Someone should write a song, "Endless Winter." Here it is almost May and unopened tulip buds remain in New Jersey. Forsythia blooms normally gone by now, peak now with florid yellow. Fred and I fished a North Jersey lake and pond next to it. I wore a fleeced jacket and remained a little uncomfortable. When we left, my hands felt stiff from cold.
I began with a Husky Jerk. A pickerel--probably the pickerel I caught a little while later on a shiner--swiped at it twice, visible in clear water. Fred tossed a plastic worm, fishing slow on bottom. I gave in pretty quick to the dozen large shiners I bought just in case. Last year, we fished here on a much colder day in the middle of April and caught bass after bass out in 15 feet of water on shiners. Curiosity impelled me to see if the likes might happen again, though they did not.
The hike to the pond stirred energies that had flattened with little response from the water to awaken feeling. The single fish had struck about eight feet down, and before it fought with the typical one-line direction of a smallish pickerel, I hoped for a big bass like last year. I managed to catch another small pickerel and a slab crappie in the pond. When the braid line began to produce a little wake on calm surface, sort of slipping away at a snake's pace, I felt a familiar twinge of excitement, grateful for it whatever the mystery having taken the shiner would be. No six-pound bass like Fred caught in this pond last summer, the crappie satisfied enough.
A while later, Fred succumbed to temptation and rigged his rod with a bobber. Soon I suggested we go back to where we started. The water we presently fished rather shallow, any fish for yards around could sense our shiners by their sensory lateral lines, and nothing more happened. The spot felt right, a sort of cove-like curvaceous end-of-a-pond, and if water warmed, it likely would have been better fishing.
Back at my favorite lake spot, Fred angled his bobber here and there a few times. I live-lined my bait, casting deep and setting the rod down as I shot photos before I suggested we go home.
"Why don't you try one more," I said.
Fred had rigged to live-line. It didn't take long before he caught the only bass of the afternoon and evening.
Nice outing. Always good to catch up with a friend.