Saturday, March 3, 2012

Early Season Vertical Jigging Walleyes & Striper Hybrids: Slow Passes Over Drop-Offs, Thought of Mild Winter on Salmon River

So two posts in one day isn't too much after all. Thought I would put a picture of my son with a Lake Hopatcong walleye, actually from October, to grace my word rambling since quite a few are being caught vertical jigged now--hybrids too. But with the wind forecasted for this afternoon, drifts wouldn't be very good, as slow passes over the point drop offs are what you need.

That's why I reluctantly--still reluctant!--have cancelled on the Pequest today. Fly casting in 30-mph wind is annoying at the least. This despite my hunch that these winds won't happen. Maybe 10, 15 mph. But I just don't trust my intuition enough to go ahead and do it against what the weather forecasters are posting. I can't know I'm right. I can't know they are, of course. But some probability exists that ferocious winds will churn through the little Pequest valley, and I don't want to be there in that, not when we can probably go either Saturday or Sunday next weekend.

We better. I've had it in mind to fish the Pequest since December. I'm kicking myself. 

One Saturday back around the first of the year was calm 65 degrees. There I was walking the dog late in the afternoon when I realized what an ass I was for not having gone. I hadn't even recognized the possibility until that late in the day.

This winter was surely a great one for Salmon River steelhead drift boat anglers, fly rodders and noodle rodders alike. Joe at Steelhead Lodge told me they normally have 20 feet of snow by sometime in February. Meanwhile, he has guests throughout the winter, going downriver to fish eight-hour stints at zero degrees. Yes, of course these boats have propane heaters, most of the heat whisked away by breezes. That fishing is so hardcore--it seems easy to ice fish by comparison because hardwater is a stable environment that allows you to manage better in general--that even I balk at ever doing it, even though I used to clam for a living (and most of all adventure), daily, treading in wetsuits brine as cold as 29 degrees with wind chills below zero. 

Anyhow, I wonder how much snow is up there this winter.

P.S. It's almost 2:00 pm and guess what? Yup, the wind is 10 mph, and now forecasted to be 15-20 mph. I bet it never sustains itself over 15 and should I have been a weather forecaster? NO! Because the training in all the models in rooms and routines sealed off from--weather--would have ruined my intuition. And you can't get a job by intuition.

Having had Scant Resources for Fishing

Two posts in one day would be too good I guess. When I hit the publish button it will probably be after midnight. But having finished the previous post 20 minutes ago, gone downstairs to put dishes in the washer, and I got to my thinking as I always do over this chore I appreciate for its regular need, I decided to post on resources for successful fishing.

In a way I'm respectful of the classic image of fishing being the boy with the stick and string tied to the end of it with a hook on the other end of the string and a worm on that, a piece of straw grass between the boy's incisors. As wildly enriched as the American fishing scene has become, and as bipolar as I am, since I can move from grand affirmations of global dreams, of fishing the world over equipped by the best, and then return to the boy with say a Zebco 202, I don't forget the guy who can't afford all this wealth thrown at him by ads everywhere. Wealth he can't afford and that seems to sort of make fun of him, or you could imagine worse motives, as if it's all a grand charade, the intent of which is to crush most of us by an enormous power of suggestion about enormous political power. Oh, gee. I forgot our great pride in the American dream. 

But this is because I've been there--unlike Mit Romney and many others. Not just as an eight-year-old with a Zebco 202 in fact, but as a 32-year-old reduced to a beat-up old fiberglass 6-foot rod in 1993 my brother Rick gave me, and to my wits in having taken two old Penn 716's, one green from the 1970's, and one gold and black from the 1980's, both broken, but, aha!--having examined each, I inferred that by taking the head off the 70's, and placing it on the body of the 80's, I would have a working a reel. 

That's what I fished with. It was all I could afford. I had been in the shellfishing business, owned nine boats during the 80's, then lost almost almost everything but my writings and books. I don't regret any of it. My reel contraption was perfect--head from the 70's, body from the 80's. During the 70's Americans still had an intellectual conscience, something that had better return in some form, and to which I'm committed to help bring back. Without it we'll get the hell we deserve--just like I did.

Anyhow, I'm with you if you're poor. And I'll tell you why--you have a mind. That's how anyone begins.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Fishing is Here in NJ: Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Pike, Musky, etc.

I felt spring arrive in New Jersey two weeks ago, but plenty fish have been caught all winter, despite almost no ice. I just didn't get out much.

I posted in Fishing in New Jersey after catching a brown trout at Round Valley on my lunch break a week ago Friday. Caught it in the most conventional way--m&m's, marshmallow & mealworm--while reading Gray's Sporting Journal editor James R. Babb's book Crosscurrents.

Now I hear shoreline trout are being caught on small Rapala Husky Jerks, those suspending minnow plugs. Catch them any way you want to try. Next time I'm thinking of using shiners. (And getting some more reading in yet.)

That other scenic photo is Spruce Run Resevoir in March. Pike have been caught shallow for about a month now, and I suppose they spawned a while ago.

Tomorrow--if this line of what were major thunderstorms which bred killer tornados fades by noon--my son and I fly fish the Pequest. Heard of some five-pound browns on tiny zebra midges.

I love to read J.B. Kasper's Freshwater report in the The Fisherman each week (and Nick Honechevsky's Beach Talk in season). I am wildly impressed by South Jersey Fisherman Field Editor Mark Modoski having driven all the way up to Hopatcong and nailing musky at least 46 inches and 30 pounds. I know very well it's done consistently by certain people on the lake virtually every weekend, or more often, but for a guy to just come up from another region altogther and do it suggests a great ability to interpret new fishing technique and water right off the bat, although I am assuming the Field Editor is somewhat new to this. Reading about fishing for muskies on Lake Hopatcong in February piqued my excitement. It's not that I'm comfortable with this abnormal weather, but I guess the kid in me came out, the happy expectation I used to have of the coming season on mild late winter days. This year those days have been the usual and I sort of took them in all together symbolized by fishing a plug in February when normally we would be cutting a foot of ice. At any rate, to have a very generalized capability to acquire new fishing abilities is the grand life, and it is done by some, and also possible for more people given: 1. Gumption. 2. Some resources. 

Sometimes to get some gumption you just need to hear a good story.

P.S. March 16, 2012: Read Mark Modowski's comments below to clarify some misinformation, most which I've corrected. I left the part in about him just coming up from South Jersey because he is new to musky fishing, so well enough. And especially check out his blog, Catfish on the Lake:  The story about the musky and photographs are worth appreciating deeply. Other posts are informative and have an original appeal.