Thursday, September 29, 2016

09.29.16 Back from a great escape....looks ugly, but not ugly

     Got back around 1 and things looked big, but definitely fishable, even on the fly rod. It was just about low tide and the water wasn't all that off color. Won't be out there in the morning, but will be on Saturday where I hope the same conditions exist. Time for the 11wt H2 and the 350 gr sinking line. 


     We ate at a favorite Angelo's Fairmount Tavern and then walked down the block to the Bass Pro Shop super store. My first thought was, 'Wow- I wonder how this as affected local tackle shops?". Inside it's huge and you could spend a few hours there just looking at cool mounts, the aquarium and just about anything to do with fishing, hunting, and boating. There's even a fly fishing section where I grabbed a few deer hairs for some Snake Flies and some Mustard hooks, in bulk. 

     As far as Atlantic City, it has changed, and not for the better. In my opinion, some places just aren't better cleaned up. There was a seediness that made A.C., well A.C. Kind of like 42nd Street back in the day. I do sincerely hope that conditions have improved for the people living there. But the casinos looked old and dingy, workers were striking, and the people just weren't there. Borgata and The Water Club are the best bets, in my opinion. We had a blast, lost a couple hundred, playing with our and house money for more hours than we could count. Great Blackjack tables and Sex and the City Slots. Good buffet, good comedy club show, and lots of comps for food late in the night and first thing in the morning. Sadly, we sat with a woman who had an obvious gambling problem, said she lost just about all she had gambling in the casinos and in the lottery. I asked her if she needed to call the gambling problem number and she said "No I need these mother fuckers to give me a comp room!" was then time to leave that table. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

09.28.16 Taking a few days to reboot....

     For those of you that don't have a Borgata Red Card....get one. Every two months I get a "special deal" from them. Free room, two free comedy club tickets and a free buffet and the second night is only $59. Of course that's only Sunday through Thursday.

     So we headed down last night and plan on doing nothing. I have some Statistics homework to try and tackle and we're just gonna chill out. Hopefully the blow doesn't do any damage but only gets us some structure back on the beach. My prediction mullet will be over, then they'll be a little lull before the peanuts and white bait are the main fare.

     I feel bad for boat guides that will be unable to work for the next week. It always seems to happen, but this looks like an t's gonna be an extended break. Luckily, or not, my phone didn't ring for trips for mid to late September as it is spotty and most anglers book Long Island or Rhode Island this time of year. I'll be ready for October, and have some availabilities between kids, school, work and other trips. Give me a call if you'd like to fish 732 261 can see more on my website

09.27.16 Quiet morning on Lake Atlantic.....


     As soon as I got out of my truck I changed flies. The wing was from the SW and I couldn't hear the surf so I knew it would be flat. There was enough light shortly after the high tide at 510 am to see the popper popping, but after 100 casts I knew it was be a slow day. Slack lasted until sunrise, well it was overcast, and still nothing was doing. I moved from the beach to the rocks and had a few blowups, a few the same fish that couldn't get it right and get hooked. I eventually got him, and found a flat rock near the groin tip to land him. Other than one other smaller fish before I left was it.

     I had to stop by the hospital and after I just had to know what it was looking with the tide on the ebb. I took a ride to long stretch of beach with a decent pocket forming after the storms and had more bait heading south down the beach that the cocktail blues were on. The water was flat, and there was hardly any wind and it just looked boring, especially with bait just swimming by.

     I'll be away from the water for a few days and it looks like its good timing. I wish I could fish tomorrow morning because I feel this blow will end the mullet run. It started late and will end quickly. However, the first day of a blow always fishes well. The best thing about this weather is how it's gonna carve up our beaches in New Jersey.

NE winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 30 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft...building to 4 to 7 ft in the afternoon. Chance of light rain and drizzle. 

Wed Night
NE winds around 20 kt with gusts up to 30 kt. Seas 5 to 8 ft. Chance of rain after midnight. 
NE winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 30 kt. Seas 6 to 9 ft. Chance of rain. 
Thu Night
NE winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 35 kt. Seas 7 to 9 ft. Rain likely. 
NE winds 15 to 20 kt...diminishing to 10 to 15 kt. Seas 6 to 9 ft...subsiding to 5 to 6 ft after midnight. Chance of showers. 
E winds 10 to 15 kt...diminishing to 5 to 10 kt. Seas 3 to 5 ft. Chance of showers.

Monday, September 26, 2016

09.26.16 Bass in the early morning....albies up all day


     Perfect mullet morning along the Jersey Shore. It doesn't matter where you fish. If you are somewhere where's there water in front of you, at some point, mullet will swim by and at least one bass will also. Had a great time in the dark with the anticipation building of light and mullet. And it didn't disappoint. It was the kind of morning where the mullet were in the waves illuminated by the sun. There was fish, and good ones, but soooo much bait that I am sure fish didn't even look at out offerings.

     Started with the sinking line and black Snake Fly. As soon as I saw conditions I switched over to the intermediate line. Had two blow-ups on the black, and then went with the popper because it was perfect popper conditions. Had two more blow-ups and landed one small blue. Last night I tied up some bait and gave the olive a try. Landed two bass, and then went up on the rocks. I hooked an absolute truck about mid groin, first good fish on the rocks in a while, and I have to admit I was rusty. It doesn't help when the rock configuration is now all different. So I was into my backing and made it to the beach. I had about 30' of fly line past the rod tip and I could see the big bass moving right to left with a small wave, then it came unbuttoned. I would say, maybe 32-35 inches.


        I knew conditions would be great looking for allies so after some homework I hit the boat. Caught the end of the outgoing and the albies were up until the tide died. The wind started honking with a SE wind and an incoming tide so drifts were fast, I mean real fast. Between the wind, the drift, the birds, it was hard to get some good casts in and down. I started a little bigger before settling in an 1/2 inch rain fish fly I had tied a few years before Montauk, and maybe that was too big. I hooked one, walked it around the boat, it dove, and I thought I would snap my rod on the poling platform in the stern.
     Lots of boats out today and everyone played nice and actually positioned themselves nice and wide and depending on the drift. Say Capt. Derek of Fischer Price land a bunch with his charter throwing metal. Funny thing is, they're on the rain bait, I had a alibi come up and refuse a fly at the boat, but Deadly Dicks are the ticket?

    I think the boat guys were respectful of the beach anglers today, not getting too close when the albies were blowing up right on the beach, and when making the lightning fast drift in from of them. The Miss Belmar Princess? Well, not so much. She nosed in right into the rip and stayed for a few minutes before hitting the throttles.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

09.25.16 Fall along the Jersey Shore has arrived.....

     Well, I was psyched. Had everything ready last night. Felt like fall this morning with cool air temps and fally NE wind. Conditions looked great. There was mullet, finally, in good numbers along the beach. And the bass were on them. I fished hard......  

                                                  ....... and didn't get a touch. 

     Started in the dark. Sinking line and a black Snake Fly. Nothing. Went to an intermediate line, same fly. Nothing. Went to a popper. Nothing. Went back to the sinking line. Nothing. Back to the intermediate line with a white Snake Fly. Nothing. All the while the anchovies were getting sprayed and the mullet chased by both tiny blues and good bass. 

     I fished with Richie who landed a nice bass on a swimmer. I spoke with Leif, who got skunked too, and he had a guy come and make a few casts with spinning rod and leave with a keeper. North of us my friends did well with nearly the same story, bass chasing bait. 

     I know it's called fishing and not catching. I know it's about enjoying the outdoors, and just being alive. But I also know I wanted to, and should have, caught a fish today. They were right there, just couldn't get it done. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

09.24.16 Tying up some ammo for the morning.......

     Probably my favorite fly to tie and fish. I am not a great fly tyer, maybe average at best which is fine, because I share the joy of catching on my own ties. So Friday night I set up to tie a few black Snakes for Sunday morning, because, Saturday I had to work. I knew the wind was going to turn NE and I thought ti might shake things up a bit. So I planned on sleeping in and just going to work.......
Then I started to dream about big mind and waves and white water. So, I was on the beach shortly after 5 am.


     It was sporty out there, no wind gusts, just a steady blow maybe 25 right in your face walking up the beach. It was hard to get my fly where I wanted it with the wind and sweep from north to south. I took some refuge by the rocks but the fish weren't home. I wish I had my lighter sinking line as I think it could have helped with the wind and getting the fly down in the water column, just too much water for a bass to spot it before sunrise. 
     I hope the water isn't too off color from the mini-blow today, but I think it's okay because the guys had good luck with albies today from the beach. Not every beach, but the ones where the water moves and is pretty deep. Tomorrow is another morning and I can't wait. I find it hard to get to sleep and not wake up every few hours to check the clock. It's fall! The best time of the year. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

09.23.16 Great early start....and had to go lookin'

     I'll try and keep this short. After yesterday's disappointing success with the albies I couldn't resist getting up at 430 am and looking for my favorite fish. I knew it was the outgoing tide and the "new" beaches are totally screwed up and finding water isn't easy. The troughs are there, the cuts in the bar aren't. Now water has to exit somewhere, yes, but it tends to roll up the beach scarp and then over the bar. So the trough remains, somewhat, but the fish aren't stupid enough to stay and get trapped. So, you gotta get it right at the right time, and it doesn't last very long. 

     Second cast, good fish, real good fish, straightened out my Diachi hook. Not totally straight but bent it enough to come unbuttoned. Next spot, because it seems every morning is one and done. A few casts, boom, 30" inch fish. Surprisingly I went right back and landed the above fish. That was it 2 for 3, and all good fish. And it was over.

     The next paragraph is a public service announcement. Someone, most likely me, will drown this fall. Why? Because we will be tempted, like the guys that walk the bars at Island Beach State Park, to walk out onto the bar till the very edge. Why? Because that's where the fish are depending on the tide. Sand eels will be out there and so will the bass. BE CAREFUL!! It's not worth it. 

     I decided to walk out on the bar until the edge just to see how it felt. On the outgoing it felt fine, gotta watch the tides and wind. It's fishy, but tricky.

     So.....7 o'clock and I'm done. I have two kids that have to go to school and papers to write.....but those albies. So my enabling wife says she'll take the kids to, later. I had the boat in the water by 8, even after oiling and fueling it up. And, I am glad I checked the there was only a few ounces left! I was around front shortly after the tide starting to move. Some birds a few fish breaking, saw one alibi, a small one. I had no shots and that made me feel like I didn't blow anything.

     I saw this guy in a kayak moving in but they never materialized for him. I root for anglers like that that push the limits to catch. Kayaking, not for me, but to each his own. If you cast into day you'll catch one. And it sucks. These guys did just that. It happens. Didn't see as many boats out today, but did run into Paul Eidman from Reel Therapy with a sport out looking for the albies.


     I found the birds over the next few hours. Only small blues chasing bait down the beach. What was the best sight of the day was below, as huge schools of peanut bunker had made their way out of the bay. Splashing around....nothing on them......yet!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

09.22.16 ALBIES ALBIES ALBIES.........

.....and not one for me. Today was, frustrating. I had planned to hit first light from the beach but my wife had Doula duty at a hospital in Freehold. She was there for nearly 24 hours and got home today at 5am. If anyone is looking for a Doula- which is a birthing coach- drop me a line my wife is great. Anyway, so I pulled kids drop-off duty which ends at 8. I decided,  even though I have a buttload of home work to make a quick run out with the boat. I grabbed my camera with the long lens just in case  there was a lot of topwater action.

     I was out front by 9 and the birds, bait, other boats and fish were up and active. I went through a about a dozen flies trying to get to the allies which were there but kept getting bitten off by the cocktail sized blues. Tired of getting bit off and the boats that just just don't get how to approach busting fish I took a ride, a long ride. I went south, then came back north and crossed the pond over to Rockaway Park and then west to Coney Island. There wasn't a bird in the air or a splash on the water on that side, but I did make a cool picture of Capt John McMurray on his One More Cast, more on that later. I dropped him a note that things appeared livelier on the Jersey side and I headed over.

     When I got there the scene had changed. No birds. No busts. No boats looking. There was a bunch of guys on the beach and I spent the next few hours on the end of the incoming watching them. I saw a few guys land some of the speedsters blind casting metal. I watched a few fly guys, but one in particular, who worked really hard and must have made 1,000 casts. When he and his boys left I made some cool images of them walking down the beach. I also made some images of the Miss Belmar Princess damm near parked right on the sand. More on that later.

     So around 130 I am starting to panic because the girls pick-ups start at 230. I need to get in, tighten up the boat, and get there. Luckily my wife bailed me out and said "stay' if you're having fun, I'll get the girls". Truth is, I wasn't really having fun. I didn't bring anything to eat or drink, and contemplated drinking my own urine. I was alone and after 6 hours I had nothing left to say to myself. And, as I would learn, I have 3rd degree burns on my face and neck.

                           But I wanted to see what would happen at the tide flip.

   So I waited. And I drove around. And I watched. I watched the beach clear out except for a handful of guys with funny oriental hats. I made sure I didn't get run over by the party boats and barges. Slowly, after slack, the tide moved. Slowly....very slowly. Amazingly the life didn't show itself. The annoying small blues were gone. In fact, while in the morning you could get one on every cast, a couple of guys in a boat were targeting them for shark bait and couldn't find one.

     I started to head in and just before I did I turned around and saw a blow-up. So I went back out and watched and waited and waited. Now I am up against 6 o'clock Back-To-School night and I can't be late. It was about 330. And I was done and just done. As I started to head in I found a boat, in a place where I wouldn't think you would see fish all-kinds-of-blowing-up all around it. Blues?? No allies!!!

     I made some image with the long lens and then got ready to go just to see if I could get a shot. Then that pod turned into two, and then four, and then the whole place went back wild. I positioned my boat, turned off the motor and waited. And they came, and I had probably three good shots and no takers. Other boats joined in, and played nice, and several of them hooked up on the spinning rids. It wasn't here and there for about 40 minutes. In the end I felt bad that I did land one, and there were some big ones, or get some cool ass pictures as these allies were airborne.

     After it stopped I rode around and looked before heading in at 430. Got in, got the boat washed, got home, got myself washed and made it to the school on time. When I got home I went to upload my images and none of them were found. SD card malfunction. So, sorry, no good fish stories, or fish pictures. Oh wait, I do have one. I hooked an alibi and it dove and ran.....and then it was off. When I got my line in I wanted to check and see what happened.....bite off.....bad know?? Nope. My loop was still there, but my fly was not??? Go figure. The only explanation is that there was a gap on the eye of the hook and the 15 pound flouro snuck it's was past.??? The loop was perfect and the fly was gone.
That's my fish story for today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

09.20-21.16 Lots of scouting and fishing but nothing to show for it......

     Was hoping to give it the before work but I didn't, so I scouted out the water down in Long Branch. Starting to fish at five then working 7a-7p is just to much. What I decide to do, with my wife's blessing, was to get out at midnight an hour after the ebb tide. I got to the water at 1230 am and fished part of the graveyard shift until 330 am. The water was still up when I got there and over the next hours it got better, but not perfect. For a bit, I think the flood tides are better than the outgoing due to the structural changes done during all of the sand pumping. 
     I tried the popper, I tried the Snake Fly, I tried Farhar's MV Baitfish in Midnight Blitz color......not even a bump, or a splash, or any bait nothing. 

     Not wanting to be defeated I got the girls off to school and hit the beach, a different one, at 830am. No birds, a few mullet, with no signs of blues, bass or albies. I have to say I am frustrated by the yeomans effort to find some fish, or even like my previous outings, one good one.

Monday, September 19, 2016

09.19.16 Worked hard to find one....but couldn't find two

     I was excited last night to be able to go today, was just hoping that the predicted rain held out for a bit. When I woke up at 430 there was sound of rain outside so I had a good feeling. Started out a few hours into the flood tide and I started in the dark with a popper. Had to find good moving water, preferably exciting water, because the incoming water was just running up the beach from south to north. 
    When light came I switched over to a blue Snake Fly. I made a few casts in tight before airing one out behind a wave. One strip and the above fish blew up on it and quickly had me into my backing. I enjoyed fighting this fish and bringing him up with an incoming wave. It was a real good fish.
     I stayed with the same fly knowing, or thinking I was knowing there would be more there. I had a great spot but after another 100 casts I switched over to the below Deceiver, just because the water a bit off color and I thought it would work, but it didn't. It was a one and done morning. 

     I stayed through the first rounds of rain and when I thought I had done a good job of covering I headed south just to check if any albies were near the inlet. I had time until high slack so I fished the south side without a tap. I stayed until my ADHD couldn't take standing there any longer so I left for some coffee and to stay out of the rain for a bit. Working my way up I made a few stops as the high slack went to the ebb tide. Didn't see any birds or bait as I scouted a few spots from the comfort of my truck. I went north and decided to dress and check a long beach that has been good for albies in 


 the past but found no life. What I did find was the start of a pocket. The water behind me comes in over the high beach and empties along the scarp and exits out of the groin. A few more good tides and some snotty weather will transform this into a great place for bait to get trapped. I can't wait until things start looking like they used to and I can recall the days when the government ruined what was a great beat to fish.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

09.18.16 Just time to look.....but they were there

      So no chance for me fishing today, but I did stop by the water before work. Conditions looked nice before with the incoming tide just a tad more tame than the days before. Didn't see any birds, or bait, but I was a distance away, but I did see several swirls and a blow-up or two in tight.
     I did't see the angler in the above pic do anything but I got the below pic from my friend Leif who caught nice healthy fish on his Snake Fly. While I love the pic, I'll have to share with him that pics with the entire fish look better. He's one that likes to get them back in the water ASAP so I am saying that in jest.
     Day off, well at least from work. tomorrow so I'll be at it, rain or shine.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

09.17.16 Got to stay late.....but things just didn't line up

     So I got down a little after five, midway through the flood tide. It was nice at first, especially when the light came. Had the familiar pleasure of sharing the beach with Leif and Richie. It may look calm in the pictures, but it was like combat fishing especially when ending around the high tide. Waves crashing right in the trough with quick sets that made casting behind the waves difficult. The water was so big if the waves didn't get you then the water running down the beach scarp did. Early on Lief hooked and landed one and I had one come unbuttoned on a black SF Blend baitfish. I stayed with it


until light then went over to a white Snake Fly. I had the 250 grain sinking line on just to cut the waves but then switched to the intermediate just to ensure the fly was swimming in the upper third of the water column. I got no love with that so switched over to a popper and three blow-ups without a hook-up. I wasn't getting the distance with lighter line and the popper, so I was inching my way down to get the fly just over the breaking waves. I saw it coming and it came, the wave that is, breaking

right on my ankles I went down like a horse with such force my fly rod slipped from my grasp and slid down into the trough. Just like that it was gone. As I stood there dripping I watched for any sign, and then I saw the blue fly line run up the beach scarp. I ran and grabbed it and retrieved my rod, hand over hand to make sure it didn't snap from a breaking wave. 
     I gave the rocks a try before the highest of waters but the assault from the jetty flies was too much, they did disperse when the water started breaking from both sides of the groin.

     In the next days things should be better. Didn't see a lot of bait but I did see fish caught and active in the wash. I little bit less water would be nice, just wish I was catching the outgoing mid tide just as light arrives. Still a great morning...and glad to have my rod back.