Sunday, October 26, 2014

Walleye and Hybrid Striped Bass Hit at Drop-Off Bottom Edge

At least I thought I heard the temperature was supposed to rise well into the 60's today, chance of some sprinkles in the morning. Some of the Highlands region did get a little rain well before sunrise, and then a cold front pressed down on New Jersey. When we motored across Hopatcong, powered by a 9.9-horsepower Susuki--one of Dow's Boat Rental's--the wind already kicked up enough for me to get drenched back in the stern. Overhead, the stars almost had wilderness quality, very bright and numerous. I kept at full throttle despite getting wet.

I felt surprised when I opened the photo (below) of me with the first walleye. I caught it before sunrise, but it seemed as if we had fished a long while, yet the light reveals an early moment. Matt had caught a bullhead on a live herring; herring, by the way, are available only in small two-and-a-half to three-inch sizes. I don't know if that's why we caught two more bullheads and apparently lost another. Jimmy at Dows told me not to expect any large herring for the rest of the season. We certainly have no complaints; we caught some nice fish.

After Matt caught his walleye and I had caught both of my hybrids, the anchor began to drag, and I averted the boat and motor crashing into rocks. We had been taking turns with our herring rods, one fish, and then the next.

I don't reflect on issues like this well when I'm on the water, but now I see that it's appropriate next time that bullheads don't count. Matt got a smallmouth, a nice crappie, and his walleye was bigger than mine, but I got two hybrids in addition to the walleye I caught. We caught yellow perch and sunnies on nightcrawlers besides. It's a different way to fish, the setting of herring on bottom, more like ice fishing when you take turns with tip-ups collectively. We used to designate our own two herring rods and go with that, more like the individualistic tradition of every angler for himself, even in good company. On an outing in October 2011, my son & I tallied up nine hybrids for me, eight for him, which is pretty much an equal cut, except that my son should have the privilege of catching more than Dad. We did it the individualistic way by dividing our own rods apart. Now I like putting all four in use, taking turns, and next time not counting bullheads, or crappies for that matter. Even though a crappie is a gamefish, it's not on par with walleye or hybrids in our opinion.

At least when we began fishing Lake Hopatcong in the summer of  2007, Matt caught a five-pound walleye, and I just caught a few bass. He caught some bass too. And he caught our first keeper hybrid, along with others, and walleye on other occasions. He has no complaints. For all I really know, I was right to start him out by minding his own rods rather than pooling them all together. That's how we began ice fishing when he was eight, pooling them, but tip-ups are more and less identical. A rod and reel is specially your own, and more than "teach" Matt to value his own things, I provided things for him, and I pointed to opportunities for his acquisitiveness. He bought his own Nikon D-60 when he was eight. It cost him more than $600.00; a significant amount of that money he earned by getting photos he took published along with articles I wrote for fishing magazines. Before he owned his own camera, he was using mine.

Before we arrived (and learned that it was supposed to really blow, and that fishing has been very slow), I expected to fish Binsky and Cicada bladebaits for the most part. We did fish these for an hour-and-a-half at the end of the morning and just after noon, but got nothing on them. We hadn't seen but a couple of other boats. Now that we fished out of the wind, boats appeared plenty.

I wonder how they did. We had let wind rip right through us for hours. In the fall, I find windy conditions better, so I'm less likely to fish where we would feel more comfortable and take care of things easier. But fishing a bladebait among whitecaps would have been ridiculous, at least I think so. Otherwise, anchored in the wind, line remained just at the edge of being all over the place, I mean, you would think the tangles would be constant with four out and two more fishing crawlers, but we've done this before a number of times and it works out. We soaked bait and fish found it.

 Matt did his sleeping early in the morning. He told me he was very comfortable.