Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Three Maps In Three Days By: Steve

      I have three N.O.A.A. maps of the Jersey coast hanging in my home, north to south they go from Mantoloking to Harvey Cedars; Harvey Cedars to Ocean City; and Ocean City to Cape May Point. My Kayak is light and I can car-top, launch, and paddle it to anywhere in these back bay systems.
Barnegat Bay
      From a kayak, techniques are the same as from any boat, fishing is done while drifting, trolling, or at anchor, plus I can easily drag it up on any beach or bank, and wade, or walk and cast. No gas, no engine noise, no water too shallow. I constantly hear outboard skiff owners complain of the hassle of boat ownership, and I know for many the worst complaint is never enough time to get out, maybe it is the hassle of gas and maintenance, the necessity for marinas and proper boat launch facilities, for me a kayak is pleasure, pure, and simple, and because it is easy for me to transport, launch, and fish from and the only fuels I need are snacks and water I have no excuse not to take it out.
"BI" Buoy
      This is not an argument against the motorboat's obvious advantages, I'm expressing these thoughts here because so many times I am questioned by bank and boat fisherman about my rig. "Do you catch fish in that thing?" "Where do you put the fish?" "I have a 10 foot kayak at home do you think I'd be safe out there in that?" "What do you do about the sharks?"  I can only say it's not for everyone, its very physical, and it takes some time and patience to get the kayak set up for one's own comfort and success. I do study tide and weather when I go out, carry a marine radio on every trip, and I use maps for new areas. It is a very effective way to catch fish, I put them in a cooler or on a stringer like everyone else, big fish I can put in my hull. I'm sure your 10 foot sit inside is fine to start with if that's what you have but don't get caught in a 30 knot wind in it, go out on a nice summer day and see what it can handle. Finally, bluefish thrashing in my lap with razor sharp teeth and treble hooks attached are probably a greater hazard than sharks most of the time.
Brant and Terns
      Last week I tangled with blues on Barnegat, and then tried Great Bay for drum, and Wildwood for tog but didn't get either target species. Due to technical difficulties I didn't get any picturtes of the blues so you'll have to take my word for it, they were in the ten pound class and a lot of fun. Despite no success at Great Bay and Wildwood I still met my goal of launching on all three maps over a three day time frame, and explored some water I hadn't fished before. Pleasure, pure, and simple.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Only-One By: Steve

      Last night I capped a fifth day of fishing for the week, four of those were spent on Barnegat. I'm not going into details of every move since it just adds up to a lot of paddling around and one striped bass caught, and I want to get this post up and get back to fishing since I've got time now and that's the best time to fish. Water was under fifty degrees fahrenheit in the sedges throughout most of the week, days were cool, nights were cold. Low tides were extremely low the first half of the week.
     I talked to many of the April regulars who fish the sodbanks by the kayak launch with lures and flies. It seemed someone told them all there was a hot bite going on but no one seemed to be doing much, fish may move in waves and with certain tides, and I've definitely found April fishing in this area to go quiet just when you think it would do something else.
Trash bag
      I guess if some resident fish are around the sedges they are active in short bursts, better action is probably somewhere else in the bay where the water is a little warmer, which is where I'm going to go next. I think it's a bit early to expect much of a bite in this specific area, but that can always change in a tide, as I write this the water temps have probably already jumped up a few degrees, and I've talked to other anglers who have done well not far away.
The outer sod islands are almost gone
           I didn't fill a bag of trash every day but still got one for the week, you don't have to bring your own trash bags to pick up out here, plastic bags are easily found among the other garbage washed up into the grass. 
Very low water for this area

Sunday, April 17, 2016

new boat, bad shoulder, first bass...by Alexi

    It's time for a straight up old fashioned confessional.  As many a paddler may be wont to do, I've derided the peddler.  Outright made fun of those who choose to "peddle" a kayak rather than "paddle."  I love my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.  It's light and durable, designed for the flats and ocean launches.  It's been my only boat for upwards of six seasons.  BUT, what has fate brought me to?  What has a shoulder injury this past fall during the outrageous bunker out front episode led me into?   What is this cabal that I've sneered at from a distance that I now enter with the hesitation of a hyena at the watering hole?  Yes, you know what I had to do.  Despite all inner fear of self loathing, it occurs in life that sometimes we are drawn into situations where we do just the thing that we are opposed to.  So here it is: I BOUGHT A HOBIE.

  The MRI shows that last fall I tore some ligaments and also have a bone spur that is irritating the tendon in my left shoulder.  I was in pain after my last trip to the 37 bridge with Steve. (and this is after three months of physical therapy.)   It was then I realized,  if I was going to kayak fish at all this year I was going to need to avoid paddling.  After a few misses on craigslist, I contacted an anonymous person, when we soon realized that we knew each other.  It was Mullet Miller.  He helps organize both the Susquehanna Flats kayak fishing Jamboree and the Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree.  I bought his old Revo 13.

The Report:

    It was the first work free weather window I had in over two weeks.  I launched at the bridge by the kayak fishing store.

Shitty launch

   I didn't know how to use a Hobie and didn't know that I had to lock down the rudder, so I spent the whole trip thinking that something was wrong, not being able to turn right....that's kayak fishing.  (Something is always almost not working.)  

    I trolled tube-n-worm along the sod-banks for about six hours.  I caught the obligatory "just before sunset" fish.  My first bass of the season.  My first trip with my new boat.  My first bass from my new boat.

first Striper 2016

  So they say once you try a Hobie there's no going back.  There is a lot of hype surrounding the machine.  It seems like a well thought out design and I was comfortable in the pleasant weather conditions I found myself in.  We'll see how it handles in the slop.  For now:  it's a Hobie Life....  

I don't know why I wore my paddling gloves