Saturday, December 26, 2020

12.26.20 That's all folks.....

     So that'll do it for me. Down there around 530, waited for a bit, fished for 30 minutes until it felt like fingers would pop off. I gave int a try, when I could, and now its over, for me. 

     There's really not much to say. It was a good year, and I'll recap it in the next few days. Lots of adventure, some new places, fish in places I never caught before., and driving, or winding up places I never thought. The new boat, new plans for next year, really going to dig in, and I might revisit Montauk as a place I guide for a few weeks during the 2021 fall run, last time I did that was 2014 and it was fun, hard work, but fun. So enjoy the next few days and the New Year and I'll see you in 2021. 


Friday, December 25, 2020

12.25.20 Merry Christmas!

     I remember some 8 years ago dragging that Elf on the Shelf down to the beach to make a Christmas image. That day I even took the boat out after the festivities with the family. I got some nice gifts and cards from the kids, below is what Erin wrote me in hers,

     As the kids get older Christmas routines have changed a bit, hardly any real shopping, most stuff  ordered online, they all places to go, and this year with Covid, forget it, no chance of any normalcy at the holidays.

    So this Christmas morning it will be Theresa and I exchanging gifts alone by the tree, starting to understand and feel what empty nesting is like. While Thanksgiving is my holiday, I did enjoy so many years when the kids were kids and Christmas mornings were just the best. But I always remember what Christmas, to me, is really about. The birth of Jesus, I have celebrated 52 of his birthdays an hope for a whole lot more, and some more normalcy next year in 2021. 


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

12.22.20 Little Orvis delivery before Christmas....

     Well just few days before Christmas and the UPs delivered some good cheer. He took of the piece of firewood I had the snowman holding and put the Orvis box in its place.   


     Inside? My Access 9 ft 12 wt, that was broken during that day a few years ago when Joe and I found 30's 40's and 50's blowing up on mackerel at Romer. We were the only boat there, as the weather prediction for that day was a blowing S wind and an incoming tide from the Atlantic Ocean. Well, it never materialized and we hit payday, that was November 2 2018, you can reread it HERE

Sunday, December 20, 2020

12.20.20 Quit day #2, I'm done....

     I had some Christmas shopping and a daughter pick up to do in Monmouth County so I figured I would give it a shot. Leif has repaired my Helios s 11wt tip that I busted when putting my truck window up so he met me on the beach. Two hours on the ebb, warmest part of the day......nada.

     So this is it for me, I'm done, its official. The only thing that might change that is a flurry of late herring chasing bass. There's a lot of fish down near IBSP, and what do they do? Well they are the growing up Hudson fish that return to those waters for the winter and hunker down in those big massive deep holes up near West Point, New York. 

     We always think of the fish hiding north to south in the fall, I believe they do go north to south, then go back north, at times really north into the Hudson. We do resident fish, as all major ports and Bight's do. Check out Boston Harbor, there's a strong resident winter-over population there, and as well as some of the bigger rivers in Connecticut. I bet if Mike Laptew did some scuba diving near the Statue of Liberty you'd be amazed with the bass that stay in the New York Bay and Ambrose Channel. 

     An so its time to go through the gear and get repaired what I messed up and throw away all those shit flies that aren't catching because they foul or the hooks are rusted up. I am going to look into donating these flies overseas to anglers that could use them in the bowels of the Amazon or other prehistoric kind of fishery. If I find something I'll pass it along. 

     There's no Fly Fishing Show this year, so outside of some warm weather quick trip, it'll be a wait and hold until March and April when the fish start migrating up the Delaware, where this year I'll meet them in the middle of the river in my boat, and yes, pulled by my pick up. 


Saturday, December 19, 2020

12.19.20 Okay, where's the bite along the Jersey Shore?

     The last time I saw the Island Beach State Park area like this was in 2011. It was a sand eel bite then, and is now. It also reminds me of the early staging days on the Salmon River, which I witnessed one time in the early 1990's. 

     While IBSp can be great for the fly rodder, just look at the points and bowls in the above picture, setting up some space for a backcast on days like this is dam near impossible. If you're like me you'd rather fish alone where there are no fish then be out with 1,000 strangers with fish in front of you. Its no anti-social, well maybe it is. 

     The above photo was taken by Tom Lynch, of Anger Fish Gallery, in Point Pleasant, you can see his website HERE. He has great gift ideas for the angler in your life. 


Friday, December 18, 2020

12.18.20 Wow, thats why they commercially fish for striped bass....


     Towards the end of each week we look forward to hitting one of the local markets that has a Amish store attached to it. Trenton and Columbus are two of them. They're open Thursday through Saturday, off for the Holy Day in Sunday. Yesterday we hit the one in Doylestown as the other two hd delayed opening or the Amish didn't make the trip due to the snow they got out in Lancaster PA. 

     As we walked around I stopped at the fish market and saw some striped bass for sale. "Wild caught $21.99 a pound". I compared that to other offerings, "Fresh salmon....$14.99 a pound, tuna $27.99 and Halibut $28.99 a pound". So if someone catches a 40 pound fish and fillets it up to say 30 pounds, that would cost you, at this market, $659.70. Now I know why guys cast nets in Long Island and ride their bikes upon and down the Cape Cod Canal. 

It's amazing these fish can survive the constant predation....

Monday, December 14, 2020

12.14.20 Fat Lady is warming up her pipes....

     With Christmas and some nasty weather coming and being busy with work and home I wanted to run down for a shot, maybe the last shot. Lots of water out there this morning and it was clean and green. Started at 530 and fished two groins for a while before going tight for a while being being broke off on a bad knot. I was pissed because I figured it would be a one and done morning. 

     When light arrived I could see Leif off in the distance doing his thing and he found one to bite. It was a slow morning and I stuck around after he left trying another groin that has been chiseled away

nicely after all the weather we've had lately. Its a sand eel bite, like I predicated a few months ago. The last time we had a good snd eel bite we had a herring bite that followed. However, than was then. You'll see some, you'll see the gannets diving on them, but the fish that usually chase them are gone this year. We haven't the micro bass invasion which arrive when the Fat Lady sings, so now its a pick of school bass if you're lucky enough to be in front of them as them swim by. 

    When I lived close I would quit about 6 times as winter arrived, and usually the last was in frigid water in Ajn wary, trying for that first of the year bass. Well, maybe for me not this year, mid December might have been it, but, "just when I thought I was out they pull me back in". 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

12.13.20 Looks like we'll be getting our first taste of winter....

     So when I lived in Red Bank a few snow shovels and then a Toro snowblower were all I needed. I enjoyed getting myself free and clean of the snow and helping my neighbors out up and down the block. I always like the people that do themselves and then retreat inside. I could help others for hours.

     Then when I moved out to the country I had to get a tractor. The above I found on Facebook Marketplace and Theresa, I and the girls drove out to Amish Country to pick her up. Mowed the grass one time and then the engine blew. Recently I found another Kohler engine and purchased it and the guy who's mechanic and small engine tinkerer rebuilt my old one. She runs real good now. 

      This Case 224 comes with a large mowing deck, a plow, a grass and leaf picker upper and the above snow blower. Today Jim took a look at my truck and helped me get the snow blower hooked up for Wednesday night, when it looks like we might get a foot or more along the Delaware River corridor. 

     Besides Jim I had a little help from one of the girls today. I love chickens, don't tell my dogs but they are the best pets. This one hung around today for about an hour as I worked, and was nice enough to hold her bowels until she joined the flock. 

     I was hoping to have her running today. So far so good, she turns over, and all the fluids and filters are changed along with the plugs and distributor and rotor. I'm having a problem with the fuel, which if you look at it doesn't look good for engine consumption. I removed the fuel filter and tried to siphon the gas from the fill, but it doesn't want to come out. when I put the ignition on the fuel pump shoots out some fuel, but I need to get the tank bone dry, and don't yet want to have to drop the tank. We're still moving forward, slowly, but we're moving, this will run again!

     As far as fishing, get it in while you can. Smaller fish around on the beaches, better in Ocean County than Monmouth but just go where you can. We'll see if the fronts affect the bite. 

     And lastly I got tested for Covid on Thursday. asymptomatic but had been around someone who tested positive. CVS did mine, in fact I did it in the drive through. Just went and made an appointment a few days before. If you don't to swift, or around someone who has tested positive its good to have a test of your own. No cash, no insurance needed, I didn't give them anything. 


Friday, December 11, 2020

12.11.20 Super day of fishing, better day of taking out.....

      Best picture of the day is above, boat securely on trailer and Yukon safely off the ramp. So the takeout went well after chocking three of four wheels. So the end of the trip went well, but we hit a bump before we headed out. Today I shared the boat with Leif for one of my fish-a-long trips. We had this day picked a few weeks back and luckily the weather held out long enough to catch a bunch of fish. 

     So I had the boat backed off the trailer just after 6 am. I went to fire her up to back her off the trailer and tick-tick-tick. The motor wouldn't turn over, after having it on charge all night.  So I got her back on and pulled her up the ramp and off to the side as the traffic was starting to build. I tried to jump it, nope, tried to charge it, nope, lastly I went to the marina and they gave me a jump pack and after hooking it up to the 24 volt batteries and turning the key it started. Leif and I jumped into action and quickly had her wet and we were underway. 

     We headed out and after turning the corner we could see the fleet out near the line. Even with the glare I could see birds, a lot of them, down off the beach. We went and quickly were hooked up. It was a day of fish, a lot of them, probably three dozen or so, with four being better than keeper size.  

     When we went the SW wind wasn't too bad, good bird action, and calm enough where you could see the swirls and splashes as the fish were up on the sand eels, bunker and micro white baits. The fish, even the schoolies, fight hard and have sharp spines that seem to catch you every time you touch one. Most of the day the fish were low, and you needed to nymph them up, and the larger fish 

seemed to be along the bottom. When we did find the fish on the screen and were able to get them to bite we were usually doubled up. There was a point where the SW wind died and we were all alone and just on 

them really good. The birds were the best fish finder today, as any time you were able to nose into a flock picking there was fish under them and they would eat. It wasn't albie run and gun but you had 

to first be in the area and then position yourself for a good drift or just motor in and uphill a touch and fire as soon as your hand came off the throttle. All of the fish had sea lice and I'm thinking these were the ones last to leave Montauk in early November. So its December 11th, not bad, 60 degress and fish all over the place. Just as the wind started up we decided to take a ride to join the fleet at the Rocks, we had a guy stop and tell us he got "two 30's and a 40 on the fly rod" there, but next to us he was throwing a spinning rod, but, hey, he had a Jones 19"10" so I believe him. Jones brothers guys don't lie.... From noon on the wind went S and it just slowed things down to a pick. 

   Leif broke a rod on a larger fish, and after coming off the ramp and putting the rods in the truck I hit the switch to put my passenger window up, and, I heard the snap. My favorite H2 11 wt. I think I can salvage it as it was just the tip of the tip section that broke. Like I said to Leif "What's a good 

day without breaking a few rods, or submerging your truck". I have a big update on the truck, I'll save that for an upcoming day as the weather isn't looking good going forward, and who knows how long these fish will stay. In Monmouth County its a boat thing, while those driving or walking the sand in Ocean County continue to fare better, kinda reminds me of 2011, just not in the insanity that was nearly 10 years ago. If I do go and fish the beach I will making a right off 195 and heading south on the Parkway till Exit 82.

     So I'm not sure what the rest of the year will bring as far as boat trips go.  Rory from New York I got you in mind, but the weather patterns have been from good, to great, to shit, and then change again all within a week. Today was a great late season day on the water, and if it was my last time at Conte's in Long Branch washing her up, I'm good. It has been an adventure with Jim's boat in a short period of time, maybe I should put her to bed and count my blessings. 


Thursday, December 10, 2020

12.10.20 Not a paid endorser but this is what I use...

     For those of us that fish when we can the third shift 11pm-7am is part of the addiction. Having a headlight is not only safe, it can also be used to mark your territory in low light. 

     My headlights are years old, not as bright, have to squeeze them at time for the battery to make contact, and the headbands are all stretched out. These are the same as above, I have just abused them as I do everything else. And, like my truck, they have seen their share of salty air and water. 

     The brand is Coast and they make a variety of headlamps, these are the best I think. Just enough light in red and white and cheap enough that if they wear out from use you don't vomit from the cost of replacing. 

     I found this pair on Amazon, HERE, where else, $29 and free shipping if you're a Prime member. 

     And as far as safety, few things. Well good to have before you go trying to tie leaders and flies on. Safe for the trek across the sand to where you'll meet the Frank Pallone beach replenishment drop off. Then if you venture out on the rocks, lights and studs in your waders are a must.

     And as far as marking your territory. There's no more boner killer then getting to the beach at O- dark-thirty and as you make your way to "your spot" someone gently flicks on their headlamp for you to know you should have got up earlier. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

12.08.20 Still trying to figure out why....

      Not that solving the case will change anything, but, I need to know. What I will say is this. This boat is different than my old one. Each time I splash her, the water comes over the transom until she's level in the water. Mike, Jim's friend, explained to me a while back that Jim had relocated the batteries and was unable to put the poling platform on due to the stern weight. 

     This boat has a 175 HPDI on it, a little bigger than my 150. It also has a Bob's Jack Plate on it, which adds another 60 pounds plus. Again, my brothers synopsis of what happened works. Push down on the stern, up comes the trailer tongue like an A frame, and the truck jumps the chock, and into the water the truck went.