Jersey Shore with Pat-the-Nat

Part 1- Ruffie Gets Dirty


I've been having a good time with Ruffie over here in NJ, and he seems to be enjoying all the sights, and smells, of the metro area. We've caught some good fish and ones that, I think, are new for him.

Our first trip was to a tidal brackish creek just off the main channel of the Hakensack River in what’s known as the ‘meadowlands’ area of north NJ, just outside of NYC. Home to Giant Stadium, it was an immense white cedar swamp in early settler times then became the dumping ground for a rapidly developing metropolitan area. Today it’s a complex of industrial development, landfills, railyards and stadiums as well as restored wetlands and tidal, brackish waterways. With modern environmental protection life has been slowly returning and since it’s right in my backyard it’s become a favorite fishery over the past 8 years.

We got to our spot at sunset with a nice falling tide- as the creeks and marshes drain out so does the bait. Chunked some bunker (menhaden) on two rods and threw a plug on a third. Ruffie got his first NJ fish just after dark- a little White Perch. After a few more perch we pulled in a small eel. We were out of bunker so we chunked the eel and got a couple of more perch.

Ruffie checking out the Empire State building over Mill Creek

mmmmmm bunker noggin.

Ruffies first NJ fish

a little eel

The following day was a ‘daddy-day’ so my little guy and I took Ruffie for a walk down to the local lake club. Most of the lakes in my area are privately owned with no public access but I’ve got some friends at this one so we don’t get hassled by the rent-a-cops. Henry gave Ruffie a spot in his car as we cruised around and beat up on a bunch of bass and bluegills. Hit the playground, had a snack, caught a few more then went home for a nap.

Took the boat out tonight into the meadowlands in search of some stripers and get to some spots that aren’t accessible on foot (plus some shoreline spots aren’t safe after dark). We went up into a big expanse of shallow marshland that’s got a few deeper channels throughout. Really got to pay attention to the sonar here- you can go from a 15’ channel to 1’ flat in seconds and get yourself stuck. Directly down the middle of the marsh run 6 lanes of nj turnpike. Theres a giant concrete tunnel under the highway that allows to tides to go in and out of the marshes on the other side. Its 200' feet long, over 45’ deep and the current can really rip through here during full/new moon tides. A lot of fish will set up at the mouth of the tunnel when the tide goes out. To fish it we tie off to one of the pillars and cast big rubber shads up into it. The bass will wait in the slack water behind the pillars. Ruffie got a handful of fish in the 8-15lb range.

my buddy jessie at the helm watching for boat traffic

nyc all lit up

urban stripers? i'm a fisherman possesed


Another trip to the "hacky" today, except we went further upstream into fresher water. We hit a spot where storm runoff is collected then piped into the river. Lots of gizzard shad hang out here so we snagged a few to stock up on cut bait. Saw some big boils out in the river so i tossed a rubber shad out and hooked up with a nice striper. The fish seemed to be moving upstream so we followed them to a spot behind some tennis courts. Hooked another nice fish and had an audience of some little kids and their nannies watching. I shit-you-not one of the kids name was Ruffie! The nannie kept yelling Riffie! Ruffie! and I was like 'wait, what? who?' and so i introduced the two of them.

welcome to joisey

ruffie snaggin some bait

ruffie get some more stripes

Back to the same spot today but different tide. Chunked the gizzards and dropped in for some BIG eels. Ruffie got thoroughly slimed.

waitin for a bite

eel wrastlin

All for now. Ruffie Part 2, ruffie gets salty, coming soon...



Part 2 - Ruffie Gets Salty


Here's the last few pics from Ruffies time here with me in NJ. We hit the beach a few times but the fall run this year was spotty at best.

Our first trip was to the northern tip of Sandy Hook. We loaded up the beach wagon and took the mile long walk out to the tip. This is where the deep shipping channel come closest to the beach and fish migrating out of Raritan Bay cane be intercepted on thier way out to the open ocean. We saw some interesting beach sand sculptures and Ruffie cozied up to a big turtle. Conditions werent the best- bright sun and a flat sea- comfortable for humans but fish prefer a rough surf and darker skies. We chunked some bunker and clam and threw a ton of plugs but only landed a few big skates.

ruffie on the wagon

mmmmmm seafood platter

ruffie with a cozy view from a turtle's head

ruffie gets a skate

We spent the next few trips jetty hopping at night in the hopes of getting a big striper but we didnt get anything over 20lbs this fall. We got a few small stripes in the 5-15lb range but with big waves coming over the rocks i didnt want to risk losing ruffie (or ruining my camera) for a photo op.

a wet salty ruffie.

I have a couple of late season trips planned in the next two weeks, but i think the fat lady is singing on our surf season. During the winter months i dont fish much, ice fishing is kinda iffy in my area, so i retire to the man cave a build lures for a couple of months to pass the time.

ruffie inspecting the latest batch of poppers

I dont want ruffie to get cabin fever, and i know some of you guys have some awesome hard water adventures, so his bags are packed and he is ready for some new scenery.