Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Merry Fishmas! '18

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, a joyous holiday season, and a prosperous 2019!  See you on the sand next year..

"Santa's 50"  For the 2018 holiday season, I "present" a layout that I altered after I first posted it for this blog in Dec. '16.  The most notable change is the use of artist Ford Flick's beautiful and lively-looking Striper illustration titled "Mature Striped Bass."  Although it's nearly impossible to discern, I would like to note that for this picture, Santa is standing on a snow-covered 8th Ave. jetty that I photographed (and fished) in Asbury Park, NJ a few years ago before beach replenishment covered most of it.  

Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Morone Saxatilis!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Striped Bass: Illustrations & Wildlife Art

Shared in this post are what I find to be a healthy sampling of the most admirable and accurately-depicted Saxatilis illustrations and works of art that I have come across in my years of having lived immersed within the salty subject matter of everything Striped Bass.  They are 24 pieces created with mediums of ink, pencil, oil, acrylic, watercolor, or digital pixel.  While there are seemingly countless examples of this celebrated fish found throughout the realm of the art world, whether professionally-commissioned or humbly-sketched and shared on the internet, I find it striking that no two artists seem to express this same fish in the same manner.  That is, each artist has a different eye and physical capability for what he mimics or envisions.  Some aspect (whether coloring, curves, overall proportion, anatomical accuracy, body and fin shaping, attitude, or state of motion) of a finished product is always different from extant pieces of work, and moreover distinguishes what I as an observer and fisherman believes to be a convincing representation of the East coast's most popular gamefish.  With that, some really do stand-out against the "school."  I suppose it's just enough to share a few that should merit any Striper enthusiast's artful appreciation, and in this case especially, exhibit the true-to-life and apropos valediction commonly used of an angler - tight lines

Amadeo Bachar

Arthur Shilstone - "The Striped Bass"

Flick Ford

Flick Ford

Flick Ford - "Mature Striped Bass"

Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey - "Striped Bass Collage"

Jim Roszel

Jim Roszel

Joe Higgins - Gyotaku (ink & paper) fish prints.
"Joe's Fresh Fish Prints" 

Mark Susinno - "Mopping Up" (2004)

Mike Savlen

Nick Mayer

Nick Mayer

Samuel Kilbourne (1858)

Savio Mizzi - "On The Fly"

Stanley Meltzoff - "Eighth Avenue, Asbury" (July 1966) oil on panel

Stanley Meltzoff - "Barnagat Inlet, North Jetty" (June 1966) oil on mounted canvas


Unknown (appeared in On The Water magazine, 2017)



Unknown (appeared in Utah Fishing Guidebook 2018, page 58)


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rockfish à la Norman Rockwell

A Photoshop edit made of Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" (1943) in which a Striper was made the main course. Although the serving platter edit was not my work, I added four other elements to give it a slightly (hardly noticeable due to low resolution) more surfcaster edge. While this particular fall run has not liberated my own feelings of want with respect to beaching migrating bass, the Thanksgiving Day holiday casts upon us a much greater appreciative appeal - friends & family - the very unmoving rocks of our existence.  To surfcast is to perhaps have washed-away in the briny prescription of a saltwater tide the mind's most minor misgivings, even those as inconsequential as bemoaning the spirited absence of one's favorite gamefish, as the keepers and personal bests are always patiently waiting to your back and over your trying shoulders, on dry land, at home. Give thanks to them.  Never stop fighting for them.  But also give thanks to Sax. I fear she may need the help of our good fight too..

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Exposures - October 2018 - II

The overcast morning of the 21st. Against the bitter odds of a very windy weather forecast (or even better judgement, for that matter) I was back on the trail in search of tail. After all, October only comes once.

Standing at 6AM in a NNW wind of 26mph, it was quasi-manageable to make worthwhile casts into deep water.  What little hope we shared of fish showing in the surf literally blew away by 10AM after winds grew sustained to 38mph and shifted N.  A relentless sandblasting and pelting to the body and face was the knockout punch.  

Even with rod held high, airborne sand was striking at my reel and guides with the similar sound of precipitating ice pellets, much like this accosted angler must have experienced.

Before the blow shifted N, anglers gave the churning flood-tide a go with a NW wind pushing to their backs.  One or two whales made passage close to shore, periodically revealing movement across the channel by their misty exhalations erupting like geysers from the white-capped sea, and a determined seal bobbed through the tide that morning.  Not a single fish was landed, that I saw.

If you don't go, you just won't know..


817 feet of tanker ship silently headed out to sea in an ebbing tide.

The intoxicating, banded reward of a surfcaster's nighttime obsession.

A beached bay anchovy that made away from the surf's shallow wash of blitzing Hickory Shad and feeding schoolie-sized Stripers.

Sun sets as a microburst rolls-in from the west.  I considered this my last "easy" shot at surf-caught Albies for Oct. '18.  With the sea-stirring winds of the season's first Nor' Easter only 36 hours out from this particular evening, any shot at hooking greenbacks from the surf after this outing would be particularly welcomed, but not probable.  There's always the first week of November, if the weather cooperates, and the Anchovies stay in close to the sand..  

October's Hunter Moon rises to greet anglers who were tight to schoolie-sized Stripers, one after another, for a better part of dusk.
For the first time that I witnessed this fall, pods of medium-sized Bunker schooled the slack tide out-back.  Hopefully, these fish are an indication of good things to follow - as in, large Stripers on the hunt of these arrowhead ripples seen meandering within a moving tide.   

With a Nor' Easter carving-up the coast overnight, it was a relief to finally see an abundance of baitfish outback.  Especially, these guys - "the most important fish in the sea."

Micros and schoolies were the abundant contenders lurking within many an October tide that I was able to fish.  With exception, only a few large Stripers were taken that I knew of.    

Friday, October 19, 2018

Exposures - October 2018

With the much-anticipated turning of the calendar from September to October, so begins the turning-on of finned-life of all-forms all-throughout the surf.  Fin-ally.  What ensues to inspire are the orchestration of the most opportune tides of dawn and twilight that the surfcaster dreams of all-summer-long.  As if like clockwork, back bays empty of anchovies, silverside, mullet, shad, and peanut bunker to kick-start the fall run in earnest.  Larger Stripers suddenly appear in the nighttime tide.  Schools of False Albacore porpoise with mouths wide-open through the saltwater's surface, colliding with this egress of southern-swimming bait. Young Bluefish blitz the shoreline and Bonito make for an interesting by-catch.  Seabirds fish-find in flocks and dive into dark balls of bait.  Inshore pods of dolphin surface for air.  The light of day shortens and the life-blood of water slowly sheds of temperature, as a web of migrating sea-life weaves together before our witnessing wonderment of participation as fishermen.     

Like the aching desire to counterbalance against a deeply bent rod to the quiet of night, I'm long overdue (103 days since my last post published in early July) in sharing new blog content.  The following images are those prints I've recently developed from my digital darkroom.  This "roll of film" captured a few of my October outings, beginning with the new moon of the 9th.  In all regards, the best is yet to come, as I cannot wait to capture more photos, and fish..

A healthy showing of Bass to 33" appeared "out back," kicking-off October to a nice start.

A painted body of stripes marking the cycloid-shaped scales of Sax; always such a spectacular sight bringing color to a colorless night.

A fine specimen taken on the night of October's new moon.  "When the moon's away, the Bass will play."

Recounting the day and strategizing the movement of predator and prey.

An angler trying his luck during a run of mullet.

Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, or... Sandy Hook?

A 2oz. Hogy Heavy looking pretty in pink.  As of Oct. 16th, I only got to run it through or close enough to busting Albies on two retrieves.  With a rigid work schedule taking priority, I am often told far too often that I "missed a real good one earlier."  The season is far from over yet..      

Sanderlings (Calidris alba)

Atlantic Silverside on the move south.

500+ Atlantic Silverside (& bay anchovy) fill the plastic cooler of two "fishermen's" seine netting efforts.  I was told they "taste good."  My opinion is that during mid-October, they "look better" schooling the shore's shallows en masse.  They look best when going aerial as Albie's, Bass, or Blues have their way. 

Fish-finders of the sky doing their thing over silverside, mullet, and anchovy.

Gills bled-out, isthmus sliced, yet.. forgotten.  

The tell-tale anatomy of a surf-sought seasonal pursuit: finlets followed by a lunate tail.

A dead Albie's pectoral fin.

Mullet by the millions on the move south.

Life, recklessly discarded and carelessly disregarded.  The lack of respect for a such a species of fish that comes to play disgusts someone like me when there are three of them left for dead on a beach after a single afternoon of maniacal metal slinging.  

A westerly-wind stirs up the surface and churns sand at this angler's finding feet.  Surfcasters, October has arrived!

It's only the fluid tidal motion of saltwater that serves to distinguish the stark boundary between the world's greatest metropolis of concrete and skyscrapers from the very antipode of human endeavor: pristine saltwater marshes, estuaries, slopes of drifting sand, and a littoral seascape home to scores of varieties of life.