Sunday, August 27, 2017

Live-Lining for Fluke (AKA Summer Flounder), by Alexi

"Excuse me, do you have a snapper zapper?"

We're at Dick's Sporting Goods.  The guy working the fishing department looks like he's 12 but he's probably 18.  He doesn't know what I'm talking about, so I look around and find a snapper zapper and show it to him, and explain what it is.  Usually Dicks does NOT have the things you need, but this time, just this once, they did!

Ari and Elias (my nephews)  and I slayed the snapper blues in Snake Ditch at the Sedge Islands last week.

To fish with live bait can be tricky.  Especially if you're catching it.  First you need confidence that your bait of choice is easily accessible:

( from a previous trip)

Elias with a snapper

Ari with a snapper

paddle paddle paddle
...and so it was...

.....then you go back without the gremlin munchkins nephews:

I met Steve there. (at the Sedge Islands, IBSP, NJ)  He had done an overnight and had caught millions of short bass on Fly ( But really it might have just been three or four.)

first of many short fluke in snake ditch
We had made radio contact early on, but I was having success in Snake Ditch and he was having success in Oyster Creek Channel, so for most of the day we just chatted on the radio occasionally.  If you were on 68 you might have heard us.  We say such stupid things.

 "I'm in the washing machine" Perchman
"What?"  Castro
"The boat wakes are enormous" Perchman
"I've caught a million shorts"  Castro

Before this day I had never successfully caught a fluke live lining snappers.  I didn't bring my bait bucket.  My plan was to catch and live line, then catch another, and there were so many snappers around this plan worked out just fine.

On previous attempts this had happened:

half of a snapper from the great bay trip
And so that got me thinking, whatever chopped this in half would have eaten the whole thing if given the chance. So, this time around I was going to keep my thumb on the spool, bail open, and let the fish take tons of line.

It worked:
nice day in Snake Ditch

23" Fluke on live snapper blue
23"blue on bluefish snapper
Barnegat Inlet fishing

snappers were at the rocks (and everywhere)
I ended up with two keeper Fluke and a Blue, all on live Snapper Bluefish and a single circle hook.  All fish were hooked in the corner of the mouth, and very well hooked.  There is really nothing like letting a fish take line, waiting as long as humanly possible, then engaging the reel, and hoping that the weight on the other end stays.  Because there is that moment, when you feel the weight, and even fight the fish, but it's just holding on to your bait and it lets go...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

test one two, radio check, By A Alexi

It's dark.

The sounds of the late ends of a party are in the not too far distance.  It's close enough to smell the cheap cigars and whisky, but far enough away not to be able to discern any of the cheap conversation.  The conversation is punctuated by bouts of laughter, a clear giveaway that the party is in its dying stages.  My thoughts - ' just go home or go to bed so I can fish that light by your dock without being engaged in conversation!'

I can just imagine how it would go too.  It always starts with the dumbest question, "catch anything?"  or "what are you fishing for?"

I fish at night.
Some folks see us and turn off their lights.

23" summer bass south jersey

The sound of my line unfurling pierces through the din of the breeding gulls.  Because every thing is a sound at night.

How far is that bank?  Listen to the birds using it as a breeding ground!

How far is that bridge, listen to the cars crossing it.

Where did my cast go?  I didn't hear it land in the water, that means it's on the dock...I hope I'm not snagged...I'm snagged..I have to blow up this fishing spot to un-snag my bass assassin....................shit

fish pooping leader

Not hooking into these fish.
It's still too early
Thats' s the theory.

I'll say it all night, at what point is it no longer "too early?"

There's a boat that looks lost.

But, we did catch fish.  Fishing the lights is a frustrating kind of fishing.  When you can SEE with your own eyes, at night nonetheless, when you can really see not much of anything else but varying red and white lights flashing in the distance of an unknown variable, when that is the case, but really you can clearly see the shape and form and motion of a 30+ inch striped bass in the middle of the Summer in New Jersey where by all accounts they should not be...when this is indeed happening, and the shooting stars are magnificent...when  all of this is happening, and you say to yourself,  'IF I CAN JUST MAKE THIS PERFECT CAST...AND YOU DO!!!

15" summer striper

BUT you just don't connect, over and over and over again.  And you come up with some good theories about the moon, and the current, and the
bait...and in the end you connect with a 15"
they turn off their lights

That's OK, you're fishing the lights at night, and the party is over, and the lights are all off, there are many comfortable things to sleep on floating in the water, as if they were made for you to take a rest there, but ultimately you decide to engage reality.  You drive on the highway back to the city for morning rush hour, to see them go to work, to try to sleep a little before what turns out to be a very busy week, at least you got to go fishing.

The End.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What we should have done By, S. Steve

Should have gone back to Brigantine.

Sometimes Before Fishing:
        Have a hangover, spill coffee, load boats, leave, go back, road crews, lane closures, gas pumps on the wrong side, people in lines and standing around buses, by-standing around bent fenders in flip flops on-looking, cops direct, ice melts, hoagies not ready. Slow lane is the fast lane. BRAKES! What's that noise? What's that SMELL?! 2 hours to get there, 3 hours to get there. One hour, at night, but it's day-time, it's summertime, 4 day weekend party time, miss your turns, back into a pole. Don't run over a turtle! The red light stops you by the crabbing/fishing bridge, by the NO CRABBING/NO FISHING sign, the light stays red a long, long time, or maybe it's just you're almost, almost there.

To the lady on the bridge: "How is it?"
The lady: "Terrible!"

Your cheese hoagie is soggy, and melting. You didn't bring a towel.

Never coming back here again.

      Tie eight knots once, and three knots twice, launch, land, launch again. 

To Someone: "Which way is the current going?"
The Someone: "I don't know."
       Bucktail hits bottom. Weeds. Now you are fishing. Zap a snapper. Drift live bait. Troll live bait. float, paddle, peddle, puddle, poodle. pool noodle.

People Always Ask If I've Been Fishing...

      Bad drifts, weeds, dirty water, wind against tide. Hook a big shark in the inlet, the line breaks, light line, flounder fishing. Only catching snapper blues. Plenty of them. That's something, last ditch dinner... Last time, you had a towel...

Last time.

      Didn't get skunked (only caught 4 inch snapper blues.. did you even get a picture??), didn't lose anything ( a hook, a rig, patience, temper, temperance).
Might be a good time to go back to fishing at night....

Should have gone to Stone Harbor.