Sunday, December 31, 2017

12.31.17 Sad news before the end of the year.....

     On the last day of this tough year I got up to have a cup of coffee and watch the news. My heart sank when I learned of a Newark fireman in grave condition following a multi-alarm fire in the cities North Ward. It happened last night in a tire joint on Park Ave right near Summer and Bloomfield Avenues. It's a building I know, and may have a fire in myself when I was on the job. 

     Paul Leber is from 7 Engine and has been on the job 10 years. It sounds like evacuation tones were sounded and was separated from his men briefly and was found by his company and Rescue 1. He was brought to UMDNJ and transferred to Jacobi in the Bronx, I'm thinking for the hyperbaric chamber treatment. Godspeed Brother. 

    Each year has its highs and lows. This year we got hit hard a big low. The holidays have ben tough since Ryan's death. I miss my son greatly. Since he went to school and lived away from home I still catch myself thinking he's just away and will be returning soon. I hope 2018 brings health and happiness, and better striped bass fishing, to you and yours. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

12.19.17 Been awhile and it'll be awhile......

     It's been about 10 days since I was last out. Anglers up and down the coast have been having fun with the micro and schoolie bass as of late. They're chasing small bait and herring. Funny thing is the herring chasers are usually those fat footballs from 20" to keeper sized bass.

     I was excited to go but then got bored real quick. Incoming. Flat. Gin clear. Not signs of bait or birds. I started on the beach and then moved to Ryan's Rock. It's interesting when you spread a loved ones ashes somewhere and the connection you have with them and that spot. Ryan was never on that rock, nor on Phillips, but for me it is a place where I feel a connection. It was worth getting up from bed early for that.

     I fished for about an hour and managed two little guys. That's it for me. Lot going on. Tough holidays this year. Wrapping up school. Maybe a move in our near future. You never know where life is going to take you.

Friday, December 8, 2017

12.08.17 A few before the first snow.....

      Busy week and not much fishing. Seems like guys are chomping at the bit for things to change. There's more bait around and herring and maybe sand eels are close and keeping the little guys busy. I headed down tonight on the start of the incoming and landed seven in the near dark. There was just enough light around from the cloud hidden moon to feel like I wasn't fishing at night. Water was flat and I didn't see any sign of life so it was finding some spots with water and blind casting. 

     Sad news this week along the Jersey Shore as bigger water and wind claimed the life of Ronald Moore, 69. of Union, who was fishing Fisherman's Beach on Sandy Hook. Allegedly a wave had taken his gear off the beach and into the water and he went in to get it. A fellow fisherman witnessed it and alerted authorities who were able to locate his body but he was pronounced dead at Monmouth Medical hours later. RIP Ron. It could happen to any one of us. Very sad. 

Joe Pheiffer photo
     And Joe sent me this photo from a morning outing in real fishy looking water. Looks like he was using a sand eel imitation. I just wish there were fish the next size up to keep things interesting. A December fish thats bigger than 26" will probably be the pool winner. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

12.04.17 Back from the North Country....

     This past weekend we decided to have a change of scenery and headed up to my sisters house in Saranac Lake. The cool country air does the body, mind and soul good. Although it was quick it was nice to see my sister and her family and spend some time outdoors. Above is the view from one of the high peaks, well, not really, its Baker Mountain in Saranac lake.

     It was back to clinical and cramming in to meet the requirement for hours for this semester. After I went down to the ocean. It was just about dead low and it looked like the dead sea. Not sure what the large structure on pillars is off Deal but I am sure its up to no good. I gave it a go walking out on the bar but didn't get a tap. I planned on heading back out this evening in the dark.

     I got down around 5 o'clock and it was just past the mid-flood tide. The big moon and the E-SE wind had some bigger water and waves rolling in. I found a perch on the rocks and used a black and purple sand eel fly which I got eight to eat. The biggest was 24" which is this falls keeper-sized-prize. I have heard of some bigger fish, the 26-32", being caught down south. And I still am reading about 6-800 fish days on the Captree boats in New York. If that bait and those fish don't move then they will all be caught and kept, or gaffed and released.

    Rain and cold on the way so who knows what will happen. Seems like less and less anglers out until word hits when someone starts catching consistently, or a keeper is caught and posted online. Would be nice to have some bigger fish hit the beaches, at least up this way. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

11.30.17 Thought they'd chew....

     I thought I was done with the boat the other day. Work and clinical the last few days and off to Lake Placid to my sisters on Friday. Boat had to be out of the marina by tomorrow so I'd figure why not give it a shot. There's been good reports across the pond, and even over here.......

Well that stopped maybe yesterday. 

     Headed out wind against tide NE versus the outgoing. Sloppy ride through the rip and once out it got a bit better. Didn't see any birds working and not much for bait on top, but did mark a bunch. So I went from Sandy Hook to Highlands bridge to out about 2 miles to Breezy to Gravesend to Hoffman to West Bank to Keansburg....... not a touch. 

     So with that the boat season is over. I dropped it off at Gateway for winterization. In a way I am glad its over. I know longer have to think which way to go, beach or boat. While I think its over, like over, except for a straggler here or there, I will still give it a go from time to time. It makes me laugh to hear "of a ton of fish in Massachusetts" and "there's herring here now". Well I'm saying "it's over"- as far as the fall run is concerned. I hope you got at least one keeper sized bass this fall. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

11.27.17 This little guy was special.....

     So about 1 o'clock I got to the beach. I'll explain where I came from later, but when I got there it was a whole different planet. The water was flat, the sun was out, and it wasn't fishy looking at all. So I walked the beach, a lot of beach, throwing sand eel flies and Deciever's trying to get something to bite.

     It was getting time to get Erin from a school but as I reeled in I looked up and saw Phillips in the distance. Yep, Phillips Ave. Had a bunch of tough moments on those rocks. Shortly after Ryan's service I spread some of his ashes on one particular rock. It had been weeks since I stood on it and, even though I was tight on time, I decided to pay him a visit.

     It was the same flat boring water there also, and I spent some minutes thinking about him and playing Blackbird by Paul McCartney on my iPhone. After about a dozen casts I went tight after a long cast. It wasn't a big fish, but it was a fine fish, and the first fish I had caught standing on his rock since his death. It was a nice moment.

     So, I have been waiting to have one last boat trip. Due to scheduling this morning was it. The wind predictions were horrible, especially coming out of Raritan Bay. NW to 25 with an incoming tide. Well, I got wet as soon as I left the breakers. It was a slow ride out and I finally found the birds between Romer and West Bank. Tons of birds. I made my way near them and found the bunker, but didn't see a splash or mark a fish. Conditions were similar across the pond but, from what I hear, they had better results.

     Thinking they must be out, like three miles out I took the wet, shitty, sloppy, ride and marked some fish in tens of feet of water but between the wind against tide and the quick sets I didn't last long. As bad as it was, it got worse when I turned around and pointed myself to the dredge at The Rip. It took a long time to get there, and then even worse passing through and then turning the corner inside. When I got there the Coast Guard was waiting. I guess they figured one of us idiots was gonna need help.

     while I knew the afternoon would be great with the same wind and outgoing tide, I just couldn't do the later session. I would have loved to been out there, I bet it was good. The new ride is sweet, handles the boat great. Handles the ramp at near dead-low tide, okay.....thank God I'm a multi-chock kinda guy. wouldn't it just be my luck to sink my new truck?


Sunday, November 26, 2017

11.26.17 Guessin' somebody is hanging it up....

     Well, not sure if that angler forgot their waders or just hung it up for the season. People just waiting for something to happen. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I was surrounded by family and we did as good as we could. Not an easy first holiday for the gang. 

     It was work on Friday and clinical at the hospital on Saturday but I did get out for a bit after, right before high tide. It was cranking S wide and the swell and right to left sweep, well, sucked. I fished in two towns plus the hook for 2 hours and didn't get a tap. I'm thinking the little guys like the troughy low water. I switched up and went with a Brad Buzzi sand eel fly but got no takers as well. 

    There's been a constant, like guaranteed, schoolie bite that seems to happen at lower water or at first or last light mostly. Fly anglers have been breaking out the 6 or 7 weights and having loads of fun. Remember, especially with these smaller fish, to pinch down the barbs. Little guys taking bigger flies have the hook more into heads than lips. 

Leif Peterson photos

Thursday, November 23, 2017

11.23.17 Happy Thanksgiving.........

    Thanksgiving 2017. Mixed one for me. Ryan's passing has me bummed, but yet I am thankful for many things. Thankful to have had 21 years with him, although I wish there were more. I am thankful for my other children who challenge me and make me proud each day. I am thankful for things that matter, and leave the little stuff behind. To me, there is nothing bigger than your children, followed by family, and then friends. My job, house, truck, college, even fly fishing, doesn't matter in the end. However, for some reason, striped bass always seem to matter., lol. 

I wish all the readers here a very thankful Thanksgiving. 

    Back to fishing for a moment. I didn't go today, and won't go tomorrow , but I did go after work last night for 40 minutes. Birds working off the beach in the dark illuminated by the street signs. I got one, maybe 20 inches, that I didn't need to photograph as proof.

    My friend Suzanne had a nice outing during the light hours connecting on several nice fat fish that took sand eel patterns, I keep wondering if were gonna see that sand eel bite, which is usually best in low light, or from a boat. Got some friends that say the true fall run is over, I might agree. Yes, we may crush the schoolies and micros into December, but is anyone from the beach gonna get one that goes better than 30 inches??

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

11.21.17 Schoolie invasion.....

     Started at first light in a spot that wasn't looking promising so I took a short drive and settled in. Soon the bunker was just off the beach and the birds were working. A few boats stopped but I didn't see anyone hook up. Incoming tide, southish wind, right to left hard sweep. Landed five to 24 inches. 

     Well I switched teams. after having Dodges since I was 17 today I bought a Ford. My Ram 1500 needed a new owner, one willing to sink another thousand into it. Lately it was starting to make some funny front end noises, it was just time to bite the bullet. I found a 2014 F-150 that is SWEET!!! Now the payments begin. It rides like a luxury car. Big shout out to my wife who supported this all the way.

     After the hours at the dealership the sun was starting to set but I was really into fishing in the dark. Buddies had a real good day as the schoolies invaded up and down the county beaches. In the dark was no different. Since I emptied my truck I didn't have all of my stuff and I found a large black Snake Fly that I went to work with.

     I had a few tugs and when I hooked one it pulled my poorly tied know. I switched to a smaller black and green Deciever that got me a couple. Luckily Leif was in the area with one of his big-eyed flies in the right color combo for the dark. I landed eight fish to around that 24" mark. Would have loved to have stayed as I know it could have been a banner night. But it's back to work Wednesday and then turkey day and work Friday, so I'll miss out on the schoolie fun. One thing though, with no peanuts around, I wonder if these fish are on sand eels?

11.20.17 Short window....boring.....

     Went down. Mid-falling tide. Boring. You can have seen a crab fart. Water still off color. Only a few birds. The boys sent me some pics of fun with schoolies on light fly rods. Small fish can mean the end......

     I spent the day dealing with my truck....not sure what it means, but I'm contemplating switching teams.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

11.19.17 No fish but found some neat things....

     Got out a few times this weekend. Today at first light with the wind and rain. The rain passed but the winds honked the whole time I was out. Made stops and casts from Asbury to the Hook. Saw some birds out a bit at Monmouth Beach but they never came inside the surfers. 

    Found the above fishy spot down south yesterday and went back today but it was un-fly-rod fishable at least on the incoming. Its nice to find fishy spots and then go back and hook up in the same spot. It really is a different year than last year. Last year we were digging all the peanut bunker on the beach but not so much this year. I'm thinking that window has passed, I think the bait has emptied out of the bay for the most part. Last temps I had a Keansburg was 49 on the outgoing. 

    Some cool things I found were the two Leifs yesterday out enjoying some father and son time on the beach. It was nice to see, but it did leave me thinking of Ryan and all the missed opportunities we would have had in the future. That just sucks. It was dead low and I guess we were thinking  it would be a good time to walk out onto the bar and finding some bait and feeding fish. The wind went hard S and I didn't see anything. 

      After moving north yesterday I found some crew of future sharpies. It wasn't the first time I met them. Funny to see who has gear, who needs gear, and who needs to make out a list for Santa. One thing is these guys need some waders!! A mix of waders, Die-Hards, LL Beans, and Vans! Good to see the kids fishing.