the tides this sand will soon be flattened out and back out into the ocean. The saga continues.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

02.23.14 Beautiful spring day....why not......

     There's nothing like a good talk or a good show to get you ramped up to get out and fish. Couple that with a mid 40 degree day and a nice warming sun and it made getting the gear back out that much easier.
     Hit the beach at the end of the flood tide and worked the groin from the beach till the end. Tied on a mole crab fly and gave that a shot until I donated it to the sea when I got caught on the rocks. I was a little bummed as I liked that fly and hadn't caught a fish on it yet. I tied on a small Deceiver and finished up with that without a bump. Only saw one other angler out that only lasted about twenty minutes.

    These quick winterish outings are bitter sweet, you enjoy them while you're out there, but long for better more consistent weather and a better chance of casting to hungry fish.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

02.22.14 Great day at Surf Day......

     Well, fly fishing was "in da' house" at the Jersey Surfcasters Surf Day held at Brookdale College. First thanks to Mark Mead and the JSC for inviting fly fishing and me to the party. From what I heard it was the most successful Surf Day to date. 

     The doors opened at 830 and there was a rush, not to my booth, but to the D-Mag table where he was sold out in no time. Of course there was a mad rush in the beginning with most attendees and 

anglers looking for good deals on plugs, lures and rods. I had my own share of the plug craze going on, I had a lot of old plugs, 113 of them, up for sale with a $100 price tag. Since I know nothing about plugs I likened it to a person who has a box of old Lionel trains. They might be worth something, but only a person in the know would know. I had a lot of lookers, and even some beggars asking me to break the lot up, but I held my ground.
     At one point a serious old plug collector came and looked, and left without an offer. John Bushell from Betty and Nicks was at the table next to me and shared in the joke of my plug lot. He said after the guy looked and left, "If he didn't buy them no one will."

      At a point a guy came and really looked through the box, he liked what he saw. His friend next to him said the old Plano plug box was the same as the first one he ever had, perfect! I knew the sale was in the bag. Then he left......but came back later.....with an offer. He said he had $54 dollars left and that's what he could give me......SOLD !!!!

    I met a lot of nice people that are interested in or currently fly fish. I want to thank them and hope to fish with them this year on the beach or the boat. For a plug/surfcaster show I was surprised how much fly fishing love there was. 


     At 1 o'clock I gave a seminar on "Fly Fishing the Jersey Shore" to a great group of about 25 people. 
I think I did them right, although I might have got into the current status of our beaches and beach replenishment a little too deep. I also look to hear from and maybe one day fish with them. Again, I want to thank them for sitting in, which was nice because Bill Wetzel had a good crowd in the room next door. I would also like to thank Leif who fishes the same waters as I do and keeps me stocked with a nice selection of flies for the fresh and the saltwater. I gave him a hat, its the least I could do, since he is pictured on my flier. In the end, he gave the hat to a boy who sat in on my seminar with his dad, which was a great combo to have to talk to. Below if a picture of Leif enjoying the early morning fall sunrise. 

More pics from the show.....

Friday, February 21, 2014

02.21.14 Getting ready for a great Surf Day at Brookdale Community College tomorrow....

     Finishing up getting ready for Surf Day at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. One of the biggest shows around. Lots of vendors and seminars and a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I'll be giving a seminar on "Fly fishing the Jersey Shore" at 1 o'clock and have a booth at the show, where I'll be busting out my new banner! Hope you can make it. You can see more and the list of speakers and times HERE.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

02.20.14 Last night's RRTU talk got me all jazzed up.....

     It's kind of like Pitchers and Catchers reporting this month for spring training. Yes, there are no games to be played, or fish to be caught, but its that time of year to get out and loosed up the shoulder and elbow and get ready for the spring.

     After last nights Rahway River TU presentation and mild weather today I decided to go out and air out a few casts. Had a great talk with a great bunch of guys last night. Thanks to tiers Brad Buzzi and Scott Stryker for stopping by and sitting in. For those tyers out there that need a reason to get out and tie some flies there's two events coming up. This Sunday Shannon's Fly Shop will be hosting the Sparse Grey Matter Fly Tying Event at the Califon Firehouse, and on March 23rd the RRTU will be hosting the March Fly Tying Madness in Cranford. The latter donating all flies tied that day to Project Healing Waters, Casting For Recovery, and TU's Veterans Program.

       So as you start to beat down Cabin Fever with the shows, tying events, casting practice, or even some ice out fishing in the fresh and salt waters, know that warmer and fishier days are coming soon, well, coming in the next few months. 

     This Saturday I will be presenting "Fly fishing the Jersey Shore Surf" at the Jersey Shore Surfcasters Surf Day. Not only is it a huge event, it is great that they are bringing in fly fishing to the show. I will have a booth and be doing a seminar at 115. It's held at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. You can read more about it and see a lineup of the vendors and talent, HERE

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

02.19.14 Come join the Rahway River TU tonight as I present "Fly fishing the Jersey Shore"

     I'll be there tonight. Meeting starts at 730 at 220 Walnut Ave in Cranford. Looks like Exit 135 off the Parkway. 

02.19.14 Update on the "new" Sandy Hook down to Bradley Beach.....


 On Monday the weather was nice so I figured I would do some scouting of the beaches from Sandy Hook down to Bradley Beach. Lots of anglers have been wondering what the "new" False Hook on Sandy Hook would look like post the fall 2013 dredging. 
     I made the walk which wasn't bad in the hardened snow topped sand. Once you get out there there is no doubt less sand and less of a point. One thing is for sure, there isn't a 0-60 foot drop a few feet off the sand like there used to be. I was there on the outgoing tide and the area inside, around and out is more gradually tapered out then it used to be. Hopefully anglers won't try and push it and get out further than they should, the water still rips through there, believe me. Below is a short video panning south from North Beach and around.

     My next nauseating stop was Monmouth Beach. First at Big Monmnouth and then Little Monmouth. Below is a picture looking south with the groin now half exposed as Mother Nature takes back the beach. By the time the summer season starts there will be the same amount of beach as there was last year, another 40 million dollar waste.  

     In Long Branch the Pier Village portion has slowed and the area near Takanasee is getting the business now. The sand is being pumped at a furious pace and the groins are getting covered in 

varying degrees. I watched as the sand was moved up to a series of markers placed in the sand during the pre-construction surveying.......okay. And then I took a drive south to Ocean Grove and Bradley

Beach. I stood on the Fletcher Lake outflow and watched as the sand was pumped from the old fishing pier down. At this point you couldn't walk under the old pier if you tried and those groins in front of it are half covered. It will be a shame to see Bradley and Avon get the treatment in the next weeks.

There will be a lot of new structure, or lack thereof, along the Jersey Shore this season. Get out and make scouting part of your Cabin Fever breaking ritual.

Monday, February 17, 2014

02.17.14 Nice afternoon with the Atlantic Saltwater Flyrodders.....

     In an attempt to fight off cabin fever and keep the club busy in the dead of winter Brad Buzzi and the worker bees put on the annual Klees Gathering. It was a nice afternoon for for some good company, knosh, drinks, and great prizes.
     I believe, Klee's Bar and Grill in Seaside Heights, is the ASWF "official" watering hole and it never disappoints. Either after a club meeting or event or a trip down to fish the IBSP area its a great place to grab a bite and a beer.

     We had about 20 people attend and the highlight, besides the company and food, was the raffles that were offered. There was a TFO rod, that Ken Eckland went "heavy on" and won, and t-shirts and hats and wine and bucktails and Fleye Foils and a stripping basket and a CCG kit. I went a little heavy on the tickets and had a good score myself winning a ASWF mug, a half a dozen bucktails, 12 packages of Fleye Foils, and a $25 gift certificate to Klees. Barbara, always our gracious server, and her helpers won the 50/50 which we were all glad to see.

     People are fighting off cabin fever with the flea markets and shows and gatherings like this during this nasty winter hoping that spring arrives sooner than later. If you fly fish, or would like to learn or learn to tie flies, look up the ASWF or any of the other clubs in New Jersey that may be in your neck of the woods.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

02.26.14 Two nice ways to start the day......

     This morning I was up at out early enough to catch the sunrise way before it happened. Funny thing is somedays it's just not a good one or other days, like yesterday, you just miss it. I was at 7-11 in the dark so I new I would have plenty of time to pick a different spot and wait for the light to arrive. 

        As I stood there in the cold looking at, more snow we got last night, I watched as several cars pulled up and people positioned themselves to watch the sunrise. Some were alone, some with spouses and friends, and most all with something warm to drink in one hand and a camera of some kind in the other. It was another beautiful that most missed while sleeping in on a cold Sunday. 

     As with each day that I write this blog I tried to find a topic that I would write on. Sometimes it's about the fishing or the fish, fly tying, sunrises, beach or boat trips, or, in my case, vehicle problems, surgeries or injuries, triumphs or disappointments in both my professional and personal life. I like to think that I keep most of my life under guard, but thinking back to this blog I realize I, for the most part, put it all out there, for better or worse.

     When I got home I flipped on the computer and checked my emails. One email asked why I didn't have a Valentine's Day themed post, which I found both interesting and alarming, and another congratulating me on the blog hitting 200,000 views. This blog has become an important part of my life and a part, albiet on a much smaller scale, in the lives of others. People enjoy it, people look forward to it, and people let me know if I miss a day here and there. I guess, in a way, its like going outside and the paperboy forgot to leave the daily paper on the sidewalk.

     When the fishing on the Jersey Shore or Upper Delaware is on people enjoy reading the good, the bad, and the ugly and seeing myself and my clients out and about doing what we do....enjoying the environment, enjoying time with others, and enjoying the sport of fly fishing. Soon, and not soon enough, the internet will be full of people posting pictures of fish they have conquered in the fresh and salt water. On March 1st those diehard anglers will venture to the warmest of waters inside the colregs line and target striped bass. The forums will be a buzz with spot burn warnings and heated suggestions on practicing catch and release, and the cycle of the seasons will begin. 

     I will venture out too, throwing flies to half frozen and lethargic bass that are rooting down into the mud, knowing that most of my early season outings will not produce a bite or a fish. But, those days will give me a chance to get out and enjoy the outdoors, loosen up the arm and shoulder, and give me new blog fodder for people to enjoy. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

02.15.14 Looks like I'll be starting anew on many fronts come spring.....

      You know how sometimes when it rains it pours? Well, lately I'm getting drenched. Hey, I'm healthy and my family is healthy, to put in all in perspective, so many people out there don't have that. I also try and "not sweat the small stuff" but all these "little" things are adding up.

     My truck went kaput but lucky I found an equal year and mileage truck to replace it, my Subaru needs a new engine but I am crawling around with her before it goes, my boat is in the shop getting purtied up for the spring, and a month ago I put my real work cameras in the Canon shop for a lens repair. The bodies were left so they could calibrate the lens to the body. Two weeks ago I got the call that both camera bodies had " salt corrosion" damage from the hot shoe (where the flash attaches) down into the camera bodies. I knew something was up as I was getting a special code in one when I would shoot with it and it would lock, they needed to be fixed also.

     The lens reapir was $480 dollars and the two bodies came to $620 dollars...for a grand total of $1,100 actually $1,123.67 to be exact. But, these are work cameras and I make money with them, as I do my truck, and my boat, but still, these expenses, all at once, just suck. It's great to have write-offs, as long as there is money to write the expenses off on, and this is the slow season.

     I have got so used to shooting with my Canon G12 that when I get an assignment or chance to throw my two bodies around my shoulders at once its feels good. Even though the photo industry has changed so much for me (die hard news photographer) I still enjoy shooting and getting paid for it. Its especially difficult in todays world with so many "photographers" out there and so many "photographers" willing to work or license their images for pennies, photo credit, or nothing at all. 

     So, outside of a steady stream of decent paying clients in some magazines and newspapers, it would be hard to make a decent buck at photography as a full time job. I am soon going to be selling my images as prints and will have an online marketplace where people can search, browse, choose and purchase images. I will also be very careful this spring when out on the beach or up in the river photographing the scenes and clients as we fish. I have to say that even though this blog is a ton of work I enjoy recalling the days events and sharing them with people that read this everyday. 

From 2011 - Photo by Rob Yaskovic

Friday, February 14, 2014

02.14.14 A sunrise can still warm you up on a cold day......

     Yes, we got more snow overnight. And yes the air temps are downright cold out there, but, there's nothing like a good old fashioned Jersey Shore sunrise to warm the soul.

     As the sun crested the horizon there were signs of life in the surf. The waves were rolling, the birds were picking, and it just looked fishy.

    Soon, soon, I hope soon enough the beautiful morning sunrises on the beach will be coupled with some warm air temperatures and signs that both big and small fish have returned to our waters.

It can't come soon enough......

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

02.12.14 Well, out with the old and in with the new.....

     Yes, I get attached to vehicles. Today I had to say good bye to my girl who was so good to me and my business for the last four years. Last week she made an awful backfire and explosion sound and stopped running. Luckily for AAA I towed her to my mechanic, and after he washed his hands of her, to a dealership in Ocean. They said it was $480 for the diagnosis, and then later $1,480 to replace the blown manifold, and then they could try and further diagnose it. It wasn't looking good, I was at almost $4,000 and there was no end in sight. 

     With my truck down off the lift where it was for two days I decided to think about getting another truck, kind along the same line when I bought my Subaru last month, which has a blown head gasket and needs a new motor!

     Well lucky for me there was a used pick up on the lot that kind of what I had in mind. It was a Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab with a short bed, 109,000 miles with a sticker price of 12,995. It was really clean, had one original owner, and was maintained religiously at Werner Dodge in Belford.
     I took it for a ride and it ran nice and I then had to drop the bomb on my trade in. It's a nice truck, but its on the lift in the service garage and it doesn't run. Long story short......they gave me $5,000 for my broken truck, and dropped the price on the other truck to $11,488, so the new one cost me $6,488. As soon as they presented it I signed on the line and in an hour I was on the road with it.

     But, even though there is a good ending I am still saddened by putting my truck out to pasture. They will sell it off to auction and no doubt make even more money on the deal. But, for me, it was the right thing to do. So before I left I took a few pics and rubbed her hood. I guess now I can put my money into a cap so I can get the stickers going again and try and replicate the truck that became my identity along the Jersey Shore.

     I know trucks have feelings, and good and bad days, and I had lots of them with her so I have say thanks and move on......