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 rained....at 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?

From NOAA