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.