PA FlyFish Saltwater JAM

I’m a few days late on this one, but a group of us from PAFlyFlish hit the Jersey Shore for the 2011 Saltwater JAM.  Long story short, the weather was perfect, but the fishing was cold.  A few small fluke helped us beat the skunk, but every other angler we talked to was having the same luck.

We hit the surf at 6:30am in Seaside Heights, not far from where a few questionable characters from a certain mtv show spend their summer.  We fished for a half hour with no signs of life, so we packed up and headed to Betty and Nicks Bait and Tackle.  I highly suggest this place to anyone visiting the area to fish.  Not only does this shop have everything a fisherman could want, but it also boasts a diner counter which serves spectacular breakfast food.

After eating, we drove south to Island Beach State Park.  We met back up at the bathing beach, where I picked up my only fluke of the day on a double with another forum member.  A few hours later, we headed to the southern point of the island, and hiked a mile and a half down to the North Jetty.  Again, there wasn’t much action, but a few fluke did show some interest in our flies.   It was an awesome trip, and I’m glad to have met some other members.

North Jetty

Barnegat Light

PAFF crew working the bayside



Blown Out

I accepted a new job this week, so I’ve got until Wednesday to get in as much fishing as I can.  I wanted to scout a few spots along the jersey shore , so I hit the road early this morning.  It was about 6:45 when I pulled into Brigantine; and I was expecting to face some windy conditions.  But once I passed through the dunes, I was greeted by a steady 20-30 mph northern wind which gave new meaning to the term “blown out.”


Surf looked rough, but good.

Too bad there was a sandstorm coming from AC

In the time I took a few pics, the sand kept piling up on my gear.

Until next time.

Blue Winged Olive SBS

Now that fall is here, I thought I would dedicate a post to my favorite pattern for the overcast, drizzly days when blue winged olives start showing up again.  I’ll start off by saying that the inspiration came from the Better-Winged Olive post on Global Flyfisher.  But since the original pattern called from a few materials I didn’t have, I simplified it and made it work with what I did have…hackle, dubbing, and thread.

It’s a versatile pattern because it can pass for both a dun or a spinner, depending on the situation.  And while it’s simple, there are two key features of the pattern.  The first is the thorax, which is loosely dubbed to suggest the bulk of the natural duns.  The second is the trimming of the hackle.  This helps the fly ride lower in the film, imitating both the natural BWO, and almost any mayfly spinner, for that matter.

This being said, this pattern can be modified to match nearly any dry fly scenario.  Just substitute a larger or smaller hook, change the tail and hackle color, and you’re covered for essentially any hatch.  But to stay on track…when I am fishing a BWO hatch, I’ve had my best luck tossing a #20 to represent the smaller baetis variety. For the larger drunella lata, I would suggest a #14 or #16.


Hook : # 14-22 dry fly

Thread : 8/0 UNI

Tail : Dun hackle

Body : Olive Orvis blended fur dubbing

Wing : Dun Hackle, underside trimmed flat

Step 1: Secure hook in vise and pinch barb if desired.

Step 2 : Wrap thread back to the hook bend.

Step 3 : Measure hackle fibers to one hook length and tie in at the bend.

Step 4 : Dub a tapered body.

Step 5 : Tie in hackle and loosely dub a buggy-looking thorax.  This loose dubbing will add some lifelike bulk to the front end of the fly, while leaving some space to wrap the hackle forward.

Step 6 : Liberally wrap your hackle forward to create a thick, buoyant wing.

Step 7 : Build a small head, whip finish, and dot with head cement.  You’re almost done.

Step 8 : With your scissors, clip the underside of the wing, just above the hook point.  This will let the fly ride low in the current.

My largest wild trout of the year came on this pattern on Valley Creek during a warm day in March.  Hopefully, it will produce for you as well.

Plan B Brookies

After some recent discussion on the local forum, I decided to try something a little different and chase some pickerel.  I hit the road early Friday and arrived at Scott’s Run Lake around 8 am.  I worked the northeast corner of the lake, avoiding the crowd chasing the recently stocked trout at the lower end of the lake.

Scotts Run Lake

I tossed streamers and poppers for about an hour and a half, with no signs of life other than some tiny panfish.  Aside from that, wading the muddy lake bottom was a pain.  I was losing interest in blind-casting pretty quick, so I decided to switch gears and chase some brookies on a local Class A stream.

Brookie Stream

I wound up catching three of the natives that live in the tiny creek, and each one was equally gorgeous.  But thanks to my sloppy camera work, I couldn’t get a single good shot of any of the fish.  The first fish was caught in the pool closest to the car.

The second fish stretched all of 2.5,” but it almost jumped completely out of the water to attack my elk hair caddis.  Can you spot the monster in the pic below?  The fins give him away.

The third and final fish of the day was easily the prettiest brookie I’ve caught all year…naturally I don’t have a picture.  It measured 7″ at best; but the trout looked mature for living in such a small creek, sporting a blaze-orange stomach, and even a slight shoulder arch.  I’m not giving up on the toothy fish yet, but this more than made up for my skunking at the lake.

Cape Cod, MA – Sept 30 – Oct 2

The hunt for my first striped bass continues.  I spent this past weekend fishing the salt in Cape Cod, MA.  Most of the fishing was done from the jetty near the creek mouth at Red River Beach, in Harwich Port.  I also owe a shout out to Fishing the Cape, a local fly shop in West Chatham.  The guy working was glad to share some local knowledge, and even gave me a free sticker.  If you plan on fly fishing in the area, I suggest you stop in.  I covered almost every tide stage over my three-day trip, but never quite timed my fishing well enough to meet the resident bass.  Side note…night fishing alone is terrifying.  Thankfully, the little snappers were cooperative and shred a few of my flies in the process.  The biggest of the weekend was just over a foot long, and fought like a bull for a fish the size of a trout.  Fly of the weekend was a #1/0 chartreuse clouser.

I did get to see some other wildlife over the weekend as well.  Friday morning, I was tossing the ball with Dilbert when I saw a coyote less than 100′ away in the woods.  The pup stayed on the leash after that.  Saturday morning, while fishing the Chatham Inlet in the rain, I noticed a commotion on the surface a few hundred yards down the beach.  Hoping it might be my first chance at active fish, I sprinted down the shore to find a dozen or so seals just swimming in the current, moving up and down the beach.  I watched them for a few minutes until lightning struck across the inlet…way too close for comfort.  With that I packed it in for the morning.

It was a god trip, and I’m hoping to make it back up for the spring run.  Until then, I can only work on my double haul and hope to catch a blitz during one of the PAFlyFish saltwater jams.

Main jetty at Red River Beach

Little Snapper

Chatham Inlet seals (yep, the little things in the middle)

Sandy Pup

Working one of the Piers on Red River Beach

Sunday Sunrise at the mouth of Red River

Fishing the Cape