Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good Size Smallmouth Bass South Branch Raritan River

 Used a Senko-type worm, South Branch Rartian River stretch, to catch a nice smallmouth and two others. Some mornings are hard and forgetting sneakers and shorts easy. So I fished on more and less dry rocks and the heavy worm carried line clear to the other side.

Having fished about 20 minutes, I tried a pool with fast, strong current dividing it, got two hits, but left not 10 minutes later fairly convinced that most smallmouth action is in stretches and deep holes with slow current, a summation of years of experience, although I won't overlook possibilities at fast water edges.

Most might think walleye are deep, slow water predators, but I catch them in strong riffles four feet deep on the Delaware to the exclusion of bass.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fishing Logs: Why Does Fishing Matter?

Had 15 minutes to fish around lunchtime, so I marched down along the edge of woods to step on rocks and access this spot on South Branch Raritan River in my hiking boots. Two hits on Senko-type worm may have been smallmouths, but felt more like trout, although that's impossible with water temperatures this summer. Any trout are dead or closely related to any springs, and down this far, springs are rare if nonexistant. Some panfish twiddled with the worm otherwise.

But my thought for today concerns fishing logs. I have kept handwritten logs since 1974. Someday my grandchildren may read them.

I like when I place numerical figures beyond 0 in columns reserved to identify numbers of possible species of fish caught, plus a leftover column for whatever other gamefish species, identified in a space for written notes. I don't include panfish or so-called trash fish; they are not trash, but they aren't as much game, although its possible I will include carp; I think so if Matt and I go for them. I have caught one 12-inch carp in all my life. Oh, forgot the five-pound carp that hit a jig intended for walleye on the Delaware. The other was from Little Shabakunk Creek.

I could strategize my fishing just to have numbers in the columns each outing, like a politician would who can't afford--it would only seem--to fail. I don't fish that way and getting skunked today ended an 11-outing streak of catching gamefish. So this would be interesting to write more on sometime, since the purpose of fishing is obviously to catch fish. But, in fact, our motivations to catch fish are complex and subtle. Fishing in a neighbor's backyard pool stocked with bass isn't the sport. How we go about fishing is a profound question to ask. What makes this worthwhile? Why does fishing matter?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Raritan River Confluence Smallmouth Bass

 We intended mainly to fish the stretch just below the North/South Branch confluence to the dam, but it was dead, although Fred has never been skunked here before. His Mad River Canoe gave us full access, and also allowed us to paddle upstream. Before we abandoned good looking water, we fished rocks carefully in water as deep as eight feet, Fred with a Senko, me with an eighth-ounce jig and Berkeley Gulp leech. Fred has caught a lot of largemouths in this stretch, too, and a four-pound smallmouth.

We ventured well upstream into the North Branch, water much shallower, but three and four-foot depths yielded some bass, average stream size. I kept with my jig despite the shallows. One of the bass picked it up off bottom after I allowed a long moment. Part of these stretches about four feet deep gave me that subtle feeling of awe when you know a really good bass is possible. But possibility usually doesn't actualize. Nevertheless, give up on possibility, and it's all downhill and into the grave with regret.

We carefully observed a pileated woodpecker. You know, Woody the Woodpecker, those great, large birds striking as ravens, but more so for the red crest, white wing patches, and large, powerful bill.