We have been on the water almost every day since the beginning of the month and Striped Bass fishing has been pretty good so far. There is a huge body of gigantic fish just to our south and they should be up in our neck of the woods by this weekend which is great news because we have trips Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as well as 5 in a row next week. Yesterday I had Steve and company onboard for a windy and cold day that felt like winter all over again, we pulled the hook on a bunch of fish and ended up with a couple of nice fish for dinner. Today was every bit as cold and for the second day in a row bait was very hard to come by. What bait we did manage to catch was instantly destroyed by Bluefish, but again we did manage to land another nice Bass, this time with John on the rod. We did have problems with the boat today and it made for another very wet ride. Luckily my awesome mate Randy Matlack was able to repair the trim tabs and our livewell pump just in time for this week’s remaining 3 charters.
Our full-time Striped Bass schedule started off with a bang. We had Josh and Rachel on the boat yesterday and we got caught in one of the worst rainstorms that I’ve ever experienced on the boat. We got caught a couple of miles offshore and could barely see through the sheets of water —on a center console style boat there is nowhere to hide. We got totally saturated but we did catch one nice Bass for our efforts. This morning was a whole different story, we had Wendy and Chris on the boat on a picture perfect day and the fish were biting pretty consistently on our live baits throughout the course of the day. Wendy caught the biggest Bass of this year (so far) with her 28 pounder. I can’t remember a day where we lost as many fish as today though. They seemed to be sort of non-committal, either that or we really suck as fishermen because we missed a ton of fish today. We did manage to get a few in the boat though and all in all it was a great week to start the season.
Our first charter of the year and it was downright nasty out there. We almost cancelled the trip after peeking at the inlet a few times but I’m glad we didn’t. We were one of only 8 boats out there in a 25 mile radius and the rest of the boats were over 70 feet long, all party boats. After a scary ride through the inlet waves we made a left turn towards the North and there were schools of bait as far as the eye could see, but no fish chasing them. We tried a little bit of everything, swimming live baits, casting lures, trolling spoons, and jigging. At the advice of a good friend I tried something I never usually do, drifting with chunks of dead bait and that turned out to be the ticket. We landed only two fish out of three hooked but they were the right species, Stripers. We’re all eating Striped Bass tonight and it was a great way to kick off the season, we took the risk and reaped the rewards. There was so much life on the water today, schools of Menhaden everywhere with birds bombing away on them. If the weather holds up for us I’m predicting another bountiful spring on Archangel, things are setting up beautifully and the Bass are right on time.
I can’t believe it but it’s been all of 7 months since we last sailed on Archangel in the Atlantic Ocean I’m very happy to say that the boat is looking and running better than ever. Randy and I did all of the maintenance and setup that goes along with the beginning of a new season and had our fingers crossed that the boat would start and run smoothly. Fishing wasn’t even on our list of things to do at the marina but of course we brought along a few rods just in case. We broke the inlet at 1 in the afternoon to beautiful seas and tons of life. There were big balls of bait showing up on the sonar and gannets diving everywhere, always a great sign. We were basically on a test ride so we threw out a couple of trolling plugs behind the boat and immediately hooked up with a Bluefish that came to the surface and bit through the line and stole my plug. This made us very happy. We still had a few pieces of tackle left in the helm from last year so we threw out a metal jig and dragged that behind the boat. The fish gods then blessed us with a gift, my first Archangel Striped Bass of 2013, she taped out at 32.5 inches and we killed her and ate her for dinner. Man were we psyched! My 2013 chartering season begins next Monday, 5 trips a week every week. I still have openings available for the summer and also for the fall but our schedule is really filling up fast. Please call me to reserve your spot now, all the signs point to another fantastic year on the water and we can’t wait.
“FISH ON” was the chant of the day out on the river this afternoon. My two favorite words. To be catching a lot of fish on a daily basis is the best thing for so many of us right now after having endured an unusually cruel and awful winter that wasn’t conducive to fishing in the NE at all. We didn’t put in much time this afternoon, I took a friend out for their birthday and some fun fishing and we never went more than 15 minutes without hooking up, and when we did it was usually with two or three fish in succession. The weather this week looks fantastic and I am planning on being on the water for most of it. We have a very unique fishery with the American Shad in the Delaware River, one of the few bodies of water that hasn’t been dammed or over fished. Shad fishing is very technique specific and our river is pretty much the only place left where you can legally fish for and keep them if you wish. I have been doing it my whole life (and in my hometown of New Hope, PA) and if you’d like to try your hand at it now is the time. We have a few weeks to a month left in the main body of the Shad run and then I switch to ocean fishing for the rest of the year. The trips run from 3:30 pm until 7:30 pm daily and cost $400. All trips leave from Lambertville, NJ and all rods and tackle are supplied by me, just show up ready to do battle.
We enjoyed stellar fishing and great weather today out on the mighty Delaware River. John and landed (and lost) a lot of fish this evening and the final half hour of the trip was absolutely insane. The fish were hitting on every rod at once–as quickly as we could net one fish we’d have to deal with another rod or two that was hooked up. The fish this year have pretty much all been massive Roes, i have no idea what to make of that as usually the smaller Buck Shad come first and the big females afterwards. I’m not complaining, the fishery is thriving again this year, it’s been trending that way for the past 5 years and it’s still getting better. I’m also enclosing a picture of Craig from yesterday afternoon’s trip which was also very good. I never try and get my hopes up too high, but with warm weather coming this week I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a 50-100 fish trip sometime soon. Yowza!
I caught my first Shad of the spring last night around 5:30 pm here in Lambertville and was very happy about my one fish, which was a large healthy female (Roe Shad). I’ve found that I have the best luck Shad fishing between 3pm and 7:30pm when the sun goes down, but nonetheless decided to give it a try in the middle of this afternoon with the sun high in the sky and bluebird skies. My brother in-law John is in town for Easter so I brought him along but didn’t promise him any fish as it the run has just started. We ended up catching 6 Shad in less than 2 and a half hours on a beautiful afternoon, something I would have never in a million years predicted. My Spring has officially begun now, and I plan on being out there as much as possible. I have a lot of openings for afternoon Shad trips, all of the information can be found on my website. The Delaware River is the last river where you are still allowed to catch these fish and the state of our Shad fishery has been deemed to be almost completely restored to the healthy levels of it’s heyday. Please call me at the number below if you’d like to try your hand at catching these hard fighting ocean fish that visit our river every April to spawn.
The Hurricane has left the New Jersey coast devastated. Many of my closest friends have lost their homes and businesses. The damage that Sandy left in it’s wake is unthinkable and at this point it is very unlikely that I will be fishing this Fall. Truthfully, after witnessing the damage so many have endured I have lost the desire to fish this year. My efforts could be better spent helping others get back on their feet. I will keep this site updated with further news on this and will try my best to contact the people who had me booked for the fall Striper run 2012