The signs say it all.
When: Wednesday, April 18th, from 1:30pm to 2pm
Where: The Secaucus Duck Pond
Weather: Overcast, light rain, 60 degrees, variable winds at 3mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.21in and slowly falling
Relative Humidity: 30%
Moon: Waning, a day before new
Water Conditions: Stained.....and highly polluted
I just don't know if there are many fishing holes in northern New Jersey that have more mystique and wonder than the Secaucus Duck Pond. This cesspool, and yes...it is a cesspool (see sign above), is neatly hidden within a labyrinth of factories just minutes from the Meadowlands Outlets, Giants Stadium and the New Jersey Turnpike.
The funny thing about it, is that although the water is contaminated, although there's no shortage of trash and although the water is probably composed of no less than 65-percent dissolved Canadian Goose dung, this small 5 or 6 acre pond is teeming with life.
And it also has some pretty freakin' big fish.
In addition to the overbearing waterfowl population, I have seen no less than six species of turtles, and lots of them, in addition to snakes, frogs and rodents. It guess it's surprising that there could be so much life in such a dirty-looking place, but maybe the animals just don't have anywhere else to go.
As for the fish, just today I spied with my own eyes: crappie, sunfish, largemouth bass and massive carp beginning their spawn and causing quite a ruckus along the shoreline and on the surface.
I may as well have been in the Amazon.
The other fish that I did not see today was the channel catfish, but oh boy they're in there. I've caught them close to 10 pounds and there is no doubt in my mind that there are bigger ones. I once had a fish absolutely take off with a bluegill the size of my hand that I was fishing off the bottom. The fish took a ton of line off the freespool before a slight technical malfunction prevented a hook-up. I keep wondering to this day whether it was a big catfish or one on the handful of huge largemouth bass that have been known to come from the murky water.
Today, however, there were no fish that bit. I wasn't prepared to do any catfishing or carp fishing, and it probably would not have been a wise idea in my crisp white shirt and baby blue tie. Instead I tossed a small Rapala that was repeatedly inspected by scores of bass, crappie and sunfish who didn't want to take the last step and open their mouths. At one point I had three crappie, four small bass, two sunfish and a garter snake staring at my small wooden lure sitting on the surface while I listened to a cacophony of rodents and birds moving around in the brush.
Did I mention that the carp were putting on quite a show?