Saturday, October 16, 2021

10.21.16 Shut it down already.....


      So the above chart is from the 2021 Chesapeake juvenile striped bass survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. When we talk "year class" fish, we can basically look at a striped bass, its length and weight, and determine just about what year it was born, ie, "year class". Basically its like saying, except for the kids that pushed a year ahead or behind, that all 7th graders are 12 years old, born in 2009, that year class. 

     Well this year we had another horrible surgery, the target number is 11.4, this year the tally was 3.2, up slightly from the horrendous 2.5. Currently the ASMFC continues to dick around with this fishery. They are not managers, they are pawns, and frauds. There might be a "good one", a guy or gal, on the committee, one of several, but they all basically suck. Studies on mortality, going to circle hooks...blah, blah, blah. Close the Raritan and Chesapeake Bays in the spring, or make it a gamefish, or just it the f down. We will find other interests while the fishery rebuilds itself. Just ask your old buddy who went thought the moratorium in the 1980's. You'll survive. 


     And there's the skunk report. Got down an hour after the flip on this lovely 85 degree day. Found some bait balled up off the end of the groin with some small bluefish harassing them. They stayed put as the tide ebbed and the boasts ran through them. I stayed an hour or so and split. 



     Then I made my way to stop one of two in the Raritan. No bait, no signs of predation. Made a few college-try casts without a nothing. Then I made my way into the Belford Co-Op and made casts 



among the peanut bunker that were getting sucked out from the smaller to the bigger water. Saw a few blow-ups, one sounded girthy, but didn't connect. And then my last stop was in the river where I was almost nipple high trying to make my way out and cast into the outgoing water. Phone was in my front pocket of my Simms waders, which I thought were water tight, but you know, whats an outing without something going wrong. Seems like its an early morning fishery for now. 




Monday, October 11, 2021

10.11.21 I want to go back to these times....

 


    For some reason I was up at 330 AM and started on the computer. And some how, I found the original We are The World Video. Somehow, looking back with 20/20 vision, I see talented performers from all corners of the world representing different races doing good. I don't see the division, the politics, the media, the bullshit. Now that's to say there weren't problems, no time in history is perfect. But these times, say the 1980's were kinda better. First I was just about 19 when this came out in April 1985. 

    I followed up this video with Do They Know It's Christmas, which came out a year earlier in 1984. Another classic with very talented performers, a lot from botg=h groups, before they became larger-than-life in their own heads and transformed from entertainer to influencer, politician, and divider. 

    These two times, along with the times following 9/11 brought people together from around the world and most definitely across this great land. Something has got to change. I am having a mid-life re-evaluation of my own life, I have got to change. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

10.10.21 Guess its fall now....

     Stopped by for a few casts to see if my friend was home...he was. A few casts along the wall on the outgoing and he came up and ate my fly, I watched, frozen, waiting for him, I guess to hook himself. I didnt even trout set. Then he spit the hook and I watched my fly "swim" away. Duh? I wish I had a redo on that. Fall foliage is making its way down the river as the NE winds that are really churning up the beaches are making their way across the state. 

I'm hearing the storms have moved a lot of sand which is great for the fall, well, early winter run. Just be careful and have your eyes down when you make your way across the beach, that fall is unforgiving for the ones bones and fly rods. 

 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

10.07.21 Tons of big bunker waaay in the back....



     Went last night to see if I would find the Mother Lode of the elusive striped bass chewing on bait that hasn't made the move yet. Well I found the bait, big bunker, waaay up in the back. Just didn't find anything on them. While we3're not seeing the bass action out front yet, it is going to happen. This bait will leave, and the delayed arrival of the bass should intersect somewhere on the beach or boat. Could a repeat of Blitz-O-Ween of 2014 happen again in 2021? Fingers crossed. 



 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

10.06.21 Stayed local and had a follow....

     Not taking the drive of shame this week. Surfs up with the new moon. Tons of bait showing out front and still in the bays and rivers. Hearing of albies in the boats and occasionally on the beaches. Today I gave it a 30 minute shot. Had a bass follow and swipe at a small Hollow Fleye. Went back at him and he did it a again. He's hanging in a sweet spot so I may give him a shot today if work schedule allows, but may try a smaller fly. 


 

Monday, October 4, 2021

10.03.21 The 2021 version of a cartopper....



     So things last evening just got weird. It started out at 7pm in Long Branch as I watched the above Tow Boat service tow someone back down to Shark River. That's not really weird, but when I got to Deal the first thing I saw was boat in tow in front of me. Then I looked over and saw, what I thought, was a beached boat but after walking to see if they needed help I found out it was the rich-and -famous interpretation of a cartopper. Cartoppers are, well really were, small aluminum boats, with engines, that anglers used to carry, on the top of their car, and then launch from the beach, far away from any boat ramp or marina. 



     Well this guy, could be a great guy, is fortunate to live on the beach in Deal, and what he has is an amphibious boat. His is made by Iguana, you can see more HERE. Looks like they run just about $600,000. They are good for Seal Teams and for those that have it like that. He hits a button and tracks come down like a tank and he traverses the sand util he gets in the water and vice versa. This evening he came back in and then towed a jet ski back up to the old ranch. Now, the last two summers we have seen an increased numbers of ATV riders on the beach in Deal, which is illegal. Is this legal? Can you have a motorized vehicle on the beach without a permit, which would be open to all? Would it fly in Belmar or Spring Lake? Or Monmouth Beach? I would love to see those old salts from the Monmouth Beach Cartoppers club as they see this today, they must be rolling in their graves. 



     Conditions were very good. I was there about 2 hours into the ebb tide, little SE wind, water clean and green. And although you can't see it in the pics there was some good swells that chased me to the inside portion of the rocks. It took about 20 minutes and about 30 casts to land the below October bass on a white Snake Fly. Since its been, for others, a one and done thing, I decided to move along and head home. I first wanted to check a spot out back where the bait is usually think and there can sometimes

be some bass, if not always blues of varying size for sure. There's not much room and when I walked in Eric was there and we watched as the bait moved and the occasional fish broke the surface. I tried and tried, as did he, and he didn't start catching 2-4 pound bluefish until he liveliness some peanuts. As we stood there we could hear the roar of the engine of a motorcycle. He was lock step with a car and, either, he was trying to pass, or they were racing. It was one of those things where you hear it, and then you look, and then look back at what you're doing. Well when we looked back at the water we heard the screech, and then the boom, and then the screams. 

     We're about 500 feet away and Eric starts running. One thing I learned from being a fireman and EMT and nurse, never run. So I'm walking with my stripping basket on, rod in hand, on the phone with 911 requesting an ambulance and paramedics. When I get there there's no one there but the patient, his girlfriend, the other fisherman and two people who stopped. He was down but not done, and after using a pair of scissors to cut off his clothes and asses him, he only had a nasty compound arm fracture which I had to straighten and hold traction to return the pulse to his wrist. 'Its gonna hurt like a bitch so just take it", and he did. 

     The cops and ambulance were quick and he took a short ride over to Jersey Shore for, I would bet, some surgery on that arm. His helmet showed the damage from the crash, and I couldn't imagine what he would have looked like without it. If this was in Pennsy, a no helmet law state, it could have been ugly. 

     I went back to fishing and it was more of the same, little blues on bait. Things have started to turn on, albies in the boats and occasionally the beach, bluefish, mostly smaller ones just about everywhere, and the bass seem to be coming to eat breakfast and dinner on the beaches. Maybe fall, although the air and water are still warm, has arrived. 

 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

10.01.21 Bait on the beach but no fish in the water....

     My day put me in Monmouth County so I took advantage of being there and hit the beach. End of the incoming with a west wind which kept the water flat. Not much on the horizon but did find birds working over bait along the waters edge. Spearing, mullet, rain fish and peanut bunker on the move

with nothing in the water chasing them up on the beach. To me, it look liked it was purely tide related. Swimming along the trough in skinny water and then washing up and over and getting harassed by gulls.


     The first light bite seems to be more productive if you go. Same bait, same usual places, and an occasional bass or blue in the hunt. Leif got the below bass that fell to a Snake Fly, typical of the one nd done outings that have become the norm. 



Thursday, September 30, 2021

09.30.21 Ok, I'm done being in denial....


      For whatever reason sanity hit my brain in the last 24 hours. I get it. I'm in over my head with the delusion of getting my truck back up and running. No garage, no real tools, and no mechanical ability have me seeing the light. With winter coming its time to open my ears and hear the large lady who has ben singing to me since last December. 

     I don't think she's as far gone as one might think, more delusions. I have her up on Facebook Marketplace for $1,000. She has great tires, and a big heart. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

09.29.21 Finally finished something.....


     Funny how things in life can be related and affect each other. So last summer I was rolling with a 2014 Ford F-150. It was beautiful truck that I had purchased new-to-me in 2018. While it was really nice, it was never my truck. I like a truck. The old school ones with vinyl seats and floor mats that you can hose down. Two doors, long bed, no car seats, no leather, no luxury rides, and no short bed. This Ford had all of the things in a truck that I loathe. So when the opportunity came up to buy a place in Cape Island Resort in Cape May it didn't hurt to take one for the team and put it on Facebook Marketplace. 


     It sold in like a day and that left me with no ride but a handful of cash that we used to buy the Shore "house", yes its a house, and some left over to find a new pickup. I decided to buy a ride to use for the fam and for everyday driving and a beater (respectfully) pick up to use around the ranch and to tow the boat, Jim's boat, which I had just enough cash leftover to put down as a deposit. Good solid plan. Run ahead, to know most of my ideas and plans are terrible. They always make sense and sound good but in the end I realize how dumb I am and basically a loser. Alright maybe a harsh on myself there. 


     The 2005 Yukon was clean, and sound. That was about 40,000 miles ago, which was what I put on it in a year. She is started to burp and rub and light up, and, as seen above, could never handle towing the boat. There's some kind of tow/lift assist thing in the rear that I don't think works so just the thought of backing her down the ramp at Atlantic Highlands makes me nauseous. 


     I also added this absolutely lovely 1995 GMC 2500 to the insurance bill every month. She is a beast and I love her. That was until December 4th of last year when she slid down the Atlantic Highlands boat ramp and had to be towed out, after being fished out. It was a heartbreaker. It was embarrassing. But I did everything right including chocking the wheel, which you can see still on the ramp. 


     That day the toe truck driver asked me if he wanted him to get rid of the truck, 'You know, junk it". What? "I'm going to rid her running again". He laughed, the cop laughed, the guys watching laughed, but I did not. So I did everything I thought I should after she got towed from Monmouth to Mercer County. My goal, is back that bitch down the ramp on December 4th, 2021, a year to the day. Truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't think it's going to happen, even with Lauren in mechanics school. I have never been mechanically inclined, and my homeowner Craftsman tool set only gets me so far. 


     So I have been on the search for a new pickup at those shady use car dealerships where you 'Buy here, pay here", problem is there's not trucks around and those dealers are less than admirable. I thought 


I found one this weekend as Theresa and I were driving through Cape May Court House, but during the test drive I could even tell this things heart was about to blow out of the hood. I love the pick ups from the 1990's, and have developed a love of the GMC line. But anything with a square body catches my eye. 
     
     And that brings me all the way back around to my finally breaking through my ADHD, self diagnosed, and finishing something. My parents had redone their patio a few yers back and the pavers where there for the taking. I had brought a bunch down to Cape May over the last month or so. This was probably the reason Lauren had to do a complete rear brake job on the Yukon. But this past Friday Theresa and I borrowed my father's 2017 F-150 and loaded it up, far more than the Yukon could ever handle, and brought them down to the Cape. 


     Its a nice ride, he keeps it clean, but it has all those bells and whistles that my Ford had inside and out, including fancy rims and a short bed. But I have to say, it was nice looking over at my lady not bouncing all over the place and the window open due to no air conditioning. A nice ride is a nice ride, but I also get nervous scratching or tearing anything inside or out when trading them like a truck. 


     So how is this related to my completed project? Well if you look above near where the picnic table is you can see where the work zone was. Over the winter the two trees to the left were taken down which opened up the side yard a bit. Below is what it looked like when we bought it. Very wet, kinda gross. 


     Well we worked hard and got it done. In the end it cost us $120. 40 for the stone dust, 40 for the polymeric sand, and 40 for the edging, well, and the $300 for the brakes on the Yukon. We were able to spend the morning with our friends Darlene and Mike. He the senior man at Engine 13 when I got on the Newark fire Department in 1989. It felt good to start and actually finish something, I can't remember when I last did that. Feels good. If I only had a working pick up truck my completion rate would be so much higher, at least that's what I tell Theresa. 


     And with nothing to tell about the fall fishing so far this year I bring to you at least something fish related. My sister in law Stacey came down this past weekend to sell at the New Hope Arts Festival dn in the booth next to her a woman was selling these ceramic tiles. The one below my eye and I guess Stacey saw me admiring it. When we got back from Cape May it was sitting on the counter wrapped in tissue. Its been a while since I held a striped bass. Holding this one made me happy. 


 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

09.26.21 Interesting report from Montauk....

This shared from the original author, John Papciak, North Bar Media, posted on Facebook Sept, 26, 2021


 Writing about the reasons for bad fishing (or good), is both the blessing and a curse. I can cite whatever junk science I want, and nobody can call me out on it, because there are few objective quantifiable measures. But at the same time, I can write today that the fishing stinks, and then walk into a sea of diving birds and fish this afternoon during this Northwest blow.

I’ll take my chances and hope to be proven horribly wrong.
What I can say with certainty is that the Montauk Surf Classic wraps up at 12 noon today and not a single bass is on the board as of 8am. I can also say that I put in almost two full days on boat and foot and didn’t see a single Albie, a congregation of birds, or anything that remotely resembled a classic Montauk fall blitz. No boats were out in the Bass locations jigging the rips on the flood, let alone surface activity. If that were to happen any time soon, based on the boats that are out there, pumped with memories of years past, the fish would probably be put down mighty quick.
But as fishermen we seek answers and causality. Did we have a bad year for Bay Anchovy, or did they scatter after Henri? Or are they still in the bays? Yes, there is still small bait and young of the year bluefish in the bays, a little late for this time of year. What about the juvenile menhaden, mullet and sand eels? We are just not at that level of sophistication where abundance of bait species is measured. Few if any fishermen actually take note of such things nor look for it on Sonar.
While pontificating on such topics, I recall years past conversations with late Surfcasters like Fred Scwab and Willie Young, who pointed out to me that the early fall white bait phenomenon that we enjoyed in the 1990s was not the historical norm. There was a time when the Montauk Surf Classic itself was held much later in the fall, but was moved up to late September to coincide with the emerging daytime white bait phenomenon.
As for me, the devil on one shoulder is urging me to trailer the boat west, in order to salvage whatever may happen with the remainder of the fall run. The Angel on the other shoulder tells me to remain committed to Montauk, she’s done right by me for close to 30 years.
So here I shall stay.

09.25.21 Quite on the Raritan Bay....




     From a few days ago. Hit the Raritan Bay since old front hasn't been giving up much this fall. Bounced around starting in the Highlands and working my way west finishing up in Keansburg. Found lots, well, tons of bait all along the beach and rocks, but nothing on them but small blues and birds from overhead. The bait in the Raritan, from I see, is all peanut bunker. Not the 4-6 inch 2016 sized peanuts, but these the next size down, from 2-4 inches, which are perfect Scooby snacks for striped bass. The Shark River, again to my eyes, seems to be loaded with silversides, and up north the peanut bunker. 


     One spot brought back fond memories. Many years ago my cousin Rossi used to take me fishing at the above location, which has changed in the 40 years that I remember. We used to walk from his home on Fox Avenue and and stop at Charles Ave where the now Bayside Manor Nursing home now stands. There was a guy that had a pop up tackle shop and he used to sell spearing for 25 cents a cup. The bait was stored in one of those old lever-pull refrigerators. We fish the Waackaack Creek and Thornes Creek and sometimes Natco Lake. While in the Burg' I sopped by the Dixie Lee Bakery for a buttered roll, one of the best around. 

     So there's plenty of bait in the bath tubs of the rivers and bays, the Navesink is giving up some bass as well as the Point Pleasant Canal and Manasquan and Shark Rivers. Out front is slow, but with some dropping temps in the air and water soon things should get going.


 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

09.23.21 Nice morning to remember Ryan...



     If you're a reader of this blog you might as well know that two times a year you are going to get a Ryan post. One on his birthday, August 18, and then one on the anniversary of his death, September 23rd. Today was a beautiful morning on the beach to spends some time with Ryan and my thoughts. Same ritual. Walk out on Phillips Avenue jetty and stand on "Ryan's Rock" where


I scattered some of his ashes four years ago. It's a funny thing, these deaths of our loved ones. The four years since he has been gone have seemed like and eternity, while the 21 years that I had with him seemed like a blur. Maybe you really know the importance of something until its gone. Not that I don't realize how important he was to his parents, siblings, and friends- but how important it is to have continued interaction with for the sole purpose to not miss the opportunity to create a lasting memory. And about memories, I have so many, so many good ones, and so many shake


your head memories. From the good, to the bad, to the ugly. Below is a memory I will share. Ryan hated water. Not that he didn't like to shower, but he hated getting wet. Don't know what that fear, or non-preference was, but he hated to go under a sprinkler, hated jumping in a pool, and hated jumping into the flume on the Ausable River in Wilmington, New York.....enjoy!


     While the reflection on this day for me is about Ryan, its also about me. As a man, a father, a husband. How is my family doing? What can I do for them today? Has it been enough? I have always been a work to live rather than a live to work guy. Everyday I have done something that puts my family and I towards another experience which means another memory. Now not all my ideas have been stellar, but as I pour through the hard drives of thousands of images and videos I see I've done alright. I hope Ryan reads this blog, and can share it with his new buds up in heaven. I may have seemed a little short with him towards the end, but f'in jump already! Peace.