Wednesday, November 30, 2016

11.30.16 Fun out there in big bassy water....

     I finished up my 15 page research paper on conscience objection at midnight and came up with a plan for a half days fishing for today. I would jump on the Parkway and get down to Seaside Park before first light. Which I did. Problem is that SE swell and the incoming tide, with a south to north sweep has things unfishable for the flyrodder. I moved north and stopped before landing at Brick beach for first light. The top pic is how looked as the sun came up. Really cool clouds. 

     I realized my only chance was to return to Jetty Country where I could at least pick the pockets on the north sides of the rocks. I had a first stop in mind but kept looking at the waters in the towns north of the Manasquan Inlet. When I got there I felt confident, then I moved into position and nearly got pushed back into Convention Hall by a few sets of rouge waves that crashed over the rocks.It was un-fishable there at that moment, and after getting soaked I thought of a different plan.

     While I was soaked to the bone the thing that bothered me the most was that my new iPhone 7 got moist inside an Otterbox Defender case. I know they claim its waterproof, but they surely are not. Be careful and don't trust yours if you get one. I moved north and hit some rocks and and picked one on a chartreuse and white Deceiver. I made a move and hit another pile that held more water.

     It was here I found a little honey-hole that held a trio of bass that took the same fly. Again, the sweep and the shore break had me walking down and then retreating with each cast. That was done to reach the hole and not get knocked over by the incoming waves. I fished near Andy who when I left hadn't connected, but was reworking his way down the beach as the tide ebbed.

     I had last plan in mind and took the ride north. Again, luckily, I found yet another honey-hole that ran along side some rocks. I caught two on the same Deceiver, but then decided to give a sand eel a try. It was a good call, even though I saw no signs of bait, birds, or swirls.

      I tied on a sand eel fly coupled with a Jim Matson Pulse Disc. If you have never tried one of these they give sick action to your fly, especially sand eel patters. The action is increased more on the outgoing tide, in a rip, or coming out of a trough. You can feel the movement as you retrieve or leave the fly swimming with the current. You can check out more on Jim's website at On my first cast I was hooked up to another little guy, and followed that up with another pair and a hickory shad. Not a bad day after all.

      My last stop as the rains came was at Big Monmouth. Didn't make a cast but did notice how much sand has been pulled back into the ocean. Hopefully, soon enough, that killer pocket will return in all of it's bait and bigger fish holding glory. I'm done until Monday, working tonight, and then off to Newport with my lady for Christmas in Newport. Luckily the fish will be gone from there and I won't have to be distracted and what's going on in the water as I enjoy the weekend, giving back a little to my wife who continues to be frustrated, but supportive, of this striped bass illness of mine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11.29.16 No one home for me.....

     Got out later than I wanted to but I think it would have been the same result. With hight tide around 730 getting out at 9 was fine. SE swell with a SW wind made for a south to north sweep on the beach. Fishy water that wasn't off color, yet, but couldn't find a fish or any bait.

     It was nice to be out with no one around except Andy who got a few on a Bomber. I threw big, medium and small flies. I tied on a Brad Buzzi sand eel and took a pic before I went to work with it towards the end. I figured I'd have a dry pic and then one with it sticking out of a bass' mouth. Wrong.

     I hit three groins and worked both sides before a 12 page paper that's due tomorrow called me home. It was fine because I was losing water quickly anyway. Made a few stops on the way home finishing up in the Hook.  I hope these guys are right about the sand eels and the herring and the great -later-than-this-date bite. I'm not feeling too confident, but it is nice to actually fish fishy water, and not just from a truck with binoculars in hand chasing birds. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

11.28.16 Wound up south....just kept driving

      I want to test my sand eel theory this morning. If they were on sand eels, and they were there, they would eat in the dark. Got on the rocks at 530 and quickly had a few strange hits. They were either the tiniest of bass, fluke, snappers, or, as it turned out hickory shad. I landed one on the rocks but couldn't get an image, slippery, feisty, and not cooperative. It was pretty out there and I left some friends to take a short drive south, or so I thought. Leif connected on a school using a small chartreuse and white Deceiver. 

     After a coffee and buttered roll I drove south, and kept going. When in Sea Girt I said to myself, "I'm almost in Ocean County anyway", I might have been because I don't know if Sea Girt is Ocean or Monmouth. I stopped in each town south of the Manasquan Inlet and had to smile when I came to a place I had fished before, one that Al had told me about when he fished years ago. If you know the place from the image below than that's cool.

     While I am no Ocean County beach expert I do know most of the access points so I stopped basically every where a beach buggy can access. I finished up as far south as I wanted to go and watched and waited, and waited. I saw a ton of bird activity north and south where I was but nothing happened between the rocks where I stationed myself.

     The birds where on the beach, and then up and out, when they did settle on a spot over the water, the buggy's would follow and so would the boats. It was a wait and see, or run up the beach for the guys on the sand.

     I stayed for a while, hoping to catch, so I could say I was in on one of the best fall runs down south here probably since 2011, but I didn't. On my way back north I found bunker on the beach with an hour left in the ebbing tide. I ran out and followed them down the beach without seeing a thing. In my hast I locked my keys in my truck, luckily I had an open back window to reach through and let myself in.

     Yesterday it was a new bait in sand eels, today is was mullet. Steve George posted the below pic on Facebook. I had heard, but doubted, that the mullet were still on the menu, but the proofs in the picture. Gonna be south wind which will drop the water temps and rainy the next few days. I'm up to the top of my waders this week in school work and am doing the graveyard shift at work, so, I might be done, for a little while at least, but I may go for a quick minute tomorrow at first light. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

11.27.16 Nice morning....few bait

     Pretty morning out there. 530 high tide so I decided to wade to the rocks and jump up. Quiet on top of the water outside of a swirl or a blowup or two in the pocket. Fished with Richie and we hammered them.....well we each got a trio of tiny bass and I got the pool winner at 25". When I saw the below fish I wondered what he was eating. Didn't think he was on peanuts, but either silversides or rain fish.

     I got a text from Leif who sent the below text....sand eels are here. That means you can fish and catch in the dark! Love sand eels. So I'll have to dig out some of my favorite patterns, which are Brad Buzzi's and get excited to fish before light again. Had to make church and a day with the kids so I cut it short but did drive north, finding only pods of bait with nothing on them.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

11.26.16 Ut-oh......Game, set, match?

     So yesterday my plan came together pretty well. For the most part, almost all of the part, I have no cell phone or radio network of people telling me where's it going at that moment. Later that night or the next day, yes, I do have have friends. But I am not part of a crew in that regard. So, any successes of finding my own fish makes it that much cooler. Yesterday was like that. 

     Last night Theresa and I had Joe and Suzanne over for a real nice dinner. Of course fishing came up, and the question, "Where you going tomorrow?". After telling my day story we decided to hit the boat, and I am glad we did. Even though it was Saturday and nice weather I was down. 

     We were at the ramp at 530 and was underway just as light arrived. Our first stop was the Hook and found northing so we went to Coney Island to snoop around. Not finding any birds or bait I made the call to head north into New York Harbor. It was really cool to be looking for bass around the Statue of Liberty and amongst the huge ships anchored up and traversing the channel. 

      We found some birds picking here and there and Joe saw a couple swirls so we stopped and started the drift on the outgoing. We had to be aware of the endless Staten Island Ferries that seemed to come every 10 minutes. I had a tug, a couple of guys trolling pulled a short, but it was quiet. 

     In the distance a large tanker was pulling into port and I could make out, by contrast, a ton birds against the black ship. As we neared closer it was a repeat of yesterday. Tons of birds first followed by bait showing and then nice sized bass on them. Well, today, we found the birds, and the bait was marked, but the bass? I almost wonder if it is over!!! 

     Joe and I found them and soon other boats did as well. Joe was the high hand and the pool winner with a 19, 19 incher. The average of our dozen fish was 17 inches. That is not good. You know what that means when the little guys start making their first migration, they're usually at the back of the bus. Yes, I know about the herring, and another body of fish, and sand eels, and I called it wrongfully a month ago. But, guys, she has started singing. The peanuts will pull the fish south, and there's nothing else to hold them here. I said it, I own it. 


     So besides the tiny fish, the seals are now here, that usually scares the bejesus out of the bass. Below are some images of the recent catches from Leif after the all out blitzes on the beaches. These are the mid to late December micros following the bigger ones. Look at the size, now I love all bass, especially young ones, but look at the last picture and the size of the bass and of the lure.

Photo by Leif Peterson
Photo by Leif Peterson
                                                                                 Photo by Leif Peterson

     This week I saw something funny on social media. It made me laugh but today I pulled the 
boat. See the Atlantic Highlands Marina shut off all their water so I have to take my boat to Long Branch on Route 36 to give her a good bath and then swing by my house to flush the motor, then go back to the marina. With, "It being over", and seeing the micros today and being caught on the beach, I am okay with my decision. I have paid my spring commission fees already and am boat #9 to be in the water the first week of April. Cold water bay and river fly fishing here I come, April 2017.