Friday, June 29, 2012

Sedge Field Experience, Not......By Alexi

The Children and Parents are ready
     What a complete letdown for a great group of kids.  Haley was going to participate in Sedge Island Field Experience, she's been amped for weeks. Months, really... since she applied, and got the recommendation of a teacher, and wrote an entrance essay, and got chosen to be one of the twelve participants. They were all ready to go on the dock.  Luggage on the pontoon boat.  Fishing rods in the rod holders. Prepared for a five day overnight camp at the Sedge House!  When last minute, and I mean very last minute, it was cancelled.   Apparently there was a small fire at the Sedge House (WE don't know when) and there was some cosmetic damage that hadn't been fixed, and so word from above (I'm guessing the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection) was that the kids couldn't stay there.  
     Wendy I were paddling around waiting for the pontoon boat to launch.  After about an hour I got several unknown phone calls.  I kind of thought it might have been Haley, so I answered, and she was obviously upset.   Wendy and I paddled over to the boat and got a little bit of the story.  Propane tank, fridge, bla bla bla.......
Alexi and Haley paddle back to the launch
     I tried to rescue the day by having Haley at least catch some bluefish, but the wind and current were against us, and for good reason her heart wasn't in it.  While Haley and Wendy went to the sit on the beach and contemplate life and all of its complications, I went to Snake Ditch and caught a 20" Fluke (second cast, BT gulp combo.) 
   Now we are awaiting an e-mail explanation with rescheduling options.  No matter what, it will be a letdown of sorts. Even though she's only twelve, we were all rooting for Haley to come back from SIFA with some pertinent information in respect to our fishing blog.  Also...I was very interested in seeing what the inside of the Sedge House looked like. Some day we may find out...    

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Soft Plastics,by Alexi

 Haley, Wendy and I went to go Kayak Fishing  in the Sedges, but the Park was closed because of lightning.  Instead we went to the north end of the Point Pleasant Canal.  We didn't catch anything, but had a good time anyhow.  I had a couple of strikes on my home made Hogy lures.

We watched the coast guard stop a boat

I decided to make some more.  This stuff really stinks when your baking it.  my lures don't look so hot either, I get lots of air bubbles, but they still elicit strikes when other lures don't.  I'm trying something I haven't seen done, although I'm sure people have tried it, and that's embedding the hooks into the plastic while it's hot. We'll see how well it works.  
plaster mold

final product

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guided trip on the Delaware by Steve Evans

      I am pleased to report that I guided my first fishing trip last Sunday the seventeenth: a four hour paddle, float, and fish from Kingswood to Byram on the Delaware river not far from Lambertville New Jersey. While I've taken many friends and acquaintances out for casual fishing and camping trips over the years, this was the first time where I assumed the more official role of "Guide", taking charge of everything from tackle preparation to bagged lunches for two people who I'd never met before. This type of trip is something I've always wanted to do so I count it as a sort of milestone for me.
      Before my obsession with surf and saltwater kayak fishing, the Delaware river near New Hope, PA is where I spent the majority of my on the water time. My Dad raised me on fishing, I began on some small Minnesota lakes whose names I don't even remember with a worm a bobber and a snoopy rod with a closed face reel. After my family moved to PA and I was old enough to learn how to tie a trilene knot to a mepps spinner I fished the Delaware with a regularity increasing steadily through my late teens and early twenties when my own fascination with fishing began to pick up where my dad's lessons left off. So the river is a special place for me, of all the places I've fished I know the river best and I relish the opportunity to take friends or strangers out there for a short float or a multi-day camping trip.
       I Met my clients Lisa and her 11 year old son Grant at 6 am at the Byram ramp to drop their car and we took my car with the canoe north to the Kingswood launch. The fishing proved surprisingly slow through this section of river which normally produces many smallmouth bass between 10 and 20 inches; along with channel catfish which readily strike lures in the river; and the occasional walleye. This day however the fish were a little sluggish, I had one walleye follow my jig and twister combo up to the boat and turn away; and the one smallmouth caught by Lisa hit right near the boat. No one else we saw seemed to be catching anything either.
      I would have liked to get a fish for grant but still I count the trip as a success. Not only was it a first for me but also the scenery was gorgeous, we saw lots of wildlife including a navigationally impaired turkey vulture that flew right into a tree (not to worry it flew away unharmed), Grant made great progress in his casting, and I think overall my clients were very pleased with the trip.
      If anyone reading this blog is interested in planning a guided trip on the Delaware or even a casual kayak trip out to the sedges send me an e-mail at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Team Long Johns

one of many 20" bass for Steve
     There are ten bluefish fillets soaking in brine.  Soon they will be smoked.  My fear is to bore you with the details of how they ended up there, on my kitchen table.   Or worse, to present a laundry list of firsts; first tube-n-(Gulp) worm fish at the Sedges, first spring  2012 bass (kgb).  Or how Steve went 6 (fish) for 6 (casts) with schoolie bass at Snake Ditch.  But really, it's summer fishing at the Sedges, where there is current and deep water, there are fish to be caught.

kgb manages to lose this one

Steve catches a blue in the rip

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snake Ditch is Back, by Alexi

     Well, another pretty epic day of fishing.  How do those of us in the fishing world define epic?  That would include any number of the following; personal records broken, good company, fish bite throughout the day, decent weather, no snagged lures lost, little money spent, and no injuries.
       First off,

This was going to be one of the only days Kgb(Alexei) and I had to fish together for a while due to scheduling conflicts, so we wanted to make the most of it.  I had been following the surf reports for wave height, and it was looking like the early A.M. would be good for a surf launch (to find Bunker Pods and snag-n-drop).  This dictated what time we decided to head out.  We also wanted to fish the bay, and I had a couple of spots in mind that I knew would take at least five hours to fish.  So the night before we decide to meet at my house at 4 a.m. with the hopes of a surf launch around 7 a.m. No set time for returning home.

     We managed to leave my house around 4:30 a.m.  Not so bad considering the fact that I'm a night owl and stopped by the watering hole on my way home from work.   We were staring at the ocean around 7:00 a.m.  On the news we heard that Philadelphia public schools were getting a half day because of the heat.  On the beach it was cold.  So cold we hesitated.  Even though the surf was low and no waves were breaking, the ocean was visibly rough.  We didn't see and Bunker activity, but then, with a rough sea that's pretty hard.   We took our time getting our gear together and launched through a rolling surf.  A lot of white water, but no breakers.   We trolled around in about 20ft of water.  I was starting to feel seasick, something that's never happened to me before.  Maybe it was just the right combination of rough surf, the night before, and lack of sleep, but it wasn't a nice feeling.  The ocean was really rough, and we both immediately started thinking about the difficulty of returning to land.  I had more stuff with me this time, and wasn't planning on stowing it  all in my hatch.  That meant all the more importance of not flipping over in the surf.  We lasted about two hours out there and Kgb managed a small bluefish trolling a bomber.
     I landed fairly easily, and ahead of Kgb.  I had time to return a phone call to Wendy as I stood on the beach, and just as Kgb was trying to land.   I was able to give a riveting play by play of his utter failure!  He was well prepared to flip in the surf, and he did.   He could have jumped out where he was, but he didn't.  To his credit, he only lost his dollar store hat.   It just takes some small white water to turn the kayak and flip it over.
     We took our time getting to the bay for the second half of our plan.  I was very confident that we would at least catch several more blues in the bay.  We picked up some large gulp, 6" swimming tail grubs, to add to our bucktails from Grumpy's.
      Kgb picked up another blue on the troll in the shallows on the way to the deeper water of Oyster Creek Channel.  It took a while to get there, maybe an hour of paddling.  We were there to target fluke(summer flounder).  Once there it was pretty frustrating, because the current was ripping in the same direction as the wind, and it was gusting to 15 mph.  I tried the drift a couple of times, but my bucktail wouldn't stay down.  Just as I was paddling quickly to get over to land and take a break a decent sized blue hits my lure.  My first fish of the day.
Kgb fishes Oyster Creek Channel from shore
    We decide that casting from shore is the only way to properly fish the channel.  Pretty soon Kgb picks up a nice 21 inch Fluke.  We fished there and ate lunch.  We made a move up-current to another spot and napped.
   The paddle back to Snake Ditch was pretty easy.  The wind was to our side, and the current slowing down.  We were at Snake ditch for slack tide, and the switch over to outgoing.  We didn't start catching fish right away, and it was almost a moment of disappointment in an otherwise pretty exciting day.
     A group of about 30 paddlers came through the ditch, something I've never seen there.  Kgb was really confused by this.  Why would people want to just paddle around?  After all, we had just had a pretty hard time fighting the wind and current, not to mention getting flipped in the surf, so just going for a pleasant paddle was really beyond his comprehension.
     I had been targeting bass and blues there because that's what I caught there the previous week.  When I caught an 18 inch fluke I was just a little surprised.  I had caught fluke at Snake Ditch before, but I never thought of it as a good place to target them.  This kind of changed my approach.  To target blues you can reel fast and on top. To target fluke you jig off of the bottom.  To target bass you can do either or both of those things but are better off doing it at night, and slower.  I noticed that current was picking up, so I threw on one of my new homemade Hogy lures.  It's basically a squigly 9 inch strip of rubber.  After a couple of cast a bluefish slams it hard, and my drag was set too lose, which gave it the opportunity to tear the lure in half.  That's the excitement and tragedy that goes along with fishing when blues are around.  (That's also why i started making my own rubber lures)
    I switched back to fishing the bottom and that's when I pulled in my personal best fluke, a whopping 24 inches.  I don't know if that's doormat status or not, but it was big and aggressive.  Kgb also managed another fluke from shore.  The activity meter at Snake Ditch was way beyond what it had been so far this year.  Once the tide started flowing out, the game was on.  It just happened to coincide with the end of a very long day.

     We were well fished out.  It was around 8 p.m. and the reality of how early we started our day began to hit us.  Twelve hours of paddling, fishing, fighting wind, fighting current, well that's enough to make anyone sore, and that we were.  Sore, but very satisfied with the day's fishing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ocean Launch 6-8-12, by Steve

    I left for the beach yesterday after work, arriving at the island beach motor lodge around 7. Calm sea conditions, quiet weather, reports of bass caught on snagged bunker and just enough time to fish two hours or so around sunset. I had fresh 50lb braid with a length of 80lb fluorocarbon leader and a bunker snag snapped on. I also brought a lunch cooler with a few bottles of water, a popper, a bucktail, a metal lipped swimmer and some extra leader, snaps, and swivels.
   The simplicity of the plan really appeals to me: I launch with the snag clipped on, bait pods can surface quickly then disappear so I don't want to fuss around with tackle if the bunker show. I launched through a few small waves and paddled out scanning the water for signs. But I also don't want to waste time so it wasn't long before, with no bait in sight, I snapped on my swimmer and trolled while I continued to search for signs of life.
    With nothing on the troll and the sun dipping low I moved back into the surf zone to toss my popper around. Some dolphins were out there, and despite the fact that secretly I don't think dolphins are a good sign in the fishing grounds, I enjoyed their company immensely. Predictably, after the dolphins left, I began to see some swirls beyond the outer bar. I cast my popper around the swirls and had one fish follow up close to the boat. I wanted to fish longer but it was getting close to dark and I still had to land my kayak safely on the beach so it was time to head in. I took one 3 foot wave at full strength during the reverse landing, it soaked me and my boat took on a little water but I was surprised at how my boat sliced right through the wave.
     The space and scale of the ocean when you experience them through the medium of a little plastic boat are surreal and awesome. It is sublime and even a little spooky out there, rocking on the great cradle of tides, over highways of life and ribbons of sand. I feel alive out there all mixed in with all that life. I could say this is why I fish, or I could say the fish are why I fish, but there is no separating the two.
     So there's my little poetic sentiment, I'll be out there again soon and back here with some fish to report.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

solitude, by Alexi

    The night before I went out fishing, I was at the Paradise talking to Matt and Tim about my plans.  I was confident, again, about what I was in for.  I said "I'm going to go out and catch enough bluefish to smoke, then I'm going to target fluke in the channel and see what I can drum up."  I was inviting Tim, but he was three sheets to the wind and after negotiating what time we were going to go I realized I was going to go it alone.
     For the most part, fishing is a solitary venture anyway.  We go out late at night, early in the morning, in the rain, in the cold, generally under circumstances the part time fisher-person would avoid.  Yesterday, however, was a beautiful day, and not only was I out solo, but there was really no one at all to be seen at the sedges.  Not one other kayak, and just a few boats.  One spear fisherman.  Many birds, many fish.
My Snake Ditch Competition
     The wind and current  were working against each other in just the perfect balance. My drift was slow, and paddling was easy. Last week I left the sedges and the fish were biting just the boat launch.  So I started where I had left off.  Same spot.  second cast with a new lure I had never used before, (a 14" tandem rigged chartreuse Hogy) a bluefish slams and decimates it.  That's a good start to fishing day.  First cast would be a curse and I wouldn't have another tap.  A fish on the second cast is just right.   A few more casts in the same spot, then I troll around a little in about 5 feet of water and pick up another blue on a floating minnow.  It destroys the back hook as it was already rusted, and that's a small freshwater lure.    Bluefish are notorious for destroying lures, and they are one for one at this point.  I see a little surface action and throw a popper to it, and fish on.  My popper is in good shape and indestructible. Three fish in the first 45 minutes is really good, so I decide to head to my fluking spot.   I was really excited to hit the Sedges  on this day because I had a new Humminbird GPS sounder I was using.  I headed out to some deeper water where it would be useful, and where the fluke would be.  Out by buoy 30.  Pretty quickly I jigged up a fluke with a BT-gulp (Buck tail) combo, but it came off at the side of the boat.  I was glad just to know they were there.  I fished that spot for another hour or so, and as I was leaving through a channel I had a short bass on BT. Now that's pretty much it.  All three species of fish in three or four hours.
     I stayed another couple of hours and caught some more bass and blues at snake ditch.