Friday, July 29, 2022

07.29.22 Al popped up on my Facebook Memories from 10 years ago....


     Yesterday, July 28th, a Facebook Memory popped up from 10 years ago, July 28, 2012. It was from a post titled, "Great early morning with a friend...". You can see that post, HERE,  and some pics of Al at 88 years young at the time, and me with about an extra 80 pounds on me. 

     I got the below picture from Al's son Mike with a clip from the Asbury Park Press dead September 16, 1975. The caption was titled "Babysitting" but "Al and the Whale" might have been  

better. This past week their joint obituary was published in several New Jersey newspapers and in North Carolina. It was fitting to see there's together. Besides raising a great family, Al was a very successful engineer working in air pollution and quality control. I found a nice picture of the two of 

on Al's Facebook page, which I didn't even know that he had. On his page was a photo he had 

showed me from a guided trip he took somewhere off Cape Cod. He had one thing on in the that, and so many pictures, that I wish I grabbed, or could grab, from the family if no one wanted it, Al's signature red fishing cap. He wore it all the time, I think it read "Fishing The Cape". 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

07.28.22 Time to change locations...

     A little bit more water in the drink this morning following a deluge of much needed rain last night. Started with a Deceiver then put the frog to work. One thing that is amazing, almost all bodies of water along the Delaware are tidal. Obviously if its s land locked pond or lake then it is now. But I scouted through the woods some back asswater and it to was on the ebb, miles and miles from the big river. Getting tired of this fishery, maybe I'm in the wrong spots, maybe on foot isn't the way to go, can't wait for the fall when the Delaware temps drop and the salt picks up. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

07.27.22 The hunt continues....

     Not much to say other than this must be what its like to go out tuna fishing. Another outing this time without seeing a fish, other than a carp that fooled me for a quick minute. Had the waders on 

for the dropping tide and then switched over to the calf high boots for more muck walking. Found some new spots that didn't have anything going on. For as nasty and hungry these things, both 

bowfin and snakeheads, I would expect to have seen several eat by now. It's probably been 20 plus outings without a strike only a bunch of sees and one follow. Yesterday I plucked a frog fly on the nose of one and it had no interest and that's why I'm going to the swimming flies for now. I had dead low 

low tide before the switch and I really though the bait moving in would have something, besides, turtles, stacked up waiting for a meal. I found some real Jurassic Park looking spots and dangled a 

fly hopping that might be cool to see something hit from up above. Before I hit the home office for some work I stopped by the river and hit a striper run and gave that a go. Wasn't looking to fish for bass but I was thinking maybe the snakeheads have moved up river to more oxygenated water. Don't know if I'm overthinking this snakehead thing, it seems like a pretty easy fishery if you have them in front of you, you may not catch but at least you're casting to a fish rather than days and days of blind casting hoping something is in the neighborhood. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

07.26.22 Real nice trip to the ADK's...

     Had a real nice long weekend up at my sister and brother-in-laws place up in the ADK's. They live a short walk down to Lower Saranac Lake and the cooler temps up there were far better than the equator like heat wave we had in New Jersey. Did a lot. Good weather, good food and lots of things checked off the list including several outings out on the lake where I was the butt of the laughs trying to field test the tubing setup we came up with. 

     This past year they bought a second home out near Tupper Lake and spending the day avoiding the Ironman traffic in Lake Placid was a good move. There was lots of cold beer and good cheese 

and bread in between some great melas at home and at Tail-O'-The-Pup in Ray Brook. I've been going there for 30 plus years and it has never tasted as good as it did this time. We took a ride to 

down too Ausable Forks after stopping at the Covered Bridge in Jay. When I pulled into town there was a lot that had happened since I left. No more thrift stores, Stewart's had been rebuilt, and one of my homes had just been sold. It was the green house, the one I purchased after the murder-suicide that occurred inside. I purchased the house for around $30,000 and then Hurricane Irene and frozen pipes wreaked havoc on the place. I sold it in 2013 for $21,000. Well, it sold in May, for $219,000. Stupid, dumbass, idiot, whatever I could call myself, things happen for a reason, I guess. It was 

great spending time with Lauren and Erin who have busy schedules now for a 20 and 17 year old and my Mom who will be heading back to Florida this week. I had a blast with my nieces June and Eden and it's always nice hanging with my sister and brother-in-law. You know 6 hours isn't all that long of a ride, just comes down to excuses why we don't see family more often. Hit the road at 4am and you're pulling into town by 10, 11 am at the latest. Got to better with that. On the way home Erin 

and I stopped at Ramsey Outdoor in Paramus and I picked up some frog flies to add to the two on the right Leif gave me. I also picked up some materials to tie some flies of my own. I really liked 

the above fly as it will glide across the pads or grass and hopefully not get all kinds of snagged up. After dropping off Erin and heading home I hit the snakehead grounds. A ton of casts with the frog flies. Had one swim up to my feet and wasn't at all entertained with something on top. It was bowfin and not a snakehead. I also saw a ton of minnows and small swimming fish. I think I am going try

and go underneath as I think they may be on swimming baits and not just frogs, which they don't seem to be interested in in this stretch. So my precision..... my first snakehead or bowfin will be on a Deceiver or small minnow fly and it can't come soon enough. 


Friday, July 22, 2022

07.22.22 Quick little outing after the sun went down...

     Not to much time to write this morning. Was in Monmouth County, stopped by Leif's, had a bite and a drink, talked about fond memories of Al (Leif knew him since he was a kid), decided to go fishing, we pulled about a dozen fluke to keeper size out of a outgoing puddle, not too hot. Nice outing. Off to the Adirondacks till Tuesday. 


Thursday, July 21, 2022

07.21.22 Saying good-bye to my dear friend Al.....

     I spoke with Al a little over a week ago. Basically, he wanted to tell me he was ready to go. "Hello Colin, I'm just calling to let you know Evelyn and I are getting close". Through a poor connection we talked for a bit, I told him I loved him, and to give me a call sometime, but really not knowing if I would ever speak to him again. 

     If you've been a reader of this blog then you know, Al, for years, was my guy. There might have been a slight age difference, just 44 years, but we had one thing in common, our love and passion for everything striped bass. That's all we talked about. Al stopped fishing about 6 years ago and I was with him on his last few outings. Around the time Al stopped, beach replenishment started and the fishing slowed along the Jersey Shore. Selfishly he was happy to hear that, it was good timing of the slowdown for someone tapping out of the sport. Soon after they sold the house in Allenhurst and moved to North Carolina to be closer to their daughter. Since the move and every time I head home after fishing in Deal  I pull down Spier Avenue and think of my old buddy, then hit Cravings and hit the road west. 

     Today I got a call from Al's son who informed me that his Mom had passed away Sunday, July 17th. He followed that with the news that 17 hours later Al had followed her. While I am saddened, I was also glad, and happy, that they both were able to transition and pass away peacefully, and remarkably within a day of each other. I had spoke of this with his son last week, what a blessing it would be if their time came somewhat close to each other, well one day is amazing. They were married 68 years, he 98 and she 92 years old. They have a beautiful family. They lived a good life.

     Al and Evelyn, well she would be pissed at me for listing Al first....wait, let's just put it out there, Evelyn didn't like me all that much. She wasn't impressed by me, didn't care much about the blog, or even when Al was featured on it. Through his life, and his marriage, Al fished a lot, I mean a lot, no really that much. So her love of things fishing and striped bass related had worn thin. With me it was all pretty good until I got divorced, then forget it, and then once I re-married, I think she thought I was evil. But there were many times before that when she tolerated me. We would have a meal or coffee and some pastries that I would pick up from the local bakery or deli. She was nice and kind to me. She let me into their house and let Al give me the tour of the garage where he kept his gear and upstairs where his fly tying stuff was. I even got invited to a few family functions. I know she really liked me deep down, or not. But I liked her. But I loved him. 

     Al and I spent our best times talking. I was lucky enough to have met Al and he would educate me and tell me stories about fishing around Deal, which was really his favorite place to fish. And I was there before the beach replenishment projects started and killed "Jetty Country". It was good timing because I could take what he was telling me and put it into practice. 

     Many mornings Al would beat me to the beach. He would either have a spinning rod, something that was easier for him as he got older, or his favorite fly rod in hand. He would be fishing or reading the water to watching if the bass were active, and he would always have great joy in sharing what he saw, sees, or what I should see. I always liked fishing with Al, it really brings back great memories. 

     And Al was funny too. He wasn't a big laugh-out-loud guy, but had great sense of humor and a smile that just melted your heart. So see the picture of Al above, not bad, a guy with a fish, but look at what he had on down south. It was probably an old pair of swimming trunks he used when he 

was surfing, something I think he took up in his 60's and lasted for a while until Evelyn put the brakes on it. Right before I met Al, in 2011 or 2012 he had a bad fall on the jetty that left him bloodied and bruised up and "that was it", Al said, as Evelyn also applied the brakes on that, which was probably done out of concern and love. He most likely knew it was time to quit that also, but liked to blame it on his wife.  

      Al spent a year trying to catch his first striped bass and that day happened on August 8, 1952. He wasn't living in Allenhurst at the time, I think they were in Highland Park, so he would drive south to fish each morning, before driving back north to go to work each day. That was 70 years ago. One thing is for sure, I will be fishing this August 8th for a striped bass, somewhere, and it will be on that 70th anniversary. 

     Before their move south I went over to say my goodbyes. The family was there helping with the downsize and move and sale of the house. He had rods and fly tying and stuff, but I only asked for one thing, his Creek Chub. That was the only lure I ever saw Al throw, and catch on. Same spinning rod, same lure, when he wasn't fly fishing. Of course I still have it and I will always cherish it. 

     So good bye my dear friend. I hope in heaven the tide is always good, the wind at your back, and the bass are at your feet and hungry. RIP Al and Evelyn Walker, July 17 & 18, 2022.