Saturday, December 28, 2019

12.27.19 Thanks Ryan....

     It was a fine fish. A good fish. A beautiful fish. was a small fish with an out of proportion belly. But it was a one-and-done fish that I caught on Ryan's rock which made my day and was the perfect ending to 2019's striper fishing.

     Got there about 1030 which was mid-ebb tide. Great looking water, almost 60 degree air temps, 44  degree water temps. Was thinking someone, or a bunch of someones, like a dozen or so micro to schoolie sized fish, would be around. Fished up and down the beach and on two groins without a tap. Started on Ryan's rock and then before leaving hit it again. Don't know why I've been drawn their lately, maybe its just missing Ryan more around the holidays. Would have loved to see him with his siblings and interacting as an adult at out yearly party.

     So as I casted and talked to him he gave that top pic fish up after a long cast and a hard sweep along the groin. While it is a small fish, it wasn't easy to land on the rocks. That outgoing moving water about 3/4 tide rips and you have to bring the fish in along the rocks and through the current.

      On my way out Pauly called me and Sid he was heading down. We hooked up on the beach and made a few casts on a dying tide without a bump. Birds not working, no herring around, just fishy looking water and no one home.

That is it for me for sure.....until 2020.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

12.23.19 That's a wrap for 2019.....

     Put it in the books. I'll drop a year recap in a few weeks. Went down around 3 o'clock with air temps in the mid 50's and the edge of the last of the flood tide. While I was there to fish, I really wanted to spend some time on Phillips Ave and Ryan's rock were I spread his ashes two years ago. Funny thing about that rock. Every time I stand on it I hope to catch a good fish....but never do. I always say Hi to my son who's hopefully up in heaven playing guitar with the greats or sitting around philosophizing or challengers the greatest thinkers that have passed on. So, one again, I stood on that rock several times and didn't get a tap. Must be a thing between Mme and Ryan.

     As dusk approached Charlie and Jack came down the beach. We fished the same stretch and just as the sun set the herring showed up on the start of the ebb tide. If you've ever fished good herring up close when the bass are on this it is fun. Its not a peanut king of blitz, but a steady plop and swirl kind of eat. Problem is these baits where just coming in, going down, and then out.....all untouched. 

     Cant wait to see what 2020 brings. No boat. Early start in late March and April in the Delaware. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

12.15.19 Nice weekend in Newport....

     We had a great time in Newport this weekend, as usual. Attended a Christmas Gala at Ocean Cliff on Friday and then did a shopping tour in town and Bristol and Warren. On Sunday we hit the Cliff Walk early after grabbing coffee and heading to Ledge Avenue to watch the sunrise. Couldn't help but

notice the For Sale planted outside 41 Ledge Avenue which at 11,000,000 would make a nice summer place for the family. 

     I first discovered Newport in 1993 and have been going back pretty much every year since. I was never a saltwater guy back in the day, even when I filled in at The Fly Hatch. I was all about the trout, and the Upper Delaware. That changed in 2003 when I took a charter with Capt. Cory from The Saltwater Edge. I then shared my passion for fly-fishing freshwaters with the salt. 

      While I have loved my last 7 years heading up to Marthas Vineyard and Block Island, Newport still holds a special place for me, with a healthier mix of fly-fishing and other things to do. Plus, you don't have to take a ferry to get to Newport as you do with the other two islands.

     So, if I had to pick a place to buy a second home, a summer cottage say, it would be in Newport, or Bristol, or Warren, RI. As fishing in 2019 winds down for me I look forward to next year already. Will there be a Marthas Vineyard trip? Well I know with the guys, they are done with it. Last year bringing Theresa was great, however, it is really hard to balance a fishing trip, tides, time of day, sun, and a nice getaway for a couple. Maybe I should just put MV memories in a good place and look for another location to make good memories.


Monday, December 9, 2019

12.08.19 Might be a wrap for 2018.......

     23 degrees this morning. Dead air. Dead water. Freezing cold hands. Lucky I brought the hand warmers and gave them to Joe and Leif to keep their hands functional. These things work, at times too well. Started around 6am and fished in the area of others and everyone caught fish but me. Not a tap. It was near double digits and a double header for Joe. Don't know why I couldn't get a bite but

Leif, Joe and Andy enjoyed catching. Thats just the way it is sometimes. Would have liked to end the year with a fish but thats okay. It was a good time, a cold time, had by all. Not sure what the rest of the year will look like. Water temps around 47-48 depress. Cold spell and and snow on the way. We're still wondering of the herring, which are now around, will spark a flurry of good fishing. This is the time of ear when you get that surprise blitz or a big fish that wanders in to take a look and finds the bigger bait. I'm done, well I usually quit about 6 times every year, but living far away and busy with the holidays this just might be it for me. We'll see.

Friday, December 6, 2019

12.06.19 Near dead-low surprise.....

     Around 815 am I was thinking the title of todays blog would read, 'You should have been here yesterday" or "Nice morning, another skunk". But shortly before dead-low tide and after three fly tries I came tight on this keeper or near keeper sweet bass. On my other rods I have the measurements laid out with electrical tape or I could and should have used that iPhone measure app but I figured who really cares and I could just estimate it. But a keeper is a keeper is a keeper....or not. Its 28" to the ferrule so you be the judge.

     Yesterday Leif told me to tie up some black and orange Half and Halfs and I did but they didn't get me a bite, neither at 0530 or in the light. Tried a nice Jiggy sand eel fly that didn't get a tap either.  The last fly I tied was a tinnier yellow Deciever that I tied on about 815 - almost three hours after I started, and my hands started getting cold. 

     The wind was SW. The ocean flat. It had that still feeling when its really cold but without wind is wasn't too bad. Loons fishing in the washing but coming up empty. A splash here and there that looked like Hickory Shad. No swirls or top action that I saw. Some small bait here and there, shimmy bait, but not sand eels. It was pretty enough out there but just a little boring. Leif managed a couple of small guys that took his orange and black Half and Half as he expected. 

    As we reached the point to go left to the rocks or right to the trucks he went to work and I stayed to make a few more casts. I tied on the yellow fly I tied last night and on the second long cast I went tight and soon into the backing. The fish was at the beach side and edge of the sandbar and once hooked went with the current and made it to the end of the jetty before I turned her. I made my way back to the beach adding line against the drag as I tried not to fall. Soon I was at the beach and the fish up on the sand. A few quick pics and she (or he) was back swimming. 

    If you're going to one and done a morning thats the way you do it....or just get lucky. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

12.05.19 They're still biting.....

Leif Petersen photo
     So we are starting December. Air and water temps are down. The bays and rivers have gone through the chill and exodus of bait that made its way down the beach. We had some good peanut action but not like back in 2016. The boats have done well this fall, including me for a few days before selling the boat. 

     The sand eels are around and the mostly schoolie bite is on sand eel imitations. The fish are short, fat, and feisty. Good time to go down a rod size or two. I stick with the 10 weight all the time, cant remember what rod is which and where. 

     Fishing this time of year, well I guess all year, is they are either there or not. Its one or two and done "or 40 fish" mornings or the big skunk. Haven't seen or heard of herring or mackerel around as the gannets haven't invaded the skies and started dive bombing the water. 

    Hope to get out soon....I'm itching to catch and release some fish. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

11.23.19 "Took boat for a ride..awesome"

     That was a text I received from Pete who had purchased my boat a few hours earlier on Saturday. I had it for sale for a few days and thats as long as it lasted. They say a boat owners best two days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I loved that boat. Had great memories on it. Taking Ryan fishing and the 40 he caught. Taking the girls out fluke fishing. Montauk and the albies in 2014. My best days finding acres of bass all alone in the Raritan. 30s and 40s in June when the bass were on top with big bunker with Joe and Andrew. Me and Joe finding a Mother Lode of big bass in 2018 when the bass came into Romer on mackerel. A few weeks ago putting Leif on some big bass on peanuts. And then there was that one glass like day I had Al out. All good memories. 

     So Pete has the boat now and a few days have pst I hear he is running out front and over to Breezy. Guys think its me.....but those days on that boat are a chapter in my book. Drift boat sold. Jones Brothers sold. I'm now going to look for something smaller with a jet drive for the Delaware River. A new boat. A new chapter. I look forward being able to launch just 10 minutes from my house. I'll still take charters but it'll most likely be for that single fly angler looking for stripers, smallmouths and maybe muskies. 

     It was kinda sad leaving the Atlantic Highlands Marina for one last time. I won't miss the $650 deposit now due for next years land storage. Wont miss Gateways bill for winterizing and shrink wrapping. And won't miss seeing it in my driveway over a long winter. 

     Before I met up with Pete Leif and I hit the beach. I was hoping it was going to be good. We fished Pullman without a bump. Leif caught one on Roseld. A friend had "at least 40 fish" all to himself somewhere in the middle as the bass had sand eels pinned between the bar and the beach. 

     For me the only thing I could muster up was a hickory shad that took a peanut bunker imitation. Nice chilly cold morning that I wish was more productive. Seems like the days are one-and-done or stupid big numbers coming to hand. I just haven't had one of those crazy days yet this fall....and Im due and look forward to being at the right place at the right time. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

11.17.19 Time to say good-bye....

     Over the last few years, especially the last one since moving out near Trenton, I have seriously considered selling my boat. Tough decision. Makes sense. Time for someone else to enjoy.

I have had plenty of interest from, clients, readers of the blog, and strangers in, "when you're ready to sell it, let me know". Now I cant put a face to one of them. So I am putting it up for sale here because I know there is a guy from Chester, NJ who was really, really into it, so we'll see if he in fact does read the blog each day.

What she is a 1998 Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman 1910 LT. You can read the specs HERE  on the Jones Bros website. This boat was sold from The Fly Hatch when Dave Choinard was a dealer and I knew the original owner. This boat doesn't have a lot of time on it, this year it may have gone out 6 times. I have had her since late fall 2011and she has always been on a trailer. The trailer I bought new in 2014. It has a Lowrance HDS7, with a side scan option, but that isn't hooked up.

I am not a truck or a boat guy. I know a little about each. All repairs and maintenance has been done by Gateway Marine in the Highlands since I have had her. Right now she's on the trailer at the Atlantic Highlands Municapl Marina until December 3rd, so you can have a few good weeks of fishing before putting her to sleep for the winter.

The price is $20,000. It'll go fast when it hits Facebook and Craigslist. Call me if you want her 732 261 7291

Saturday, November 16, 2019

11.15.19 I just needed another 30 minutes....

     Well here's the current situation. Thanksgiving in less than two weeks and the below pic is of my kitchen. We are having the whole family over. It's crunch time. Luckily, in one way, things are slow with the office, fishing trips, and wood splitting. Helps me for time to play Bob the Builder but not when it comes to counting the Benjamins ($$$). Today I had to make the trip to Red Bank to pick up my daughter from school and take her for a bite to eat. I had to work on the kitchen in the AM but left a tad early to hit the beach. 

     I left at 1130 which put me at Marine Place at 1230. It was outgoing, flat, and no signs of birds or bait. Did the next stops. Pullman. Rosa Maria or whatever it is. Little Monmouth. Ship Ahoy. Lot C. Went back down to Tradewinds and just figured I'd make a few casts. Boats out aways. Birds working from time to time. Boring. 

     It was about 145 when I started to check my watch. Guys scattered up and down the beach every 1000 feet. Didn't see anyone catching. Then I saw the birds in front of Donovans out about 1/4 mile, then 800 feet, moving north, and fast. I looked down at my watch it was 2 o'clock. Pickup is at 230. 

     So I hurried to Ship Ahoy and when I pulled up three guys were just leaving, unaware what was about to happen on the beach. I jumped over the parking lot barrier and hurried across the sand. The birds were just over the bar and the bass were chasing peanuts. It was 221. There was one guy there and I was number 2, soon to be joined by over a dozen. I usually don't repeat pics in the posts but it helps the story. Knowing I was short on time and knowing the bait and birds were heading north this was it for me.....get it done in a few casts and leave. It was now 219. 

     I made my way down the trough and up onto the bar. There were still some bass chasing but most had moved north and the fisherman did also. You can see that I am alone on the bar. Before I left I took this pic which is grainy and out of focus because its from a distance but you can see the fish trapping bait on the beach. Some older guys didn't give chase and just stayed put others went with the birds. I wish I could have stayed and played the fish on the fly game, but not today. 

     So after pick up and dinner I made my way to the Parkway and headed south. At Exit 102 it started to bottle neck and I thought that was a sign.......Go Fishing! Called the wife for permission...yes permission, and soon I was on Deal Esplanade ready for a great evening. It was just dark at 5 pm. I went with a black and purple Deciever and a sand eel fly trailing behind. For the next three hours I didn't find a bass. Saw some hickories chasing bait in the pocket for a split second and that was it. Wind hadn't shifted and cranked up yet and the temps were in the highs 40's so it was a perfect night, I thought, for a sand eel bite. Nada, nope. Then I had to make the one hour long drive of shame back too Titusville.

     This weekend will be a blowout as 30 plus mph winds will blow from the NE. That will shut the peanut run down, IMHO, and then we will have to see if the early winter sand eel and herring fishery kicks in. Boats are still on them but I'm going if I don't have someone paying me to go, besides, its an all day affair and I just don't have the time. Below is a pic from Betty and Nicks FB page sowing a kept fish from the beach....sand eels! 

     And this fish.....oh this fish. 67 pounds weighed in at a Staten Island tackle shop. What do you do with that fish? If its not for a fish-of-a-lifetime skin mount then, to me, its a total waste. Outside of this fish, don't think that guys aren't putting abetting on these fish this fall. People know posting pics of dead fish isn't cool these days, but, outside of the words that say "released" "played catch and release" and "let them go to swim another day" there are still dead ones in the cooler and a more fitting wordage would be "release in the grease".