Thursday, April 24, 2014

Clear Skies, Slow Fishing

I put pictures like this up when I don't catch any fish.

When: Monday, April 21st, from 10:30am to 6:30pm.
What: Musky fishing with Charlie
Weather: Warm and sunny (bluebird skies). Calm winds to variable to S, W and SW at 9mph. High of 73.
Barometric Pressure: 30.17in, fell to 29.91in.
Relative Humidity: 15% at mid-day.
Sunrise: 6:09am
Sunset: 7:44pm
Moon: Waning, day before the last quarter. Moonset 11:32am. Underfoot 6:49pm.
Water Conditions: Main lake temp 53-54 degrees, 56-58 in the shallows, 60 way up north.

I've said it countless times. Sunny days are great for being out on the water, but they often are not the best days for catching fish.

Charlie narrowly avoided the dreaded skunk by scoring a small largemouth late in the day. I never got a bite, but I did move a couple of muskies.

We started out with high hopes, like always, and launched at DeFeo's Marina around 10:30am. We hit all the usual spots, but nothing seemed to be stirring. We found some warmer water in the South End, still nothing. We saw a bald eagle and an osprey, and like the superstitious, optimistic musky fisherman that I am, I was certain they were omens bringing tidings of big fish.

They weren't.

After about 6 hours of hucking big baits, Charlie had the boat in about 5 feet of water and I was twitching a crankbait to keep it above the weeds. Even after the long stretch of fruitless hours, it was impossible to not be instantly alert when I saw a 40+ inch musky following my lure with it's nose right on it. As I moved into the Figure 8, the fish turned 3 or 4 times, keot its snout on my lure the whole time, but not striking before heading back off away from the boat.

I didn't catch it, but it felt great to see some signs of life after a long day.

Charlie and I revisited that fish a couple of times, but it never came back out to play.

As we worked our way back to DeFeo's, I had a much smaller fish come out and take a few looks at the same crankbait, but that one did not bite either.

Like always, it was great to be out there. If I didn't love being outside and musky fishing, I probably wouldn't fish for muskies until May. April is a tough month to catch them because water temps are not quite up to where the fish are very active and they are going through the motions trying to spawn. But I'm certain there has to be one or two out there that are willing to bite.

One day I'm gonna catch my April musky, but for now I'll just keep enjoying being on the water and fishing with Charlie.

Monday, April 21, 2014

LH With Charlie

A nice pickerel that smacked a musky lure.

When: Monday, April 14th, from 10am to 6pm
What: Musky fishing with Charlie
Weather: Warm, overcast and very windy. High of 74 degrees and winds SW to S up to 17mph and gusting to 30mph.
Barometric Pressure: 29.96in fell to 29.83in.
Relative Humidity: 44% at mid-day.
Sunrise: 6:20am
Sunset: 7:37pm
Moon: Full. Moonset 5:52am. Underfoot 12:29pm. Rise 7:12pm.
Water Conditions: Partly to moderately stained. Main lake 52 degrees, as high as 63 in the "shellers"

Monday it was Charlie's turn to get his boat in the water.

We hit Lake Hopatcong in hopes of taking advantage of the warm weather. There was a cold front coming in later in the week, so we took our chances with the 70 degree weather on Monday even though we knew it was going to be windy.

It was pretty windy.

After we launched, we headed directly to a small cove where we found 63 degree water. Charlie caught his first bass of the year in short order and we left the cove after he landed 3 of them.

When we got back onto the main lake and the breeze was really whipping.

Despite the conditions, we picked away at different parts of the lake, trying to find the warm water and the fish. But that proved to be somewhat difficult.

A little later in the day, we were fishing the spot where I caught my biggest musky a few years ago, so I decided to try the same lure I caught it on. After taking a few casts to the weed line, I tossed it on the inside towards a shoreline that was getting hammered with the stiff wind.

And BAM!

I was sure I was gonna see the long flash of a muskellunge, but it turned out to just be a hungry pickerel.

Still, it got the skunk off.

Charlie and I gave it hell for a few more hours, and put in a full day on the water despite the tough conditions.

Once again, it felt great to be out, and the fishing will only get better from here.

So were doing it again today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Union County Oddties


When: Sunday, April 13th, from 3pm to 4pm
What: Fishing for fish for my fish tank
Weather: Mostly cloudy, breezy, warm. 82 degrees, SW wind at 18mph and gusting to 25mph.
Barometric Pressure: 29.98in (was 30.02in at 2pm, slowly falling)
Relative Humidity: 31%
Sunrise: 6:21am
Sunset: 7:34pm
Moon: Waxing, day before full
Water Conditions: Stained and rotten.

I wasn't planning on doing any fishing on Sunday.

We had dinner reservations at 5:30pm for Berto's birthday (Happy Birthday Berto!!!), and since we had breakfast plans with Uncle Stanley and a bunch of errands, fishing was not on the radar.

However, seeing as my lovely wife was off doing female things like shopping and getting her nails done, and seeing that we had a fish tank that was still waiting for fish, I decided to go out  to my favorite mud pit for an hour to see if I could score a pet.

It turned out to be one of the most interesting hours of fishing in my life.

Now, I can't give away my location, but said mud pit is filled with fish. It's fairly shallow, very small and you would never think to actually go fishing there. I go here for a "sure thing" when I can't catch fish anywhere else. I was actually there a few days prior, and although I could see hundreds of carp, bass, goldfish, suckers and sunfish in the water, none of them would eat.

Sunday was a different story.

I got bit early and often, landing 5 carp, a bullhead and a mutant goldfish in less than an hour. I missed many more bites too.

Then I caught something that I would NEVER have expected to see in my favorite little mud hole.

A frickin' brown trout.

This spot is obviously not stocked with trout, but since I believe it gets overflow when the Rahway River gets flooded, it has that "you never know" kind of quality to it.

I had no idea what this was I reeled it in and saw it splashing on the surface, and was amazed when I took it out of the water.

Totally unexpected.

I took home a tiny carp and the tiny bullhead for my tank and named them Big Ern and Munson respectively. Sadly, Big Ern does not look very comfy and will be returned to said mud pit today.

All this aside, this was one of the most action-packed and bizarre hours of fishing that I have had in Union County. A couple of the carp were good-sized and put up a nice fight on light tackle.

Maybe I'll have to see what other kind of oddities I can pull out of there when I liberate Big Ern.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back In The Saddle

I love musky fishing.

When: Friday, April 11th, from noon to 7:30pm
What: Musky fishing with Charlie
Weather: Warm, overcast and very breezy at times. Winds variable to SW at 13mph and gusting over 20mph. Light rain in the late afternoon.
Barometric Pressure: 30.01in at noon, fell to 29.95in at 3pm and back up to 29.99in.
Relative Humidity: 49% at noon up to 81%
Sunrise: 6:27am
Sunset: 7:35pm
Moon: Waxing, 4 days before full. Underfoot 10:15am. Moonrise 4:12pm.
Water Conditions: Partly stained, temp n/a, but guessing by other reports, in the high 40's.

For the first time since 2013, my boat hit the water. And for the first time since 2013, it's time to fish for muskies.

Last year my musky season began in January, but with a much longer and colder winter, I made my first trip this year in April. When Lindsay and I left for Costa Rica, most lakes and ponds in Northern NJ still had at least some ice on them.

When we got back it was all gone.

I got to the lake at noon, and got a pleasant phone call that my buddy Charlie was going to come meet me. I had about an hour until he got there, so I launched my boat and started fishing.

Only 20 or 30 minutes in, an angry musky followed my lure back to the boat with his nose right on it. I quickly went into a Figure 8, but the fish disappeared. I continued to move the lure for close to a minute, but it never showed itself again.

Unfortunately, that was all the action for the day.

But it was a much needed day on the water.

Charlie arrived and hopped in my boat. It was good to have him out on my vessel as we've fished off of his a few times. Charlie got to work trying to entice bass while I continued to cast musky lures, but neither wanted to show.

We battled wind, rain and slow fishing and loved every minute of it.

Gonna do it again today.