Since I was seven or eight, I've paid close attention to weather. In all those years I've lived in New Jersey at least part of the time, and I've never known anything at all approaching the weather abnormality we've had the past two weeks. We had more than a solid week of May and June temperatures. It never hit 85 or 87 as I expected it would, but it did in Chicago, and we had two days in the low 80's along the bottom edge of the Highlands, many days in the mid and upper 70's. A few scattered days of temperatures in the 70's are normal for March, and I vaguely recall a day when it hit 80 at Hopatcong while fishermen braved melting ice one last day six years ago or so. But for weather like this to be sustained almost for the majority of the month: we have never known this before.
I could have gone out and fished today in weather plenty mild, but it's a slow Saturday for me without the usual eagerness to enjoy the weekend. I may go out and fish a local pond tomorrow, and record results on my Fishing in New Jersey blog to add to the information archived about fishing in this state, which to the contrary of its largely false reputation, is a very interesting tract of land geographically, ecologically, and culturally.
On lunch break yesterday I fished the canal near Weston and the Raritan River behind it. Hoping for a pike in the Raritan, since the Millstone River flowing into it not far upstream is stocked with pike by the state, I cast a large Rebel Minnow, and ran into another angler who related that he caught--in the river--a 28-inch pickerel, the largest he had ever caught, understandably that, using a Redfin minnow plug. I have no doubt many more 28-inch pike swim the river than pickerel that size. My impression was that someone had tossed a few pickerel in from the canal, or Hurricane Floyd left a brood stock.
It was nice being out, but I had no hits or follows trying that Rebel, a smaller Rapala and a spinnerbait. Once again I felt dismay with the canal, but that instance last summer of hooking a really good bass on a Senko-type wacky rigged worm is enough incentive for me to look ahead to perhaps trying again in July or August.