Monday, March 24, 2014

And One For Good Luck

Matt with a huge hard water smallmouth.

When: Tuesday, March 18th, from 9am to 7pm
What: Ice fishing with Matt
Weather: Clears skies, cold (for March) with a breeze at times. Winds E to SE to 8mph and gusting to 18.
Barometric Pressure: 30.28in and steady all day.
Relative Humidity: 62%
Sunrise: 7:03am
Sunset: 7:07pm
Moon: Waning, two days after new. Moonset 7:51am, Underfoot at 2:34pm.
Water Conditions: Frozen on top. 11-12 inches of ice, 5-6 crap ice and 5-6 black ice. Water temp off the bottom was 41 degrees.

In the midst of one of the best winters for ice fishing in the history of New Jersey, I hadn't hit the hardwater for nearly a month. By mid-February I've usually had my fill and am ready to go throw some lures around.

And although I have started open water fishing, caught my first carp and gotten the boat ready, I guess I couldn't very well let my ice fishing season end with the dismal outing on President's Day on Round Valley.

One last "hurrah" was definitely in order.

I hate to say that Matt had to twist my arm a little, but he did. Nonetheless, I met him on Tuesday morning, prepared for a 30 minute hike to our fishing hole.

The hike paid off.

After getting to the lake, the ice was still pretty thick but showing some early signs of deteriorating from the longer days and (slightly) warmer weather. We set our flags and started jigging.

The action was by no means fast and furious, but we had a steady pick of almost 20 flags over the course of the day, landed 12 or so fish and had a couple bite-offs and a couple misses.

And every fish was a quality one.

The pickerel on my left may have been the longest pickerel I've ever caught, and if it wasn't so darn skinny would have been an absolute monster.

The picture at the top does not do justice to the size of the smallmouth bass that Matt caught, and it was every bit of 5 pounds. It was certainly the biggest smallie I have ever witnessed caught through the ice.

It took awhile to find a decent spot to jig, but after drilling several more holes we finally found a pile of bluegills and caught them with some consistency.

They were all nice and thick.

We kept at it as long as we could and were hoping for a late day flurry, but aside from one more flag in the final hour, the trip ended rather quietly.

It had been a fantastic day though. Every fish was a good one and the slammer pickerel and slammer smallie made for a fine finale. We packed our gear up feeling good, and made the hike back to the car savoring the success.

Over the next two days, I put my sled, auger and tip-ups away. I'm sure there will still be ice around in Northern Jersey for a couple more weeks, but I have bigger fish to fry.

I'll have another post up on Friday, then I'm off to Costa Rica for week.

Be safe with the weather coming!!!

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