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Fridays trip was the most excruciating trip of the year so far. Left the dock at 5:00 pm with an experienced fly angler who has fished with me in prior years. We headed to the ocean and found the water 73 to 74 degrees, but a lot cleaner than yesterday. With a very light wind and small swells conditions looked perfect. After about about 5 minutes he got the first hit hooked a small weakfish using sinking line and a pink/white clouser and I anticipated some good fishing. In the next 1/2 of an hour he never got another. Like yesterday there were tons of cow nose rays around.
Disappointed we moved back to the inlet and worked the area hard for and hour and 15 minutes and got zero hits and foul hooked two cow nose rays that we broke off to save time. They were swimming by in packs of 7 to 8 at a time and one pack after another. The only option was to head to the back bay. Water looked great and was 74 to 79 degrees. We worked the first 4 areas super hard and never got a single hit using a popping fly, fishing 3 to 5 feet of water that had a good amount of 1/2 inch bait fish. With nothing doing we made a major move to and area that also had a decent amount of small bait and where we caught earlier in the week. Here he got a hit on a popping fly and landed a very small striper. Two hits so far and he landed two fish. That was the last hit and fish of the night.
Green heads were pretty bad but we both had long pants and long sleeve shirts so they presented no real problem.
We worked a number of beautiful fishy looking spots, that should of held some fish. With the sun going down the wind died out to almost nothing and conditions could not of been better. At 9:30 pm we both had enough pain and suffering and to add salt to the wound the gnats came out in full force and we called it a night.
4 1/2 hours of fishing prime time and tides and only getting two hits, is as bad as it gets. Luckily he hooked both hits. I don't know how many miles of casts that he made for so little in return, but it was a lot. That is as poor as fishing gets. It certainly makes my decision to give up chartering this year, so much easier. With the fishing getting worse and worse each year I have agree with the BB King song. " THE THRILL IS GONE!"
Another tough trip, Good tide, Good weather, just difficult to find any good fishing. Left the dock at 4:30 pm with one fly angler and one spin angler to fish the incoming tide. With conditions so nice I decided to head to the ocean and see if we could find some weakfish, stripers or blues that normally should be around at this time. Headed out the inlet to work the beach front. Water was fairly clean and 73 to 74 degrees. First spot only got one small hit so we moved back to the inlet. Had another small hit and foul hooked one of the many cow nosed rays that were swimming around everywhere and broke it off to save time.. After an hour and half with no fish I moved to the back bay.
Water in the back was a little brownish and 74 to 76 degrees and they got two quick bass and missed 3 at the first spot in 3 1/2 feet of water. kept on moving and working one good spot after another with no luck. Finally found another shallow area that held some fish, where they caught 2 and missing 3 other hits, Hit another spot where they picked another small one and then the last place we fished, on the first cast they got the last one of the night.
To make things worse, the green heads were out in full force making the use of bug spray a matter of life and death. If that wasn't bad enough, right at sunset the wind died out to nothing and the gnats came out in full force. Do not know what it is. But fishing this year seems to be more difficult and I have never had to work harder, just to find a few fish. On a positive note we did have another nice sunset.
Didn't have a charter tonight. With the good fishing on Monday I and decided I would do a personal trip and have some personal fun. Fishing buddy Paul and I left the dock at 5:30 figuring we would hit prime time. Forecast was for 10 mph winds and lightening up as it got closer to dusk. When we left the dock the wind was blowing about 12 mph. Just enough to make for annoying fishing, especially when we wanted to use popping flies.
We went to where we caught on Monday and conditions looked great. Tide was up and water looked nice and clean. I thought we would be in for a great night. It wasn't to be. It was just very difficult to control the boat with the tide and strong wind and it actually got windier as it got near dusk, plus the wind was coming off the ocean it got pretty cool. We had to put on sweat shirts and jackets to stay comfortable. The two areas that were hot the last few days were dead and we worked had to work a couple of different areas just to get our few fish.
With two of us fishing we got less strikes and hooked less fish than Monday, catching only 3 fish out of the 8 hits that we got. All our caught our stripers on popping flies. Paul was using a standard type popping fly and I used one of my Steroid Gurglers. We had fun, but it was a bit disappointing as I had high expectations for the night. Just very hard to find fish this year. Seems like there are fewer fish around, always on the move as there is little to nothing of their normal food source for them to feed on. With so little food source I personally believe many fish come in for a tide or two and just head back out to the ocean and head north. I see fewer and fewer resident fish each year and the average size seems to be be getting smaller.
Had a single fly angler out tonight. We left the dock at 4:30 pm. With the wind blowing from the northwest at maybe 10 to 12 mp, I Decided to head for the ocean and fish the surf line in the lea of the beach. I hadn't fished there in awhile and was hoping I might find a few weakfish for my charter. We had a nice incoming tide and the water was nice and clean and I had him throwing a clouser on a sinking line. Worked first spot in close to the beach and got zero hits so I headed back to the inlet. Worked it hard for about 1/2 of an hour and got one hit. It was something small, maybe a blue.
With the fishing dead I decided to move to the back bay where most of the action has been this past week. Water looked nice and clean and I switched him to a popper and we worked 5 prime spots without a hit and I was getting a bit concerned. For the most part the back seems very dead. No signs of any bait fish bigger than 1/2 inch and all the normal prime spots just aren't holding any fish.
Just like yesterday I made a major move to where we caught well the night before. Finding it dead I made another move and finally found a good concentration of stripers. Best I have seen in the back year to date. Here he got 9 stripers up to 25 inches, on a popping fly and must of missed 20 plus hits. Didn't see anything he was doing wrong. He was an excellent castor, had caught tons of stripers along the east coast including some big ones. The fish were very aggressive, hitting and chasing the popper all the way back to the boat, with a couple giving us a great view of swimming up and smacking the fly. It was just tough getting a solid hook up. My personal feeling is that with so little bait fish around, the fish are hungry. When a fish sees something of decent size they do not dare let it escape. Can't remember seeing fish this aggressive or missing that many hits.
The wind died out about 7:30 and when the action stopped I moved to one more very shallow spot where he got 2 more fish and had a couple of misses. The trip started very slow but picked up near the end, making for a great trip and to top it off we had a beautiful sunset.
Another light tackle spin charter tonight. It was suppose to be a fly trip, but the one fly angler elected to fish a spin fish as his friend was going to use a spin rod and his dad was a last minute addition and he was going to do a fly trip later this week. (The dad just came as an observer as he messed up his hand earlier this week and was no able to reel) Left the dock at 4:30 pm to fish the last of the incoming and the start of the out going. I was anticipating a fast start and a good evening like the day before, but it was a tough start. A really tough start. Started them out with the red and white swimming plugs that worked well yesterday. We worked all the spots that produced the night before and could not even buy a hit. Water looked just as clean and the same temperature as the night before and the same no signs of bait fish anywhere.. After about 2 hours of zero hits, I made a major move. First spot looked so fishing but produced nothing. Finally the next spot I switched them over to popping plugs and they caught 5 bass all about the same size and missed about 6 other strikes.
We worked it till we felt we couldn't get any more fish. With the spot before this looking so fishy I took them back there and using popping plugs they caught 4 more stripers and missed a few more, ending the night with the wind dying the bugs coming out strong and some lightning off in the distance.
I had them fishing red and white bomber swimming plugs about 5 inches long. Don't think color matters as much as finding where the fish might be. That is the tough part anymore. You have to ask yourself, where would I be feeding at this time of day and tide and then work those area hard. If the fish are there they will pretty much hit any color you throw their way. Even being out fishing as much as I do, spots you fish one day that were hot many not be hot the next time you are out. Any more I feel I have to hit a good number of spots just to get a few fish, with many productive spots that look perfect producing nothing.
Fished the incoming on Saturday behind ventnor, margate, and longport could only muster 3 shorts between my son and I.
Hi Ray , good weather-dodging, up to the end. Happens to all of us sometime. Say, you mind identifying the swimming plug you're using? The paddle tails I've been using don't seem to be the thing now. I've tried 'em deep and shallow. not much action. when there is, they're quite small. Tks.
Again not a fly report
After canceling Fridays trip I was anxious to get out and see if the fish were still around in the back bay as again we had another great tide. I was lucky to get the trip in as they were forecasting a good chance or rain and thunderstorms right at the time we were to be out fishing. We left the dock at 4:30 pm with it looking threatening to the south and west. Since we were not going to be that far from the marina I figured we would give it a shot as we could zip back pretty quickly if need be. Had a father and his 10 year old son out spin fishing. The son broke the ice and caught the first striper of the night on a swimming plug.
With the tide still coming in we worked around the sod banks picking a fish here and there. Weather held up pretty good. At one time we even had the sun peak through and it was hot, but that didn't last long. Wind filled in off the ocean and it got cool and damp with fog and a heavy mist forcing us to put on sweat shirts to stay comfortable.
It really turned out to be a pretty good night of fishing and they both had a fun time. None of the fish were big, but fun on light tackle. We even had one spot were we caught 4 bass with two on at once. They ended up catching a total of 8 stripers on the night and must of missed another 7 or 8 fish.
With about 5 minutes left in fishing we saw a big flash of lighting through the fog and heard a good crack of thunder, so we quickly pulled in the lines and raced full speed back to the dock. Just about got the last line tied to the dock and it started to rain and a minute later it came down like a wall of water and rained super hard for about 1/2 an hour. It all happened so fast, I never got a chance to put on my foul weather gear and just worked in the rain to get the gear and boat put away. By the time I got back to the car I was like a drowned rat and soaked to the bone. Even had to turn on the heat in the car to warm up on the way home.
Had a nice surprise Thursday afternoon. Striper fishing was pretty good. Not a fly trip. We left the dock at 4:30 with a father and son light tackle fishing. With it cloudy a light breeze and looking like rain most of the day I decided to start in the back bay and work the begining of the out going tide. Water was nice and clean and 68 to 69 degrees. They caught the first striper right away at first spot. We worked about 10 different spots during the trip and got hits at a number of different spots. All small schoolies. (a batch of fish must have moved in) We never left the back bay flats. They caught 8 small stripers out of the 15 strikes that they had. They did best with the swimming plugs as with poppers they tended to try and set the hook as soon as a bass would swirl of hit, pulling it too far away from the fish. All was great for about 2 hours. Then the sun came out, the wind died to zero and the gnats came out in full force. (The worst I have seen this year.) Even with the bug spray they were pretty bad, but the fish still kept hitting.
Finally a fairly easy for trip me and they had a good time, catching some fish. We headed back to the dock by 8:30 pm. Won't have a chance for a repeat as with forecast of high winds and rain I have already cancelled tonights trip.
Had a aunt that wanted to take here 15 and 12 year old nephews out fly fishing. We left the dock at 2:00 pm to fish the start of the out going tide. Boys only had small stream trout fishing experience with no casting skills good enough to cast heavier saltwater fly rods. With a mid-day trip I knew it would be fairly tough. We headed to the inlet and found the water nice and clean and 66 to 67 degrees. With no fly casting skill I had them use spin rods and swimming plugs. First cast they got a schoolie striper and within the next 15 minutes got another quick two small bass. I was thinking that it was going to be a great trip.
From there it went down hill. With perfect tides and clean water I switched them off to jig heads to target weakfish and fluke. We worked where we caught this weekend and got no hits so we moved to the inlet where you can always get a few fish, but found nothing and with the younger boy feeling a bit green from the small swells we were forced to move into the back bay. Really didn't want to go back the with bright sun but we had no choice. There switching back to plugs we worked a few prime spots and got zero hits.
It was then time for plan C. We moved to and area where I have often chummed up some stripers in deeper water where the sun would not be an issue. We used clams for bait and clam bellies for chum. Caught about 20 sand sharks with three of them going over 4 feet long, before heading back to the dock at 6:00 pm. Just and overall tough day fishing.
For me it was really disappointing. This time of year there should be good action on gulp with jig heads. Nothing big but plenty of action with, a bunch of short fluke, some spike weakies, sea bass and bluefish. I have not seen a single bluefish in probably the last three weeks.
After three tough trips in a row it was nice to get out and have good weather and decent action. Left the dock at 6:30 am with two fly anglers. Little to no wind, the water was cleaner than I have seen it in a while and the fish were even biting. Went to the ocean and found 66 to 67 degree water. First spot we found some weakfish, some small stripers and a fluke, and missed a few strikes.
With the incoming tide and perfect conditions I worked the spot to death. I didn't want to leave it in search of better fishing. The action was not hot, but steady enough not to leave. We got stripers to 21 inches weakfish from 15 to 19 inches and one fluke before we headed back to the inlet where we got a few more small stripers.
All fish were caught on chartreuse/white clousers using sinkin line and all the fish were released including the weakfish that were all keeper size. All and all it was a pretty good morning.
Another brutally tough charter, which makes three in a row where it was difficult to find even a few fish. Left the dock at 4:30 pm with a one person fly charter. He was from the west coast and probably one of the best fly casters and fly fisherman that I have had out.
Wind was blowing from the west fairly good and I knew it would it would flatten out the ocean pretty good and with the good tide the the water should be cleaner and there should be some fish. Thursday was was the highest new moon tide with 6.4 feet of water moving. On the down side it was the lowest low tide of the month. It was so low a some boats at my marina were high and dry in their slip. When we headed to the ocean. The incoming tide looked like mud around the inlet and along the beach front. With all that outgoing tide it stirred up the mud pretty good. Charter had one hit hooking about a 2 lb bluefish that bit off the fly right before I could net it.
With the best action the last couple of nights in the back bay we headed to the back in search of cleaner water and some fish. Water in the back was about as bad as it could get. It was dark brown, had lots of weed. Even with the strong incoming tide it didn't seem to be clearing up like it normally would. We moved from one spot to another looking for clean water or some signs of bait. We searched everywhere and finally went to where we caught best on Wednesday and found much cleaner water and some small signs of bait fish.
Switched charter to the same popping fly that worked the night before and thought we would have good action in the 3 to 6 feet deep water. It looked just like the night before, there was less wind and I anticipated good action. Everything looked perfect. It wasn't to be. Even putting in an extra hour of fishing time like the two previous nights did not do the trick. Charter struggled only catching two stripers out of the 4 hits. They were each only about 18 inches.
Water just never cleared up. Even near the top of the incoming tide when we passed under the bridge on our way back to the dock at 9:30 the water still was not very clear.
This should be prime time for schoolie stripers, bluefish and some weakfish. Instead the fishing is the worst I have ever seen and with little to no real bait fish around for fish to feed on. When you work all the text book go to spots where fish should normally feed and find them all dead you have to assume there just are not many fish around.
Can't seem to get and easy charter. I feel like I have to fight for every fish we catch lately. Left the dock at 4:00 pm with single fly angler from Colorado. We had a light south east wind and headed to the ocean. Water was 65 degrees and a little dirtier than Tuesday but still looked pretty good with great conditions. Worked two different spots and never got a single hit. Coming back to the inlet there was some bird play. The first I have seen in ages. Must of just been bait fish with the strong incoming new moon tide. We never got any hits, saw any fish busting on the surface and didn't see any marks underneath.
Frustrated with the lack of action I headed to the back. Worked three prime spots and only got one small bass on a clouser using intermediate line. With the good late bite at the last spot on Tuesday I decided to go to that spot a little earlier in the tide so we would have more time to work it. We worked it to death and it looked great but was totally dead.
With only 15 minutes left in trip I moved to one last spot and found some 70 degree water that was 3 to 6 feet deep. Here there were finally some stripers. All small but action. With the trip so pathetic up to that time, I again gave gave the charter and extra hour of fishing time in hopes of making it a better trip. Switched him to floating line and using a black and chartreuse popping fly he got 7 more stripers to end the night on a high note. We stopped fishing at 9:00 pm and headed back to the dock.
Finally got a half decent weather to fish. Left the dock at 4:00 pm with a one person fly charter. This was his first saltwater fly fishing trip and he wanted to catch on his new 8 wt that had intermediate line. Wind was still blowing pretty good around 13 mph out of the south southeast and forecast to start dying down as the sun got lower. Headed to the ocean in hopes of finding some fish and maybe even a weakie. South of the inlet was fishable but when he took his first cast I noticed his fly line was a floating line so I switched him over to a sinking line. We worked it for about and hour without a single hit. Water was still a bit brownish from all the wind and rain the days before but it looked fishy. Came back to the inlet area was just too nasty to fish as the new moon extra high tides were pushing in some heavy current and with the wind and wave action it was not fishable, so we headed to the back bay.
In the back we worked about 9 great spots and with the shallower water he was able to switch back to his new flyrod as we were fishing 3 to 7 feet of water. A few spots had decent looking water, but most had pretty brown water. Did however see the very first signs of life in the back. There were some very small 1/2 inch bait fish here and there as the fly would move through the water. After working the back for 2 1/2 hours we had 2 hits and still no fish.
With the super high water covering much of the sod banks from the extra high new moon tides I moved to one last area and near the end of the trip my fly angler finally got his first striper of the night and missed another. With the trip almost over and our only signs of fish I gave him about an hour of extra time and he was able to catch 3 more small stripers and missed another one, making for a good ending of a super slow trip. we headed back to the dock around 9:00 pm. Wind had eased up a bit, but it was still fairly windy and pretty cold. I ended up wearing two sweat shirts for the run back as it felt more like a fall evening rather than a summer one.