Monday, March 31, 2014

03.31.14 I have to admit...I'm kinda glad we're behind schedule.....

     Yes, I would love to be out catching bass now before heading up to the Upper Delaware in a few weeks. That would be nice. But, honestly, like a lot of you, I have a ton of stuff going on. This month of April is when my son will make his big college decision.

    This is one of the hardest processes I have been involved in. Between, what school, what major, what minor, how to pay, and a slew of other questions that need to be answered I'm about ready to stroke out. I know.......most of you......since the average age of a fly fisherman is like 75, have been there, done that.

     Ryan is majoring in "Pure Math"with a minor in Physics. He's smart, real smart, me - not so much - not in the way he is. I don't even know what "Pure Math" is-

Here's what it is -

Mathematics is both an art and a science, and pure mathematics lies at its heart. Pure mathematics explores the boundary of mathematics and pure reason. It has been described as "that part of mathematical activity that is done without explicit or immediate consideration of direct application," although what is "pure" in one era often becomes applied later. Finance and cryptography are current examples of areas to which pure mathematics is applied in significant ways.

    So for the next three weeks it will be in those folders, on the phone, visiting the schools and meeting professors and sitting in on classes, and attending open houses and acceptance days.

    We are down to TCNJ, NJIT, Rutgers-Camden, Robert Morris University, and Rowan. We got scholarships from all but TCNJ.

    So yes, this will crimp my back bay and river outings, and, I'm out on the West Branch Angler's Hell or High Water on Saturday April 12th......I'll be in Rutgers- Camden, enjoying the sights.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

03.30.14 Feeling fishy out there this morning...and a great FCA night last evening....

     Things are looking up. After last nights rain that seemed to never end and a little blow coupled with a big moon and high tide the beaches looked great this morning. Lots of water out there which to me signals a possible start to the spring season. The alewifes should be out and about looking to get into their spawning grounds and the bass shouldn't be far behind. I already have reports of the forage fish moving their way into fresh waters and a friends catch of a keeper bass over the weekend have me optimistic. Now I know one fish doesn't make for a run, but its a start.

     Last night I made the trip across the bay to Staten Island with Captains Anthiny Grassi and Jason Dapra to attend the Fisherman's Conservation Association's annual dinner and fund raiser. They do great work their through conservation and fishing efforts. They work with first responders, kids, and veterans running events like the Manhattan Cup and the Montauk Redbone tournaments. 

     It was nice to see Dick Ketchow of Gateway Marine, who handles Jason and my boat repairs and maintanence, get honored for his continued support and work for the FCA and the Manhattan Cup. Every year Dick makes available some of his Contenders and captains for the event. There were some great prizes for the live, silent, and Chinese auctions and our table which included Dick and his friends seem to clean up. Just about everyone seemed to go home with something in hand.

     And of course Jason had won an award for the best fishing guide in the Northeast, although if you look closely the nameplate on the award says 'Dick Ketchow", he'll have to get them to change that!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

03.29.14 "THEY'RE HERE !!!"....and not just by New Jersey's power plants.....

     Well, I was wondering if and when the striped bass would show up, and if and when they did, I knew my friend Chris would be one of the first ones on them. 

     Chris caught and released this fat +/- 32" fish last night while prospecting. This is a bigger water fish, not a power plant fish. He fished for hours and had one bite and one fish. It will be nice to see the catch and release promises made by so many all winter long being put into practice as things start to heat up. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

03.28.14 Sorry....I got nothing today

     Feeling kinda blah...getting tired of a lack of spring and's a picture of Rich tight.

And for no other reason that I thought it was funny I share this video clip with you. I was in a real bad way today but this turned it all around. I could watch it 1,000 times.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

03.27.14 Had a shoot from atop Asbury's Convention Hall....

     While atop Convention Hall I was able to get some pics of the recently completed "beach nourishment" project. It's sad to see so many great fishing spots already filled in and sand just shoaling up off the beach. Needless to say anglers should wear a whistle around their necks if they plan on wading out on the sand bars to be able to cast to the fish. 
     Work is being done feverishly on the Asbury Park boardwalk in anticipation of a never arriving spring and summer. 

It will interesting to compare these pics with those I will shoot in a year or two. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

03.26.14 Great 'Tie for Pie" night with the ASWF at Klees.....

     Another good night of tying, drinks, and pizza at the ASWF "Tie for Pie". As the snow started to fall we gathered on the second floor of Klee's to tie up some flies and learn and share secrets and techniques from one another.

     I was able to sit down with Bob Popovic's and work on my BTD's ( bucktail decievers) technique from one of saltwater fly fishings best. The lesson started with how to pick through the bucktail for perfect pinch of tail through tying it in to finishing the fly. It was time well spent on my part.


     Even though Bob doesn't finish his flies with eyes I decided to throw some eyes and CCG on one of the BTD's, and I kind of learned, I am an "eye guy". Most say eyes are applied more for the fisherman than for the fish, but I just like the way they look, and I feel it finishes the head of the fly.

     One member, name left out so not to incriminate, said don't show any pictures of him with a vacuum in his hand because he will get nothing but heat at home and work over it......I can't tell who that is, so I am sure his secret is still safe. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

03.25.14 Someone must have got into the Army Corp's ear.....

     Well someone must have talked some sense into Frank Pallone or the Army Corp of Enginners. Today machinery was open 8th Ave removing the sand from the top of the groin. Mmmmm. Why all of a sudden? Are people in charge of this debacle actually listening to all those people writing and making sense of the damage that beach replenishment and notching will do, especially around the area of 8th Ave?
     With the sand balancing on top of the groin, any big tide or nor'easter will push the sand off the groin onto the north side pocket and then block or fill the flume which empties in the middle of the groin. It's a no brainer. Who, in all their training and expertise said, " Hey, while you are there, cover the 8th Ave groin, that will be a good move"????

Anyway, get your letters in and voice your opposition to the Elberon to Loch Arbor plan.

With the noise we have made so far....Frank Pallone was forced to issue a statement, and machinery is at work at 8th's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

03.23.14 I can feel the cold weather coming back.....

     I could just feel it on the beach at first light today. Yesterday was 65 degrees, this morning just felt like the cold and winter might be coming back. Looks like there's a chance that we might be in for nor'easter on Tuesday, but meteorologists haven't made their final predictions yet.

     With these teasers of the start of spiring showing themselves from time to time it's hard not to get excited for the arrival of the warmer weather and the annual start of new life, green grass and trees, animals out and about and mating and spawning, and the start of annual migration of fished both big and small. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

03.21.14 Great turnout at the "Jetty Country" protest......

     Had a great turnout in the cold for the "Jetty Country" protest. I would estimate the crowd at 200 plus (more came later than the above pic). We had speakers from the Deal Lake Commission, American Littoral Society, Shark River Anglers, and Asbury PArk Fishing Club President Joe Pallotto.


In addition, former Loch Arbor Mayor Bill Rosenblatt spoke and really put it into perspective. His best point, and I'll loosely quote, " If notching of the groins that was done in the past, and you're saying it worked, where's the studies, where's the data?"
    One of the most encouraging things the protest brought on, in my opinion, was Congressman Frank Pallone addressed the issue by putting out at statement. In it he thanked us for being out here and acknowledging the issues of a Deal Lake that needs to be dredged, beach replenishment we really don't want, an 8th Ave flume that needs to be protected, and most importantly, that we don't need or want the groins (jetties) to be notched or altered. To me, that is a partial victory. Now we need to up the pressure. 
    We need people to call Frank Pallone's office this Monday and Tuesday 732.571.1140 and let him know how you feel. Also, the open public comment period is open until March 26th so send your email to He is the project biologist on the project. 

     Of course I had to get into the protest action so I made up a few posters with some images I had taken relating to beach replenishment. The image of my daughter Erin in front of a cliff in front of Convention Hall was the crowd favorite. It shows how Mother Nature takes back what man, in less than a months time, tries to put on the beach. 

Thanks to all the groups, clubs, and people that came out.....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

03.20.14 Did my first podcast, now I know how Tom Rosenbauer feels....

     It's not easy talking on the phone with four guys at the same time...but I did my best. This afternoon I was on The Open Fly Podcast, you can listen to it HERE.  The program runs for an hour and half, I come in at minute 25 if you can't sit and listen in one shot.
     It was a lot of fun and I think it went well. I fielded questions about salt water fly fishing on the Jersey Shore, the beach replenishment situation, fly fishing the Upper Delaware, and questions about guiding in general.
     I have to thank fellow Orvis Endorsed Guide and host Derek Young for inviting, coaching, and interviewing me on todays program.

03.20.14 Needed to get down to the water before a busy podcast day......

     With sunrise' coming a little after 7am now it gives me plenty of time to get up, gab a coffee, and get down for the light show. This morning started out bleary before the clouds shifted and the sun popped out. Lot's of nice white water with a nice E swell and a W wind. The surfers were out in good numbers taking advantage of the conditions.

     Today I will be doing a podcast with Derek Young, an Orvis Endorsed Guide from Washing ton State. Derek runs the Emerging Rivers Guide Service, HERE, offering float and walk and wade trips on the Snoquamine and Yakima Rivers. We've been "friends", well Facebook friends for a few years and yesterday I spoke with him for the first time. We will tape it early afternoon and it will available for you to listen tonight. You can see the website and listen HERE, at the Open Fly Podcast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

03.19.14 Broke in a new pair of waders and hit 8th Avenue at low water......

     I'll talk about the new waders in a minute. First my trip down to 8th Ave in Asbury Park. For those that follow me you know I am on top of what's going on regarding beach replenishment at the Jersey Shore. And, you know I hate it. Following Sandy the Army Corp of Engineers, with the State of New Jersey, the DEP, and the various towns decided another round of sand pumping was the answer to restore the beaches back to pre-Sandy conditions. Well, we know that's a joke. 

    In recent developments the ACOE is looking to do more than that in "Jetty Country", from the Elberon section of Long Branch down to Loch Arbor. Sand berms, groin notching, and outflow modifications are all on the table. Fisherman, surfers, swimmers, local residents prone to flooding especially around the Deal Lake area, and even town representatives are reviewing the current plan. This Friday at 5pm we will be having a protest and information session at the 8th Ave flume. The was the site of a standoff in the early 80's which led to the construction of the 8th Ave groin and flume. The 

flume is important for many reasons. One it protects those residents around Deal Lake from flooding by having a place for water to drain from the lake into the ocean. Two Deal Lake is a spawning ground for river herring and shad. If the opening is blocked, by sand or poorly planned construction design, then the fish can't get in or out, even on the biggest of tides. 
     The river herring, alewife's and blueback's are at historic lows due to habitat destruction and overharvesting. Now there is a moratorium in place to get the stocks back to sustainable levels. When there is good bait around, there is good predator fish not far behind. Striped bass, bluefish, and fluke eat the smaller baitfish. 

We hope to have a good crowd on Friday, and several fishing clubs and other groups will be there. 
We hope to see you down there. 

Juvenile gizzard shad

    Before I went down to the beach I busted out my new pair of Endura bootfoot waders. These are my go to waders for the salt. I first screwed in the tungsten-carbide tip studs sold by Orvis. These are great and I wouldn't be as confident and safe if I didn't have these under my feet. With the felt bottoms and the flexibility these boots offer me in the feet they are all I need when jumping from the beach up onto the rocks.

     It felt good to be back in a pair of waders and back on the beach and in the water. Let me say, the waters still cold, probably just under 40......warm weather can't come soon enough.