Recent fishing trips

So, I have been doing a bit of fishing the last couple of weeks. Here are a few trips all wrapped up in one post. All photos taken with the point and shoot, so quality is good to iffy.

Over Memorial Day weekend I was able to fish two places from the old days when I was growing up in New Jersey, Manasquan Inlet and Turkey Swamp Park.

First up is Manasquan Inlet. Growing up in Freehold, Manasquan Beach was the beach to go to. We went there often when I was young. I spent all my time in the waves or climbing up and over the jetties. As I got older and my friends and I started to drive we still went to Manasquan, I even went there after my prom passing out on the sand and waking up at noon with major sunburned legs. After college I even ended up living there for 2-3 years. I spent very little time fishing the surf and have only done it a few times. I fished mostly for fluke in a back water creek called Glimmer Glass. A couple of years ago as I was getting into fly fishing I really wanted to fish the surf for striped bass. They can get to over 40lbs and are a blast to catch on any gear. So, Thursday before Memorial Day weekend I drove straight thru the night to get to Manasquan, stopped at on of my top five bars and grills, Leggetts, had a beer, then crashed in the car in the parking area near the south jetty. Got up at 430 when the low tide was finished and the high tide was getting ready to come in. It was cold, in the 40's and very windy, blowing from the shore to the surf, keeping the tide and the bait fish off shore. There were a few other fishermen already on the beach. I found a spot and started casting a chartreuse and white Clouser fly. After a couple of hours, no one was catching anything and we determined, well they told me, that there was no use fishing anymore this morning with the wind keeping everything off shore. I moved over to the jetty and waded out as far as i could and took a few more casts. Then, I finally caught this little guy, he aint big, but he is the first striper I have ever caught on a fly in the surf!

jetty where I fished
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Me and my striper
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Later that weekend I snuck away from the BQQ's and parades and headed over to the place I used to ride my bike to every chance I could get. Turkey Swamp Park is a Monmouth County, NJ county park. It was about 3 miles from my house. I used to load up with worms or night crawlers when I was in grade school and then later I loaded up with Mepps and Panther Martin spinners and my Ugly Stick, hoped on the bike and rode on up to the park (there is no way I would be allowed to do that nowadays, the traffic is just sick on those old roads and there are just more and more McMansions on what used to be farm land). There is a lake at Turkey Swamp and I used to hike all around it looking for those big fish. There is also a dock and a boat rental, I used to sit on the dock and catch little sunfish. Eventually I found this little 1/2 acre pond off of the main lake. It was in a part of the park the you couldn't get to from hiking around the lake and you had to get to it from a picnic area and through some huge fields. Now there is a fitness/hiking trail that goes right by it. When I was a kid I thought I had a secret little fishing place, there was never anyone there, of course when I went last weekend about 30 people walked by. So this time I went just to take a look, a visit to the old days. I brought along the fly rod and tossed a popper into the pond while throwing a ball for Bella, she loves big fields. I ended up catching 7 sunnies, 4 black crappies, and 3 bass, in about 2 hours. No size to any of them, but it brought back memories of how much fun I used to have there just catching anything.

The pond
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The fish
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And lastly, yesterday, Saturday, I headed on up to fish the Smith River in Martinsville, VA. The Smith is another tailwater river and is loaded with trout, 2000 fish per mile. I went up there with Josh for a day of fishing with the Smith RIver Trout Unlimited chapter. They invited up fisherpeople from all over to experience their river. I had always wanted to try it out and this was a great opportunity to fish it with some locals and experienced Smith RIver fishermen. The group all fished on our own for the most part of the day. Josh and I met up with his friend Ben who fished there once a week or more, and we went to a few of his favorite spots. We had good luck catching a bunch of fish. The river runs through the town of Bassett (think furniture, big factories) and that attracts not only fly fishermen but spin fishermen too. Not to sound too elitist, as I used to be one too, but at one point Josh and I were fishing about 20 yards apart just upstream from a bridge and this spin fisherman comes walking down stream right behind us and then stops between us and just throws his spinner right into the run we are fishing. Of course his one cast caught a fish! So rude, but we didn't say anything, not going to start a argument. He released his fish and then walked on down stream. Later in the afternoon we all met up for a BBQ and a quick talk from the VA state biologist who works the Smith. He had some interesting things to say. There was also a drawing for door prizes, I won a $20 fly box, always nice. Then we fished some more, right up until dark and even into the dark a bit, as Josh and I seem to do. Over all I caught 17 trout all browns except for one rainbow. We even took a trip up to the dam for Josh to cast some of his huge articulated flies.

A couple of Brown trout
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look at these colors!
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The dam letting some water out
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Here is the totals for the year 

Fish Totals as of 6.1.08

Species and totals for 2008

Brook Trout – 23
Native Wild Brook trout – 15
Rainbow Trout – 22
Brown Trout – 52
Largemouth Bass – 28
Sunfish – 97
Black Crappie – 11

Striped Bass – 1

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