Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11.17.15 Fish were here yesterday and tomorrow and to the south and north......

     It was blowing out there this morning. NE 10-15 was more like 15-25. Didn't even make a cast....some fisherman. I did do the Sandy Hook to Allenhurst tour and only found a handfull of guys out, most soaking clams.
     There has been some great fishing up and down the Shore- you just have to be at the right place at the right time. This years peanut bunker run has been really good, hopefully this little blow won't shut it down. It's still a bunker fishery now but it is what it is.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11.10.15 Thought this morning would be better......

     Knew thing would be a littler snotty than yesterday but didn't think this much. Got down in the dark and was met with E winds to 20 at the top of the tide. Spent a few hours looking and making some casts and then driving up and down Ocean Ave. Hit the usual towns Bradley, Asbury, Long Branch before settling into Deal. Saw a guy get two back to back blues to 10 pounds in Long Branch. Not much for birds and couldn't see the bait in the big waves and white water.
     I decided to hit what was once one of my favorite places to fish. Phillips Ave was always a stop, to either scout, stop and talk to friends, or hit the pockets at the start or at the end of an outing. From the below view all looks normal, but behind me wooden ramps and heavy machinery littered the beach. I was fine as long as I looked out. I fished the north side pocket which now has a long outflow pipe paralleling the rocks. I didn't get a tap all morning and it wasn't easy getting the bigger fly to where I wanted it.
     I heard yesterday was real good with mostly big blues chasing peanut and adult bunker off and onto the beach. Also heard there were some bass mixed in. This morning looked great and I didn't want to leave but it was just time to go.

     I got a kick out of seeing the footings being prepared for the old fishing access at Roosevelt Ave. One might say that it's good, for me I am suspect. Recently Deal has tried to limit access to the beaches along town and seeing this makes me worry that they will say, "We have improved limited public access" and the DEP will go along with future plans to essentially shut access down.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

11.07.15 Great day at Orvis 301 in IBSP.....put a beating on the fish!!!!!

     Last year we caught no fish during the Orvis 301 class at Island Beach State Park. With over twenty anglers with flies in the water we didn't get a tap, burt this year with half of the number of anglers we crushed em'.......the sun dials that is. There has been a bite in the area this past week and this mass (well what's left) of fish were continued to be pursued heavily by both boat and beach buggy angler. 
     We had anglers from the Orvis NYC, Marlton, Plymouth Meeting and Downington stores come out and put their 101 and 201 skills to the test in the surf. Most guys were trout guys, some new to the sport , some breaking out two handed rods for the first time. 

     I did some instruction for about an hour covering topics from gear to the fish to reading the beach. We fished until slack low before taking a break and taking some time to hear guys thoughts on fishing the surf and figuring out things the instructors needed to help with after the tide flip.


     On the incoming tide most of the guys switched over to Clousers and the bite was on. Although some had landed a few sun dials before the break, we really got into them good on the start of the incoming. Although we didn't see any birds, bait. bass or blues- the flat ones added a bit of excitement and some tight lines up and down the beach. Have to thank Rob, Tom, and Andrew- the three store managers for helping coordinate and work with the students, and Cody and Ian for jumping in and helping out. Of course I have to thank my wife Theresa for her help before, during and after the day. 

Afterwards the instructors ended the day just like last year, having some good drink and food and some laughs over at Klees in Seaside. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

11.5.15 Another long break from the blog......

     Well even though I haven't been posting I have ben down to the water a lot and have fished since the last post. Not much of excuse other than life, well my new life, is getting in the way. I now know what its like to be a guide and a fisherman with a separate career outside of fishing. Luckily I am settling in to the nursing job at the hospital and school seems like the end is nearing.
     I have been up and down the northern shore, mostly from Sandy Hook to the Shark River Inlet. Now living in Red Bank the closer shot for me is Long Branch north. My home waters of Long Branch south, especially Deal and Asbury, has been decimated by beach replenishment. In my travels I continue to hear about "that Thursday" when the first push of fish came in and hit the beaches. There was no Blitz-O-Ween like last year, if fact it has been slow on the beaches while the boats have been doing well. The fish are starting to arrive but in my outings bait hasn't been around, other than days when big bunker is aplenty off shore. 

     Below are some pics of "new" fishy water that I found both pre and post blow that happened a few weeks back. Although I didn't catch it was nice feeling like I had a shot, kind of like before the Army Corp blew it up. 

     I did find one spot that had very sexy structure which produced great conditions. As good as it looks though, it is dangerous and I fear that adventurous anglers could get into a jam trying to fish on or over the sand bar. It usually happens later in the season when the sand eels came in. Please fish safely and not alone. 

     I did get a text from Bill Hoblitzel one of the better known Captains and fly fishers on the Jersey Shore who let me know that he is picking fish when he gets out. He fishes south of me, but can find fish wherever he goes. 

     I got to catch up with my dear friend Al. We sat along the boards in Allenhurst catching up on life and fishing, or lack thereof. I'm busier than before, and, well, Al's a touch older, approaching 91, so he doesn't get out like he used to. In a way, I guess, the destruction of his home waters may serve him well as the lack of good beaches, and of fish, have coincided with his ability to fish less.

     This morning I fished, well no spot burn, Long Branch. Out before first light a bit earlier due to putting the clocks back last week Beautiful morning and I popped my way up and down the beach without a bite. As the sun came up I looked from Monmouth Beach down to just about Deal and found one angler, no birds, and no sign of bait or bass. 
     This Saturday I'm participating in the Orvis 301 class at IBSP. We have about 25 anglers coming from NY, NJ and PA and it should be a nice day with good conditions and a slightly better bite down there than up here. Last year we had great time, lots of learning, lots of casting, but not a nibble with 20 plus lines in the water. That's why they call it fishing and not catching, I suppose. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10.19.15 Late afternoon scout trip.......

     Beautiful day yesterday but the S wind didn't help the fishing. Lot's of bunker just off the beach but nothing on them. Walked a mile or so made some prospecting casts but no one was home. Lots of guys out fishing, well watching and waiting, and seeing that always keeps me around longer then I want to. But sight of the day was pulling in Sandy Hook and finding that they hadn't shut down the bathrooms yet. We need the wind to shift. smaller bait to move, and the next round of bass to roll in, but this time set up shop and stay for awhile.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10.18.15 I think winter blew in this morning......

     Couldn't believe temps were in the 30's this morning when I got out. Wind was stiff, air was brisk, and the wet fly line made my hands sting. Was greeted by bunker with some fish on them within range, for a surfcaster, for a few minutes before they moved south, then north, in front of us with eventually boats around, through, and in them.
     Couldn't stay long as I had to hit Stockton College with my son for his second open house. I liked it the first time I visited with my older son and daughter and think it would be a great college for Sean. One thing is for sure, Stockton knows how to hold an open house.....food and drink all day.

Hoping to get out a few times this week but work and finishing up this round of school classes might put a kink in it.......and pic trivia answer......that's Shell E. Caris from Shore Catch

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10.17.15 The fall run had begun.......

......well maybe not where I was fishing this morning. Beautiful Lake Atlantic out there this morning. If a fish farted within a half a mile from the beach you could see the bubbles. NW wind + start of the incoming = flat, flat flat. Did manage a winter flounder that took a white Clouser but that was the only bump. No signs of bait up close and didn't see the bunker pods in the same places I was yesterday.

     I knew for sure that the anglers on the boats yesterday, and I am sure as well today and tomorrow, would do good and I was right. Although I usually don't post other peoples pics I have to share Gene Quigley's from Shore Catch Guide Service's pic he posted yesterday. He had good bass on the bunker pods and albies on the fly chasing small bait. Looks like his sports had a good day yesterday.

Friday, October 16, 2015

10.16.15 A morning of a dozen last casts.....

     Got down to the water before first light to see if anything chasing bait and rolling in the surf. Didn't see much life until the sun came when the birds, and boats, started to do their searches. Found bunker en masse with an occasional spray as something, probably bluefish, ran through them. Had the fleet with a mix of small and party boats stopping to snag and drop and jig around the pods. I would guess to say that a surf caster couldn't reach them, even with a heavy snag hook.

     The birds did come within casting range as some smaller baits were being chased around most likely by hickory shad or cocktail blues. I tried to leave several times, but was always called back when the birds would seem to appear on the beach. I couldn't help but think of the end of last October leading up to Blitz-O-Ween 2014. I think that's what kept me around for hours this morning.

     I'm liking what I see on the beaches as far as the return of structure and some fishy water post blow two weeks ago. There's points, bowls, bars and the occasional jetty tip starting to break through the pumped up sand that has destroyed the fishing grounds. One thing is for sure is that angler need to scout out locations, even their home waters are now totally different. Low tides are always a great time to check for structural changes.
     Fall is here, and so is the run. Albies came through in good numbers for boat and surf casters. There have been good sightings and reports of bass making there way down crashing on the bait and tagging behind the bunker schools. The only thing I hate about all the bunker is the all-or-none fishing that it presents for the fly rodder. Snag and drop and big plugs get the fish, especially when casted 1,000 feet off the beach. Unless the fish are on small baits, like peanuts and spearing, the fly anglers do a lot of watching and waiting for a good shot.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10.14.15 Bunker showing up off the beach....with predator fish on them

     Stopped by the beach before a 12 hour shift at the hospital. Bunker flipping and getting chased by bigger fish. Nice to see signs of life again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10.13.15 Back from a long break from fishing and the blog......

God I miss this blog. And I miss fishing. Well sort of.......

     I see the last post I made was August 19th. That's almost 60 days ago. I can remember I would rush to get a post up within 60 minutes of leaving the beach. and, some days, I would post two or even three times. Needless to say things have changed, in so many ways I don't know where to begin. In short, I remarried, I moved, I re-started a new career.....and unfortunately I had to put fishing on the back burner while I got my life in order.
     I have to returned to nursing, working as an RN in a hospital-based pediatric psychiatric crisis unit. That started the first week of September and since then it's been M-F straight days, but luckily now I am on 12 hours shifts, which, gives me my life, and fishing back. Although I live a stones throw from the Navesink River it doesn't compare living in Ocean, or even closer, when I rented on Phillips Ave in Deal. There's no quick run down, no smell of the ocean, no sound of the bell coming from the Shark River Inlet. But, I am glad and fortunate to have job that I love and a schedule that will again allow me to fish, alone, with friends, and clients. I will join the ranks of guides that have another gig, and that is good since last year I made just above the poverty level in fishing. Additionally I am pursuing my Nurse Practitioner license, which should take about three years, going around the calendar.

     With my schedule change I was able to fish the last three days. It was fun trying to find all of my gear and even funner trying to find my "jetty" legs when I got on the rocks. The changes to the beaches and groins are horrible and it's hard to find some semblance of what I used to fish. Even though I didn't post in a few months I did get out a few times, but nothing to show for it. I was glad to see that after last weeks blow the beaches have been washed out to see....when will us humans understand this ridiculousness.
     I was greeted the last two days with pretty sunrises, ones I haven't seen in some time. Today it was overcast, but the surf a little more active then the glass of the last two days. Yesterday the birds were over the albies about a mile as far as you could see left to right. Today no such action although I did see a few dolphins and some bait spraying out of the water.
     Besides missing the beach and the rocks, and the fish.......I miss the guys. Although I had Richie with me the last three days I miss the other ones that called Phillips Ave home, we went as the Phillips Avenue gang. Me, Richie, Al, Bob, Lief, Andy and Bucktail Jimmy were daily visitors to the stretch in Deal. It was always fun to drive on Ocean Ave in the darkness and see who was where, Richie on Phillips, Jimmy on Roseld, Al at the hump, Lief near the pilings, Bob on the move, and Andy making casts up the beach as he looked for sharks teeth. Fishing, and the lack thereof, and the destruction of the fishing grounds, has sadly interfered with true and cherished friendships. Fishing and "home" was the glue, and it is gone, for now, as is Marine Place, as in the photo below.


     After fishing with only a tap from a hickory shad, and no fish for four anglers I decided to drive and check out home. Sickening, but, it is already changing. I walked and made some casts on 8th Ave, a place I spent so many nights illuminated by the parking lot lights and the ones along the boards in Allenhurst. If I just looked straight out, it was like home again, but a quick glance right and left reminded me of the changes.

     Things are looking good for the rest of the fall, that's my optimistic prediction. Lots of bait out back, and still enough fishable water out front looking for the collision of bait, bass, and tides. My new life prevents me from getting out everyday, but I am looking forward to getting back out there and even finding a new, but adopted "home", closer to my new life. 
     Soon it will be the International Fly Tying Symposium, then I am running an Orvis 301 Class at Island Beach State Park November 7th, and then in January the Fly Fishing Show. Bob Popovic's new book is due out and some of my friends and clients may have made the photo cutting table. In the meantime I'll still write and look forward to being out there more than I have been, but a nice regular direct deposit paycheck is a nice thing too. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

08.19.15 Starting to feel like fall....

      Beautiful morning out along the Jersey Shore today. The weather has been stellar and the conditions are starting to look really good. Last week we spent our family vacation down in Wildwood and it great all the way around. Wildwood Crest beaches have to be the nicest in the state.

     Even though I am jammed with so much going on I made it a point to get out this morning. I have to admit I went a little half-cocked.  Didn't check my gear, nor the tide, I just went. Having done so I would made sure that I had the right rod/reel combo, a few Bangers, and would have the timed the tide a bit differently.


      Dead low was at 430 and I was on the beach before 5. I would have liked to get there are 3 to catch more of the ebb. I started with a small black eel fly and stayed with it until light when I switched over to a chartruese and white Deceiver. I saw some bait in the water but no sign of predator fish. There was one other angler out and I could barely make him out in the low light. When I got down he was hooked up, and landed another just shy or keeper sized bass before he left with the arrival of the light. He was spinning and throwing topwater baits.

     Made my way south and met up with Rich who was trying for some fluke. He had five bass yesterday all on topwater, so the fish are starting to move in as the bait is starting to move out. The water temps are hovering around 70 and things should get better as the water cools down and the bait starts to move. It's starting to feel a little like fall, outside of the 85-90 degree days we've been having.

Monday, August 3, 2015

08.03.15 Nice to be back down on the rocks......

      It has definitely been a different year all the way around for me compared to last year. I could go on, and on, but I'll just stick to the fishing aspect of my life.

      By this time last year I had finished up guiding on the Upper Delaware in the spring and caught the nice bite of big bass at the start of the summer. Last summer it was early morning first light trips popping up bass and trying for fluke in the suds.

What a difference a year makes. 

     I changed things up a bit and have traded, for only part of a year, my fly rods for nursing textbooks. I am back in pursuit of my Nurse Practitioner license. It's going to take some time but I believe it will be worth it both professionally and financially, well at least after I pay off all the student loans. So this year there was no Delaware or early summer bass or summer first light trips. I had the boat out a few times and will have it ready for the fall run along the Jersey Shore. I won't be in Montauk as I am expecting to be back in a staff nursing position. 
     This morning I hit the rocks before first light. Funny how my knees were a little wobbly getting back up on and jumping the rocks. It was nice, a nice west wind and the start of the incoming tide made lots of white water. I popped, and popped without a swirl or a bite but it nice to be back out. I was sure switching over to a Clouser would get me a flatfish but they didn't budge for me either. 
     Of course I couldn't resist to drive up to Jetty Country, or what is left of it. Pulling into Marine and Clem Cover made me sick to my stomach. It's just all gone. They have dismantled Marine Place and covered everything else. It will take decades for it to return, if it ever does. There were so many good spots, and so many hours that I spent around the clock there alone, with friends, and clients. You could go a little north, or a little south, and see the things a year or two out from beach "nourishment" but those are changed also. 
     I am sure I am just one of a thousand people who are sickened to what happened to such fabled fishing grounds. So many good memories created there but hard to remember the good times when you stand and overlook what is happening there. 

Roseld above currently and below during the good times.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

06.21.15 Great week at the Vineyard......not a fish to be had

     Had a great week up in the Vineyard with the guys. Tough weather between the wind, rain, and clouds. Couple those conditions with an overall reduced number of fish and that took sight fishing out of the equation. I spent most of my time in 'The Pond" walking the flats and sand bars. I saw fish, had a few shots, follows and refusals over the week but couldn't connect. Only two of us caught fish and that was done dredging the deeper inlet.
     One day I was out and another guy was standing on the flat and at the same time we made a move back into the beach. I watched as he walked, stopped dead in his tracks, make a cast into shallow water and connect with the below beauty. It was nice to see someone catch during the week.

    We ate and drank well and had a bunch of laughs which made the week all worth it. Watching these guys tie flies and fish is something I'll always remember. Have to give props to Joe Carey who makes the week possible and does just about all of the heavy lifting getting us there and back and in a great place. I hope next year the fishing is a bit better. The fishing this and last year was tough so we're due for a banner trip. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

06.13.15 Great find at Allaire Flea Market before heading north......

     Gotta love when you find that perfect item for the man-cave.....or some would dumpster. As we went from booth to booth today it was a mix of cool finds and just junk. To my surprise I found this old striped bass skin mount laying on a chair. The price tag said $20 and before I could even pick it up the guy said $10....SOLD!! I'll have to find or make an eye for it to pretty her up a bit but either way, for me, it was the find of the day.
     Some friends and followers of the blog have been wondering if I have just given up on guiding and or just fishing altogether. Well, the answer is no. Yes, I have been swamped with life, and school, and work and I miss being on the water, both fresh and salt, tremendously. It has been a tough year on the Upper Delaware rivers as the rivers have been, for the most part, low and warm, and in the spots where there is water and more importantly cool water, lots of wade and boat traffic. I feel for the anglers and guides, and the fish, that really look forward to and rely on good conditions up there for fun and work. What is sad is that the water is in the reservoirs, they just won't release it.

Marine before
     Back home in the salt things are just as bad. My home turf has been changed, maybe forever. "Jetty Country" from Long Branch down to Asbury Park has seen a constant flow of machinery and boats pumping and spreading sand around the beaches and groins just decimating the ecosystem and prime fishing spots. The above picture is of Marine Place just after the sand was pumped and the work heads for Roseld. I couldn't even recognize the beaches, yet alone all of the good spots that I have fishing almost daily for the last 5 years.
     So today I am leaving for a trip up to Martha's Vineyard where I hope to repeat another great week like last year looking to sight fish to striped bass in the shallows and on the flats. Last year I brought just about everything I own that I fish and tie with. But, this year, with the hectic schedule and new house I am out of sorts and had a hard time putting it all together. This year I'm bringing my Mac and my textbooks so that I can continue my studies and work while on the Vineyard. We're leaving at 430 am, and as I write it's 230 am, and I have yet to finish packing up. I need this week more than ever.

Monday, June 1, 2015

06.01.15 An author's thoughts on "Darlington"......

     I received an email from blogger Joseph Wichnick sharing me a link to his blog post about Roseld, one of the "jetties" in Jetty Country. It is coined Darlington by some because of the street name that anglers park on, but either way, it holds a special place in a lot of people's hearts, including mine. Too bad it will all be changed soon as the northward march of sand approaches Marine Place, another favorite place that used to be.

Check out his thoughts, HERE.