Noontime drenched me--with sweat. South Branch Raritan ran slightly turbid, what I call normal clarity, just very slightly on the dingy side, but for this river at Three Bridges it was off color from last night's rain, which was supposed to result in cooler weather today. I had 97 at Three Bridges. The holes around the Route 613 bridge are very inviting, my second time scoping them, but all I could raise was a little smallmouth I didn't care to photograph.
This put me off ease since I fished the entire large area hard for not another hit, but a well defined trail led me well upstream to good-looking water. Again I used my killies. With an aerator they last forever so why not keep them. Feeding them tiny bits of turkey supplements, the very few that die get devoured.
I kept them in a tiny bucket for my use today. With a small to medium lead shot to help my cast, I winged a larger one almost clear across, near an undercut bank. As soon as the bass took I knew I was going to let it have it longer than I usually do. I wanted this fish. A really good smallmouth, at least two pounds, took me by surprise. My rod bowed and the drag gave as it bulled into a run. Just as quickly, the hook pulled. I was afraid this one would have been gut hooked.
The ecstacy and the agony is largely what it's all about. I don't lose good fish for nothing. I feared I wouldn't hook another today, but I got the 10-incher I photographed. Most importantly I know some water I didn't know before. Or perhaps more importantly I hooked a good smallmouth bass. I think I side with the water since the bass is still in the river.
That's a 10 point velvet antlered buck I approached carefully to try and get a better shot. I've been charged before, but today I felt certain that by showing him who's boss, he would not challenge me. As soon as it began to move--away-- it was too late for a picture that would convince you. For several minutes it had stood there and stared at me. I didn't even know its presence until it stomped its hoof and snorted.