On the water by 1:30, the rented electric moved so slow I quickly phoned the visitor center and asked for another battery, and brought the 16 foot aluminum dockside. This time we pressed off towards the far stands of timber at a good pace, trolling Rat-L-Traps, a technique that worked on one pound white perch last summer. We did mark a couple big fish on bait shoals, which may have been hybrid stripers, but got no hits on the way to the hump with flooded timber. About a hundred yards from our destination, gray smoke spurted from the power cable. In no time, the entire cable went up in a great puff of smoke, the postive cable near the battery burning through and separating, as you can vaguely see in the photo. Once again I phoned the visitor center. This time we were towed back to the dock, given a new motor and battery, and an extra half hour.
I spoke to the ranger as he took us in, asked if alewives exist here. He wasn't certain. But he did say that hybrid stripers actually reproduce in Manasquan Reservoir. I may do some research on this subject. Apparently the hybrids do grow large; how they do this without alewives I'd like to know, if that's the case.
Anyhow, this time we didn't even try to reach the hump. A couple stands of timber relatively close to the rental docks and boat launch are obviously extensive enough, with deep water, to hold bass. And they probably get overlooked by anglers headed where the grass is supposedly greener. My son's first cast yielded a nice bass about a pound and a half. He used his "secret weapon"--a nightcrawler on a plain shank size 6 hook with a large split shot, which got it down on the bottom in 12 feet of water, outside the edge of timber. So I knew in all likelihood more bass were nearby. In fact, large fish showed up in our sonar scan right under the boat, and while I fished a Chatterbait, and Rat-L-Trap, very thoroughly, my son put his nightcrawlers straight down. He pulled up another largemouth, under a pound, a yellow perch, and lost two other fish, apparently bass under a pound.
We fished more than a few other ranges, anchoring in the fairly heavy wind. I fished a 7 1/2 inch Chompers plastic worm for the most part, catching a 14 inch largemouth, and another that wasn't more than 5 inches long--on that 7 1/2 inch worm! All of these fish held in eight to 12 feet of water, and while Manasqauan Reservoir is clear water, it is not nearly so clear as Round Valley Reservoir--where largemouths do spawn in 10 feet of water. Matt's largest fish was fat as a ham, apparently ripe with eggs. I was told in the visitor center that bass are on the beds, but who knows--I didn't see any on beds in the shallows. Surface water temperature rose from 62 to 63, below the typical spawning range of about 68.
At 5:20 a great wind came up, whitecaps immediately leapt forward, and we were blown about, unable to position forward. When I tried to make it into a protected cove (probably too shallow), I almost collided with two moored crew team captain boats, unable to steer effectively in the wind. I managed to swing the boat out of the way, and we went in, carried quickly on the rollers.