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. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

09.22.21 More driving than fishing....

     A couple of late afternoon cancellations in the office had me with nothing to why not go fishing? I drove a different way down to the water, coming in from the north. Hit the Hook and found swimmers, beach goers, anglers soaking bait with at least 4-6 ounces to hold, and a bunch of spin guys in my spot. Didn't see any bait or splashes, not close nor far in the distance, and no birds working. 

     Second spot, watching the incoming tide for a bit. No bait no splashes nor working birds, just gulls flying around on the hunt for something to happen. 

     The next spot was more of the same. Guys soaking bait. Birds flying around, no bait or fish. 

     Last spot. Docks were destroyed bu Hurricane Ida. Saw the most bait here, and an occasional blow up way way out in the channel. Stayed until the end of the incoming but couldn't stand standing there watching and getting mauled by the mosquitos when the slight east breeze let up. 

You don't know if you don't go. 


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

09.21.21 Four years ago.....

     I was recently able to get into a hard drive that was in an old iMac I had that blew up. Scrolling through the images I found some from a trip Theresa and I made four years ago. Newport Rhode Island had been one of my favorite places to go to. That was before I finally opened my eyes and realized Cape May has a similar feel to it. So many miles and so much gas to get there. My first trip there was in 1993, and my first striped bass was caught in 2002 on a half a day charter with The Saltwater Edge. 

     One of my favorite places to fish is in Newport, and this groin sticks out into a rock field where bass chase bait. I've never caught a big fish there, but many schoolie bass, from August through late September. I like it on a bigger tide, where its gets dicey making your way to the rocks. Most angler squish their way around getting to a good perch to fish. That I'll let them have. I can't imagine me in a sausage skin swimming out between the ebb and flow of the tide.


09.20.21 One fish, two fish, too many bluefish...

     Late report from the weekend and before the Harvest Moon. Hit the outgoing out front and in the back. Nothing out front, but the 2-5 pound blues were non-stop threading anything I threw in. Didn't see the amount of bait that I had been seeing, and it has been reported swimming happily along the beaches basically untouched. While there are mullet moving, the Monmouth County beaches just aren't holding many fish, and we haven't started the fall run ye

     After fueling the up the sled up this week out in Pottstown PA I took the opportunity to enjoy the fall weather and dropped her in the Delaware. The Trenton boot dock were destroyed during Ida so there was only one small section to load and launch from. On the way back the low tide made it interesting. Thanks to Captain Eric Kerber who noticed a tire rub on the trailer fender. Some nice guys at the dock helped me get it out of the way, surely saving me the tire. He and Joe Cermele, of Hooks Shots fame, we just getting back from a  banner day chasing snakeheads in the back waters off the main river. Below is one of the beasts they landed, and harvested to eat. 

     As far as eating, my plan was to hit Curtains in Burlington City bait they are closed for the season. We motored down to Bristol and had a great meal at King George's Inn. Good atmosphere and good food. If you boat the Delaware its a must find, with very boat friendly docks and ramps to tie up to. 

     Yesterday was Christmas in September as I got my Helios 2 back from the Orvis rod shop. This one fell to a broken tip thanks to me closing the window in my truck on it. Its now ready to be broken again. 

     These photos came from Leif who has found a pick of small bass and blues chasing bait through the bigger swelly water around the full moon, which has created big and lower tides depending on which one you hit. Tides aren't too good right now if you're a early morning or evening angler. Its incoming with high hitting the 8-9 am mark, which puts the outgoing in the early afternoon and during the graveyard shifts. 


Friday, September 17, 2021

09.17.21 Why?, just why?....

.....did I feel the need to drive east to catch the end of the outgoing and the start of the flip. That is the question I repeated thought in my head as I took the drive of shame home and then spooked my wife as I tried to sneak into bed. Just why? Anyway that's what I did. Two hours left on the ebb tide, some bait, nothing on them up. Fished near two guys and saw one connect on a small bass. Stayed 1/2 hour into the flip but the steady E wind just created ripples across the top which I wasn't dealing with. I liked the calm flat outgoing. 

     After some appointments in the late morning I decided to hook up the boat and test Lauren's brake job. I headed NW, I think, taking the boat and a bunch of 5 gallon gas containers to get ethanol free fuel. They say these HPDI engines and ethanol don't work together well and I am not testing their experience. While out in Pottstown I of course stopped by Laura's house and had a nice lunch, some homemade cookies, and visit. The bonus was looking in Jim's barn and finding the brackets which secure the radar tower to the center console. How this thing didnt rip off during trips in snotty weather last year baffles me. Now its nice and secure and I can take off that stupid green noodle wrap I had put on to slow the movement. 

     And for those that creep on me while I a,m fishing, joking with that of course, I got my new redone AVANGLR plates in the mail so they replace the standard plates issued when I got the Yukon. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

09.16.21 "Got Bait?"....

     Didn't know what to expect this morning...well I kinda did. Usually the second week of September we see the mullet run, and there's bass on them. Sometimes its a week early or a week late. On Monday we have the September Harvest Moon, which is full. That should get the bait moving. Of course I was way to early this morning hitting the water just after high tide, about 430 AM. Ran a snake fly across three beaches without a tap. When Leif showed up I was making my way to my truck. 

     I took a ride down to the Manasquan and found a guy seining on a flat for bait, and it was like when Jesus told the apostles in the boat to cast their nets. It was silversides, good sized ones, and a lot of them. As light arrived I watch as bait swam around mostly without being bothered, looks like some snapper blues were in chase. After a short ride I found more peanuts than spearing, and they too weren't

being harassed by things below the surface, although a variety of birds attached from above. Can't wait until next week after the moon to be there when the bait pours out front, hopefully there's some bass.