Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Annual Wine Tasting Event on the Musconetcong


Event Name: Wine Tasting on the Musky

Date: October 12, 2019 (Rain Date: October 12, 2019)

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Contact: Alan Hunt, Executive Director, Musconetcong Watershed Association, (908) 537-7060 or

Musconetcong Watershed Association to host 17th Annual Wine Tasting on the Musky

The Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) will host a wine tasting on Saturday, October 12 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Warren County Rod & Gun Club Pavilion, 279 Asbury-Bloomsbury Road, Asbury, NJ 08802.  The rain date is Sunday, October 13 at the same time.

Guests will enjoy dozens of fine wines as well as a curated selection of craft beer and ciders thanks to sponsor Perryville Wine & Spirits.  The tasting will include selections from local producers as well as an interesting assortment from around the world.

There will be live music by the Caren Kennedy Duo, and the first 100 attendees will receive a commemorative stemless wine glass.  Guests won’t want to miss the annual rubber ducky regatta on the Musconetcong River where sponsoring a duck provides the opportunity to win bragging rights for fastest waterfowl.

Tickets are $30 pre-paid or $35 at the door.  Call 908-537-7060 or visit to buy online.  Proceeds benefit the MWA, and a portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Anticipating Sunday Ahead

The plan was to fish Merrill Creek Reservoir. Getting skunked at Split Rock changed my mind, particularly because I see such potential for trolling crankbaits there. At least, I see the rocky shorelines dropping off quickly. (I really only assume this potential.) There may be reasons I don't know about which prevent Oliver Shapiro and I from connecting.

Another problem with Merrill Creek Reservoir is the heavy timber we would fish. I have felt my tackle isn't up to it. I have a medium-heavy Lew's Speed Stick, the Ardent spinning reel loaded with 20-pound braid. Just the other day, a coworker at Shop Rite and I discussed the use of braid up to 65-pound-test for fishing largemouths. And then, last night, I came upon a great article in The Fisherman by Mark Modoski. An issue from two or three years ago, Modoski had interviewed professional bass fisherman Denny Bauer on flipping and pitching bass with heavy tackle and the careful use of a bow-mount electric motor. I read it in my car while on break today.

Both instances spoke to my fears about Merrill Creek, after the fact. I caught a largemouth of nearly eight pounds there a year ago, fortunately from deep water away from cover...

Many anglers feel 20-pound braid is heavy stuff. It's not very. Nor is a medium-heavy spinning rod, but while I could afford a seven-and-a-half-foot heavy-power baitcasting outfit, I won't, because I can't afford a bassboat with a bow-mount electric apparently needed to methodically ply heavy cover. But anyone who has followed this blog all along since 2011 knows I have fished cover since 2011, and that I promote the habit. Until last year, I kept to a mere medium-power spinning rod and 15-pound test braid, until, early last summer, a bass seemed to nearly bring that rod to its breaking point at Tilcon Lake, owing to this fish stuffing its head into thick weeds.

Many years ago now, before I began blogging, my son and I fished Lake Musconetcong constantly, but never caught a largemouth much over three pounds, which left us wondering. Well, the apparent reason wasn't hard to figure out, once I attended a Knee Deep Club meeting featuring a seminar by a Lake Musconetcong regular. He had caught four largemouths in the lake over seven pounds during that summer, and his secret was really very simple. He penetrated the thickest weeds with tungsten jigs and horsed big bass out of it.

Biggest bass=thickest cover.

I don't have equipment for it. Or this is my starting point to test, though I'll skip Merrill Creek and stick to my little lakes next summer. Furnace Lake is one of them, and on Furnace with Fred Matero in July this year, I was afflicted by a mixture of stupidity and curiosity, sticking to my medium-power rod and that 15-pound braid while fishing thick weeds, when I had the Speed Stick I had bought for exactly this purpose right in the canoe next to me. So after catching a two-and-a-half-pounder, the significantly larger bass I hooked--I could tell it was no five-pounder--put me in an acutely observant state of mind. I took in every nuance of the contest I felt, because it was all about testing that light rod and light line test. I noticed that it seemed to have more power than I had thought it had on Tilcon last year. I was horsing a bass of about three pounds, three-and-a-half at most, along with a load of weeds, and it seemed as if I would get the fish into the canoe. Apparently, the hook pulled because it never set quite well enough, but I couldn't be sure. You never want a bass to bog down in weeds, because the line can loosen between the hook and where weeds catch on the line. (Bass throws hook.) For all I know, the additional power I certainly could have exerted on the bass with my medium-heavy rod would have resulted in bass caught.

Anyhow, when all is said and done, I believe in anglers who can't afford bassboats, more than I believe in those who can. For me, angling is first and foremost about the big picture, secondarily about how it is done. If you can afford a bassboat, good for you; I certainly would never deny money matters, and that fishing practices matter, too. But above and beyond it all. That alone is where possibilities reside.

(There's more you can do with what you own than advertisers will tell you.)