Monday, September 25, 2017

09.25.17 Hate to have to share this news.....

August 27, 2017
You all know that this blog for me was more than fly-fishing. Over the years I have shared both professional and personal, maybe too much, with you all here. Today I write the hardest blog post yet.

     Early Saturday morning my son Ryan took his own life, after having a great day on Friday with as many members of his family as his could be around. I took the above photo on June 22, 2016. It was a great evening. He caught one fish, and that was it. While fishing is my thing, and something he grew out of during adolescents, his real passion was music and reading, and most of all learning.

    The stages of death and dying is a process that we're as family and friends starting to experience. I will question, deny, be angry, be distraught, but will always love my first born son who arrived August 18 1996.

    Ryan's service will be at John Day Funeral Home, Red Bank, Wednesday 5-9. A memorial mass will be Saturday 1215 at St James Church, followed by a kick-ass send off at Downtown on West Front Street from 1-4

    In lieu of flowers a scholarship fund has been established at Rowan University in his name for two students, one that shared his passion for physics, and one for literature. Donations in his name can be made to....

Rowan University Foundation
c/o Ryan Archer Scholarship Fund
Steen Hall
201 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, NJ 08028

    My buddy Joe asked, as so many of you have, if there was anything he could do. I asked him to take me fishing Sunday morning. When I got to the beach this is what it looked like. It was beautiful but somehow I was drawn to the clouds and the colors. I felt something. I guess I was just reading into and hoping for a sign.

    I decided to step back and sit and take in the sunrise and watch the flooding tide roll in. I wished he could have sat with me one last time and I could have shared with him how I felt about him and that he could do this. But, then I felt a peace, for a moment, that he was at peace.

     I have-heartedly tossed a fly up and down the beach. Didn't see any bait or birds. The waters still dam near 70. Fall is delayed this year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

09.20.17 Imagine is this was allowed in New Jersey?????

     While in Newport this past weekend I spent some time surfing Craigslist on my iPad. I typed in "striped bass" looking to find any fly fishing or cool books, paintings or mounts that might be on sale. I was shocked to find an add for a couple of striped bass for sale. I thought it was a joke, but then remembered Massachusetts has some kind of crazy private/commercial fishery for striped bass. I guess with a permit and on certain days regular old folks can enjoy the sport and make a few bucks. Imagine if every boat owner in the New York/ New Jersey area wants to cover costs or just make a few bucks while hobbying? 

     Somehow, somewhere, people are actually defending this practice. I guess I have a lot to learn about what happens with the fishery in other states. Between this, and seeing what's happening in New England with striped bass, like in The Canal and around Block, my hopeful move to Newport is going to be an eye opener and a gut wrencher. 

     As far as Jersey. I always enjoy rushing out the day after coming back from striper fishing somewhere else for a few days. Monday was no change. I got down with an hour left before high and two days before Hurricane Jose. It was basically un-fly rod fishable, at least with any effectiveness. I gave it a go on the south side of a few groins and dm near lost my life getting pushed down into the sand as the water rushed down the scarp and turned me sideways. 

     I wonder what things will look like after Jose, and then Maria. Might have kiboshed any kind of mullet run this fall. There's lots of bait in he bays and rivers and that will be making it's way out later this fall. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

09.15-17.17 Love Newport....

     Theresa and I had a great weekend up in Rhode Island. Got a little later start then we planned but that put us in place for a lunch stop in New Haven for the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria. We pulled into town around 4 and made the loop around Ocean Drive looking for and signs of life before checking in. We stayed at the Marshall Slocum Inn, HERE, on Kay Street, a place I have been coming to since

1993. If you like a casual bed and breakfast with comfortable rooms and a great breakfast then I highly recommend it. The inn is near the Viking Hotel and close enough to walk to town but far enough away from the crowds and noise.

     On night one we ate at Stoneacre Brasserie, a new place that went in where Yesterday's used to be. We sat at the bar with the owners of Bouchard's, the best French restaurant in town, and had a great time. The restaurant opened this week so there was a bug about the place. We hit the usual spots, Scales and Shells, where the night just didn't go as planned. Busy, less then enthusiastic bartenders, wine with too much sulfites that sent me off into a dam near anaphylactic reaction, but strip scampi that was good as always. Brick Alley was great for one lunch and Caleb and Brown for the other. And Wickford on the way back on Sunday is always good and we ate at the new outside tent at Gardnier's Wharf Seafood where we got to sample their new fish and chips.

     While it wasn't a fishing trip, I did bring my gear and did look both mornings for any signs of albies. Didn't find any, and didn't see much for bait, but Sunday morning on the outgoing tide I gave it a go. The day before we went to Sachuest Point but I found it hard to find fishy fly rod spots and the grass seemed to find me on every cast. I learned a few things. This ain't New Jersey. Beaches are different, hardly any. Tidal ranges are greater, about 6 feet. And long casts are a must, like long casts, if you plan on fishing anything but high tide or plan on squishing your way out to the furthest rock. 

     Around 7am on Sunday we stopped Brenton Point and I made my way out to my favorite groin. I always seem to squeak one out when ever I fish there and this trip was no different. Luckily the tide was on the way out but casts needed to be long and line management on point because the water moves in every direction there. I can see that waders are not the first choice of gear that should be


used here. Any attempt of getting out to further rocks means you're walking through water and climbing over smaller rocks in order to get to the bigger ones. I tied on one of Joe's flies and landed a small one before we made one more stop before breakfast. We parked close to the Cliff Walk and

walked and looked finally stopping in front of The Breaker's where there's a spot to walk down and fish, or surf, which there were many due to Jose's building swells. This area also seems to be very spey rod friendly, as most of the steep cliffs behind you would interfere with a back cast. I am sure there are endless fishy spots to fish in Rhode Island but I get the feeling it is really a fly fisherman's boating heaven with lots of points, shoreline, and rips to work.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

09.14.17 Quick 100 casts before work......

     I can't wait until we put the clocks back. Getting up at 5 and to the water by 530 am gives me about 45 minutes to fish with 20 minutes of light. Threw the black Snake Fly and then a popper on the outgoing this morning. By 615 I was stripping down to change into my scrubs for work, sweaty from the humid early morning air.

     That was my last go until next week when I know the mullet will be on the move and on the beach, well at least I am hoping. Hopefully the albies will be in just a little thicker than they are now. I'm looking forward to a few good back-to-back days either on the beach or the boat. Thanks to my friend Joe who snapped this pic the other day while we were looking for albie blow-ups. We're heading to Newport this weekend. I'm in need of a change of scenery and some R & R before the fall semester and run go into full swing. I'll have a rod, but only to stop if I see something going down.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

09.13.17 Stopped by the bay for a bit.....

     Got out of work early as luckily the census in the unit continues to remain low. First week of school for kids is usually and super stressor and opens up the flood gates at work, but not this fall. I stopped by the bay and the table is set for the upcoming weeks. I had emptied my Orvis Sling Pack and only had the fly I had tied on from yesterday. I didn't get a hit as I am sure the tiny blues, and I'd bet occasional bass, are keyed into the peanuts. I wish I had a Banger on me to get them biting.

     I love when Facebook brings up memories, and today when I looked there was a picture from today six years ago. My man Al, just north of Phillips Ave, when the pier still stood. Many good memories there, and with him. I miss seeing his car in the morning, I miss trading stories, I miss fishing near him, hell, I just miss him. We're hoping to get out for one good last day this fall. I am hoping when the bass find the bait in the bay we can reconnect. 

     And although I don't want to go there, this popped up on my Facebook page from Block island. High teens, 20's and 30's. I know, each guy on the boat kept one. I just have to shake my head.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

09.12.17 Fall Shakedown run....

     Started out today getting ready to do homework, but thought my time would be better spent getting the boat out and giving things a scout. I've been getting calls for fall boat trips so it was a good move.
     Put some hours on the engine looking both near and far. Found all the 1-2 pound bluefish you could ever want or get bit off by, and steady albie action with a little more than half a dozen boats and a pair of kayakers in the mix. All played well except one guy. That guy.
     I hate albie fishing solo, well at least with boat company. The run and gun is out. The best you can do is pick your line and your drift and wait, and hope it comes. At one point my friend Ian in the next boat yelled, "They're coming your way Colin.....". And he was right, they were up and eating and coming right to me. What I didn't see was "that guy" coming in on my left. He moved right in and put them down.

     I was hoping to get some cool albie/guys fly fishing for albie picks but I forgot to load the camera with film before I left my home office. That bothered me as much as that "one guy". Oh well. 

     And while I don't want to start the fall run off all pissed off and tree-hungingry, this picture showed up on Facebook from a recent trip out of Montauk. Eight dead bass. One trip. Early season. After seeing what happened up in the Cape Cod Canal it just blows my mind that this species can sustain itself with the daily catch-and -keep pressure they endure. And that doesn't even take into consideration catch and release and die, shark, seal, environmental, and by-catch deaths that occur. I wish they just shut it down for 2 years. No harvest. Or better yet made it a gamefish and catch and release only.

Monday, September 11, 2017

09.11.17 Sixteen years ago seems like eternity.....

      Sixteen years ago. It seems like an eternity ago, but when I start thinking about that day and the days I spent at Ground Zero afterwards it seems like yesterday. The visuals return, the sounds return, the smells return. It seems unfathomable that this could occur on American soil, but it did. I hope, but fear not, that something like this will never happen in the world again. Unfortunately, it takes tragedy like that to pull us together as Americans. 2002 was a great time to be an American, for me it always is, but I just wish the unity we felt and displayed to each other continued to today.

     I'm starting to gear up for the hopeful mullet run. I haven't seen any yet, and didn't see any this morning when Joe and I hit the beach at 530. I started with a large black popper and then went with a Snake Fly, that kind of collapsed in the water and looked more like a big-headed sand eel then a baitfish. We stayed late, waiting to see if the incoming tide would bring in the fish and while it 

started to look good, it never got better. Joe did land one bass in skinny water near the rocks but that was it. One day some angler will be there when better than schoolie sized fish meet up with the mullet or rain bait that is in the wash and pockets.

Joe Phieffer photo
      In the afternoon I decided to go and check on the boat and give it the once over before albie and bass season hits. I stopped in the bay and watched as cocktail blues had the peanuts pinned up against the beach. Later in the fall, if its like last year, the bass will be on the peanuts in the bay. It's a different look and location than peanuts and bass in the surf.
     When I got home I pulled out my small-bait-albie box and gave it the once through. It looks like I have enough ammo when I get the chance to get out and hunt for birds and fish crashing bait. This weekend we're going to Newport, RI and hopefully we can find some, for them, late season action from the rocks.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

09.08-09.10.17 Maybe things are starting to get better......

     Went down before work on Friday to see if the mullet has started to move after the moon. Had about 45 minutes to look and blind cast before heading to the hospital. Nice conditions on the incoming but no birds or bait to be found.

     Didn't fish on Saturday as the American Psychiatric Nurses Association was holding their fall conference in Woodbridge. I stopped by the bay on the way home only to find dead low conditions without any signs of life.

     And today I stayed in and enjoyed the morning with my lovely wife before getting into week one homework for Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathology. Luckily almost of all my remaining classes are psych specific and include several hundred clinical hours each semester. As far as fishing, I should have went as Lief started off the fall after a lull with a bunch of fluke and several bass. They hit his "Big-Eyed-Fly" which is basically a Clouser with huge eyes and very sparse bucktail. I call it ugly, but the fish must cal it breakfast. 

Leif Petersen photo

Lief Petersen photo

Thursday, September 7, 2017

09.07.17 Got one, dropped one.....

     Got tired the last few times of nothing going on out front so I headed west and gave it a shot. Lots of bait, peanuts, silversides, and rain fish. Didn't see a swirl or o boil but did get one small bass blind casting and dropped a bigger bass at the rocks. There's been some mullet sightings on the beach but I don't know if there's a decent resident fish around to make it fun and I would bet no fish have started swimming south. Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

09.06.17 Figures.....

     Fluke ended yesterday, September 5th. The only fish I caught today after doing an early morning and evening hunt was the one above. This morning was fishy as the snappers were out and so was the tiny bait and maybe mackerel or mullet. Thinking more mackerel as they were leaving the water in the pockets not the tell-tale v-wake of a pod of mullet.

    This evening before the rain on the incoming was relatively calm and without a sign of any bait, birds, or hungry fish. I have to check some old blog posts from last year and see when the bay started to heat up, at least fish wise. We need the first push of fish to show out front, one to keep the interest, and two to keep the interest. It's getting tough going without any results. Looks like the remnants of Hurricane Harvey are showing here now and soon Irma, whatever she will be, will be hitting Puerto Rico and then Florida this weekend. Last year this week we had Hurricane Hermine, which didn't hit us all that hard.

I hope Irma is more Category 5 hype than she will actually be- although it isn't looking that way. For all the readers who live south, or have family or friends south, know we're praying for it to be over sooner than later.

Monday, September 4, 2017

09.04.17 Just a waiting came now....

     After yesterdays Yoo-Hoo like conditions I was surprised to find it flat and kinda clean. Started out dark and underneath, then went dark and on top, then light and on top, and finished up with a rainbow  Deciever, all didn't produce a tap. Luckily the southern boys hadn't pulled all their equipment off the beach yet and I was able to use a much needed Jonny-On-The -Spot. Whew!

      With the remnants of Harvey passed through I waiting for the mullet to show, hopefully they'll move after Irma does whatever she is going to do. Tonight I saw the full moon and usually some bait starts to move after the moon, just not sure if any bass are around for the potential feast. Lots of tiny baits so hopefully we'll see good albies this fall. I have a bunch of clients waiting for the word.

    I am lucky enough to have a true Man-Cave. While at times it can be ghettoed out due to one, being a hoarder, and two, not being organized, that should all change with the arrival of a sister structure next door. I used to have a shambles of a 5 x 8 foot Rubbermade shed that damm near collapsed but the new one is no joke. This will give the ability to have a true 'Garage" and place for my tools and a place to work and let the Man-Cave just be for fly tying and hanging. The idea is to find a double door, maybe French, and frame it out and eliminate the old heavy overhead door. 

     And with Labor Day gone, and hopefully most of the summer folk, it's back to school for the kids, and for me. Clinical rotations start in addition to regular classes. It's a grind but hopefully graduation day in May 2019 comes sooner than later.