The plan was simple, wake up at 4:00 am drive to Long Branch in New Jersey to catch striped bass from shore. We arrived there after a swift drive and found ACRES of Menhaden ( also known as Bunkers) near the shore... WOW! That looked like a great start of the season - at least bait fish was here...
The problem was that no bass or bluefish were chasing them and they were just happily swimming and flipping on the surface at about 150 yards from shore.
After 3 hours of casting and not a single bite my buddy who was exhausted from a previous night trip suggested that we should head home... I was a little mad to have woke up this early to head back in NYC without trying to catch a fish.
So I worked out a deal, we would go back home but since we had a bunch of Gurglers, poppers and other minnows, we will stop by local NJ ponds to check if we can catch a largemouth bass (or two..)
My buddy was not 100% happy but since it was on our way back he was ok.
After a quick search on the Iphone (not sure Steve Jobs was thinking that his creations would generate countless amount data dedicated to tides and intensive Google maps searching but I thank him anyways) we headed our way to a nice size bass lake in Monmouth County (BTW: we both have New Jersey Fresh Water licence).
Arriving there, we found out that the parking was at a 25 minutes walk to the nearest parking lot - PERFECT - I like walking to my fishing spot!
My first impression was WOW - this lake looks really cool. Lots of trees in the water, a lot of bluegills and pumpkin seeds, this looks like a promising spot. Then, just on the right of a fallen tree I spoted a nice LMB... Hmmm... Looks like there is fish in fact.
The problem was casting the fly to them - it was a real maze, making my cast challenging... but I managed to cast by miracle in the shade my big black Gurgler (RIP Jack Gartside - May your line never dry). Following my buddy advice I left the fly for about 30 very long seconds... I am tensed... and I start to strip it and BLAM!!! Big slurp, a big bass took it! and swam for the big log... then he jumped right in front of us, that is where I saw the size of it! BIG BASS on my book! Using a "technique" used by french fly fishermen on big trouts to avoid breaking the line, I jumped in the swamp, spooked the bass away from the logs he was heading.
Filling my waders with this smelly murky water was not the best experience of my life but catching and releasing this bass on the fly rod was a great moment and will be remembered!
Tight lines to all!
|The Bass that Saved the Day!!|