Fishing Takes You Places


You keep a blog a while and you start hearing negative stuff about “bloggers” in general and you start slacking (guilty). My drafts are many in queue.   This  has always been a place to kinda say out loud what I hold in my heart. That part of fishing you hold close. If you’re blessed enough you meet some others who can connect on what it does to your soul and how it sustains you.  It is an endless passion. Thank you for letting me share this with you through the written word. I am truly grateful for the experience as humble as it was.

It was a plan in the making to travel back to a place that set dreams on fire and gave me many sleepless nights throughout my life.  Back when life was an adventure through the heart and mind of a young girl just old enough to go jump waves on her own.  Adventures it seems as I look back now full of many good memories of life outdoors.

A gazebo by an Inlet held some of the most significant memories for me. To witness Fishing Boats pass through, loaded down with people and gear.  Out they went, people standing on decks smiling and waving.  Their hopes upon the bounty they would bring home for their families. My hopes were set in motion witnessing  that kinda happiness and it filled my thoughts with wonder.  What would they see and catch out there, what happens, how deep is the ocean, what if the fish is bigger than the boat. As a child I was sure each trip was full of white marlin grey hounding and mako’s throttling themselves out of the water for the delights of  fishermen.  In reality it was most likely a trip to find summer fluke for a quiet sunday dinner. But my imagination was active and running whenever I witnessed such a big boat.

The beach was fun I loved being in the ocean. But it was that spot along the rocks I remember with most clarity. Buckets of blue crabs live lined up those rock next to that spot. Tipping over of same said buckets in the car on the way back on the parkway.  A day at the beach was simple,  happy, filled with laughter, shell collecting, eating a packed lunch on the sand, an occasional trip to the boardwalk before heading home, and not wanting for anything more than to be on one of those boats.   With those thoughts deep seeded plans of fishing were created left dormant for a very long time to experience. My life now, I pick those dreams off when possible, keeping them as simple as when I was a kid. As many  boats I have been on, as many fish I have found from sand and deck. I wanted to have that feeling of being that boat passing the spot. To see the faces, experience the perspective of a memory from long ago.

It was the first time since my childhood I went back to that area. A flood of good thoughts entered my mind.  Prior I was nervous I was not  prepared. My gear, my expectations, my knots, metal, clothing – was it right? Could I come to this place held inside for so long and feel satisfied by anything I was about to do. I held it close to heart and just hoped.

By chance I took my place in the spot I would have the best view of that gazebo and it ignited  hopes it was still there.  And it was. The sun was not up yet but there it was like a beacon of light from my childhood held onto for so long. This time I was on the other side and it was right then I saw myself as a child in my own mind I welled up and smiled.

Dreams do come true.


If I just was able to do just that it was satisfying enough. But I got to do more. We had  mackerel and albies around. We pot hopped. There were tangled lines and sea robins and skates. My knots were good and my gear choice correct.  My love of bucktails runs deep and  threw in lots of  shiny things like AOK Tackle T-hex’s (one of my very favorites all year round) , Kastmaster, S & S Bucktail product’s and a few others.  Within me a lil smile – because I am figuring this all out.  Not just fishing different applications, but myself.  On the way back in for a minute I forgot for a moment and then there they were, people. Standing, watching the fleet return. Which made me feel like I had accomplished something very personal quietly.


This one was special and experiencing it made me realize how much happens in life, how quickly it goes, how important it is to hold onto dreams. Most of all your life is your story. There are many versions of it. But yours is the unfiltered autobiography of truth.  Holding onto who you are at heart without letting people, life, situations, tragedies take that away can be difficult. Keeping that light lit inside you – is up to you. Fight hard for it on the darkest days. Go grab your life and live it and cheer on the people you love and hold close to do the same.




By  William Henly

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.





“But man is not made for defeat,”

he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated. ” Ernest Hemingway

Lately Hemingway and I have been crossing paths… not him- his writings. I struggle with the fact that I understand it on a very deep level. Specifically TOMATS. It just pisses me off he turned to alcohol to treat the weight he carried mentally, which IMHO led to ultimate suicide. As he aged his writing became so comparative to what challenges we all face.  Setting all politics aside which is often difficult when reading a great piece of literature or listening to music can often be hard. But appreciating the beauty of the written word so passionate, I can only be appreciative.♥

“He remembered the time he had hooked one of a pair of marlin. The male fish always let the female fish feed first and the hooked fish, the female, made a wild, panic-stricken, despairing fight that soon exhausted her, and all the time the male had stayed with her, crossing the line and circling with her on the surface. He had stayed so close that the old man was afraid he would cut the line with his tail which was sharp as a scythe and almost of that size and shape. When the old man had gaffed her and clubbed her, holding the rapier bill with its sandpaper edge and clubbing her across the top of her head until her colour turned to a colour almost like the backing of mirrors, and then, with the boy’s aid, hoisted her aboard, the male fish had stayed by the side of the boat. Then, while the old man was clearing the lines and preparing the harpoon, the male fish jumped high into the air beside the boat to see where the female was and then went down deep, his lavender wings, that were his pectoral fins, spread wide and all his wide lavender stripes showing. He was beautiful, the old man remembered, and he had stayed.” The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway

If you’re into old gear Langs is having it’s auction this weekend…

orvis old flies

I am not sure who wrote this but it was sent to me via email and thought it worthy to share:

There once was a young boy with a very bad temper. The boy’s father wanted to teach him a lesson, so he gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper he must hammer a nail into their wooden fence.

On the first day of this lesson, the little boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. He was really mad!

Over the course of the next few weeks, the little boy began to control his temper, so the number of nails that were hammered into the fence dramatically decreased.

It wasn’t long before the little boy discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Then, the day finally came when the little boy didn’t lose his temper even once, and he became so proud of himself, he couldn’t wait to tell his father.

Pleased, his father suggested that he now pull out one nail for each day that he could hold his temper.

Several weeks went by and the day finally came when the young boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

Very gently, the father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“You have done very well, my son,” he smiled, “but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”

The little boy listened carefully as his father continued to speak.

“When you say things in anger, they leave permanent scars just like these. And no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds will still be there.”


The tiny, rock-hard fruits of Pollia condensata, a wild plant that grows in the forests of Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and other African countries, can’t be eaten raw, cooked or turned into a beverage. In Western Uganda and elsewhere, though, the plant’s small metallic fruits have long been used for decorative purposes because of an unusual property: They stay a vibrant blue color for years or even decades after they’ve been picked. A specimen at the Kew Botanical Gardens in London that was gathered in Ghana in 1974 still retains its iridescent hue.

Intrigued, a team of researchers from Kew, the University of Cambridge and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum decided to look into how this plant produces such a dazzling and persistent color. When they attempted to extract a pigment to study, though, they were surprised to discover the fruit had none.

When they examined P. condensata on a cellular level, they realized that the fruit produces its characteristic color through structural coloration, a radically different phenomenon that is well-documented in the animal kingdom but virtually unknown in plants. They determined that the fruit’s tissue is more intensely colored than any previously studied biological tissue—reflecting 30 percent of light, as compared to a silver mirror, making it more intense than even the renowned color of a Morpho butterfly’s wings. Their findings were revealed in a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Pollia condensata, native to Africa, uses nanoscale-sized structures to produce the most intense color ever studied in biological tissue. Image via PNAS

Read more:

Have a great week everyone! Hope opening day for flounder was a great success! I know a few people got real lucky 😉


Funny when someone just gets it…  all the pain and hurt you have inside for so long. All at once it is accepted into the universe of mutual understanding. Without a shared word and only silence.


When it comes knocking, never refuse the sun to walk through your door.

Head shaken – Flounder

May 1 starts the heart beating a little faster in anticipation of that first head-shaker keeper. Count the days.

My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.” 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The NJ summer regs are as follows:


Some things to remember *  RENEW!

New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry

Get your gear read and put it by the door in anticipation!!! Check your net for holes! Make sure your vacuum sealer is ready! Get out all your lucky hats, t-shirts, etc….


(Linnaeus, 1766); BOTHIDAE FAMILY; also called fluke

Occurs in the western Atlantic from Maine to South Carolina and possibly to northeast Florida. It may be found in water as shallow as 6 in (15 cm) during the summer, though the largest specimens are found in depths of 8 to 10 fathoms. In the winter the large fish move offshore into depths of 25 to 80 fathoms.

The summer flounder is a left eyed flatfish. The eyed side always blends in perfectly with the sea bed. There is usually a scattering of 10 to 14 eye like spots on the body. As in other flatfish, the blind side is white and relatively featureless. The teeth are well-developed on both sides of the jaws. The dorsal fin has 85 94 rays; the anal fin has 60 63 rays. There are only 5 or 6 gill rakers on the upper limb of the first arch and 11 21 on the lower limb.

Adults are largely piscivorous and highly predatory, feeding actively in mid-water as well as on the bottom. They are often seen chasing bait fish at the surface. It is a rapid swimmer and a good light tackle game fish that provides lively action. It prefers sandy or muddy bottoms and is common in the summer months in bays, harbors, estuaries, canals, creeks, and along shorelines as well as in the vicinity of piers and bridges.

Drift fishing is the most common fishing method and probably the most effective, since drifting covers more bottom and keeps the bait or lure in motion. Many are also taken by chumming while fishing at anchor, by trolling, or by casting from shore or pier. Effective baits include strips cut from shark, fluke menhaden, herring, porgy, young bluefish, or sea robin; or a piece of blue crab. Effective lures include a small spoon, spinner, or feather. Some time must be allowed between the moment the flounder picks up the bait and the strike, or the bail may simply be yanked away. Inshore fishing is best on a running tide, and the largest fish are caught late in the season.

It is an excellent food fish; the flesh is white firm, and succulent. It is by far the most important flatfish of the Atlantic states

* 22.7lbs is still the IGFA record from 9/1975 reeled up in Montauk, NY

The largest summer flounder ever caught measured 4 feet and weighed 30 pounds.

  • The oldest summer flounder ever recorded was aged at 20 years.



Maori Proverb

E kore te patiki e hoki ki tona puehu

The flounder (fish) does not return to his dust

Do not make the same mistake twice.

Andrew Lang was a Scots poet, novelist, literary critic, and contributor to the field of anthropology. He is best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales. (1892)

The Story of the Fisherman and His Wife

There was once a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a little hut close to the sea, and the fisherman used to go down every day to fish; and he would fish and fish. So he used to sit with his rod and gaze into the shining water; and he would gaze and gaze.

Now, once the line was pulled deep under the water, and when he hauled it up he hauled a large flounder with it. The flounder said to him, ‘Listen, fisherman. I pray you to let me go; I am not a real flounder, I am an enchanted Prince. What good will it do you if you kill me–I shall not taste nice? Put me back into the water and let me swim away.’

‘Well,’ said the man, ‘you need not make so much noise about it; I am sure I had much better let a flounder that can talk swim away.’ With these words he put him back again into the shining water, and the flounder sank to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind. Then the fisherman got up, and went home to his wife in the hut.

‘Husband,’ said his wife, ‘have you caught nothing to-day?’

‘No,’ said the man. ‘I caught a flounder who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him swim away again.’

‘Did you wish nothing from him?’ said his wife.

‘No,’ said the man; ‘what should I have wished from him?’

‘Ah!’ said the woman, ‘it’s dreadful to have to live all one’s life in this hut that is so small and dirty; you ought to have wished for a cottage. Go now and call him; say to him that we choose to have a cottage, and he will certainly give it you.’

‘Alas!’ said the man, ‘why should I go down there again?’

‘Why,’ said his wife, ‘you caught him, and then let him go again, so he is sure to give you what you ask. Go down quickly.’

The man did not like going at all, but as his wife was not to be persuaded, he went down to the sea.

When he came there the sea was quite green and yellow, and was no longer shining. So he stood on the shore and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

Then the flounder came swimming up and said, ‘Well, what does she want?’

‘Alas!’ said the man, ‘my wife says I ought to have kept you and wished something from you. She does not want to live any longer in the hut; she would like a cottage.’

‘Go home, then,’ said the flounder; ‘she has it.’

So the man went home, and there was his wife no longer in the hut, but in its place was a beautiful cottage, and his wife was sitting in front of the door on a bench. She took him by the hand and said to him, ‘Come inside, and see if this is not much better.’ They went in, and inside the cottage was a tiny hall, and a beautiful sitting-room, and a bedroom in which stood a bed, a kitchen and a dining-room all furnished with the best of everything, and fitted up with every kind of tin and copper utensil. And outside was a little yard in which were chickens and ducks, and also a little garden with vegetables and fruit trees.

‘See,’ said the wife, ‘isn’t this nice?’

‘Yes,’ answered her husband; ‘here we shall remain and live very happily.’

‘We will think about that,’ said his wife.

With these words they had their supper and went to bed. All went well for a week or a fortnight, then the wife said:

‘Listen, husband; the cottage is much too small, and so is the yard and the garden; the flounder might just as well have sent us a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go down to the flounder, and tell him to send us a castle.’

‘Ah, wife!’ said the fisherman, ‘the cottage is quite good enough; why do we choose to live in a castle?’

‘Why?’ said the wife. ‘You go down; the flounder can quite well do that.’

‘No, wife,’ said the man; ‘the flounder gave us the cottage. I do not like to go to him again; he might take it amiss.’

‘Go,’ said his wife. ‘He can certainly give it us, and ought to do so willingly. Go at once.’

The fisherman’s heart was very heavy, and he did not like going. He said to himself, ‘It is not right.’ Still, he went down.

When he came to the sea, the water was all violet and dark-blue, and dull and thick, and no longer green and yellow, but it was still smooth.

So he stood there and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ said the flounder.

‘Ah!’ said the fisherman, half-ashamed, ‘she wants to live in a great stone castle.’

‘Go home; she is standing before the door,’ said the flounder.

The fisherman went home and thought he would find no house. When he came near, there stood a great stone palace, and his wife was standing on the steps, about to enter. She took him by the hand and said, ‘Come inside.’

Then he went with her, and inside the castle was a large hall with a marble floor, and there were heaps of servants who threw open the great doors, and the walls were covered with beautiful tapestry, and in the apartments were gilded chairs and tables, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms were beautifully carpeted. The best of food and drink also was set before them when they wished to dine. And outside the house was a large courtyard with horse and cow stables and a coach-house–all fine buildings; and a splendid garden with most beautiful flowers and fruit, and in a park quite a league long were deer and roe and hares, and everything one could wish for.

‘Now,’ said the wife, ‘isn’t this beautiful?’

‘Yes, indeed,’ said the fisherman. ‘Now we will stay here and live in this beautiful castle, and be very happy.’

‘We will consider the matter,’ said his wife, and they went to bed.

The next morning the wife woke up first at daybreak, and looked out of the bed at the beautiful country stretched before her. Her husband was still sleeping, so she dug her elbows into his side and said:

‘Husband, get up and look out of the window. Could we not become the king of all this land? Go down to the flounder and tell him we choose to be king.’

‘Ah, wife!’ replied her husband, ‘why should we be king? I don’t want to be king.’

‘Well,’ said his wife, ‘if you don’t want to be king, I will be king. Go down to the flounder; I will be king.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘why do you want to be king? I can’t ask him that.’

‘And why not?’ said his wife. ‘Go down at once. I must be king.’

So the fisherman went, though much vexed that his wife wanted to be king. ‘It is not right! It is not right,’ he thought. He did not wish to go, yet he went.

When he came to the sea, the water was a dark-grey colour, and it was heaving against the shore. So he stood and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said the fisherman, ‘she wants to be king.’

‘Go home; she is that already,’ said the flounder.

The fisherman went home, and when he came near the palace he saw that it had become much larger, and that it had great towers and splendid ornamental carving on it. A sentinel was standing before the gate, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettledrums and trumpets. And when he went into the palace, he found everything was of pure marble and gold, and the curtains of damask with tassels of gold. Then the doors of the hall flew open, and there stood the whole Court round his wife, who was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds; she wore a great golden crown, and had a sceptre of gold and precious stones in her hand, and by her on either side stood six pages in a row, each one a head taller than the other. Then he went before her and said:

‘Ah, wife! are you king now?’

‘Yes,’ said his wife; ‘now I am king.’

He stood looking at her, and when he had looked for some time, he said:

‘Let that be enough, wife, now that you are king! Now we have nothing more to wish for.’

‘Nay, husband,’ said his wife restlessly, ‘my wishing powers are boundless; I cannot restrain them any longer. Go down to the flounder; king I am, now I must be emperor.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘why do you want to be emperor?’

‘Husband,’ said she, ‘go to the flounder; I will be emperor.’

‘Ah, wife,’ he said, ‘he cannot make you emperor; I don’t like to ask him that. There is only one emperor in the kingdom. Indeed and indeed he cannot make you emperor.’

‘What!’ said his wife. ‘I am king, and you are my husband. Will you go at once? Go! If he can make king he can make emperor, and emperor I must and will be. Go!’

So he had to go. But as he went, he felt quite frightened, and he thought to himself, ‘This can’t be right; to be emperor is too ambitious; the flounder will be tired out at last.’

Thinking this he came to the shore. The sea was quite black and thick, and it was breaking high on the beach; the foam was flying about, and the wind was blowing; everything looked bleak. The fisherman was chilled with fear. He stood and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ asked flounder.

‘Alas! flounder,’ he said, ‘my wife wants to be emperor.’

‘Go home,’ said the flounder; ‘she is that already.’

So the fisherman went home, and when he came there he saw the whole castle was made of polished marble, ornamented with alabaster statues and gold. Before the gate soldiers were marching, blowing trumpets and beating drums. Inside the palace were walking barons, counts, and dukes, acting as servants; they opened the door, which was of beaten gold. And when he entered, he saw his wife upon a throne which was made out of a single block of gold, and which was quite six cubits high. She had on a great golden crown which was three yards high and set with brilliants and sparkling gems. In one hand she held a sceptre, and in the other the imperial globe, and on either side of her stood two rows of halberdiers, each smaller than the other, from a seven-foot giant to the tiniest little dwarf no higher than my little finger. Many princes and dukes were standing before her. The fisherman went up to her quietly and said:

‘Wife, are you emperor now?’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I am emperor.’

He stood looking at her magnificence, and when he had watched her for some time, said:

‘Ah, wife, let that be enough, now that you are emperor.’

‘Husband,’ said she, ‘why are you standing there? I am emperor now, and I want to be pope too; go down to the flounder.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘what more do you want? You cannot be pope; there is only one pope in Christendom, and he cannot make you that.’

‘Husband,’ she said, ‘I will be pope. Go down quickly; I must be pope to-day.’

‘No, wife,’ said the fisherman; ‘I can’t ask him that. It is not right; it is too much. The flounder cannot make you pope.’

‘Husband, what nonsense!’ said his wife. ‘If he can make emperor, he can make, pope too. Go down this instant; I am emperor and you are my husband. Will you be off at once?’

So he was frightened and went out; but he felt quite faint, and trembled and shook, and his knees and legs began to give way under him. The wind was blowing fiercely across the land, and the clouds flying across the sky looked as gloomy as if it were night; the leaves were being blown from the trees; the water was foaming and seething and dashing upon the shore, and in the distance he saw the ships in great distress, dancing and tossing on the waves. Still the sky was very blue in the middle, although at the sides it was an angry red as in a great storm. So he stood shuddering in anxiety, and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘Well, what does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said the fisherman, ‘she wants to be pope.’

‘Go home, then; she is that already,’ said the flounder.

Then he went home, and when he came there he saw, as it were, a large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the people. The interior was lit up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was dressed in cloth of gold and was sitting on a much higher throne, and she wore three great golden crowns. Round her were numbers of Church dignitaries, and on either side were standing two rows of tapers, the largest of them as tall as a steeple, and the smallest as tiny as a Christmas-tree candle. All the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, and were kissing her foot.

‘Wife,’ said the fisherman looking at her, ‘are you pope now?’

‘Yes,’ said she; ‘I am pope.’

So he stood staring at her, and it was as if he were looking at the bright sun. When he had watched her for some time he said:

‘Ah, wife, let it be enough now that you are pope.’

But she sat as straight as a tree, and did not move or bend the least bit. He said again:

‘Wife, be content now that you are pope. You cannot become anything more.’

‘We will think about that,’ said his wife.

With these words they went to bed. But the woman was not content; her greed would not allow her to sleep, and she kept on thinking and thinking what she could still become. The fisherman slept well and soundly, for he had done a great deal that day, but his wife could not sleep at all, and turned from one side to another the whole night long, and thought, till she could think no longer, what more she could become. Then the sun began to rise, and when she saw the red dawn she went to the end of the bed and looked at it, and as she was watching the sun rise, out of the window, she thought, ‘Ha! could I not make the sun and man rise?’

‘Husband,’ said she, poking him in the ribs with her elbows, ‘wake up. Go down to the flounder; I will be a god.’

The fisherman was still half asleep, yet he was so frightened that he fell out of bed. He thought he had not heard aright, and opened his eyes wide and said:

‘What did you say, wife?’

‘Husband,’ she said, ‘if I cannot make the sun and man rise when I appear I cannot rest. I shall never have a quiet moment till I can make the sun and man rise.’

He looked at her in horror, and a shudder ran over him.

‘Go down at once; I will be a god.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, falling on his knees before her, ‘the flounder cannot do that. Emperor and pope he can make you. I implore you, be content and remain pope.’

Then she flew into a passion, her hair hung wildly about her face, she pushed him with her foot and screamed:

‘I am not contented, and I shall not be contented! Will you go?’

So he hurried on his clothes as fast as possible, and ran away as if he were mad.

But the storm was raging so fiercely that he could scarcely stand. Houses and trees were being blown down, the mountains were being shaken, and pieces of rock were rolling in the sea. The sky was as black as ink, it was thundering and lightening, and the sea was tossing in great waves as high as church towers and mountains, and each had a white crest of foam.

So he shouted, not able to hear his own voice:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘Well, what does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said he, ‘she wants to be a god.’

‘Go home, then; she is sitting again in the hut.’

And there they are sitting to this day.




Racing the Storm

Just a quick report as it’s a busy week but WOW flounder fishing is on fire!! Thanks to the Capt for always finding the fish and because of that  I managed my own personal best ever. We limited and the fish were still biting. Capt  pulled into the slip and the sky opened up. The Regulator was flying.

One of the best flounder fishing days to date,  it’s going to be so great having Flounder in January!

Fish everywhere…on the deck, in buckets…

A Leatherback Turtle, Angel Shark (devil fish), and (almost) smokin reel

This weekend provided a few of those “magic” moments on the water that stay with you.

On Friday we got an early start  with beautiful conditions. The bite was consistent with some nice sized keepers. Our drift good, overall one of those perfect fishing days.   At the end of what would become our last drift fishing  80-90′ water, blue, clear, and Joe hooks up on what we first think is a monster. The rod was bent and pressure was on and he cranked, and cranked. At first site it appears to have “flounder” like color, but its big and fights different. To our surprise up came an Atlantic Angel Shark (also know as a devil-fish).

A few facts:

The Atlantic Angel Shark or Squatina dumeril is a very odd-shaped shark that is sometimes referred to as the Sand Devil. The Angel Shark is often mistaken for a type of stingray, because of its broad pectoral fins.  An odd eye setup allows them to bury themselves in sand or mud, lying in wait for their prey.  These sharks can grow to about 5′ in length and are not considered aggressive unless accidentally stepped on or aggravated.   Currently, they are considered a protected species and possession is against the law. This shark is currently listed as “Data Deficient” in its range in our area by the IUCN.

After safely releasing the fish boat side with a de-hooker it went through the drive up and again was hooked it up. It was one of those “what just happened” moments. Safely released again.

We packed up from the spot and decided to hit one more for a final drift of the day.  Top of the drift and lines all going down when we see 23′ Trophy approach. Thinking they are about to drift this too we pay no mind until they get close enough to talk. They shout over that there is a giant turtle tangled and they need assistance to set it free. Immediately capt reels in as we all do. We make our way over to see a huge Leatherback Turtle gasping for air, with lines tangled around his neck and front fin. He is flailing and struggling.

We go a bit past and maneuver around to assist and as we do we see in the water…. a fin which is attached to an approximately 8′ hammerhead shark.  Could be he was waiting for this turtle to die. We get back close to the Trophy and the 2 gentlemen from Delaware are trying desperately to save this great creature. The plan is to hold one rope and untangle or cut free the other. This way they could free the turtle and set the pot with out harm to the equipment.

With crew leaning off the front he held the line, and capt positioning the boat to not get too close of far. I tried to snap a few pics, but mostly I was trying to make sure everyone was safe and not going over. And I was caught up in the mere excitement of the moment and majestic turtle.

The massive flipper came up..

As soon as the turtle was free it quickly dove deep. Both boats  stayed for a minute, I believe in awe of what just happened. It was wonderful to witness that. The two guys from Delaware–I give them a lot of credit, they stuck by the turtle, the came looking for help. It was a good deed and great effort for everyone to save the turtle.

Info on Leatherbacks:

Weight: 2,000 pounds (900 kg) for adults;
hatchlings are 40-50 grams (1.5-2 ounces)
Length: 6.5 feet (2 m) for adults;
hatchlings are 2-3 inches (50-75 cm)
Appearance: primarily black with pinkish-white coloring on their abdomen (ventrally)
Lifespan: unknown
Diet: soft-bodied animals, such as jellyfish and salps
Behavior: females lay clutches of approximately 100 eggs several times during a nesting season, typically at 8-12 day intervals

The leatherback is the largest turtle–and the largest living reptile–in the world.

The leatherback is the only sea turtle that lacks a hard, bony shell. A leatherback’s top shell (carapace) is approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) thick and consists of leathery, oil-saturated connective tissue overlaying loosely interlocking dermal bones. The carapace has seven longitudinal ridges and tapers to a blunt point.

The front flippers lack both claws and scales and are proportionally longer than in other sea turtles; their back flippers are paddle-shaped. The ridged carapace and large flippers are characteristics that make the leatherback uniquely equipped for long distance foraging migrations.

Female leatherbacks lay clutches of approximately 100 eggs on sandy, tropical beaches. Females nest several times during a nesting season, typically at 8-12 day intervals. After 60-65 days, leatherback hatchlings emerge from the nest with white striping along the ridges of their backs and on the margins of the flippers.

Leatherbacks lack the crushing chewing plates characteristic of sea turtles that feed on hard-bodied prey (Pritchard 1971). Instead, they have pointed tooth-like cusps and sharp-edged jaws that are perfectly adapted for a diet of soft-bodied pelagic (open ocean) prey, such as jellyfish and salps. A leatherback’s mouth and throat also have backward-pointing spines that help retain such gelatinous prey.

Leatherbacks are commonly known as pelagic (open ocean) animals, but they also forage in coastal waters. In fact, leatherbacks are the most migratory and wide ranging of sea turtle species.

Thermoregulatory adaptations such as a counter-current heat exchange system, high oil content, and large body size allow them to maintain a core body temperature higher than that of the surrounding water, thereby allowing them to tolerate colder water temperatures.

Nesting female leatherbacks tagged in French Guiana have been found along the east coast of North America as far north as Newfoundland. Atlantic Canada supports one of the largest seasonal foraging populations of leatherbacks in the Atlantic. Leatherbacks tagged with satellite transmitters at sea off Nova Scotia were tracked to waters adjacent to nesting beaches along the northeast coast of South American, the Antilles, Panama and Costa Rica (James et al., 2005).

Leatherbacks mate in the waters adjacent to nesting beaches and along migratory corridors. After nesting, female leatherbacks migrate from tropical waters to more temperate latitudes, which support high densities of jellyfish prey in the summer.

The ride in I was a lil teary eyed sitting in the bean bag chair thinking about the gifts you receive while fishing. Always an adventure and something to learn each time and witness.

Next day was DOF. Most of the day we were sandwiched between two big blobs of green on the radar. Us in the middle (thankfully). On that note I would like to thank Capt Don for saying “look at all those boats bobbing up and down there” and “that was not thunder, it was a sonic boom” (funny). It proved to be a zero drift day with lots of bumping.

I managed a few nice size fish as did everyone with Don’s being the biggest but it was just not going to happen and as the day ticked on try as we did we did not get ’em.

There was a moment of what the ……………………… when I had a decent bang-bang on the line, waited a few seconds and hooked up what I thought to be a very nice fish. A little ribbing that it was not a fish but I was snagged caused me to let down on the tension. At that very moment “bang” the line took off stripping, straight out the back of the boat. I was not sure what to do because I had the fish 1/2 way up but now something else was happening. I was like what should I do… I handed the rod to Don at his offer of assistance and the thing broke off. But it was like a bullet, so it is our belief something stole my flounder half way up (shark maybe) and took off with it.

So we headed back to the dock later, as we knew our fate. But all in all in  was a great day on the water fishing, listening to stories. We all went home with a decent amount of flounder.

Pic at the dock

This story would not be complete without the bird who fell in love with the Regulator and followed it everywhere, all day Friday.

Weakfish, whale and wind

Almost every fisherman can agree, you spend your days looking at weather updates. Thinking…watching…. planning.  Your checking the buoy reports days ahead of time, mentally preparing.  Someone whispers wind and you cringe at the thought of another trip mother nature is about to over-ride. Then there are times you just have to look and see because saying “put the gear away” is as bad as saying “Christmas is cancelled”.

With a full on vision of flounder and sea bass we went yesterday (Sunday). Upon arrival at the dock we noticed one boat had left and another on the way out. Everyone else was in. So the Capt made his own observation with calculated information and knowledge. We headed out the inlet to West wind at 10-15 with gust that would get to about 20, sea was a 2-3 ft chop, with water temps of 66-68. To the reef sites we made our way.

Upon arrival it was a little bumpy but it would really calm down nice. The day would heat up and the seas would come alive.

One of the first things we noticed were pots… everywhere we looked on the reef sites. We got our lines in and immediately saw a FIN WHALE,Balaenoptera physalus surface. It took us by surprise as we usually encounter whales more often, much further out. The day would be filled with another visit from the whale, porpoises, and dolphin all working the same water we were fishing.

We had multiple hook-up all day, sea bass, flounder and even quite a few bergals but one fish would capture my attention the most. Not even a keeper, a little guy only about 8″ long but absolutely stunning in color. A weakfish: a legend, a fish I had only ever heard people talk about like a long-lost friend.

That little fish made me feel special, even after hooking up BFT, YFT, Stripers, Mahi, flounder, seabass, etc…. because I thought I would never see one. I believed they were gone long ago.

I am hearing some pretty terrific stories of what it was like to fish for them. Great memories shared between generations of fishermen. I sincerely hope some reports we are hearing means they are making a comeback. I’d love to see a tide-runner.

Some background on weakfish and facst I did not know:

The weakfishCynoscion regalis, is a marine fish of the drum family Sciaenidae.

A large slender marine fish found along the east coast of North America. The largest weakfish was 19 pounds 2 ounces. The head and back of this fish are dark brown in color with a greenish tinge. The sides have a faint silvery hue with dusky specks, and the belly is white. The origin of its name is based on the weakness of the mouth muscles, which often cause a hook to tear free, allowing the fish to escape. The weakfish grows to 1 m (3 feet) in length and 8.7 kg (19 pounds 2 ounces) in weight. It is found along the eastern coast of North America from Nova ScotiaCanada to northern Florida, where it is fished both commercially and recreationally.

In the mid-Atlantic states, the fish is sometimes referred to by the name Sea Trout, though it is not related to the fishes properly called Trout, which are in the family Salmonidae. In New England it is also known as the Squeteague.

The weakfish is the state fish of Delaware.

(*source : wiki online)

So there is my some what limited knowledge, right now it’s a quest to find more, listen to stories and see pictures on the beauties. I did look up the IGFA record and it’s a monster!

Back to the trip the way in winds picked up and we made it in time to watch the storms roll in.

From the sea, through the city to the country I looked at the sky and kept thinking about…. weakfish.

Waves of challenge

My first “official” trip out for the year. Jumped aboard the Regulator (looking beautiful with many upgrades) per invite of Capt  (thank you again). Plan was to head out for sea bass but the weather had another idea in mind. Really I should tell the whole truth, the plan was to fish for sea bass, stripers, drum and flounder… we like to think big. With the NE at 15-25 knts it was going to be a BIG SEA day instead.

The following is a few shots at the end of the inlet. We took a ride to take a peek. Woof!

I was not up for surfing (sorry) so the back bay would be home for the day. The wind was still crazy, but manageable. Noticing along the way to “X” marks the spot we saw a few people picking up some nice flounder. One thing I love, early in the season few if any jet skiers, joy riders, pleasure boaters. It mostly just people fishing.  We worked two spots and had not picked anything up. Moved. We settled into a  nice area that strangely everyone was heading away from when we arrived. With the out going tide we threw down and immediately had a double hook up of a couple of “cocktail blues”. One with a mind of a mahi that leapt out of the water two times. Just a few cranks and the were in the boat. Always fun to reel in a few blue fish.

Slight adjustment and BAM we were on the flounder, and we stayed on for much of our time. Outgoing tide, 8-15′ of water, temp 64, bait-salted mack strips on 1oz buck tales with glow heads custom-made .

We had a bunch of throw backs 4 fat keepers 18.5″, 19″, 19.1″ and a 20″ all nice. In the end we left them hungry as we had dock business to attend to and had to get back.

I feel like I am alive again. I honestly lose myself when fishing and can be silently caught up in the beauty surrounding me. Picked up some fresh jersey asparagus and strawberries to compliment the delicious flounder filet’s. Yum!

“To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.”- Herbert Hoover