The Delaware and Raritan Canal, in my experience, is best in fall and winter when pickerel respond to crappie jigs or shiners live lined next to and among deadfalls and brush. But largemouth bass--even rare smallmouth bass--exist, along with uncommon walleyes at the locks (nine locks, I think), muskies that have either entered from the Delaware, or are among those stocked by the state and in some places stocked trout. Of course, carp, bullheads, and channel cats are present and the one-time state record grass carp came from the canal, not to mention panfish, crappies and I've heard of a northern pike caught that either someone placed in the current or a great flood like Hurricane Floyd's transferred from the Raritan or Millstone River. During the summer I tend to find fishing slow.
Today I snapped a Senco off on a submerged branch not having a weedless hook, determined to fish Wacky-rig. When the branch swooshed back, I saw a good sized pickerel had followed my worm and dashed off leaving a boil. What I didn't see was the tip section of my six foot Ugly Stick slipping into the canal just as the line snapped. I used the remaining fastened sections to sift among thick poison ivy and see if it had fallen there. I searched the area meticulously until satisfied it went into the canal where I couldn't see.
I've noticed dingy, turbid water recent weeks driving by. Not thick-muddy, but pretty bad and I don't know why. Fish have to feed, however, and I feel confident I could have caught at least one during this search for a truly large fish--including pickerel (my worm rattles left in a tackle box at home).
That rod went a long way with me. We don't know how much we value something until it's gone. I got over it quick enough, but it stimulated some thought on the necessity of loss, loss not just being an inconvenience, but ultimately productive for human life, however painful. We die and make room for new lives. That's the ultimate end. And look how some of the greatest contributors to the human race are not appreciated until after their deaths. It's terribly unfair to them, but they did not want to be forgotten.
They wanted to be remembered because the value of their lives could at last be realized to a degree much greater than others knew while they lived. And in some respects greater than they themselves knew.
Got a photo of two sliders with 15 inch shells.