Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Number of Really Big Smallmouths this Year

Another four-pound, eight-ounce smallmouth. Jealous. Laurie Murphy's report:

Just a reminder that The Knee Deep Club’s  Hybrid Striped Bass contest is  being held this weekend Sept. 22nd & 23rd. Stripers here have been hitting on chicken livers and herring. We have both available here at the shop and will be open at 5 AM for the contest. Entries are accepted up until 8 AM on Saturday. Gary Gurevich of Randolph NJ, fished with live bait and herring and had a variety of fish that kept him busy for most of the day. Jake Cerami, along with his friend Trevor Nilesen, caught pickerel and bass on their outing, the largest being 3 lbs 5oz. Jack Dziduch, fishing with his son casting small jigs and Rapala rippin raps, landed his 4 lb 8z smallmouth out of shallow water. Maquire Bruce - Lockhart (age 9) , landed a smallmouth also, weighing in around 3 pounds.  Although the lake drawdown begins this coming week, we will still have boats available thru November sometime, depending on the weather. We’ll be stocked up with plenty of Rapala ice jigs for the fall jigging season. We also have new Bomber colors in stock. Have a great week...

Monday, September 17, 2018


Island Beach State Park with my wife yesterday was a nice time, but instead of fishing much, we relaxed and talked and I read a story about trout fishing a little unnamed river in the Rockies, one of many stories collected in The Greatest Fishing Stories Ever Told, edited by Lamar Underwood, published by Lyon's Press. We made our usual stop at Murphy's Hook House for a bucketful of killies, and then soon after buying some burgers to take into the park, found the beach crowded, the surf pretty rough. I cast killies weighted by a 3/4-ounce steel slip sinker using my seven-foot Speed Stick, the rig holding bottom OK, but nothing biting. Towards sunset I tried again, finding the surf had calmed down considerably, and soon watching the guy next to me reel in a foot-long blue. I had just lost a killie to the tell-tale tapping of a snapper blue, only the head remaining. The other guy used peanut bunker heavily weighted.

I gave that better surf a good try, but never got another hit.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Some Big Fish Brought in from Hopatcong

Laurie Murphy:

Finally, with some cooler water temps after all the rain, lots of nice fish are starting to be caught. Hybrid Stripers are starting to hit on liver, fishing off of Chestnut Point, with fish in the 4 to 6 pound fish. Still using herring tho, Jim Welsh made his way to the scales with a Hybrid weighing 9 lbs 4 oz,  and several walleye in the 3 and 4 pound range, also catching lots of crappie, catfish and white perch. Lou Marcucci had a mixed bag of fish, his largest, a walleye weighing 6 lb 2 oz. Jack Dziduch, casting a small Rapala rippin rap, caught his 4 lb 8 oz smallmouth in shallower water.  We are open 7 days a week, from 6 AM to 6:30 PM. With the lake drawdown beginning at the end of the month, we will still have boats in the water until Nov sometime. We are well stocked with whatever you need to fish.  Have a great week...

Monday, September 10, 2018

Latest on RVR Project

Work on the Round Valley Reservoir dams scheduled to begin this summer is delayed until October. Current water level will be maintained for now. Here's a link to the project update:

Friday, September 7, 2018

If You are On Fish--It Works

So Fred and I managed to get out and fish, despite worries that schedules would not coincide. When we learned they would, Fred suggested Spruce Run Reservoir as a possible destination. I emailed him about the "23- to 25-inch largemouth bass" Phillipe Rochat lost back near the power lines earlier this summer. When we got to the area, I didn't feel the mystical aura as Phillipe's story had impressed me, but the clouds were keeping the newly risen sun in check, the air was heavy but not too warm, and everything about our situation resolved itself in a certain sum I felt comfortable with: Summer fishing was definitely not over, no sign of transition to fall as of this morning.

Fred began fishing a Senko; I fished a 3/8th-ounce Rebel Pop-R. Using the electric, we rounded a bend into a cove (I checked the name of that cove and depths on a map, but don't have that map handy now), and just as I was beginning to feel that for whatever reason my plug was ineffective despite calm surface, Fred hooked and caught his first bass, weighing it by use of his Berkeley grip scale at one pound, 10 ounces. I started casting my Chompers weightless on the five-and-a-half-foot St. Croix.

We came upon evidence of some wood in the water, some of that wood breaking surface, and I winged a cast to it, missing my opportunity to knock wood by about three or four inches. Line began moving off to the left, I reeled to gather slack and set the hook. Nice bass, hooked in about four feet of water. I asked Fred if his scale is accurate, telling him I have a Rapala scale. I didn't think to mention that I intend to check the accuracy against a five-pound bag of sugar or the like. It was big-headed skinny bass, not quite 18 inches, perhaps, but definitely close to that length if not that long, and the scale put the fish at two pounds, 13 ounces. The fish had a big gaping mouth and I would have thought it weighed three pounds, but now I remind myself that I caught a 19-incher a couple of summers ago I felt convinced would weigh no more than three pounds. After catching the fat 23 1/4-inch largemouth at Merrill Creek Reservoir in June, I want to keep my new scale handy, so long as it does weigh accurately. By the length and girth conversion tables I've read, my guess about that fishes' weight seems spot on. Seven-and-a-half pounds. But while talking to Mike Maxwell shortly after I made the catch, and getting the opinion from elsewhere that the fish might have been pushing eight, I said, "I don't want to catch an eight-pound bass and not know I caught it!" I'm satisfied with believing it wasn't that big, but have my scale hereon.

We continued to the back of the cove and up the other side and on back towards Mulhockaway Creek. Fred missed two or three hits and caught a smallish bass. Soon he caught another nice one I photographed. Later, we tried another cove and before we got discouraged by too-shallow water, I had caught a smallmouth on my first cast, Fred pointing out that we cast towards the bank from two-foot depths under the boat. I stuck my rod tip to bottom, finding it gravelly, which helps a little to explain the catch.

Somehow or other, this morning out seemed to go by fast. We had to use the facilities in the launch area after about four hours of fishing, and just as someone else was getting off the reservoir with two five-pound hybrid bass, he offered us his leftover herring, four of them, and told us where to try. My fish sense really woke up where some rocks protruded from shore and a sort of hole like a basin 15 feet deep existed only 20 or 30 yards from shore. By other accounts I got before Fred and I went out, the hybrids are out suspended over main lake depths, but I felt that for whatever reason, fish were in pretty close here. Fred still has to figure out how to read fish on his graph, but the fish alarm was going off, and though we weren't sure what tripped it off, the underlying resonance of that fish sense in my brain rather than a mere electronic unit made this spot interesting to me. It's not that I capitulate to certain belief when I feel this way; I just let it be for whatever and however it is.

Guys on this reservoir are really going whole-hog when it comes to equipment, spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on lead-core line tackle and the like, but I like my simple lake Hopatcong tactic: A size 10 treble hook hooked through the herring's nostrils with no other attachments to the line. No weight, nothing. Just cast the herring out and let it swim. Obviously, you have to be on fish for this work, and if you are on fish--it works.

It fought like a hybrid. I lost it almost boatside but never saw the fish. It was no crappie. It could have been a smallmouth, I guess. It could have weighed two, maybe two-and-a-half pounds. Not a big hybrid, but we left the reservoir with me feeling that if we had a bucket full of herring, maybe we would have done very well.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

My Facebook Friend is Still Typing

Awoke early this morning and drove my son and his mother to the train station, where they got onboard, heading for Boston where Matt is now a Sophomore at Boston University. So as it concerns us, and I mean readers included, the summer of 2018 has come to a finish line, though this doesn't mean the summer fishing is quite over yet altogether, but now I turn to friends to fish. I sent a number of emails out over the past couple of days. Fred's already responded, as has Jorge, and then Fred followed up on a reply, so unexpectedly, it looks like we're on for Friday. Fred and I have been all but totally jinxed for time off coincided, so I was planning on a solo venture to a favorite South Branch spot, either at first light or near sunset Friday, the vision of that 17-incher throwing the topwater plug back in June as compelling as life itself. So perhaps I should make the effort to get up before work someday and give that bass another offer.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing Fred and possibly a nice bass or two. (I expect to hear from Lenny about this on Monday.)

A friend has been typing a comment on my Facebook page for at least the last 20 minutes. I don't expect to reply as long, lol. I would type for hours this post, because I could easily say as much, but tonight I would have preferred my spiel to issue over beers with a friend. Anyway, the less a blog is a lonely and isolated venture of one individual, the better, because the web represents the world community, and though no community can possibly exist, except for the individual (that's what's written on Soren Kierkegaard's tombstone, "the individual," but if you don't know who he is, he expected as much), no individual exists without others, either; elementary, and yet maybe we happen to stare into screens at the loss of connect, but it will be real good to hear from Lenny by staring into mine.

The point is, I don't write and post photos here as an egomaniac or boast. I use my name in the blog's title, but I've never believed a name is foul language. Lenny's disagreement on this point is a jest invited every time, and it ramps up the share numbers, because without a little wrangling between readers, we're only wrangling with fish, and they're dumb compared to us.

My Facebook friend is still typing. It's unbelievable.

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: