Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Biggest Bass So Far This Spring, by Alexi

Tuesday Day-Fish
Tuesday Night- Fish
Wednesday Day- Fish
Wednesday Night - Fish 'til midnight
Thursday Day - Break (nap)
Thursday Night - Fish
Friday Morning - Fish
A whole lot of fishing has gone on between me and Steve over the past four or five days.  I may not be in my kayak right now, but I feel like I am.  I feel like everything around me is undulating like the bay. In fact I just now realized that it was this morning I was tagging an 18" fish in Snake Ditch.  But I'll get to that later.  I suppose it would be easier for my story to be in chronological order.
     To be fair there were two separate fishing trips.  One was a two day where we camped out, and the other was just a night-time meeting with a cow who never showed up.  The first trip did help precipitate the second.
   Tuesday May 21 2013 we left my house with a plan.  To find bigger fish than we had thus far this spring.  We were both prepared to surf launch, bay fish, and jetty/ surf fish if need be.  The plan was to look at a few spots for surf launching into bunker pods, only if we saw them.  We didn't.  We checked in about three spots, and decided to head to the bay and to the buoys at oyster creek channel, which from now on I will be calling 'Seal Island'.  We had picked up some eels on the way.
    I don't really know how it happens, but no matter how ill-prepared I am I am usually the first one done preparing my gear and kayak for the day.  This day was no different, and so while I was waiting for Steve to be ready I waded into the water and on my second cast caught about a 20"blue on a pink fin-s. A good start.  We were pretty much trolling around the usual spots, Sedge House, along all of the Sedges inside, then out, with fairly slow but consistent action on small bass and blues.  Steve was catching more short bass than he could  count by the end of the trip.  Tuesday night we ended up near the southern end of Snake Ditch which from now on will be referred to on this blog as 'Weakfish Point'.  I arrived there first, and hooked into a 27" bass on a live eel.  It had some strange lice on its tail, and red  areas on its side, so I decided not to tag it as it seemed stressed out already.  We were tired and camped out in the sand which was very comfortable.

     The next morning (Wed) we split up.  Steve went back towards Seal island and caught a million short bass while I stayed and trolled tube-n-worm up and down Snake Ditch.  I had one short.  By the time I was back in radio range to communicate with Steve he said he was really getting into the short bass. I immediately made my way against the current to Seal Island.  It was less trouble than I thought getting there, but once there I noticed quite a different scene than the one I was just at.  There were several boats anchored and chumming in that area.  While we were taking a break and discussing our next move we noticed that one of the guys in a boat was bringing in a fish.  It looked big as he was really taking a long time in landing it. We joked about it.  Steve was eating and I said I wanted top go out and toss a live eel into the deep part of the water and see what happens.  Second toss I hook up with a BIG fish.  After having joked with Steve about how long that guy in the boat took to land his fish, here I was with a monster of a fish on my line.  At first it tugged like a big blue, so I assumed that's what it was.  I knew it was big. Then I saw its shadow and knew it was a bass.  It sounded a few times as it dragged me towards an anchored boat...(I should have put my feet in the water as a break, but in the moment I had forgotten about that technique)...   I finally got her in the boat and she was a very girthy 34.5" 17.5lb bass.
  We continued to fish that area, but more boats showed up to the point where I felt like I was having a party.  I tried inviting Steve over to my party, but instead we paddled through a short-cut to Weakfish Point. (this may have been our big mistake of the trip.  After-all why leave so soon after catching a decent fish? just because there are lots of boats around?)
     Once at Weakfish Point we had some small blues pestering us.  We slowly made our way to the launch, to Grumpy's.
     The question was, with about half the day left, where can we go to get into some big fish.  The answer we came up with was... the South Jetty.
     And so we went to the South Jetty for some night-time eel fishing.  We had with us some eel rigging gear and some dead eels, so while waiting for the sun to set we made some eel puppets.
Everything was perfect except the wind.   It was really hard from the south, which meant we couldn't really fish the pocket.  After a few hours of brutal conditions, we conceded and went home.

     The next day I was looking at the wind predictions and noticed a small window Thursday night when the winds would be 4 or 5 mph.  Half serious/delirious I suggested we go out for a night-only trip.  Slack tide at the Sedges would be around 5 A.M.

    Thursday night:  We started fishing around 1:30 a.m.  Conditions were better than expected.  (I was having a little trouble with my gps but in the end it was only a distraction because the fog lifted quickly.  Less wind, little fog, a few showers.  Overcast, so no moon.  Really perfect, only we couldn't get the fish to bite.
     We fished until about 8 a.m. friday morning with tube and worm, and rigged eels.  We left with a few snapper blues for the fryer, and had each caught some short bass.  One of my blue fish spat this little guy up.

So, actually, you could say I landed both my biggest and smallest fish of the Spring so far.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A sort of normal report without too many asinine attempts at humor By: Steve Evans

      Before April of 2013 was a week old we were fishing quietly among a few other souls in the backwaters of Barnegat bay. When we launched yesterday May 16th just after noon the inlet was carrying almost half of her usual summer traffic (jet skis and mosquitoes being the other half). A Barnegat Light local pulled up as we were getting ready and said "There's bluefish everywhere... and maybe around dark you might scratch a bass". KGB had the first fish of the day about 15 minutes later and only about 400 yards away... a school size striped bass. The rest of the day we had medium size blue fish and school size bass non-stop, and even a few keeper bass mixed in.
      It's been an excellent and productive spring in the bay to be sure but here we had a mid afternoon bite of blues and bass that was absolutely awesome, and  it

didn't slow until after dark.
Yet another picture of a fish with that tube lure
      One of those rare trips where daylight fishing far outproduced the dark hours in both number of fish and size. No doubt the fish were still around after sunset but by then the bay was choked and  fishing a clean lure in the odious brown semi-gelatinous algae/weed killed our enthusiasm if not the bite. That very special aquatic growth that mucks up snaps, and ball bearing swivels, and stains and sticks in every crease and coil of everything it touches was thick in the water from bottom to top.
      A couple of bass and a blue between sunset and three am. We camped comfortably in the sand, sleeping for almost a whole three hours. Set out for a morning troll about the turn of the tide in the inlet and had blues on every pass back and forth near the rocks at the back end until it was time to head in.
yellow eyes of pure evil
I should have taken more pictures of fish

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kayak Fishing in the Dark (part 1?) by: Steve Evans

      1.Fishing from a kayak is not like riding a bike: you always forget how to do it.
      2.Fishing at night is the best time to fish because no one will ask what you're fishing for or if you've caught anything or tell you a story about someone they know who caught a big fish.
      3.Tube and worm is the only lure necessary to fish from a kayak.
      4.If you wish to fish from a kayak first buy everything the internet tells you to buy, then after losing all of this equipment in the bay or ocean of your choosing you will fish only a Tube and worm and you will be free.
      5.If you do not practice falling out of your boat you will be very surprised when it happens.
      6.If you hook a bluefish cut the line before it sees you.
      7.If the bluefish does see you: cut all your rubber lures in half along with any rigged eels you may have then throw everything in the kayak into the water and the bluefish will probably lose interest.
      8.Always put everything in the same place or you will not be able to find it.
      9.Make a habit of setting up your boat the same way and in the same order, this makes setup easier and you wont forget anything.
    10.Plan your trip according to wind direction and tidal currents so that one or both are working against you at all times.
    11.The intelligent design of sharp edged tools by hominids dates back 3.4 million years. ALWAYS carry a knife on your person, there are countless reasons why you should always have this tool at hand, just trust me you'll know when you need it and you'll be glad to have it.
     12.Spend at least $150 on cool looking stuff every time you visit a tackle shop.
     13.You can never have enough batteries. 
     14.Bring a back-up for everything.
     15.Find your headlamp before you need a headlamp to find your headlamp

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Sleeping on Turtle Gut" by Alexi

     Going out for an adventure, or going out to catch fish?  Having a good time with friends or suffering?  Only thing is, the answers are never as straightforward as the questions.  Disappointment is based on expectations.  So that's why I always start with "what we set out to do" and relate it to "what we accomplished".  After all, you don't go out to catch Fluke in April.
    This was another overnight camp-out in the Sedges (this time N.Wildwood). A Long Johns trip.  That's Steve, KGB and I.   We tried to fish the area around Nummy Island for the second time.   This, of course, includes a stop at the Kayak Fishing Store.
     We were already pretty pumped up thinking we'd get into some bigger stripers and maybe even some weakfish.  Chris, at the store, is also very good at encouraging the angler, mentioning to us that there are even some redfish being caught.  So, after we bought some new gear from his shop we were triply amped.  We went to look at the ocean launch (as per Chris' suggestion) and decided that all three of us were not prepared  to spend the day safely floating in the ocean, so we stuck to our original plan and launched by the kayak shop, just as we had done last year when we were skunked.
         It was a slow start.  KGB had the first fish, a small blue on T-n-W.  We were all pretty much dedicated to trolling around our tubes for the whole time.  (24 hrs of paddling)  Eventually we all had at least one small bluefish on T-n-W, and Steve and I each had a small bass, but at the end of the day it was slow.  I got mine on a lure I really detest in many ways, the pink Fin-s.
24" on my light set-up was a nice fight
     We, however, were still hopeful.  After all, night time is the right time for bass and weakfish.  We trolled along many of the sedges, mostly along the deep water drop offs where fish should have been.  We have many theories why we didn't catch more fish during the day, one being that we were sticking to the sedges near open water, and maybe we should have travelled up some of the smaller creeks.
steve fights a blue
We thought that our luck would turn after the sun set, but none of us caught anything after dark.  This was very strange to us.  We are used to catching more Striped Bass at night, and bigger ones, and all we could do was keep trying until we were way too tired to even stand.  So eventually, and I mean eventually we passed out.  We camped on (what I later found out from looking at NOAA charts) what is called Turtle Gut.  The ground was wet, my old tent is not longer water resistant on the bottom, and the birds were LOUD.
    The next morning the water was a mess.  Because it's a new moon and the tides are as extreme as they are going to be, there was lots of detritus in the water (it was also full of tide grass the night before, and we thought that's why we weren't catching any fish...). So we fished most of the morning.  We tried heading more towards the inlet thinking that we would at least catch a few blues, but alas all three of us were skunked.   We called it quits as I had to work that night on about three hours of bird-squawk non-sleep.
     As we were packing a member of the kayak fishing store pro staff team was pulling up, and he had a keeper and many shorts and blues, just that morning from 7 to noon.  So all of our theories about the fish and the conditions being the problem were shot out the window.  AND he caught his fish trolling tube-n- worm along the sedges!   So were we just unlucky?  Or, more likely, does he know that area like we know our little corner of Barnegat Bay? 
     We gave that area around of N.Wildwood around Nummy Island our best, and we feel like it was a complete failure, but was it?  Personally I feel like I want to return to find where the fish are, because I know they should be there in big numbers this time of year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

april 26, 2013, By Alexi

     This was our first "Long Johns" trip of the year.  (Long Johns is what we call Me, KGB and Steve because why change clothes when you can wear long johns under waders and shorts!)  
     KGB said he would wait until there were bluefish to be caught before he went fishing and he did.  And he caught a bluefish on a teaser.  Very appropriate, as he not so famously once said "Teaser never hurt nobody."                                       

4 rods to rig up

my home for a day

    We pretty much stuck to the same route as last week.  Once again, crossing the inlet was a challenge, but this time I went all the way over to the Dyke to cross.  I think this is definitely the easiest route.  
Steve's first keeper Bass on tube-n-worm and a Blue
  We hit some other outer points around Oyster Creek.  I was a little surprised to see that there were still some seals hanging around.   Then, once we got into some current by the Sedge House it was game on for Steve, (keeper bass in the daytime on tube-n-worm.)  I had moved on and ahead from that spot which was obviously a mistake, but my fish would come.  I was definitely psyched to hear Steve say over the radio that he got a keeper on Tube-n-worm, because I find it to be a very productive way to fish and cover water from the kayak and have had much better luck at it  than he has. 
one of many 20" bass on tube-n-worm

     I had my new Littoral Society fish tags with me and tagged two Striped Bass for the first time.   I got into shorts really thick in front of the old kayak launch.  They couldn't keep away from the small bass assassins, to the point where I had to stop fishing so I could get over to snake ditch for sunset.  We thought snake ditch would be more productive than it was.  We bounced around theories about the moon and how the extreme tide that it creates might send the fish feeding to other spots.  Anyway, I was able to pull a nice 29" fish out of the rip on a rigged eel. (my new favorite lure)

My keeper on rigged eel