Thursday, August 30, 2018

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Hosted by Musconetcong Watershed Association

Press release:

Photo care of MWA

Contact: Karen Doerfer, Communications Coordinator, Musconetcong Watershed Association,, (908) 537-7060


The Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Hackettstown, NJ: Join the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) when they host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour sponsored by National Park Service at Centenary University on Sunday, September 9th from 10 am to 2 pm.  This year, the tour celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. 

Northwestern New Jersey has three National Wild and Scenic Rivers: the Musconetcong, the Lower Delaware (Harmony Township to Trenton), and the Middle Delaware (Delaware Water Gap National Park).  A panel of speakers will discuss river conservation issues and recreational opportunities on these rivers.

Featured at the tour event at Centenary, is the film River Connections.  This film interviews local residents and MWA Executive Director Alan Hunt discussing the benefits of the Musconetcong’s most recent dam removal and the return of the American shad to the River.  The festival is a natural extension of the MWA’s work to inspire people to protect and conserve the river, its watershed, and the region’s cultural and historic resources. 

“This is the first time the Wild and Scenic Film Festival is coming to our region.  We are proud to have a film featured in it and that we are able to offer free admission through the generosity of sponsor,” said Hunt. “We want to inspire people to visit and protect these national treasures that are right in our backyard – that is what the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is all about.”

The Musconetcong River is a Partnership Wild & Scenic River and is managed by local governments and non-government organizations through the Musconetcong River Management Council.  MWA serves on this Council and was instrumental in supporting Congress’s 2006 designation of the Musconetcong as a National Wild and Scenic River. 

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a collection of films from the annual festival held the third week of January in Nevada City, CA which is now in its 16th year!  Wild & Scenic focuses on films which speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet.

“Films featured at Wild & Scenic showcase frontline activism and stunning cinematography,” says On Tour Manager, Johan Ehde. “Our changing Earth is at the forefront of conversations nationally and globally.  Now, more than ever, it is imperative that individuals propel the groundswell of the environmental movement.  Collectively, we CAN make a difference!”

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the watershed advocacy group, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) in 2003.  The festival’s namesake is in celebration of SYRCL’s landmark victory to receive “Wild & Scenic” status for 39 miles of the South Yuba River in 1999.  The 5-day event features over 150 award-winning films and welcomes over 100 guest speakers, celebrities, and activists who bring a human face to the environmental movement.  The home festival kicks-off the international tour to over 170 communities around the globe, allowing SYRCL to share their success as an environmental group with other organizations.  The festival is building a network of grassroots organizations connected by a common goal of using film to inspire activism.  With the support of National Partners:  Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, CLIF Bar, EarthJustice, Klean Kanteen, Peak Design, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, the festival can reach an even larger audience.

The Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of the Musconetcong River and its Watershed, including its natural and cultural resources.


Date and Time:  Doors open at 10 am and shows start at 11 am

Venue Name and Address: Centenary University, Sitnik Theature, 400 Jefferson St, Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Ticket Prices: FREE! But please register here:


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Killie Skunker

Just got back from fishing the North Branch with my son. Killies we took home after Island Beach State Park survived in an aerated bucket while we were away on vacation.

I told Matt, "If smallmouth always hit, we wouldn't respect them as much."

"Yeah, like sunnies."

"They don't always hit, either."

"I don't think there's been one time I couldn't get them to hit something small."

So I told him about my attempt at catching them in Stony Brook on a cold January day. (When I was 12.) Not a hit.

"Well, yeah, during winter."

This morning I watched a 17-incher nose around a wriggling killie, refusing to take, after it swam slowly along some rocks my way after ignoring Matt's killie.. I later watched a nine-incher take that killlie broadside. Then the fish expelled the bait. The only hit I got. Something else sort of took Matt's. The only killie he used. Maybe a sunfish. I watched an 11-inch smallmouth stare at a killie in front of its nose and then slowly swim away.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Bluefish are Oily like Butter

 I finally took a shot of one of the "Kingfish" I've mentioned in recent posts.

If you ever stop in Exmore, VA,, get dinner at El Maguey. The Mexican food is authentic, and the Horache soft drink has a sweet and spicy flavor that balances. I was talking to a young man here at the Holiday Inn who has some experience fishing Rolling Point on the Chesapeake up the road near Pokomoke City, MD, telling me about catfish. I asked him what kind, and he didn't know, but from the bay I can only imagine they're the saltwater species I was fascinated in as a boy.

I've never seen one. Then or since. But I read about them and contemplated pictures.

After a long afternoon on the beach yesterday--this included a long time in the water with my son--we fished one of Matt's new-found spots, which started slow, Matt catching a snapper blue on the Shorty, nothing happening for me. Matt took a walk and then called me over, visibly excited. I didn't see the fish, but by his fully trustworthy, experienced, and accurate account it was a sheepshead twice the size of any we caught with Ryan O'Neal eight years ago, which puts the fish somewhere around 10 to 14 pounds. These fish, and I say "these" because barnacles are abundant and so there are surely a number of the fish, won't be easy to catch. The best we could do last night involved Matt dialing in his mobile device on bait for them, confirming that shrimp works, and me walking back to the car to get my Maxwell House can with some shrimp in it.

I caught the kingfish, the gag grouper photographed below, and a pigfish, but of course the wary Sheepshead never got near the shrimp--I assume--before bait stealers tore most of the bait from the hook. I tried fishing that shrimp like I fish a weightless worm. No added weight, the best I could do to try and tempt a truly large fish, but I imagine that even with future attempts here, we may never get one of these big ones. 

We need to bring the net next time, though.

Matt caught some more blues and killed them for shark bait. This third night in the surf worked out. A full moon had risen slightly to our left over the brine. Directly in front, the red planet, Mars, stood. The god of war meant more than Nasa may capture, because lit by a distant sun, he cannot submit as local prying and plying can only take piecemeal. Directly on our right, Venus or Jupiter. I imagine Venus, that woman who incites a volatile temperament. Matt distinguished the hit from the sting ray he caught, from what he's sure was a shark. That "shark" delivered two distinct chomps. Seems like a shark to me, too. In 2013, fishing the end of Avon Pier for king mackerel, one of our live bait offerings--a large spot--disappeared. I mentioned this odd situation to our fellow and more experienced king mackerel fishermen from Virginia. I was told, "Sometimes a blacktip just chews it off the hook." 

Before we waited on the bait last night, we decided on what to do when a hit would come. Matt chose to let the shark take some line before he would set. I told him that by using the circle hook he bought, he really wouldn't have to set, but in any event, begin reeling. Oddly to him, this fish on his bait hadn't taken any line. And then he pulled on the rig, feeling no added resistance from that bait. So he began reeling in. No resistance. Just the weight of the sinker. The bait got chomped off the hook.

"Bluefish are oily like butter," I said. 

 It's a grouper and I think a gag grouper.
 Southern stingray
 I boosted ISO to I think 4000 and the original RAW image came out very dark, photo shot at about 11:00 pm, but look at not only what I was able to do in Lightroom; the amazing thing to me is that through the darkness of night, the camera picked up green in the dunes many yards away. It was a full moon, but we couldn't begin to distinguish green by eyesight.
Teaches Lair. Tackle and stuff where we stopped moments after getting onto Hatteras Island on our way here to Exmore, VA. (As far as we know, Teach never made a lair for himself along Hatteras, though he certainly did at Ocracoke.)