Wednesday, April 30, 2014

04.30.14 Busy with talks on both sides of river on Thursday.....

     Tomorrow at 1230 I'll be giving a talk on fly fishing the Upper Delaware and the Jersey Shore. It'll be a nice overview and I will try and not get to into as I understand most in attendance squeak away from their lunch hour to sit in. It's all part of Orvis Days being held at the Orvis NYC store at 44th and 5th. Check out the full spring line up of guests and activities,  HERE.

     At night I'll be coming back over the river to speak at the Joan Wulff Flyfishers meeting. Here, I'll be talking strictly fly fishing on the Jersey Shore. Looking forward to seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones. 

May Meeting
Speaker: Colin Archer
Topic: Fishing the Jersey Shore

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Time: 6:30pm

                            Place: Ridgewood United Methodist Church,
                               100 Dayton Street, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

04.30.14 Just plain nasty......


     Not really what I hoping to come home to. East winds 30-35 with a big new moon tide. Hate to say it to my boys up on the Upper Delaware but I'm glad I'm down here....and...yes...they are fishing today.
This is probably the first real test to out beach replenishment projects that have been almost or recently completed. No doubt a large portion of the sand will be swept back into the ocean and head north, only to get shoaled up on the south side of the groins and jetties or of the beach creating sand bars. Recently the Associated Press ran a story on the effects of the beach replenishment and proposed notching and access, you can see that HERE.

     While I was away the striper fishing in the Raritan Bay continued mostly on clams and now bunker chunks since that bait has arrived. I am seeing some catch and release fishing....but that's usually after the the bonus tags are filled out. However, there is some light as Insee some anglers and captains releasing the bigger bass so they can go up the Hudson to spawn.

     Should be nasty the next day or so but the wind will turn around and that should clear things up. With water temperatures out front getting up to 50 we should start to see some action on the beach.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

04.24-28.13 Great start on the Upper Delaware...... was a great start up there. Not that the fishing, well the catching, was off the charts, but it was great to hang with good friends and fish with some new and previous clients. So we had a little bit of everything this weekend. Too much, wind, too much rain, too much water, too much to drink (that was on me), then too much sun, and then not enough water, not enough bugs, and not enough eating fish. 

     Started out on the West Branch with Rick on Thursday. Hale Eddy was around 1600 and streamers were what we served up. He did a great job and we turned a few fish and had a few short strikes. 


     This weekend was the One Bug and it was a great weekend. 19 teams and plenty of people showing up Friday night for the kick off under the Big Top. My beat for the two days was on the East Branch and I rolled with fellow guides Bunky and Tim Olyphant. On day one I had the Scott and Tom in the boat and on day two I had Jeremy and Greg. 

     The weekend was wet and some of the launches were a bit saucy and we started off helping a fellow guide out the mud. We were sure the fly fishing Gods would look favorably on us with us starting out with a good deed. Well the boys worked hard all day and were rewarded each with a nice fish.

     Day 2 was tough and just nasty, and it didn't even rain. We had a great time though with lots of laughs and Greg put an 17.5" rainbow in the boat. That helped him and his wife Kristine take the 2nd place honors for the tournament.

     By Sunday night the guides and clients were beat up. At the awards dinner the top teams, biggest fish (21" brown), and top guides were announced. Brett Jackson took home the honors for top guide and yours truly came in second place. With me on the award stand were some strange looking guides in Bunky and Bruce Miller and I can't recall the other guides name.

     To end the trip up I had George and Bill up to float the West Branch. It had dropped from 1600 to 800 in only a few days and with a high bright sun out in the morning I thought it would go off. I had heard that there were strong hatches of blue quills and hendricksons through the weekend but we only saw a sporadic hatch and had four targets all day. Bill had the bow and gave the happy fish a few good looks at his fly with a strike. George, who is brand new to fly fishing, worked a nymph every which way...indicator, weight, no weight, doubles.....and he may have had a bite at one point.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

04.23.14 Leaving the Jersey Shore for the Upper Delaware......'s that time to get back to work. Heading up to the Upper Delaware for a week of some work. Looking forward to some float trips around the FUDR One Bug weekend. If you are an Upper Delaware fan you should make your way up for the kickoff dinner this Friday, HERE. The dinner and raffle and auction will be held up the big tent at Fireman's Park in Hancock.

     I have an opening on Friday if you are interested. It's looking like it will be a day of strowing streamers while looking for bugs and heads mixed in. Give me a call if you are interested 732.261.7291.

     Let the games and good times begin!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

04.22.14 REALLY?? Not a bite....c'mon.....


     I know fishing isn't all about catching....but c'mon....not even a bite! Took my favorite "client" out yesterday on her day off from school for some fishing. When a kid tells their dad, " Dad, I want to go fishing.", that's a sure drop what your doing and get going message. 


     After "making bait" we headed down to Deal Lake and soaked some worms and threw a spinner for a few hours. We didn't get a tap. I kept telling Erin this was a good spot as I have seen countless fish come over the rail as pass by in my truck. Well, she didn't believe me for a minute. 

Some guide I am....couldn't even put my daughter on a fish.

    We had fun besides the lack of a bite. But there should be an unwritten rule that when a parent takes a kid fishing at least a bite should be in order. Now, I have always been against the movement that, everyone wins, everyone gets a trophy, because thats not really how the world goes. That said, I'll bend my "rules" a bit when it comes to kids and fishing. Yes, we don't always catch fish when we go, but it sure would have a cake topper to catch...even a sunny! 

I hope she calls me for another trip.....

Monday, April 21, 2014

04.21.14 Quick early in the back and then out front.....

     It's about this time that striped bass start to show in the back of the rivers and start to chase bait and eat. Hit it this morning looking for any signs of life back there but I couldn't find any. Started out with fly rod in hand doing more watching then casting. A few dozen casts didn't produce a bite so I moved out front.

     Things are surely off a week or so but you'll never really know if you don't go and either scout or fish. One thing I noticed the last two days is the amount of sand that is around at low water. I have to attribute this to the beach replenishment projects that have occurred south of here. No doubt that sand is moving with the current to the north. There are more sand bars then I have seen in years, Usually, even on low water, there are spots that hold water and current but they are less and less.

     I'm not looking for a bass to bite to prove that, but I see a noticeable change out there. I will have adjust my fishing closer to the flood tides in order to find fishy water.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

04.20.14 HAPPY EASTER.....

     Beautiful Easter sunrise this morning and I forgot my camera so I had to iPhone it. Was hoping the Easter Bunny might come through with the first striped bass of the season but not today. Fished from dead low to an hour or two on the flood tide. Water looked great and had birds out and about picking. Found some half eaten bigger bait on the beach which is a good sign as things heat up.


     As much as I hate to I checked the reports from various websites and see that the boat guys are doing well on the bass already. Clamming, chunking, and trolling has started to produce fish upwards of twenty pounds. Looking online is a double edged sword, at least for me, you like to be connected as to whats going on, but a lot of it is dead fish pic after dead fish pic. I hate to be a striper-tree-hugger, but I do hate to see it when these pre-spawn bass, males and females, are harvested. It's a tough business to be in with my perspective. So, I either need to get a tougher skin or stop looking through the reports forums and just worry about myself and the water where I am fishing at that moment.

Have a great Easter Sunday with you and yours!

Friday, April 18, 2014

04.18.14 Okay.....we all know you can drink beer when you fly fish......who cares.......

      So let me preface this rant by saying I do like to drink a beer. For me it's Coors Light usually with some apps while hitting Happy Hour at one of my favorite local haunts here in Asbury Park called FISH. There are plenty of other times when people enjoy the taste of a cold one, working around the house, at a ball game, at a party, hey, even while fishing, and yes even while fly fishing. 

     There used to be a stereotype of fly fishing anglers. They were stuck up.....they smoked the finest cigars, they drank the best cognac, they wore creels and used bamboo rods, and they only dry fly fished. That image may not have appealed to everyone and to some it may have been "standoffish" or elitist. Well, times have changed. 

     Yes, after the River Runs Through It, there was a spike in fly fishing. Younger anglers were attracted to the sport and that lasted for about a decade.....and then things slowed. What was left was the original fly fishers......

     Over the years with the changes in the fly fishing industry and advances in technology and marketing we have seen that image of the fly angler change. It's not just 12 inch trout that are the norm anymore. Big fish, exotic fish, pretty fish, ugly fish.....every type of sport and garbage fish that could be caught has been done so on the fly. That, maybe, has led to a little blip of a spike in the market and interest in fly fishing.

    Videos and the internet and the ease of photography with iPhones, GoPros, and point and shoot cameras has given us all the ability to share experiences and catches.....which, has led to a little spike in the fly fishing industry. On the same topic, the internet has also killed the local fly shop, reduced most peoples need for guides and books and info, since they can research it all for free and do it yourself. 

     One thing I have noticed is how the larger fly fishing companies have "changed", not always in a good way, to get a piece of whatever market share is left. Now change is not always bad, but, I am kind of resistant to change, so I may be a little biased. 

     I have seen the logos change, I have seen designs in clothing and gear change, I have seen the imagery in the catalogues change, I have seen warranties change, I have seen pro and guide programs change....all reflecting what fly fishing is "now". And, I don't like it a bit. 

     A few years ago the "hero" shot was the shit. Cameras with funky lens angles, with the help of a person making the image, could distort the smallest of fish to make it look like a monster. What you would see is a Beetlejuice sized angler head with Herman Munster sized hands....but was the rage. It became about big fish and a lot of fish. We saw it in the magazines, on the internet, and in the brochures. 

    Now I notice.....I hope your not in a 12-step program.....that fly fishing and beer drinking.....specifically PBR's (Pabst Blue Ribbon).....are synonymous. I have seen them ad nauseam in  the multitude of fly fishing videos making their way onto the internet and on the film tours. Okay, so you drink beer and you fly Why is that annoying to me......because I never see a bottle of water, a protein shake, a soda, or a carton of milk. It's always a PBR, or more fairly, some other type of beer from a smaller local brewery. 

It is too fake, too staged, too product and message placed for me.......

    In the latest catalogue I received just the other day two fly anglers were sitting in chairs enjoying a cold one after a long days fishing, or really a catalogue photo shoot. I couldn't help but notice that in both of their hands was, of course, some PBR's. What struck was that each label was turned in exactly the same angle towards the camera......and that's when I knew that in the heaven's of fly fishing marketing department.....were shaking their heads because we have jumped the shark. 

I suspect now, with the legalization of marijuana in some states, that fly videos and catalogues, will soon be showing images of guides and clients, or a circle of friends around a campfire, or two sports enjoying a shore lunch, passing a joint between them enjoying what has become part what fly fishing 
manufacturers and companies want you to see, and become a part of. 

    Please folks, I am okay with my grandfathers company, I am okay with fly fishing, and I am okay with enjoying a beer while you do it....but please stop making me think that having a beer in one hand and a big fish in the other is what this sport has become and is about, I beg to differ.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

04.17.14 NE AT 20-25 this morning and an update on the Jetty Country talks......

     Nice conditions out front today although it was a tad chilly with the NE blowing at 20-25. The water cleaned up nicely from the last few days south wind but the water remains around 42 degrees. Fished the mid flood tide on mostly the south side.....again without a tap......but one morning I will be happy to report that I got a tap, or maybe even a fish.

     Yesterday Frank Pallone held a meeting in his office with members of the ACOE, Joe Pallotto from the Asbury Park Fishing Club, Paul Haertel from the JCAA and few other parties. I saw some reports on how the meeting went posted by Haertel. He states the ACOE of engineers listened to the points made against beach replenishment and groin notching from Loch Arbor to Asbury Park, but, it is the towns that are requesting the work to go forward. There was talk of reducing the groin notching from 6 to 3, which, in my opinion, would mean Whitehall, Roseld, and Allenhurst would be the targets, and maybe throw Marine Place in there. There was also discussion about access in that area and there is talk of creating two additional locations.

     No matter what happens, this will be the last spring and summer to fish Jetty Country as we know it, as construction is scheduled to begin in the fall.

     On April 23rd the RFA is holding a striped bass public forum with Russ Allen from the NJDEP at the Holiday Inn on Rout 72 in Manahawkin. Now, although this will be a great event for anglers, both recreational and for hire captains and guides, to hear the NJ position on striped bass management and the ASMFC findings and status, know, that is being held in the center of a political and lobbyist based milieu. There will be a deep divide between those that want to catch and keep striped bass and those that are for conservation and protecting the striped bass while still enjoying the sport of fishing.

Should be an interesting night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

04.16.14 PHEW!!!!.....that's over it's time to fish.....

     Well, after a long 8 month process of applying to and visiting colleges both far and near my oldest son Ryan.....drum roll.....decided on Rowan University! I am happy with his decision and proud of  him at the same time. In the end we were between NJIT, TCNJ, Rutgers and Rowan. Our trip down there today and time well spent with members of the math department was well spent. Ryan is majoring in math, well pure math, and this school seemed to meet his needs.

     Now, that said, it has been a long time coming for me as well. Time in the car, time at the schools, time spent talking with Ryan, and an untold number of hours online looking at everything from college and student reviews to rankings about education, crime, and yes, parties.

I am now ready to close that chapter, and get to taking people out fishing.....looks like the timing was pretty good as we are about to see the "true" spring start. Outside of todays snow, the temps in the air and the water should start to rise and the little and big fish should start moving, showing up, and eating in the fresh and salt waters!

04.16.14 Greeted with frost and a light coating of frozen snow this morning.......


     Missed first light because my windshield wipers were welded to my windshield this morning. Temperature drop and some flurries overnight just a few days of temps in the 70's......

     I can't wait to stop posting sunrise pics and weather reports and replace them with client pics from the Upper Delaware and the Jersey Shore......I keep telling myself it's coming.....soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

04.15.14 Out for a bit early...and the PA, well all three border states, Delaware River regs are a joke......

     Got out at first light on the end of the incoming with a S wind at 15-20 and a light rain. Passed on fishing the back last night so I stayed with my plan of fishing out front this morning. Worked a groin from the beach to about 3/4 of the way out without a tap. I've heard of, seen, and read of some sporadic catches up and down the Jersey Shores bays and rivers, and yesterday a local report of shorts out front on lures.

     Yesterday I received my Pennsylvania guide license in the mail. With it comes the digest with all the fishing size limits and regulations. During the early spring anglers flock to the Delaware River hoping to catch the striped bass on their way up to spawn. New Jersey has a closed season until March 1st, and then thereafter it's 2 fish a day at 28" and then one more with the idiotic Bonus Tag Program. For 2 bucks you can take another breeding female.

Pennsylvania regs

     Now Pennsylvania, and Delaware, just across the river from New Jersey , has a different set of rules. PA has no closed season and from April 1- May 31 they have a slot limit....two striped bass from 20-26 inches......really guys???? Are you kidding me. So if you want a big fish come over one of the bridges and set up for a cow bass.....and then head back over to Pennsy for some chicken finger size fillets for dinner from a 20" bass.

Striped Bass
Striped Bass
28”, except only 20-26" fish may be retained from July 1 - Aug. 31 in DE River, DE Bay & their tribs.Open Year Round2, except catch & release on spawning grounds April 1 - May 31 (see Fishing Guide page 18)

                                                                    Delaware regs

Striped Bass & Hybrids
(upstream of Calhoun St. Bridge)
March 1–Dec. 31
28 inches
Striped Bass & Hybrids***
(downstream of Calhoun St. Bridge)
March 1–30
28 inches
June 1–Dec. 31

                           New Jersey regs

     It's time the fisheries management folks and the states get together and have one uniform set of regulations for the Delaware. It is an important river for spawning striped bass, and all kinds of factors have to line up for it to be a good years spawn in the river. I am out on the slot fish regs.......

     This past weekend was the Delaware River Striper Tournament......the winners of the slot category weighed in two slot fish 5.58 pounds 23.5 at inches and 3.02 pounds 20.25 at inches. They also had a "Calcutta" category, ie: big female fish....10 fish were weighed in and the winner was 39-1/2 no doubt those fish had to be caught on the Jersey side. Several participants were cited for violations......which if you think of it.....three states with three different wonder.

     Folks who run tournaments, and several like the DRST do it as a fundraiser for good causes, have to consider setting their own standards when it comes to size limits and categories.....some years these tournaments, both in the rivers and the ocean, promote catch and kill, there's no catch and release categories, for the purpose of the weigh in and prizes, again while raising money for a good cause.

    I have to commend the Berkely Striper Club for organizing and promoting a catch and release tournament when the bigger fish are around. It is something we should all support and embrace before it is too late.