Friday, March 31, 2023
Bill said he caught all his fish on a pattern he calls the "Fishmaker". He modeled it after what I think is a Red Fin chicken scratch lure. Looking at his fly box below and the consistency and the numbers he throws up I'd say he has a winner there.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Balmy, bait, and booty. Striped bass have a preferred temperature range. Some say its 55-65. Others use that 50 degree benchmark as go time. But if you are a bass and can find waters say 4-8 degrees warmer on the flats, or in a channel, or up a river, then when you're ready to thaw out from the winter they'll take the ride. And then there's the bait. As they wake up they love to root around lazily for things like worms, crabs, and shrimp. They may even position themselves in a current to pick off mummichogs
or spearing. There's big baits as well, bunker, shad, and herring. While anglers are catching them on casts, I wonder if it's more of a reaction strike then being on an all out eat. And for the drop and reel shad and spoon anglers fishing longs and lats and the electronics dropping them in front of their faces can get a bite. And then there's booty, or pre-spawn, spawn, or post spawn fish. These early fish are making their way into places before they either follow the bait or the pheromones from the opposite sex. The Hudson River anglers are salivating at the mouth watching all of the reports of the Raritan Bay action now, as theses fish will soon head north.
It's right on the cusp of getting good. Yes the boats have been sitting over them but I'm talking for the anglers on foot. You know the places, Keyport, Rumson, Carteret, Moonachie, and Bound Brook. Great now go catch a fish. Funny thing is, you hear like, "Keyport's on fire". The other day when I was talking with Mark Sedotti, who's from another state, he mentioned Keyport. So take you're 10 weight and your Beast Fleyes and go down when there when you can. As soon as you pull up you'll be able to witness the bass blowing bunker out of the water, and if you wade you can hand catch. Well, that's not the way it goes.
These spots, for the most part, require being dialed in. You may even be a sharpie and be dialed into a few different spots. Now if you're on a 6 hour soak through a tide or split tide, it doesn't matter, you're good, but for the fly angler, or the spin angler also, you really need to work, hard, at the right time, tide and conditions to be doing it. If you took that drive today to say the Keyport area you'd find cold air, brisk wind, flat water, a few guys freezing their arses off, maybe a dead bunker, and no signs of life except for the boats out a mile and birds picking and fighting over a half dead bunker. You, would then be doing it. You'd catch no fish and it might be a one and done trip. But if you come back on the smae tide at night, each day, for say a week, and then get lucky and catch, then you'd be dialed in, kinda.
Tomorrow, with a NW wind and dropping air temps I'll be "dropping" in to a spot I'm dialed into hoping that I get lucky, because I've never stepped into the water there.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Monday, March 27, 2023
Sunday, March 26, 2023
I've wanted to hit the Long Island Fly Fishing Expo for a few years. This year we made the trip out and not only hit the show but stayed at Theresa's friend house which was nice. The girls did their thing, thankfully, and me and think-he's-gonna-like-it soon-to-be fly fisherman Neil. The show was held at the Radison in Hauppauge Long Island. Not a place you'd pick for a romantic weekend get-a-way, but more the hide your boyfriend or girlfriend kinda place or a place you need to crash after a bender of a night.
When I got their the show was underway and the early presentations were underway. I popped in to see John McMurray talking about the state of striped bass and Bob Lindquist tying up some Catskill Upper Delaware flies. I saw Anita Coulton had a Upper Delaware talk later in the day but I was heading out and didn't catch her. There was a big draw in speaker unknown talking about Long Island striper fishing.
The show room was nice, fit all the booth owners and attendees, but it was tight, and I can see this show growing in the future. There was a mix of fresh and saltwater tyers, a lot of vendors selling specific things, but no large fly tying shops or big name vendors there, and that may be good. Rise fishing, Steve Bechard's company, is a locally Long Island fly rod company, was there and always had people at his booth. During one of my walk arounds I found a tyer that was using Peak Vices, and
inside and it was signed, Jack Gartside, #1. Very, very cool.
So as we headed out I saw a familiar face. A fine older gentlemen sitting alone eating his lunch in front of his photographs. It was none other than Jim Levison. Ex NYC cop, Montauk guide, photographer. Now I look over to Neil and say "Oh I have to say hello to that guy". So I go over like were buds and say "Hey Jimmy", and he looks at me, like, um, "Who are you". But then I introduced myself and we were on track. Jim had taken super blitz fishing pics below the lighthouse in Montauk and they are well known and have been in a lot of publications. As we talked he stated he's closing in on retirement, again, and will be concentrating on landscape photography. For years, everytime I would see him, with these same old photos, I would jokingly say, "Not these again Jim, can't you take a new photograph". But these are timeless. Beautiful, and the framing is so complimentary. The one in the upper left hand corner is called "Five Horsemen". I have always loved that image. You can see Jim's work and order prints, HERE. They come in a variety of sizes with frames or not.
As time and people move on we are left to create new impressions, or rely on our memories to keep the fire about this thing of ours burning. I can say that that image would be one of the embers that fueled my continued fascination about striped bass. So, I think I'm going to pull the trigger on that. It's that good and I want it, so Theresa if you're reading, and Jim if you are also, a payment plan needs to be established.
And that's my take on the expo. I think it's going to grow. I think it needs to grow as far as as fly tying vendors, and picky vendors, is concerned. Folks have been less than enthused about what The (big) Fly Fishing Show has become, and this one could be just want the average angler's out there need and want. Local, smallish, affordable, and the kind of show where you can go home with something. I'll be back nex t year as long as our room is available at Theresa's friends house just 10 minutes away.