Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting The Scarlet Skunk Off

When: Sunday, September 13th, from 3pm to 6pm
Where: Scarlet Oak Pond, on the Ramapo Reservation near Mahwah, Bergen County
What: Bass fishing and more importantly, relaxing.
Weather: High probably around 80, light to no wind, party cloudy to blue-bird skies.

I woke up on Saturday morning to the equivalent of what I deem a nightmare. Our month-long process of purging our storage facility had taken its toll on our apartment and left it in complete disarray. We had two more days to finish moving out of it, our place was already completely cluttered with objects waiting to be given a home, and to boot, this was the day that I had chosen to do my writing for the October issue of The New Jersey Angler.

In a moment of complete hopelessness and desperation, I asked Lindsay to phone Liz and regretfully inform her that we were not going to be able to join her for the opening game of the Giants' football season the following day. The forecast for our weekend was bleak.

As I sat down to write, Lindsay set out to get things done. By the end of the day, although far from having completed everything that we needed to do, things were undoubtedly looking up.

By the time the sun came up on Sunday, we were already busy as bees. This day, however, we could see a light at the end of the tunnel, and even suspected that we could steal away for a couple of hours to relax after going non-stop for the majority of the weekend.

At 3pm on Sunday, Lindsay found herself in a chair reading a book on the shore of Scarlet Oak Pond, and I was deciding which lure to tie on for a little fishing before we headed back home to finish our work.

I tried a few things without any luck, but spent the majority of the time fishing a Texas-rigged plastic worm for a very specific reason. Pulling a worm through all kinds of weeds and snags and working it off the bottom requires complete and total concentration. After having my mind racing for almost the entire weekend, the peacefulness of paying attention to nothing but the bait on the end of my line was priceless. I probably fished it for about an hour before I "woke-up." It was actually one the nicest times that I have had fishing that did not involve catching a fish.

Scarlet Oak Pond is a favorite of mine. I am a shore fisherman at heart for no better reason than that I am the most uncoordinated person that I know, and only feel right when my two feet are planted firmly on solid ground. There is not an abundance of freshwater lakes in New Jersey that have ample shore fishing, but this is one of them. The downside is that this park gets crowded, and the lake gets a lot of pressure. It's kind of a shame seeing bobbers stuck in the weeds with no one around to tend to them. The fish feel the pressure, and although I have caught some beautiful bass here, they can be few and far between.

Even with its reputation for being a stingy little puddle, I could not recall a day that I had been "skunked" on it. I was sure that this was going to be my day as I tried bait after bait after bait, but I finally hooked and landed a small bass on none other than my tried and true Yum Forktail Dinger.

The fish was pathetically small and I even went as far as telling Lindsay that it "didn't count," but whatever way you look at it, it was what, my friend, we call "getting the skunk off."

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