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.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

11.16.17 Quick window with the long rod......


     Clinical was over by 1245 today so I was on the beach near the hospital by 1. Had Daddy duty starting at 230 so there was a window. Stopped in a spot where I was all alone and it looked and was dead. Incoming with bigger waves breaking on the bar that was just close enough to physically avoid, but far away where you couldn't reach it with ease. I could have done it with the 13'6" spey rod I had but I wasn't looking to blind cast. The water was off color and it didn't look inviting to swim in or fish.

    I moved up the beach a bit where there some birds and a few boats. By time I left there the boats had sniffed the bunker out and were almost on the beach which was lined with surfcasters. At my second stop I didn't even cast, met a blog follower Bob, and waited for someone on the beach to catch. It may have happened later but not while I was there. I saw a boat fish caught, mostly anglers from boat and beach were sang and dropping.


     It is that time of year again where guys are waiting for something to happen. Its not fishing, but waiting. When you're in this mode you could be out for hours and never make a cast, kinda like waiting for the hatch on a trout river. I find that you do have to look and move this time of year, which I kind of enjoy. Its like being in a boat and drifting or motoring around rather than being anchored up.

     Seems to be more of these smaller fish along the beach and wash this past week. Leif got a handful today and Joe the same yesterday. You know what small fish mean? It's coming to an end, or are there more good fish heading south? We're all saying it's late this year, which it is. We'll recap in mid-December. One things for sure, I miss the sand eel bite. 

Leif Peterson photo

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

11.15.17 Got tossed around a bunch today....

     Had Leif on the boat for the first time today. We were watching the forecast looking at the winds and tides, but really it didn't matter we were going regardless. Theresa and I got in late last night after having a great show, even from our nosebleed seats, with the Dead & Company at MSG.

For you Dead fans, and there's a bunch that visit here, I think John Maher is doing a great job and fitting in nicely with the band. Some really cool surprises last night that didn't disappoint. We loved, Brown-eyed Woman, Man Smart-Woman Smarter, Tennesee Jed, St. Stephen and we split before a great U.S. Blues encore. For them it's off to Philly for a Thursday show. One thing that is ridiculous is two adult round-trip tickets to MSG from Red Bank is $64.00. That was early evening bummer.

     Back to today. It wasn't too bad out until you got to the corner and made the turn. Wind against tide had things a tad sloppy and washing machine like out there. Throw in some nice swells and rollers on the Knoll and it was bumpy and chilly late fall striper fishing at its best. The only thing that could have made it better is if I put Leif on some bigger fish.


     So when we got out the birds were there, as were about 30 boats, from ones that maybe shouldn't have been, like two kayakers (not judging-but nuts), and the fleet of party boats that mostly hugged the Rip through most of the outgoing tide, and other sized crafts mixed in. We took a ride down the beach, didn't see or mark much early and decided to go find some birds and fish which we did. Great marks, great birds and bait, the only problem was that all we could find were those feisty 20-25" dark green and black backed schoolies.

     After playing with them for a while and at times doubled up, we went looking for bigger fish. I know those bigger bass can't resist those big Mojo's or those swim shads, but we couldn't find one to eat a fly. As noon arrived and the tide was slowing down wee snuck inside and Leif caught the only keeper of the day. Pulled up, two boils, one cast, that fish.

     It's that decision making time again, when to pull the boat. Thinking this just might be it. I prefer the beach. I have dreams of catching big bass on big bunker flies thrown from my spey rod. The marina has shut off all water so I have to drive to Long Branch to give her a good flush and wash each time. We'll see, you know I can never pull the plug. Well, sometimes I forget to put it in!