Thursday, July 31, 2014

07.31.14 Nice to be on the water before first light......

     Headed south and put in at one of my favorite places. Was out on the water at 430 before anyone else and before light arrived. Caught the end of the outgoing and half of the incoming. Fished the chute with quick drifts along the rocks without a bump. Two other boats joined in after sunup and did the jump taking turns on the drift. We were all looking for stripers. Problem is you needed a lawnmower or better yet a weedwacker ahead of your fly because that outgoing just dumped a ton, well tons, of eel grass into the ocean.


     On the flip some birds got up over some breaking fish and quickly I was into my first of about, well, say over 50 bluefish. Most were in the 2-4 pound range, with some a bit under or over. At sun-up some birds got up over some breaking fish and quickly I was into my first of about, well, say over 50 bluefish. Most were in the 2-4 pound range, with some a bit under or over. These 2-3 year old fish were everywhere. I marked some bass, or bigger fish, but couldn't get the fly down without getting bitten by a bluefish. I might have got it down, but two pulls and I was hooked up again.

     I found a hump at 13 feet with 28 feet around it and the fish were on it like white on rice. Every drift produced a fish, on one I counted 13 in the boat. If I had a big tank I could have opened a tuna bait stand right there and sold to guys heading out for the pelagics.

     The fish weren't picky as anything I threw at them got a chomp. The fly below stayed in service until the only thing left was the eye and a few strands, and they kept eating it. I was back at the dock by 9 am and the ride home was quick except the narrow passage way on the Parkway kept me nervous with the texting and swerving drivers all around.

     For those that usually fish the north jetty at Island Beach State Park below are pics to bring you up to date on the progress of the work going on there. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

07.29.14 Selling my two person pontoon boat...

     I now I mentioned it a few weeks back but I'm not sure in how much detail. I am selling my two person Bucks Bags Double Haul pontoon boat. It is 13-1/2 feet long. It lists for $ 2,800 without the trailer, and without shipping. I am asking $1,200 with the trailer. Give me a call 732.261.7291

Here is more about it,


Item #191747

The Double Haul has evolved into one of the most practical and maneuverable two-person crafts you will find. It is lightweight and portable, yet offers all of the necessary features to effectively fish your favorite lakes and streams. The needs of both the fisherman and oarsman have been carefully considered, creating a superior fishing craft. The Double Haul also easily breaks down for travel.
The pontoons on this craft are constructed from 22oz. PVC enamel coated polyester on top and a bulletproof 40oz material on the bottom where most abrasions occur. These 13 1/2' pontoons are incredibly tough! The Double Haul also comes fully equipped with a solid standing brace mounted to a unique molded platform. The brace is padded for comfort and has an effective stripping basket. Other standard features include 8' aluminum breakdown oars, deluxe tackle pockets with tippet dispensers and insulated drink holders, two elevated padded seats for comfort and effective fishing position (rower's seat is adjustable), large cargo decks fore and aft for loads of extra gear or overnighters and an adjustable rower's platform for easy entry and exit as well as a place to stand for fishing while anchored. Also included is a solid anchor system with our patented Line-Lock system for easy anchor release and retrieval. The Double Haul has evolved into one of the most practical and maneuverable two-person crafts you will find. It is lightweight and portable, yet offers all of the necessary features to effectively fish your favorite lakes and streams. The needs of both the fisherman and oarsman have been carefully considered, creating a superior fishing craft. The Double Haul also easily breaks down for travel. 5 year warranty. Actual shipping charges apply.
You will find the Double Haul to be the most rugged and loaded two-person boat on the market!
Weight Capacity = 600lbs.
Inflated Size = 162" Long x 63" Wide
Shipping Size = 2 boxes, 48" x 24" x 10" each
Shipping Weight = 130lbs.

STARTING AT:$2800.00

Monday, July 28, 2014

7.25- 28.14 Nice weekend up in the ADK's.....

     WOW!! We just cleared 250,000 hits on The Average Angler blog. Thanks for reading, and more importantly hiring me for your fly fishing instruction and walk and wade and boat trips needs! If you look back it is a real cool collection of almost daily posts through the last few years. 

     Got to get away and spend a little time with some of my family this weekend. My daughter Erin spent the better part of a week up in Saranac Lake with her aunt, uncle and 7 month old cousin. We left at 5 am on Friday and ...... I forgot the fly rods. Goes to show you where my head is. We were on their boat on Lower Saranac Lake on Friday and Saturday and did a little work, hung out, and ate and drank. 
I have to say its nice going to the North Country without having to check on or work on the houses in Ausable Forks. My life just seems like a collection of closed chapters.

     Back in the work world I'm finishing up an article for On the Water magazine which will run in September. It will be on the some of the projects that are going on currently at the Jersey Shore. Early this morning I spent some time casting a fly rod popper off of a groin. This one isn't scheduled to be modified, that means lowered, or notched. I find it hard to believe that in the end the US Army Corp won't modify it as most of the near beach end has been displaced from Sandy and storms since. I think no matter what we've been told, the plans and outcomes will be far different than we all anticipate. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

07.22.14 "What a long strange day it was...."

     First, thanks for the calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages from you guys asking if I am alive and alright. Yes the daily blog hasn't been updated in a week, a week!!. That's a first. But I am okay just going through some tough times right now.

     So yesterday I had Mark out for his first float on the Upper Delaware. Got good reports from the day before on the beat that we were planning on floating and.....for us at least....things were shut down.
I picked Mark up at the Jersey Shore at 5 am and we were up in Roscoe picking up the boat and getting lunches and stuff and ready to roll by 11 o'clock. We decided to walk and wade for a while so we headed up the shorter of the two rivers and spent some time in riffly water that produced zero for us.

     We launched about 1 o'clock and soon met a great friend in a slob of a brown trout that ate and let us play for over an hour. "Foam is home" you could have called it but when we got in a little too close she was down and gone. It was a beautiful day except for the 150 degrees and zero wind and dead stretch of action from say 2 to 6 o'clock. We did have fun and during that time work on some casting and take refuge on the shady side of the river.

     Evening was a bit better with some Iso's and Cahills and Sulfurs up, not that many, and a lot of one and done risers up and down and left and right. We caught almost a fistfull of fallfish which provided up a rising fish target to practice and broke two fish off. We casted into just about dark at pickers here and there but never seemed to be on the stretch were things were "It's on" as my friend Bunky would say.

     Mark did get a chuckle pointing out to me this guy wearing a sweater and fishing alone.....and when I turned it was Bunky, who could double as a saquatch. Charlie and I kept in touch and we all had lunch in the shade waiting for something to pop. He did catch a tiger trout- which is a hybrid of a brown and brook trout. He sent us a picture and this is it below.

     So by the time Mark and I washed the boat, dropped it off in Roscoe, hit the Liberty McDonalds and drove home I was pulling into his driveway at 2am......22 hours after I first picked him up.

No doubt we will fish again up here, but next time we might splurge for a room.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

07.17.14 " I get by, well some bass, with a little help with my friends".....

      FINALLY !!!!! After a long drought I was finally back on the bass. I have been so hell bent of finding and catching summer striped bass out front that I haven't been plying my trade in the bays and rivers as much as I should have. I have went a few times but last night I decided that was it.....I had to find them and get them to eat.
     I have to thank Matt Cook who has kept me up to date with his own late night striper pursuits which have been productive for him and friends. I got out on the end of the incoming, fished through the slack tide and it was over once the water started to ebb. As I walked I both heard and saw the bass, and hickory shad on the eat. I tried with a Banger, and then went to a Slider, and then settled in on a small black fly that I picked up at Coop's Bait and Tackle when I was up in the Vineyard.
     First cast.....strike.....second fish.....and so it went for about the two hours I fished. A fistful of bass to +/- 27 inches a few hickory shad mixed in. It reminded me off fishing a spinner fall into the night up on the Upper Delaware.

I was so happy to find some bass, and happy to find smaller bass, and in the end, if not just for a few hours, just alone and happy....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

07.13.14 The changes on the beach are amazing, amazingly bad.....

     If you fish the beaches that have gone through beach replenishment then this should be no news to you. Forget the fact that the summer bass, and bluefish, aren't around, I'm sick of bitching about that. I have recently fished towns like Long Branch, Bradley Beach and Spring Lake. You might as well fish in one of those sloped pools like you find at Disney World or Great Adventure. Yes, you might break your ass on the beach scarp as you make your way down to the water. Beach scarp is the incline, or cliff, that is formed by wave action, ie Mother Nature, as sand is pulled back into the ocean. The picture below was taken this past week in Spring Lake.

     So what we have going on is a steep beach scarp and then a severe sloping of the beach out into the ocean. At low tide you can walk off the beach or along the groins for feet, almost a 100 feet. There is hardly any structure anymore. It is lifeless. And that's not just in the towns where replenishment took place.
     This morning at 430 am I knew I'd be out on the one day old New Moon early flood tide. I went to some old reliable low water spots to scout it out....and I was disappointed. In the above picture is the pocket at Roseld Ave in me its not a spot burn. The locations between Elberon and Asbury Park have recently been in the news because of the prosed beach replenishment and groin notching that will occur this fall. This used to be a great low water spot, even after a sustained S and SW wind, when, coupled with the nature south to north current, would deposit sand south of, and at times, north of the groins. But now there is sand.... a lot of sand.....shoaled all over the place. The last "natural" stretch of fishy water is starting to show the effects of pumping sand onto the beach.

     Yes, some say a few blows will pull the sand out off the beach, but where will it go? It will form a shelf or bar just off the beach. And yes in time a trough and cut will form and it will be fishy, but that takes time. It might take months, right into the fall, just as the bait and bass migration begins, and just in time when the heavy machinery will invade 'Jetty Country" and change it forever.

On my way off the beach I found someone had left a message on a garbage can.....I wonder if they are a fisherman.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

07.12.14 Full moon bassing skunk......

     Sometimes I just ask myself why. Why do I, or we, continue to fish the same waters day after day after day when nothing seems to be around? Because if you stay in the same spot long enough, sometimes for the day, or days, or weeks, or months...eventually a fish will pass bite and bite your offering. I figure if I wait long enough at my regular haunts by October a bass will pass by and eat a fly.

     Started today on the beach at 330. Hell, since there's no spot burn I might as well let the cat out of the bag. I started in Spring Lake on a full moon tide. Low water and high water. Well low water these days means no structure in any of the beaches that were replenished, or even north of where the sand was pumped. So I walked the beach and threw a popper basically into the sand. Then I moved to Shark River Inlet fishing the Avon side from inside and around the jetty. On my last stop I hit Deal covering two groins and two beaches without a bump or sight of any bait. Met a guy who had been swimming live eels with a friend since 2am, he could release them back unharmed.

     While I was there he stuck the water and it read 67 degrees, so it's starting to warm up a bit from the cool to cold upwelling temperatures. Now, there's bass around, mostly in the back bays and the rivers and being caught during the deep night on bait and lures. Fly rodding is a different story, at least that's what I'm going with.


     The bass massacre continues. Remember, when you, or we, get all happy because the bass have shown up, well they just left somewhere where they got pounded, and will leave you and go north, or south, only to get pounded again. We had our shot through the end of June here in New Jersey for the most part before they moved north, where they are getting pounded again.

     The killing grounds are now around Montauk where party boats are running two a days catching and killing all the big fish.......where is the ASMFC??? I am starting to sicken over the striped bass and sometimes wonder if I can, but I will, continue to fish for them. The age of the internet allows us to see daily reports of the massacre up and down the East Coast.  Below is a picture from a recent night trip with the Viking Fleet out of Montauk, NY.

Viking Fleet photo
     Yesterday a post was made on Facebook on the Striped Bass page, HERE. The picture (below) was from a recent outing on the charter boat Windy. The lead sentence from the Capt Jack Passie was 'How long will it last." to which I replied, "Till there all gone...."

Charter boat Windy photo
     For a great read put Charles Witek's weekly blog on your must read list. You can see his latest HERE. Charles is my senior in age, experience, knowledge, and insight. His July 10th post...."Imagine....a sea without stripers" should be a wake up call to us all.

Friday, July 11, 2014

07.11.14 Just nice.....

     .....thats pretty much how I would describe this morning. Out early before first light throwing a sand eel fly out on the incoming tide. The wind has shifted around and it should be some time until the warming effects raise the water temps a bit. The upwelling effect from the S and SW winds has had the water temps cold, if not frigid for this time of year. I saw readings from 61 in Belmar to 47 around Seaside. I did see some bait this morning although I couldn't make out what is was.

Photo by Ray Hallgreen
     I did see some bait this morning although I couldn't make out what is was. There was some cabbage in the water, and the plethora of mussels on the beach and in the wash continues to make fishing close difficult. A few tides should clean that out. One other thing I noticed and forgot to make an image of was the huge amounts of sand shoaled up on the south sides of the groins. That's Mother Nature re-arranging her living room, and no doubt a lot of that sand is from the beach replenishment projects that have invaded the Jersey Shore this year.

Check out an article I did for the Asbury Park Press' "Hook, Line, and Sinker" section on Pride Tackles Kids Fluke can see it HERE, or buy the paper.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

07.10.14 Feeling like I'm fishing for an endangered species.....

     Back at it this morning hitting some of my favorite beaches and groins for a few hours on the tide. Started early and was done by 630am. Pretty morning with fog at first then it cleared up. Water was clean except the occasional cabbage but it continues to be cold at 61 degrees. I casted a popper between the swells without a touch....BUT.....

                 I have a good feeling that things are going to improve quickly.

     The S and SW winds that we've had will change to NE this afternoon and there has been some sightings of bait and an occasional schoolie caught on the surf. So, if the conditions improve, and there's bait around, I think we may start to see a more consistent summer bass bite like we had last year.
Or so I hope.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

07.09.14 Can't stay away from the beach......

     Well its life. And life isn't always easy. I have a full plate right now full of personal stuff so its okay that fishing and work is slow. I have come to realize that fishing is as much as a time for reflection and contemplation as it is trying to catch a fish.

     Even knowing that the fishing is slow to non-existent on the beach I still needed to get out. When I got on the sand before first light i walked left, then I walked right.......I kind of didn't know which way to turn. I felt lost, which I usually don't feel, thats when I realized that I am kinda in a bad way and am in the middle of some serious stuff.

     Conditions were nice. Lots of white water between the swells but the water was iced cold from the barrage of south and south west winds as of late. I still figured the fish wouldn't mind the cooler temps and it would only be a matter of time before I found one. I had decided to go south and fish a town I usually don't spend much time at. It was a welcome change of scenery.

     Besides finding good water I couldn't help but notice the terrain on the beach. Mother Nature continues to take back what we, well the Army Corp, have temporarily done to the beaches. I am sure that by winter most of the sand will be out in the ocean and will be drifting north or have settled in at the southern pockets of the groins.

     Back in my truck I hit the CD selection button and it was a best of Bob Dylan disc I had recently put in. Track 4 was "Like a Rolling Stone", as I listened to the song I connected to several lines and played it over a few times. Funny how you can listen to a song for years but only during times of happiness or sadness does it strike a cord.

This morning I connected with the music and the ocean and it was just what I needed.

Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone (vinyl) from dispensable library on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

07.08.14 Great day for Pride Fishing Tackle's Kids Fluke Camp....

     What a great idea. Pride Fishing Tackle in Red Bank owner Max Berry came up with a great idea. Lets take a bunch of kids fluke fishing. Sounds easy....right? Well, you need the gear, you need the kids- and parents, and you need a BOAT!
     Well Max solved all of the problems.....we'll charter the Bingo and get Captain Jim Rivelli and his mates to take 12 kids and their parents out for a great day on the water. The kids had a great time from start to finish. First, the boat was need to worry about what the kids or not fish.....hold the fluke.....hold the dogfish...throw spearing up to the gulls....just have fun.


     I made the trip with Erin and joined Jason Dapra and his kids Natalie and Matthew in a nice stern spot on the boat drifting spearing and squid and GULP! combos over waters in the Sandy Hook Bay. The boat caught fluke but most of them under the 18" limit but the real fun came on a drift where the

dogfish were everywhere, I think everyone got to catch and hold one, which was a home run. There were two big fluke caught and Spencer Torine had the bigger one that weighed in at 6 pounds.


     As we rode between drifts we saw a lot of bunker and Max pulled out the throw net and the kids had a ball chasing the bunker all over the deck. As times the bluefish were blitzing on the bunker and several of the adults wish they had a spinning rod, and me, a fly rod in hand.


     It was a great day to see kids out fishing...without electronics in their hands! Max will be running the kids camp again on July 29th. It's a great way to get the kids out on a party boat in a safe and kid friendly environment. You can call Max to reserve your can join your child or drop them off....the shop number is 732.383.8198.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

07.06.14 Alright...I'm done....time for a change.....

     Put a fork in it.....I'm done. Striper fishing continues to be disappointing or non-existent along the Jersey Shore. This morning the coffin got nailed shut. Here's why....


     High tide was at 148 am. There was a west wind and the temperatures have been moderate. By 330 am I was in the water two hours into the outgoing tide. The water was flat and perfect for popping a bass up, or so I thought. I started in one town throwing a popper up and down two groins and two beaches over two hours. No a swirl, not a tail slap, not a nothing.
     As the sun rose I jumped to a different town and two more groins....more of the same....nothing. Didn't see any bait, didn't see any birds, not a bluefish...nothing. The only thing I saw was a calf deep collection of mussels that had washed up on the beach. At least that was something to notice and take a picture of.

     No one, well that's not fair, well I, really enjoy first light and the sunrise and the chance of catching a fish. Love the experience and the environment and all that.....but I have zero belief that there a bass in the surf, in any numbers, or with any consistency. This time last year I had a steady stream of clients out doing the 5-9 am shift on the beaches and groins. Each trip produced at least a bass and a fluke or two. Below is a video of Guy holding a sweet July 20th bass we found around 830 am during a hot stretch of weather. I have to admit I was as surprised as he, and the fish, was.

     So now I can't paint the entire Jersey Shore fishery as done and dead. Die hards putting in their time are still finding a bass or two in the rivers and bays, mostly in the dead of night. Backwater guides like Dan Schafer of Insomniac Guide Service down in Stone Harbor continue to ply the backwaters for summer bass. If you're in Stone Harbor this summer look Dan up HERE. Below is a recent pic of one of Dan's clients with a nice summer bass.

     So as I want to rush through summer and await the arrival of fall, and the bait and stripers I have to move in a different direction. This week I will be switching over to offering trips on the lakes and ponds of western Monmouth County looking for the other bass, largemouth bass, and pickerel on the fly rod. We will be popping the pads in my pontoon boat which is set up perfectly for the single fly rodder with a built in stripping basket and casting platform and leaning post. This week i'll be scouting out some of the waters that I fished when I was a kid 35 years ago. Talk about circle of life, or life's full circle, or whatever it is. 

If you'd like to try the freshwater we can do a four hour float, or do a full day. Give me a call to set something up 732.261.291