Saturday, July 20, 2019

Anti-Report on the Surf

And now for an anti-report. After all, if you read the surf reports you can find about the Jersey Shore, they all seem to promise lots of action.

A few others fished near me on Island Beach yesterday. I saw nothing caught, although someone told me he caught a kingfish so little, he didn't know it was on his hook.

Just as well I didn't waste my money on clam, because he hooked that little fish on a sand flea. Even so, I never collected any to use. I stuck to my killies and cut bunker. Trying for fluke and blues.

A couple of killies came back cut in half. I never knew if by crabs or snapper blues. Probably crabs, since once I felt some weight on my line.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Furnace Lake Largemouth Bass

 Caught two this size and four smaller largemouths.

Haven't fished with Fred since January, when we tried for trout at Round Valley. Good to see him again, our late afternoon and evening fishing enjoyed.  

We first approached bass here as Brian and I did the other day--in the shade. After we got the boat in close, my first cast to a bankside pocket a foot deep yielded the bass photographed above. A spot very much like the foot of water that resulted in my 20-incher with Brian.

Then we backed off a little. I kept fishing the Chompers, targeting shaded pockets. I caught three more bass this way, and lost another a lot bigger than the bass photographed. Depth was about five feet, the weeds thick.

After awhile, we moved to the other side of the lake, because no more hits came. The shoreline dropped off steeply, and it didn't take all that long before I felt thoroughly at odds. I suggested we go back to the shallows. By then, the sun was low. "Let's try that corner," Fred said.

"Good idea."

Shallows. Five to eight feet. I quickly caught two on a 3/8th ounce Rebel Pop-R. Great casting range. Like the other evening recently, the bass responded to a slow, subtle retrieve. The first nipped at the plug. Then I barely moved that plug a few times before the bass slurped it. The second took the plug so subtly that it would have been easy not to notice without paying close attention. But both of these bass struck after I got the plug directly against weed edges close to the bank. I made careful choices when I cast each time, to get the plug where I thought it needed to go. Further along the way back to the relative shallows where we began, I caught another on the same plug. Thereafter I began to feel bored, nothing happening, so I switched to the Chompers. 

Beautiful pocket water. Calm surface. Nothing going on. Dusk beginning to settle. 

Fred switched to a spinnerbait. I had my private doubt about its use under calm dusky water, but I vaguely remembered my doubt about my son using a Rat-L-Trap on Tilcon last month, same conditions. I thought, "Well, let him follow his choice. Who knows." Sure enough, he hooked a bass moments later, boated it, and then lost another. Nothing hit my topwater.

So I thought the same about Fred. Sure enough, a moment later he hooked a musky. I saw violent commotion at the surface, "There you go Fred!" And then it was all over. It had cut his line cleanly.

Volunteers Needed for NJ Wild Expo

I volunteered years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Shoot Chris Lido an email message. That's at the bottom of the page.

Calling All WCC Volunteers! 

Planning continues for the 10th annual New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo slated for September 7-8, 2019. 

The Expo hosts, DEP’s Divisions of Fish and Wildlife, Parks and Forestry, State Forestry Services, and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, are looking for volunteers excited by the thought of helping people connect to the natural world.  The Expo will be held on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County. 

This free event provides visitors with a unique blend of conservation information, education and hands-on opportunities to learn outdoor skills and activities that can be enjoyed in New Jersey’s great outdoors!  Visitors can learn about and try a wide array of activities including fishing, hiking, shooting sports, kayaking, rock climbing, geocaching, camping skills, wildlife watching and much more. 

Volunteers are needed from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days to help with the following tasks:

-  Assist with Fishing Instruction (20 volunteers needed)

-  Assist with "WILD Crafts" craft activities (6 volunteers needed)

-  Distribute Participant Surveys for hosts to evaluate the event and agendas (8 volunteers needed)

-  Register participants for Kayak Workshop sessions (2 volunteers needed)

-  Assist lead kayak instructors with Kayak Workshops - experienced kayakers only (2 volunteers needed)

-  Assist at Archery and Shotgun Ranges as line greeters or trap machine operators (10 volunteers needed)

If you would like to volunteer for this event, you must be at least 18 years of age.  Please e-mail the following information to

Your Name

Your E-mail and Mailing Address

Date(s) and Time(s) you are available to volunteer, and

The activity(ies) you would like to volunteer for from the list above.

If you know anyone who would also like to volunteer for this event but is not a WCC member, please pass on this information and they will be sent a Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC) application via e-mail to complete.

Questions should be directed to Chris Lido at

Lots of Big Hybrids Caught During Hopatcong Derby

Laurie Murphy:

The Knee Deep Club held their Hybrid Striped Bass Contest over the weekend with 40 entrants. An 8 lb 13 oz fish took 1st place, caught by Lou Marcucci of Mt. Arlington NJ. Second place went to Jack Dziduch of Clifton with an 8 lb 3 oz, and third place was an 8 pounder, caught by Ed Mackin Sr of Boonton. Junior member Mateusz Dziduch, won a rod & reel combo with a Hybrid weighing 7 lb 3 oz. Gift certificates donated by The Jefferson Diner,  went to Hunter Good with a 7 lb 14 oz fish, Fred Nitek with a 7 lb 5 oz Hybrid, and Eddie Mackin Jr with his 7 lb 3 oz fish. Their next contest will be for catfish, being held on Saturday August 10th at 6 PM til Sunday on August 11th, ending at noon. Other fish that made their way to the scales included a largemouth bass weighing 4 lb 1 oz, caught by Bob Smith, a 4 lb 3 oz pickerel caught by Lou Marcucci, and a 3 lb 13 oz Largemouth caught by Jake Cerami.  Crappie & Walleye are being caught also. Have a great week...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Bunch of Big Morris County Bass

The first came from a foot of water near the bank under the shade of trees late in the afternoon. We had paddled directly up the lake, beginning our fishing too far out in six feet of water in the sun. The lake is nine feet at the deepest. Most of it seems around five feet. This first bass hooked itself immediately after the worm splashed down, tearing through thick algae on two solid runs that reminded me of a hybrid striper. Brian had to paddle us closer to the fish as it got stuck in the mess, and when I reached for the lip, I felt the hook fall out against my hand.

It measured 20 inches. Weighed 4.36 pounds.

We missed a couple of hits in close. Brian lost a bass of about three pounds on a Rapala before the fast action would come and go. This fast action lasted no more than 10 minutes. By twitching a Senko near the surface in about four feet of water among milfoil and algae matts, I caught four: about 12 inches, 16 1/2 inches, 17 and some inches, and 19 3/8 inches. The latter fish weighed 3.46 pounds.

After that second nice bass of just under 3 1/2 pounds, I told Brian the bite was probably over. It was. An unusual evening bite perhaps--before sunset.

I gave this post a "Big Bass" title. Though none of them weighed over five pounds, which you might say is true lunker status, for New Jersey, I figure they're big enough to have grabbed your attention. Besides, for most fishermen perhaps, a 20-inch largemouth is "five pounds." (If I used the word "nice," instead of "big" in the title, you might not be reading.)

I wondered if we would get something of a secondary bite. It took a long time. We must have fished an hour and a half before it happened, catching nothing, though Brian had taken some hits. Then, as dusk began to settle, Brian hooked a bass of about three pounds on a topwater. It got in the thick, and once that happens, it's difficult to keep line tight. When a bass has loose line on its end of the algae, it finds it easy to throw the hooks. Which Brian's bass did. 

He missed another fish or two. I can't remember the number. But using a Rebel Pop-R, I caught a 12-incher, an 18 1/2-incher that weighed 3.19 pounds--a chunky bass--and another a little over 16 inches that weighed 2.13. I know most fishermen's 18 1/2-inch chunky bass weighs close to four pounds, but that might be by the old standard of the trusty Deliar, a device that made fishermen liars everywhere, because it's nothing like a certified scale. I tested my electronic Rapala on a five-pound bag of sugar. By supermarket standards monitored by the state, I guess that bag did weigh five pounds.

None of these last three bass got photographed.

The secondary bite was nothing like the furious action of the first, when bass violently disrupted the surface when taking my Senko slightly below that surface. Each of the three I caught later over the course of 20 minutes or so first tapped at the plug, besides the biggest, which fully exposed its upper body when taking a pass at the plug while making no contact with it. The trick in each case was to keep fishing that plug. Very slowly. Each bass slurped it slightly, though each was then easy to hook, and, in fact, the big one slurped that plug down to its gullet, though removing the treble with needlenose pliers was easy.

What a day. Brian asked me if it was my best day of the summer. I told him yes. I could have made this post one of my themed stories that evokes the quality of experience more than the knick-knacks of fishing, but not only did I burn out that talent--doesn't mean I can't conjure it back--I don't have time tonight, and besides, I did so well at catching bass today that I want to emphasize this. 

Brian had raised the issue of tournaments while we fished Wawayanda, and tonight I told him I wished I had taken the advice of Tim Tingo, Mercer County Bassmasters' top tournament placer, and taken out the loan for an outboard to go further into tournament fishing. I set my goal on tournament fishing independently of him, but hearing that advice from the club's best was valuable. I did take trophies from guys mostly at least twice my age, having begun fishing bass tournaments at age 16. I remember rising to mania during those events. Intensely competitive.

You can guess what happened. I got inspired as a writer.

An afternoon and evening like today's makes me feel young and starting out. 

 17 inches or so.
 16 and some.
 19 3/8
Brian's biggest cuts into algae where it threw the hook. (Not quite.)