Tuesday, November 14, 2023

11.13.23 I might be okay with being done for a while, at least out front....

 Well, it is what it is. Or it was what it was. I love fly fishing for striped bass in the fall. Love finding my own fish, and yes, I sometimes like finding other people's fish. It's been a funny week here along New Jersey. It seems Ocean County is coming into their own with nice bass hitting the beaches. They've had a touch and go fall so far, boats not included. 

     I got some intel that the sand eels are here and there might be some squid chasing them around. I really don't tie squid flies and I don't fish them. Actually I did fish them at night on the Vineyard but never scored fishing one. So I tied up a few just to have them. Literally less than 5 minutes a fly. A tad on the small side but I wasn't going to go early this morning without some. 

    The day started out a chilly, well down right cold, 30 degrees. It was still dark when I tied up a tandem of the squid flies that I had tied. It didn't take long for me to go tight as a  25" bass hit the

trailing fly on the south side of a groin. It was a good fish for it's size and it came up the beach scarp easily. My line was tight and as I took a step towards the fish to unhook it it came unbuttoned. Panicked, I made my way quickly to it and formed a V with my feet to hold it in place as the waves covered it. I then to myself, "What am I a loser?", asking myself did I really need to handle and photograph it? So I picked up one side of the V of my foot and off it went. 

     As light arrived I had another hit and after looking at my squid flies I wondered it they may not mimic a sand eel better. A little long and thin hackles with some marabou and E-Z Body for the mantle (or body). I jumped up on the rocks and blew a cast and the line emptied right around me and into the rocks. It took a bit, and a little getting wet, to retrieve my fly from up and under one of the rocks I was standing on. A few casts later and I was just done. It was off to the check other spots. 

    Hats off to Leif for a great tip that I will share as a PSA. The bathrooms at the Sea Bright Municipal Lot are open and nice. I noticed later the ones at the Hook are still open as well. You're welcome.

     When I pulled up I found this guy, who reminded me from behind of the late actor Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan), perched up on a table checking out the water. I thought of moving on but I stayed there and fished. Out a ways there were birds mugging these two boats. It would have been awhile before anything under them hit the beach. As I made some casts I was surprised how much 

timber was in the water, Sticks, branches and some tree trunks. But the thing that chased me away was those annoying micro-like jellyfish things. They actually are called scalps and are not related to jellyfish at all. But when just about every cast has one impaled on the hook it's time for me to go. 

     So then I was like alright. Ocean County has been going pretty good. I'm up here. I have no friends that call me. Let me just stay. So I parked and started that walk, not that walk, the other long way walk. I'm thinking of doing a Go Fund Me to purchase these life saving stations for the out of shape and or 

over the hill gang. They wouldn't be expensive and instead of holding books to exchange they'll have nitroglycerin pills for the chest pain and a defibrillator for the ventricular fibrillation. More on that later. So I finally got to the water and it was a really nice day, especially if you were on a boat. It was the 

outgoing tide and the birds were up and all around the boats. I didn't see much for fish blowing up underneath them but I'm sure they had some life and good fishing out there. It was the kind of day where the beach could be dead but a mile out there's acres of bass rolling around on top. I might bet that if the fish are out there it might be a sand eel or rainbait bite. The only birds I found were the ones 

hanging out in the new salt pond as I walked from west to east. I was hopeful that when I got to where I could see water it would be some birds working over bass swallowing peanuts as they exited the bay on the ebb tide. Nope. Nothing in close. The boats were doing the long rip drift thing but it really 

didn't cramp the guys style who had their boots in the sand. I kinda watched and waited and said to myself, "I can't wait to get the F outta here". But that walk.....I so hate that walk. A few guys left before

me and I liked the above image. Two buds walking back to their truck after being skunked. One cool, the other a spin fisherman. Whatever. I was really done and should have just went home after the long walk back to the Jeep. But I prolonged the day because I guess I wanted to torture myself and it's what I

needed to. I drove past some spots but was just too tired or not motivated to get out and look. At one spot I just happened to look down and saw the boats were right on the beach, now that I will stop for. When I got to the water I didn't know if that thing was a fishing vessel or one that they were going

to sink and make a reef out of it. It was the Jamaica and it looks like it could use a spa day. That thing is a war wagon, and I'm sure millions of fish came over the rails with stories that could keep you entertained for hours. Well basically it was a fleet of boats that were chasing, like running chasing, these birds which may or may not have had fish underneath them. I didn't see any bait and it looked to me like

the birds were picking on sand eels or rainbait. But in all of that I saw no blow-ups or swirls or tail slaps. I thought about going down but I couldn't. I was just so tired I even left there and hit a McDonald's rather than going to the Bagel Talk because I would have had to get out of my truck. 

     I took a peek at a few towns south of where I usually roll and didn't find much. I did find this bulldozer doing something on the beach. I wondered to myself if they need DEP approval every time they move a grain of sand on the beach. The wind had started up and was coming out of the south and it was then I knew my day was done.

     To be honest, I think I'm done for a while. It's not Quit #1 just yet, but I've just had enough of doing the same old thing over and over without much success. Yes, there have been some good days, and a great one, but they have come so few and far between that I think I'm gonna take a break for a bit, or at least check out some new water. We'll see how long that lasts. 

    And in sad Jersey Shore fishing news. Bob Matthew's passed away yesterday. He was 80 years old. He was co-founder of the Spring Lake Live Liners Club. After he retired from the US Post Office he worked for years at the Fishermen's Den in Belmar. That's Bobby above left with a 41 pounder taken on 8th Ave in Asbury Park. RIP Bobby