Tuesday, March 22, 2016

3.16.16. Night by Fly by:Steve

      We've been waiting on a weather window to try some night fly fishing around a lighted bridge. For this I recently tied some sparsely dressed Clousers to imitate the spearing we've seen schooling in the bay. I wanted a fly that would make a dark impression in the water, so I tied one with a little green wool that Alexi's wife had spun, and another, a deer hair Clouser in black and blue over chartreuse. When we got around to it, I fished a handful of patterns, but these thinly tied Clousers were the only that produced.
      Bass and spearing were visible tight to the bridge along the shadow line, though when I drifted into the open while changing flies, or tying on new leader, I could hear pops and splashy rises nearby. Spearing, charmed by the aura of my headlamp, flicked and hovered on the surface, orbiting my boat. Despite the presence of feeding fish, catching was not consistent. Flyrodding from the kayak, has some inherent challenges to work out, often casts were off target, and more than a few times I put fish down with sloppy presentations, or drifted over top of them while untangling the coils of line in my lap. Fish in these situations require finesse: they do not need to move far to eat, nor is there any advantage in their doing so, with a minimal expenditure of energy they use the deflection of current, and the concealment provided by the bridge to easily ambush their prey which are lost in the allure of light.
       Using an anchor was one solution, the current was drawing me toward the bridge from the direction I wanted to cast from, into my slack fly line, and into where I was casting to. Running my anchor line off the stern I can cast the whole area in front of me without snagging the rope, or having to fight a fish around it. I have a long enough anchor line so I can drop it and let myself drift to where I want to cast from, then secure the line. Also, as you can see from the first picture, fighting a fish off anchor ends me up under a low bridge with all kinds of hazards to a nine foot rod, with line all over my deck, while posing for a dumb picture. So as usual there are angles to figure out before we get it right.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

If you don't try you can't know By: Steve

found in the sedges
      It's still late winter, despite air temps warm enough to get things on land going: bugs are hatching, trees are in bloom, and the groundhog came up from under the porch. The strong influence of the ocean in the vicinity of Barnegat inlet means water in the sedges is still in the low forties, too cold to expect much, but then you can't be sure, nor completely satisfied if you don't go try.

      I set up my new 10 weight fly rod and tied flies all week so the fly was all I planned to fish, left some casting rods in the truck in case it got too windy, it did, but I never went back for them. I used to fly fish a good bit for trout, freshwater bass, and the school stripers that live up on the rocky beats of the middle Delaware River,  the ten weight is a more robust setup, and I didn't fish out of a kayak back then so there's some getting comfortable with that to do. Fly casting in the wind, like kayaking in the wind, you'd rather not do, but sometimes you do do, and you just have to make it work however you can.

      The very shallow creeks and ponds had small bait, spearing and bay anchovies probably, but there was no sign of any bass around. standing in my boat and fly casting was working pretty well, just getting that to work some gave a sense of usefulness to the trip. That and we got our Island Beach parking passes for the year.

      As promised, we spent part of our trip picking up trash, to show our support for Margo Pellegrino and her efforts to get people to do something about the deplorable condition of our rivers, lakes and oceans. It's hard when I step onto the bank in some places and see more trash than I could even fit in my kayak, still I spend so much time in the Sedge Islands that I think if I fill a trash bag every trip it will make a real impact.

Trash we found

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 1 Mullica Perch Revenge! By Alexi

     Last trip was a bust, but one (of the numerous) things we learned on that trip was from a butt-dial.  I accidentally re-dialed Captain Howard's only to find out he would be getting bloodworms in before our next perch excursion.      

    It took a few minutes but we were on the bite pretty quickly.

first perch of the year

First fish was a short striper Perchman had caught.

Steve's first Perch
It turns out a 20 pound Striper was caught just down the creek, but we were targeting perch anyway.  

On a different subject: This week we tied some flies.   We're on the verge of a whole new ball game: salt water kayak fly fishing.