Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Change In Plans

When: Sunday, February 21st, from 8am to 12:30pm
Where: Round Valley Reservoir (very briefly), then the South Branch near Califon and The Gorge
What: Trout fishing with spinners, crawlers (not in the Gorge), and a local secret
Weather: High probably near 40, stiff NE wind at 15 mph

I have to admit that when Pat told me he bought me a birthday present, I was fairly confident there wasn't anything I didn't already have.

I was wrong, he nailed it. Thanks Pat.

We arrived at Round Valley with high hopes, however, after seeing most of the available shoreline already taken by icebergs and other anglers, our only choice was to set up shop with a stiff, cold wind coming right at us.

We didn't last long.

A beautiful drive through Hunterdon County (God's Country) eventually landed us near Califon on the South Branch of the Raritan River. We set up shop again, this time minus the mini-gale, and spent a couple hours fishing. The fish wouldn't cooperate.

One more time, we made a move and were fairly confident that we could change our luck in the "elusive" Ken Lockwood Gorge.

Instead, we got exercise.

Unless you're standing on safe ice, freshwater fishing in February can be a a difficult task. It isn't until the ice and snow are well gone and water temps are closer to 50 than to 30 that fish start "waking up." I'm not saying that catching fish this time of year is not possible, it's just a bit tougher. Probably more than any other month, February is a time that one must go fishing to fish and not to catch fish.

That being said, this was a wonderful day. The Gorge was stunning, the weather was great, and so was the company.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

When: February 14th, from 9am to 9:30am
Where: The Long Branch Surf
What: Fishing, I guess
Weather: Low 30's, a steady wind from the NW, snow on the beach

Every once in awhile, I set out for fishing with a fair certainty that I'm not going to catch anything.

This was one of those times.

Although it was undoubtedly within the realm of possibility that a small resident striped bass could have been hanging around these rocks and may have been hungry enough and had enough energy to take a swipe at my Vision Sand Eel, I wasn't very confident that was going to happen.

That being said, there is something pretty special about standing chest deep in the Atlantic Ocean on a morning in February. The sun was on my face and the ocean was calm and glassy, and tossing lures next to the jetties, even without the hope of catching a fish, was another perfect example of why I love doing this so much.

Also, there is undoubtedly something to be said for the fact that I started off Valentine's Day fishing off the beach. My lady took this picture, and methinks I caught a keeper.

Part of this excursion was just wanting to go swimming in February, and the other part was that I had some gear that I wanted to make sure was up to snuff for when the cow bass arrive in the next month or two. I was happy to find that my 8-foot St. Croix Saltwater Series Surf Rod and my Penn Spinfisher 500 handled quite nicely, and that my fairly inexpensive Cabela's Neoprene Waders kept me warm and dry (with the help of 2 layers of thermals).

As I've said before, for me, fishing is enjoyable in itself, and catching fish is just an added bonus. I'm looking forward to doing a little surf fishing this year, and that fact that I got to test my gear out and take my first dip in the Big Drink in the middle of February is pretty cool in my book.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Coolest Thing EVER!!!!!!

From the February 2010 Issue of the New Jersey Angler Magazine..........

Once again, a very special thank you to Gabriel Hnat, Bill, Curt and everyone else at the magazine.