Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Not Over............

December carp, on a Binksy. Merry Christmas!!!

When: Sunday, December 22nd
What: Shore fishing with the Chris, Brian and Lido
Weather: Very unseasonably warm, foggy and overcast with a light rain at times. High in the mid-60's, wind S to SW at 17 and gusting to 24, although much calmer for most of the day.
Barometric Pressure: 29.94 and fell to 29.89 
Relative Humidity: Low of 78%
Sunrise: 7:21am
Sunset: 4:36pm
Moon: Waning, 3 days before the last quarter. Moonset 10:15am. Underfoot 4pm.
Water Conditions: Clear and cold. Gauge at 4.25 and rising.

Brian is home for the holidays and like always, he was ready to do some fishing. I was pretty darn sure that it was time to do some ice fishing, but Mother Nature threw us the wickedest of curve balls with some incredibly warm weather. There may have been a chance to get out on the ice on Saturday, but we were going to be fishing on Sunday.

With record setting highs.

Even if there was some borderline safe ice somewhere, I wasn't about to be standing on it with temps inching near 70 degrees and a warm rain coming down.

Neither was anyone else.

So we decided to do a little river fishing where we knew there would be no ice. I got there early to make sure the river was not too high and that no one was at our spot.

Good on both fronts.

I had lugged some bait down and started bait fishing, and immediately got bored. So, I started tossing the Binsky, but the correct way that my buddy Steve details in his video.

After about 10 minutes, I made a cast towards shore and was thinking I had sent it too far into shallow water. I let it fall anyway, and after resting it on the bottom for a couple of seconds, I engaged the reel and lifted the rod only to feel dead weight. I thought the lure had snagged a rock for a second, but it was giving a little. After dragging in dead weight for a few feet, I was then fairly certain the hooks were clinging to a tree branch.

And then it started moving.

When I saw the rod pumping ever so slightly under the stress from a big fish, my mind started racing with visions of a musky or a monster walleye. The fish pulled hard but took very little drag. When I first saw the deep gold when it surfaced, I thought it was a huge walleye, but after bringing it closer, I realized my prize was a nice-sized carp.

Whatever, it's December, and I'll take a 10+ pound fish any day.

Normally when I catch carp on lures they are foul hooked. However, this fish was hooked right in the lips it and it took the bait while the Binsky was sitting on the bottom. There is no doubt that this fish fully intended to eat it.

I unhooked it, set up my camera and my tripod, set the timer and took the pic. I then put the fish back in the chilly river, where it swam away healthy and strong, no worse for the wear.

The boys showed up shortly thereafter and it was great to see Brian. I had not seen in a little over a year, and it's always good times when we get together. Surprisingly, for a winter day, everyone caught a fish. Chris caught a nice channel cat on a jig, Brian got himself a nice smallmouth and the birthday boy Lido took the high hook by catching a small channel cat and a walleye to break-in his new walleye rod he got for his birthday less than 24 hours earlier.

It was a great reunion on the water, and it's always nice to see a fish caught. Especially in such cold water, even though it felt like Spring.

Not sure if I'll be out again until 2014, so once again, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a very special "thank you" to everyone who continues to read this!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another End, Another Beginning

When: Sunday, December 1st
What: Musky fishing with Joe C.
Weather: Cloudy and a bit warmer, light wind.
Barometric Pressure: n/a 
Relative Humidity: n/a
Sunrise: 7:03am
Sunset: 4:29pm
Moon: Waning, less than a day before new. Moonset 3:38pm. Overhead 10:31am.
Water Conditions: n/a

Every so often I hear someone say "when is fishing season?" The answer to that question is simple, it's always fishing season. There is really no time of year that you can't fish, but as the seasons change, anglers must alter their approach. Most winters, we have at least some period of time where the lakes in Northern New Jersey are frozen. That period seems to be coming early this year.

Although many rivers will remain free of ice, most boat owners will pack their boats away as the rivers are low and unsafe for boating and ramps are covered with ice. My boat is not designed for river fishing, so I fall into that category.

So, when I headed out on my boat with Joe for some musky fishing on Thanksgiving weekend, I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be the last time I had my boat out in 2013. The day was exactly one year since I Lindsay bought her for me as an early Christmas present, and it could not have been a more fantastic season.

This trip was a few weeks ago at this point, but since I knew I was about to go on a dryspell with fishing time, I figured I'd save report to put out at later date.

As I sit here writing this, it is bitter cold outside. We've already had our third dose of snow, and temps aren't coming much above freezing over the next few days.

Before I owned a boat, I would take my ice fishing gear out in October. It was my most favorite time of year. I guess now I'm a little sad that I won't be using my boat or musky fishing for a few months, but I shook that off this weekend and started to get a little excited for the hardwater. I put my boat trailer on cinder blocks this weekend to keep my tires off the ground all winter, I replaced the gas lines on my power auger, ordered new blades for my hand auger, dug out the tub of tip-ups and even put my sled in the back of my truck.

I'm ready.

Well, almost.

Brian will be home this weekend, and a reunion is shaping up for this weekend. I'm hoping it will be on the ice, but we'll find a way to do some fishing one way or another.

Although it doesn't always line up with the calendar, my first ice fishing trip marks the end of one fishing year and the beginning of another. For the last 3 or 4 or 6 years, I have kept saying that the next year could not possibly be any better, and once again it was. It was a fantastic year of fishing, and I could not have been happier about having a boat and the amazing fish I caught.

My goal was to catch 6 muskies this year, which would have been one more than I caught in 2012. My "outside" goal was 10. This year I caught 12 and missed and saw many more. My biggest fish was a 47 inch true strain that was over 25 pounds, another trophy in my rather short career as a musky angler. I caught tiger muskies of 42 and 44 inches, both big fish, especially for hybrids. Those three fish were all caught in my boat. In total, half of my 12 fish were 39 inches or better.

It wasn't all about the muskies though. I had the best ice fishing trip of my life this past winter, caught my biggest northern pike ever, my biggest smallmouth bass ever, a bunch of nice walleye, had a fantastic trip for hybrid stripers on Matt's birthday, had an epic battle with a 50-pound tarpon on medium action tackle while in Aruba with Linds and a lot of other wonderful outdoor adventures with Lindsay, my sister and my friends.

This was truly a memorable year, and once again I am going to say how I don't see how next year can be much better.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a BIG PIKE!!!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Tiger For Our Efforts

A beautifully marked tiger musky caught on Thanksgiving weekend.

When: Saturday, November 30th, from 9:30am to 4:30pm
What: Musky fishing with Matt
Weather: Clear skies and cold with a few clouds in the afternoon. Did I mention it was really cold again?? Temps 21 to 32. Wind E turning to S up to 5mph.
Barometric Pressure:30.69 and noon then started falling gradually to 30.55 when we left.
Relative Humidity: 44% at mid day
Sunrise: 7:02am
Sunset: 4:29pm
Moon: Waning, a day and half before new. Moonset 2:53pm. Overhead 9:35am.
Water Conditions: Temps flirty with the 30's. Slightly stained.

I told one of my coworkers when I left the office the day before Thanksgiving that I was going to "fish my face off" over the weekend.

And fish my face off I did.

After a long-day of plying the ocean and Barnegat Bay for stripers with Jimmy and Joe on Friday, I came home to gather my musky gear and go fishing with Matt the next day. Once again, it was absolutely bitter
cold, but the rough weather makes for a lot of room on the water. When we arrived at the marina, there was a fair amount of skim ice in the small cove where it's located, but a few boats had already been out and chopped through it. There's something that just feels pretty cool about navigating through ice to go catch a musky. It makes you feel like you're really fishing.

I've never been a huge fan of trolling for muskies, mostly for no better reason than the fact that I can't sit still for that long. There's absolutely no denying that it is a proven method for catching fish though. Trollers will often, and maybe even under most conditions, outfish musky anglers who are casting. I could probably catch more muskies if I stuck the rods in the holder more often, but it's just not my style.

Regardless of that, I'm down to try it from time to time. Especially when a bunch of my buddies have been doing well trolling and I'm a little tired from fishing the day before. This was the perfect scenario.

Matt and I trolled for 4 hours without a touch. Actually, the line did rip out once, but it was mostly likely from a snag.

As it neared 2pm and the moonset, we decided to do some casting. Within an hour, I had the pretty tiger you see above nail my 8-inch Hughes River Shaker about 15 feet from the boat. The fight was short and the fish was quickly unhooked, photographed and released. I normally don't disclose the lures I use, but I don't envision too many people going out and spending $70 on a Hughes River Bait, if you can even find them. Fall is the time to work big gliders like the Shaker, and it's one of my favorite ways to fish for skis.

Winter is definitely approaching and soon there will be ice. I have one more trip to report for 2013, but it may be my last for a few and I have probably caught my last musky this year. The water is cold and any ice you find is probably not safe yet, so be careful out there.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Day Late And A Few Inches Short

One of three short stripers caught on the Tunacious on Black Friday.

When: Black Friday, November 29th
Where: The Ocean
What: Striper fishing with Joe C. and Jimmy aboard the Tunacious
Weather: Clear skies but cold. Wind calm to N and NW at 6mph. Did I mention is was cold? 21 to 40 degrees. Felt a heck of a lot colder.
Barometric Pressure: 30.58in and steady
Relative Humidity: 40% at midday
Sunrise: 6:57am
Sunset: 4:32pm
Moon: Waning, 3 days before new. Moonset 2:15pm. Overhead 2:15pm.
Water Conditions: High tide 7:12am, Low Tide 2:08pm. Water temps 43 degrees and slightly stained.

It's been a long weekend and this trip with Jimmy and Joe seems like it was weeks ago at this point. Black Friday is normally a good day to be striper fishing in New Jersey, but we had no keepers to put in the box. The birds that were chasing down bait just a week ago seemed to have all but vanished, and it left us scratching our heads and fearing the cold snap may have sent the bigger fish packing until the Spring. The fall run was not as Joe would have hoped, but there were no shortage of laughs and good times on the Tunacious while people were beating each other over the head to get hot Black Friday deals in every store in in America. It was much more peaceful on the water.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Earning Our Stripes

A healthy 35-inch striper that hit the deck of the Tunacious.

When: Saturday, November 23rd
Where: The Ocean
What: Striper fishing with Joe C. aboard the Tunacious
Weather: Mostly cloudy and overcast. Low of 45, high of 59. Wind S to SW 5 to 10mph and gusting over 15 at times.
Barometric Pressure: 30.2in dropped to 30.00in
Relative Humidity: Low of 78%
Sunrise: 6:49am
Sunset: 4:35pm
Moon: Waning, 3 days before last quarter. Moonset 10:31am. Underfoot 3:47pm.
Water Conditions: Low tide 7:39am, High Tide 1:29pm. Water temp at 49 degrees and the ocean was choppy at times and with some stained water.

I remember catching my first striper many years ago. For awhile, I felt like they were my bane. It took countless hours on the beach before I got one to hit the sand. It also seemed like every time I was out on a charter or a party boat that I was the guy bailing bluefish while everyone else was catching bass.

So even though Joe is a striper sharpie and has been for some time, my expectations weren't high when he said we were going to do some bass fishing this fall. When you take a guy out that normally fishes for muskies and can go three or four 10-hour trips without seeing a fish, the bar is set pretty low by default.

Still, I was pretty confident that we were going to have some action this week, and although we didn't get the crazy blitzes Joe would have liked, seeing a couple nice fish make it to the net was pretty darn cool.

But we worked for them. The first bass was in the box in our first 10 minutes on the water. It hit a teaser rigged 18 inches above an Ava jig. After that things got quiet, and although there were plenty of birds, bait and boats around, the action was hard to come by. We brought up a bluefish and a few junkfish, but our second bass seemed to elude us.

We tried everything we could, changing baits, locations and even trolling, although the latter for only 10 minutes or so. We were actually on our way back to the barn when Joe decided to check out one better looking swarm of birds. As soon as we pulled-up the birds started diving. Joe and I both bombed a cast and both got bumped. One of the fish found a hook.

After a nice fight during which the bass dove under the boat and I had half my rod in the water, I was able to lift its head with the Deadly Dick barely hanging by a thread. Joe did the rest.

Like I said, Joe is used to having some much better action at this point in the fall, but it was the nonetheless a successful trip on the Tunacious and one of the more memorable fishing trips I've been on. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gettin' Jiggy

Joe and Chris got themselves some dinner.

When: Saturday, November 16th, from 10am to 6pm
Where: Greenwood
What: Jigging with Joe and Chris
Weather: Warm and sunny. 53 degrees warmed to 61. Very few clouds. Wind calm to SE at 5mph, SW at 3mph and S at 8mph.
Barometric Pressure: High, 30.30in and fell slightly to 30.24in.
Relative Humidity: 36% at mid-day
Sunrise: 6:46am
Sunset: 4:37pm
Moon: Waxing/Full. Moonset 5:39am. Underfoot 10:58am. Moonrise 4:11pm.
Water Conditions: Partly stained, 50 degrees, surface temps warmed slightly to 51.

I guess every once in awhile you have to put down the musky rods. Well, maybe you don't.

Chris and I hadn't managed to get out in awhile and Joe was looking to catch his first walleye. Since I know the basics of jigging for walleye in the fall, we decided to give it a go on Joe's Ranger. As stubborn as I am, I brought along a musky rod in addition to a walleye rod.

It took us a bit to find a place to launch. We first went to DeFeo's up on the Northwest corner of the Greenwod Lake. A bunch of boats had already launched and parking was tight, but there was still some space. The guy operating the joint was a total jerk though, made no effort to help us out and even told my friend Joe that "I'm in the marina business not the launch business." This place tries to bang you $30 on the weekends in the summer and charges you $10 for an extra car when you can get in at almost any other marina for $20. After this weekend I would never give DeFeo's another dime and I would urge other people to consider the marinas that are nicer to their customers.

We did find a much friendlier place to launch, and saw our fellow MI22 members Brian and Andy going out together to troll for muskies. They have been lighting it up the past few weeks, but the clear skies and high pressure made fishing tough all around.

Luckily Andy, who has been fishing Greenwood forever, pointed out where we might find some walleye. After all my spots fell flat, we went over to where Andy suggested and had our first bite. Joe landed the nice crappie in short order. Over the next couple hours, we teamed up for 3 short walleye, 1 keeper walleye and 5 big crappie. Not fast and furious action by any means, but enough to send Joe and Chris home with a meal.

We did try fishing for muskyr at moonrise, but we quickly went back to jigging. We thought the fishing might pick up after dark, but after an hour of not being able to see anything, we packed it in.

Still, it was nice to see some fish in the boat. Although we didn't land any monsters, we had some action and everyone enjoyed the day, and a meal.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Successful Saturday

My new PB tiger muskellunge. Between 43 and 44 inches.

When: Saturday, November 9th, from 9am to 5pm
What: Musky fishing with Dante
Weather: Cool and breezy at times. Calm wind to variable at 6mph and SW to 8mph and gusting to 20mph. 32 degrees at launch, warmed to 48 at mid-day. Partly to mostly cloudy.
Barometric Pressure: 30.27in dropped to 30.06
Relative Humidity: 70% at launch dropped to 38%
Sunrise: 6:40am
Sunset: 4:46pm
Moon: Waxing, a day before the first quarter. Major 5:15am (Underfoot) Minor 12:14pm (Moonrise). Major 5:42pm (overhead)
Water Conditions: 50 degrees and stained/49 degrees and partly stained

Monday, November 4, 2013

How Low Can It Go?

The Passaic, like most rivers in New Jersey, could use a couple weeks of heavy rain.

When: Sunday, November 3rd, from 11am to 12pm
Where: The Passaic River
What: Pike fishing
Weather: Party cloudy, breezy and cool. 46 degrees. N winds at 14mph and gusting to 20mph.
Barometric Pressure: 30.16
Relative Humidity: 57%
Water Conditions: Fairly clear and very low. 31cfs and 3.35ft at Chatham.

In case you haven't noticed, we have not had a whole lot of rain here in New Jersey as of late. Many people aren't aware of this, instead they enjoy the lack of wet weather. There are few places that the absence of precipitation is more evident than in our rivers and streams.

They are low....near record low.

Being a "lakehead" and not spending much time fishing on moving water, I myself was ignorant of this detail until a few weeks ago when someone pointed out that the Delaware was a low as they had ever seen. Since then, it has hardly all.

Check out the diagram below. The top number is the amount of rainfall, in inches, that we have had over the last 90 days. The bottom number is its departure from yearly averages. Shocking? Huh?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Turnover Time

When: Sunday, October 27th, from 7am to 3pm
What: Musky fishing with Joe C.
Weather: Sunny and breezy. 40 to 55 degrees. Wind calm to variable at 7mph and West at 9mph, gusting to 21.
Barometric Pressure: 29.94in to 29.98
Relative Humidity: 37% at mid-day
Sunrise: 7:25am
Sunset: 6:2pm
Moon: Waning, a day after the last quarter. Major 7:19am (Overhead). Minor 2:11pm (moonset)
Water Conditions: Stained, temp n/a, but guessing between 59 and 54 degrees.

I was supposed to go away with some friends this weekend, but the powers that be said otherwise. Since Joe was looking to do some fishing on Sunday, we decided to see what we could conjure up. Both of us were pretty stoked to go back out and give the stripers a shot, but all the reports were telling us it wasn't worth the gas money.

And it wasn't.

Although we by no means had any action with the muskies, it was clear that we would have had the same result on the salt with the stripes, with a lot more aggravation and 30 or 40 gallons of gas.

But, we gave it an honest effort, like always. We played the musky hunch since the fish had been really active approaching the fall turnover temperature of 59. Here is a link to learn about turnover if you don't know what it is. However, I have found that no information online is 100% accurate and can vary greatly depending on wind, weather, the body of water and region

One thing that is generally agreed upon is that fishing during turnover can be a little funky. The action before or after, however, can be pretty darn good. It had been, but wasn't today, and from what I saw on the water we could have been fishing some tough conditions. Or, it could have just been that we were fishing for muskies.

We spent 8 or so hours on the water, but did not even see a fish. It was a great day out though, aside from a bit of wind. The crowds have definitely dissipated a bit and it was nice to be relatively alone on the water on a beautiful fall day.

The fall still is far from over, and I would venture to say that a big fish is going to fall before the turkey gets stuffed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One In The Net Is Worth.......

The bigger one got away.

When: Sunday, October 20th, from 7:30am to 4:30pm
What: Fishing a Musky Tournament With Joe L....kind of
Weather: Mostly sunny. 38 to 60 degrees. Winds calm to variable to SW at 6 to W at 10 and gusting to 18
Barometric Pressure: 29.91in to 29.96
Relative Humidity: 38% at mid-day
Sunrise: 7:15am
Sunset: 6:08pm
Moon: Waning, a day after full. Minor 8:51am (Moonset). Major 2:06pm (underfoot)
Water Conditions: Partly stained, 63 degrees.

It was a tough week at the office. Joe and I had been stuck behind our desks, and the fish were biting. We got numerous texts and pics from our buddies who were having a blast moving and catching muskies, and by the time the weekend rolled around, the clouds were gone and a front had passed.

Still, we had our Chapter 22 "tournament" on Sunday, which wound up being just a bunch of guys from the club out fishing.

Fine by me.

We launched just after 7:30pm and got right to work. I was still lagging a little from waking up at 3:30am the day before to go striper fishing, but I kept at it. After a couple hours, about 40 minutes after the moonset, I tied on a 9-inch crankbait to work some shallow weeds we were fishing in 8 feet of water. I was giving the bait a couple twitches and keeping it just below the surface, and after 5 casts a fish came out and took a shot. He missed, but a few cranks later he was on it again.

This time he got stuck.


I was able to see that the fish had just nipped the back hook and was hanging by a thread. I knew it wasn't going to end well, and after a couple head shakes I got to watch him swim away before Joe even had time to get his hands on the net.

There are few things that are more disappointing than losing a good musky.

But, we kept at it. A couple hours later Joe had a good fish come out from shallow weeds and I was sure it was going to smack his crankbait. However, after a couple turns on the 8, the fish was gone. We went back a couple more times, but we never saw the fish again.

At the major we decided to visit the site of the first fish. After working the area and not seeing anything, we began to drift back towards the main lake. I made another cast with the same bait, and after finishing my retrieve I did not see anything following. Still being half-asleep, my mind wandered for a minute and I turned my head to look in the boat with the bait still sitting in the water.

That's when I heard a splash.

Very shortly thereafter, this 34 was in the net.

That was all the action we would have for the day. We stuck it out for a few more hours, but I had reached my fishing capacity for the weekend. It didn't feel great to lose a good fish, but putting one in the net is always better than nothing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


When: Saturday, October 19th from 5:30am to 4:30pm
What: Striper fishing with Joe aboard the "Tunacious"
Weather: Fair skies. 45 to 63 degrees. Winds calm to SE at 9 and S at 7
Barometric Pressure: 30.00in to 29.90in
Relative Humidity: 56% at mid-day
Sunrise: 7:15am
Sunset: 6:08pm
Moon: Waning, Full.
Water Conditions: Calm seas, temperature 61 degrees.

It's been too long since I've gone fall striper fishing. Sandy screwed things up for everyone last year and it's no secret that I've had muskies swimming around my brain for awhile now. Still, I am by no means opposed to actually going out and catching fish every once in awhile, so when Joe invited me on his vessel the "Tunacious" for some fall bass fishing, I was pretty damn stoked.

Joe had already laid out the disclaimer that this was his first trip of the fall and by all means it was an exploratory mission. We knew there was plenty of bait around, but all the reports had the bass about 40 miles North of Joe's marina, and we didn't know if any of them had made their way further South. My take on it was that if we came up empty, it would be right on par with what I often get when I am fishing for muskies.

We met bright bright an early at the marina, and after getting settled we headed out under the cloak of darkness.

On the way out of Barnegat Bay, we too a shot at tossing baits at some sod banks and jetties. Joe then started checking his normal spots, all of which had bait (sand eels) stacked on the bottom. We looked for areas where the bait was dispersed on the sonar, an indication that they may have been being harassed by predators. We found a spot and first drop with a ON.

However, this did not feel like a striper.

After getting the mystery fish to the surface, we had ourselves a croaker, and two more on the next two drops. It was good to bring something in the boat, but definitely not the intended species. After checking some more areas, we found similar marks and soon had ourselves into a mess of spike weakfish. We were picking them up on every drop, but they were tiny fish and that game got old pretty quick. We did, however, manage to put two keepers in the box (limit of 1 fish per person over 13-inches), and with a trio of croakers already on ice, someone had themselves a meal.

Things did get exciting for a few with some birds working in the area, but it seemed the only thing causing the ruckus was a school of snapper blues. Everything seemed absolutely perfect and we half expected the blitzes and the run to kick into gear at any minute, but in the end it was obvious that we were going to have to wait a little long for the first bass of the fall.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Releasing The Little Ones, Catching the Big(ger) Ones

The future of the New Jersey musky fishery courtesy of the State hatchery.

When: Saturday, October 12th, from 6am to 7pm
What: Stocking muskies and fishing with Matt and Joe
Weather: Mostly sunny. 57 to 73 degrees. Wind up to 10mph from the NE and gusting much higher at times.
Barometric Pressure: 30.15in climbed to almost 30.3in
Relative Humidit: 21 to 77 percent
Sunrise: 7:05am
Sunset: 6:20pm
Moon: Waxing, a day after the first quarter.  Major 7:21am (Underfoot). Minor 2:31pm (moonrise),
Water Conditions: Clear to partly stained. 63 degrees.

As members of Muskies Inc, Craig at the State hatchery asked for some assistance in stocking the year's musky hatch on Saturday.

We were happy to help.

Matt and I planned to man his boat for the endeavor, but since we were going to be stocking muskies, we figured we may as well fish for them too. The hatchery truck was coming at 8am, but since there was a 7:21am moon phase, we decided to get on the water nice and early.

And we were glad we did.

At around 7:40, during the major moon period, my buddy Matt pointed out a surface disturbance off the left side of boat. I took two casts to the area. The first cast didn't do anything, but on the second turn of a Figure 8 on the second cast, a 31 inch musky came out of nowhere and inhaled my 7-inch Big Game. It wasn't a monster by any means, but it was my first musky on Monksville. I was pretty stoked.
Shorty after that we spent an hour stocking muskies. It was an interesting experience and one I'll never forget. I've said it before, that the hatchery in our state is second to none. It was great to be able to help out, give back and be a part of the future of New Jersey's musky fishery.
And then back to fishing.
We trolled for a couple hours with no results and then started fishing again as we neared another moon period. At about 1:45, 45 minutes before the moonrise, Matt had this gorgeous 42 incher crush his 8-inch Big Game. The fish put up a spirited fight, digging under the boat for what seemed like an eternity. Matt was finally able to steer him around to the side, where I was waiting with the net. A few snips and a few pics and the fish was on its way.
So, it was a successful day on many fronts. We released 550 baby muskies to grow to the size so that people can catch them. We also caught and released two fish that might grow up to be trophies. Actually, Matt's fish was a trophy by most standards, and had probably been released a couple times along the way by someone else. That's how it works. Let 'em go, let 'em grow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Too Crowded For Comfort

When: Saturday, October 6th, from 6am to 5pm
What: Musky fishing with Joe
Weather: Mostly cloudy and warm with a slight SE breeze.
Barometric Pressure: n/a
Relative Humidity: n/a
Sunrise: 7:04am
Sunset: 6:36pm
Moon: Waxing, 2 days after new. Major 2:14pm (overhead). Minor 8:34am (moonrise), 7:34pm (moonset).
Water Conditions: Partly stained on Marsh, no temp available. Very stained on Mercer, temps from 72 in the West End to 67 in the East End.

First of all, you can thank the ineptitude of the United States Government for the lack of information regarding barometric pressure and relative humidity. The only site that I know of to get a backlog of weather conditions is from Since their website is shutdown due to the shutdown, I do not have the details.


Second, I don't care how many muskies are in Marsh Creek Lake in Pennsylvania, the absolute insanity of the number of boats out there was plenty to make me never want to go back there least on a weekend. We rolled-up at O'dark thirty and within a minute there were 20 boats line-up at the launch.

It was unsettling to know that there was going to be a little too much company and not enough elbow room on the lake, but we set out anyway. Most of the boats made a left out of the launch, so we made right. After about an hour I had a small tiger musky nip my bucktail at the boat, but he didn't find any hooks.

We kept at it for a few more hours with no follows, but time after time we found a handful of boats, a kayak and a canoe to keep where we wanted to fish. We eventually had to decide whether or not to head up to the other end of the lake....and.....

We left.

Our Plan B was to backtrack to Lake Mercer where we weren't as confident in the fishing, but we were certainly confident in the lack of fishing pressure.

The water was stained, but it was nice to have the place (almost) to ourselves. We fished the East end of the lake and I did have one solid hit a on bucktail that once again did not find any hooks. Moments later, I felt a tap, set the hook...and....


I've caught a few fish in my life, and by the bend in the rod I could tell this one was a big one. I was, however, a little surprised at how easily the monster musky gave up fighting. That bewilderment quickly subsided moments later as my 50-incher turned out to be a verylarge, ass-hooked carp.

Oh well, it got my blood pumping.

We kept at it for a few more hours but no musky were to be had on this day. It was still a great time on the water. I know people catch muskies in Lake Mercer, and although there are probably a lot more caught at Marsh Creek, there's no question as to which one is higher on my list to fish again.

Monday, September 30, 2013

From Dawn 'Til Dusk

When: Sunday, September 29th, from 6am to 6pm.
What: Musky fishing
Weather: Cool, mostly sunny to mostly cloudy with a light wind at times. 43 degrees warmed to 71. Wind calm to SE and Variable at 3mph.
Barometric Pressure: 30.21 fell to 30.08.
Relative Humidity: 100% to 49% at mid-day.
Sunrise: 6:52am
Sunset: 6:42pm
Moon: Waning, 2 days after the last quarter. Major 8:38am (overhead) to 10:48am. Minor 3:39pm (moonset) to 3:39pm.
Water Conditions: Partly stained, tea-colored. Temp n/a.

September 29th is a special day for me, but I guess the Musky Gods haven't figured that out yet. It was a simply beautiful day to be out on the water, but unfortunately that often translates into "no muskies."

One follow early in the morning and one fish took interest in a glider and bit everything but the hooks. May have been the fish that was cruising and splashing near the far weedbed most of the day.

That's all for today, I'm exhausted.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aruba In Pictures

It would be way to long to write about our 1-year anniversary trip to Aruba, so here's some pictures. One thing that you won't see pictures of, however, is the the 30 to 40 pound tarpon that defeated me in an epic battle just hours before our flight home. I hooked the beast on medium action spinning rod while I was standing on a rock ledge 20 feet from the water. As soon as I got a look at him, he took to the air...again and again and again. I managed to keep him glued with tension on the line as I held the rod with one hand and climbed down the rocks to the water. After finding firm footing down by the water, I continued to fight the tarpon for what seemed like an eternity. Three times I had him in the shallow water just a few feet from land, and each time the silver king took another run and another jump. I had him about three feet from me and was preparing to land it when it took one last run, one last jump and the hook popped free. When he came unglued he went belly up for just a minute before swimming away. That was probably his last run and it was the one that set him loose. I was going to let him go anyway, of course, but it would have made for an epic ending to a wonderful vacation. At least I got the pleasure of doing battling with him.

Thank you to my beautiful wife for putting up with all the fishing and for the best first year of marriage I could have ever dreamed of. I am a lucky man.

...............the end.