Sunday, April 20, 2014

Preparation for another season - 2014

To bring everyone up to date, last year our season got cut short by a motorcycle accident.  I was just given temporary clearance to do what ever is want, with moderation. So the first thing I did was jump in the truck and head down to the bay. I thought getting down early in the morning would allow me access at all the marinas and boat yards only to find out hundreds of other people had the same idea.

There were boats being put in at all marinas, as well as the boat ramps.  Boats were out fishing, I will assume for winter flounder or stripers.  Being they were on the Keyport flats, I will assume winter flounder.  Those I spoke to at the ramp who had been out before have not had any luck so far.  I did speak to a couple of guys getting into there truck in Cliffwood Beach that had caught a 27" striper last week off the beach.  There was nothing big yet for what I heard, but the recent warm temperatures will change all that.

I stopped at Keyport Yacht Club to see nothing really going on, but the harbor is full of mooring buoys meaning Olsen's have been busy already. So I took a ride over there to see what was going on and hoping to have a conversation with John Olsen.  Upon my arrival, there was virtually no place to park except in the sand.  Don't really like parking in the sand as it has a history of having screws and nails and has cost me dearly over the years in tire repair.

The were the Keyport Yacht Club launches with a crew working hard to get them ready. Bottoms were already done and they were now making them nice and pretty for the members use over the coming season.   There were also a gentleman laying out anchor chain and rode to make sure he had enough chain to meet his needs.  I watched home lay it out and pace it off the length.  There were many other boats that already had their bottoms done and there were still boats inside the work building.  A lot of activity wherever you looked.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Raritan Bay Winter 2014

It has been a tough 4 months recovering from my motorcycle accident.  Recent surgeries have been completed and I have even been able to take a drive down to the bay.

Visiting the bay during this polar freeze is exciting.  The bay has a lot of ice floating around and really not safe for boating in a smaller craft.  There was only one fisherman braving the cold in Cliffwood beach.  I was only out there a little while and my ears and hands were hurting from the cold.  The marinas and boat yards have hunkered down for the winter with very little activity.  A cruise by Keyport Yacht Club showed two only cars in the parking lot and they were most likely members working inside.  Olsens had such a pile of snow at the beginning of the driveway you could not drive in, but I am sure John and the boys were working in the shop.  Union Beach was empty and not much has changed since Sandy came through in 2012.  The ice piled up on some of the shorelines gives one the impression of Antarctica.  As we cruise down toward the Highlands we see Keansburg is working on the amusement part with equipment sitting there covered in ice.

Losing half the season last year due to my motorcycle accident was a real disappointment.  My doctors have been working on me all winter rebuilding the broken areas, but it is not likely I will be having a early season.  So I will just have to see what is going on and post it here.

In the meanwhile I recently watched ALL IS LOST and was slightly disappointed in the movie.  Robert Redford wakes up to water sloshing around the boat, but the impact of a shipping contained does not wake him.  Give me a break, If my boat touches something I feel it.  It goes on and shows no urgency of the water pouring into his boat.  You would have thought he would have made a makeshift patch to plug the hole and used a board or mop stick to keep pressure against it. When his boat begins to sink there is a location beacon on the back of boat that was never used.  This had to be written by someone who does not sail.  It was not a bad movie, just keep me saying to myself, "What are you doing?"  His boat was not set up as a blue water boat even though he is sailing the Indian Ocean as he did not have a portable VHF, nor did his life boat have a location beacon.  All in all is was okay just because it involved sailing.

Hope to be back soon with more on Raritan Bay.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October bay visit

Went down to the bay to see what was going on.  It was quiet, I mean erie quiet.  Activity was very low. There were only a few fishing from the shore, the tide was higher than normal, and the boat ramp parking lot only had about trailers in it.  I wanted to see how many sailboats remained in Keyport Harbor, so I ran along the bay to Keyport Yacht Club to see what was going on there.  It was early so I really didn't expect many people there.  Very quiet!  I drove down the street to Olsen's and there was John power washing the bottom of a boat just hauled out.  Really taking advantage of the time and tide.  This is the busy season for them and much of their work is governed by the tide.  

Along the Keyport shore flooding was evident at many locations.  Some areas where I haven't seen it or just didn't take notice of it before.  The boat ramp had only a short distance of angled pavement showing.  The parking lot where the Ye Cottage Inn use to be now had the bay pushing water over the bulkhead into the parking lot.  The flooding down by Wagner's seemed the normal for a high tide and was just a nuisance.   

Saturday, September 28, 2013

End of my 2013 Season

Sorry to anyone looking for more current things happening around the bay.  I had a motorcycle accident and have been recovering from many broken bones. On my first visit to my orthopedic doctor (a fellow boater) told me to have her hauled out as I was done for the season.  The Harley is still sitting in the driveway where my neighbor placed it for me.

I did take a trip to pick up the boat and bring her home where I could work on things during the winter. Having your boat hauled out early does have benefits.  When I called and explained my problem and I was incapacitated and not capable of climbing onboard and securing anything.  I arrived and the bottom was spotless, not one barnacle left.  At the end of the season the quickly job is obvious.  Everything onboard was tied down leaving little to do besides hook up and drive away.

The Keyport area was pretty active with the ramp parking lot just about full.  The pier is open now for a couple months and there are many putting it to use.  I would usually stop and talk to people, but I wasn't suppose to be driving, I was on pain meds, and if anything happen the wife would have disowned me.

I am hoping to make my off season trips as usual and enjoy the bay life.  Repairs still go on from
Sandy and we will investigate those and post.

At least we leave on a good note.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fish on the move

Sunday was a great day out on the water.  It was a little cloudy which took away some of the hot sun and the breeze was very light.  The breeze was not a good breeze for drifting.  We set out early Sunday to make sure we could get the incoming high tide and the out going high tide later on.  We first tried the same spot we hit the blues last week off of Union Beach, but there were not to be found.  After several trolling passes in that area without a hot we moved across the bay to the channel along the shore of New York. we fished there for a while with only a couple bites and no takers.  The water was 55 feet deep and we fished the max depth, the drop offs to the channel and the flats on both sides without any fluke.  We did see a few shorts caught on other boats, but we caught none.  We worked our way back onto the flats in 25 feet of water where we finally did start getting some nice hits only to find out it was spot and grunts.  I finally hooked up and it turned out to be a dog fish. 

we decided to work our way back across the bay with bucktails trolling behind.  By the time we reached the #1 can we were amazed at no takers.  This time of year we usually have great luck trolling for the blues.  As we continued our voyage back to Keyport Harbor I hooked up just at the mouth to the harbor.  It was a nice blue that fought hard, jumped, and shook his head so many times I though he would surely spit the hook.  In any case I got him close and Blue netted him. 

It was a nice fish at about 30".  Not the monsters we were catching last week, but still a good fit.

We called it a day around 2:00pm and headed back to our mooring in Keyport Harbor.  We will have to get out and give it a try again next weekend with great hopes of catching some nice fluke.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 4, 2013 Fishing Report In Raritan Bay

Fishing in Raritan Bay has always been exciting for me.  Though I can catch more fish, in most cases, fishing fresh water, the size and fight are totally different.  Sunday we packed everything on board for a day of fishing.  We headed to Ambrose Channel to try our luck and were only catching short fluke.  We headed along the Staten Island shoreline following the channel occasionally stopping to try a drift.  After hours of doing this and nothing making the way to the cooler, we decided to try a different approach.  We setup or poles for trolling. All that I can say is OMG!  KABOOM!  Once we found the Blues we were catching some big fish.  One after the other.  Using bucktails sweetened with a spearing and trolling about 5 knots seemed to be the magic ticket.  Most of the fish were caught in 6' of water off Union Beach.  After losing lures, popping lines, catching fish too big for the net, and getting cramps in the arms, we called it a day early, 1:00pm.  It isn't too often you run into days like this. Outgoing tide, sunny day, good breeze, and plenty of bluefish to keep the excitement coming.
  These fish were all around the same size and hungry.  OK, so when isn't a bluefish hungry...  There were a couple that were bigger than this and we either broke the line, straightened out the hook, or jumped and spit the hook.  It was a great time to say the least.

Raritan Bay offers some good fishing.  The problem is finding out where to go.  The forums and bulletin boards do not allow you to say where you were fishing which is just crazy to me.  Why not share in the fun? I can understand those secret fishing holes, but if it is one of the known fishing holes, why not be able to say it?  This has be thinking of starting a forum where people can share there fun with others.

This fishing trip caught most of the fish at 40° 27' 30.42"N, 74° 9'46.13"W, off Union Beach.  As soon as we broke 5 knots, we would have another fish on.  A great day of fun. We did this until low tide and headed back to Keyport Harbor and the trip hope.  We did not keep any of these fish.

So get out there and try your luck, the big blues are here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A moon tide on the summer solstice

June 22

As we took the dinghy out to Lil Provo today I immediately noticed that the mast was rocking back and forth. It made me look more closely to see what the problem may be.  As we got closer I saw a tangle of rope and steel cable and we got closer I could see the problem.  The standing rigging going to the spreader had half broken though and the strands of cable that broke had flung around and caught the flag lines in the broken strands.  It seemed to make the balance of cables loose.  Once I got on board I went and adjust the cable tension on the good cables and ran the jib halyard to the deck plate on the side that sprung and put as much pressure on it as I could. This secured the mast.  I then had to make a decision whether we would venture out into the bay.  Being the mast seemed secure I decided we would go out under motor and do some fishing.

We dropped the mooring ball and headed out into the bay.  The water was calm and almost like glass.  I had no problem with the cable damage as the mast was secure and not moving much at all.

We went about 2 to 3 miles and began to fish. While we were fishing we noticed a large number of sailboats were headed in our direction.  Eventually the sailboats arrived with a couple power boats that were carrying large buoys.  It was the Keyport Yacht Club regatta group and it was regatta day.  They set up the buoys and the boats began cruising back and forth.  We just sat there watching and fishing.

A few hours passed and they were still cruising around. We noticed they were going a lot faster than earlier and took a check of wind, current, and wave action.  It was starting to get rough and we needed to think about getting Lil Provo back to the safety of the harbor.

I started the motor and gradually got her up to full speed, just a little over 6 nots.  The wave action was making the mast rock side to side so I knew I had to find the line that would allow us to smooth out the ride.  I turned her a little toward the wind and it made the ride a little smoother.  We cruised back the 4 or 5 miles and made it back to the confines of Keyport Harbor.

While we cruised with in outer part of the harbor I realized the tiller was jumping up and down.  I couldn't figure out what it was and then realized it was bottoming out.  I changed direction toward the channel hoping to get to deeper water when suddenly the tiller pushed up and out of the brackets.  I had a hold of it and pulled it into the cockpit and used the motor to steer.  This had never happened before and I was concerned about the brackets leaking water into the bilge.

When we entered the harbor the motor started to die and did.  It sounded like we were out of gas, but checking the tank proved otherwise.  There was. Plenty of gas. It had to be a gas filter problem or maybe vapor lock.  Being we were already in the mooring field we needed to maintain control of her and not bump into any other boats.  I restarted tried restarting the motor and she started right away, but if I tried to run normally at low rpm she sounded like she was going to stall.  I gave her full throttle and she took off and gave me control.  I was cruising through the mooring field at full speed, something I would not normally do.  As we got close to the mooring I heard someone yelling and as I looked around there was a person on a boat yelling and waiving his arms. I thought he was upset with the speed I was going through the mooring field, but he pointed up and there was a person on the top of a mast.  I reduced the throttle and moved Lil Provo to her mooring.  Once there I looked over at the other boat and my wake was nil to the other vessel. No big deal, we continued to moore.

We took care of everything on board and made sure she was secure.