Friday, September 30, 2022

09.29.22 Just about perfect conditions....

     Been busy with work and doc appointments and I haven't been able to get out fishing. I had another trip to the doc in Red Bank at 1030 so I had a good reason to go. Still trying to figure out what's going on with the blood pressure, lots of meds holding it in check. Cardiologist added some Lexapro, an SSRI used in the treatment of depression and anxiety, to see if something from the neck up is causing things from the neck down to be out of whack. I have no problem with that thinking. So I'll just add another pill to the morning cocktail. I had disucssed with Theresa, don't know if that's the right word, that I was due for an all nighter. My plan was to fish all night, get to the doc appointment by 1030 and then run to the college in Newark by 12. She, still not getting the fishing thing in it's entirety, asked the doctor, "Colin thinks it's a good idea to go fishing all night, what do you think?". My man didn't miss a beat, "Absolutely". So by 2 am I was up and gone. 

      Got to my first spot with about 20 minutes left on the outgoing before slack and the incoming. Not much for bait and not much for fish busting. I made some casts, walked around, and then lost a nice popper and Snake Fly on a backcast. I walked around with the light for 20 minutes but its hard to find two black flies in the rocks and I didn't even know what angle my backcast was in.      

      I moved to the beach before the sun came up and when I could see things were looking good, real good, like perfect mullet conditions. Hard NWN to NNE wind to 16 with gusts that had to go over 20. There was a hard left to right sweep and an incoming tide. By 7 am things were perfect. The only problem was there wasn't much for bait, and what there was didn't have anything on them. The water was clean and the waves 

were illuminated by the sunrise on the horizon. If you ever seen mullet in the waves along with bass on the prowl its one of the coolest things. (The above image was captured by local photographer Tom Lynch, who has a gallery in Pt. Pleasant called Angry Fish). I picked a spot on the north side of the groin and just waited, and casted, a lot. I had one fish one for about 5 seconds, not a big fish, but that came off. Not sure if it was on the Gurgler or the trailing black Deceiver. So here is my take on the fall run as 

we know it, or have come to know it. I only use my experience since 2009 when I really started with this striped bass mental disorder. Striped bass are anadromous. They winter down south and summer up north. In the spring after spawning they head north. Some bass stay, some bass go. Bait grows in the bays and rivers, and then comes out in the fall. Bass come back down in the fall. Then winter no fishing depression sets in and we wait until the spring.

      Years ago we had a strong mullet and white bait run and the bass were on them. We, well the bass, have changed up their migratory plans by all of them heading south, some stay up north, or choose to stay and winter here. So even if the bait is here if there are no bass here "yet", then there's nothing to catch. Yes, there are fish in the bays and rivers, but they have been there, hunkered down all summer. Out front there will be some residents and a few transients, but not like it used to be. Those fish, are now part of the "We got 212 bass on flutter spoons" we see posted on social media starting the first to the lasts weeks of  December. 

     Also, what I think, is the big girls do go south earlier than those late New York Bight fish. That's evidenced by the Virginia slaughter that occurs as we end things up around here. But I also believe, with a trend of milder winters, most of those fish stay, again, as evidenced by the crazy late December and early March bites we have come to see. 

     So the fish "come alive" in September, that means you catch a few as conditions are more tolerable to the fish, lower water temps, more bait, less bennies. October is slow, historically, maybe a pick here and there. And then the second week of November into Thanksgiving it "goes off", which usually lasts a week or so. And just when most of the anglers, mostly boat guys, hang it up, it really takes off the second and third week of December. The question this year is, are we going to have a strong peantut bunker run or will it be a sand eel bite. And by that I mean on the beach. We haven't had a strong sand eel bite in years, like the "epic" 2011 bite. I believe, based on nothing scientific, that you have one or the other, never both. Those 2014 and 2016 penaut runs weren't followd by a sand eel bite. Like I said, I think, it's one or the other. 

     So go fishing, have low expectations. I know guys who fish everyday, pound the same water, and catch the occasional flurry, maybe get a keeper, but that's for the love of the game. It is so sad to see the destruction of the beach, groins and underwater structure due to beach replenishment and the effect is has on fishing. I think, even with a possible change in migration and timing, there would be better fishing through the summer and early fall like we used to see. 

     And here's a little gem. Are you like me who uses the toe of the opposite wader boot to get off the non dominant foot wader boot? Well stop that, you do damage either inside or out. I got this boot bug for $3 from a yard sale. You put it down, and with no effort your foot slides out with hardly any manipulation or pressure on the wader, or the inner lining, which becomes torn after a hundred times of trying to wiggly your foot out of the boot. It will extend the life of your wader.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

09.27.22 Watching Hurricane Ian....

     All eyes are on Hurricane Ian which today is wreaking havoc near Cuba. The connection for me is my Mom moved to Bradenton, Manatee County last year and it looks like the area between Tampa and Sarasota is where it will land. Overnight it went to a Catagory 4, which is up from the 2 it was yesterday. 

     For us up in the Northeast we should feel the peak of the effect sometime this weekend depending on its path. The southern USA is going to get hammered. The price for living in paradise they say.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

09.25.22 Just checking some emails...

     I spent some early morning time with my cup of coffee looking through the emails I hadn't got to in the last few weeks. Between school and the doc appointments I've been out of my normal routines. Emails are mostly useless, a lot in Spanish, I have going through and unsubscribing so the stupid ones are filtered out. I did however find a few fly fishing related ones. 

     So it's almost October and that usually measn the fall run is going to start, when who knows, followed by the start of winter and the fly fishing shows, and then the lull with the cold waiting for March 1st and the arrival of migratory fish. 

     I have always enjoyed The Fly Fishing Show. I'm not going to get into it again, but I went from being a wide eyed attendee, to a booth worker, to having a booth, to doing some lectures, to now back to being an attendee. I have a love/ hate relationship with a lot of things fly fishing, and TFFS is included. 

     But my emails as of late have been about the TFFS and getting in your reseverations. As you can see the show is in late January, the 27th, 28th and 29th. I took a peek to see how much it costs to have a booth at the show. For a 10 x 10 its $1200, and most have 2 booths, if not more. Add that to the gas, tolls, food, lodging and the hang tab and you're talking about a lot of money. I know there's a cost of doing business but man that must sting, no matter how far in advance you pay the tab for the $100 discount. 

     Last year I waited outside two of the Destination Theater "rooms" to hear some presentations. They were no-shows. What I always found interesting was the audacity of TFFS to not compensate the speakers for the program they were presenting. The presenters should be paid, or a sharp discount applied to their show fee. They are providing the content and entertainment which puts people in the seats and walking the floor. THEY ARE NOT DOING YOU (the presenter) A FAVOR.  But they think they are, here's what you get if you buy a projector, a camera, take and edit photos, share your knowldge and expertise, and put together a 45 minute presentation, according to TFFS.

     Oh please. That was like when I used to work as a photographer. Didn't matter if it was for The New York Times, The New York Post, The Star Ledger or a magazine, I was competing with folks who would provide images, (fishing, fires, famous people) for credit and not cash. Content makes money for other people, why shouldn't the originator get paid, first!

     I do provide content from time to time without "compensation". Regularly I provide the New Jersey Fishing Reports from Raritan Bay down to Island Beach State Park. You can see who and where is reported HERE. I have went from an Orvis customer, to an Orvis Endorsed Guide, to currently part of their Orvis Pro Guide Program. I've always been an Orvis guy, even though, again, 

I have a love/hate relationship with them. But they don't care what I think as lomng as my payment information is up to date. But the Orvis Endorsed Program, that is another expense. Back in 2011 when I was accepted, HERE. Back then that cost me $1,375 a year, which gets added to TFFS booth, and every other business expense that you incur. 

     And then there's my favorite email. I won't get into what I feel about Pro Programs, but they are really sad these days. It used to be "guides" that manufacturers sought, not added to that, are "influencers". It used to be you were on the list or had an account and got a small to decent discount on gear or apparel. Now it is a sign-here-in-blood legal and binding contract that you must follow 

or you will be "terminated". Now I'm not going to mention names, but this came into my email account unsolicited, so I can share it on my blog.  Let's look at Pro (me) Deliverables and General 

Conduct. I have to first conduct myself with the "utmost respect", and disrespectful behavior "online or in person" will result in "termination". So if on my social media account I post a fish with a popper in its mouth on Tuesday, but put up a cartoon about Trump, Biden, Pelosi, Graham or whoever on Wednesday, watch out, the conduct police will be watching and ready to act. Then I 

provide, for free, content, 48 pictures or videos per year, of HIGH RESOLUTION, "to be used on COMPANY social media channels, websites and printed media". Such as advertisements, which make the company money. This is the best, put their company logo on my company business pages! Then I must tag said company on social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. One more thing before you sign, you must go, at your expense to one industry event "per annum". And what do you get for all of that? The below....

     Are you kidding me? Save a dollar on a package of popper heads to provide all of that....for free? No thank you, that email, and ones like it, will go straight into the Trash folder. 

     Good luck to all of the people I know that truly make a living in the fly fishing industry. No second carrer, no trust fund babies, no pension from another gig, but just making in past all of the above bullshit and turning a profit and supporting a wife and kids doing it. I couldn't, so I tip my hat off to you all. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

09.22.22 One for two before the storm....


     I was excited to arrive down at the beach at 530 am. Wind was cranking out o th SSW just on the start of the outgoing. My first steps down were met with a roller that almost out me on my back. I thought for sure on one of my first casts into the pocket would produce, but between groin one and groin two is was slow going as the light arrived. 

     I posititioned myself on the south side of the groin and after some diffcult casts with the wind coming across my dominant casting hand I saw the bass clear the water with my Snake Fly in it's

Rather than try and land it on the rocks I made my way to the beach to land it. I had my ruler for an accurate measurement and it came in at 25 inches. After that I worked my way south and had one other fish breach for my series of a popper/dropper which I could see sitting on the top of the wave, and not in it's mouth. I saw Ritchie land a small bass and Leif was working the a beach a few blocks 

north. didn't see much for bait, maybe a pod ot two of mullet, one bunker on the beach, and one bonito clear the water out of range. Not really the morning I was hoping for before Hurricane Fiona comes within 700 miles of the Jersey Shore tomorrow. 

     Each year on September 23rd I make my way to the beach to stand on Ryan's Rock, where I spread some of his ashes 5 years ago, to listen to the song Blackird by Paul McCartney, one that Ryan had mastered on his guitar. I always hope for some sign from Ryan when I think of him. As the music played and I made some casts I looked east and saw the sunlight pierce the clouds and hit the horizon. Today is the 22nd, a day early than usual, but at xero dark thirty tomorrow  Theresa and I will be making our way up to Mt. Sinai for the more follow ups on my latest medical journey. Today was my primary care doc, cardiology next week, and then an eval with the ENT to figure out a plan with my sinuses. So a day early this year will have to do. Always in my heart and on my mind, I know tomorrow's forecast will have conditions blown out and most likley that sign through the clouds wouldn't occur. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

09.21.22 Making bait....

     It's that time, and it may be that week, and tommorow may be that day. It's mullet time! Every year we wait and see one, if the mullet run will be strong, and two, will there be good bass around harrassing them. The way it usually works, good or not, that if there is any type of run, one storm comes and shuts it down. Well, over the next few days Hurricane Fiona is going to make it's way up off shore of the East Coast. So tomorrow could be the day, always good before the storm, and the 

storm that shuts whatever is going on down. How do you know? You go. There's no guarantees, but you look at things, like the moon, which is in the waning crescent phase working towards a new moon, on September 25th. You look at things like tides, and tomorrow the high tide is at 5 am. 

     The wind will be cranking out of the NW to 25 mph. So things look good. In getting ready I put on a new fly line, one I think Joe gave me years ago. It's an Airflo Striper Intermediate 10 wt line. And I tied up a nice black Snake Fly to offer at first light. I'm feeling pretty confident, we'll see.

     And in something fun. On my Facebook page a memeory popped up from 8 years ago. That was when I had Andrew Hamilton on the bow putting on a clinic on the albies just off Montauk Point. It was my first, and last, year of guiding out of Montauk. That year, and this week, was going to be my first time guiding in he Redbone Tournament, but it was cancelled due to, yep, a storm, which shut things down. While I'm not interested in the Fat Alberts, I am in the striped bass, and I hope their hungry in the AM. 


09.21.22 Alright let's get going here.....

          It sucks when life gets in the way of fishing. But it really sucks when it's your health that keeps you away. For some stupid reason my blood pressure continues to be stuck just under the hypertensive "consult your doctor immediately" crisis numbers. If your that kind of patient who is a denier regarding your blood pressure I would recommend in changing that approach up. You're not gonna lose weight, you're not going to consistently go for walks with the wife and hit the gym, and that McDonald's salad is about as unhealthy as a Big Mac. And your "cheat" day on football Sunday takes about 4 weeks for your body to materialize. Get your pressure checked. See your doctor. Take your meds. Don't be embarrased to say you have high blood pressure that is under control by medication. I'd rather sat that then have to say, after my stroke or heart attack I could no longer go fly fishing. Spin fishing sucks. That should be enough of a motivation. While that's a hoot to worry about and as I try to manage it it's what's going on with my sinuses that is more concerning. 

     I had a CT scan when I was in Monmouth Medical last week to rule out a stroke or a tumor and they were concerned with my sinuses. The pic above is from 2012, I only have the report from last week. Words like erosive changes, diffuse, thickening, and complete opacification only mean one thing, back to the OR. I had surgery in 2012 and have been followed by Mt. Sinai's 9/11 Rescue Workers program since I think 2004. Well it looks like things aren't looking all that good. I'll be back in Manhattan Friday working my way back to my ENT there. I already know, I'll be back into surgery where I dam near bled out in the recovery room. Super. 

     But enough about me already. Where am I at with the boat? Working on the trailer lights currently. It should be easy and I don't know why it isn't. But those will be hooked up, at least temporarily. Before I go to Mercer Marine I am going to repalce the Racor fuel/ water separator which must have been sitting in water that collected in the stern of the boat. It looks simple enough 

to swap out and to remount. I'm reading things about switching out the metal screws to brass so they don't rust out. I tried to shop local. West Marine in Eatontown didn't have one but they said I could order it and pick it up in Bensalem, 20 minutes west of me. So I decided to pay a few bucks more and have Amazon

 drop it at my door. I may continue to help myself and see if there is anything simple and obvious I can do that I can learn and save a few bucks before Mercer Marine has to do anything out of my comfort zone. Hopefully I'll be redy to go when the true run hits, late November into December. That will all depend on the boat and my health. That surgery I had was a bitch so we'll see what the ENT says. 

      I have a doc appointkment in Red Bank tomorrow at 945 am, so it's a perfect day to see if I can grab a bass on a Snake Fly. Looks like Huricane season has started down south and we might be getting some weather this weekend. A little churning things up isn't always a bad thing. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

09.18.22 Checked the tides, but....

     ...should have checked the moon cycle. After the past few days I had to get some fishing in before hitting the work ground running on Monday. Theresa wasn't happy, but she gets it. So left the house at midnight and was in the water by 1 am. As soon as I got in I should have turned around and left. Top of the tide, mid moon, absolutley boring water to look at. 

     Very little bait and water moving, no signs of fish in feeding lanes or busting on bait which looks like both silversides and mullet now. Maybe there's some peanuts mixed in there also. The mullet have made their way out front and some bass have been caught in the early light, not by me, but Ritchie and Leif have found them but not consistently. This weeks tides should be better. 

     The other thing I noticed was the water was piss warm, which didn't feel like fall is here yet.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

09.17.22 From the mouths of babes.....

     Well that was a fun couple of days. You know this is a fly fishing blog, from the point of view of an average angler, so it's about fly fishing with a little bit about life mixed. And you know if you've been reading for 13 years know it hits on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well this week it got ugly.

     Last year in April I fell in line and got the Moderna vaccine. Shortly after my second shot I went into hypertensive crisis. BP 210/110 with symptoms. Luckily my man and fellow fly fisherman Dr. Brendan Muholland got it under control and my cardiologist Dr Jeff Osofsky saw me through until it normalized. Since then I have holding off on getting the booster as it was scary to have my blood pressure that high which really puts you in the wheelhouse to have a stroke or heart attack.

     So with my booster shot, which is required for work, still looming overhead I though the least I could do would be to get the flu shot. No big deal. I've had them before. It'll make me look like a good employee. According to the CDC this years flu shot for Influenza A and H3N2 has an efficacy rate of 34-35%. That means you are 34-35% protected against the flu. 66-67% chance you could get it. I made an appointment at CVS and rolled up my shirt for the flu vaccine. While there I talked with the pharmacist and told him about last year and asked him if I should get the booster, his advice, "Don't get it, wait". 

       Over last weekend I started to feel a little "off". I returned to work on Monday to introduce my nursing students to taking vital signs, including assessing blood pressures. They caught on quickly, but one was having a little difficulty hearing. I offered myself up as I know my pressure can be heard pretty easily. She very carefully, and slowly, watched as the needle pulsated on its way down to zero. "No Professor, your blood pressure is too high, I got 206/122!". So a few more gave it a shot 

and I put the results on the board. On Tuesday I did the same thing and by then I stared to realize over the past few days my head was pulsating, my heart pounding, and my vision wasn't normally as sharp as it usually is. So before work on Wednesday I changed out the batteries on our home blood pressure cuff and gave it a look. 184/113. "Fuck", I thought to myself. So I went to work and called

my man Brendan's offcie to make an appointment, he is only seeing patients these days on Monday and Tuesday, and my cardiologist, who's staff made an appoiintmet for me on January 5th 2023. By the time that appointment rolled around I would have been decomposed. So I decided, finally, as nurses are the worst patients, that it was finally time to go. I drove down to Monmouth Medical where I used to work and where my docs 

have privileges, or so I thought, Monmouth Cardiology and Osofsky jumped ship over to Jersey Shore. I walked in and stopped at the front desk where they asked me what I was there for, "My blood pressure is high". "Okay, have a seat". Then I added, "No I'm about to have a stroke". So with a mix of concern and sarcasm they had me come around and took my blood pressure. Before it registered I told the tech and the nurse, you might be calling "Code STROKE". "All right lets see",

with that kind of "I've seen it all before". Well sure as shit when the 230/130 registered, they moved quickly, and I was off to the races. The ER doc hit me with hard core "life saving" meds meant to quickly lower a blood pressure, Labetalol, Hydralazine, twice, Losartan by mouth, all with minimal results. So I got room at the inn and was there from Wednesday to Friday. Had all my peeps 

checking in on me and visiting. With things not going well into Thursday afternoon and my blood pressure creeping back up to 180/115 I had to do a little self-advocacy and open my mouth. If you don't know the game, then know it sucks, no matter what hospital you are at. Medicine works this way. An ER doc sees you, a hospitalist covers you, residents (if that hospital has them) check in on you, and attendings get consulted to fix you and then discharge you. Kind of that way. The attendings usually make rounds in the mornings, and then see you the next day. A lot can happen between 10 am one day and 10 am the next. So with things heading back up, the attending and hospitalist not in the house, lets say I had to blow a gasket, to get some treatment plan changes before I really had a stroke. 

     The treatment plan changed and a good IV blood pressure med was started and after about 6 hours I started to drop. They doubled up on the doses of the oral meds and by Thursday night the pressure and throbbing started to subside and by Friday morning I knew I was going to be discharged with a blood pressure of 138/88. But before I left a few more attendings had to come in for their piece of the pie. One was the "kidney doctor", who walked in and greeted me as I sat in the bedside chair all cleaned up and dressed to get out of there. He looked at me and made a face and a

made a sound or a comment under his breath. Before he could say anything I said to him, 'Hey doc, go f%$k yourself". And then asked, "Are you f%$king kidding me?". You see, he looked at my shirt (above) and judged me before even saying a word. I quickly told him to read my shirt again and asked him if he has ever heard of the Grateful Dead. In his Indian accent he said, "No, I know it was, you know". If I could have I would have throat punched him as he tried to laugh it away. Why would I punch him? Not because I gave a shit what he thought of me, or whatever his bias is, or what or who thinks I believe in or who I voted for, but because it's just wrong as a provider. 

     One of the things I stress with my nursing students and in my own practice is, and I say it word for word, is, "Check your own shit at the door". We are taking care of our patients, period. Not judging, not engaging about things where a different belief or ideals is different from your own. I was furious, and really pissed off as that is one of the cornerstones of providing care to patients. He thought I was a "Trumper", or whatever they call it. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction that I wrote in and voted for Tusli Gabbard, a Democrat, during 2020 Presidential election and that I vote on both sides of the aisle. I'm still pissed about that. 

       Before that drama I looked out my window and really wished I was some where else. I thought of Lief, not in a romantic way, on the beach in Deal, only a few miles away, running his Snake Fly through the waves as the mullet make their first light run down the beach. I'm ready to go fishing and can't wait for the fall run to begin. It felt good to get out of there. First, shout outs to my nursing students who kind of got this party all started. I am always thankful to the nurses who were great, and to the docs who helped me out of this, with some good suggestions and advocacy on my part. I can't imagine patients and their families going through anything medical without a hint of knowledge and experience. Every health care provider should be required to do some time as an inpatient, especially that kidney doc. 

     So in this PSA (public service announcement), coming from a nurse practitioner who always waits too long, if you see or feel something different, do something about it. Heart attack and stroke can and will kill you, or leave you severely disabled. Get a regular physical, listen to your own body, don't wait to go to the emergency room, which today is really an extension of your doctors office and primary care, and take your meds as prescribed. Health is wealth!