Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Boots and New Beginnings

Both Janel and I were rocking new boots for our Labor Day weekend hike.

When: Sunday, September 1st, from 9am to 2pm and Monday, September 2nd (Labor Day) from 7am to 3pm
What: Hiking with Janel and Musky fishing with Joe
Weather: (Sunday) Cool and muggy with storms in the area and some light rain. (Monday) An early morning t-storm and spotty rain, otherwise partly cloudy to overcast and warm. Calm wind to SW at mph.
Barometric Pressure: (Monday) 29.82in to 29.74in
Relative Humidity: Very humid, btw 74% and 94% all day.
Sunrise: 6:27am
Sunset: 7:30pm
Moon: Waning, 2 days before new. Major 10:46am (overhead) to 12:46pm. Minor 5:43 (moonset) to 6:43pm.
Water Conditions: Fairly clear and warm. Surface temps as high as 80 at mid-day.

I like to pack-it all on my 3-day weekends.

After a spectacular day at the "Taste Of Hamburg" hamburger festival with Lindsay, Mindy and Mike on Saturday, it was time to burn off a few of the burgers I had eaten. Luckily, I had strategically planned a 10-mile hike with Janel for the following day. True to form, we referred to the NY/NJ Trail Conference for our route. Also true to form, we forgot that Minnewaska State Park does not open until 9am, so we had a little bit of time to kill before we got started. After our last hike a few weeks ago, we both realized it was time for some new boots. We went to different stores at different times and both wound-up buying the same Vasque boots, mine in the men's, Janel's in the women's....of course.

I guess it's a sibling thing.

When we started the hike, it was apparent that we didn't realize how much it had rained the night before. I'm not sure it would have factored into our decision-making, but the trails were a complete mess. We used the Rainbow Falls Trail in Minnewaska and hiked to Castle Point (highest point in the Shawangunks) and Hamilton Point. There is a lot of  scrambling on this hike, and the fact that we were constantly slipping in mud and on mossy rocks made things a little interesting. In the 5 years I have been hiking, I have never taken a spill.

I did so thrice on this adventure.

All-in-all though, it was a great hike, and my body definitely needed the boost after the previous day's red meat OD. The 10-mile hike was supposed to take 7 hours as per the NY/NJ Trail Conference, but due to the fact that we don't spend too much time at the "vistas" and tend to hike at a brisk pace, we finished in 5.

On Monday (Labor Day), it was time to do some musky fishing. Joe and I headed to the lake and Matt met us there. We had two boats on the water and conditions seemed conducive for decent musky fishing, but water temps were still a little higher than I associate with active fish. Still, we moved a few muskies early, a couple of which may have been close to 35 inches. It's always nice to have at least some action, so it was good that the "other species" made an appearance. Joe started off the day with a nice bass take on a Joe Bucher Top Raider.

Matt had caught a big pickerel on the other side of the lake and I added a couple other pickerel later in the day.

We spent a fair amount of time picking the lake apart, but the only musky that made it into the boat was this
small tiger that Joe caught exactly to the minute of the major. I've caught a few smaller fish like this, and although you want every one to be 40+ inches, it's still nice to see a musky in the net.

It was indeed a great day of fishing though. A lot of times we come up empty, so it's always nice to have some action, even if we didn't get any big muskies.

I also have to say that I think my attitude towards musky fishing has changed over the last week. I've been musky fishing for just over two years now, and for the most part I've approached it with a tiring "I gotta catch a fish" mentality. When you're targeting a species that often doesn't want to eat what you have to offer, especially when you're still learning the trade, this can be an exhausting approach. I was convinced that every trip needed to be a minimum of 10-hours and was totally bummed by the end of the day if I had failed.

Unfortunately, failure is the norm in this sport.

So, I was fishing on Monday with a much more relaxed attitude, not feeling a ton of pressure to put a big fish in the net. I enjoyed the scenery, the company, paid better attention to my lure and realized the only way to be successful at this is to follow the best advice I have ever gotten and just keep casting.

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