Friday, August 10, 2018

Laurie's Lake Hopatcong Report

Laurie Murphy:

Lots of crappies being caught, taking fatheads or rubber jigs, with nice size fish up to a pound and a half. Also, lots of Bass , with Pete Rathjens largest smallmouth weighing in at 4 pounds. Largemouth Bass are averaging between 2 1/2 - 5 pounds, hitting live bait or artificial lures. Hybrids have been a little on the slower side, but earlier in the week, Tom Facciolla had several nice fish with his largest Hybrid hitting the scales at 8 lb 11 oz, using herring for bait. The Knee Deeps Club Catfish contest is this weekend, August 11th & 12th, and entries can be taken up to       7 PM on Saturday. For more info you can call the shop at (973) 663 3826. Have a great week...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Some Fish in the Surf

Family day at Island Beach State Park yesterday. We always stop at Murphy's Hook House before the bridge over to Seaside, buy bait, and like last year, killies served the purpose. We caught no fluke last year, only an 18-inch striper and a few snapper blues. Over the course of seven or eight years coming here on Father's Day--except for August last year--we've caught some fair-size bluefish, but no fluke. We've caught fluke in the surf at Long Branch and Sandy Hook, including some keepers.

They weren't keepers yesterday, and word I got earlier in the summer suggested there's a lot of small ones and few to take home. Eleven to 16 inches, 12 of them, a 14-inch bluefish, and five skates. Matt didn't fish much, caught nothing, but to his credit he dove into the 66-degree water twice, which I never braved beyond my thighs.

I began by using my five-and-a-half foot St. Croix, the killies weighted by a medium split shot, fishing them in close where the water was deep with tide risen more than halfway to high level. Lost a fluke, and then got interested in my new seven-foot Speed Stick, rigging with a 3/4-ounce slip sinker, getting some distance on the cast, setting killies down five yards or so in front of the sand bar. Never went back to the light rod, but caught a number of the fish in close.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Early Morning Topwater Nice Bass

This morning went as planned for the past three weeks. At present, I'm tired and trying to get this blog post out before midnight. I met Oliver Shapiro at Saffin Pond, 5:30 a.m. this morning, temperature about 68, clear skies overhead dimly lit. We heard a lot of water moving into the pond, rains during the past three weeks have left behind them near-record amounts, and I hoped that despite the flow, the pond would not be muddied. This proved to be the case. The water level is up about half a foot, nothing but the typical tea-water tannic stain is there. At the end of my time at the pond (Oliver stayed on while I had to go to work), we noticed the stream flowing in was clear like trout water.

Originally we planned, though, on Mount Hope Pond. It was just fortuitous, as yesterday's post relates, that I found it stained by a milky muddiness and ruled it out. I learned about Mount Hope Pond in the first place by reading Oliver's book, Fishing New Jersey: A Guide for Freshwater Anglers, but I suggested we go there because it seemed the logical choice among our options.

I hadn't thought of Saffin, though. Matt and I fished Mount Hope at the end of May, and I wanted to get back there.

We started with Rebel Pop-R's this morning and I caught a 12-inch largemouth pretty quickly. Further down as the pond flows very slowly, something slurped at the plug, not taking it, then came back and slurped again when I set and no hook point grabbed. I could tell it was a good bass; maybe three pounds, I thought. I pitched the plug back--this fish had come up just yards in front of where I stood--chugged that plug a couple of times, and the fish slurped it into its maw. So now it's two consecutive Saffin Pond outings and two 18-inch largemouths. I caught the first when fishing with my son there in June.

The sun poked over trees and Oliver wanted to go fish the other side in shade. I told him I would catch up to him, because I never fish Saffin without trying my favorite steep banks. Light penetrated the surface at a sharp angle, the water underneath was at least six feet deep where I pitched the worm a couple of feet beyond overhanging brush, where that tannic stain absorbed a lot of the light. Any bass situated near bottom wouldn't be terribly affected by early sunlight. Besides, I catch plenty in the middle of bright summer afternoons on the weightless worms. Line began moving directly away from the branches and I let it tighten, then set the hook. I felt heavy resistance for a moment and then the fish was free.

You can always let a bass take a worm a long time and then reel it in, but I would shun anyone who would do that, because it's not sporting to ensure catches by letting bass take hooks to their gullets. (Anyone who would do that might clean out his wallet buying worm hooks, too.)

I fished very thoroughly, finally caught an 11-incher, then joined Oliver in the rather cool shade beyond. He had lost a two- or three-pounder and caught two small bass.