Monday, July 31, 2017

07.31.17 I got dinner with a little, well big, help from a friend......

     Last night Leif invited some of the guys and the ladies over for dinner. It was a great night of good food, drink, and of course fishing. Leif had be convinced that August is, not might be, big fish month. We looked at the tides and the moons for the month and planned a trip for the overnight hours. 

    I was planning on getting up and on the beach around five, but at 224 am I was up thinking that it was the top of the tide, and, it's almost August so the big fish must be there. I left my truck at 308 am and was soon on the beach which was still lit from the moon on one side and the start of day on the other. I went black Snake Fly and jumped a nice fish, nice meaning just nice, and that was it until I got the text at 420 "Did you leave that watch with the second hand?" Shit. Theresa needed it for work. Not just to tell time, but to count people's last breaths. Last night asked about it and I SHOULD have just got it then like she said, so, it was a quick trip home and back to the beach. 

    It looked good when I got back there and I fished the Snake Fly, the "new and improved" AMC, and then a chartreuse Deceiver fly that I tied up. I didn't get a touch. As I was working my way back up the beach and then leave Ben showed up. Ben. Ben is like John Skinner, Jr. I remember the days before beach replenishment started. Ben would fish, either a fresh spot or one that someone had already picked through, and manage to catch multiple fish, usually at least one or more keepers.

    So I was tired and I said to myself, "If that fu%*er catches a fish I'm gonna push him in the water". Now I wasn't that far away and I watched as he let his rig fly. He started pumping and sure as shit he went tight to the below fish. I wanted to see it. One, because I couldn't believe he caught one in a spot I had fished three times over before he got there and two, because there just haven't been a lot of fluke around.

    As he walked back down to the water I asked him, "Are you gonna keep it?". He said yes he was just rinsing it off. I had already told him I had been out there since 3 am and didn't have a tap so I think he felt pity for me and offered it up, "I have plenty in the freezer". And with that I put it in my not-used-alot freezer bag and started to fish. He of course put on a clinic catching at least half a dozen to my zero. I had to walk away, thankful, but disappointed. 

    I continue to work on the AMC. I tied up one that is starting to look a little closer to the real thing. I get it. You have to tie a million of them, and then fish and catch on them before you can really call it a pattern. The natural is off color because it is all dried up, the darker gray color on mine fades after a little time in the water, kind of matching the natural. 

    I went and got Erin and she wanted to know more about the crab fest from the other day. As we talked I said, "You want to go check it out?" Even though it was low tide she still squeaked a few out, including one soft shell that I hurried home and fried up. Those things are good, but this one was a little too thick and juicy...honestly I almost gagged on one inside bite.

     Theresa wanted to shoot me because I woke her up on the way out....I have to plan a strategy for tomorrow morning.........

Saturday, July 29, 2017

07.29.31 Could have done without the 40 mph winds.....

   Honky, honk. If they said gusts hit 50 today along the beach I wouldn't doubt it. Damm near knocked me off the rocks. It was a N/NE wind that made things suck. Couldn't really cast but out a bit and to fish the wind protected south sides of several groins was for naught because theres no water there. Summer south winds = shoaled up south sides. 

     There wasn't a lot of water anywhere in fly rod distance, and, there was a ton of grass in the wash, on top, underneath, everywhere. I started with a black Snake Fly just as light arrived and had good hopes but about killing myself over a few beaches I went to the AMC. 

     I'm gonna get that AMC (mole crab) fly right. I know there have been a plethora of other mole crab imitations out there, that all catch fish, but I am hell-bent on creating one that is a mirror image and when fished like a sand flea will get the bass when nothing else will do. Problem is I'm not

there yet. I did soak, yes it's soaking, an AMC on a nice little current along the rocks but didn't get a tap. But, here's my prediction, I am catching a bass early Monday morning on one. Promise.

     Here's what I have to date, and will go back to the vise with a once live one that I took home to nail it just right. Interesting thing is the color.....have to work on that.

Friday, July 28, 2017

07.28.17 I ruined a lot of guys "afternoon delight" this afternoon.....

     Got out of work early because of the summer census and before picking up Mom I decided to give a wood wall and some pilings a look. I keep the nets and the bushel in my truck because  Erin and I love to hunt crabs this way.   I stayed for 60 minutes and got 38 keeper males, which included two soft shells, and threw back the smalls and the females. Most of the crabs came in twos as they were getting busy, if you know what I mean. I hope at least the boys got to finish.

    Once home Lauren helped me in the kitchen and it was a few softies, corn on the cob and the rest a good old pot of steamed crabs with lots off butter. I guess it was like walking into a blitz on the beach, only happens a few times a year and I was lucky to be there.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

07.27.17 Graveyard shift, made some bait, keep digging, crabs are in......and Mom's good!

Thanks for all the questions about Mom, she's banged up but doing good. She's a trooper!

     Worked another 7p-730am night shift. Was able to spend some time on the vise during my break. Flies came out okay, and swam just okay when I got to the beach 10 minutes after clocking out. They looked good during one retrieve and then fouled on another, not consistent. Like big Bob told me one day, "Flies that foul don't catch fish".

     But I continue to work on the "AMC" fly, "Archer's Mole Crab", and it's getting better. Found a hook I like that gives a good gap. I'm making the shells a little wider and cutting down on the material on the underside. While the fluke have ate them I can't get a striper to be tempted by my imitation. One day when I least expect it.......BAM!!

     The heavy machinery is soon pulling of the beach as the outflow projects from Long Branch to Asbury Park are complete. Today an excavator worked to dig out the pocket, don't know why but I was digging, no pun intended, it. Soon the beaches will all be open and ready for the mullet coming from north to south.

     And finally, another Erin pic, this time with a crab from the Navesink. We went on a scouting mission and we found them and had fun netting them from the pilings and boat motors. We had a blast last year and I look forward to catching it just right and filling up a bushel.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

07.26.17 Missed the beach but had a great day with Erin.....

     Hit the snooze button and missed first light on the beach. Just as well because after getting Mom settled back home me and my partner hit the bay. It was tough but at least we caught a few things. We've been out a few times and just can't seem to find them. Spent a few hours in the bay in the shallows of both states and in the deep water in between. Luckily we found a mid-trip dogfish which kept Erin in the game. She is not a fluke fisherman, and probably not a bluefish or striper jigger either. She likes to cast and retrieve, and at times fly fish. 

   We did some long drifts and looked for bottom that dropped off and changed, and each pass was nothing. We found a ton of bait just before coming and we each landed one, but both were short, one by less than a half and inch. Catching doesn't always matter, but it does help to pass the sport along when they see what its all about and learn about this great sport. 

     Erins also coming along nicely as first mate both on the water and back on land. She's eager to pitch in and help. I keep my boat spotless and mechanically tight. Teaching her such care of things will hopefully help her understand that not everything in this world is just disposable or replaceable, and that if this boat goes there probably won't be a new one replacing it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

07.25.17 Just trying something.....

     Didn't fish this morning as I was tending to my mom who took a nasty spill. When I got to the scene it looked like she had been shot in the back of the head and the cops were guarding a homicide 


scene. My Mom's cool. She's the best. We're buds. I had invited her over for a burger and beer but I had no beer and was in the mood for a Smithwick's. Always a good soldier she stopped, picked up a six-pack, paid, and left the store and POW! Down she went. We spent the night at the Monmouth Medical ER. Kudos to Russ the nurse and the doc who helped and stitched her up. I'll be out tomorrow. 

      So today while keeping an eye on her I went over my gear. This entire year I have been fishing an Orvis Clearwater 9 foot 10 weight. It's their mid-level rod that goes for $225, you can see it HERE. Now with the "cheaper" rods the way they get the price down is by, well giving you less quality. Not bad quality, just less quality. The cork, the guides, the wrap, all in a different league than the Recon or Helios series. 

     One of the first things I noticed that goes is the cork. While the Helios rods have tight corks, the Clearwater rods corks come new and appear to be solid, however they re not. In no time the filling starts to come out and it tends to look like corn-on-the-cob that's been picked through. Once that goes, then the strength of the cork goes and the first few rings will eventually weaken and split. 

     I have sent a Clearwater back to get the a new cork put on, but now Orvis is sticking to their $30 repair ticket when you send a rod back. So, I decided I'd try my own repair. I found some JB Weld at The Home Depot and gave it a go. I filled in all the cork, well overfilled, and let it dry for the most part ( I could have waited longer).

     It was tough sanding the stuff out and not all of the filler stuck, but it did appear to in the biggest voids. While it ain't pretty, it's functional, or it looks that way. We'll see what the saltwater does to it. In the end it might just be worth the $30 to Orvis.

Monday, July 24, 2017

07.24.17 Nice to get one after the rain and lightning.....

     Out the door at 415am and the sky was light up from time to time with lightning bolts with thunder and hard rain. Thought about turning around and going back to bed but had to give it a go. Had to sit in my truck for about an hour sipping coffee and rolling my back Snake Fly in my fingers chomping at the bit. I'll do rain, and even lightning way off in the distance but this front was rolling right through.

     At about 540 light started to come and the rain shut off and it looked to be safe out there. I had the place to myself and connected on one in big water before Richie hit the sand. Tough conditions on that incoming tide, hard to cover all parts of the water column as the tide built up. Had to time the swells to keep the fly in the zone before it would get pushed back on the beach or along the rocks. Love snotty weather fishing, felt like a fall morning.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

07.23.17 Dropped a nice fish in the dark and a Roosevelt update.....

     Last night I called the fly, and had the spot in my head, and at about 440 am I got hit by a freight train about 3/4 of the way out on the groin. Started the process of working my way back to the beach to land the large bass and just as I got to the beach end and made the turn I felt me lose pressure. And you know what that means, coupled with a barbless hook, another one that got away story. Had another one one and lost that one two but I never even got the hook set.

     After fishing and moving to a different spot and coming up blank Leif and I drove to check out an old haunt. They're in full pipe building mode north of Whitehall after finishing the Poplar Brook pipe. Takanasee is already complete so hopefully by the fall they'll be gone.

     And just for some reassurance, the flat ones do eat the mole crabs, sand fleas, mimicked by the "AMC". Just haven't been able to connect on one the last few outings. The photo was taken by Gerry Fabiano who had some good keepers this past week.

Gerry Fabiano photo