Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 210: Getting Even

One of two pickerel that didn't seem to be bothered by a cold front.
When: Thursday, December 8th, from 3pm to 3:30pm
Where: Dallenbach Lake in East Brunswick
What: Pickerel fishing
Weather: Clear skies, 44 degrees, West wind at 6mph and gusting to 20, post-frontal
Barometric Pressure: 30.02in and rising
Moon: Waxing, pretty much full
Water Conditions: Clear

To a fisherman, the term "cold front" may as well be a cuss. A cold front is a drastic drop in temperature that is usually preceded by a low pressure system, i.e. a storm. Anyone with a pulse in New Jersey could tell you that it was considerably colder today than it was yesterday and anyone who left their house on Wednesday could have told you there was a bit of weather passing through.

Cold fronts can throw a wrench into the fishing. Many species of fish, much like me, don't react very well to change. So, when the weather drops close to 20 degrees from the day before and water conditions get roughed up by winds and rain, fish can shut down and refuse to feed. Largemouth bass are famous for shutting-down after a front, but I knew of one species that might be a little more inclined to bite.

Coincidentally, it's the same toothy devil that sawed through my line yesterday.

Today though, victory would be mine.

Luckily, once again, my travels took me to the land of pickerel-rich waters in southern Middlesex County. I had a noontime appointment that pushed my lunch hour closer to dinner, but I still had time to get in my 30 minutes before my afternoon appointment. I knew the Lawrence Brook impoundments like Farrington, Davidson's Mill Pond and Weston's Mill Pond were going to be a mess from all the rain, so I went to a spot that figured would have some better looking water.

Dallenbach Lake is another little secret I uncovered while living in Hub City. The lake sits in a huge sand quarry. With the absence of mud banks or a feeder creek, it doesn't get any run-off from storms and was hence crystal clear. Most other lakes in the area looked like a bowl of Yoo-Hoo.

This time, I took the proper measures to fortify my line, and got plenty of practice at it while I repeatedly casted small lead-heads and twister tails into low-lying trees. Throw in a couple tangles, and frustration was beginning to take its hold.

I did have one small pickerel follow my lure to the shore after about 10 casts, but I was not counting on getting a fish to commit with the cold front.

I was wrong.

I was also, however, just about to pack it in when I decided to try one last cove on the other side of the lot where I parked. I gave it a few casts, but it still wasn't looking good. I had actually made my "for real" last cast and was just about to pull my lure from the water, already turning toward the car, when the pickerel above slammed it.

This one did not get away. After a couple pics and a quick release, I decided to take one more cast. And caught one more pickerel.

I guess no one told the pickerel about the cold front.

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