Thursday, April 21, 2011

"A Fishing Life is Hard Work:" Freeze Tonight, Chilly Rain Friday Night

Having planned a Manasquan Reservoir venture Saturday for months, immediate weather reminds me that everyday decisions trump events looked forward to at length. This is the time of year (oh?) when big bass are most vulnerable, the pre-spawn, and the ratio of lunkers to smaller bass in Manasquan is one of the best in the state. But with temperatures expected to plummet to the freezing point tonight during the coldest spring I can remember (a deep reservoir warms slowly), and perhaps rain falling through 40 degree temperatures tomorrow night, I've begun to rethink the plan.

I read what I regard as the best book on fishing several months ago, A Fishing Life is Hard Work, by Art Scheck, and especially loved the chapter about his encounter with a huge largemouth in Vermont--13 or 14 pounds. A piece like that really heats the blood and activtates imagination. I wondered where I might find out of the way places in New Jersey. I consulted maps. But before I might go way out of the way, it occured to me, there are at least two spots I want to try, maybe a third, one of these I know has big bass--a four or five pounder broke a bad knot several years ago, and it seems possible larger exist. And it may be cheating, but I want to buy extra-large shiners just to make sure I catch a big female, just this day, possibly this Saturday instead of the next Sunday. The water will be plenty cold anyhow. After March I don't approach largemouths with bait. But all three of these places I have in mind are small acreages and I feel I may as well get right to the point.

In the meantime, will I try for trout tomorrow evening? And Saturday morning I want to use leftover pike shiners for at least one large brookie I know existed last night. Of course, I would try salmon eggs for rainbows. But here it is going on May and I'm wondering if the water may be too cold for salmon egg results. Nonetheless, I recall an Opening Day morning at 19 degrees when we caught quite a few rainbows (this before they stocked only brookies so early). Popular opinion is that cold can really turn trout off; in fact, the word came around that this year's Opening Day bit the chill. But I'm left wondering then why we did so well on a morning that glazed hip boots.

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