Friday, May 31, 2019

05.28-30.19 Three nice, but wet, days on the Upper Delaware.....

     Each spring for the last 30 plus years Leif makes his annual trip to the Catskills. This year he invited me and I took the opportunity to join him. He always stays at the Buck-Horn Lodge on the East Branch. The cabins are nice but could use some updating. The pool in front is nice but I watched a father and two sons set up bait rods with bells on the tips and harvest two big browns over twenty inches on worms. That kinda kills the fly-fishing mood when you watch that. 


     I got up Tuesday and we fished the West Branch on foot stopping at three spots. We had early rain but had a few fish up and I froze in the upper West water trying to reach the far bank. Needless to say I didn't get it done. We wound up on the East Branch mid-afternoon and had a mix of Sulfurs, Caddis and some March Browns. It lasted until deluge #2 for the day set in just before the evening. 

      Leif never floated any of the Upper Delaware rivers so I brought the drift boat up and we gave it a go. It's been four years since I floated the UD, the last times were guiding in the FUDR One Bug and a nice three day stay with Theresa at The West Branch Anglers. We put in at Shehawken and floated to Buckingham. At first we had blue bird skies with no wind and fish up right out of the gate. The top picture is Leif with one of the early fish. 

     The river was a little up from the rain so he threw some streamers for a bit but we had no takers. We stopped for lunch at Lake Lenore and casted to small fish with the splashy emerger rises. The skies started to darken and just after getting underway it started to rain. We had fish up with a mix of trout and fall fish taking bugs between the rain drops. Below is a pic of Leif's 26" brown....kidding.

And then Mother Nature got angry.......very angry..

     The rains came and came. First straight down then sideways. Thunder and boomers and lightning. Luckily during my boat check I made sure I had two bailing devices in the boat.....and boy did we use them. We rowed past a bunch, I mean a bunch, of fish that were up but I didn't know if we were ever going to get out past the weather. Then it the rains stopped for a bit and I found a couple of bank feeders that I threw flies at for 45 minutes and left them rising. 

     We finished the day with Sulfurs up and good rising fish. Leif caught this rainbow that looked like it spawned with a sturgeon or a dogfish. The rising fish we had most of the time were pods in the larger pools with one-and-done rises over here, there, and then right next to the boat. After taking out during yet another squall we took a lot at Junction Pool, stayed for a bit at Fishes Eddy and then at the last minute ended up at Cemetery Pool on the Beaver Kill. 

     On the last day started with the breakfast of champions and headed up to Motor Vehicles in Deposit so I could re-register my boat trailer. We stayed in that area and had a good time with fish up early and a strong caddis hatch in the works. The fish were rising to caddis emerges and dries and

it was possible to target one fish because they stayed in their feeding lanes and came up consistently. We enjoyed that and left fish to find fish. That's something you don't do, especially when wading, but I knew I had a timeline I had to keep. We headed back to the East Branch and had the place to 

ourselves. We decided to eave the rain jackets in the truck and we made the right call as there was only a sprinkle here and there. Leif snagged a water snake and we had fish up, but spread out, taking Caddis, March Browns and Sulfurs. I caught a large Fall Fish that produced no rise bubbles during the 20 minutes I casted to him. As things slowed I knew it was time to get going. After a quick beer and a burger at the Buck Horn I was on my way. Leif went back to the East Branch at night and had 

 Sulfurs up. I drove home in torrential rain for 2 hours and I wondered if it would ever end. I am glad I went, glad to spend time with Leif, glad we floated, and I look forward to next year. The only thing that will be different is I will be ending Leif's long run at the Buck Horn and we will be staying at The West Branch Angler. A place I have been going to for 24 years and believe is the best place to stay when fishing the Upper Delaware Rivers.

Monday, May 27, 2019

05.27.19 Happy Memorial Day

   Thank You to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the good of others especially us here in the United States. I saw the above post on Facebook and it says it all......

     Took the weekend off from fishing. Passed on a couple offers to fish as weekends are bad, holiday weekends worse. I am sure they put a hurting on the bass this weekend.....hopefully the anglers remembered how bad things are number wise regarding striped bass. 

     I'm heading to fish some fresh water the next few days and I'm really liking forward to it, regardless of what the weatherman is predicting. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

05.24.19 Finally went to a lighter rod....

     Today I broke out one of my favorite Orvis rod of all time. The Hydros 7wt. Great for throwing streamers on the Upper Delaware when the waters up and you need a sinking line to fish it. Since I have realized that the norm, at least for me on this beat are smaller fish, that it was time to g lighter. Not that these fish aren't feisty and fun, but Id like to get into something a tad bigger. 

     I was up at 4 am and decided to hit the vice and tie up some Snake Flies which seem t really work, although I am sure any well presented and sized and colored fly would do, in the current and structure of the river. I tied up three not knowing what the river would look like after last nights quick but heavy rains. I got down to the river an hour after high tide and found it a little upper than usual and

 a little off color, which I hear is the best condition for this river. Below is a pick of "The Pipe" on the ebb tide. I'm about midway and you can walk abut another 80 feet, but its a little nerve-racking waiting for a tree you come and blindside you. I fund one, yes another, little guy off the rocks and

then made the move to the riffs. With the river higher it was a different scene than yesterday. I had to pay attention to my footing and be more aware with the sinking line to avid snags. Once these lines bite on a rock it comes out either damaged or destroyed. Luckily I didn't fall it or lose a line or a fly for that matter. It was another half a dozen or so for me and the most fun was high sticking them.

     While I had tied up some beefier flies and even threw a larger Hollow at them the go-to fly was this one below, a smaller Snake in white. It must have been the eyes.

 Not fishing this weekend, especially in the boat as its a shit show out there between guys trolling and running around bunker pods for bass or or drifted up in the channels and flats looking for fluke which opened up yesterday. Can't wait til they show up on he beach.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

05.23.19 Pickin' pockets for Delaware River striped bass.....

     Schools out but its a busy time of year for everyone. Yesterday I had the pleasure of a proud dad as I watched Juliet walk and graduate from FIT at Radio City Music Hall. So Juliet and I have walked, her sister Sara graduated today with her Doctorate in Spanish, and then Erin moves up to high school next month. Its a great feeling to watch as your kids reach and surpass life milestones. 

    Today I had a break in the action and ran down to the river in between buts of rain and the dreaded honey-do-list. I fished the usual spot but then decided to explore the skinny pocket water upstream a bit. I am glad that I did. I have fished pocket water before. From the New Jersey trout rivers to water behind my once house on the West Branch of the Ausable River in New York. But today was the first time I high stuck my way around the rock field for striped bass! And they didn't disappoint. 

     While I am still in the hunt for some bass over 28 inches I found it a blast landing a half a dozen in the fast water. One came on a good cast and drift just on the inside seam behind a large rock. I saw the flash and the take which made someone like me, who is more visual than not, very excited. I watched a solo angler in a jet boat find a honey hole as he picked in between the bridge piers.
     It really is fun finding a new fishery and having to deal with the river flows and a tide at the same time. It creates different opportunities in different parts of the river some close to each other due to the tide line which ends in the stretch that I fish. So, over here its river fly, and just over there its river flow and tide, with a tidal range up to 9 feet depending on how much water is around.
     I have been hitting it mostly during the day on the ebb tides and need to try when the water is up and the light has faded. Problem is with water up access is limited and the backcast becomes an issue. Today I was roll casting my fly into the pockets, and hope to do some more pickin' soon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

05.21.19 Ready to run some Delaware River striped bass trips......

     So I got my "new" Lowrance HDS7 in the mail yesterday. I found it on eBay and it came from California. It was all good until I realized that part of the cover was broken. Luckily I was able take the piece off my old unit and snap it in. I put my Navionics chip inside and after the GPS kicked it I ran through the programs and I'm all set to find some fish, or my way back to port. I was planning on making a run but the NW 15-25 had the bay a mess. I left the waders home so hitting the beach was out.

     With all the recent rains we've had the Delaware was just about mud. I fished it and didn't get a tap on the outgoing tide. One thing about low tide in the river, the "jetty" grabs line in a way way different than the salt. Once you get your line wrapped around some fencing you are done for a little bit. With yesterdays hard wind it was difficult to keep the line in the stripping basket.

     So just as I was about to leave I thought about checking another spot. There was a guy fishing with a 10 foot surf rod and was throwing about a 1/8 ounce spinner, which went about 15 feet when casted. But, sure as shit, he was caching fish. I thought maybe it was shad or maybe even illegally harvested herring but it was white perch. I looked into my fly wallet and fund a tiny alibi fly and gave it a go. And, the fish were there. They weren't big but there was a lot of them. What I liked abut yesterday

 was learning another thing about the river. While I have been dragging bigger Hollow Fleye's and Snake Flies through the water, most times without a tap, going small and picking pockets shows that there is plenty of life in the river. I was surprised to land a few young of this year striped bass infants that ate the same fly as their other friends. Time to bust out the 4 weight.....kidding of course as I would never target these babies.

Monday, May 20, 2019

05.19-20.19 Happy 21st Sean....

     Sean turned 21 on Saturday and on Sunday we headed down to AC for a one-overnighter at the Borgata. Fished before I picked him up and threw a bigger fly near the ends of the jetties and then went under and fished my "Archer's Mole Crab" fly without a tap. There's a lot of them around and they are big, and I think they are on the spawn now. My fly isn't perfected yet and it could use some tweaking but it'll get there.

     I'm doing well with the plug and lure finding. Today it was a nice SP Minnow on the sedges in the river. I fund a fish finder on eBay and it should be here soon and I can wait to test it and make sure it works and gets me ready for some upcoming boat trips. Things are starting to look mighty fishy out front with tons of bunker and dolphins just off the beaches.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

05.18.19 Stayed local and got a few....

     I messed up. I took the below picture of conditions of "The Pipe" when I got there and stayed for about an hour and a half. I should have taken a picture as I left as the water was up over the center part where the fencing is in place. It would have been good to show how a huge tidal range looks in short order, especially on an incoming tide.

     So I am the master of the under 22" striped bass this spring. Can't seem to get into fish much bigger than that. But, like I say, you can only catch the fish that are in front of you and within fly casting range......that excuse works for me.

Friday, May 17, 2019

05.17.19 Two out three spots gave up some fish.....


     Woke up at 430 and took the hour drive to hook up with Leif to fish the beach. Had the last of the full moon high tide and just the start of the outgoing. I found all the little fish Leif and Joe found bigger guys over 20 inches. All of the fish except the microist bass you could imagine came on the

 tide flip. Ended up with six and a nice surprise in a fluke. That season opens up in few weeks and I really enjoy when he bass and fluke start rooting around and are on the mole crabs. Here is a picture

 of the super micro bass that ate a Clouser on the outgoing. Once I landed him I was done with baby fish. Yesterday before the graduation I fueled up in Red Bank and left my credit card there so I had to go that way. Since I was near the Shrewsbury and the tide was up I gave the sedges a shot.

    On the second and fifth cast I connected and then had the idea to run home and catch kinda low tide on the Delaware River. Unfortunately by the time I got my card and past the GSP Exit 109 traffic it was 1130 when I arrived. Two hours on the flood with extra water in the river due to the rain. My "jetty" was only accessible for about 10 minutes before I got chased off. So, in the end I caught fish in two spots today.  I fished near the bridges in hard current and off color water without a tap. I did score

two lures today and the top one, whatever it is, will be good to tease up the big girls in a few weeks out front, one of my favorite times, but it doesn't go every year. Big bass blowing up on bunker. I can't wait and I hope I'm out there for it.