Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hike And No Carp

A Northern Water Snake getting some sun on the bank of a Morris County swamp.

When:Saturday, June 12th
Where:Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Morris County and a mulberry tree on the Hackensack River
What:Hiking with Janel and Lindsay followed by an hour or so of carp fishing
Weather:Cloudy, warm and humid
Moon and Tide:Day after the New Moon, outgoing tide, 3 hours before low

Once again, another great hike with Janel and Lindsay. Once again, foiled by the elusive Hackensack River carp.

When I was probably no more than 10 years-old, a friend showed me how to catch carp under a mulberry tree when the berries were ripe. More importantly, he showed me where.

In season, mulberry trees hanging over rivers and ponds will drop their precious fruit into the water below. It's quite common for scores of sometimes monstrous carp to hang below these trees all day waiting for these sweet, yummy snacks. Now, when an intuitive fisherman such as myself comes along with stout gear, a camera and a small yet super-strong hook loaded with a mulberry, the hope is to drop the berry to a waiting carp and at some point walk away with a Kodak moment.

You'll notice the absence of said picture.

I was at this same tree two weeks ago, however, the berries were not ripe. This time, the berries were ready but the carp were not. Lido, Martalus and I tried this last week under another tree on another river, but those carp proved to be a bit skittish (carp are like that). Maybe the herd of Canadian Geese were scaring the fish away yesterday or maybe the tide was not right, I don't know. The only thing I do know is that there were no carp under the mulberry tree.

Killian, I'll be back.

On a somewhat brighter note, the morning hike was quite splendid.

I didn't realize that I was challenging my sister when I told her we had hiked everywhere in New Jersey and would be hard pressed to find a new one. In any event, she delivered.

A red-spotted newt, or red eft.
The 6.7 mile, 3 1/2ish hour hike took us to the highest point in Morris County and gave us a faraway glimpse of Lake Hopatcong. Red-spotted newts, also called red efts, were bounding (walking slowly) across the trail and we even spotted a sizeable northern water snake basking in the swamp-side sun. The hike was moderate and not too tough on my unseasonably out-of-shapedness. The final stretch took us through a pine forest with a fresh holiday smell.

So, as I here and write this, I am fully aware that this is the first weekend in a few months that I have attempted to but failed to catch a fish. I can, however, find some solace in the fact that we had an amazing hike, that I spent no more than 90 minutes fishing, and that there's always next week.

Next Up: In the air. Either a saltwater trip that may involve stripers, fluke and/or wreck fishing or a return trip to the Hoffman Ponds for some low-key shoreline bassin'.

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