Tuesday, February 9, 2021

02.09.21 Funny how you remember your first.....and I still have that hat!

     There a lot of firsts we remember in our lives. First kiss, first time getting laid, first pet, first job, first marriage, first child......and of course your first striped bass. It was 2001 for me, a few months before the World Trade was attacked. My first wife and I had returned for another trip to Newport for a stay at the Marshall Slocum Guest House. While there I was treated to a Father'd Day striped bass charter trip. It was through a place called The Saltwater Edge. The Captain was Corey Pietraszek. 

     I grew up in Millstone learning to fish the lakes and irrigation ponds in what was the country back then. It was all about bass and pickerel back then. My parents divorced and my father moved to Spring Lake Heights, close to the ocean, and my mom moved to Red Bank, closer to the ocean, but I never got the saltwater bug. In fact I really hated the beach. 

     After The River Runs Through It I started fly fishing and cut my teeth on rivers like the Manasquan, which is made for fly fishing....not really, and then the northern Jersey Rivers like the Rockway, Paulkinskill, and Flat Brook. Even after I started helping out at The Fly Hatch in between my shifts at the firehouse in Newark it was all about the Upper Delaware and trout, a place I had started to go and love since the mid 1990's. 

     When I worked at The Fly Hatch it was more saltwater then fresh. Regulars included Fahar, Popovics, Hoblitzell, Eidman, Dennis, Shapiro and all the rest of the Jersey fly anglers. But still I resisted until Dave sold me, with my employee discount, my first saltwater set up. 

     And then in 2001 Captain Corey Pietraszek had me out off of Newport picking along the rocks for schoolie striped bass, and that was my first striped bass. Through the next years I still focused most of my attention to the Upper Delaware. Countless tripes to The West Branch Angler where I aways wade fished never hired a guide for a drift boat trip. It wasn't until 2009, and moving to Ocean Township, that I developed the addiction for striped bass on the fly rod. I was literally 5 minutes from the ocean depending on which I route I took and if I didn't get stopped by the Loch Harbor police officer shooting radar set up on Grassmere Avenue. 

      I really got into striper fishing during the fall of 2009 and didn't catch my second striped bass until June 2010, HERE. When I read that original post I had to laugh how a 22 inch striper "had me into my backing".....loser. And the above is a picture of striped bass number two, 2001 for my first and 2010 for my second. When I compare my "career" in fly fishing for striped bass I realize I am a but a newcomer to my older bestest buds. Some started in the 70's and even the 60's, I was born in 1968, and some even earlier, like in the 1950's. 

     Yep, August 8 1952, that was the day Al got his first striped bass after, if I recall, a year or so of taking the long drive from around the New Brunswick area to fish. He did at night either before or after work. Imagine saying, so Al stopped fishing say five years ago, that you have fished fro striped bass for 75 years. Howe many beautiful mornings, how many storms, and how many bass? I miss my friend Al, dearly, and I will make sure to email him this post. The last time we were together was September 2019 right before he moved down south to North Carolina with his wife Evelyn. I was afraid that would be the last time we got to talk in person although we have stayed in some kinda touch by phone and email since.