Friday, November 17, 2023

11.17.23 "...Peanut bunker in flight, afternoon delight....ahhh afternoon delight"...

     I posted the other day that I was going to lay low for a bit, but, the weather today was going to be perfect. West wind. Air temps over 60. Outgoing tide after 8 o'clock-ish. The only thing I was up against was a faculty Zoom meeting at 230. The question I had was, north or south? 

    I left home at 430 am and while on the road I saw the wind was just blowing easy west. I had picked north rather than south and I went to a spot to watch first light arrive. Why this town and not the next? No reason, I just picked one over the others. I watched as a few before-work anglers made their way 

down to the water. There wasn't much going on in the air and nothing in the water. I stayed for a bit listening to a Flip Pallot podcast to pass the time. A scan up and down the beach wasn't leaving me with

with too much hope. I decided to take my show on the road but first had to make a stop. And my question to the Sea Bright town father's and mother's is, Who puts the toiler paper dispensers down that low? Didn't anyone who has used a toilet for longer than 18 years see a problem there? C'mon man!

     I drove and had the place to basically myself. At one spot I was able to look through the binoculars and see a few miles up the beach to a very crowded point. Not sure if it was going good or it was just anglers drawn to the illusion that is was going good. When I looked to the area in front of me it was 

dead. I said to myself at the next spot I was going to fish, or at least leave the parking area. I took a nice long walk watching as birds worked way off, almost in a three-town straight line 1,500 feet off the beach. It felt promising but I held off on blind casting or maybe waiting hours for it to go off. 

     I bumped into a guy chucking flies who said he had some small bass this morning maybe up where I had seen the small crowd in the distance. He wasn't a wait and see guy as he walked and fished through.

     My next stop was a quick walk and it was birds in that same line-up off the beach. There was some activity under them but it was mostly a watch and wait kinda place. I was doing that and was feeling I 

was just about done. I knew that if I had the day to kill I would run into them as the tide was dropping as the bites seem to have been starting mid-ebb tide into the afternoons. I then started to wonder how my day would have gone if I had make the trek south. You never know, and that's fishing. At yet 

another drive-by spot where I started my day I found guys milling in the parking lot. I wasn't even getting out nor was I going to look. I was going to get home and take care of the things I had to do to get ready for my meeting. But, before I headed west, I was going to drop by, yep, Bagel Talk. It

would surely lift my spirits a bit. But, to my horror, I learned they have stopped carrying white milk, now only chocolate. Do people really drink chocolate milk these days? At least the bagel was good.  I thought of making a right at the next light and hitting the WaWa and then continue west. But I looked at my watch and said to myself let me just check on things while I take my normal drive 

before hooking a right on 5th Ave. in Belmar. I stopped and got out and saw a few anglers way down on the beach. There was nothing going on in front of me and I almost stripped off the waders, but I opted to keep them on. I parked and got out of my truck when I saw a few of the old guys from the Asbury Park Fishing Club watching over a few guys fishing. I decided to give it a shot and when I walked down there was bait inside the breaking waves. 

     Luckily I had my camera with me and after getting a fish under my belt I stepped back. But before I did I looked to my left and was surprised that I quickly wasn't alone. How did they get here so quick?

     As I made my way south a bit I then saw why.....a guy on his phone. The network had been activated. There were more guys as I walked toward the inlet. I think they had been there for awhile but I didn't see them due to the glare of the sun off the water when I was looking from the boards. The bird activity was insane in the bowl and the bait was just pinned inside. That is where the 

heaviest concentration of anglers were, so I stayed away. But one thing I will say is, outside of a couple of asshats and a few young overly-excited kids, everyone played nice and all, but one, fish went back. 

     As the tide fell the bait made it's way out of the bowl and around the next few groins. The bass were on them and it was the kind of day where you didn't have to move, just sit tight and wait for the bait and the fish to come to you. In the mix were some fly rodders and one guy yelled to me 'What are they biting on?", which reminded me of the line from A River Runs Through It. Over the last few outings I have seen a young fly fisherman out in the mix. I made some pics of him and in the wave you can see the peanut bunker going by. Click on it to enlarge, as with all photos. 

Today he was careful not to hook someone on his backcast as he worked his fly in the pocket. The crew around him was less than experienced looking so each backcast called for a glance over his right 

shoulder. I watched him go tight and then....snap his rod. It happens to all of us. To much of an over-the-fish-curve, not enough side pressure, or loose ferrules. But he got the fish in and was lucky enough to have a two-hander in his car. His name is Eric and he works at Tightlines Fly Shop up in Parsippany so when you see him up there ask him about his rod. It's good to see young blood in the sport, FISHING! 

    There were older, well more experienced, fly rodders out there as well. This guy had a sweet cast and had fish blowing up going back and forth in front of him. Check out that loop on the back end, nice. 

     One thing I have to say is I don't know if I like fishing or taking pictures more during a blitz. You know, it's hard to communicate what it looks or looked like, without pictures, or video. But now it was my turn to get a few. The tide had dropped and wading was easy and it allowed me to put that fly outside the sand bar where the bass were chasing the bait. At times they chased them inside or into the

pockets. I had the two-fly set up working and caught fish on each of them and luckily no double headers. My fish ranged from 27 to 29 inches but there bigger fish in the mix. These are the most

perfect fly rod fish. Just big enough, not too big, but with one or two slobs in the mix to just make your day, or fall run. And after you catch a few you could and should be done. How many do you need to stick in a day, week, or season. Now, that said, every now and then a numbers day is good for the soul.   

The birds continued to work over the fish and it just kept going. One good thing is that the boats, except for one inexperienced "Captain" who nosed into the beach, couldn't creep in and mess things up. My buddy Leif had work in the morning and I tipped him off to join me. The next one I had some shoulders on it and they all went back easily and "swam away strong", God I'm sick of that.

    I kept doing the clock check and by then the crowd was dispersing and creeping down to where I was, just a little too close for comfort, or fun. I jumped up on a high groin and looked around but the 

action was from there to the inlet. Before I left it was another one to hand that a guy took a picture of because he was fascinated that we catch striped bass on the fly rods. I was done, caught some fish, got

some cool pics, saw a young fly rodder, and the best was I found these fish, well, by pure luck. Sometimes just that's what it takes. Moving forward the weather is going to get a little nasty and the wind goes back to South before going NW on Saturday. The New Moon was two days ago so any action we've had since Tuesday, think Long Branch and Ocean County and today, and that might have contributed to that. We'll see how the next week goes.

    I missed Leif as he got stuck in the bridge traffic. He went on to have a great afternoon as the crowds thinned out and the bass continue to chew. He would go on to catch a few including a nice 38" fish. 

     I jetted out of there wishing I could have stayed, but I couldn't. I was good. I pulled into my driveway at 223 with just enough time to take a leak before sitting down for work. All that in a day with seven minutes to spare.