Thursday, October 3, 2019

The End of Summer

The End of Summer, that is to say the end of "Real" summer weather, has finally come to pass.
We had a record breaking 95 degree day yesterday, and most 2 legged creatures ... along with a smattering accompanied by their 4-legged "better halves"... with any free time flocked to New Jersey's barrier islands for one last summer-fling.

Having had my schedule rearranged several times this week, I found myself able to get out to Brigantine for a couple of hours.

As I drove out to the island I noted that it was, quite literally, packed. Especially for a weekday in October!

Since I really want to be "alone" that left the North Natural Area as my best option.

Unlike 2 weeks ago, I found very few mullet in the surf, but using fresh (not live) or frozen, my mullet rigs were getting harassed non-stop by the 1 million snappers in the surf.

I managed to land 2 tailors (kept 1 for dinner), 1 snapper (threw the head out... something whacked it ...likely another blue... but nothing else).

Tried netting those elusive mullet to no avail, and didn't pull out the flyrod as the surf was not conducive (and I didn't feel like wading out and getting 100% drenched/soaked from the huge swells coming in), so settled for bait fishing.

As an aside, here is a picture of the baby "pompano" I netted 2 weeks ago. I call it a "pompano" but would not be surprised if someone ID'd it differently. No matter, as it is a unique species for me.

The Setting Sun, all golden, paints patterns in the sky.

Slowly it fades now as Summer, finally, says Goodbye!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Early Fall

We have had a decent "Local Summer"... the time of year when the air and water are both still warm, but most of the tourists have long gone back to their winter residences.

Late shoreline fishing brings in a ton of small fish: blues, spot, kingfish, blowfish, and some southern visitors like small jacks and pompano, along with Spanish Mackerel, Bonito and Albies, at least for those who fish near some deep water channels.


See the source image


See the source image

I was finally able to get out and fish a few weeks ago. Time has been slipping by this year with a busy schedule at work, some minor health issues, and what seemed to be an interminable number of "health professional" appointments. While I have set my sights on "retirement", I've not yet been forced to deal with it. My wife and I aren't getting any younger, so while I enjoy the paycheck, and my employer seems to derive benefit from me, enough to keep giving it, I do look forward to moving on to the next phase of my "career": being a stay at home husband.  Soon? Either by choice or by force-of-the-workplace, I don't know. Some day for sure.

Reports had been encouraging and the surf had enough signs of life. While it was not the "fish on every cast" that I would expect this time of year, having just weathered a fairly robust storm a few days earlier, I did manage to get the first fish on the vintage fiberglass rod I had a local rod rebuilder "do up" for me.

This original rod was one of my father in law's favorite rods for surf, and even some pier, fishing. I paired it with an equally vintage reel: the venerable Penn 9M level wind, spooled up with his favorite 20lb Ande mono. Gosh just typing that combination of rod, reel and mono brings back so many memories.

Getting down to the beach, I tried for kingfish using a seaworm rig to no avail. While reports of their appearances were still coming in, I found no love in the area, and at the time, I was there. So, i laid out a mullet rig and waited. Eventually, I also noticed some disturbances in the surf, and threw a cast net yielding baby pompano (alluded to above), as well as the more usual mullet:

See the source image

Using these mullet on traditional "mullet rigs" that the bait shops sell is almost a guaranteed recipe for any bluefish in the area (the one below is a typical setup):

This evening was typical and was glad to put a bend in the old, revitalized, rod. Memories indeed!

Target Retirement