Tuesday, November 16, 2021

11.16.21 "Alright, what do I know, but here's what I think..."

     So here I go from my far-from-salt home in Mercer County. Haven't been on the boat in a week and on the sand in about three weeks. So let me tell you what is going on fishing wise. Sounds funny right? How could someone who hasn't wet a line know anything or be able to share whats happening with this 2021 fall run. Well because I have internet access and have a few friends. I'm kidding with that of course. 

    Some will say my posts have been doom and gloom since I moved from Monmouth to Mercer County, far from the brine action. I've just been spewing negative vibes because I can't go fishing. Mmmmm....maybe a tad, but not really. Please don't judge me, or the health of the striper population, migration and situation with the million striped bass that have parked themselves in the middle of Raritan Bay and one mile off the beach along Monmouth and Ocean Counties. That doesn't make for a healthy fishery. If you went to the beach and saw two smoking hot people on a beach towel near you in bikini or thongs, that could be a guy or a girl staying all PC here, you'd tell your friends the beach was loaded with eye candy, even if a glance to the right or the left produced the unfittest, heaviest, and non-beachgoing examples you could ever find. That's kinda how striped bass are now, when they are here, we salivate and forget, striped bass are still in peril. 

     When I lived close to the beach the blogs were usually headed by an image of the empty beach or the rocks when no fish were brought to hand. I have noticed that as of late I have been posting screen shots from social media to booster my claims about current fishing reports, which is kind of cheating, but it does offer some proof. A good example if the above post from a Darren List, a Jersey guy and Upper Delaware fly fishing guide who last weekend had a banner day in the Bay with perfect fly rod caught striped bass, say 26-34" maybe. That tells me the bigger fish have moved out and down, and the "good fish" are here. Now what does that mean" Are there smaller baits, say peanut bunker still in the Back? Will they come out and down he beach like they did in 2016? The last great epic, hate that word but fitting, peanut bunker run we had. Time will tell, but they say Thanksgiving week is the time for the beach. 


     The beach? Ha. Dead, Over. Sad. Now that is not to say that a guy in Belford didn't get a couple on a tide? The smaller for the third shift angler in Deal who caught a dozen one night? Or the forty pounder caught in IBSP from the sand. I'm not talking about the guy who is putting in 8 hour shifts soaking baits, throwing SP's, and looking left and right before removing himself from his waders to empty his ready-to-bust bladder. I'm talking fishing time and tides and catching a fish, without some quick push bait on the beach event, but rather good old time fishing. There's just no bait along the beach and no fish in pursuit. But, yes, Dorothy, some fish are being caught, like 11 per county per day. 

     I offer up as evidence a post yesterday from MC55, Two-Rod Mike as we know him. The guy who perfected floating sand bugs for bass and fishes every day and for long outings. His stunk is big and fat and the odor would kill you. He has gone north and south and everywhere in between. If he is not the proof you need to know that surf fishing in New Jersey sucks this fall then I don't know what to tell you. 
More proof is, all those hard core surf guys, are jumping on their friends boats, and not posting, "Boat fish don't count, anymore. 

     The above pics are what we should be seeing this time of year. Birds over peanuts or sand eels, they're coming I hope, and fish of varying sizes eating as they move south. So what's up? Was it the blows, the bait, beach replenishment, a change in the bass migration pattern? Hmmmmm, all of the above. Something has changed. I'm talking the bulk, not a few fish. Ask the Atlantic City to Cape May guys how striped bass fishing has been. Outside of a few big fish and schoolies in and around the bays, like the Great Bay, it really has gone down, especially more towards the southern tip of New Jersey. You would Cape May would be the perfect point of attack but its now anymore. 

     So this week, after looking like Armageddon on the wind and weather forecast, actually looks pretty good, "west is best" wind should have the inshore waters flat which is great for spotting birds, bait and bass if you can see past the armada of boats doing the same thing. Above is my buddy Billy, who caught a bunch of fly rod bass last week including this 44" inch fish, which looks skinnier than I would think it would be. This week I had to turn away a walk and wade or boat trip with Eugene but was able to pass 
him along to some other charter Captain friends. I also had to not take the invite and jump on Billy's 

McKee craft on Wednesday and fish with him and Tommy, a retired ironworker who I have known for probably 30 years. I talked to him yesterday and he also chimed in open the beach fishing this fall, "shit". 

     Why can't I fish when the week is good and the boats are killing them? And air temps in the 50's and 60's? Because I have this beauty parked in my yard for 7 days starting last Friday. A beast of a 65 foot manlift that my family was able to secure for me through their business. Thanks Dad, Pat and Ryan. 

     I have been burning the candle at both ends trying to tackle every project above 20 feet that I can. From shaping the trees and dropping big limbs to painting hard to reach places. I hope too cash it these next few days in between running to the office to meet with patients. It's go week, and not fishing.

     And for the deer lovers and killers here's a beut that runs between my house and a park where the lovely does hang out. I think he's an 8 or 10 pointer, hopefully I won't see him lying on the side of Route 29 one morning after his pursuit of the does has him oblivious to the passing traffic. 

      And a little predicting. December. F'in cold. Sand eels and then herring. Some fish still around. Nothing big. 2021 a year that will have you thinking through the winter, "What the hell just happened".