Fishing Takes You Places

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Invictus

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.

 

 

 

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A Mind of Fishing

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It’s a daily journey for me that starts with one thought  “where are the fish today”.  It leads me places I only dreamed of and fills me up with knowledge of things I had no idea existed.  This wonderful, beautiful world and life we all walk though with so much going on around us.  I invite you to stop a bit and consider if  and when you leave makes no difference as nature continues to exists on its own terms.

It’s often by accident I am studying one thing with great conviction  that I stumble upon another great discovery  that makes me look at everything differently. My recent reads have been about the New York Bight and the Apex facts and findings, Ben Franklin mapping the Gulf and his cod eating habit’s and lastly Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork  by Peter Matthiessen .

Some days I have to stop and take it all in.. because we walk on sandy beaches as did people in our past on the same quest but for different reasons.  It leads me to the thoughts of such a vast difference in the way we handle technology and publication now.  People of  past worked so hard to catch fish to provide a meal for their families.  If you think there were not cyclical years please do some reading.  They relied upon  fish to sustain them. And now for the majority it is for internet notoriety or to be best among peers – a different kind of personal thing to feed.  Years from now I often wonder how will this blip in history will tell our generations story… and stories of the simple fishing trips. The kind you keep close to your heart, family and friends that mean the most.

 

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 A Simple Fishing Trip

2016

My morning alarm is set to lull me out of sleep with the voice of Jeremy Wade screaming “Fish On” over and over.  I am ready Mr. Wade.  In the morning shuffle I pick and chose to throw a couple bucktails that have always given me success into the pouch. Feathers all dried I run my finger tips down them to make sure all is intact.  These are my favorites, my go to’s, try as I may with other things I just love fishing bucktails.

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Step outside to see the moon still up and bit of a glimmer of light towards the water.  The night crew will be leaving, I’ll see them packing it in and heading home. Most will have no fish with them. The surf fisherman I know almost never take a fish. It’s often not because they would not like to share a meal of them – it’s because of stocks and also the stigma of someone seeing you take home a legal fish for your family. It’s 2016 and you’re damned if you do or don’t. Greed still runs rampant. But for many people, most of us we are more conservation minded when it comes to this beloved fish – Morone saxatilis.

It is still the most exciting feeling to me to load up the gear and leave knowing what my destination is. A thousand things go through my mind as I am checking off again the –  do I have everything – water and sunblock included.  Upon reaching the destination for the first few minutes I am an observer of the display nature is putting on.  Waders on and my heart starts to pump a little faster those first few steps. Some days I feel like I am almost running when I get on the water although I know I am not.  Just as the sun makes direct contact I am throwing into it with hopes of presenting perfectly to a passer-by in the water. Living so close to this is where I find myself and the world melts away.  For now until this time ends I am myself at the apex of happiness.

So often now when I have a bite I wade into the water to let it go there. Trying to be so careful as not to stress the fish I almost panic if it is not quick enough on my terms.  I am not keeping it, not today.  I get to do this everyday as long as fish are around.  For that I am grateful.  For that I respect this fish. What you do is your own business. I stopped looking. Looking at the same thing over and over of fish held high above heads like trophy’s.  It took me this long to realize that we are different. We fish for different reasons.   Technology pushes hard on ego’s and some look to the path of least resistance.  I needed to quiet my own mind before I got caught up in what the internet deems me a good fishermen and come into my own. When I sopped looking at all those reports online I set myself free to experience this on my terms in this pace in my heart.

Happy for you – happier for me.

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The whole time I am walking I watching, learning, filled with wonder.  With miles under my feel having walked I start to head back.

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Usually some kind person will stop me and share their love along my journey of fishing, surfing, the sea… whatever it is that calls our hearts here.

Packing my gear back in the truck with grateful intention I know God willing, I’ll be back again tomorrow.

For  I  bring home with me the greatest gift – a heart filled with so much love for this life and fishing.

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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

 

My Gravitational Pull

Fishing.

It’s been a while and I apologize. My last post was entered in May and time just slipped through my fingers. Or line I should say.. line slipping through.

Not only have I learned a lot about surf fishing, marine biology, the history of the area and night sky (yes) I have grown to understand life more.

I’ve learned to forgive and have patience with myself on the water.

This journey, our journey each day gives us a chance to  make it right, safe,  and embrace what sets our souls on fire.

Try not to ever let anyone or thing take that away from you. ♥

JUNE 2015

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I am overflowing with words I do not have.”
— Adam Falkner

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JULY 2015

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“No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren’t because you’re trying to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and shitheads is not the way to be happy. Living the life you want to live is. It really is that simple.”-TM

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AUGUST 2015

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It is a basic human need that everyone wants to live a happy life. For this, one has to experience real happiness.
The so-called happiness that one experiences by having money, power, and indulging in sensual pleasures is not real happiness.
It is very fragile, unstable and fleeting.
For real happiness, for lasting stable happiness,
one has to make a journey deep within oneself and get rid of all the unhappiness stored in the deeper levels of the mind.
As long as there is misery at the depth of the mind all attempts to feel happy at the surface level of the mind prove futile.-S.N. Goenka
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SEPTEMBER 2015
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As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. –  John Muir
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OCTOBER 2015
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You never know when a few sincere words can have an impact on a life. – Zig Ziglar
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NOVEMBER 2015
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Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.-Cheryl Strayed
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Troubles that may come and go
but good times they’re the gold.

Bucktails, Stripers and The Red Light Special

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them-words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” – Stephen King

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Staying up late to finish this as it has been in que for a while.  I was holding on for a bit because while I had this whole new write-up for Surf Fishing Beginners (which is what I am) I am myself immersed in the process of learning.

 I was doing a lot of thoughtful thinking. Walking the sand surf fishing challenges you one on one. I have come to realize how our lives are all connected each and everyone you encounter. Even you reading this.. something brought you to this page. The universe is always working to give us these gifts. When you get to the place in life when you can be quiet with yourself and accept them you find a freedom to honor yourself.  To pursue your passion that lies deep within you. It is the most complete feeling I have ever experienced.

If you told me just how wonderful it was going to feel to live in this place in your heart of surf fishing I would never have believed such happiness could be achieved. But I committed to it through perseverance, laughter and tears this past year. I made mistakes, – some big ones. I walked a million miles. My daily adventures to the sand through rain, snow, heat, bitter cold, ice and fog fulfilled a self-concordant goal. There was no deadline just personal on level so deep. To get a striper from the surf in one very particular area.

I was often told there were no fish there. I was asked to join people all over to “better holding” area’s. I was on bites in different, but close beaches and did not get anything but blue fish – but I kept going. The more I went I learned. I learned from the people who have become mentors and friends. I read everything and watched a lot of videos. At night I would often work on leaders, knots,  gear, plugs, metal, bags, belts, moon, tides and learning about the striper patterns for the area. If that was not enough I was also painting Morone saxatilis in my sleep. My life is fully immersed in this with great love for the passion – it’s not  sport. It’s something so deep within you. It’s a calling undiscovered until it embraces and takes hold of your every thought.

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Last week I stepped out onto the sand at high tide.  I packed my bag with SP minnows and one very special bucktail. I carried out the rod my dear friend had given to me. I just started walking like I do almost every day. There was a slight chill in the air and the clouds would have their way with the sun. I walked past one clammer to the long trek I have been watching when the tide was blown out and stated throwing out the SP.  My visual site markers behind me let me know I was off a bit, I readjusted and kept throwing. I was not looking for a blue fish. I knew the big ones were around. I also have caught so many and particularly in the last year – I wanted to get under them. I knew somewhere my beloved stripers would be.

And there they were. I almost could not believe the first one I reeled in. As I went to grab my phone to take a picture it popped off. I stood in the surf and the tears just came like a steady stream. I collected myself enough and called the people who have been along this journey cheering me on. I pulled myself together got the bucktail in the water and for the next hour and about  half had fish after fish after fish. All returned safely to keep going on their  journey.

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Almost a week later and my heart still feels like it’s about to burst. My journey now expands to find bigger fish as they make their way here. I am hopeful but am also still a student of the sand. Everything in time.

With those words now written the very first part of my small contribution to starting off surf fishing is  going to be re-posting the valuable information I was given by members of the community.

At that start of this I had no idea of any of the terms used when it came to gear other than very basic knowledge.  So if you’re thinking this is something you are interested in here is a short list of the must have lures to start picking up. Next up on the write ups I’ll go over with the help of others Rod, Reel, and some basic things to have on you to get started other than  the lures. The future will be more in-depth about metal and touch on some bait also.

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10 MUST HAVE LURES THAT CATCH FISH

By JM Basile

   One of the biggest mistakes fisherman make myself included, is bringing to many lure choices to the surf. I have found that the fewer choices you have the more you can actually concentrate on the physical act of fishing.The key is to bring the right lures that will produce in most circumstances. When it comes down to it ,in most cases 10 lures should cover most surf conditions in New Jersey. When choosing lures keep in mind they should cover all water depths, top water,mid-water,and bottom. Always observe what the fish are feeding so you can pick a lure that best resembles the baits profile ( Match the Hatch). The 10 lures I would suggest for a Surf fisherman getting started would be the following:
Gibbs wood pencil popper ( white, yellow or Chartreuse)
Gibbs wood metal lip Danny swimmer (white or yellow)
Super Strike little neck popper (white or yellow)
Super Strike needle fish ( Yellow or black and purple)
SP Minnow floating ( Black back silver sides or bone)
Yozuri Mag Darter(Bunker or black)
Storm Shad (soft plastic bait)
Tsunami Eel ( soft plastic)
Cast Master (2oz metal)
Ava jig green tail (007 to 017)
   All of these lures produce and cover most bait profiles. If your going to fish nights I would darken up your color choices. Always watch the Sharpies to get a good idea on what to use.
Remember try to keep it simple!
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Beware: I have found my fire. Surf Fishing 101

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Simple definition:
Surf fishing is the sport of catching fish standing on the shoreline or wading in the surf. A general term, surf fishing may or may not include casting a lure or bait, and refers to all types of shore fishing – from sandy and rocky beaches, rock jetties, or even fishing piers.
When I arrived at the Atlantic last spring I immediately knew I would walk the sand everyday possible. The connection to water and fishing wherever I am is a constant. This is where I was supposed to be a ll along. What I did not know is it would also become one of my greatest challenges and in it I found home. My early days were a mix of major mistakes. I resisted asking for help because having fished in most other environments I thought “I could figure this out”. It doesn’t just happen that way.
My first mistake was to walk a bait rod casting out plugs and metal like a maniac. Often walking away with gym arms and a stretch of disappointment.  One day a good friend and accomplished angler said meet at the beach for a bit let me see what you have going on. That time gave me valuable information and a great starting point.  I made it a part of my daily life after that to get to the beach everyday possible and try, walk, move…. put time in – all different times of the day whenever I could. Up until a few weeks ago I was still out there trying to catch some time before the daylight saving sunset and cold.  The first thing was to lighten the gear and learn about metal, plugs, bags, surf, tides etc… It’s a wonderful journey I am on.
It is here I found my place in the world. It’s my beginning and it’s just baby steps. I still boat, fly, kayak, etc fish… but this is where I found out who I am. My one on one. It’s all you baby. Looking back every single time I picked up a rod and fished it brought me to this place. My only regret is not getting into it sooner.
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So let’s consider this the starting point. My how to 101.
There is so much on the web,book,etc.. regarding getting started.  It has been a habit of mine to get in up to my elbows before actually reading some how to. Let’s face it when you just start out you are holding some masterpiece in your hand from a plug builder and a book in the other and the plug is going to win. Gear always wins. Then you get to the beach and that plug is such a masterpiece you’re having second thoughts about even throwing it. Yeah you put it on the mantle and show it off – other surf fishing people admire it. But you know you should be fishing it.
My intention is only to share what I have learned as simple as possible.  I threw the question out to some of the best of the best out there and was overwhelmed by the response of how to’s and tips. So I am going to use the platform of this blog to share them. Each new post introducing an aspect important to the beginner with an interjection of my own experiences and that of others. The people at this a while are some of the most helpful, sharing people I have encountered.
If you feel you have something worthy, insightful and easy to share – reach me through twitter. Most of what I will refer to is for NJ/Atlantic Ocean fishing and the species we often encounter. The #1 being the Striped Bass. Having taken part in past Fall Run and the fever and passion is what dreams are made of.
Step 1 -Starting out keep  your cost within reason but good quality. Promote the gear as you advance and get more confident. Learn to tie a great knot – not a “good” knot a great knot. You’ll thank yourself. The very first thing you’re going to need though is a passion for fishing and a will to put some time in. Don’t listen to those people who talk down about surf fishing… if you like it get out there. Your soul will thank you for it.
Next up – basics to start – rods & what is in your bag.
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 “The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.” -Ram Das

Chasing Striped Bass

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It’s been a  while and I sincerely apologize. Life has been nothing short of an adventure in fishing and  lessons in marine biology hands on these last months. Started off chasing tuna to slipping into the rhythm of fishing everyday, searching for striped ones.  They still are what gets me to the water daily. The bait fish have been plenty and no shortage of bluefish either. Learning every aspect of the water and what surrounds me I am a student of the sea and sand. Many times I am rewarded with fish I have never seen before.

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If I could list all these wonderful, successful fishermen who have been so kind to teach me all about the craft the list would run off the page. I have a profound respect for people who pay-it-forward in the fishing community. They are a wealth of knowledge. Its been very humbling to be around some of the legends and record holders of the community. But also the guy on the beach who says.. use this today.  Watching them and taking everything they teach and implementing it.  Something just clicks and you find things you learned in the past are void and now you are doing it correctly. It’s often an a-ha moment.  Simple things like leaders, knots, line, bait, moon, tide etc…things become easier and the fish more plentiful. It’s you vs. the fish. It’s the way it has been forever and will always be. Remember that.

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Days of present are filled with the anticipation of  stripers. The journey continues. Which often leads me to ponder – did you ever stop and think about all the people this fish has a hold on? How many books written?  How far people travel to be romanced by the run? Just how satisfying they are to reel in often let go? Like life taking in and letting go.

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Everyday is a lesson. I watch the changes of seasons sweep by me along with all the treasures nature offers up. Even on rainy days I wonder what will I learn today there.

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As I write this it is the wee hours of the morning. The first rays of light are starting to find me and I smile. There are often days I think how blessed I am to have arrived here alive. Life surely has shown me the very worst and best of mankind. The one very valuable lesson I learned is that there are far more good people in the world.  Embrace and surround yourself with those people. People who teach you things, nourish your soul, encourage you and help you on the journey. And be yourself there for others to walk beside them, hold them up and share all the goodness at your fingertips. Just walk outside and let nature take you in. May this Fall find you wrapped in happiness with life and the journey of the run. ♥

If two points are destined to touch, the universe will always find a way to make the connection – even when all hope seems to be lost. Certain ties cannot be broken. They define who we are – and who we can become. Across space, across time, among paths we cannot predict – nature always finds a way.” – Touch
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