Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spruce Run Reservoir in the Distance: Pod of Hybrid Stripers Visited Jetty Evening Prior

Round Valley Reservoir yesterday, Spruce Run Reservoir today, two places of mythic proportions during my teens when I lived in Mercer County, Lawrence Township, and sometimes came up to fish here. Truth can be as fickle as a trout, as variable as the weather or even more chaotic, so many people settle down to a version they can rely on and deny the rest. I know grown men who think there's nothing to these reservoirs; they're just places they can visit on occasion for some fairly reliable catches; all the glory of boyhood is gone.

Often I have to look deep into the distance to see what was much closer at 17.

But I never forget. And sometimes I'm really there.

I never give up the commitment to keeping the grandeur out there, either.

I can remember every fish we've caught along Van Sykles jetty the past six years and Back Brook Cove besides. I know just where they struck, from in close to well out. Today not even the big crappies were present. We tried artificials, shiners, and Worm Blower injected nightcrawlers.

With rain supposedly coming our the way, we came early, at about 3:00, and stayed until 5:30 or later. Now dusk is falling, and just maybe someone out there will get a fish. Almost always it's best at dusk. But we've got plenty pike in the middle of the day. One 17-inch largemouth too... I guess that was 2009.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Windy, Sunny Conditions, 75 degrees, Made Bass Fishing Tough at Round Valley

I noticed no baitfish activity, spotted no bass or panfish at Round Valley. Speaking to a couple groups of anglers, including the guys in this boat trolling, no action at all. I stuck with my Strike King Senko-type worm rigged wacky. I had a half hour to fish it as persistently as I could. The bass may have been pretty deep, hiding from so much sun. Weightless Strike Kings get down to 15 to 20 feet easily. People say that wind on the water helps by breaking up light, but I usually find windy conditions this time of year through the summer aren't as productive. I often do well in the fall with wind.

With minutes to spare, I marched up to the pond aside from the reservoir hoping that warmer water might yield a bass in my favorite corner. Someone was fishing it. He had caught a few bass along the far shoreline. I made half a dozen casts further along the dike, then quickly hiked out after taking a few more photographs. It's early in the season yet. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just a Passing Glimpse among Maddened Dinosaurs on a Highway: Thoughts on the Value of Place

Three versions of the same place, photographed.

As I drive--especially since I drive all day for a living--I get short-lived moods that carry thoughts, these not processes of "getting to thinking" about something, because the business pace is fast and routinized, but connections having a spatial quality help me remember. They happen quick as I move on.

For a couple of minutes I was all over the state about ponds and lakes, and fascinated with how we sometimes have deep desires related to bodies of water we know, or want to know. It also occurred to me it's important to write about these moods because if we never were to read, write, or talk about appreciations that matter deeply, the likes would be forgotten. 

Even the ponds at Colonial Park in Franklin Township beckon to me, despite their sort of homogenized feel with short-cut grass surrounding, although a far shoreline features brush in the water, and trails skirt much of this largest pond with wooded space. I've known about the two ponds for many years. We took my son to play miniature golf at Halloween time from an early age. Just this past February we saw "Putnam County Spelling Bee" performed in Franklin Township, and as we drove past Colonial Park, I mentioned the ponds to my son, that we've never fished them. Then I came upon Catfish on the Lake, Mark Modoski's blog. Nice bass! From one of the Colonial Park ponds.

I probably won't get over there until this summer. Round Valley Reservoir now lures me. By June or so it's all over there. I'll go fish Colonial Park some 95-degree early afternoon.

Places exist all over. This planet truly is a Paradise we're usually exiled from. If we give up on our appreciations for what a lake, reservoir, pond, river, rill (I know one in Morris County about two feet wide I like) means to us personally, just each of us alone, although it is possible to communicate about to some degree, what's the glory of life anymore?

Just a passing glimpse among maddened dinosaurs on a highway. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Low Rivers Rise: Calm Before the Storm and a Season Start to Remember

South Branch Raritan near Flemington--I once caught a smallmouth under that trunk. The other river is the Lamington taken from the iron bridge over Cowperthwaite Road. In Chester, the head of this second river mentioned flows by the name Black River because the water is tannic, unique among Highlands rivers. When it becomes the Lamington well below the Black River Gorge, the tannic acid is washed out. 

Those guys are enjoying the low water conditions everyone's complaining about before the rivers become mad torrents, when the Nor'easter hits Saturday or Sunday.

With any fortune, levels will calm down enough for excellent salmon egg drifting for us next Wednesday on the North Branch, unless my son has a ball game. Not a complaint! Just have to sway with the turns. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crankbait and Jig & Worm for Pre-Spawn Largemouth

Mount Hope Pond is mostly about 15 feet deep, so it doesn't warm as fast as shallower, dingier ponds. For lunch break, I fished almost an hour, saw no bass, nor any sunfish, and the pond is loaded with panfish.

Storm's Hot 'n Tot was a pleasure to try. I've never seen a crankbait float so fast. It's got a quick action this way. I'm looking forward to trying this on Merrill Creek Reservoir. The Chompers weightless worm I did so well on May through July last year seemed too subtle for deep, spread out bass, cruising somewhere down along the edge where 15-foot flat bottom begins to rise to shallows, probably in between, on the ready to spawn as soon as afternoon water temperatures remain in the mid 60's a while.

So I tied on a Shaky Head jig and snagless rigged a twister Culprit worm. I let it sink. Waited. Hopped it a couple feet up, then let it free fall so it would strike bottom and perhaps draw attention.

It didn't work. But it was fun trying.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gateway National Recreation Area: "Are You Reelin' in the Years?"

It's getting near time to visit Sandy Hook Bay for a family outing and maybe some bluefish. Last year no one got a hit, and I didn't return to try again. The year before, blues were all over. When the blues are willing, metals are the quickest way to hook up. But once I noticed small blues around four pounds being caught on metals when I walked in. So I figured why not place a chunk of bunker on bottom and see what happens? I use a two-ounce bank sinker so it gets down fast, but drifts with incoming tidal current headed into Shrewsbury River. The hits are thrilling. Some think nothing beats teeth crashing into metal, but the feel of a blue taking bunker is firm and intimate. I caught one over seven, then hooked a blue much larger. It ran off 40 pound Power Pro, paused. I had just begun to gain line back when it tore off more, paused, then really bore out, and something popped. It actually broke the snap to my 30 pound test wire leader. I'm certain it was a blue by the power of the fight.

It's funny I find myself in a mood to level out some straightforward fishing information. I thought I might be otherwise tonight. The paragraph above represents a way I like to write, but I'm postive I'd go nuts if I limited myself to it. So Litton's Fishing Lines certainly recognizes that if it weren't for fishing, I wouldn't be a writer. At least I wouldn't be the writer I am; I began by writing for outdoor magazines at age 16. (More than writing, I fished.) 

I don't explain everything. I try not to upset the magic and mystery of language. I have a love for embedded propostions. Some blogger in Manhattan once remarked that he couldn't reference everything directly because of legal implications, but anyone could figure it out by going to other websites and cross referencing information.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Still Thinking of DeKorte Park Stripers, Rainbow Trout, but also Smallmouth Bass

Perhaps I'm looking forward to it: it's cool when tide is rushing out at DeKorte Park in the Meadowlands, leaving mud flats in the end. Stripers feed in the outflows from a flat slightly elevated above the lower. I just lost my drive this weekend. The park is a good hour away, and Garden State Parkway, Route 3, and so on is a challenge. I drive about 150 miles a day for my job through all sorts of busy chaos, but this is part of the reason I can sometimes just not want to deal with thousands of explosive gasoline engines roaring like dinosaurs. 

On the other hand, I've driven to the Meadowlands on a weekday after work, and often to the shore and as far down as Seaside evenings after work, too. From Bedminster, Seaside is about a 140-mile round trip. When I do these after work jaunts, they never have affected me as overdrawn.

Tide chart shows me I have to wait until next week. Maybe just as well. Rainbows should be stocked in the North Branch Wednesday, so if water levels rise, I'll probably have some fun with salmon eggs. 

Now that Route 206/202 bridge is not stocked, my favorite spot to drift eggs has few trout. And the crowed at AT&T seems to be larger now that no one stops at 206. Why did they stop stocking at the bridge? Did they just say "What the hell, it's easier not to bother?" Did Verizon complain about parked vehicles? 

To tell you the truth, I may not bother to fish trout this week. I went down to the river today at 206/202 easily within walking distance just to contemplate it, and I thought best of smallmouth bass anyway. Smallmouth bass are wild and uncomplicated by agency decisions or sloth, and never attract such rudeness in a crowd as referenced in a post recently.