Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Take the kid fishing" by Alexi

     They say to "take a kid fishing," so I did.  We had a good plan that worked out well.  We were at the launch around 7 a.m.  Early enough to miss the crowds, late enough to stop at Grumpy's and spend a million dollars.
      It was a calm and pleasant morning behind IBSP.  We floated and took in the scenery.  No pressure to catch fish, just chill.  We spotted a nice sized ray in about a foot of water,  many crabs,  osprey, schools of mullet and spearing, and so on...  And so we floated out towards Seal Island (Oyster Creek Channel.)   I had a fluke in (and out) of my boat in one of the cut-thrus on the way there.  I was not too disappointed that I lost it since by my judgement it was not quite 18".  Once we got to seal island it was non-stop action.  Bluefish up to 2lbs on almost every cast.  Now the kid can no longer claim to be terminally and perpetually skunked.
Castmaster, single hook, 1 oz = bluefish magic

Proof that the kid is no longer terminally skunked

I was fishing with gulp and a lightweight bucktail, maybe 1/2 or 3/4 oz chartreuse over white Spro.   I was switching around how deep I was fishing it, and sometimes just fishing it on bottom.  I knew that there were fluke around and so I picked up what is my best fluke of the season so far, at 20".

20" Fluke

Fluke Gun?

     Once we got tired of catching fish it was around noon.  The wind had picked up a little, the summer people in their boats had come out, and the current was outgoing (against the way we needed to paddle) and LOW.  So, we had a tough paddle back, but we made it none-the-less.  As tough as it was we took our time, and, though it was a bit longer, we didn't walk our kayaks.

    We had ice cream on the way back, at the Sundae Times, and discussed plans for the next kayak fishing expedition.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Bassin' in the Sedge Islands, By: Steve Evans

      We had two different plans: Alexi had a short window to fish, 6 hours of am between 6 and 12 so he left philly for Wildwood at 4, I was still sleeping, I was gonna leave later, start afternoon, fish all night and fish the morning until the winds kicked in. Alexi was targeting fluke with a high/ low bucktail rig baited with gulp.
      I planned to start with live green crabs in an attempt to target the tautog, triggerfish, sheepshead fishery near Wildwood by day, then change over to bass fishing at night. I know next to nothing about the crab on a jighead style of fishing mind you, this light-tackle technique was pioneered in South Jersey by Capt. Dan Schafer of Insomniac Guide Service, I attended his back bay seminar in the spring. By weird chance it happened that when I got to 24/7 bait and tackle in Marmora, Capt. Dan was there and we talked plan: too much current for tog fishing by the time I'd start, and the bass fishing spotty around there. Dan suggested another area for bass but I wasn't going to try a new launch without looking at my charts first, so, in short, my plan was blown up. I needed a new plan. What I didn't need was two dozen green crabs.
      Alexi had spent his morning bailing short flounder. Dan asked about the flats behind Island beach, "Had big blues up there in the spring, I haven't been back since" was my answer. True, all the scouting I'd done on the flats and I hadn't fished in the Sedge Islands since spring. Why? I knew there would be bass there, when I think about it, the sound of bass feeding on spearing in the dark, in the shallows of barnegat, is stitched permanently into memory, it echoes of great nights. This night would be one, the plan was flowering in my skull. 
       Remember this place? If one could design the perfect landscape for backwater kayak fishing it would probably look a lot like this here, and it's rarely crowded, not many engines get back there, not many engines can get back there, and they don't come out at night, in fact this area is almost always empty at night.... When the real fishing starts.
      I got one short flounder before the current really started to rip through snake ditch. Incoming, I let it take me out to the flats and started throwing topwater. There was some grass in the water, not much, but enough so that the hooks on my plug were getting fouled repeatedly. I switched to a pearl BKD rigged weedless on a 5/0 offset worm hook, fished with quick snaps of the rod tip, it will "walk the dog" and dart up and down in the water, when dead sticked the lure suspends in the surface film just like a spearing. When I got to one of our more productive flats the sun was dropping and the super moon was beginning to rise, the wind was pushing me across the shallows on a perfect drift, current loading the flats with bait, I stood up and began fan casting the area, I could hear the bass feeding, then could see them swirl behind my lure, soon I had my first fish. I spooked some fish as I paddled back to the top of my drift. Now I could hear bass feeding everywhere.
       The moon was so bright I barely used my headlamp at all. I caught many bass on the flat, and from then on, I was on bass all night long. When the tide was dropping and the bass moved off the flat I moved out to seal island for a land break, a snack and a coffee. I tied on a 1/2 ounce bullet jig head with a pink fin-s and caught a bass from land.
      With no more action there I went back into a creek arm and found a spilling pond, and bass blitzing on spearing at 3am. I caught bass on every cast at first and then caught fish here and there, following them out the creek and onto another flat.
      In the last hour of dark leading up to sunrise I caught a few bass off the sod banks in oyster creek channel, and one small fluke at sunrise for symmetry. I headed back to the launch with the sky turning grey and the wind coming on strong. 

      No fish of any great size but a lot of bass were caught, I think I lost count around 15, and the quiet and solitude of a summer night made the trip about as good as it gets.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Fishery in South Jersey, by Alexi

Steve Standing
     In the quietest part of the night we launched our kayaks into the backwaters of New Jersey.   From there on the trip is a blur.  Like a dream, or a memory of a song.  Time moves like molasses, and then it's racing, running.
    It's all quiet on the flat.  Enter the thru-way.  A bluefish on a top-water lure.  Outgoing tide into sunrise.  Break on through.  Night becomes the day.  Sunrise.  Fish feeding on the banks but no hook-ups.  "Smack, smack."  A million casts.  This one is perfect.

    Daytime.   Low-tide.  It's eerily quiet.  Where are the boats?  It's a nice day.  No wind.  Like another dream I have of being at school when it's a holiday, only I didn't know, and no one is there.
    Eventually, we give up on bass and go for croakers.  Hook up.  In the box.  The rays are acting very territorial.
    Sunset will be soon. Target Fluke.  Slack.  Low.  Incoming.  Wait for the switch.  Once my drift reached 1.5mph  it was fish after fish every drift.  Fatigue.   One at 18.  Wait, how long was I in my boat?
I fall asleep mid-sentence on the way back....twice
very very small black sea bass
short fluke

two croaker, one blue, one fluke