Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"I Hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free" Nikos Kazantzakis' epitaph, (2nd annual Janes Island Birthday bash) by Alexi

The characters: Myself, Wendy, Steve, Janessa, Mom, Dad, Jon, Ari, Elias, and Maisy.

The setting: Janes Island State Park, mid September 2017

The thing is, it was my second annual Janes Island birthday bash.  Last year Jon had caught his biggest striper.  I wasn't sure how that was going to be topped.  Steve and I had arrived days before everyone else.  We found fish in the usual spots.  However, we also noticed that we were catching more keeper sized Specs than last year.

Limited out on Specs (Fish cleaning station at Janes Island)
They were mostly caught in 4 feet of water on bass assassins, so when the rest of the company showed up and wanted to fish we figured this was a pretty sure bet for a plan to get folks on some fish.

   We had a good first full day, and for our second full day we decided to head down to the end of the DelMarVa peninsula to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tulnnel, AKA CBBT for  big Redfish. Apparently that's the thing to do,and it's what we did, and we were skunked.  It was mostly pleasant despite the torrential downpour and the 6 mile paddle. I say it was mostly pleasant because quite a variety of species besides that which was targeted were caught; croaker, toadfish, squid, black seabass, and spot.

Toad Fish

I re-used this Croaker as bait

calm CBBT sunset

Back up at Janes Island

The Party Arrived

classic camping party

Here is a still life of our arsenal of lures in the back bays:

As you can see, the Spook Jr (the chartruese oval lure in the middle) is missing its rear hook, and has a bigger treble on the front.  I was tired of hooking small bass with two trebly hooks, and really only didn't hook up once or twice the whole trip because of this switch.  (I may do this to all of my Spooks.)  We didn't really get into using the BKD's (the longer skinny soft plastics) until the last night of fishing, and they did well for both Spec's and Bass rigged weedless in very shallow grassy waters.  The DOA shrimp is what my dad and Jon caught their Spec on using a popping cork to keep it out of the weeds.  It was a bit of an experiment, but also tried and true by others, just not me.

Dad and his Spec
...and Ari caught his bluefish trolling a 4" Bass Asassin in the channel.

Ari and his bluefish

Fishing fishing fishing, and then there was the partying as well.

Maisy and Ari all partied out

Bits and pieces, by the end. Thats how it was.  A novel that begins with a fishing story and ends in tragedy.  Zorba, the birthday gift.  They say that it's not the catching that matters, it's the fishing, and I think that is the same sentiment that rests on Kazantakis' (the author of Zorba the greek, it's also a good movie, watch it) gravestone, "I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free", although my dad may argue that the translation may very well more accurately be, "I believe in nothing, I fear nothing, I am free." either way, as fishermen we can apply it to fishing.  So just being there is what counts.  As always, it's an excuse to float away...free

....floating in the calm blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  Sunken rods retrieved, and radios lost.  

Steve with one of a million Specs he caught

A million fish caught.  

Ramp at Janes Island State Park

A million stars.

The Milkyway.

And when the company left we went back to fishing our way (at least 6 hours per trip, and into the night)

And we found feeding fish before sunset.  A million fish in the Eel Grass, in inches of water.

A million sunsets.

the end

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Live-Lining for Fluke (AKA Summer Flounder), by Alexi

"Excuse me, do you have a snapper zapper?"

We're at Dick's Sporting Goods.  The guy working the fishing department looks like he's 12 but he's probably 18.  He doesn't know what I'm talking about, so I look around and find a snapper zapper and show it to him, and explain what it is.  Usually Dicks does NOT have the things you need, but this time, just this once, they did!

Ari and Elias (my nephews)  and I slayed the snapper blues in Snake Ditch at the Sedge Islands last week.

To fish with live bait can be tricky.  Especially if you're catching it.  First you need confidence that your bait of choice is easily accessible:

( from a previous trip)

Elias with a snapper

Ari with a snapper

paddle paddle paddle
...and so it was...

.....then you go back without the gremlin munchkins nephews:

I met Steve there. (at the Sedge Islands, IBSP, NJ)  He had done an overnight and had caught millions of short bass on Fly ( But really it might have just been three or four.)

first of many short fluke in snake ditch
We had made radio contact early on, but I was having success in Snake Ditch and he was having success in Oyster Creek Channel, so for most of the day we just chatted on the radio occasionally.  If you were on 68 you might have heard us.  We say such stupid things.

 "I'm in the washing machine" Perchman
"What?"  Castro
"The boat wakes are enormous" Perchman
"I've caught a million shorts"  Castro

Before this day I had never successfully caught a fluke live lining snappers.  I didn't bring my bait bucket.  My plan was to catch and live line, then catch another, and there were so many snappers around this plan worked out just fine.

On previous attempts this had happened:

half of a snapper from the great bay trip
And so that got me thinking, whatever chopped this in half would have eaten the whole thing if given the chance. So, this time around I was going to keep my thumb on the spool, bail open, and let the fish take tons of line.

It worked:
nice day in Snake Ditch

23" Fluke on live snapper blue
23"blue on bluefish snapper
Barnegat Inlet fishing

snappers were at the rocks (and everywhere)
I ended up with two keeper Fluke and a Blue, all on live Snapper Bluefish and a single circle hook.  All fish were hooked in the corner of the mouth, and very well hooked.  There is really nothing like letting a fish take line, waiting as long as humanly possible, then engaging the reel, and hoping that the weight on the other end stays.  Because there is that moment, when you feel the weight, and even fight the fish, but it's just holding on to your bait and it lets go...