Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 37: Be Careful What You Wish For

A bullhead, aka "Not a channel catfish.
When: Saturday, June 18th, from 10am to 1pm
Where: The D & R Canal
What: Catfshing
Weather: Hot and muggy. Partly cloudy. High near 90.
Moon: Waning. A few days after the full.
Water Conditions: Muddy from all the darn rain.

I was just saying how I need to infuse some excitement into this careful what you wish for.

After another uneventful day, I got a special invite to do some pretty cool fishing, but more on that in a minute.

Although we may have a few days left until the official start of summer, as far as the fish are concerned, it may as well be August. Fish follow patterns over the course of the year, starting with minimal activity during the winter, then spawing in the Spring. As a general rule of thumb, most freshwater fish spawn after the ice disappears. Pike and crappie are the first to mate in February and March, followed by walleye, bass, then carp then catfish, etc. After a brief post-spawn chew,fish fall into summer pattern, which for all intent and purpose, can be just as slow as the winter.

During the summer, catfish bite mostly when it's dark out. One exception that I've found is when waters are extremely muddy. At these times, catfish can sometimes be on the hunt, which was not the case today. I caught one small bullhead, but that was the only excitement.

However, when I got home and was typing about all the boring fishing that I've been doing the last few days, I got a message from my friend Steve Carey, owner of Fish Sense Lures and creator of "The Binsky." Steve and I have been trying to go fishing together for some time and it looks like tonight is the night.

Going back to summer patterns, Lake Hopatcong can be on fire at night during the summer. The hybrid striped bass and walleye tend to only feed at night this time of year, and the action can be pretty incredible. For all the times that I have fished Hopatcong, I don't have my own boat so I can not make it on the lake at night. Fishing the big lake after dark is probably one of the most exciting ways to fish New Jersey's freshwater and I have never gotten a chance to do it.

That's about to change.

Next Up: Meeting Steve at 10pm to head to Hopatcong to fish until 5am (Sunday, Day 38).

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