Monday, May 17, 2021

05.17.21 Nothing in the salt but the river is alive....



     Well back from Texas and time to start fishing around work. Sun day morning dead low at sunrise in the salt and it was a pretty morning and that was it. Hard to find water on this beat so it was climbing out to the front of the groin and fishing left and right of the tip. Bunker was splashing happily around a ways out with nothing on them. The bass and blues bite seems to be more of an ocean county thing, for now. 

     In the river on the higher tide the small schoolies seem to have set up shop and are eager to eat flies. These aren't the fish I'm looking for as several river sharpies say May and June is a great time to get into 26-32" fish, early light, and even on topwater. It's hard to leave fish to find fish so I'll


enjoy it out here while it lasts. I'm tempted to pair down my rod sizes, going to a 9 and 8 weight, however throwing the 450 calls for a heavier rod. The heavier rods are not so much for the fish size, but being able to get the flies down where they have to be to be presented properly. 


     Early this AM I tried the popper without a tap but did get the below fish to cooperate with a smaller Andrew fly at the upper part of the flood tide. Water temps are holding below 60, but that should change with the hot spell that is coming this week. 


 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

05.15.21 "This ain't my first rodeo...."




....well actually it was. So we just got back from five days in Texas, stayed in Plano with Tara, Theresa's oldest daughter, and her boyfriend Simon. It was Downtown Plano where we stayed and there was great food, drink, coffee, and thrift stores. We did the rodeo at The Stockyards in Fort 
Worth. They took us to Dallas where we ate in the Deep Ellum District, Pecan Lodge, and had a 

                                    
                         

great meal which was, I'm thinking, as good as it gets as far as brisket, coupled with Mac-n-Cheese, collared greens, fried chicken, pickles and onions, and cole slaw.  We, well I, ate way too much, but was in check as far as the adult drinks were concerned, but did enjoy one day of Dallas Blonde's, 




another of Smithwick's at a local Irish Tavern and another day with some Modelo's when we dined at a place called Miriam's in the Arts District of Dallas. I did have a plate of crawfish, it was called something specific but I can't recall. I got to see the location of the assisiation of President 


Kennedy, kind of surreal actually seeing it in person after having seen it every which way my whole life. I describe the DFW-Plano area as sterile, millennial, and commercial, add beautiful too.



     Before I get to fly fishing, there's one story. On Saturday we were taking the train, The DART, as they call it, and we were traveling in downtown Dallas. There weren't;t many riders and we, well looked like tourists, suitcases and all, and all happy, and white. Anyway, a sketchy woman gets on the train followed by a sketchy guy. She sits, ect to Lauren and I am seated across from Lauren, and the guy is standing over me. He pulls out a hunting knife, a fixed blade gut knife, which is about two feet from my head. I'm figuring he's gonna backhand stab me, or lunge at Lauren. So I just remained calm, made eye contact with him, like saying "Are we going?", with my most menacing look, and luckily the train arrived at the next stop and he bolted. So that went well. Either I was gonna die or he was gonna die. I really just sat there staring at him picturing me on an episode of Homicide - Dallas, to The First 48, which I have watched a thousand episodes. 

     Now to fly fishing. I read John Cole's book Striper while away. Great read. I found a great fly 





shop called Tailwaters in Dallas and Christian and Chris let us in after hours and we bought a bunch of stuff including some Dead themed apparel and fly tying materials, mostly to tie some small Snake Flies for the river, and some crab fly parts for Martha's Vineyard (T minus 30 days). The coolest part of the fly fishing shop, although dangerous, was the full bar located in the rear of the store.



 
                          

I also visited Orvis Plano and picked up some material they call Dragons Tail, never saw it before but I'm going to twist some flies up with it and see what attention they get. 



with it and see what attention they get. And then there's my new cowboy boots, you know, when in Rome..... I picked this pair up at a local thrift store, genuine snakeskin, and they polish up real nice as we found a sidewalk cobbler at The Stockyard. Cowboy boots are a thing down here and we 


went into a store called Cavender's and checked out the hundreds if not thousands of pairs they have for sale. I am sure we will return to Texas someday. I think we covered a lot of ground in the short time we were there, oh yes and we did hit the gas station chain, the worlds largest, called Buc-ee's,


couldn't forget that. One oft the coolest things in downtown Dallas was the old trolley that were part of the McKinney Avenue Transit Line. For now, its back to work, back to fishing, and back to wearing my Skecher's.

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

05.10.21 Looks like I got a hybrid...



     Couldn't pass up a short window so to the river I went. Incoming tide, midway, so not a lot of water but it filled in quickly. One little guy to start off the quick session and then a jump to spot


number two. This was a cool fish. Casing over the rocks tops he tracked and ate it just where I thought one might be. Good fighter and came to the pier net without a hassle. After removing the fly I saw the tag hanging out of the fish. On it it had REWARD and the number for the USFWS. I called the number on the way home and left a message with the tag number and length which was 19 inches. I can't seem to avoid these smaller fish, but, again, there are way many more days of better fish ahead, so I am told. 

     As far as the tag. I never know what to do. Since the fish was being released I figured best to leave it in so if it is caught again they can further track the fishes progress. Once I get the story the the authorities I'll pass it along in a future blog post. 


 


05.10.21 A bass a day....


 ....keeps everything away. Brisk morning starting out there. Can't believe that no one has been fishing. Saw one guide boat out there running away to spots on the dropping tide. Water fowl and their babies scanning the surface for bugs and a few cormorants on the hunt for herring. One and done morning which I'll take any day.


     Water temps continue to drop, not what we would expect this time of year. Basically its a rush to fish before they are chased back to the ocean or seek a more comfortable thermal refuge. Bass fishing is starting to pick up out front, as Ocean County seems to be giving up migratory larger bass on a mix of boat and artificials. The fun thing about fishing out front this month is you never know. You might run into a school of smaller fish, the blues may pop in, or that large bass may be passing by and stop for a meal of bunker, crabs, or smaller bait. 

     Off to the Lone Star state tomorrow till the weekend so it'll be a nice break from fishing and work. Soon it'll be time for the drive-of-shame down 195 to hit the salt water. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

05.09.21 Seriously...


      Went back at it on the bigger tide. Raining. Off color. Must be the small fish invasion they speak of. I'm not ready to go down to a 7 wt just yet. If you do some research on past catchings there is still a lot of season of good fish still left. I'm over the thought of big fish, and hope to find those 26-32" bass that hang into late spring. There's another month, or so I've heard of good bass fishing. 

     The below fish was caught on May 13th of last year by my little buddy. So if history repeats itself maybe there'll be another chance at some solid school bass. Water temps have dropped, really

dropped with all this rain we're having, which is good for the river and the fish, but it might slow them in their tracks a bit. Your talking a 8 degree swing in five days. Now I have to get to the vice and tie some flies, and maybe even one of those Ugly ones. 




05.09.21 That was just wrong....


     I can't believe it but should. Anyway, that later. Happy Mother's Day out there today, and to my own dear Mother who also celebrated her 75th birthday this week. Started things off with a bang 


with a surprise party at The Dubliner in New Hope and then off for a few days down at the place in Cape May where most of the time was spent by me and my brother spreading 120 tons of stone and then the three of house hitting yard sales in Cape May County.  I'm thankful she's my mom, been through the ringer and back, and is always there when needed. 

    In our lives we are touched or are forced to be touched by so many people. We have parents, and step parents, and those that have become our parents either through adoption or just filling a role due to a void that has formed. In my life I've had several and created several non-traditional parent roles, and to all of those moms and stepmoms I am grateful for stepping in when needed. My wife Theresa is a great mom and stepmom and has really went the distance to create a beautiful extended family 


with seven great children. While at times we feel as parents under appreciated I thankful for her for all that she does. I'm also lucky to have a great stepmother in Patty. And I am also proud in my sisters and sister-in-laws who have become great moms in their own right. 

     So Cape May was nice, place looks good. One of theses days I'm going to bring some fly rods down and start to give that a go. There's a lot of water down there, Delaware Bay, rivers, inlets, estuaries, out front- there's got to be a lot of fish that stop and or pass by the tip of New Jersey. 

     After seeing Theresa off to work I tied up a quick fly and headed down. Outgoing tide, river up a tad, so I had to wake to spots or just fish where I could thinking the bass would have taken up lies in the pocket water. Moved a decent fish but never saw it again after a bunch of casts. 



      If you play with fire you're gonna get burned. That log was on fire. It protected a great looking run and I fished all around it without a tap. I made a cast, a wrong move, as it was a little to far upstream and don't you know I caught that timber and it was all she wrote for that fly.

      I looked in my fly wallet and all there was was, yep, and old UAF, an "Ugly Ass Fly". I just shook. my head knowing once I got this thing wet something would eat it. Tied it one, second cast, I was tight. I was disgusted, but happy all the same. This may be the overall best striped bass producing fly there is, tied by Leif Pettersen. After 11 years of knowing him, I still don't know how to spell his name correctly. I have seen this work from beach, boat, and now river. Blues, bass, fluke, albies, stargazers, sea robins...you name it, it'll eat it. The beauty of this fly is its simplicity and ease to tie. Some look great, some just plain horrible, or just ugly.

 

Friday, May 7, 2021

05.07.21 This is what we needed...


     Well I asked for it and we got it. I had been saying how low the water has been in the river. We had a good day of rain, and it must have hit north pretty good, because yesterday it crested at over 30,000 ifs. I fished the high to outgoing tide casting between the timber, 55 gallon drums, and garbage that floated down the river. 


     Believe it or not I had a hit. Not one of those I think I had a tap, but a good strike and a misses hook set. I found a nice seam even in the bigger water and pounded it, and it got better as the water left on the 9 foot outgoing tide. Even though of color and high, I had confidence that I might get one, and if was able to stay for another hour my chances may have been better.