Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Trash or Treasure?" by Alexi

May 23rd 2016.

We're waiting for a solid "bass on bunker out front" bite to start (any day now...AHEM).  In the mean-time we fish when we can in the back.   I had the opportunity to take KGB for a trip to the Sedges and I took it, (he doesn't get to go out as frequently as he used to).  

It was a slow start to the day.

old anchor

It was spent casting around the sedges and admiring some detritus such as old anchors.

And collecting other detritus left along the sod-banks.

.....and so sometimes I thank the blue-fish gods for tearing it up.

fishing was slow, so I collected lures

stuff I found

The real centerpiece to this story is the strange popper in the middle.

It's a well constructed wire-thru home-made from a piece of a banister popper.  It is ridiculously hand painted.

this is the thing!

crazy home-made popper found on sod banks

Here it is in action:
The Popper had some good mojo

  I threw it on after finding the bluefish, mostly because it was the only popper that had single hooks instead of trebles.  I must have hooked into 20 blues with this thing, some of them felt like they were coming tight only to have the fish get off, or maybe they were just holding on to the wood and not really hooked?  Whatever it was, it worked enough times, and drew many more strikes than I expected.

solid Blue action for KGB

And so for about two hours we had a blast catching big blues on topwater.  Some were released, some were kept for the smoker.

And one was in the personal best category for KGB:


38" 16lbs kayak caught

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Still Life of the back of my truck" by Alexi

Strangest fishing trip?
At the moment when I passed through the threshold that separates the magical land of IBSP into the mundane and routine real world of the rest of New Jersey, I had in the back of my truck: a freshly dead rabbit, six bluefish up to 15lbs, (also freshly dead), a big plastic container full of wet and stinky clothes, another big plastic bucket full of kayak fishing gear, (much of which I've just been carrying around and not using), a crate with fishing gear, three rods and reels, half of a cheese hoagie, three empty double shot cans of coffee, and innumerable empty water bottles among other detritus collected from seasons of fishing.  In a convoluted backwards fashion I will try to tell the story of these items.


    As we were driving down the one road in the park a rabbit decided to run into the truck in front of us.  It wasn't crushed, but looked badly injured as it tried to get out of the road.  We drove ahead and mulled over the tragic event we had witnessed.  We decided the right thing would be to turn around drive back and kill it... I wasn't sure that I could, but Steve was.  When we arrived at the scene of the accident the rabbit was lying in the middle of the road, already dead.  I asked Steve if he knew how to dress a rabbit.   He said he could skin it... (He'd figured the rest out later by watching youtube.)


    The six bluefish were caught mostly on topwater plugs in the back of IBSP.  We had been out since the day before hunting for big bass with eels in all of the deep water accessible by kayak from the launch.
drifting eels

 We drifted during slack tide, but didn't get a single hit until very late at night.  We were both completely exhausted, and so the tents went up and our bodies rested.

    We slept in and got some well needed rest.

view from my tent

 The current was about to switch when we got to snake ditch, and Steve quickly hooked up with a blue.  That was the confidence booster we both needed.  Not too long after I was getting hits on a smack it jr.  Over the next couple of hours we had fairly consistent action of blues in the 10-15lb range, mostly on top-water plugs.

Steve's first hook up in the AM that got us going


I lost this smack-it Jr soon after this
 I wanted three big bluefish for the smoker, but with all of the reports of giant blues, and me not catching any earlier in the week, I was beginning to wonder, "were bluefish not as dumb a fish as I thought they were?"  and here they were, dumb as ever....Thank goodness!

double hook-ups galore

Steve's night bass on eel from the previous trip
If someone asked me how fishing was before this trip I would say "our fishing trips have been SLOW"...We had gone out for an overnight earlier in the week. I was skunked, Steve got two short bass on eels.

On this last trip I had two bass earlier in the day, before Steve showed up.  He had pneumonia and wasn't going to fish at all, but what else is there to do?   And so he showed up while I was tossing soft plastics in Snake Ditch.

Day bass on soft plastic

smallest bass I've caught in Barnegat...AND it has a clear bite mark across it

We had been tossing theories about why the fishing was slow back and forth all week like a well moistened joint.  In the end, maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I know it looks like we catch a lot of fish, but we also fish for 24 hours per trip.

I'll leave this off here with two more pictures:

Home in time to clean
and grill the rabbit

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Long troll By: Steve

       I trolled central Barnegat Bay from the public launch in Barnegat Light to the west side and back, through the sedges, and back and forth in the inlet. I passed the lighthouse close on my way back in, mostly for the sense of completing a circuit, I got a bluefish somewhere in the middle of this long troll, caught on an SP Minnow. Eels in the sedges at night got no bites. 
      We've been making fun of the SP Minnow fad since it started a couple of years ago. I'm not the first to say lure trends are basically self fulfilling prophesies, a new, nice looking lure catches a few fish at the right times and places, then everybody is fishing it so that's what all the fish are being caught on! The momentum takes hold while the rapalas and bombers and red fins are rusting in tackle bags and boxes. Now that everybody's fishing the hot lure who knows if anything else will produce because no one is fishing anything else! Will a bomber ever catch a fish again?! Well I finally got the hot new lure (now old) and I'm catching some fish with it, but I also had one on a bomber last week so I'm not jumping on any bandwagon, anyway I really prefer fishing lures with single hooks if I can help it.
      When the winds are low, covering a lot of water is relatively easy, but even in low wind the deeper open mid-bay water has substantial movement. It was dark when I was paddling to the sedges from the "BB" I was looking east at a black strip between water and sky, I split the difference between the lights of the interpretive center and Barnegat lighthouse, I split the difference between water and sky, tracked as straight as I could and made land at the sedge house.
Barnegat Bay
      I tented on sand in a comfortable spot, It's been a stubborn spring in the sedges so I didn't see any point in pulling an all nighter, a few dedicated hours fishing eels at night was enough. The next day I fished tube and worm in the inlet at the tide change without a hit, and finished by the launch casting a light jig. So that's all the work I did for one fish.      
Snowy Egret