Friday, February 14, 2020

02.14.20 New New Jersey striped bass regs almost 100% set.....

     Here we go. So here's the story as I got it. Last nights meeting was held in a shoebox and they turned people away because the venue was so small. Also, with most people there for the striped bass comment and decision they decided to make it the third topic of the evening, leaving most folks outside the room or building.

     What I've heard is this. 

Striped Bass 2020 Regulations-  (after submission and approval to the ASMFC)

                       March 1st to December 31st. One fish 28-38 inches. 

                       March 15 to December 31st BONUS TAGS in effect 24-28" fish with 27,000 tags available for purchase. It eliminates trophy tags for big fish, and bonus tag  fish cant be harvested if they are over 28". These are the 2014-2016 year class fish. As we have seen we have decimated the years class 2010-2012, that evidenced by the lack of 28-35" fish we saw on the boats and beaches this fall.

We've killed most of the big fish, almost all of the medium fish, and are now gonna get the little ones. There is a thought that the smaller 28-38" fish are mostly males, open up the Bonus Tag slot to take the 24" fish and you are just aiming and firing at both female and male babies just getting out of the nursery. 

So what that means is when you peer into the dumpsters at the marina this year you'll be staring at the tacks of small bass, the future of the fishery. 

I'll have to check on exactly New York has finally decided, because isn't it a hoot that New York and New Jersey boaters and head boasts and recreational boat anglers fish the sea waters, but may have different seasons and bag limits, while fishing in the same pond. Kind of like different regulations for the Delaware River between NJ, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

02.13.20 Big meeting tonight....

So tonight the New Jersey Fisheries council is having a public meeting as they attempt to iron out regulations for the striped bass fishery. As well known, by angler in NJ, and up and down the east coast, our state, and Maryland also, are a laughing stock.

NJ will decide on the slot size, closed seasons, and the Bonus Tag system-all trying to justify and meet a 18% CE, or reduction.

I won't be able to make it, and its killing me, but I thankfully have a full patient load today and tonight.....thanks for all who are going!

Here's the agenda-

·       "“The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will consider two options for the striped bass recreational harvest, (1) one fish of 28 inches to 35 inches per person per day, or (2) one fish of 28 inches to 38 inches per day, said Lawrence Hajna with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) press office. Hajna said the second option is pending a Conservation Equivalency approval by ASMFC.

·       In an effort to keep the lower end size of the slot at 28 inches, that decision by ASMFC could allow New Jersey the ability to implement a maximum size limit of 38 inches on a one fish bag limit. Final word on striped bass regulations, including the future of New Jersey's Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP), should occur when the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council takes up the final striped bass options at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Stafford Twp. Municipal Building on 260 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ. The meeting is open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend in order to provide final input for a vote.

·       According to the the latest tallies from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the SBBP in 2019 accounted for less than 15% of the overall allotted commercial quota of 215,912 pounds, by way of just 5,382 tagged 24- to 28-inch striped bass for a total of 31,239 pounds. The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council is expected to take up bluefish regulatory changes as well this Thursday in Manahawkin.

·       Hajna said the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will be considering two options for the recreational striped bass bonus tag program, which is derived from the state’s allocation of the commercial quota: “One fish as 24 inches to 28 inches per tag per day opening May 15, 2020 and closing December 31, 2020, or one fish of 24 inches to 28 inches per tag per day opening September 1, 2020 and closing December 31, 2020,” Hajna said by email on Tuesday afternoon, adding that staff will present several options that were reviewed with the Advisory Committee for public information and potential comment.

·       “Once an option is selected an approved by the Marine Fisheries Council, it will be sent to the DEP Commissioner for final approval,” Hajna added."

      My friend and guide Capt Paul Eidman plans to speak and has outlined his talking points-

·       My talking points for tomorrows meeting in New Jersey. Please show up and speak up. 
·       Support the coastal standard of 28"-35"
·       Follow Connecticut example and suspend the bonus tag program until stock recovers
·       Delay the opening of the season in Raritan Bay until May 1. Protect the pre-spawn fish that will head up the Hudson.
·       Cooperate and reciprocate with New York on regulations due to our shared fishery
·       The Hudson spawning stock needs more protection now than ever
·       Increase funding for conservation law enforcement
·       Create and fund angler education program on catch & release (virtual or in person)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

02.04.20 Say good-bye to the Recon rod line.....

I guess thats it for another mid-priced Orvis rod line.....

     This morning while checking my email I saw one that came from Orvis. This one was titled Orvis Pro Newsletter. It comes every month directed to guides that are part of their program. I was once an Orvis Endorsed Guide, having gone through the vetting process, which included an application and day on the water with one of the representatives from the Mother Ship. 

     I was part of that program fro 3 or 4 years, when I split my time between the Upper Delaware and the salt waters of New Jersey. There was a yearly "fee" that came with being in the program, one that came with some controversy among other non-Orvis guides. It was kind of, and you know this term because its been in the news for a year, quid pro quo. 

     One of the benefits of the program was that, as an Orvis endorsed guide, was a deep discount on gear, gear that you would use exclusively and put in the hands of your clients. But, as I found, guides didn't do that. They may have used some of the Orvis product line, but it wouldn't be uncommon to see an Orvis Endorsed Guide wearing Simms Waders, a Fishpond pack, an Orvis Helios rod, coupled with a Hatch reel, throwing AirFlo line. And the kicker to me was, any guide could get the same discount, in %, as the endorsed guides.

     I have never been a gear head. Give me a decent rod and I'm going fishing. Some anglers like the newest and greatest, me, well just call me, well Average. I always went for the middle of the line rod. There was the Hydros, then came the Recon. Well, today, according to the website, the Recon has come and gone. It leaves angers the choice of the H3, or the Clearwater product line.

     One of my complaints of the lower price-point rods is the grip. The cork grips are often filled, and after exposure to the salt, they (the fill pieces) loosen and fall out. You can see that above on my Clearwater 10 wt. Orvis claims the tapers are the same, its just a lower priced rod with some lesser expensive options in the real seat and guides. Also, it depends on where its made. You can there is no Made in USA, Manchester Vt. sticker, so this product line is made overseas, they just don't tell you which Communist country they come from. 

     Since I started fly-fishing in the early 1990's, around when A River Runs Through It came out, I have always been an Orvis guy. I have stayed consistent for nearly 30 years. I've been through the terrible bootfoot waders, the change in company direction- likes catalogues with guides tossing PBR's between drift boats, and I won't even get into the 50/50 On the Water recent push, and I've stayed put.

     Most guys and ladies cant swing the $8-900 fly rods that are out there today, and that's just not Orvis, and prefer that mid priced rod, better than entry into sport that companies are offering. Yes, you can go to a TFO, made in South Korea, where the rods are good and cheap (made overseas), but if you wanted to stay with an established, sometimes American made company, it seems Orvis is missing the mark. Just stay true, don't cower to the competition, or the political correct world we live in, and stay true to what Charles Orvis started in 1856.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

02.01.20 Been missing this guy this past week....

     Readers here know how fond I was of Jim Matson, and his wife Laura, from BrineFly Innovations, the inventor of the Pulse Disc. Jim passed away in 2018 after a quick battle with pancreatic cancer. Jim was an ironworker, a tinkerer, an inventor and innovator. He was a retired Ironworker and the skill of his hands matched the creative thought processes in his mind.

     So this year was the first time I was able to make The Fly Fishing show since Jim's death. In my rush through to catch up with old friends and find the latest "thing" out there it wasn't until afterwards that I realized what was missing. I quickly came up with some things that missed from the old venue, but what tugged at my heart was not seeing Jim. 

    When you lose someone close, life goes on, you, hopefully are able to go with life. I see that since I lost Ryan two years ago, some days harder than others. On the days where the ones that passed are close to our hearts we are usually left missing them because of the good memories we had. While Jim and I weren't "besties", I always remember talking with him on the phone, seeing him at the shows, opening up his "mystery boxes" of things he would end me, and visiting his home and being allowed into his basement laboratory, where his greatest innovations were created. 

     I never got to fish with Jim, but used his flies, some that would come with a plastic sleeve where "juice", either herring or bunker, could be injected into it that would be released over time while fishing. But is was Pulse Disc that he was mostly known for. My favorite was that coupled with a Brad Buzzi sand eel fly in the fall. I used them from the beach and boat and always had good luck. 

     Enjoy the company of good people, learn from they know and are willing to share, don't miss an opportunity to stay in touch or get together, and if you do you'll have great memories when you do think of them.

01.31.20 In the area so I took a shot.....

     Was down in the area so decided to take a peek. Outgoing tide with about two hours till low. Air temps below 40 and water temps just above. First noticed the crabs on the beach and was brought back to 2012 when we had spring-like conditions all winter with lots of fish around, mostly on the rock or Jonah crabs. 

    I had tied up a crab fly which I thought looked good until I placed it down next to a pair of actuals...maybe thats why I didn't get a sniff. Looking at it now I see where I have to make some improvements, for one, after seeing it during the retrieve, is to add some tungsten powder on the underside so it rides flat in the water.

Good to be able to get in late January...spring cant come soon enough!