Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Jersey Party Boat: The Sea Horse

New Jersey Saltwater Fishing Report 10/26/2012: Hello Folks, as you can imagine hurricane Sandy has put a damper on all of our plans. My heart goes out to all who are affected by this nightmare especially my friends and family in South Jersey. Our prayers are with you all!

Last Friday with Sandy looming large on the horizon, I figured I would get one last fishing trip in before all hell broke loose and so I did. In fact I was absolutely obsessed that day... I mean what would drive a man out of his nice warm bed at 4am after only a couple hours of sleep? For me it was the prospect of big fish and a lust for adventure on the high seas! With last minute planning I managed to scrounge up enough cash to pay the fare on a good ole party boat named the Sea Horse out of Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

I have a long history of fishing on the sea horse!  It was somewhere about age 5 that my dad took me on my first party boat trip abord the Sea Horse.  I remember it vividly because sometime after we rounded Sandy Hook and got on the ocean, I promptly got seasick! I was miserable beyond belief, and I threw up in the cabin to which my father had to reluctantly clean up the mess. So not only was I seasick, but it was a cold wintery day and my little hands were frozen! Somehow throughout all my discomfort I managed to get out, climb on a bucket and hold a rod. We were fishing for whiting & ling hoping also to land a codfish. After about 15 minutes or so and a whole lot of cranking I managed to catch my first fish on the ocean, a 15 inch whiting. That silly little fish changed my whole day and probably my whole life.

Since then, I have made hundreds trips on the Sea Horse peaking from 1990  to 1998 when I was a regular customer every Wednesday (and some Saturdays). I would fish spring to winter every chance I got. Those days were special as the fishing was good, the regulations not so harsh and I made a whole lot of friends at sea. I still remember the old timers like Jules Navarro, Chester (AKA "Crunch") Louie and a guy I simply know as "Fix-it". Jules was a good friend and I miss him dearly. I still have the fishing gear he left me when he passed away.

The one thing I always appreciated aboard the Sea Horse was how good the captain and crew were. Captain Ed Bunting Jr. always went the distance to put us on fish. If the bite came late he'd stay out a little extra to allow us to get fish in the box. His son Eddie III. was a top notch mate back then always helping folks trying to fill their fish boxes. Eddie III  has since taken over as Sea Horse captain and I am certain he gets the job done just as well.

So history aside, on Friday I got my ass up and headed down to the dock. It has been perhaps 14 years since my last trip aboard the Sea Horse. I was surprised that Captain Ed and son still remembered me at the dock. Today however neither of the Buntings would be on board. Captain Ed Jr doesn't run the boat anymore and Captain Ed III was still recovering from surgery. So today we had Captain Howard and out to sea we went!

Targeting striped bass, we steamed south somewhere to about Sea Brite or Monmouth Beach. Sea conditions were comfortable with about a two to three foot swell and a light breeze. We found a few birds working and started a drift. We managed a few big bluefish on those first drifts and one or two stripers. It was a pick all day with a few fish here and there mostly bluefish. On one drift the guys on either side of me both got a striper. For me however that same drift landed me about a ten pound bluefish. That would be all I had to show for the day.

Overall all, there were maybe 3 keeper stripers on board and several bluefish. I was one of the lucky ones to at least go home with a fish. Seemed like the fish knew that hurricane was coming and headed out for their lives!

Although not the best day of fishing, the memories of all my adventures aboard the Sea Horse came flooding back. I have caught hundreds of fluke, blackfish, sea bass,  and many other fish aboard the old girl. The stories shared with the old timers are priceless and the memories are lifelong.

The Sea Horse is showing her age a bit, her engines are a little tired and she needs a few dabs of paint here and there. That aside, her Captain and crew make it still one of the best party boats New Jersey has to offer. Scuttlebutt had it that Captain Ed was trying to sell the old girl and who can blame him? Recreational marine fishing regulations and the high cost of fuel have made this once flourishing business into a tough sell for fisherman.

At any rate, I will always cherish the memories of fishing aboard the Sea Horse and I will be sure to keep fishing on her until the title changes hands. Then it will be the end of an era.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Fishing and Festivals

 Long Beach Island October 2012: Hi Folks! This weekend was mostly a bust for fishing as Tracy and I stayed on LBI for the annual south Jersey fall festivals. I did however wake up early Saturday and got a line wet for an hour or two. Turned out there was nothing doing but a gorgeous sunrise and some pesky callico crabs. Tried clams, plugs and metals all to no avail.

By 9am we packed up and left for the Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth, NJ. As usual it was a mob scene but they had a lot more vendors and even then more food then the last time we attended. With live music, good food, wine tasting and of course, plenty things cranberry it turned out to be a fun day for my gal and I. Worthy of note was DiMatteo's cranberry and apple wines especially the mulled apple wine. All I can say was YUMMMY! For anyone interested in cranberry or apple wines Im sure if you visit there website by clicking this link: DiMatteo Vineyards website, they could provide you all the information necessary to obtain some!

On Sunday it was off to pick up my little brother Alex and the three of us headed on to Batsto Village for their annual Country Living Fair. That is a really cool fair in that they have a little something for everyone. If you dont like crafts then you can check out the antique farm machines including early gasoline powered pumps and corn huskers or steam powered tractors and the like. If thats not your forte then their is antique cars, trucks and a whole slew of other interesting items to try and figure out.
Anyway it was a great weekend to be away with perfect weather and a great place to stay. (We were less then a 100 yards from the beach) I hope to back into full fishing swing come Friday or Sunday whichever is best to fish.
Till then, Always fun .... Always an adventure.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Trout Fishing on the Ramapo River

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Report 10/14/2012: I was supposed to get up at the crack of dawn and head down to Sandy Hook again, but that just didn't happen. So today Tracy and I headed over to our old favorite trout spot on the Ramapo River.
We fished most of the day without a bite until we happened upon a spot where I saw at least two trout actively feeding in the water column. I quickly yielded that spot to my beautiful girl Tracy and after a few casts one of them followed her lure all about the river until it finally decided to bite!
The reward was a nice fat 16 inch rainbow trout, a happy honey and a home cooked meal for me! Ok so the meal is not gonna be trout as we are catch and release kind of folks however, the venison in the freezer will do just fine.
I must say the look on Tracy's face was priceless when she hooked that fish!
Oh well next week we will be on the striper trail again this time down on Long Beach Island. Should be a good weekend. Til then ... keep it reel!
Always fun .... Always an adventure.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sandy Hook, NJ: False Albacore Fun

Sandy Hook, NJ Fishing Report 10/7/2012: Today Tracy and I started out for Sandy Hook at about 8am figuring on catching the last 3 hours of the incoming tide. I was hoping that the cold front that came through last night would wake up the stripers today but that was just not gonna happen. Water temperatures are still way high to really get em going strong in the surf.

There was a good amount of baitfish in the surf but not as densely packed as it was on my last trip two weeks ago. The only thing hitting on them were false albacore and let me tell ya they were jumping all around us.

So after catching nothing but sea robins on bait I decided to toss out some metals to try and catch one of those speedy albies and boy was I rewarded.

I tied on a Run Off Lure Co. 2oz chrome sand eel and started casting. Remember that when fishing for false albacore you have to retrieve your lure as fast as you can possibly crank your reel! So on my third cast the first one hit! Let me tell you when an albie hits its like throwing your line out to catch a commuter train and then its off to the races.

After a few blistering runs and a trip down the beach I finally banked the critter and was just absolutely thrilled. The day would produce 2 other hits one I caught and the other I lost shortly after I hooked it.

Also worthy of note was catching a good sized fluke which thanks to the state regulations, I was forced to release.

Anyhow, next weekend is trout time on Saturday and if I can convince my Tracy, back to Sandy Hook on Sunday.

Till then keep it reel!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hammonasset Porgies Porgies Porgies!

Connecticut Fishing Report 9/30/2012: This morning Tracy and I, took a trip to Hammonasset State Park over in Madison Connecticut. After a quick trip to the bait shop, it was off to the park for some fishing. We arrived to overcast conditions about a half hour before high tide. I originally was going to try for stripers however it just didn't feel like that would be productive. With that I got the lightweight outfit out and decided to fish for Porgies.

The first half hour through slack tide just saw a couple of bites but when the tide got moving it was an all on bonanza! I was catching porgies from the beach on just about every cast and sometimes in double headers! All in all I caught as many porgies as a dozen cut up sandworms could possible catch and they were of decent keeper size. See the photo below.

In the end I released most of them, however we took a few home for lunch. With Tracy's mastery of the kitchen we turned them into a wonderful sauteed delight!

Should anyone have an interest in fishing Long Island Sound from this park you can find more information by clicking here.

Anyhow, should be back to Sandy Hook next weekend so till then enjoy!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bluefish Blitze at Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook,NJ Fishing Report 9/26/2012: Sunday Tracy and I went down to Sandy Hook for a day fishing and fun at the beach. Arriving on the scene It was apparent that the surf was just loaded with peanut bunker and other bait fish. No sooner then did the bluefish show up in classic fashion. It was your typical beach blitze with fish breaking water and a tremendous amount of bird play. As you can imagine just about any lure caught the 2-3 lb choppers and you could've loaded up if you were willing to follow them up the beach.

Tracy and I caught a couple and of course we released them. Tried throwing clams out for the Stripers, but they only met with some hungry sea robins.

I hope to fish in Long Island Sound this weekend up by Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut. I'm hoping I can find some surf clams before then.

Time will tell!
Always fun, always an adventure!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fall Trout & Stripers

Hi Folks!

With summer coming to a close its almost time for fall trout fishing!

NJ Fish & Game has posted the fall trout stocking schedule you can check it out by clicking here.

I have to say my best success with the October trout has come using either a brown rooster-tail with gold blade for my spinning rod or a brown muddler with gold body on the fly rod. 

Also I will be gearing up for my bi-weekly trips to Sandy Hook to start beating up on the Stripers and Blues when the big migration starts. Fresh clams, fresh bunker and various plugs will be my weapons of choice.

Hope this post finds everyone happy and healthy.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Musconetcong Magic

     Hey folks, this week we decided to give the Ramapo a break and head out west a little. We fished the Musconetcong River on Saturday and had an interesting day. First of all, it seems like the fishing pressure has layed off abit as I think we saw only 5 or 6 other anglers fishing in a 4 mile stretch of freshly stocked river.
     Our first stop was below the bridge at Point Mountain Road. We fished from there down stream about a half of mile and did not find any fish. Next stop was up river back behind the River Star Diner. We hiked about a quarter mile downstream and found a quiet secluded stretch.
     By about 3 o'clock we started to see some fish rise and after lot of casting I nailed the first trout of the day with a brown roostertail. Next it was Tracy's turn and before you know it the fishing was on. We started working our way back up river and found ourselves in the middle of the river surrounded by rising trout. In the end we each caught 5 trout. Tracy caught and released a nice 14 inch brown as well as a chunky rainbow. I got a fair sized brook trout and 4 other rainbows.
     All in all a nice day of fishing. Hopefully we will get some more rain this week. As June approaches I will be winding down on the trout fishing and hope to get some more time on the lakes. Til next time like they always say... "Keep a tight line"  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11th Good Fishing Again

     Hi Folks, yet another good day of fishing on the Ramapo with Tracy. We started out by the 287 bridge on the Mahwah side and found plenty of trout. We caught several browns and a nice rainbow there
     Next stop was the Reservation and with a little work we found several more fish mostly browns. Tracy caught 8 total and I caught 9.
     We took 4 fish home for the dinner table yesterday and they were yummy. I dont usually keep em but one got gill hooked and left me with no choice but to keep it. Of course you cant go home with one so I kept the next three fish we caught. Everything else was catch and release.
     With the weekly rains, the rivers have stayed nice and healthy and so the fishing will continue. I hope I can keep this up into June again this year and so far thats looking good.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday May 4th: Best Trout fishing this Season

     Hi Folks, Sorry didnt post this sooner but I have had a very active weekend. Friday Tracy and I fished the Ramapo Reservation and found plenty of trout. Tracy got 4 rainbows, one brookie and 5 browns. I got 12 browns. Seemed like brown roostertails with gold blades did the job well. The river was at a nice level after the early morning thunderstorms rolled through. I hope we get a shot of rain like that at least once a week!
     For the rest of the weekend we went canoeing at Lake Waywayanda and teased the bass for a while. When I say teased I mean teased! I through spinner baits, poppers and rubber worms only to have lots of bass and pickeral follow them to the boat but none would hit. Oh well we still caught plenty of jumbo sized bluegills to keep the rods bending.
     Today we kayaked Round Valley Reservoir for a bit, not a bite on any of the baits we through out. It was a wonderfull day on the water though. We are both sorry to see the weekend come to an end. Next Friday I hope to get out again until then stay posted!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Clearing the Cob Webs

    Hi folks, over the weekend I was down in south Jersey to do some computer repair for my clients and to spend some time with family. Sunday I took a ride to Corson's Inlet and had a wonderful walk on the beach. I saw a whole bunch of guys striper fishing but no one seemed to had any luck.
     Monday after work I ventured out to the Ramapo to just clear my head of life's little stresses. Seems like fishing pressure has eased just a smidge and I was able to find a trout or two. On bright sunny days I recommend looking for areas with good cover, large boulders or submerged logs. 
    Soon I will begin fly fishing more but I'm sure I'll still throw a roostertail around now and then. Hope to get out Friday either here, Roscoe or Connecticut I haven't made up my mind yet.
    Folks every now and then I like to pick up a bunch of trash and dispose of it properly. If we all have a hand in that from time to time our river banks will be much cleaner for all to enjoy. I recommend ya bring a pair of work gloves so nothing sticks ya. Lets all try to take part wherever you fish or walk outdoors.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cold and Dismal: Week 4 Ramapo River

     Today was just awful for fishing! With temperatures in the mid 50's and 20 to 25mph winds, it was downright uncomfortable to be out on the river. It seemed that the fish weren't too happy with it either as we got nary a bite!
     What struck me today was the amount of drug baggies I found along the river bank from Mahwah all the way to Oakland. I found bags with residual marijuana as well as white powder and rock fragments. Also one or two syringes. I know this has always been a problem but I have never seen it so vividly while trout fishing.
      I will never understand what drives humanity to poison themselves with illegal drugs. I can only say this to those who do. Open your eyes, there is more to life then a chemical high. God Bless you and God help you make the right choice in life.   ....AND STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY TROUT STREAMS cause I'm getting tired of seeing this SHIT! You can at least be kind and properly dispose of your residue especially your syringes! We don't need some bouncing little kid pricking themself with your filthy disease pack'n needles!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Week 3 Trout Season: Paulinskill, Blairstown, NJ

     For starters yet another gorgeous spring day! Today was originally supposed to start with at trip to Roscoe, NY and a day of fly fishing on the Beaverkill. Needless to say that did not happen. After my trunk release mechanism on my car came loose, I had to make an emergency repair. So instead of Roscoe, our first stop was Home Depot for a couple of nuts and bolts. A few turns of a screw driver and a wrench made for a permanent fix and it was finally fishing time! Since it got a little late in the morning, we decided to hold off on Roscoe and headed out to Blairstown to fish the Paulinskill River.
     Our first stop was in the little park along 94 by the Blairstown diner. Walking downstream of the crowds we found a nice deep pool and I got a fat brook trout and a nice size rainbow. Next Tracy picked up a rainbow. Then I got another brookie after moving down stream a bit. Upon turning around to head back to the car, I came accross a foreign fella proudly sporting a stringer full of suckers! I guess to each his own, he seemed happy to have a meal but I can't imagine how their gonna guess is a resounding YUCK!
     We then headed west on 94 and took a left down Lambert Road and followed the river along Gwinnup and Sipley Roads. There were some nice stretches of river back there however with the low water conditions you really had to work to find fish. After walking downstream about a 10th of a mile, I got another two rainbows and a brookie. Not a bad day of fishing overall for me at least. Tracy just didnt have her mojo going today but she caught plenty of little small mouth bass and chubs to at least keep the rod bending a bit. I also got my fair share of warm water fish and noteably had one nice small mouth that just fought like hell on my ultra light.
     I wanted so bad to fly fish for a while, however after ariving on the river, I realized I had left my three boxes of flies home so it was another day of worms and roostertails.
     Might get out tomorrow for a bit before the big rain thats supposed to show on Sunday. I hope the weatherman is right on that because our rivers really really need it! Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Social Trout Fishing 4/13/2012

     Can you say people? Today was a beautiful spring day and of course I took to the Ramapo for another round of trout hurt'n! I was really amazed at the turnout of people today and was happy to see many father & son fishing teams. I think I spent half the day telling fish stories and hearing folks lament about the lack of rain. I enjoyed the interaction and just want to say for the most part everyone was friendly and completely unstressed!
     As for the fishing? Well after yesterdays fresh load of hatchery fish you can imagine it was pretty good especially early in the day. Right out the gate I brought 7 rainbow trout to the net fishing just above Halifax Road. The rest of the afternoon the bite slowed down however I caught 2 additional rainbows and 1 brook trout at the Reservation as well as down behind the Oakland Recreation Complex respectively. 
     I talked to a bird watcher today and he pointed out a Lousiana Waterthrush nesting on the river bank. I also noted alot of hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers as well as 2 belted kingfishers. Plenty of Palm warblers hanging about the field around Halifax Road as well as your usual cast of sparrows, robins and such. If anyone is interested in spotting wood ducks they seem to be spread out all along the length of the Ramapo River in groups of 2 to 6  individuals.
     Oh well, hope to get out again this weekend with Tracy perhaps Sunday a trip to the Musconetcong River if I feel the ambition to travel. Til then stay tuned! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 3 Trout Season, Solo Run on the Ramapo

     So today after work, I grabbed my gear and took off for the streams again. Once again I fished the Ramapo this time up near the 287 Bridge on the Mahwah side. I didn't have high expectations but was pleasantly surprised at the number of trout I caught. In a matter of 2 and 1/2 hours I brought 12 brook trout to the net and of course released them. The big thrill of the day was when I hooked a monster trout probably about a 17 or 18 incher and lost it just shy of the net. That would've made for a nice photo but I will have to settle for the typical sized fish pictured below. By fish number 12 I figured that I had had enough and decided to try another spot near the reservation just to see if I could scare something up... Nodda!
     Bait of choice today was worms and a white roostertail. I got 6 on worms and the other six on the roostertail. All in all not a bad day of fishing.
     Still trying to perfect my raindance but dont know if I got it right or not, time will tell! The only thing missing today was my Tracy she makes a good day of fishing into a great day of fishing!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Opening Day Trout Season 4/7/2012

     Here we are again for another round of trout chasin and nature loving on the Ramapo River. Today started out cold with morning temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark. It was an odd sort of scene with the cold temps and the river flowing at levels usually reserved for mid June. Bottom line? We need rain!!!
     At any rate we started fishing just after the 8 o'clock bell and within a couple minutes Tracy had 2 brookies in the net. As it would turn out they would be her only fish of the day. I picked up 1 on that first stop and another 3 towards the end of the day. Fishing was slow for some and others loaded the stringer. Once again I hope mother nature is kind and grants us some precipitation otherwise trout season 2012 is gonna be a short story!
     Hoping to get out Friday with Dave, I suspect we ought to do alright if the weather keeps up. Til then keep your lines tight and your hopes high for rain!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February on the Flat Brook

         What a day! Spring like temperatures, cloudless skies and what was that ....rising fish? Yes its true! Today Dave and I fished the Big Flat Brook in two seperate stretches. First we started down just south of the Wallpack Inn. There I hooked and landed a 3ft piece of barbed wire! Following a brief lunch break we headed up towards Layton and stopped at 3 bridges road. After about a half mile hike down stream we came across a nice slow stretch of river with good depth. A few minutes after arriving we noticed a number of shad caddis fluttering on the surface and thought, wow with all these flies out there it would be nice to see some fish rising.... and just like that we did! Not once but several times! I almost wish I had brought the fly rod, but after a few casts of my worm I landed a nice 14 inch brook trout. Then Dave hooked and lost a nice fish. Within a short time Dave hooked another that followed his bait in like a shark and took it just as he was getting it close to shore. Yet another brook trout this time about 15 inches. We totally didnt expect to catch a damn thing today let alone come up with two nice fish and actually see rising trout in February! .....All in all a beautiful day and a couple of happy fishermen.