Friday, June 3, 2011

Windy Lake Ames Near Hibernia, New Jersey

--Is not a lake, but a 16-acre pond, mostly very shallow, with a lot of weeds, but not nearly so thick as I feared. Several years ago, returning home from a nearby Scout camp, I saw a group of ice fishermen out, and stopped to check out the scene. They had caught a couple very small pickerel, so that's always been my impression of Lake Ames since. But before I went on Blogger this evening, I did a little web research, and at least the pickerel reported were slightly larger, with a report, also, of a 24-incher, and a four-pound largemouth.

I set out along the west side, cast a spinnerbait in that tiny cove, then headed into the woods. I came upon what I thought was the Hibernia Brook, and saw that Oliver Shapiro, in his book Fishing New Jersey, minced no words when he suggested wading this area. I had brought along both old sneakers and shorts, but just wasn't motivated to change. 

And as it turned out, good thing. I ended up hiking entirely around the pond and through some briars, my long pants helped. On the way I discoverrd a second brook, all the way in back. I'm not sure, but it seemed more tannic than the first, and just as large. Both of them beautiful mountain streams. I got some good casts from the east side for a stretch, and then, as I headed on down toward the dike, I saw skunk cabbage crop up, and remember thinking, "This means the ground will be spongy at the very best." 

It was worse. But rocks interspersed deep muck; I attempted to balance my steps on these uneven stones. Very suddenly, I lost control. My senses, just as suddenly, came alive like lightning. For a split second I felt very young again, like a mountain goat on rocks. I knew two things very vividly: I didn't want to break bones, and I didn't want to thoroughly muddy my dress clothes and return to work like that after lunch. As it turned out, I danced over another five or six yards of uncertain rock supports--and didn't leave a spot of mud on my clothes.

Finally--I walked along Green Pond Road for a stretch--I got to the dike, and discovered the best water to fish just as I ran out of time. I would have switched to a plastic worm. The water here is perhaps eight feet deep, and I did actually sight a bass. This will be worth fishing some cloudy afternoon, and perhaps in the fall with live shiners. Today the sun was bright as can be, although a cool wind tore through and shook up the surface so that a spinnerbait, it seemed to me, could have been effective, reflecting scattered light beams. I walked to my car with a satisfied feeling of discovery, which had come so close to having been denied. 

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