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.

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