Thursday, April 30, 2020

04.30.20 Hoping it to back it up today....

     I dreamed about that fish last night. So this morning around 6 I woke from a sound sleep and decided to hit the river before the office. I didn't have long so it was just the Crocs, a stripping basket, a fly rod and a fly. Tons of gulls and cormorants around. There's a lot bait here. Had an hour- no hits, runs, or errors. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

04.29.20 Great day, great fish, bad plan....

     It was a great day. First it was my last day working at the Edison Field Medical Station at the coverted covemntion center where The Fly Fishing Show is held each January. More on that later. But after I passed the baton to the person taking over the reigns as nurse manager around 3:30 I knew where I was the river! Dead low was at that time and I knew I'd have the incoming when I got there an hour later. 

     It felt really good to be on the water. I started opposite Trenton on the PA side and dodged the leaves, twigs and branches that were coming down the swollen river. The water was off color and I just wasn't feeling it where I was. Besides when I got there the wind was going good coming upriver, and with the high water and woods behind me a backcast was out of the question. 

     A quick ride to the other side had me looking into chocolatey colored water that just went inviting. I casted for an hour without a tap. I was feeling done but wanted to stay. The problem is the space ahead of you is okay there...

....but the backcast was brutal......

     I decided to head upriver and see what the water looked like. Now, I have been keyed in on the lower tides where I able to walk around and out into fishy water. This spot was interesting. Route 29, all three lanes, is only about 15 feet behind you. So my backcasts were going across at least one or two lanes. Since there isn't much traffic these days due to Covid-19 it was easy to time the southbound cars and trucks. But that wasn't the only problem. 

     The problem here is the wall is 15-18 feet above the water level and about nipple high. I hadn't caught a fish this year and everything I caught last year was small so I dint think it would hurt to make some casts. Be careful what you wish for. I started to make some casts in water that was at the top of the tide line and cleaner then beneath the bridges. It was like playing hop-scotch with the cars. 

     I watched as my fly, a larger herring pattern, swam across and back up river after each casts. Then I saw the eat. A large fish came, ate, was hooked, and I was tight. Now what? I definitely didnt plan for this. There was no place to safely land the fish. On a low tide you can walk along the wall and out a bit, but not today. 

    I had switched over to my 12 weight and 350 gr sinking line with a 30 pound straight flouro tippet about two weeks ago. It had got chewed down with each fly change and I ran out. Last week Leif flipped me a spool of 25 so I had a butt section of 30 and then added the 25. Now, my only chance was to try and raise the 33-35" fish, then run down about 100 feet and around the abutment to walk her in, revive and release. Not optimal but it was a plan. 

      I went tight on the fly line as to avoid shocking it and slowly began to raise, two hand overs and it was gone and back in the water. when it came back it was just a butt section, no 20 lb tippet. bad know? Parted at the bend? Either way she's back in the water and hopefully the older-fly-weakend hook will jar itself lose and she will be none the better for it. It was a one nd done fish, I woish I had a chance to hold and release her and get a good measurement. she was my biggest so far, it one year, it was worth the wait, kind of. 

     So yes today was my last day at the pop-up hospital. All I can say is I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve those with the Coronovirus. The patients were great and held in there in less than optimal conditions. Think of having a fatal infection and being cared on the floor of The Fly Fishing Show. We clapped when they were discharged and worried when they went back to the hospital for a higher level of care. It's amazing how quick they change in health, oxygen saturation okay one minute, bottomed out the next. It felt good to dump my N95 mask in the garbage on the way out. While leaving Edison allows me to open up my private practice schedule and take new patients, there is a chance I may help out at Trenton State Psychiatric Hospital, they are desperate need of staff for those psychiatrically committed patients suffering with the Covid virus.

     While the patients were amazing, I cannot say enough about the people I met and worked with. From the NJ Department of Health to the numerous RN's, LPN's, PA's, NP's, RT's, PT's, Dieticians and Doctors that signed up to assist the patients and the sending hospitals who were overwhelmed and overworked. This went down in the beginning of April, Theresa's son Patrick was there for the set-up, and then the Army Reserves came in. They created a hospital on the convention floor full of dividers that were set up for patient rooms. 500 in total.

      They, the UAMTF 452 TAC-1, aka 452nd Combat Support Hospital Unit, were and are the finest and most competent people you can find. They are true heroes, in a world at this time which is full of them. Signing up to serve, leaving their families, working nearly 7 days a week, living in not the best conditions, eating whats around, including MRE's, and lastly, working in a state where everything is shut down, not to mention deployments run alcohol.

    They had a mission, they came, they blended, they helped, they conquered and hopefully soon be back home with their families. They got back last year from an 18 month deployment in Lebanon. Most are from Wisconsin or Minnesota. I wish they lived closer as I would love to hang with them on the outside and throw a few back. Again, the patients, the DOH, the civilian help, the military guys and gals.....awesome.

     I'll leave with some fish porn. Imagine walking to your favorite spot and coming upon this. Hundreds of 30" striped bass hanging in the current, most likely just waiting to get laid. This is a photo from Elmsdale Nova Scotia. The river is the Shubenacadie. The spot is behind a supermarket....put that on your bucket list. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

04.24.20 Three stops, 90 minutes, not a tap....

     Long week. Lots of patient care. Lots of PPE changes. Lots of talking. Need to get out and fish, even though the conditions weren't perfect. Incoming tides. N/NE wind. Off color water. Not a tap. 

     Hooked up with Feif at spot one for about 30 minutes. As soon as we got to the water the wind was carrying everything out of the creek outflow pipes down along the beach. I tried to "outrun" the dirt by hoofing it to the next groin but it didn't matter. Neither of us hooked up.

    At stop two I decided to pull out a Joe P. fly, which I think is electric green or glow in the dark, and while it looked good, and I swam it around spinning adult bunker in the water, I didnt hook up. 

     And with a 9am daughter pickup I hit the Navesink, trying my best to get my fit to that first pier, which is where the fish usually are. I came up short each time , and didn't hook-up.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

04.19.20 Alright, something has to give....

     I did the same this morning that hasn't worked one outing this season. I still am holding onto the skunk...and it sticks. I've lost hope of catching a good fish from the Delaware River. But they are here. Talked to a local guy today who fished from the Jersey side, you know the side with no place for a backcast thats filled with litter and attracts an interesting crowd. Yep there. But also there is where the channel is, and where I see most people fishing from boat and land. 

     So after doing the same thing, again, and not getting a tap. I tied on a fly that worked well for the little guys last year. And you know what? I didnt get a tap. I worked 2-4 hours on the incoming in bigger water. while I've heard this place is a "creeping while you're sleeping" spot, there should still be something around to bite. Like the other day seeing more birds around so I guess the bait is here.

     I think my next move is to hit it at night on the lower tide and and walk along the big wall along Route 29. I've seen it done before, and I think it might be a more productive move. Hopefully I don't drown. Its back to the grind at the hospital the next three days so fishing might be over for me since I'm drop dead tired after spending the day breathing through a N95 with another over the top.

Friday, April 17, 2020

04.17.20 Nice to start the day outside...

     The more anglers I talk to, while practicing social distancing, tell me that night and bigger tides reduce the best fishing. Got down about 530 am with about an hour before dead low. I like dead low because I can usually walk out a ways and fish the deeper channels. Not that I catch doing that but psychologically it feels better.

     After the rains of earlier this week theres more water and stronger current so wading way out was out today. I picked some seams and what looked like good water between the bridges, and, believe it or not.....I didn't get a tap. As Einstein said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". 

     So I moved down to the "jetty" and had it to myself. I fished from dead low to about an hour on the incoming without a tap. More cormorants around so I'm thinking the bluebacks are here. I looked around the woods or on the banks where I usually find one that didn't catch the ebb tide right but there were none. Today it was 28 degrees when I got in my truck, water was off a bit, and the temp I think was around 50 degrees. Looks like more rain and maybe some flakes this weekend so I don't know if I'll go. Hopefully I'll get to the beach before work starts again Monday.

    As far as work things are a little different now. I'm splitting my week three days at a covid field hospital and the balance of the week in the office doing telepsych or seeing people there. We aren't out of the woods yet. People I'm seeing that are infected and sick were walking around two weeks ago. I know most people are done with being trapped at home and out of work, but the science is saying if you're not around other people you cant get the virus. Its the best preventive medicine we have now. Yesterday the virus took the second person I knew personally. Dr Edward Vidal was the father of one of my childhood friends I went to St Rose in Freehold with. He worked at then Freehold Hospital. Took care of my family, and thousands of others. Great guy. Sad to learn this news. 

     I don't know when this will end, fearing it won't be for awhile. The change in seasons won't do it. The warm weather might slow it down. You can watch all the TV you wish, but its the hard numbers coming from the hospitals and daily patient and body counts that are the true indicators. I feel for all those affected, especially the elderly in nursing homes, they are taking abetting there, along with the staff trying to care for them. Reminds me of St Rita's Nursing Home during Hurricane Katrina. Sad.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

04.16.20 Get em' boys.....

    Atlantic City, NJ. March 30th. 

66 dead and short striped bass. 

Penalty $100/per fish per angler (2) plus up to $12,800 for each angler.

I highly doubt it

Monday, April 13, 2020

04.13.20 First person I knew that Covid-19 took....RIP Anthony

Anthony Causi. Big guy, Big hero. Big mouth, in a good way. I was saddened to learn on yesterday that the coronavirus took him away at age 48 He leaves behind a wife and two small children. 

     I met Anything when I worked for The New York Post from I think 2006-2008. I was assigned to lower Manhattan working 5am-1pm. Some times I would be asked to cover a sports assignment in New Jersey, like when one of the Mets or Yankees players would be rehabbing and playing at The Trenton Thunder stadium. Or I'd get a call to cover a high school game with an up and coming star. Many times I would get a pro sport to shoot, the Rangers, Nets, Knicks, Giants or Jets. Not often, but those gigs did come. Anthony was a sports shooter, a great one, and I was not. A few times we both shot the same game. Funny, I don't remember ever getting a better shot then he did. He would tell me to concentrate on the celebs in the stands, and that he would capture the action. 

     I remember when he shot the image of Mariano Rivera coming out of the bullpen and it running in the Post with the caption "Enter Sandman". Hum that song in your head and it makes the image come to life. 

    Anthony fought this till the end, updating his friends and family via Instagram. reading it I think he knew how sick he was. Coronavirus sucks. God Bless Ant, RIP.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

04.11.20 Just a tug would be good....and Happy Easter!!

     Since it sounds like the end of the earth is coming on Monday with winds to 60+ mph. I broke away from the girls and stuck down on the outgoing tide. Lots of boats out, and at least one of them very irresponsible. So as I  am walking down a boat is coming in, heavily damaged. It seems one boat was motoring from Trenton down to the municipal ramp and ran into a boat anchored up in the channel. Just damage, no one overboard, no injuries. Boat kept cool at all. 

     The tide was about three hours out from low so there was more water around then I am liking. I decided to walk upstream, get away from the in and out boaters, and fish the rapids. I caught fish this way last year, but it was later in the season and they were mostly small bass. 

     I know I am going to connect here, and it will be a good one, the problem is it will be during a half ass cast, I'll mess it up, and it will either break off or I drown trying to land it in water probably a little too deep that I shouldn't be in. 

     So, it is Sunday, Happy Easter to all!! I love Easter. For me Jesus rose from the dead. I dig the whole story and I dig being Catholic. I'm not the best or most religious but I am believer, and really a believer that there is something after this life. If I'm right then I just might get a chance of seeing Ryan again.....anyway.....Happy Easter, Passover, or whatever else people celebrate.

     So today on Easter we took a ride. The girl wanted toes where I fish. Erin found an elver, or glass eel, while looking around the exposed dropping tide rocks. I know these thing are born in the Sargasso Sea, come over here to hang out, and then go back to spawn and die. what amazing is at its peak, around 2013-2105,  a pound of these went for $2,600 over in the Asian markets. There is a commercial fishery for these in Maine. Cool find while out and about.

     And we have been talking about this since we moved out to "the country". So today we went and purchased our pullets, tiny Bovans Brown that will supply us eggs during the apocolapyse. The girls are way into it and so are Theresa and I. We went and looked at pigs also.....might wait on those. But those fainting goats look like something I'd be down to owning.

      And lastly kudos to Phil Prasch, who I don't know, who hooked, ended and related "Bubba" on opening day of the South Branch of the Raritan. Phil caught it on a fly he found in a tree! every year a Bubba is released by Shannon's Fly Shop and there's always a buzz on when Bubba will be caught.

Friday, April 10, 2020

04.10.20 Honkin' wind, little cool, but found some fish....

           Had the opportunity to get out and take a break from life for awhile. Got down to the water at 630am and had the incoming tide with a wicked WSW wind that got worse as the hours went on. It was nice to get back out on the rocks although it took me a while to find my jetty legs again. 

     It didn't take long for me to hook up using a herring fly and it felt good to go tight and hold a striped bass in my hands, especially since I've been hitting the Delaware so hard and it hasn't paid off yet as far as catching. I didn't move off the rocks and when I wasn't trying to strong arm my fly with the quartering wind on the south sided I was enjoying the wind at my back on the north side. Leif spent half the time on the rocks and on the sand. Of course often when I would look over he was either hooked up or in the process of releasing a fish. 

    In the end I managed to land five and two of them were fishing from "Ryan's Rock". With work times two now getting going getting down to the beach will be hard. I know its early, and I was lucky to find a few out front on April 10th, but that drive down 195 and back is hard, especially with the Delaware only across the street from my house, or 10 minutes down the road to Trenton.

    In keeping with tradition Leif caught the below fish using the "UAF". I think the next time the ASFMC comes up with new regulations to try and save the striped bass, I am going to suggest the "Ugly Ass Fly" be banned until the stocks are I think they fall for the "UAF" here on the beach, get released, and then fall for a chartreuse Mojo trolled around in deeper waters.