Monday, June 25, 2012

Rockaway River and Peapack Brook Fishing to Explore or Exploring to Fish

 I don't think any of us learns every spot in New Jersey over the course of a lifetime, and even if any one of us exhauseted every coordinate, spots change over time. I remember in 2000 I parked at a service station with a large lot in Bedminster Township off Route 206, got out, looked around carefully to be sure no one noticed and took any offense, and took my drop net and bag of Wonder Bread into the woods a short distance to the Peapack Brook, where I figured a hole might exist relative to the railroad bridge. There I would net my own chubs and shiners to use wherever I headed to go fish. I like using chubs especially. 

Instead, I found a deep, clear hole with trout. This was July. Days later I showed up with my 3 1/2- foot salmon egg rod to catch and release five rainbows in 10 minutes. I went once more and caught one or two in August. The next year some Nor'easter or other completely filled the deep hole with big, chunky rocks.

As humble as that story is, it's a meaningful memory. All through our history--which certainly includes pre-civilized times--we have had a natural desire to explore, not only whole continents, but every little piece of the globe we can lay fingers and our microscope-aided eyesight upon, and once science established the possibility, outer space and the oceans became greatly desirable destinations for the bodily presence of intellect. 

For the first time, I visited the Rockaway River at Denville just off U.S. 46 with public parking. I didn't know this scene existed until last week, passing through. I managed to find some fishable water, and fulfilled my expectation of getting skunked. I have just enough experience on the Rockaway to not expect smallmouth bass fighting over a killie. I did lose a very small bass, so some are around in this stretch, or at least in the wider series of stretches. And a brown trout rose, flashed, and left a surface boil by my killie. Picky. I then figured the occasional few rises I saw in the same positions were indeed brownies. I would need my fly rod and to wade in ooze. Not exactly a desirable prospect. I kept my boots on the bank. I hope to have better places to visit. And there are some elsewhere on the Rockaway I haven't been to.

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