I told Matt Tilcon Lake would be interesting, which it proved to be especially because he lost a bass much larger than this 19 incher he photographed. We both got a view of it before it dove into thick vegetation and pulled the hook. I think 22 inches.
I had planned on Lake Musconetcong months ahead, and a week or so ago saw the opportunity to fish Tilcon in the afternoon before taking a boat out. We usually fish Musconetcong near sunset. I was surprised that thick vegetation is back. With this, clear water. At first I was a little disappointed because I had wanted to troll with the electric. But once we got out there, it felt good being back on the old lake again. I didn't see any water chestnuts, the invasive vegetation that apparently was a reason for all the noxious chemicals dumped into the lake to kill everything in 2010. You'd think my emotional response on seeing weeds would have been pure elation, the way I had rued what was done and written about it too. But I got a little used to it; Steve Slota and I did pretty well in May 2011, and I was interested in how the fishing would be without the weeds this year and whether or not water clarity would have returned without vegetation to filter it. Likely it needed the greenery to restore its wild and more pristine quality.
Today it was freezing out there. Well, in the 50's somewhere. The water felt very warm. I had no thermometer, but I guess it was about 68. We missed a lot of hits and a number of pickerel followed without striking as they often do with cooling water. One of those did hit my son's Bouhlia Bait at boatside and cleanly severed the 15 pound fluorocarbon leader. It did that in one fell swoop. Matt hardly even felt the fish on at all, just astonishment at an enormous blast and no lure. I saw it floating a few yards away and retrieved it back on a treble. We fished nothing but topwaters.
Usually we stay into night, see the stars overhead as we row back. It was too cold. Pickerel were only following in and as dusk neared, action abandoned us, and both of us kept lowering towards the point of beginning to shiver. I said to Matt, "On a 90 degree August evening, they'll hit as it gets dark."
They'll hit like they mean it and I hope we'll be there.