Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lake Musconetcong Returned to Clarity with Vegetation

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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Round Valley Reservoir Bass Fishing Awakened

 Had little over half an hour to fish, tried Round Valley Pond first without a hit. Water's clearer than last year because suspended algae and other particles that obscure a more fertile water than the reservoir haven't grown due to chillier weather. I missed a hit in the reservoir, then caught this single bass on the next cast, which may have been the same fish, on eight-inch Chompers worm.

Now that it's May 17th, I have two more days inside the region of the park that closes on Memorial Day, but can still fish a few spots I know thereafter, and perhaps this year with the colder water, I'll catch bass into June. Knock on wood, but I see little harm naming the possibility. Who knows, there's the slight chance I'll show up on Memorial Day weekend too, but we have plans to fly fish the Flatbrook and investigate some lakes in the Ridge & Valley region one of those days. I love Round Valley this time of year. It is so much more positive and inviting than during the cold season, as much as I relish those harsh months for the solitude and hard efforts. I fished for over four months all winter and the edges of the other two seasons, and it was truly awesome, but in a very lonesome way. As often as not, I never saw anyone else during an entire outing. More than anything else, cold weather does not draw a warm spirit out into the environment from within, the way a warm, sunny day does. Fully aware of the range of my sight--even more so than now with warm weather--it was like seeing from the head more than feeling with the body.

Today I actually desired to swim in the Pond. With the stones gleaming in the sun on the bottom, I could almost feel them as I would barefooted, but that's not allowed. You have to use the swimming beach and only Memorial Day and after until Labor Day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pitching the Shadow Line for Largemouth Bass

Finally caught some fish after going skunked since that big bass, besides a seven-inch white perch fishing stripers on the Hudson. I tried Round Valley Monday and yesterday. On Monday it was 52 degrees at 2:00 pm, way too cold for reservoir bass and not a hit in the pond either. Yesterday I went to Beher's and bought shiners to try for brown trout. Sky overcast with light showers, I hoped this would hold out. But once I got to the reservoir, skies cleared. I put a shiner down 20 to 30 feet deep twice for trout, two spots in Ranger Cove, but having noticed a bass fisherman catch one on a minnow plug after telling me he had caught three. So bass are active. I tried live lining the shiners shallow and had a pickerel cut off. But I spotted a smallmouth bass--the largest I've ever seen--six pounds to my estimate. The notion that I had just the right bait to tempt a hit wasn't convincing. I figured this bass would ignore persistent offering and did.

Today I pitched a bright blue Chompers worm to the sunny sides of Mount Hope shadow lines--and well outside in the sun too, which is where I caught both bass associated with fallen timber. (Could have been under the logs, but the logs were about eight inches in diameter.) The idea behind fishing the shadow line by placing a worm in the sunlight near the shadow edge is that sunlight highlights the worm, particularly if brightly colored. Bass in shade rush out and take.

I had to persist like a pro today. My last bass, 14 inches, I caught on my last cast. But I was up for fishing hard. Some days energy fits like hand in glove and whatever means are at my disposal get used well with an effortless feeling. I felt a little critical of my pitching. Every cast or pitch counts. I fished some complicated sticks and getting the worm right on the spot can make all the difference. But those pitches and casts that didn't fall right I just ignored once I noted them and tried again.