"I never was very interested in most School subjects except for Geography, History, Marine Biology, Entomology, Photography, Navigation and Film classes. It's funny how things work out some times"..
This month finds me visiting many places and doing some Shows to promote A.F.F.S. Rita and I and A.F.F.S. Guide/Instructor Paul Healy just returned from the Catskills on Sunday evening after spending the weekend at the SUMMERFEST FLY SHOW in Livingston Manor at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum. I always enjoy being at this event in August and seeing a lot of folks in the fly fishing community that I have known for years, some of whom I don't see at other events. Of course this show is really all about bamboo fly rods both new and old. Several rod builders are on hand to demonstrate their latest work, including ORVIS and HARDY, that has the largest presence at this event including their sponsorship of the Hardy Cup Bamboo Rod Distance Casting Competition. The annual pig roast and beer dinner that's held for the exhibitors on Saturday evening is always fun and a chance to socialize and gossip among the industry members and the Museum staff and management. This year we stayed at PEPACTON CABINS in Downsville and thoroughly enjoyed our stay there in the newly renovated "Loft" above their barn. If you want some great class A trout fishing right at your cabin door on the East Branch of the Delaware River plus some bonus bass fishing in their private pond and also the ability to try some deep water fishing by kayak in the Pepacton Reservoir. Then this is the place to stay at. The facility is great for fly fishers and we highly recommend the place. The East Branch of the D never gets the press that the West Branch does but I think that it is every bit as much a class A Eastern River. With it's annual spawning run of American Shad congregating to spawn below the Reservoir Dam it may even be "better" then the main stem of the D. In other positive developments this month, I shipped my flats boat down to South Carolina with our S.C. Junior rising star, Chandler Williams where it will be used in our expanding A.F.F.S. operations there. Ghandler will be leaving S.C. next week to return to guiding at the famous STONE FLY INN in Montana for the rest of the trout season there. Last week before leaving for the Catskills I got to accompany two of my client / students on a Shark fly fishing trip to fish with Capt. Joe Hughes on board one of our great A.F.F.S. members boats.
Joe has successfully pioneered fly fishing for inshore sharks in the Cape May waters. Last year Joe had almost reached guaranteed success on every trip he made for the "toothy fish". This season the fish co-operate well on one day and disappear the next day.
On our day they did just that and never made an appearance in our slick.. The drift was poor with little wind which forced Joe to create a drift by bumping the boat in and out of gear. But clients John and Tony were lucky and experienced twin catches of a nice bull dolphin each. The pair of big dolphins appeared in the slick and Tony and John caught them one then the other. We used the old Jersey trick of pitching a few live killie fish to them to keep them visible and feeding close to the boat until they attack a fly or a baited hook. This pair of fish each followed the flies presented to them several times but would not commit and eat them, which meant we had to use the live bait rods or they would have simply swam away as the chum and killies will only interest and keep them behind the boat for a brief time before their curiousness turns in to apprehension and they move on, as all pelagic gamefish always do. Both Joe and I were amazed to see these two nice "bulls" traveling together as they rarely are seen together at that size but usually are accompanied with a mate (cow fish) instead. Juvenile dolphin (much smaller specimens) of 2 to 3 pounds of both sexes often travel in schools of a dozen to 50 fish or more at times. These young dolphin can often be fooled by using the "Judas Trick" of leashing the first one caught to a mono line and cleating it off the stern. Amazingly, the rest of the school will stay right there near their tethered relative and will continue to feed in the immediate vicinity. I have at times, caught every one or most of the remaining fish in a school by employing this tactic for my clients. The strangest part of this encounter with these two big dolphins was first, where we were located when they came calling. We were only 8 miles from the beach looking clearly at the Atlantic City casinos and hotels. Neither Joe or I, with our many combined years of fishing and guiding experience had ever encountered 2 bulls together this close to the Jersey coast. Sure we have both seen and caught many "crickets", 2 to 3 pound juveniles, as close as 1 mile from shore in certain summers. None the size of these two brutes without going at least 20 miles offshore and most times twice that distance or all the way to the canyons. The first fish that was caught by Tony, fought him in typical dolphin style with several beautiful jumps clearing the sea surface by a couple of feet and then circling the boat once during the contest. The second fish must have been studying hooked bluefin tuna because soon after his surface strike he went down deep and stayed there until almost the end, which lasted for over 15 minutes of film time. A back and forth tussle that had John almost on his knees after several trips completely around the boat. Not a "showy aeriel battle but a "down and dirty" boat fight that John finally won. Congrats to both guys on a "job" well done..
Thank you Poseidon for smiling on us that day because it saved the day.. No sharks ever showed up that day.. There is always next time and I look forward to my next time out with Captain Joe, one of the best there is in our sport. This week is spent catching up on web stuff like this and arranging our trip later this month to Tennessee (Jackson Kayak Factory), Kentucky ULTIMATE OUTDOOR EXPO SHOW where we will be exhibiting and performing. http://ultimateoutdoorexpo.com/
Then its on to our house in S/W Florida for the final remodel work and some tarpon and snook time..