Friday, June 17, 2022

Knee Deep Bass Derby Sunday the 26th

 Laurie Murphy:

The Knee Deep Club will be holding their Stew Lant Bass Challenge on Sunday June 26 th . There will be cash prizes for the 3 heaviest  largemouth or smallmouth bass and rod & reel combos donated by Ramsey Outdoor for the top 6 qualifiers.  Several nice Channel Cats were caught this week . Chris Guarini was in  recently with a channel cat weighing 10 lb 11 oz caught on a swimbait, Jim Welsh caught his Channel on herring in the 7 lb range and another in the 9 - 10 pound range caught by Kevin, a guide for Lake Hopatcong Guide Service. We are also seeing some Hybrid Striped Bass in the 6 - 7 pound range, some nice pickerel with a 3 lb 12 oz weighed in by Jim Welsh , along with some nice crappies. The night bite is still on with Hybrids & walleyes taking Bomber long A’s, zara spooks and knuckleheads.  Have a great week ...

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Hudson Canyon Marine Park

DEC   I read the article and found mention of commercial fishing preserved at the Hudson Canyon, but not even mention of recreational fishing prohibited. When I encounter a situation like this, I suspect that recreational fishing is being marginalized as part of a larger prejudice against us. I might be biased. For obvious reason. But why would it be so unfair to the marine environment to let recreational anglers fish out there? Does anyone believe we put a lot of pressure on the Hudson Canyon? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Clinton Reservoir Bass, Pickerel, Big Bluegill

Haven't been up to fish any of the Newark Reservoirs in 10 years. Back then, I did own an inflatable boat, but the best we could do there was fish from shore, though that didn't interest me enough to continue going up there and following through the next year. Now it appears things will be interesting, since Brian bought a boat. We did fairly well today, putting 11 fish in the boat, fishing less than four hours. Some good-sized fish. The biggest was my largemouth of 20 inches, but if Brian's 25-inch pickerel were a fat fish, it would have weighed perhaps a half pound less Stay tuned, because if we fish Clinton Reservoir again, the search engines won't rank the post t as high as this one on the reservoir. The Newark Reservoirs are a total of five, so we have a tour ahead of us.

We find the Clinton Reservoir fairly clear, bottom showing five or six feet down. Under the intense sun, I did catch a small pickerel trolling a #5 Rapala Floater while on the way under electric power to a certain cove, but once we got there, all I wanted to do was cast a Senko into shadow along the shore. That worked within minutes, when I hooked and managed to boat the big larggemouth, which put up a hell of a fight. But afterwards, it was slow going, although eventually another bass grabbed my Senko and pulled it off the hook. Brian did catch a nice pickerel of about 21 inches on that same Rapala, which he cast on my St. Croix while also live-lining a shiner. He later caught a smallmouth about a foot long in the shadow along that shoreline, before we moved to another cove.

There, I saw a sizeable fish rise, and so I cast my Senko to the disturbance. I've done the same in other situations successfully. Result? The 18-inch largemouth Brian photographed. Afterwards, all the way back in the shallows of the cove, I caught another small pickerel on a topwater plug. 

Brian also brought his Loomis fly rod with a yellow popper trailing a hare's ear nymph. As we motored slowly along a shoreline, he let his flies trail behind. Suddenly the fly reel was making a lot of noise. The bluegill he's showing off like a ham in the photo was really a nice fish. It looks a little smaller than the real life impression it gave. 

He'd caught another pickerel or two on the way into that cove, but his best action of the day besides that bluegill came right before we exited at the ramp. He had already told me that last he fished here, he had lost a really big fish when he encountered a huge school of baitfish. The baitfish weren't there this evening, but Brian's 25-inch pickerel caught on a live shiner was a great way to end a nice outing.

 Nice Topwater Bite

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Lake Hopatcong Early June Action

Kevin Murphy was more sure of us succeeding than I. It wasn't that I didn't see his persuasion--that I know the spots and so on--but that in spite of the likelihood we'd do well the first week of June, I allowed doubt to hedge the bet. That's not a bad idea, really, because there's never a guarantee. And until morning wore on, we hadn't done especially well, my having caught only two nice-sized crappies--and a pickerel and small largemouth for Kevin.

We began by trolling my favorite spot for hybrids. I have caught them on the troll this late in the spring and with water temps in the low 70's. Water temps were in the low 70's this morning. Once again, the trolling lanes utterly failed attempts, as they did during May last year. We moved on to a shallow cove and switched out our sinking Rapalas (not Countdowns and I forget the name) for #5 Floaters. Weeds weren't as bad as other times, and the quick response of a 12-inch crappie beat last year's skunker here. We returned to the shallow cover after catching nothing in Byram Bay besides Kevin's one-pound bass on a Senko. We had worked the large acreage pretty thoroughly, both by trolling and casting Senkos. I actually got tired of throwing a Senko and welcomed trolling again. And once we did re-enter the shallow cove--all chopped up by increased wind--the response from the fish was pretty heartening. I caught four more crappies, and Kevin caught one. All seven of our crappies but one of them was 12 or 13 inches long.

From there I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I just led us out, trolling along the shoreline, and pretty soon a 14-inch largemouth grabbed my #5 Floater. I gravitated to casting Senkos again, and by now it was nearly noon, after we had got on the lake at 6:00 a.m. Nothing yielded for a while, but I told Kevin I felt in the flow, while he clearly seemed absorbed in the fishing, too. 

We came around a point to a sort of cup where water goes back, and while I understood where to put a Senko--in the relative shallows that pan out there--I felt yes and no. I knew it was a likely spot, and I knew I had fished plenty of likely spots for nothing but the exercise. I saw rocks I hadn't been aware existed there. They intensified my interest like suddenly increased light. I put my Senko just beyond the mish-mash of them and saw the line move off rapidly. I set the hook. Saw I had a nice smallmouth. Sixteen inches or so. 

There was another spot we hit where I had hooked up in the past. Nothing happened there today. But around a bend, shallower water exists where many times I've tried, though not me nor anyone fishing with me has had any action. Part of the reason I welcomed the spot today is because it got us out of the wind. And it wasn't just one spot, but a length of shoreline to explore. Maybe we had fished 15 minutes when it became clear Kevin had a very nice bass on. For all of his certainty that we would catch fish today, he expressed doubt that he could get this bass in. So I coached him best I could; even though that doubt of his was infectious, But I knew he could get this fish.

"Let it run," I said. The drag continued to screech. The fish stopped. "Now work it up."

"I don't think I can get this fish up," Kevin said.

"Just ease it up. I'll get the net under it," I said.

And then when I seemed to have my moment, the bass jumped over the net and dove again. But Kevin did get it back to the surface; I got the net underneath and lifted. 

Twenty inches.  


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Nighttime Walleye and Hybrid Action Picking Up

Laurie Murphy:

The Knee Deep Club held their Panfish contest this past weekend with 25 entries. First place went to Tommy Crouch,  Bob Smith took 2nd place and a Dan Reiss took 3rd place with 1lb 4 oz Crappie. Their next contest will be held on Sunday June 26th,  The Stew Lant Challenge for Large & Smallmouth Bass. Cash prizes will be awarded for the  3 heaviest fish and rod and reel combos with go to the top 6 finishers. We also weighed in a 9 lb 10 oz walleye caught by Lou Marcucci and a 6 lb 12 oz hybrid striped bass caught by Dave Coppolla. Nighttime action with top water lures is starting to pick up also and we are seeing our share of nice crappie and yellow perch. The Knee Deep Club is also holding a junior fishing derby this Saturday June 4th at the Mount Arlington Memorial Pond for any youngsters that would like to attend. June 4th is also a free fishing day, where no freshwater fishing license is required. Have a great week !

Tried Dry Flies for Browns

I had intended for months to fish dry flies here in May, so I didn't miss the mark by much. It rained heavily last night, and the water was a little high and a little stained. To me, that felt fishy as if the browns might be feeding. I had arrived late in the morning and the sun never came out until I was done almost an hour-and-a-half later, so even though the morning had lingered awhile, it felt early. Temperature was about 70 and I guess the water might have been in the low 60's. Browns make it through summer here, so it stays pretty cool.

I never got hit, but I never gave in to nymphing, even though that might have made sense after a rainstorm. I felt entranced by the casting, placing my dries where they might be effective, the repeated casting to dry them off, and the hope that something would break surface. That's happened to me here in Jersey before from wild browns, but I admit my successes are few. 

I got to remembering the sunfish I'd also caught on my TFO two-weight, and wondering if I can get some smallmouth action on it over here at the North Branch near home. Pretty soon I'll retire, and since I like to get lost in time, just letting the hours pass as I try to do something--like catch a few smallies on the TFO--I probably will. But my imagination carried me further. I began to think I could get on a jet in Newark and go rent an SUV in Colorado to fly fish spring creeks. Then I suddenly remembered a ranger friend from when I worked at Fiddler's Elbow, who told me about fly fishing native rainbows in Alaska. All I'd have to do is message him and take the info with me on a plane for that destination. And pay the cost. 

So...yeah...but naturally my thoughts turned to more accessible waters. That same ranger despises fly fishing in New Jersey as involving trout "you have to work for." I don't mind a little work. And it's possible that when I have more time, I'll enjoy the casting and find some fish. I am going to be busy at my writing. It's not like you'll read six fishing stories from me each week, but what the hell. I always think of Zane Grey, who wrote more than a hundred books, if memory serves me, and he got out and fished all the time.