Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fish Sense and More Report yet

Recently divulging some reports, I didn't mention Mike Maxwell's five-and-a-half pound largemouth, because we want to keep the pond secret, so it didn't occur to me to mention the catch. Nor the 20 bass my son caught at the same pond he fished with a friend for the first time, bass as large as two pounds. The friend's first time fishing, he caught four as large as two-and-a-half pounds. Matt got so excited he phoned me at work. A bass he swore was at least six pounds rolled over his spinnerbait.

"The biggest I've ever seen!"

Tucked away in Jersey.

And I never forget Art Scheck's book A Fishing Life is Hard Work. Scheck, who became editor of Fly Fisherman magazine, spent much of his life in Jersey. Some of his life in Vermont, where he claims to have faced an encounter with a largemouth of perhaps 16 pounds. He did some walking and poking around. Out of the way. And that he found.

And here in our beloved state of outrageous taxes. He fished with his wife, who caught a pickerel larger than the current world record set in Georgia. Together, they decided to set the fish free, rather than claim its bounty.

A high school friend, many years ago, naively spoke of a 36-inch pickerel caught when and where he lived in the Pinelands. That could have beaten the Georgia record, too, perhaps. I'm not saying it really happened. I don't even really know if Scheck is pulling my leg as a reader, but he certainly knows none of his readers can tell.

Even I don't have time to poke around as is possible. And I make time. If you can't do what's possible, you can't possibly find what is possible to do.

Poke around as is necessary to really sink into things worth discovery. Art Scheck named the chapter about that bass "A Beatific Vision." To some ears, this simply means it's bullshit. To others, it means Scheck alludes (by way of Dante Alighieri, poet of heaven....but also hell; hell would satisfy the first type of reader) to the fact that he discovered much more than a bass. I would say that maybe more than 99.9% of really good anglers are not on the really rare fish. Maybe fish sense requires, among many trials and tribulations of varying kind, a deep grasp of literature, because great books are not for dust, but fruits of wilderness. They survive civilizations, all of which rust. We're cramped with things "on the program." On the beaten path.

I am really impressed with what I've seen bass fisherman Steve Vullo do. Multiple lunkers--one outing--from Spruce Run Reservoir in cold weather, Spruce Run an acreage so pounded with lures that if there were more snags out there yet, you could make a fortune as a scuba diver there. I know something of how he does it, as fish sense, but I don't know where in that reservoir, and, out of respect, would never ask him.

I'm impressed with Ken Beam, too. That man catches big bass, pickerel, pike, hybrids, walleyes, time and time again. I see lots of big ones on NJ, but again, there are very, very few really special fish in this state. And they are special because rarely get discovered. I'm sure that in fact, some never do get discovered. The bones cover by muck, and maybe some paleontologist a million years from now would find the fossil remains. Does a state record bass exist? (Largemouth and smallmouth.) Who would say it isn't likely?

For years, I've been impressed by Dante. Dante Dimarco, this is. Lake Hopatcong musky fisherman. No one else has caught more big muskies--to my knowledge--in this state.

By Mike's raging headache, we canceled on Spruce Run Reservoir. Later, we fished the neighborhood pond. Matt's caught a number of bass here recently as large as close to three pounds, but just one or two on occasion. Mike caught a nice one recently. You all know I could come up with a more colorful name. And I could print the pond's name as something a doctor might name in general, but I call it something quaintly American out of respect and pity. Compassion and affection. Love. And forbiddance. Anyone who would try to fish this pond, would discover for his or herself. It's never recovered from the fish kill I reported on after the severe winter, but of course, I said it would recover--why not, its natural state invites reproduction--and we see evidence now that it is recovering.

Mike practiced with his casting rod. A weighted worm. I fished an X-Rap. It's June. Really? So let's say, early May. Or early October, since maybe these bass are spawned out--but water now and for days running is too cold for spawning. Climate change a misnomer? there is no climate? Just a joke, but things are really screwed up, compared to when I was kid and felt spiritual comfort in regular climatic developments.

So I used the X-Rap, not a worm. That name, X-Rap, is ambiguous to my ear. The X is a place I know in Manahawkin Bay, symbolizing the mind's deepest faculty, but there lies the most dreadful knowledge, with respect to other human beings who cannot know as much. Or save themselves.

Caught a bunch of bass. Not one over 11 inches, but this goes to show they've reproduced, most of the bass six or seven inches long. Now the questions: 1. Will the population really re-establish? Looks like it. It's to expect. 2. And this is interesting. When it does, will they average two pounds, as they did before the Crash? For years, they averaged 10, 11 inches. A thriving number of them. I don't know why they got big, and they got big by large number of them. Maybe there's a cycle. Just like the cycle of civilizations rising--and falling--because they are too shallow. Because individual human beings who presume to lead make mistakes that leave civilizations sunken like primordial swamplands, ruined. They get a new name, when they rise again.

Severe winter caused the fish kill. Severe summer could cause another sort. Not in a pond with enough depth.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Some Reports

Might as well hit the keys while heat's in the head. I've got great news of catches recently, beginning with Laurie Murphy's Lake Hopatcong report. Lots of hybrids on live herring 20 feet down, and just as she broke the news, reports had begun to come of surface catches at night. This evening, I opened an email from Jim Stabile containing a recent blog post from Ken Beam. Love Ken's blog! The guy really writes straight out of outdoor passion. They fished the lake all night and caught hybrids as large as six or seven pounds, walleyes that look just as big. And then, I opened an email message from Fred Matero. And a photo--27 inches! The pickerel he caught on a Senko. Brian Cronk and I have been on Messenger for at least a couple of weeks, trying to work out a trip to Lake Wawayanda....for BIG pickerel. All these years since my teens, I wrote Fred, I've edged the proximity of guys who have caught a lot of pickerel over 26 inches. Brian caught one just shy of 30. I never have caught one over 24 1/4, but a lot up to this mark.

Well, Brian and I haven't worked schedules and time off. But no one can say we don't try.

I spoke to my wife about the night fishing on the lake. Wrote Jim that I've followed this action for several years or more, and that last year I decided I might put my squareback on the lake. I bought the Black Diamond headlamp. Have the surface plugs....err, I really should pick up a few Zara Spooks. Not wise to go out without those. And this fishing is meant for baitcasting gear, so Mike Maxwell is better prepared than I am in this respect. A seven-foot spinning rod will do. Might.

Trish said, "Go any night." Had told her I just need to get back here by 2:30 a.m. Who knows. My life is a balancing act. You can tell by the way I usually write.

And a canoe. On Hopatcong. Mine's a big bear. But I'm reluctant to cross over with it and an electric. I don't know if any hybrids and walleyes are in the coves we can reasonably access, but probably. Or sometimes.

Here's some news that gets me dizzy. David Jeon commented on a post of mine, curious about what spots I might divulge within the limits of my circumspection. We emailed. He related news of fishing the Delaware around the Lambertville Whitewater, doing well for walleyes, smallmouths, stripers. This real good to hear, because growing up, I loved this range of the river. So I suggested the South Branch around Neshanic for smallmouths. (About a week ago, we wrote.) The other night, he writes again. With a photo attached. He went for trout.

On a spinner attached to four-pound test, at Neshanic he caught a 22 1/2-inch smallmouth bass!