Monday, November 24, 2014

The Hunt, by Alexi

Mon Nov 17th.

     Our boats splash the backwaters of IBSP around 1 A.M.  It's overcast, foggy, and there's no moon.  (Maybe a sliver but the clouds are hiding it)  We have eels.   Steve heads across the flat invisibly pulled by an unknown force to the spot he caught his fish at last week.  I am not subject to the same invisible attraction, and so I take the path of least resistance to Snake Ditch.  Every corner, each turn, each hole I am full of anticipation.  I give Snake ditch a thorough run, and then decide to head out to Oyster creek Channel and try to meet up with Steve.  Still knowing, still feeling, still wanting, that at any second there will be a fish attacking my eel.  I cut through Horsefoot and get out to OCC.  It's still close enough to slack tide that I feel like I'm effectively fishing.  Like I'm presenting my bait in an enticing manner.  If there were fish.
    I can barely see the lighthouse.   I have my gps on and I can look down and see a map (bear in mind that the maps of the sedges are always off)  and I can see where I am on the map.  I drift along to what I think is seal island.  (I'm actually completely disoriented)  It's probably around 4 A.M.  Then I see a space ship cruising across the flat.  From where I thought I was (which was wrong) it was a very large vessel with lights all around it.  I radioed to Steve "Yo Perchman, Do you see that thing?  How is it on the flat?"

Steve: "It's a tugboat, it's in the inlet."

Me: "Where are you?  I'm at Seal Island"

Steve: "I'm at Seal Island"

first light
Visibility is about two feet.  I was lucky that I wasn't where I thought I was.  As it passed Steve and it's wake approached him, he had no way of knowing when it would reach him or how big it would be.  One second you feel yourself rise into the air.  And then you wonder, will there be another?  How many?  How big?  What angle?

I figured out I was back in Horsefoot.  Perchman turned on some lights and I paddled over to meet him.   We had a break on seal Island and talked plan.  The decision was to drift over to the Sedge House.
Desperate A.M. eel casting

 The tide in front of the Sedge House was slow moving, and I usually have better luck there when there is a bit of current.  Day began to happen.  This signaled the end of the trip. We were reluctant to succumb.  We went back to snake ditch, back to weakfish point all to no avail.  Now there was no longer a reality.  It all turned into the world of dreams.  The separation between awake and asleep blurred.  Dreams of being in an IHOP.  Dreams of pancakes and syrup.  Dreams of a highway.


Nov. 19  Steve froze trying again, solo trip to the Sedges.

Nov. 23  I went to Nummy (N. Wildwood) and drifted eels for 6 hours along the sod banks.  Chris wasn't at the store.  At least I got a nice waterproof hat and some more eels.

Hereford Inlet

My favorite collapsing house



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Striper Revenge 2 By: Steve Evans

"If you want a real wall hanger, everyone is going to have to suffer, but you"
                                                                            -Billy "The Greek" Legakis

      A man alone. I haven't spent much time at home, in days, at least, not outside of my waders, haven't slept, hardly showered, eating only the fish I catch, so that I might know their minds, ok, passed out, a few times, in sub-normal positions, in car, or tent, or elsewhere. I'd just finished having an outrageous argument with my employer, regarding, among other things, scheduling (This happens every November, doesn't it?).....
Sick day.
      Not entirely alone, of course, Alexi was with me to start the week, and we launched into the Atlantic, straight off ship bottom, Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Snagged Bunker, easily, but with no bass, or blues beneath. I, as it happened, happened to be beneath, the weather, badly. Not undo in part to some imbibing.
Bunker down...
      We were around the corner from fish all day, but we didn't manage to catch up to any. First we were into bunker pods with no fish on them. I finally dumped my kayak in a wave, which turned out to be just what my hangover needed. Then, to put another nail in it, it was time to go to the international house of pancakes, for coffee, eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, and plan. Pay the bill, "Are you guys in construction?" "NO!".

      Time to go to seaside and get back into the Atlantic. We did, two more times, but the radio chatter was constant, the bass fishing in front of the bathing beach was "EPIC". Well, the wise old laws of the park say we can't launch there, so we didn't. We did our last launch of the day, in the back, at sunset.
glass water, sunset, and fox.
       I had a good feeling about the back bay, bunker were coming in through the inlet, and conditions seemed right, but at some point we had to stop fishing, I'd pick up where we left off, next trip.
next trip.
      This next one would be a solo trip. I had a bunch of lures and the usual 4 rods I carry along for bay fishing, but I was really out there to fish my heavy "live bait" outfit. I had live eels, and I knew where and when I wanted to be, at slack tide, I was hunting.

      I had a little time to play around, I lost a short, at the boat, I'd hooked it on a rubber shad. Then I switched to eels right after, I had one nice run-off and pulled the hook, so I tried a few more drifts, but when it was time to move to the place I had in mind, I got going, and I didn't stop to fish between.

      I thought it was a schoolie even after the hook was set, it was moving toward me with the current, but when it knew it was hooked there was a real battle, up close. My headlamp light hit the flank of the fish and I knew it was a good one, I wasn't gonna lose it, got in the boat as soon as I could.
in the dark.
      This was my biggest "back bay" fish to date, 40 inches, and pulled the boga to 27 pounds. When we're fishing eels in the back, at night, we're hunting, for big fish, but that doesn't always mean we catch them. This time I was at exactly the right place, at the right time of tide, at the right time of year, in the dark, and with my favorite live bait, and it worked. For me that's a damn good feeling.
Back bay beauty.




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bunker! By: Steve Evans

     I've been out for a while from computer difficulties but I'm back in now and what a time to get back in, the fish are moving through!
      We head out the other day annnnnnnnnnnnnnd.... Woah! the time was right!: bunker near shore in our hood! Snag up.
count the sets
      To be there at first light we have to wake up at 3 am. NO PROBLEM! Alexi goes to sleep at 3 am, so he'll already be up! These are the times of HIGH ADVENTURE!!!
Spot burn.

      The surf was titillated by bunker, you should have seen it! Or maybe you did. And this time the bass were there, blues were too!
Bluefish gun.
      I launched, snagged my first menhaden of the day and was immediately hooked into the fattest bluefish I've ever caught. I called Alexi on the radio (he was surf fishing) I say "They're here!"

Alexi fighting a humungous fish

      After that...

      A plan comes together...
      Fish were all over Alexi's baits, but he had a hard time hooking up for a while...
Other fishermen were out in kayaks and SUP doing the same...
A whale came up behind seconds later!
      In total I had 4 stripers 33" to 35" and two bluefish around 30" too. Alexi landed one nice bluefish. A really excellent day. Who knew that we'd have a run of adult bunker in-shore this fall? Sandeel bite should start soon too.
New Friends.

      Met some other dudes out there, everyone was catching fish, it was a great day...
      It's November now so get out there! Get some lines in and if you're tired...
Just sleep in the damn kayak.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oct. 28, 29. 2014 Sedges

Game plan: Fish the Sedges Tuesday evening, Wednesday all day, surf launch Thursday A.M.

Reality: Surf launch Tuesday early evening, fish Sedges Tuesday night thru Wednesday night.  (head home early exhausted)

"You should have been here yesterday, it was the boil of the century!  You could see their tails from here", says a guy on a bike with a beer on the boardwalk.   We were unloading our gear at the Shark River inlet.

A good launch for the future.  That's the takeaway.  The L jetty was slightly useful, also  tricky in different ways.

Steve assessing the situation

going in

Had to avoid the people fishing the jetty, but luckily they kept moving so it wasn't hard 

Steve and the SRI drawbridge

Reverse landing (Steve is about to meet the wave)

After our unfruitful surf launch we headed down the coast to IBSP.  We fished the usual spots.  I pulled a bass out of snake ditch on a swim-bait, while Steve drifted eels for larger fish.  With the wind and current blowing us North and full of fatigue we landed our butts for the night in a new spot.  

"Fox poop" campsite

Another view from "fox poop" campsite

Conditions were less than ideal.  We were still dealing with winds steady at 12, gusting to 20 mph.  I had one blow up on a popper in the A.M., then Steve had a million "almost" fish.  We fished around some islands and Steve pulled this one fish out.

a slow two days, one of four fish caught

Later, after a break at the million dollar bathroom, slack tide and a lull in the wind coincided.  I had another bass on topwater near an island.  

We're still waiting for our shot at the big body of fish arriving in our area.  (Well they did over the next two days.)  But as they say, don't chase reports, make reports.  So there you have it!