Friday, June 28, 2019

06.27.19 That was a bummer...

      After two days of the start of summer doing yard work and hanging with the girls I knew I needed to get to the beach. We were having our first BBQ with the neighbors over in the evening and then going to a charity golf outing at 6 am tomorrow. My thinking was heading down to the beach at 8 fishing from 930-1230 and getting home at 130 am. I asked the wife for her blessing and she gave me the "Really?" look but didn't say no. 

     Sometimes the neutral answer is worse then a no. A no is a no and you can either comply with it or be defiant and go and hope you catch fish in order to lessen the pain from the wrath you're going to get upon returning. So with that I started down Route 29 heading to the beach. Today me and the girls biked to New Hope in the 90 degree heat which had me feeling tired. I started to think about the neutral pass from Theresa. I stated to think where my gas gauge would be when I got home. I started to think about getting home at 230 am after catching two more fish in the 20-26 inch range. Womp womp womp.....

     Leif gave me his evening report and sent a pic of "our", the fly fishing gangs, first keeper from the beach of the year. It has been a long time coming. 29 inches that took an Ugly Ass Fly, probably scared it more to strike then actually trying to eat it. But hey, that fly works......a lot. 

Leif Petersen photo
     So I paused at Trenton and headed across the river disappointed I wasn't going to be smelling the salt air and walking on the sand.  The river looked nice but I wasn't feeling it. Bait fisherman soaking worms. Kids drinking beer. Guys having a photo shoot beneath the "Trenton Makes" bridge with 40's in their hands and blunts between their lips. I headed down to "The Pipe" and got eaten alive in the 20 minutes I was there. Basically it just sucked. These are the times where I miss the beach. Even from Red Bank 15 minutes to the beach for a quick outing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

06.26.19 Now that was a pleasant surprise....

     So summer has started. The girls are out of school and with us this week but they want to hang with their friends......I get it. So its a one hour drive back to Red Bank to drop one and Asbury Park for other. Anytime I am near the beach I have to, because it would be stupid not to, fish. 

     I jumped in at Long Branch after looking at the million cars along Deal. I was hoping to find a fluke or two for dinner. I was there about 3/4 of the way on the incoming tide. I was lucky to find an empty beach sandwiched in between two beach clubs. I had the stretch to myself at least for an hour and a half outside of a few sunbathers out of back casting range. 

    So I'm working my crab fly and staring into the trough when I see......two bass? Yepper. By the end of the session it was saw 6, pricked a nice one, and had a great follow and refusal on this scarp side of the trough. It ended when the ladies in their dresses came and started splashing and swimming on that section of the beach. The only bad move, besides missing that one fish, was wearing my waders in the 90 degree heat. I was saturated by the time I got back to my truck which was far, far away.

     So I thought there is beach access....ha ha. There is public access, but no parking between 10 am- 6 pm. So that means you have to walk one long block to avoid getting a ticket. This surely caters to the part time residents of this town and those that live on the water.

06.24.19 Graveyard shift.....

     After a slow morning with Dr. Mike I went with my gut and gave the late night a try. Alarm had me up at 1245 am and by 2 am I was casting into the light of the mid moon onto lake like conditions. It was the start of the ebb tide and my hopes were high. 

     It took 1-1/2 hours to find a trio of bass, one looking like a fall sand eel eater. I wonder if the sand eels are here? Inshore bluefin bite, bonito on the beach in IBSP, and a friend who has them swimming around his boat in the Manasquan. Could make for a good fall as I prefer sand eels over peanuts. Peanuts bring out every person who has a fishing pole, a little less then when theres snd eels around. The exception being the fall of 2011 or 2012, cant remember which year it was. 

     I threw little sand eels, big Decievers, and of course my tandem set-ups. Didn't get another tap. By 430 the water was like dead low. It was a very, very weak tide. The night before I wanted to tie up some kind of night time crabby fly so I came up with this contraption and threw it into flat water without a tap. I was done at 530 am and won't do that again unless good bait shows up or the wind switches direction or we get some good swells to churn things up. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

06.23.19 Nice morning with Dr. Mike......

     Mike is a newer saltwater fly fisherman and wanted to get out and look for stripers before the summer. His goal wasn't to just catch a fish but more to learn about stripers, beach and structure, and tides, wind and moon. Well I did a lot of talking and he a lot of casting. Started out just at 5 am casting a popper/dropper up and and down the beach with a little more than hour before dead low. Zero wind. Zero swells. W to NW wind. Near blowout tide. Took a long time to get water to fill back in. 

     Conditions were near perfect for sight fishing but we did see any fish swimming around except for one striper that followed Mikes crab fly out of the trough.  We did manage to find one lone fluke that was fooled enough to eat. I was hoping that the fluke may show up a few hours into the flood tide but that didn't happen. Even a chartreuse over white Clouser got no love.

     Its hard to teach stripers and big water and bait and chaos and big NE slop and having a client get juiced about it when you have conditions like we had below.......boring. Not Mike, but the water.

     Some of the best water we found was late into the game just before quitting time. I was confident something would be home and it would be a good way to finish up the day. But, well, nope. He is looking to do this again in the fall and I would like him to see the water with the mullet or tiny white bait around.

Friday, June 21, 2019

06.21.19 Fishy kind of morning.....

Leif Petersen photo
     Got there about 430 which was just before dead low tide. Got one in the dark on the bottom fly behind a popper just as the heavens opened up. I had a light wind breaker on and was soaked down to my underwear. I made the trip upstream to get my rain coat and headed back down. Amazing how 

hard it rained and how much runoff there was. When I got back down it was lighter out and I grabbed another little guy again on the smaller fly. These fish, while small, are hungry and their belly's are full

of something and I am thinking they are mole or some other type of crabs. I usually don't like the incoming water but today didn't mind was much. It was dark, then light, raining, and then not. Leif and I fished together and after pounding a spot for a while without a touch we moved south. It

 was interesting to see the heavy machinery just off the beach again and I was having flashbacks to beach replenishment. But, what I figure is, they are dredging the outflows they constructed which have probably shoaled up. Leif went to work with a crab fly and got a nice bass near the rocks.

     I went with the AMC- Archer Mole Crab- and scored two fluke, one 17-3/4 and 17-1/2 inches. I had my cooler with me and ice packs and was really looking forward to catching some keeper fluke. But I remembered the saying, "Integrity is measured by what you do when no one else is around". So, of course they are still swimming as I wouldn't take a short, and illegal, fish.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

06.20.19 Ready for the early shift....

     What a surprise. Two rounds of deluge torrential type of rain today. Humidity so thick it makes breathing a chore. Hitting the beach early tomorrow and decided to tie up a popper after seeing them eat one the other day on the incoming. Dead low is around 445 am so I'll have the flood tide to play with. Still hoping for the 28 inch plus size fish to start swimming by. I have had enough of these schoolies. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

06.19.19 One for the effort but there's more there....

     Got one and dropped a good one when I went to get the fish on the reel. Started out slow on a rock pile I used to fish regularly. Fished hard up and down the beach before moving to a different spot. Watched as a guy put on a clinic with a small tower plug grabbing fish on top of the high water trough. Got the one to take the lead bigger fly and the tandem setup. I really like the two fly thing. Gonna stick with it. I had left my intermediate line in the truck when I switched spots so I couldn't throw a popper which may have yielded more fish. Seems like there might be a bunch around...finally. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

06.18.19 Tandem on each

     First, proud of my youngest Erin being promoted to Red Bank Regional High School from 8th grade. Where has the time gone. Below is a pic from her in 2013 and above us in 2019. Crazy.

     Crazy is what my wife calls me getting up before my 345 am alarm set on the iPhone and running out the door. The tide was low around 3 am and I got there just before 5. Tried a tandem set-up with

my larger back and purple fly trailed by a smaller white one. I have used two flies often, mostly during the sand eel hatch, and most recently up on the Vineyard where the sand eels are under 2 inches long. Interestingly I got two fish today, one on each fly. The one at the top took first and the

 guy below a little later. What I can't believe are the number of small fish around from NJ, to Block, to the Vineyard. Where are the 26 -34 inch fish? The keeper sized bass from the beach are becoming harder and harder to find and catch. With the tide still coming in and time to go I changed spots and

and tried a crab/minnow two fly rig and didn't get any takers. I found the water annoying today. Big moon big, water running up the scarp, and the only real shot at the trough was just after mid flood tide. The humidity was so you could wring the air and I was sweating with the rain coat to protect me from the rain that never came, until I switched spots and left it in the truck and got soaked.

     Hoping soon for bigger bass or the kickoff to good fluke. I am ready for a good meal.