Monday, September 30, 2019

09.28.19 Nice morning but it was real slow....

     Got down early before the pretty sunrise. Had two on the popper early but dropped them both. Barbless hooks will do that to you, especially if you don't stay tight when trying to work your wy back to the beach while on the rocks.

     Saw more bait then I had recently, mullet, rain bait, maybe something else. Small blues showing but no bass. Leif got a nice little guy which has now become the norm rather than the exception. There's tons of 2014 or 2015 bass around from Maine to Manassas, which could be a good sign for the future. Those 28-34" inch fish we used to find on foot or ion the boat just aren't there anymore. Hope to get out in a few days. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

09.25.19 I predicted a keeper....

     When I arrived at 430am it was just the top of the tide. I was excited to be fishing....until I opened the truck door. The deafening sound of the surf quickly lessened my excitement. Now, I love big water, but I knew it would be unfishable for hours due to the tide, the swell, all coupled with the beaches that are now garbage due to beach replenishment. 

     Waves breaking on the outer bar but having enough umpf to travel and break up the beach scarp, and then water continue way up past where any anger would stand. A few hours into the ebb it became fishable if you picked your spots. 


   Last night I texted Leif and predicted a keeper this morning. Problem is I didn't specify whose fly it would hit. Of course between the two of us there ws one bass caught, keeper, on his "Ugly Ass Fly". Look at that thing...doesn't deserve a bass, maybe a bluefish, but not a keeper bass. And to add insult to injury this specimen of the tie is old and beat-up and sparse.....but boy do they catch fish. 

     I started with the popper/dropper in black and probably fished it too long only getting a small bluefish that practically swam up on the sand to take it. After that it was a try with a biggerdecieve and Snake Fly both of which went untouched. Next time I make a prediction I'll have to add that it would take my fly, not his Ugly Ass one. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

09.23.19 Gone but never forgotten....

     Its been two years since Ryan left us here on earth. Pretty much not a day goes by where I'm not thinking of him when I wake or just before I go to sleep, or am startled when something out of the blue reminds me of him.  Great kid, smart as a whip, brain wired in a way that a geniuses is, on his way to become a great human being, just left before his life's party really started to get good. 

     Don't know why, although there is a plethora of research and speculation into the reasons, people choose to end their life here on earth. Mental illness, for some. Pain, for some. Mistake, hopefully not for most. Desire to explore the unknowns, for others, and thinking that was Ryan's search. 

     Either way, or for whatever reason, its doesn't really matter. Solving the case won't bring suicide victims back, but it could give us mental health providers some insight to help those that want to be helped. Knowing why often is the search for the survivors who are living with extreme sadness, emptiness, and sadly guilt. 

     If you know someone who is struggling, stuck, suicidal, self harming, addicted or just in need of a mental check-up get them to either a therapist or prescriber. We have all suggested and tried with someone during our own lives, but people can only be helped if they recognize they need some and are willing to engage in the hard work and road to wellness. 

     As these anniversary's of Ryan's birth (August) and death (September) really are, well, just shit most of the time in my head, I do have plenty of good memories of him that make me smile and proud. Luckily, the last words I said to him on the night that he died were, "Good night, love you, see you in the morning...."

You never know when the last time you will talk to see or see a loved one. Don't hold back, treat it like its the last time, and luckily for last words leave me without regret but some solace. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

09.21.19 Playin' in the sand.....

    Looked forward to a good nd quick outing before a professional conference at Monmouth Univ. Cool out west at 58 degrees when I left at 3:49. Was casting a popper/dropper just before the dead low at 530am. Basically it was like casting into, well onto, skinny water and dragging it onto whatever was left of the trough. Thought about walking out onto the bar but the waves were breaking

just on the outside when the tide flipped. Blow out tide with a west wind just kept the water away long enough for me to have to go. I found some water on the north sides of the groins but couldn't find a touch in the battles water. Bad bait, bad tide, no bass.

Monday, September 16, 2019

09.16.19 What a special morning......

     Let me just say it if you didn't know it....I love this guy. I'll get to the fishing later. So after some early morning fishing I was heading south to see if any albies were eating at the inlet. As usual, I pass by Al's house to see, by chance, if he's outside. Over this spring and summer I caught him one time as he pedaled his three-wheeled trike down to the Allenhurst boards to check out the beach. Today as I passed I saw his garage door was open but there was no sign of him. I sent a quick text but didn't get a reply and started to pull away.....but....something told me to just go and knock. And I am glad I did. 

     I spent many hours with Al on the beach over the years. We also just sat and looked over the beach just talking. I looked forward to seeing him just about each morning I would fish. As he approached 90 and now a few years away from 100 his outings slowed until he finally hung up his rods for the last time a few years back. He was a plethora of knowledge and good stories. I have since moved to a town on the Delaware River and he is now moving south to Charlotte, N.C. where the seasons are less severe and to be closer to family. If I didn't stop in today I don't know if I would have seen him ever again. 

       Some of my favorite stories were when he first started to fish the salt waters. It took him years to catch his first striper, which he did on August 8, 1952, just 67 years ago! I am lucky to have a photo of him with that first fish. His smile tells a story, looking a proud kid holding up his catch for his dad.

     Before I left him I asked him if I could have something to remember him by. The first thing I thought of was his favorite go-to lure that, when not fly fishing, he would throw and swim it and often connect with a patrolling bass. That lure was a Striper Strike. One day I will mount it in a shadow box and hang it proudly with a picture of one of my favorite all-time fishing buddies. 

     Before the reunion, I was at the beach at dead low around 430am. I fished a popper/Snake Fly dropper up and down several beaches until about 6 when the fish showed up as the water filled in the beach. The first was in the dark, the next two was as light arrived. It was good to feel that striper pull and fun hooking them from the rocks in the bigger waves and water. 

     All three hit the Snake Fly, but I think the popper helped get their attention. I am truly a fan of a two-fly set-up, even when fishing a crab fly. It just increases the chances of a hook-up.

     Before heading west I stopped by the Shark River Inlet just as the tide started to ebb. I was looking to see if the albies were outside or inside the inlet. There was a few guys fishing and the only thing I saw was a Spanish mackerel caught way off the front of the jetty. It was a great morning and I was glad that I made the trip, not only because of the fish, but seeing Al again was great.

Monday, September 9, 2019

09.09.19 That made it worth it....

     Funny, with the mullet on the move I was thinking bass. Each time I made the trek this summer I packed a cooler full of freezer packs waiting to take a keeper fluke home for dinner. This morning I didn't take my fluke-home-for-dinner set up with me. And don't you know.


     Started out in the dark with a popper-dropper set-up that had only one bass jump it before light arrived. Leif and I covered over a mile of beach with only Leif getting one small bass on a Snake Fly. No mullet, no bait, slow morning. We had thought of maybe taking the boat out for a scout trip but after  disappointing morning we decided not to go. Thought maybe of hitting Breezy to see if early fat  alberts were showing on the outgoing.

    I went with the Snake Fly in several colors but couldn't buy a bite. Needing to spend the morning in Monmouth County I stuck around and took a ride to Sandy Hook, hoping to find more bait, and a bass. I settled in Lot C and found some mullet in the bowl at dead low tide. The water was clear and protected from the sustained E winds. After a cast I watched as a big keeper sized fluke followed it in

 looking like it was swimming on a carpet. I switched to a crab fly and it didn't follow so I tied back on the white Snake Fly it originally followed. Sure enough it followed it again and bit. and then made a strong run. After getting it in, and realizing I had no cooler and knowing I wouldn't be home till late afternoon, I knew I would have to get ice and a cooler.....and it was more work than it was worth. So I let it swim again. It was thick and heavy and would have made for a good meal. Hoping the mullet continue to make their way down the beach and the bass, whatever is around, find them soon.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

09.08.19 It's the most wonderful time of the year.....

     Its September. Full moon on the 14th. Mullet are moving out front.......time for Snake Fly's. Today I took some time to tie up a few in a variety of colors so I wouldn't have to tie on one of last years holdovers that are missing material or have a rusty or weakened hook. 

     If you haven't fished a good mullet run then you don't what you are missing. If the mullet are sized perfectly for the bass that may or may not be around then you are in for a treat. First light is best for the fly-rodder who can watch the mullet in the crest of the waves illuminated by the early morning sun. 

     I tie mine with and without barbell eyes. Mullet swim in the upper third of the water column and a specific v-shaped wake can be seen when a pod of them are making their way down the beach. anglers are starting to see mullet out front from Sandy Hook down to IBSP. Its great that the baits here, now we need whats left of the bass to hit the Jersey Shore and find them. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

09.05.19 Waiting for Dorian to show up....

     Now this is a fly fishing blog so I talk about Dorian as it relates to fishing, all while my heart and prayers go out to all of those affected by the storm, especially the Bahama regions. We are starting to feel the storm as it makes it way up the coast. Here, we have a steady N-NE blow with a decent swell on the beach. Its storm season and we look for nasty weather to get things moving. 

     Theresa and I made our way east to see the girls off for their first day of school and since we were close we stopped by the beach where I was able to fish for about an hour. First cast, I snapped the tip section on my 7'9" 10 wt Recon rod. It wasn't a hard cast and it must have had. weak point from a barbell eye ding during a previous outing. Luckily I had my 11 wt and I coupled it with a 350 gr Depth Charge line to get through the wind and building incoming surf. 

    I fished hard and got wet but couldn't find a bite. Deciever's, carb fly, and even one of the infamous "Ugly Ass Fly"'s that Leif has made a go to when nothing else is working. I had a boat trip scheduled for this Sunday with a nice chap coming across the pond, the big pond, from England but it looks as though we'll have to re-schedule. Hearing about some Ocean County albies showing early so it might be time to get that going after this blow. Mullet should move after the moon and that is always fun if the bass show, and if they are bigger enough to choke one down. The fish on the beach still go from 18-26" inches soil they are the corn-cob sized then that may be too big for these little guys.