Friday, July 3, 2015

South Branch Raritan River Morning Smallmouth Quest

Noel and I waded about a mile downstream the river, beginning at 6:30 this morning. I thought things in our favor, catching a 10-inch smallmouth bass on my second cast, but although I missed some hits, and Noel caught a lot of little bass and another almost average-size, this proved to be a morning for enjoying the river as a river, and each other's company, more than for catching fish. I thought back over the fishing I've done up and down this river for the past six years. Really felt good I didn't miss out this year, the previous outing at the railroad trestle all too short and unproductive, besides photos.

As I expected, the river's running a little stained. I typically find the fishing better when it's very clear. I fished a five-inch Senko-style worm, switching to a Chompers as we neared our turn-around. Noel fished a sixteenth-ounce jig and also a tiny Echo jerkbait, casting distances that surprised me. His G. Loomis rods really seemed to make a difference. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part, but especially the little jigs Noel fish interested me.

I waited to see if he'd show me up, but never felt any inclination to make a switch from my big worms. I've spent six years fishing the river on fairly frequent occasion, but never have experimented with different lures much. Not since the Stony Brook, Mercer County days of my youth. I noticed my package of tube plastics in my tote this morning, and I've wondered recently if I'll ever try them... The Echo comes from Australia, I believe he said, and the cost is $18.00 each. Noel likes the internal rattle.

We hiked back along a trail for about a mile, the nerve leading down my left leg giving me some trouble. I may be 54, but I don't feel old, and I wondered if the likes of lugging a heavy camera bag on one shoulder, a heavy tackle tote on another used to be a drag. I couldn't quite remember, but probably not. And I certainly had no trouble with nerves due to herniated disks in my back. So physically, I'm wearing down a little, but it doesn't seem very important. May not be able to backpack in the Pinelands as I would like to do with my son, since my upper back pains me whenever I lug anything heavy for awhile, but the mind and spirit remain optimistic, as I want to be on my deathbed.

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