Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lake Musconetcong Falls to Weed Killer Again: Largemouth Bass, but no Pickerel

Steve caught two, me four, if you count the one I never gripped, perhaps the largest, which I foolishly attempted to hoist and take by the mouth. Using 15 pound Power Pro and a stout 15 pound fluorocarbon leader, I just did it by impulse and had it up against the gunnel when the hook pulled. Missed some hits on the spinnerbait; I was using black despite the sunshine, the water turbid anyway. With the Pop-R, I had only one hit and caught the bass, feeling bad because it was really Steve's fish; he had missed the hit on his Pop-R, and I just thought, "Cast near shore," and fired off, the plug hitting water just yards from where Steve's got struck, not thinking to let the area be for him. We laughed it off, but I was real glad he caught bass, both on the Pop-R. We had a real good time with lot's of conversation and laughter. Most of the bass were about 16 1/2 inches to about 17 inches.

Pads are emerging, but far from fully up. Mostly, we targeted edges and slots. I feel full of zest after three hours of good fishing, but compared to outings in the past, it was slow. Nevertheless, I fished especially spinnerbaits, investing every cast with consciousness. And this paid off. Keeping retrieves at slow to moderate speed, I caught three, and then another on the surface plug after sunset. We fished pads carefully, but not all the bass were among them. We felt a different vibration--with Power Pro braid and sensitive graphite rod a spinnerbait let's you feel it working--than plastic worm fishing, and I can't wait to do it again next year. Fred and I may topwater fish in August, but with weed killer administered again, the fishing may be very slow. My son Matt and I got skunked at least once in 2010 after weed killer ruined everything.

Lake Musconetcong is normally a very clear water lake; aquatic vegetation acts as a filter to keep the water clean, but the water chestnut problem is deadly serious. Ultimately, water chestnuts create an anoxic condition by covering an entire lake, blocking sunlight, and suffocating all life beneath. The only hope for the lake is for the chestnuts to eventually be eradicated, water clarity returning along with fish populations.

We had no encounters with pickerel.


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