Wednesday, May 31, 2017

05.31.17 I don't know what's worse.......

Leif Peterson photo
Leif Peterson photo
  So I get home from work and share with Theresa  these Upper Delaware photos that I've been getting from Leif the last few days. Nice scenery, big fish, and March Browns!!! My favorite hatch. As she scrolls she sees and open invitation for me to join him. I wasn't working Wednesday and my next "thing" is class on Thursday at Monmouth University at 430. Mmmmm...... So what does a great wife say ?. "You should'll be up there by 11pm and can fish all day tomorrow and Thursday morning and come home for class".

                                                 But wait....... is this real or is it a set-up?

Leif Peterson photo

     Sometimes I don't know whats worse a spouse that tells you you can go fishing or one that tells you you can't. I actually talked myself out of it. I had school work. I have to pick Erin up from and take her to school. I have a lunch date with my daughter on Thursday. It'll cost too much money. But finally, the deciding factor was, if I wasn't going to Martha's Vineyard in 16 days I would have went. Enough with the dumb fishing already.....reality check. 

Besides the stripers are going to be in good tomorrow morning.

     So I text Richie with my prediction for this morning. It says it all. I was confident. 

    So I wake up at 350 am before the alarm that was set for 410 goes off. I am out the door and on the beach at 430. Two hours left in the ebb tide. On cast number three I held it just a tad longer just in case something in the trough was interested.....nope. By about 30 minutes later I knew my prediction was wrong.......dead wrong. I fish hard big flies and little flies and not even a tap. Rich and Andy were out and nothing for them. I ran into Greg and Morgan with the fly rods and Morgan landed one before I got there. I found sweet water all day, good-moving-should-be-fishy water but not a nothing. 

     I left around 630 and headed north checking some spots as I went. After coffee I thought about waiting for the river to go slack but made my to the Hook. The east wind has been depositing mans waste and debris up and down the Jersey Shore for days. I'm tired of walking through garbage on the beach. When speaking with Greg about their trip to the Cape for the Cheeky Schoolie Tournament he said, besides all the fish, was the fact they saw no garbage in or near the water wherever they fished.

     Still wondering if my total prediction was wrong, I decided sitting at the Sea Bright bridge to go straight and not make the right towards home. I was back, the water had been coming in for two was gonna be good. Forget it. Walked and fished and fished and fished until 1100 and then I gave up. I shoulda went to the Catskills.........

Monday, May 29, 2017

05.29.17 Had to wait the big water out......

Today I remember and paused and gave thanks to all the service men and women who gave for life for the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States of America....

     Slept in today and enjoyed the early morning with the wife having coffee and breakfast at Brennan's before I'd give it a shot with two hours before high tide. Well, I was about an hour too late. The incoming surf was huge and with the E wind you couldn't fish the north or south sides. I gave it a 

     look a little south and found super bassy water that was fly fishable but had no takers. With the east wind and the north pocket I put the fly into my back a least six times. I had Mike from Facebook fishing the same water with a variety of spinning offerings, including a bucktail, but he did get anything either. That may have changed after we parted. One nice thing to see was the pocket returning to Allenhurst. It won't take long until things once start looking familiar again. 

     One not nice thing to see, at least it made me nervous, was the below boat white-knuckling it north along the beach. Don't know if he just got caught out there or what, but it was sporty and I watched him as he tried to steer his boat on the big incoming waves. Hope he made it home safe. 

     I was in my truck heading north and I looked at the tide chart to see what time the tide flipped. I decided to wait it out and I'm glad I did. Shortly after the tide flipped I was able to get along the groin and have some action for about an hour. Landed three fish, dropped two, and missed a bunch in the big water. Had them leaving the water for a bit as they were on something but couldn't make out what the were eating. I threw bigger bunker Hollow Fleyes but that 35 inch fish I was hoping for wasn't home. Good fun. Love big water. Glad I stayed.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

05.28.17 Summer starts at the Jersey Shore....

     Its "get down and fish before the beachgoers show up" season. Well got down "late" at 530 and it was still dead low an hour after dead low, and it didn't get better as the slip drip of water filled some spots in. It was torture.....just waiting for the hatch that never comes. We need some stormy weather to bring some nice sized fish onto the beach.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

05.27.17 "Shoulda been here yesterday....."


      Not what you want to hear when you've been on the beach since 430 and haven't got a hit in two hours. Yesterday was good on the beach with keeper sized bass both morning and evening. Joe scored the below 31" fish during the afternoon shift. I was at work the last two days and went back to school this past week so Mondays and Thursdays it's class 430 -1000.

Joe Pheiffer photo
     As always I'm hopeful. I knew that low water was around 430 am and it would take some time for it to fill and hopefully bring some bass with it. I found a neat set of tracks on the sand and when I

looked up five deer were going for a first light walk. I fished over a few beaches before being joined by some friends. I decided to pull a Lief- "if you stand in one spot long enough something will swim by and bite". I did just that settling in on a groin that was filling in nicely. I managed one micro bass and it never got going where I was. The boys had some fish breaking on bait a beach away but I wasn't in on it. I did join them later because I was lonely and picked up another whopper at 16 inches.

     It's been a tough last month for me with the fly rod. All my friends, both fly and spin, have had their shots at or landed keeper sized bass but that skunk continues for me. The only saving grace is they don't seem to catch when I am there, which helps my mental well being just a little bit.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

05.24.17 Just about an hour too late.....

     My wife could tell something was on my mind around 3 o'clock. She asked, "What's up? You want to go fishing again don't you". "Well, it has been good in the afternoon......", I replied. And she answered, "Then go". Zoom....I was gone.

    I figured I'd be down there with about three hours left on the incoming which would be perfect. However, when I got there the surf was huge already. The SE swell and the E wind had it rolling. If I was there about an hour earlier I would have had a good fly rod shot. The guy above was a little braver than me. He put on a SP Minnow clinic landing at least 10, several keeper sized. The fish were leaving the water and I just couldn't get a fly to them. It was frustrating because when you're with the fly rod you have to pick your spots that you can effectively fish, and that might not be where the fish are. 

     When I saw the surf I decided to break out the Orvis H2 11wt, that teamed up with the Depth Charge 350 gr, is my favorite big water setup. On my second stop I almost got swept from the beach end of the notched groin to the north side as a big south side wave came around and caught be off guard. It was impossible to get the fly past the breakers and get up on the rocks wasn't an option.

     I made a move to a place that I thought I'd have a good shot at. Forget it. It was here that I experienced near miss number 2. Again the south side sweep got me and made me take a giant step forward and my foot fell deep into the soft sand as it got eroded around the now exposed rocks. I did catch something. In the top of the water column I caught an SP Minnow. If my 11wt could have handled it I would have thrown it. With high tide about an hour away I knew things weren't gonna change until the outgoing. As I was reeling in Leif came to relieve me on that beat. I told him "8 o'clcok""..........I"m  thinking I;ll be getting a text sooner or later.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

05.24.17 Why always the drama?

iPhone 7 Plus in.......Diver down! Why, why, why. All I wanted to do was just get the boat wet, ride around a bit, and figure maybe catch a bluefish. Seems simple, right? Well not if you're me. Let me start out with this morning. I know it's been a evening bite on the beach but one of these days a few good fish will wake up hungry, I was hoping today was that day. Did my dark fly thing and ended up with a trio of tiny bass. Switched over to my one-eyed secret weapon and got the best fish of the morning while out on the rocks. Took a walk to fish some other rocks but didn't get a tap. Before leaving I mugged Richie who had some big bluefish and I pulled another baby out. 

     Yesterday I got my package from Andrew at the Orvis Marlton store. I had ordered the wrong line weight, 250 gr, after it snapped last week on one of those big river blues. I like the Depth Charge 300 and 350, and yes, to me, the 50 gr difference makes a difference. I was all packed up last night for this years maiden voyage. After the beach I put her in and snapped the below picture, in less than a minute from that I was staring down into the abyss as my iPhone 7 Plus

drifted down to the bottom and out of sight. I thought about stripping down and diving in on the half ebbed tide, but I looked and looked for 40 minutes. It was gone and I was sure that the bogus Otterbox, which seems to let moisture and water in during a rain when it's in my StormR  jacket would be no match for the brine water. I figured thats done, let me go out and ride around. I went out front. I came back close and drifted the rip near the party boats that were anchored and chunking. Then I motored over to where a lighthouse once stood and found bunker heaven just nothing on them. There were a few boats also chunking but nothing came over the rails.

     But my mind was on my iPhone. Maybe at dead low I could reach down and pick it up and at least I would have it. I knew exactly where it was. So I got back to the dock at 1130 and looked down, down into water that was 4 feet lower then when I dropped it. I still couldn't see it. I went over to the dock guys garage and asked if they had a net. They gave one that was about 8 feet long. This would be easy, I'll just dredge it up. Well, that would be fine but the problem was the water there is still about 12 feet deep. I leaned way over and held onto the cleat enough to just brush the bottom. I felt it, but couldn't get it.

     Then I heard an angels voice over me. "Hi, are you looking for something?" I turned and saw her silhouette, and then I saw her, standing there in a wetsuit. Her name was Donna, Donna the Diver as I came to think of her.  She was a commercial diver there working getting the marinas moorings set. They were watching me from the control tower and she felt bad and wanted to help.

She got her tank, her flag, her flippers and gave it a hard try. The problem was I dirtied up the water and she had poor visibility. She went down about a half a dozen times and on the second to last one she said, "Sorry I can't find it", but I was so indebted because of her efforts. She said, "Let me give it one more shot". She went down, and up she came with my iPhone, and she held it I could see the screen was lit up. How lucky am I? But more importantly how nice is Donna the Diver.

Monday, May 22, 2017

05.22.17 Time for the Clousers......

      I'll get to that fly in a bit. Got down to the water in the dark and decided to wait for some light so I went through my flies and made sure all the barbs were pinched. It was the start of the exiting water, SE wind, raining, and not much for white water. As usual started with the black Deciever and had a couple of small fish. Then I went to my secret weapon.

     Last night I decided to tie up a few flies. It was late. I was tired. And I just suck sometimes at fly tying. My goal was to make a few utility flies. Some that will catch fish, won't kill me if the blues get them, and keep my nice flies (usually bought from expert tyers) nice for those days when I know the fish are on. I have noticed I rely too heavily on the Clear Cure Goo and don't finish my flies right at the head. That makes your flies look not like anything at all that resembles a baitfish.

     I decided to give a Hollow Fleye, a small one, a try, and I thought it was going good until I gave it a bath and let it sit. It just didn't look right. So I decided to say %$*& it and put some of those big craft store bought eyes on it. Well, they were too big for the fly but I decided to go with it.

It only took a few casts before I was back at the nursery school picking at little fish. I decided to move off the rocks and fish the beach to get away from them but nothing else bit. After a walk it was onto another set of rocks where the big fluke on top ate it just as I was taking the fly from the water. I'll have to remember to find some or tie some Clousers and put them in my sling pack. It took me a while but I realized, while my fly may look hideous out of the water, it swam pretty cool in it. But after 1,000 casts the one eye came apart so I decided to feed it to some bluefish.

     I went to the river and found all the bait you wanted but didn't find the blues. It was hard not to snag the bunker no matter where in the water column the fly swam. I'll be back at the vise perfecting swimmy flies and this time I won't use the acrylics, nor the eyes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

05.21.17 Beautiful colors out there this morning.....

     Nice colors and light show this morning. Hoping to find some of the bigger fish that seem to work the 3-11 shift. Got down and was on the beach at 445 am. The moon was still in the same frame as first light. Went with a tandem fly set-up in black and quickly started getting small bass. After that I 

went bigger back to the bunker fly thinking bigger bait maybe a bigger bass. I didn't get a touch on the bigger offering but as soon as I went to a Clouser the small fish bite started again. Not wanting

the tiny fish action I left for work a few minutes earlier than I had to. I am hearing reports up and down the coast about the amount of micro to schoolie sized bass that anglers are catching. That is a great sign. I am sure those fish get hammered to by seals, bluefish, sharks, and maybe even bigger bass. Lief found one after I left, like he usually does.

Lief Peterson photo

Saturday, May 20, 2017

05.20.17 Little love after work.....

     Got up way early before work and hit the beach. When I got there I realized I had leaned my fly rod on my truck and forgot to put it inside. A quick 515am call home and luckily it was still there in the street and hadn't been run over. I tied on a Andrew Warshauer hollow on my Hydro 7wt Upper Delware streamer rod and gave it a go. Crankin' NW wind had me fishing the south side. I had one good fish on but it unbuttoned in the trough. My work day ended at 4 so I ran down and caught the start of the ebb tide. The wind had swung around blowing E and with the big white water things were looking good.

     I felt like I was trout fishing. Flossed a few. Missed a few. Had a long distance release. Landed two. Funny thing is I have never missed so many fish as of late. I first thought they were bluefish biting the end of the fly, but I saw them they were bass. The bite, at least steady hits, lasted for about a good hour before it died as the water left. It was good to get out, stay put for awhile, catch some fish, but mostly, I enjoyed fishing the big water.