Sunday, August 27, 2017

Light tackle striper fishing with Plum Island Swimbaits.

I like to show what I'm fishing with, so here's a peak. Aside from the Plum Island soft plastics, I'm fishing a 7'6" MH St. Croix Tidemaster spinning rod with a Penn 460 Slammer reel.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bustin' Out the Big Guns - Barbie Rod Challenge

Here's a look at my 37" striper caught for the Big Doug's Saltwater Shootout Barbie Rod Challenge. Thanks to Rich T who was my wheel man.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fishing with Jersey Justin

This season has been pretty unusual, both in the unpredictability of the local fishing and several of the locations I've fished. Just a few days after returning from Utah, I found myself heading (a bit) south to do something a little different from my norm. I had an opportunity to head down to Jersey City to meet up with Fishing with Jersey Justin Capt. Justin Suarez and friend Mike Prete from Plum Island Baits to do some fishing with my brother Doug and son Danny. Now, I typically associate Jersey City with an exit off the Jersey Turnpike, refineries, landfills and the Newark airport that I sometimes have to fly out of. None of these paint a very pleasant picture of Northern New Jersey.
Right across from Manhattan, tucked away off I-78, however, is Liberty State Park and Liberty Landing Marina. A block or two off the interstate and you're in a whole different world. Danny and I met up with Doug at Liberty Park Cafe & Diner for an early breakfast before hitting the water. I can't fish on an empty stomach, and the diner is open at 6:00am with all the standard breakfast fare.
We met Justin at the marina two minutes down the road. The morning was beautiful, with light winds and the seas settling down to just 1-2 feet. Headed out of the marina, your looking straight at the Lower Manhattan skyline, and as you turn to starboard, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. How cool is that? We ran out through the Verranzano Narrows past Ft. Wadsworth in Gateway National Recreation Area, past Sandy Hook to see what we could find. Our first location yielded more dogfish than anything else. Now, little do most know, but dogfish are actually good eating and make up a large percentage of the fried fish sold in British Fish & Chip shops. However, they rip up gear and are generally a pain in the ass. The next few spots we hit yielded a mix of keeper and short black sea bass and a few fluke, and this proved to be the dominant pattern for the rest of the day. Despite the sea bass limit being two per angler, there seems to be no end of short fish carpeting the bottom of most of our Southern New England and New York waters.
Plum Island's FLUKUSHIMA 'OG' 6.5" in Block Island Green proved to be the go to color, as Danny was sticking bass pretty consistently, including some nice keeper sized males. I eventually surrendered my pearl rigs, following Danny's lead and picked up more fish as well. Uncle Doug was as entertaining as always, trying to figure out how to hold onto little, flapping fish.
While the fishing wasn't on fire (we ground through a ton of locations), the day itself was awesome. I love the opportunities to get out on the water with Danny and my brother Doug, check out new locations, and fish with guys like Justin and Mike. I was so taken in with the surroundings that I forgot to get pics with Danny and some of his fish. I think Justin may have a few. I did manage to snap a pic of Danny enjoy the result of our trip last night. If you're in the New York area and looking to get away for awhile, give Capt. Justin a shout. He'll certainly show you a nice day on the water.
REMEMBER - TACKLE BOXES, NOT X-BOXES!!!!! Take your kids fishing!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A tradition continues with a little help from a friend.

Every summer begins the same way. Since I bought the Gemma Rose after my daughter was born, and continuing with the Gemma Rose II, the first official day of my summer vacation has been spent out on the water in pursuit of tranquility and a few stripers. Regardless of the weather or what ever else is ongoing, that first day following my final teacher work day of the school year you will find me doing the same thing. It's my own, quiet way of celebrating another year in the books, far removed from any kids and officially launching two months off that are sure to make my wife jealous. Let's face it, any teacher that claims this isn't one of the best perks of the job is lying, particularly if they love to fish. The day begins well before the sun rises, and every year has produced at least a keeper striper, a streak of which I'm quite proud.

My streak was put in jeopardy this year by a deer that decided to leap a guard rail early in the a.m. as I drove in for one of my last days of school. Any streak that deer had ended then and there, and my truck is still in the collision repair center, leaving me with a boat far from water. Fortunately, by buddy Rich, whom I have fished with on many occasions on the Gemma Rose II, invited me out to fish with him.

The weather forecasts called for winds and torrential rain by mid-morning, and the fishing has been very hit or miss to say the least. I could have cared less, because I was still fishing! I met up with Rich at 4:30am and we drove down to the launch and put our game plan into action. That plan was to run about 20 minutes from our launch, looking for bait and hitting a few spots along the way. If we couldn't locate any bunker, we'd work back to the launch, pull the boat and head to location B.  It didn't take long before we were marking fish and bringing in small schoolies both on the 7.5" Plum Island Pearl White River Eels I was throwing, and the 5.5" Lunker City Fin-S (both proudly made locally) that Rich was throwing in Sexy Shiner.  As our plan wasn't to catch schoolies, we continued to move in search of bunker.

Looking back a few seasons in my logs, this should have been an easy task, but this season has started out a little different. Despite quite a bit of looking, and with the aid of side imaging, we didn't mark any bunker, so we stuck with the plan to work back, focusing on several spots we knew would hold fish. I'm OK with this, as throwing top water is my preferred method hands down. Nothing beats the thrill of watching a big striper explode on an artificial, gripping the rod and waiting to come tight and set the hook.

We continued to mark and catch fish, but none breaking 28", and many not much bigger than adult bunker. That said, they were pretty ambitious, repeatedly hammering baits half their size. Sick of short strikes, I was looking to downsize when Rich's rod doubled over and his fish started pulling line. After a good fight, he boated a beautiful 40" fish sporting a few sea lice as evidence of having arrived after a long migratory journey. Forget the little stuff, I threw on my 9" Doc lure and started the slow, walk the dog retrieve. I had a big blow up but no hook set, and a few casts later, boated a nice fish just over keeper size. We continued to work the area, but the results were more smaller fish.

One Golden Rule of fishing is never switch from a lure that's producing (I did), and another is don't leave fish to find fish. We were going to break both of these today. Despite the 40" fish, we decided to pack up and make the move to location B. We'd had good early am intel on bunker, and were hoping some big fish would be hot on them. By the time we dropped the boat back in, the sky was turning increasingly grey, and the rain was beginning to fall. We quickly found the bunker, but generally in water too deep for our cast net, so we set to snagging, leaving some fish to struggle on the snag and dropping others down on a three way rig.  It wasn't too long before I hooked a fish that measured just a bit over 31" and the drizzle turned into a steady, heavy rain.

Despite our best efforts, we weren't getting any more takers, and the tide was going completely slack. The rain was relentless, and we made a move to a new location where I'd caught some of my largest fish last season, including a 46", 40+lber. We threw the bunker back out and just allowed them to free swim, resulting in a few boils but no takers. I hooked my Doc back on and gave it a heave.  A few slow side to side glides, and a large striper knocked it into the air and then latched on. I buried the hook, felt several violent shakes, and then the plug popped free. I'm sure there were a few expletives as I continued the retrieve, but then I saw the fish coming back and hitting again, following and hitting yet again. Still, I didn't hook up. I shook my head as I told Rich I wasn't sure how I missed that one, until I looked down at my plug again. The 4/0 VMC treble hook and triple split ring were nowhere to be found. I just had the single siwash bucktail in the rear left.  The power of these fish never ceases to amaze me.

By this time I was soaked through and felt like a drowned rat. Did I mention that my dry bag with my light weight Gage raingear was in my truck at the collision repair center? I'd thought it was too warm for Gore-Tex or heavy Grundens, opting instead for Frogg Toggs. Frogg Toggs are great for that unexpected shower, not so much for 3 hours of steady, heavy rain. We decided to call it a day and headed back to the ramp. While I'm still in search of my first monster of the season, thanks to Rich, I can celebrate another perfect start to my summer vacation!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

ST. CROIX ROD: Team Building Exercise

Here's a cool article from one of my go to rod manufacturers. St Croix rods are American made, and they stand behind their products with a good warranty program for sometimes clumsy oafs like me.

ST. CROIX ROD: Team Building Exercise

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gillz Performance Apparel

Last year I was bombarded by Gillz Performance Apparel ads and their Pro Striker series long sleeve shirts which incorporate a face shield into the shirt itself. Unfortunately, they never seemed to have any 2XLs in stock. This year, I ordered a pair of the Striker shirts, as well as the Tournament series in time to head down for some early season Florida fishing. On the whole, I've been extremely pleased with their products and customer service.

I spend many days sun up to sundown on an open skiff. With the Pro Striker series, you'll never be without a face shield, and yet it's unnoticeable when pushed down.  The Tournament series incorporates much of the same design without the face shield. The shirts are super light weight with mesh sides and underarms to keep you cool and ventilated on the hottest of days.

The shirts are made in China, and yes, I really do try and buy American as often as I can. The stitching on one of the shirt cuffs pulled out after one use. After inspecting the other three, there appeared to be no similar issues.

My initial e-mail to customer service was promptly replied to and including a return shipping label. After several weeks and a few e-mails, I had not received the replacement. However, the initial e-mail came with a direct line to Lori in customer service, whom I reached without any annoying, "Press 1 for..." She apologized for the oversight as the replacement had been out of stock, allowed me to choose any of the other shirts, and promptly mailed me the replacement. She even followed up today with a phone call to make sure it arrived.

I'd probably rate the Gillz shirt a solid 4/5 for producing really cool, lightweight apparel made for long days in the sun. Customer service, should you need it, is a real person located right here in the USA. My only knock is the manufacturing country of origin.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Local Luremaker: Al Tremblay - Fatty Lures - On The Water

Check out this nice article from OTW. Al is a friend, great angler and lure maker.

Local Luremaker: Al Tremblay - Fatty Lures - On The Water: The past few years, it seems like glidebaits have been the hot bait with striper fishermen. In truth, we’ve only just found out what muskie and pike fishermen have known for decades—the erratic, realistic action... Read more →

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Orvis CEO Takes Out Full-Page Ad in the Miami Herald to Urge Lawmakers to Protect the Everglades - Orvis News

I want to one day take both my son and perhaps grandkids fishing in the Everglades. The unfortunate reality is that this may not be a possibility if SB 10 doesn't happen. Over a million jobs and $100 BILLION dollars in fishing and tourism related revenue is at risk. These numbers are finally sinking in not just in the minds of those directly affected in Florida, but large corporations as well, many of whom have sat on the sidelines in the past. I love fishing in Southern Florida and CHOOSE to spend my $$$ there supporting local guides, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. I want to continue to do this well into the future, but the Florida legislature must act now.

Orvis CEO Takes Out Full-Page Ad in the Miami Herald to Urge Lawmakers to Protect the Everglades - Orvis News

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Angler's Legacy - The man who introduced me to fishing. RIP Opa 1924-2017

Tuesday evening January 17th, my Opa, Frederick Nicholas Herrmann passed away peacefully in his sleep at 93 years of age. I do not want to grieve for his passing, but instead celebrate his life.

Opa was my model of the Greatest Generation. He was a man that returned from a war, worked hard to raise and support his family, and took pride in the respect that he gained as an administrator at Richmond Memorial Hospital. Along the way, he worked in a prison (and had a shank he claimed came from a notorious killer) and down in what was the American Canal Zone in Panama.

As a very young boy, I recall being in awe of the WWII combat veteran, though he never really said much about the faded scars on his legs. I was fascinated with this history, building model WWII airplanes, playing with soldiers, reading and watching movies. Opa would just laugh, quipping that he didn't need to watch a movie because he had starred in the original. Much later in life I understood that those memories would remain as vivid in his twilight years as they had been three quarters of a century ago. On any other subject Opa could talk for hours. (Photo below: Opa, 270th Combat Engineers - wounded outside of Saarbrucken)

Oma and Opa's house was a combination of museum and library. Books were in every room on most subjects you could imagine (Opa had read them all), and a collection of artifacts adorned the shelves and table tops, from miniature cannons that fired and sailing ships to walrus teeth to animals and other figures carved in far away places. Many of those books are now in my house or in my classroom. He had swords on the walls and a Civil War musket. Coo Coo clocks and pendulum clocks marked time, some built by Opa in his woodshop. I was never bored there, because there was always something new to discover, and with everything came a story.

Opa loved the outdoors, and memories from my childhood include fishing trips to the Outer Banks, chasing blues and stripers up and down the beaches, to hikes around Virginia's historic landmarks. He was an avid angler and a naturalist. My collection of fishing gear still contains many of the Penn reels he fished down in Panama and which I occasionally use today. His firearms were not something to be feared, but marveled at, so long as proper safety was observed. I've taught my son to shoot on the .22 Remington that he received from his father as a young boy.

I am grateful that his great grandchildren have had the opportunity to get to know and love Opa, and while saddened by his passing, are learning to understand that this is also part of life and that our memories can be cherished long after his passing. So today, I am not mourning, but taking the time to remember the man who helped instill in me a love of history, adventure and the outdoors that has played such a large role in my life. I will surely miss Opa, but his life was one lived to the fullest, and his legacy continues in his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

First Ice Fishing Outing of 2017

SO I finally got out on the ice today, though not until later in the afternoon. I decided to run up to the NW corner, where I knew most everything had at least 6-8" of ice. Since I know Tyler and Bantam were busy, I decided to check out Dog Pond. The air temps were still in the low teens and I sat through a few snow squalls, but it was worth it for the last 'Golden Hour" before sunset. None of the fish were big, and I didn't get a single flag, but I was jigging one crappie after another with some perch and the odd bluegill thrown in. The chartreuse Clam jig with a Maki Plastic was the way to go. Looks like we're going to have a warm up this mid-week, but it shouldn't be too bad if it gets back down by the weekend. I only need to make it through a few weekends of this until I'm down in FL :) 
#icefishingCT #CTFishing #Makiplastics #Clam