Monday, November 6, 2023

11.06.23 Holy Batman....I caught a few fish

     First off, let me thank Leif for this nice picture that he took of me up on the rocks. We had a plan for this morning and like all plans they can possibly change. The plan was to start at first light and spend the day fishing somewhere, anywhere, maybe even multiple anywheres trying to find some fish. The 

change of the clocks always has me messed up until I can adjust. I went to bed early and of course woke up early as well. 2 am is too early. But I got up and tinkered around and left the house at 320 am. I was still tired. When I got to the beach I took a peek and then just put the seat back and caught an hour of 

sleep. Before I did I took a look at the wind forecast. It was honking this morning and the 12 mph was surely off because I would say it was over 20 until it sat down later in the morning. It was windy enough to put my rod holding magnet into work and it is really a valuable tool. It gives you peace of mind when 

tying up some leaders or flies in windy conditions. No more sliding down the side of my truck. I went with the Pulse Disc-Brad Buzzi sand eel fly combination behind a black Deceiver but after swimming it I just wasn't getting the action I wanted so I went to a Flatwing that I thought could mimic a sand eel

as I have heard they are around. It was an hour or two before dead low and between the tide, the NNE wind, and the north to south sweep it wasn't easy finding and getting the fly into a potential zone. I went over to a popper/dropper which I worked hard for a bit before the wind left my sails. Leif was 

picking pockets on the south sides of the groins and Richie worked another beach where he would get one to hand. The water looked great and felt great and I was really surprised we didn't get one between 

us. So then it was time to make a decision. I didn't want to donate the entire day of more of the same that has been since the start of this fall run. Driving, watching, and waiting with some casting mixed in. So I told Leif my plan, head north with stops in the usual spots, and then circle back before heading for home. He thought about it for a second and deferred a day off to a better vibe of a day. So I was off. 

     Heading north I thought about my options. Hit The Bagel Guys, that sell no small milks, a lame 7-11 in Long Branch or Sea Bright, or just wait for the quick turn around to hit Bagel Talk. That's what I was thinking of. This has become such a routine. But one thing I liked about today was limited number of people fishing and the limited number of boats out there. I guess some wind will do that to them. When

I arrived at the above spot there a few guys fishing, older and just soaking some bait, and weren't really interested in the bird fest going on around them. It was good bird life. Like real good. And it wasn't too far out. And best, there were fish under them. 

     Their distance and the wind had me thinking I needed to come up with a plan to intercept them if they pushed in. The bird life increased and looking south there were even more. So I got into my truck and calculated where I should go. When I got to the beach the birds had moved way south, at least the big flock of them, although there were a few out front and more had retreated to wait it out on the beach. I was bummed. I was alone. And then out of the corner of my eye there were a couple of birds hovering

right off the beach and over a trough. There was really no bait showing and no signs of bass but it piqued my interest to give it a try. So I made my way to them, put my camera and binoculars down on a plastic tote, and started to make some casts. It didn't take long for this 26 inch fish to hit the lead of 

the two fly set-up. I continued to fish always looking over my shoulder wanting to see if anyone saw me hook up. As I made casts and looked into the water there were probably 12-20 bass swimming 

feverishly along the lip where the trough met the beach scarp. On just about every cast one or two bass would give chase, at times I would stop the retrieve and the bass behind it would freeze, and then 

turn away. My timing was a tad late because it was just about dead low and the trough was easy to see and fish, in fact, I had to lay back a bit as you could have nearly sight casted to them. In between the 

three that I landed I had three on and off, and several swipes and inhales. When the tide started rolling it there were plenty of swings and misses as the fish would come out of the trough through the top of the waves to smack at it. The next fish was 29 inches, a long and slender version, who must have missed the 

dinner bell a few times. So now a guy arrived and started to walk my way. I had to hold my cast for about 5-7 minutes as he passed. I knew if I made a cast in his presence I would have went tight, guaranteed. He must have been done fishing because he didn't fish he just kept walking. When his back was to me I started to fish again. The fish hadn't left. It was more of the same before the best fish of the 

day hit it hard. I caught two on the lead yellow Squimpish fly and had one of the trailing fly. This one was a great fish that made my skunk worth it. Once hooked it dove into the trough and then it played up and down trying to get back down deep as I lifted, or try to coax, him onto the beach. This one 

didn't miss a meal and if you look you can see the full stomach on it. This one went 32 inches, on the tape measure, and I thought when it hit it was much bigger. Another guy arrived an started to fish working his way towards me. It was Billy Hoblitzell. He had seen me land that fish and wondered how big it was because from a distance it "looked like a good fish". I'm glad I had the tape measure with me because I could have, well would have, easily called this a 35 inch fish. Tape measures keep you, well me, honest. 

     Conditions started to change and it was now a tad bigger in front of us. Billy picked up a fish but I was starting to tire so I, and then he, called it an outing. That didn't mean we were done. We both checked some spots on the way south and each time I thought I was done I would say to myself, "Let me just 

take a look". I was done. I was hungry. But I had to check out Long Branch. I pulled onto Ocean Avenue and paralleled the boardwalk driving for a few blocks before seeing the below scene. No one of the beach. Birds working in tight over bait. Bass busting underneath. I quickly got my stuff and while double timing it 

there I stopped a fired off a few pics. By the time I got there they were gone. Alright, I can't do this all day. I thought to myself as I pulled myself up the stairs "Thank God I'm working the next two days". So I made yet another quick stop to look and there was nothing going on. By now I was starving and was only a few minutes from my place. I even called it in to hurry the process of getting it down my gullet. 

I was so happy to have broke the skunk that I didn't care that all of the small milks had been sold out. By the time I was out of the parking lot the bagel was gone. I swallowed it too fast. Kind of like a bass eating a whole bunker. Done but really not I wanted to see if anything was going on a little south so I 

took a look, like what I saw, and fished. The waste along the south side of the groin was clean and green and moving out strong even on the incoming tide. The boats were stacked up over what I guess was a line of bunker but today I didn't see a lot of bait. It was a great day, yes, because I got a few. I had been on a 50 day dry spell so I was due. 

     While on the beach I saw the Big Mohawk heading into the yard. I took a peek on their Facebook page to check their report from yesterday. It was Sunday when I had them in front of me on Brick beach

 and then down into IBSP. Looks like they got a few but had a tough day and a long ride in their search for fish. 

     Okay, here's my thoughts. And not because I caught a fish. And not because I know anything. What I will say is I think we are going to settle into a "normal" fall run. That is something I like and enjoy fishing. The big fish have done their thing, came hard, and kinda wentish, but they're still here but out a bit and heading south. We have yet to lose our minds over blitzing nice sized bass where the crowds just ruin the whole vibe. What you maybe have now, since the participation is down and the cell phone network isn't in full effect, is the chance to go and fish fishy water and just maybe catch a fish or two, or three. 

     The winds look like they'll continue to be all over the place this week so we'll see.