Thursday, June 29, 2017

06.29.17 A quick 30 minutes after the final.....

     Yep, exactly 30 minutes. That's how long I gave myself. I finished up the class strong nailing a 90 on the final exam and a perfect score on the assessment demonstration, which didn't include another prostate and gynecological exam. Got down and no one was on the beach, why? Because is was blowing dead straight south at about 30. It was like an Iraq sand storm. There was a SE swell and between the two it was hard getting down to the perfect ebbed trough conditions. I did manage one sundial, but 30 minutes comes quick.

06.29.17 It's been a good week to be busy....

     Finishing up with one of two summer classes today. Another final exam, another few days of studying and stress. This one is both written and demonstration. It'll all be over before 430 this afternoon.

     It's been a good week to be busy. Not digging the lake effect on the ocean and the dead low tides happening around first light. Next week should be better as I'll have some more time and there will be some water around in the morning. Mondays high tide will be at 330am and first pokes its head out about an hour later. Somewhere, at that time, some bass have to be looking around for a late snack or early breakfast.

Monday, June 26, 2017

06.26.17 I think this'll work......"Archer's Mole Crab"

     I'm always trying to think like a fish. Where are they swimming and what are they eating. Summer months fall between the bunker of the spring and mullet, sand eels, and peanuts of the fall. In between and mixed in are the small anchovies, silversides, crabs, and young of the year spike weakfish, snappers, and shad. Mole carbs, aka sand fleas or sand bugs, are a go too meal when there's not much swimming and fish are rooting around in the troughs and along the beach. 

     While crab fly patterns can work for both small traditional crabs and mole crabs, I wanted to design a fly specific to the bugs. I've never really came up with a pattern, usually taking a little from this design and that one, and then mostly butchering it up. But this one is mine, at least I think it is. It's not perfect just yet, and isn't a guaranteed fish slayer, but I think on those days when the surf is a little rough and the mole crabs get dislodged from the beach scarp it'll work. 

     I tied up a variety of the pattern and swam them down on the beach this morning. I got there at 530, which was hard to do after getting home at 1am from the Dead and Company concert last night in Camden. What a show. It was Theres's first show and we had a great time, John Mayer and the boys just crushed it. Great set lists and the crowd was pumped, as was Bobby Weir. 

    The shell on the fly is foam, which means it floats. I started with an intermediate line and the fly was subsurface but nit where I wanted it. I switched over to a 300 gr sinking line and with the start of the incoming it put the fly right where I wanted it. It was tough, W wind, not much wave action, and not much water. I tied them up on 1/0 and 2/0 hooks and prefer the 2/0 because there's more of a hook gap between the point and the foam shell. I used a marker to color it grey, and after some time in the water the darker color becomes light which is more colored like the natural. 


     In no time the flat ones were on it. Sundials coming up into the waves to eat it and the below fluke grabbing it as the fly drifted in the trough. I didn't get a striper, which was the bar I set for the success of this fly, because sundials and fluke will usually grab and crabby looking fly dragged along the bottom.

     After a bit I walked the beach to see if there was any other small bait that washed up on the tide that the fish may be eating. Every now and again sand eels are washing up, nice ones, like 4 inches. I found the below mess left by some irresponsible beachgoers. I can see dropping something by accident, but to throw a party and just leave it all behind is sad.

     It's the push this week as I finish up yet another class at Monmouth, that'll just leave me one to finish up through the summer. With school and work this week the "Archer's Mole Crab" testing and tweaking phase will have to wait. It's okay, because I'm not feeling these dead-low-first-light tides anyway.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

06.25.17 Nice, but should have been better.....

     I picked Joe up at 0345 and we headed south. We were in the water as the tide start to flood and the ocean came over the bar. I had one blow/swirl on a black Snake Fly early and then nothing worked the beach and the pipe. I switched over to the crab fly and went to work on the flat ones landing half a dozen sundials and one fluke.

     If you have never fished a crab fly in the ocean then put it on your to-do list. There's more then just throwing it out there and retrieving. You need to find good moving water, need to get it down, and need to retrieve it in a way that looks like a dislodged crab. The bass and fluke love them. 

     It's summertime and those annoying beachgoers (kidding) love to walk on the beach. If they don't know the you're fly fishing, and what it entails, and you don't know their walking tight to the water you will not get skunked that day! Watch your time and your backcast.

     While it's no spot burn, the beaches south of Jetty Country had been replenished and groins notched a few years ago. If you want to see what a true notched jetty looks like, with plenty of moving water on the beach end then take a ride south and give it a look. It looks different and fishes differently.

     And lastly, I developed a fly that I'll be going live with soon, maybe tomorrow. While crab flies, especially Joe's, that I've caught probably over 30 fish on, is great, it doesn't match all the crab hatches that are out there.
     I was truing to come up with materials that would work and I looked no further than my dog and her bushy tail so something to work with. I couldn't wait to get in front of the vice and tie up a few prototypes to field test before sharing it with you. Just a preview, the name is going to be- "Archer's Mole Crab". Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

06.24.17 Dark, light, rain, sun, lightning, run, incoming, outgoing, 0430, 1000.....

     This post will kind of be all over the place. Was up and out at 0330 hitting WaWa before jumping on the Parkway south. Had a plan starting south and working my way north. By the time I geared up and tied on a fly it was 0428am. There was light, just enough to see that there wasn't a lot of water in yet. No water, no fish. 

     Maybe I should have stayed on waited for the water, and fish, to move in because an un-named friend got two nice fish probably about 2 hours into the tide. I couldn't wait so I wracked my brain 
Not my photo

thinking of a few spots where more water would be moving around the rocks. It was nice enough early with the sun poking out in front of me and clouds forming behind me. I went with the sand eel fly, then went with a black Kinky Muddler, then a crab fly. Didn't do anything but three sundials on the crab fly. The wind was S, SW, E, and then W as I finished up. As time went on light arrived and

ominous clouds, winds, and rains showed up. Getting wet was fine but I kept the lookout for lightning, which did eventually show as it started to monsoon. As I made my north it was nice to find some Johnny-On-The-Spots on the boardwalk. That's one nice thing about the summer months, there's always a bathroom of some type a town or two from where you're fishing. I guess there was mention of a possible tornado running through Howell up to parts of Middletown. I can tell you it was nasty as I fished through the rain and lightning. I know stupid, but I made quick casts. 

     One thing of note. Someone please tell the Army Corp that having huge runoffs just emptying onto the beach won't do much good. It floods the beach, but, what it does do, is cut a swath down to the ocean. And what that does is give the beach a low spot where the big water or incoming tide can run up and then pull sand out. The Roseld pocket will be back soon!!! It's only a matter of time until the water hits the sea wall and you won't be able to pass from Roseld to Brighton, just like in the good old days. 

     And lastly lets talk bait. It's summer and the young of the year baits are starting to show. Either I have or my friends have seen, picked up, saw thrown up, or snagged a variety of fluky and bassy treats. Mole crabs, Asian crabs, shedders, sand eels, silversides, and maybe tiny bunker or shad. It's what's for breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight snack and those are great fly rod imitation baits. 

Leif Peterson photo
Leif Peterson photo
Paul Eidman photo

      Just wanted to share a few good fish pics from friends this past week. Joe's crabs are catching nice fluke in addition to nice bass when you can catch rooting around the troughs. Gerry finished up nicely

Joe Pheiffer photo
in Martha's Vineyard on Friday getting it done with fish over 30 inches in beautiful weather. I can honestly say that even though I just got back from the MV trip for 2017 I can't wait to go next year. Next year will be better for me, my classes end in May and I don't start up until September 2018, then it's a easy slide to graduation. BTW, my truck needed a new water pump, new power steering pump, and the six foot long belt that powers everything.......$852.00.

Gerry Fabiano photo
     And lastly, I checked out the barometric pressure this morning. Usually most days it says Good or Very Good but today with it at 29.65 it was poor, and for me it was. More on pressure and fish in a later post.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

06.22.17 It's okay to be home again.......

     I had to ask. "Baby, I know its pushing it but can I go fishing tomorrow morning?. Answer, "Sure".
Before I left for the Vineyard Joe Pheifer had gave me a crab fly to use. I remember seeing Bill Massey and Bill Hoblitzell using crab flies in the summer months and I never really gave it a shot with any heart. I always thought of them for sight fishing but not in the bigger surf.

This morning I filled up the truck with water and was down by 5 am. I came out firing throwing a nice white Hollow Fleye working the beach and rocks without a tap. I saw Richie who said "We have great water and tides all week, then you came home". He told me the fish have been reddened or bleeding under their jaw, a sign that they are rooting around for food.

Joe Pheiffer photo
     Not getting a tap and just as the tide turned I put on a Joe's Crab Fly and went to work. Cast, slow retrieve, bam. I landed three nice bass and had Andy in the area who took a few picks. One thing that's nice is fishing crab flies takes the quick casts and fast retrieves away and makes it nice and slow and slightly more technical. It made me feel okay to have be home from the Vineyard. 

     One thing is different about crab flies in the surf or trough, the bass hit it like a train, inhale it, and can take it deep. Make sure you have a pair of longer hemostats to safely remove the hooks, and crush the barbs otherwise you';; make them bleed as you try and jam your fist in their throat to remove your fly. 

     Truck update. Looks like a water pump, power steering pump, and the long belt that powers everything. Should be up and running tomorrow.