Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 84: The 3-Day Esox Hat-Trick, Day 1: Pickerel (Success)

An average-sized pickerel taken from an unsuspecting pond in Jamesburg.
When: Thursday, August 4th, from 5:45pm to 8pm
Where: DeVoe Lake and Helmetta Lake in Spotswood/Jamesburg
What: Trying to catch a pickerel for Day 1 of the Esox Hat-Trick
Weather: Less hot, less humid and overcast. Lower 80's.
Moon: Waxing. 5 days after new.
Water Conditions: Overgrown with vegetation and stained like tea (Cedar water?)

It's no secret that I can be a little impatient, especially when it comes to fishing. Ever since I came up with the idea to score three species of Esox in three days, I've been stoked to get started. And just like this whole 365 thing, it happened a day early.

When I thought about my plan to catch a pike on Friday, a musky on Saturday and have that determine whether I fished for pickerel on Sunday, it didn't make sense.

Shouldn't the musky be the finale?

And shouldn't I get one in the bag in case I strike out with the pike?

Yes, and there was a solution.

I consulted my resources and found a couple ponds in Middlesex County with good pickerel fishing, and I figured I could drive there after work and give it a shot. Heck, I even had time to stop at Molder's Fishing Preserve for live shiners to make sure it went well.

I got the shiners, but it did not go first.

DeVoe Lake had little shore access and was completely overgrown with grass. The same was true for Helmetta. I tried fishing any open water I saw, but after what seemed like an eternity, it just wasn't happening. I did catch one crappie from a dock on Helmetta Lake, but that was all.

I was fairly confident that I was going to have to go back to pickerel fishing on Sunday, but there was one last thing that I wanted to try.

After missing the turn for Helmetta, I wound up passing a small pond that looked like it was fed by the outflow from the lake. I figured if the lake had pickerel, this little puddle might too, even though it was pretty much in the middle of a parking lot.

I saw lots of turtles, but didn't see to many signs of fish......until.........

I got what I came for.

Day 1 a success. Pickerel down, pike and musky to go.

Next Up: Day 2 of the 3-Day Esox Hat-Trick: Pike on the Passaic River.

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