Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 287: BAMMMMMM!!!!!

It doesn't get much sweeter than this.
When: Thursday, February 23rd, from 9am to 1:30pm
Where: Lake Hopatcong
What: Musky fishing, solo, on a rented boat from Dow's
Weather: Mild, windy and partly cloudy, high of 53 degrees, winds up to 12mph from the NW and gusting to 23mph
Barometric Pressure: 29.51in and rising
Moon: Waxing, a day or so past new
Water Conditions: Lake was 30 inches low, partly stained, main lake was 35 degrees, found water as warm at 41

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

This is...without question...the greatest fish I have ever caught. 

Not only was it most likely a few inches longer and a few pounds heavier than the musky I took on the Allegheny, this fish was all me. I found it, I hooked it on my gear and I landed it all by myself. Heck, I even propped my camera up on the cooler and took the picture myself.

I'm not saying that to brag, I'm saying that to convey the sheer satisfaction of doing 100% of the legwork in hunting a trophy like this and then finally watching the net come up underneath it.

Absolutely fantastic.

I guess fate was a little on my side here too. I was going to make a trip to the Big Lake on Wednesday, but changed my mind to get some errands done. When it turned out to be a beautiful day I regretted the decision...but not anymore. After seeing the weather on Thursday was going to be a carbon-copy, I wasn't about to make the same mistake twice.

I called Laurie at Dow's who told me she had a boat in the water, and my decision was made.

It was a bit breezy as I shoved off Nolan's Point just before 9am, but I wasn't worried. I've learned from countless hours on the Interweb that musky often feed in windy conditions. Plus, I knew exactly where I was headed and suspected there would be some shelter from the blow. Although I've never heard of anyone fishing musky this early in the year, in this part of the lake, my Spidey-senses told me they had to be there. 

I would have bet the ranch on it.

And I should have.

I had to battle the wind and the weeds a bit, but after a few fruitless hours I found myself casting a big jerkbait on a perfect drift down a nice weedline.

That's when she hit.
I think I kind of blacked-out after that, but I do remember backing-down on my drag, playing the fish next to the boat and seeing my second musky in three days right there in the Stowmaster.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 277: A Couple Fish And An Apology

When: Monday, February 14th, from 6pm to 6:45pm
Where: Lenape Lake in Westfield
What: Fishing with nightcrawlers and waxworms
Weather: Partly cloudy, 42 degrees, W wind at 15mph
Barometric Pressure: 29.95in and rising
Moon: Waning, a day or so before the last quarter
Water Conditions: Partly stained

First off, I just wanted to make sure that my loyal readers understand a few things. I can only imagine how painful it must be to read the sub-par reports that seem to be the norm these days, but imagine how difficult it is to write them.

Some may think that I have a surplus of time on my hands to go fishing every day, when in fact it's the exact opposite. Because I have huge time constraints and still have to squeeze in 30 minutes of fishing, I often can't travel much further than a couple miles from my house. I see Frank in South Jersey putting a beat-down on the pickerel, crappie and perch and the guys on the message board are killing the trout in the Pequest and the South Branch. I wish that was me, however, the fact of the matter is that there isn't a pickerel, crappie, perch or trout within a half-hour of my home. Unfortunately, the species at my disposal here in Union County have not "woken-up" yet. I've caught plenty of bass, carp and catfish near my home, and big ones at that, but it's tough to catch any those species right now, especially when I'm fishing at a half-an-hour at a clip and often don't have any live bait. Even if there was a pickerel, crappie, perch or trout 20 minutes away, that's 40 minutes of driving on top of 30 minutes of fishing and that's well over an hour of time that I just don't have on any given day. I have a full-time job, I write for a magazine on Sundays, I have a wonderful woman in my life who loves to spend time with me, go to the gym with me and even eat dinner with me a few nights a week. I also have another commitment that takes up an hour or so of my time every single day. Add that all up, and you have about a 28 hour day, which is why it's often a struggle to find even 30 minutes to fish two miles from my home.

The reason that I'm bringing this up is because I don't want anyone to think that I'm not trying my best right now. I spend almost every minute of every day running around like a madman. These blogs usually aren't written until the end of my day, which is no earlier than 10pm. Many time I'm too wiped and get it done at 7am before work. I'm trying my best, but it's taking every minute of every day to do this and every inch of my will to sit out in the cold, miserable weather. I haven't been catching fish, I'm not having a whole lot of fun right now and it sure as heck stinks to have to write about it every day. I could make-up stories and pull pictures from my photo library or blow off my job, my fiancee and my responsibilities, but I refuse to let this crazy quest jeopardize the truly important things in life. I took a personal day on Friday and headed to Milford, PA to try and change my luck and get some Kodaks for the blog, but anyone who read that story knows how that trip panned out.

So, I try to hit the best places I can with the time I have and that often involves a quick 30 minute trip close to home just to keep the streak alive. I haven't caught that many fish recently, but I haven't given-up and the winter is almost over.

That being said, I had a little action today. Nothing was taking the nightcrawlers at Lenape Lake, but a second rod with waxworms fished under a float kept getting hit. I landed one small sunfish and missed a couple more before I felt something pulling a bit harder. It was getting dark and I originally thought it was a bass when I saw its profile, but it turned-out to be a huge wild shiner.

It was a good feeling to get a little love from the fish, regardless of their size and glamor.

Day 276: The Heck With February

Cold and windy...again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012