Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer patterns starting in the Sedges, By Alexi

Solo trip.  I was up and out of the door early.  I barely got any sleep at all as I had worked the night before.  In a half daze I started unloading my kayak at the IBSP winter anchorage launch amid a few other avid fishermen.  One of them  looked over and asked me my name.  He said he had read the last blog-post -  the miserable epic failure of a fishing trip....ugh..... I was caught off-guard.  I hope you guys did well,

busiest early AM I've seen in a while

because I found fish right away.

first of several at this spot on Zara Spook Jr Chartreuse

I spent my first hour or so on the water losing and landing several short bass.   I tagged three for the American Littoral Society.   They were 3lbs - 19" , 4.5 lbs - 21", and  4lb 20 inches.  One fish I caught and released as quickly as possible had a giant chunk taken out of it's back.
That got me thinking.

And now for a tangent:

 As sensitive as these fish are they may be equally as resilient.  I don't know.  I believe there are many things I haven't experienced which are true, and I don't believe that everything I've witnessed is true, so in the end who's to say how sensitive or resilient the Striped bass are?  I do tend to trust scientists, especially those that I've known.  And I'm  big fan of DATA.  So, the topic of fisheries management is a deep and sensitive issue.   I know that in the fishing forums the Striped Bass is treated as if it were a God, and I'm not really criticizing this view by pointing it out.  More accepting it for what it is.   This 20" bass with a chunk taken out of it's back was definitely ready to keep going!  (not that I'm going to make small batches of ceviche out of all of the backs of the short bass that I catch) BUT it does get me thinking.  And meditating.  And thinking.  (am I a conservationist by choice? or because I just can't catch a 40" bass??)  One thing is for sure, I'm definitely not the problem.  I've had the worst luck catching any bass above 28" for the past year anyway.  I think New Jersey should have gone with the one at 28" option like many other states, if anything, for the simplicity or the matter, but who am I to say, I fish more for the scenery anyway.

Back to fishing:

They were schooled up in the hole before Snake Ditch and all were on topwater lures, and BKD soft plastics.  Some bluefish were in the mix.  (the blues were lower in the water column)

"The bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. It is a marine pelagic fish found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters, except for the northern Pacific Ocean. Bluefish are known as tailor in Australia,[1] shad on the east coast of South Africa, and elfon the west coast. Other common names are blue, chopper, and anchoa.[2] It is good eating and a popular gamefish."  from wikipedia

This is the fishery I remember.  This is the fishery I love.  This is the fishery I want to share with my fiends.  Respect it.  Keep it clean. Keep it alive.

    It was the kind of day you think about when you think of "fishing in the summer."  When I arrived, It was the second half of the outgoing tide.  Paddling was unnecessary, except for positioning to cast.  Otherwise the current and wind took me wherever I needed to be because the fish were there, everywhere, and they were on the feed.  This is the trip that was supposed to happen last week with my friend whose name shall not be mentioned.

   As I headed out to the inlet to fluke fish I passed some clammers, and another kayaker who was going for fluke, who said he'd been there since 2 AM.  This reminded me of me.  There I was.  Desperate, exhausted, dehydrated, an apparition, my own ghost speaking to myself from another dimension.   cauughttt nothingggg

  As the current slowed I made my way to the inlet.  The end of the outgoing tide is the safest time to drift Barnegat Inlet from the kayak because the worst case scenario is that after an hour or so of fishing you can simply ride the tide back in.   I find it strange when boaters who are near me, doing the same drift as I am, say things like: "Man you've got some balls being out here."  All I can think is: (what I'm doing is probably safer than what you're doing, because I'm prepared to be immersed in the water, and you're in shorts and a T-shirt, I have a PFD on at all times, I know what phase of the moon it is, what phase of the tide it is, I even know where some small eddies are by the rocks which I can paddle up to and take a break if need be, so I'm not taking any risks!  My paddle is connected to my kayak.  What happens if your motor fails?  Then YOU are the one I'm trying to rescue!)
Me Chilling in a foot of water in Barnegat Inlet

The horse shoe crab invasion has started.

The clammers have arrived.

And it's Fluke season.
first Fluke of 2015
So there you have it.  I worked hard for that picture of a 15" fluke.  But i did it.  After that I kind of gave up and headed in.  I had my Barnegat Bay Hat Trick; striped bass, bluefish, and a fluke!  See y'all on the water!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Real Truth About Fishing: two trips, By Alexi


  The truth cannot be told.  the truth must be told.  On friday May 22 2015 I took an old friend out kayak fishing.  This was something we had been talking about doing off and on for several years now, and the opportunity presented itself, so we took it.
     First stop: cheese hoagies from Wawa.   My small car with two kayaks is always a strange sight.
small car two kayaks
Next stop, I had to get my IBSP pass for the year.

IBSP has new sticker passes

OK, then I realize my friend needed practice casting a spinning rod.   His first attempt at casting went straight into the only tree around for miles.  The amount of things that I take for granted, things that have become second nature to me, they are innumerable.  I began to realize this, at first slowly, then quickly, as you will see later.

    It was a pleasant day, a bit windy for a novice, but pleasant.
     I prepared the rods and the boats.  It took quite a while to get two set-ups ready.  Such is the way of the guide.

     We cast around the launch area for blues, but the wind kept blowing us back to the shore.  Though I am used to this, I thought better of it in this situation, and made the decision to head to snake ditch where we cast from land with the wind.
    I started paddling away and suggest to my friend to try to follow me because of the sandbars.  I get ahead about fifty yards, and turn around to see him out of his kayak and in the water.   This is NOT going well! My first thought is that he flipped.  Then I noticed no rod.  As I paddled back he said he had nocked into the bay with his paddle and was trying to find it.  The water was almost up to his shoulders.   We searched for an hour.  It was relatively expensive gear and it was lost.  
     We continued with the plan for the day in relatively good spirits despite the almost literal wet blanket that was placed upon it.  
Soaking wet friend

     It was a tough day at the sedges.  Not much was going on.  The whole day I just had one short bass while trolling a storm shad.
one short bass

     When we got back to the launch he looked for another hour or so to no avail.   My guiding skills are definitely lacking, though in the end he said he had a good time and that he wanted to try it again.  I really tried to put him on some fish.


Wind wins, hands down, don't unstrap the kayaks, drive back home, run away.

click below for the link to the video of the wind:

Monday, May 18, 2015

flying cars and seas of acid, by alexi

My first Sedges trip of 2015!
Breaking camp in the AM
     We had set-up camp after fishing topwater lures on the flats and drifting eels in Oyster Creek Channel at night.  We caught nothing.
     The next morning we fished the incoming tide from about 6 to 10 AM.  


   I had a nice sized bass (about 24") on a rip-tide paddletale and jig-head pretty soon after starting in oyster creek channel.  It hit in tight along the bank.  It was in and out of the boat before a picture could be taken.  Such is the way of the kayak.  Unfortunately, the boat traffic was SO heavy as it was Saturday morning (a time I almost never fish)  that I headed directly into Horse-foot while Perchman gave another pass at the deep water of the channel with his eel friend.
   In Horse-foot I had some action on my Zara Spook but it didn't stay tight.
   I snuck into snake ditch and had consistent action for about an hour.
Steve and I fishing along shore in Snake Ditch

First a bass:

Striped Bass and Riptide lure

Then a blue killed my only white Rip Tide paddle tail:

Blue fish and ruined Riptide lure

So I switched to a Storm Shad:

Striper and Storm Shad

And that's pretty much it:

One from the boat

So, here's some other crap I was thinking of writing about.   These things are relevant and important, and someday they will warrant complete sentences, structure, and clarity, but for now I leave you with a list.

Gnats - poor kids had to leave after ten minutes of fishing because they were in shorts and T-shirts.
Lightning - stay close to shore, maybe it will pass
Tiny beers - the same as big beers, you just have to drink more of them
Rip tide - pretty much as good as bass assassins (in a pinch)
King diamond - not quite as good as Led Zeppelin
Incoming - when fish are caught in snake ditch
Flying cars - soon to be a reality
Ocean acidification due to pollution - will be the end of us all!  But there will still be a party at the restaurant at the end of the universe, so long and thanks for all of the fish

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Short Report With Pictures 5-11 and 5-12, 2015 by: Steve

bluefish jump
          My first overnight trip of the year. I fished topwater around sunset with no action, switched to drifting eels after dark. Had a few run-offs that didn't come tight, and one short striped bass that came off boatside before I could get a snapshot.

up close
      No action on eels, topwater, or bass assassins in the early morning. I decided to head for deep water, trolling an eel along. The eel found it's end in a bluefish, so I tied on a 2oz kastmaster, reeled fast, and was tied into a bluefish in a few casts. The action was steady for around an hour or more, most were in the 6 to 8lb. range, though I lost some larger ones, the bite ended not quite at the end of the outgoing water, after the blues moved off the wind picked up and I paddled in.

a moment of truth
      It takes some nerve to subdue angry bluefish in a kayak, that is part of what makes it thrilling, they are probably the hardest fighting fish in our back bay and inshore fisheries, they jump, sound, and take repeated long runs to the end of the fight, rarely laying on their sides like the esteemed striped bass.
fishing rods in the way

After All.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

You Never Step Into the Same Sedges Twice By: Steve

      The 4th of May is a late start for me, compared with past seasons. My last kayak trip on Barnegat was November 30, 2014. I convinced KGB to come along on Monday.

      By Monday morning I had nothing together, none of my batteries were charged, I grabbed a whole nest of mixed fishing gear out of a closet and shoved it in my car to make sense of at the launch, pulled together a fist full of rods, threw in what reels I managed to repair over the winter, and tried to make sure I had at least a paddle, seat, waders, pfd, and trolling tubes.

      I got bloods at Murphy's. I put together three rods. I grabbed a few boxes of lures, most important was (obviously, word is out, gator blues in the back...) kastmaster, bucktails/porkrind, poppers, tubes, and bloodworms.

      Five casts with a white popper on the flat, I had a 6lb. blue, actually just what I was expecting. Except then the blues went missing from the sedges for the rest of the day.

     As I set to trolling tube and worm the sun was high, the water was dropping and clear, and I could really begin to appreciate the changes brought by the fall and winter months, the entrance to snake ditch and all the shallows around continue to shoal in, some sod banks get steeper and more undercut, and others round out, some deep holes are all gone, bottlenecks widened, fallen chunks of sod make new underwater structures. The Osprey are on their stands, (one snatched a baby flounder 100ft. from my kayak) and the seals and loons have not yet vacated to their summer homes, the wildlife is the same, but the sedges are always new. Every tide is a new
Seal Island Full Moon Low Tide
      When I look back to our posts from spring 2014, exploration dominates, kayaks are great for picking up and dropping pins into a map. Our posts from last May alone each feature a different launch, Some we will visit again, some not. Kurt Vonnegut said every story has a shape, I think when we get around to dredging all this rough copy to the bedrock a story, (which I believe we surely will someday) that story will have the shifting shape of the sedge islands.
One TnW Bass
     KGB and I each pulled up a short bass on tube and worm. I really love this pattern for the spring, when the water is clean, and especially when the fish are picky. Whatever the reason TnW accounted only two short bass and a few light hits through the day.
Watching the seals.
      The wind and tide were against us, as we paddled back to the launch a clammer passed us wading. We stopped at the launch to wait out the wind for about an hour and a half while fly fishermen walked down the path, looked at the water, turned around and went home. Finally with a little break we got going, the full moon flood still pushing against us hard.

      I all but promised an all out bluefish blitz to KGB, who had purchased new waders for this trip after a year and a half of declining invitations to fish. Saltwater fishing is a book of changes, persistence is still the best guarantee. In the 11th hour, literally, KGB sets the hook on Pomatomus Saltatrix and after a short battle drags the gator into the sedge grass, 33in. 11lb., to cap our first sedge trip of the year. After all.
New Waders. Gator Blue.