Where: Spruce Run Reservoir, near Clinton, Hunterdon County, and a small farm pond near Budd Lake, Morris County
What: Fishing for Pike and Bass with shiners and soft-plastics
Weather: Mid to high 40's, frickin' windy
Every good fisherman should have one; that certain spot that he knows he can go to catch a fish if all else fails. I hadn't visited my spot in many years. For the last six months, I was convinced that it had been filled with dirt and topped with a McMansion after several failed attempts to find it. On Tuesday, we were reunited.
I started off the chilly and windy day a couple of hours after noon on Spruce Run Reservoir. I had forgotten my warmer clothes in a frenzied attempt to pack the car and escape from 8th street before the Jersey City parking patrol made their rounds. When I left, my thermal sweatshirt and wool hat remained on my bed.
I wasn't at Spruce Run long before the wind and the cold got to me. All trout-stocked waters closed on Monday until opening day, aside from a handful of lakes, and certain sections of rivers designated as Trout conservation areas. I headed to the South Branch of the Raritan near Califon, thinking this part of the river was open to fishing, but was informed otherwise when I arrived.
It looked dismal. It was almost four o'clock, I hadn't done much fishing and hadn't caught a fish. In a last ditch effort, I decided to once again to try and find my long lost fishing spot of times past. After driving up and down Schooley's Mountain Rd., getting lost in Western Morris County and being absolutely convinced that I was a two hours drive away from Route 46, I eventually wound up on a somewhat familar road. In a short distance, I found it, overgrown with weeds, but indeed, just as I had left it. After a little bug spray, a little bushwacking, and amazingly, no ticks, I was nestled into a spot on the shore and ready to fish.
My friend Donny introduced me to this pond many years ago. There were days where we came and caught 30 nice bass and a few of the biggest perch I've ever seen in just a couple of hours. I dunked my shiner, and within thirty seconds, landed a two and a half pound bass. My mind started racing to times past and how many fish I was about to catch. Would it be a half-dozen, a dozen?
That fish was, in fact, the only one I caught.
But I will be back.