Saturday, December 31, 2016
Two nights ago I had a dream about a place where I thought the fishing might be good the next time out. Last night Joe asked me if I wanted to fish this morning and I told him of my dream, and I think reluctantly, he agreed to it. We got down around 630 just as light arrived and within 15 minutes are hands were frozen, but both of our rods had a bend it them.
We saw some small bait, possibly small herring, making noise on the flat north side water, and Joe working the beach got four, while I was working the groins, and had one that unbuttoned as I positioned myself to reach down and lip him.
It lasted for about 45 minutes, the misses and lands, before we took a coffee break and headed to another location. There we only stayed for about 20 minutes before heading to our last spot, which looked fishy, gave us a couple of tugs and looks, but nothing came to hand.
Andy, who's out there everyday in thick and thin, was the pool winner with this just under 27" fish. I'm not going to say it, but tomorrow is my last day fishing. I do hope and will fish hard to land my first bass of 2017. Either way, I swear, I'm done, and if I'm not I will not post anything from that trip out.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Less than perfect fly rodding conditions out there this morning......
S-SE winds over 20. SE swell. Incoming to top of the tide. Rain. Cold. Leaky waders. Other than that......Perfect!
Started before first light. Went to a pocket and couldn't get to where I wanted to but picked up a fish practically up on the beach. Made a quick move south to a large groin that I knew would be protected from the big water and swell. As light arrived I found two to bite on a black and purple Kinky Muddler. As good as the pocket was protected, it was boring. The wind made the backcast hard here, and all morning, but at least from the rocks you had a shot at the cast back towards the beach.
Made the move back to my original beat and found Andy out and on the fish. His Mombo in chartreuse gave him all he needed for a steady pick at fish in the trough. As the tide ebbed the bite turned on. He told me that Lief was out early and had to leave due to a no-heat call at home from his wife. Andy said he was out on the rocks, which surprised me, because it was the top of the high tide and the waves were big, and it only takes that one rough wave to get you.
I contemplated it for a few minutes and did the risk-vs-gain thing in my head. If I don't go on the rocks, then I'm about done, as getting a fly anywhere fishy would be near impossible. So I jumped up and got out. I fished the north side, which at least put the wind at my back. Two times today I drove the fly into my StormR cap, which luckily prevented it from digging into my skull.
I made a cast and did nothing but on the second or third I went tight, and could feel it was a good fish. Funny thing is, last evening I text Leif telling him that I saw a report online about a charter boat that was out togging yesterday and found a good keeper striper bite off the beaches where we fish. Maybe, I thought, those fish might come in. Well, at least one did, and boy was it nice landing it on the rocks in big water. I have been getting some friendly chop-busting lately, partially because I keep saying I'm done, but "To let them be', referring to the micro bass that we've seem to be catching. One thing I have to say, through all the ball busting, fly-tyer Andrew Warshauer has been steadfast in saying that there's still good fishing to be had.....and he was right.
I made a few more stops fishing mostly the north sides of the groins and finished up the day with 11 fish, and several more misses. Don't know how long it will continue.......'But at least I'm enjoying the ride......"
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Gave it a go in the evening. I so much prefer first light as the dark just comes too fast. Got down and after a few casts had one. Probably had 45 minutes of fishy time and I landed three and probably missed or lost a half a dozen. Other guys out and they all got fish, some in the 22-26" range. Have to say conditions are great as the water is clean with plenty of white water. Looks like the cold weather is coming along with some wind and rain, so enjoy it while you can. Hopefully tomorrow morning will still be nice and not that cold.
Some ask why would someone want to fish for small striped bass. It's not just the size of the fish that you fish for, it's the challenge of getting a striped bass, of any size, to take a fly. Sometimes it's harder to get the little ones to eat, especially in big water.
This morning it was high tide at 7 am with a SE swell and breakers in sets on the beach. But the bass were in the trough, and that's where the challenge was. Getting close enough to reset a fly to get it down before the incoming waves rush it back up the beach, or swamp you.
Lief caught one in the short window he had but his buddy had a small ducktail on and may have landed a dozen. I threw the sand eel fly but didn't connect, but the two came on a chartreuse and white Deceiver. The bellies on these little footballs are buldging and I think they are eating sand eels.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Made it down on the flood tide just as the waves started top break on the bar filling in the troughs and pockets. Water was off color and big at times. Didn't see anything. Fished the beach and the rocks without a tap. Thinking if it was a tad cleaner I might have drummed up a bite. Couldn't beat just about 60 degree temps for late December, and the water felt warm(er) too.
For anglers, visions of the first bass of 2017 are starting to get on their present short Bucket List. We'll see if the coldness that's coming will put a damper on it. Nothing like starting the year with a January bass. which, I know, means nothing, but it does somehow.
Monday, December 26, 2016
That's a lot of people. After basically taking 2015 off from fishing and blogging it was great to return back to the water and writing the blog. I realized how much I missed it, and how addicted I am to it.
Soon I will post the breakdowns of the statistics that Blogger provides. I am surprised at how many and how far this blog reaches each day. Needless to say anglers from all over the world are interested in striped bass and Jersey Shore fishing.
Thanks for reading and it will be interesting to see how long it takes to get to 500,000.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Last night me and my favorite elf spent Christmas Eve out on Long Island and I decided to give it a go this morning. With a blended family and kids all over the place somehow we ended up alone after having celebrated several Christmases with the kids and family.
It worked two ways, I could let Mrs. Clause sleep in and I would hit the beach. Got down just as light arrived and found a few anglers up and down the beach. Didn't see any bait so I worked a Snake Fly around the rocks and along the beach without a tap. As the tide ebbed I jumped on the rocks and got my Christmas morning bass. Funny how that somehow comes to mean something to striper fisherman....but it does.....so just leave it alone.
Was hoping to find a little bigger specimen of bass out there on the herring but I couldn't find any. Thinking it's a better bite later in the day into dusk. I won't be able to go as I have to work the evening shift at work. Sad that kids have to be in the hospital on Christmas. We should all be hopeful and thankful for physical and mental health this Christmas for not only ourselves and our packs, but for strangers as well.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
I fished mostly and caught from the rocks and almost lost a line to the boulders and mussels. As I climbed down I got spun around and slid small-of-the-back first into a bigger rock. It hurt, and it still does, and it took my breath away on impact. Luckily I didn't lose the line, and a few Motrin should make the hurt go away. I wonder if the evenings aren't fishing better.....I always like those just before dark outings, when herring are popping in the wash.
Friday, December 23, 2016
So I'm at my Dad's house for a family party. I'm not checking my phone of course, because there's no reason to. Before I leave, around 830 fish, I see that my phone has been blowing up. Mostly texts from Lief. And I see there's images attached........and I know what that means.
They're back....or they're here.
He said he got about 10, some good fish. On the herring. Everybody's dream....out there all alone and on the bass. So after finishing up wrapping the gifts for the kids in the man cave I looked over and saw my waders and fly rod and stripping basket waiting like a puppy at the door for their master......
Hopefully I'll have a good report following some first light action.....guess I'm not done, again.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Was up with the wife early and decided that "Hey, why not?". Although I was done, for real, the other day, I realized I hadn't put my stuff away. So I was on the rocks before the sun came up. Dead low was just before 7am and it looked it. Found lots of birds floating on the water off the groin tips but didn't get a tug over the several blocks that I fished. Was about to call it, but had visions of herring and tiny bass on them up in the pocket at Big Monmouth.
Took the short drive and when I got there I saw there no pocket and it was even more filled in than it has been this fall. I found another angler out, soaking clams at the end of a couple of what appeared to be 20 foot rods. Fished the beach for a bit before deciding to check in.
As I approached him he was releasing a skate into the air. As we talked his line went tight, well, just the tip moved a bit and he set the hook on a small bass. He quickly took the hook out and, from his perch, let it fly, and it landed on the sand in between the rocks. Now, our conversation was short before, due to the language barrier, but I did say 'Really?" as I saw the striper get launched and then land. I moved across the rocks and picked up the little fellow and after a quick pic got him on his way.
I stayed a bit and fished but the tiny Deceiver didn't get any love, and his bait was out a ways, probably holding in the deeper water on the other side of the bar. Again he went tight, and I only hoped he would release this bass a little easier on not onto dry land. It was a skate, and after the hook-out, it to took a flight, but this time it did hit the water and not the sand nor the rocks.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Some couples survive by keeping some things separate. Fishing could be one of those things. Ask some guys if they would want their wives joining them, or ask women if they want their husbands joining them, and the answer, most usually is "No". Others, like me, would love to share the love and joys of fly fishing with their spouse. Fly fishing ain't easy. After 25 years I'm still learning, and probably still do more things wrong than right. But I love this game.
Theresa and I have been able to, well I wouldn't call it fish, but dress up and look like we were fishing together several times this year. We had trips down the West Branch of the Delaware, Block Island, and here in New Jersey. All times her saying I was showing off and am not helping her. Sometimes we are best taught by people who don't know us.
So, if you are like me, and want to get your buddy into fly fishing and to learn how to cast, setting up a lesson, with someone she doesn't already know, could be a good idea. Now, she reads this blog off and on so I am risking her finding out her Christmas present, but I signed her up for a class at the Fly Fishing Show this January. She'll be in Cathy Beck's Women Only Casting class. If you are interested go on-line and register your spouse or girlfriend. The class is $85 and includes admission to the show that day. You can register HERE.
Here's a little blurb about the class,
Women Only Casting with Cathy Beck. One of our most popular classes. The $85 tuition includes admission to the show in the morning. This very special class will be limited to eight lucky women. Bring your own rod, reel, and line. Beginner to intermediate.