Tuesday, September 29, 2020

09.28.20 Okay, now there'll be a lull between the fish....

     Yep, here's my 22'er, pounder, no, incher, yes. You have to go when you can go, so I go when I can in between work and school. Had a good feeling, outgoing tide, SW wind, allegedly tons of bait our front in the corners. 

     I got down around 830 and first thing I realized no head light. Luckily there was enough moon light to enable me to see. I had a plan, three stops, hit it and quit it. First stop, guys in all the wrong places, my places. Walked the beach with a nasty right to left sweep and rouge waves every now and then. Almost got face planted as I snuck up to the trough. Luckily I managed a 30 foot recovery before standing upright. 

Second stop, up and down a groin two times without anything. Next stop on the south side of the inlet hoping the bass had the exiting bait pinned in the corner pocket. Nope, not a touch. Without a light I really couldn't tell what the water quality was, and it seems to vary from town to town. One thing that for sure, theres structure there now, and bait, we just need some fish in numbers to show. A few towns north Dr Tony picked up a nice 30 inch specimen on what looked like a rubber shad. 

    So my idea was to avoid the nursery of bait and bass but I couldn't resist the urge to check it out. Nearly dead low, a mere trickle of the water that usually moves through, and bass stacked up gorged out on bait they had 6 hours to chase and chew. I got one at 22 inches and a micro bass, but by the sound of the tail slaps there might be some bigger fish feeding at the funnel. Stayed way to long, felt like a loser, but it worked for last night. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

09.23.20 Three years gone but he's still giving....

    Shortly after Ryan's passing three years ago today his mom Michelle and I decided we would immediately set up a scholarship at Rowan University where he was attending. His major was physics and math but his love was reading. Scholarships work two ways, you donate and when the money is up its over, or if you donate ALOT it becomes an endowment for impertuity. Thanks to support of friend and family Ryan's memory and scholarship will go on forever. This fall the scholarship winner was Jada Eldridge, a physics major and computer science minor, congrats Jada!

     This past August we were planning another big celebration of his life and what would have been his 24th birthday. Music, food, drinks, and raffles and prizes would have kicked in more money to his scholarship. Right now its just for a physics major and we hoped to give away another for literature and then math. Coronavirus halted those plans. So now I figured I'd throw it out there to keep the thing going. 

    I am asking for small donations from a lot of people, not big ones from a few. Say $5 or $10 will go along way when it all adds up. You can go to the Rowan foundation website by clicking on the link RYAN SCHOLARSHIP right there. Below is what the opening page looks like.

     Then you choose "Fund of Your Choice" and scroll down until you see" Ryan Archer Scholarship" and click on his name, it'll look like the screen below. 

    When you return back you'll get the below screen that asks for your info and payment details and you are all set. Its tax deductible and they send out letters after you donate. 

     After we recieved Ryan's ashes back I decided to spread them at a place were I could go and connect with him. Ryan loved fishing as a kid but moved away from it as he got older, maybe because I was always pushing fly fishing. I chose Phillips Avenue in Deal as the place and went out and stood on a rock and let him fall gently into the sea, well on the rocks too. 

That rock is now known as "Ryan's Rock", to both me and the regulars that fish down there. Today in the darkness I visited it with fly rod in hand. I wasnt looking to catch, I was just looking to connect. I played "Blackbird" by the Beatles, a song Ryan as mastered on the guitar and loved. It gets me when the following line is sung, "All your life you were only waiting for this moment to be free.....".

     There were no fish, no bait, dead low tide at sunrise, but a beautiful morning just the same. I usually wait for something, a gut feeling, a sign, but it was peaceful this morning. Before I pulled away I drove my truck down to the entrance to the beach, the sun was up, and I felt it, and it was good. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

09.21.20 Hit a milestone with the blog and a snag in my head......

     That's right 600,000 new person views. No thats not daily views that the number of new users that have checked out or stalked The Average Angler blog since I started it in 2009. Thanks for the continued interest and support. I really like doing this, no matter how much work it takes. Now on to bigger and better business. So that was the milestone that was hit, below is the snag.....

     I found one....now what. If you recall last year I had to sell my Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman. I purchased it in 2011 and sold it in 2019. It was a great run, lots of fishing, lots of big fish I would have never caught from the beach, and most importantly great times. And oh yeah, tons of money. Between gussying her all up shortly after I bought her, to the continued service at Gateway Marina, to the shrink wraps and marina and storage fees, it was a lot. We started out business last year and times were tight, so, it being my biggest asset, and with us living on the Delaware, I was okay to pass her along. But now I have found another boat, same style, a year older, in a little bit rougher shape then mine when I got her, and very far from what I passed on to the lucky guy last year. Below is a shot I took shortly after getting her in 2011 and before she went in for an overhaul. 

     What to do? I am not good at projects, I have come to realize this after 52 years. However I do like a challenge. I think I know this boat well. I like the way they run. while I think the 23 footer is the best boat for up here its out of my price and league. Plus with the 20 footer I can run her in the Delaware River below Trenton in the spring........Stay tuned, more to come. 

     Fishing last night was tough. Incoming, N-NE winds, couldn't gage the water quality. Swung a fly for a few hours without a tap. Made the move to another protected spot and got there with about 1-1/2 hours left in high tide, too high because all of the bait came with it. Talked with a guy who was leaving when I got there and he said is was good before all the bait got there. Gave the old Pulse Disc a try behind a Jim Matson fly. I had a fish on early on a black Snake Fly but that was it before I switched. We'll see what all this weather will do to the mullet run when things settle down next week. 


Monday, September 21, 2020

09.18.20 The big'uns come out at night....

 ....or not. 1030-1230 on the ebb tide. At least I got one. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

09.17.20 Think I missed the first push of fish...

     Lucky for me I slept right until the alarm woke me up at 345am, they put me on the beach around 5 after a stop at WaWa in Jackson for gas and coffee. It felt good not getting there in the middle of the night and only an hour before light creeped over the horizon. 

     I fished my way north from my parking spot as the incoming tide started putting water up on the beach. I had about 2 hours till high. On my second set of rocks and an hour into fishing I landed the above fish which was a good fighter. I was hoping his friends hd joined him in the hunt for mullet but after 45 minutes I gave up and headed back to groin #1. 

     I stopped mid-way and had a nice bass, nothing large, jump my double Snake eye set up. There was nothing on those rocks near the top of the tide so I stated fishing the beach. Once set in a spot that

looked promising I connected on this little guy below who took the top Snake Fly, while the first fish took the trailer. I'm not looking to catch a double header but I think having two flys in the water not only increases your chances but also may create a little more of a disturbance than just a lone fly. 

    Today was a day I just didn't want to leave and stayed till about 830. The surf was still big and hadn't started draining yet. While up on the rocks I spotted my first mullet this fall and that classic v-shaped wake they leave coming down the beach. I caught a cocktail blue maybe two pounds and then watched as his buddies harassed the mullet, no sign of bass picking up the pieces or getting them by themselves. 

     We each have our own theories on what the bass have been doing, are doing, and will be doing. We think we know until we realize we don't. So about the mullet. Its thin around my parts, is the mullet run done? I mean done like good and done, not "Oh I saw some mullet the other day". I mean here they come down the beach and there's bass on them, like it used to be. Last year wasn't so good, a few back to back storms shut it down. 

What I will swear to is that this past week we had the first good push of good fish on the beach. Fly rodder good is different than a spin or bait guy. 28-32" inch fish are a fly rodder dream. Not too big and not too small. In the bigger water during this week those year class fish showed up. A 30 inch bass is 7 or 8 yers old so these would be the 2012-2013 class. The reason I believe this is because, in my absence, the boys had a blast avoiding not getting killed while catching good bass. Joe's the weeks pool winner with a 35" bass (below) while Lief was all alone and found a corner pocket full of bass 

that were on the mullet. He recalls seeing black clouds of fish, bass, not mullet, making their way into the pocket and wash. That outing he landed four keepers to 31 inches (below). 

     The last two days have been slow on the beaches, and I was lucky to squeak a few out this morning, most likely just our resident fish looking for a meal. Hopefully the next wave of bass will be in soon while the mullet are here. Yes, fall can be great and the fish "stay around" for days, to even weeks, 2011 comes to mind and the sand eels and 2016 with the peanuts. But if theres no bait to hold them, coupled with out shitty redesigned beaches thanks to Frank Pallone and the US Army Corp of Engineers, they will just ride by, and hopefully your fly will just happen to catch one of them. 


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

09.15.20 What was I thinking....

After a disappointing morning I took the drive of shame back to Mercer County. It was a day off so I took a shot at DMV to get my new 2005 Yukon Denali inspected. Previous trips to MV had me there 9 and 5 hours on two trips. Luckily this only took about 25 minutes, and it passed, so that was a win. With the stuff done, or at least to gibe me an excuse to go fishing, I headed down I95 to the beach. I knew it was going to be big, but I checked on the beach was a few hours earlier and the water was clean and green with tons of surfers and people on the beach. 

     When I got down it had become bigger as it was on the top of high tide. I went to a corner pocket I usually like but there was the broken-tip bait stacking crowd there with their five year olds running back and forth behind me. Since I didnt want to pull one of the kids eyes out with a Snake Fly I took a walk. 

     I started out on the groin and heard someone say "be careful" as they walked by. I looked at them, looked at the waves breaking, and walked back to the sand. I played hop scotch with the incoming waves in the pocket but couldn't get it where I wanted. Big water like that is fun but you have to be on the rocks, right next to the rocks, or on a beach that has good structure like a trough. 

     Before I left the wind went hard south which I thought would help. I decided to head south and when I got to my car I found the below scene. A guy so excited to fish he left his car door wide open with his wallet on the center console. Glad the people in this town have lots of money. I went down to another rock pile and got out about 1/3 of the way but I needed to get out 1/2 way or more to be able to hit any decent amount of water. So I had traded in last night for this morning, figuring it would be too honky and big. Plus that ride.....

     So with the benefit of living 5 minutes from the beach Lief texted me at 713 am. When I hear the bing from my phone that early its either a friend who caught or my brother who shot a deer, but I know he's not hunting. It was Lief reporting tough and sloppy conditions but he was able to do a one-and-done in about 45 minutes. It's nice fat 29" fish that took a black Snake Fly, extra large. 

     So it looks sporty the next week or so and I have to get serious with school and work so I'll be away from the salt. It will be interesting to see if the mullet are around next week after this series of continuous blows. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

09.14.20 Racoons, snakes and bumble bees.....didn't matter


     After squeaking out one fish the other day in big surf I was looking forward to this morning. NW wind, high around 530 am, mullet starting to show, and fish around. The problem is when I'm going fishing the next day I always wake at 2 am, regardless if the buzzer is set for 345. So I was up and at it again too early and fishing by around 415. Should have stayed in bed. 

     But last night I tied up some bait, a mix of sizes and colors that were sure to get some attention. One thing I have to work on is setting up my fly tying room in the basement. Its never organized, the air quality isn't the best, and any power requires a 50 ft extension cord. Other than that its perfect. I tie my Snake Flys with dumbbell eyes, good especially when the surf is up during high tide. Don't get me started about high tide, its the only time to fish on these new shit beaches. Waters there and then in an hour its gone. Each stretch will hold water, its usually within 20 feet of the rocks, north side only, and very little good structure in between. 

     I started with a hi-low double snake Fly set up, thinking the more the merrier especially in the dark. Wrong. Not a tap in the dark, nor in the light. I fished hard for the hours on the end of the tide, and 


by the time light came I was done. When the sun came up I didn't see any bait, except right before I bailed at 8am some small bait being harassed in the pocket by some fluke or small blues. I fished from the rocks, then the beach, then the rocks again and back on the sand. Leif was down and didn't get a tap either. 

     I hope the mullet come in thick and some bass meet them, it usually only takes one storm to shut it down, like last year. This week Hurricane Sally is about to wreak havoc down south again, and not sure where its path is projected for up here. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

09.12.20 One'll do....

     I looked down before I took my first cast and it was 447 am. Water about an hour and a half into the ebb, N-NE wind to 25, perfect. I didn't know what the water quality was but as I got the above fish in I figured it couldn't be too baad if he saw these tandem flys in those conditions. I stayed at it fishing both the north side off the groin, basically into the wind and slop, and the calmer south side from the beach, as the shoaling on the south sides haven't been dug out since its just the start of the fall NE weather patterns. For now, outside of any deeper water near the groins on the north sides, its water comes in and water goes out. Not much for structure and sadly any good troughs that bait and predators like to patrol. You're just hoping a fish comes in to sniff around the same time you let a fly go.

     Sun up lit the place up and I could see it was off color, big, and of course windy and gusty. I didn't know Leif was on a another beat until I had left around 7ish and he later sen me the below pic of a keeper at 28", the first one for the fly anglers that I know that hit these Jersey Shore beaches.


Friday, September 11, 2020

09.10.20 Third shift bass...

     I had planned on fishing Friday morning but got a text from Leif stating it looked like rain and NE winds 10-20 in the AM. I needed to go so I decided to make the trek after class tonight. During class I found my fly tying stuff but couldn't find a bobbin holder so hand to hand hold and tie the best I could. 


    Since I was going in the dark I tied up a Snake Fly. Now the thing is when you tie during class you kind of have to hide your hands so our professor and fellow students cant see what you're doing, so this was the best I could. Its ugly, not Ugly Ass Fly ugly, but I thought it would work. 


     It poured for a while during class but stopped when I got on the road about 930, putting me in a spot around 45 minutes. There was no rain, no wind, and the flood tide was about 2 hrs. in. 

     I fished some spots that I hoped would be productive but couldn't find the feeling with the incoming tide running up the beach. Decent sized waves kept me always playing catch up with my fly. I decided to violate my own new Yukon rule, well the second of them. First, no eating inside, that didnt last, and no wearing waders inside either. That diet last either.


On my second spot on a rock pile named after a president I liked what I was seeing. After a short cast on the south side playing time-the-tide I hooked a nice fish as I pulled the fly from the water. I had nothing on the Snake Fly so switched over to a popper/dropper, it took the small tailing fly. I thought it was a keeper, and after walking back to the beach end of the groin I could see why. The fish was about to split open, it has been eating very well. 


It was a one and done night, fishing from 1030-1230. I could have caught more if Iwaited for more water to arrive. Top ofnthe tide and the start ofnthe outgoing around 5 am would have been the ticket. But, I was happy. I needed to get out and catching a nice bass made it all worthwhile. I had a nice drive there and back just cruising and listening to the Grateful Dead channel on Siruis XM.