Monday, August 25, 2014

From Dawn 'Til Dusk

A healthy 44-inch musky to kick off the "fall" season.

When: Thursday, August 21st, from 6am to 8pm
What: Musky fishing with Paul
Weather: Party sunny to overcast with some rain around, storms later. Wind calm to variable at 3mph and SW to 7mph. 66 degrees at sun-up, warmed to the low 80s.
Barometric Pressure: 30.07in fell to 30.00in and back up to 30.04in
Relative Humidity: Low of 47%, but much higher all day.
Sunrise: 6:15am
Sunset: 7:49pm
Moon: Waning, 4 days before new. Overhead 10:03am. Set 5:17pm.
Water Conditions: Good clarity, surface temps 74 degrees at sun-up, warmed to 77.

When I woke up on Thursday morning to meet Paul, I had not caught a musky in New Jersey since June 30th. There are a lot of reasons for that, mainly that I was tarpon fishing in Key West and musky fishing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan and the Allegheny River in Northwestern PA, but the times in between it was often just too hot here in NJ.

Not anymore.

I've said this before, but aside from the risks that come along with safely releasing a muskellunge in water temperatures that are over 80 degrees, it just not fun casting huge baits for hours on end in 85- to 90-degree heat.

And although we're still gonna have some 80-degree days, all one needs to do is walk outside to notice it's a lot cooler in New Jersey. Water temps are coming down with brisk overnight lows, and as far as I'm concerned it may as well be the end of December.

And the muskies seem to be responding.

I had not seen Paul in many years, and we've been trying to find a time to go fishing for awhile. It just so happened that things worked out on Thursday and he was off work.

We put in our time on the water, and moved a bunch fish throughout the morning. This was Paul's first time musky fishing, but he was casting big swimbaits like a pro in no time. But, more than the fishing, it was very nice to catch-up with an old friend and have good conversation all day.

Right about noon, a nice fish came up to eat my Amma Bamma, and all hell broke loose. I'm going to keep the details of what followed between Paul and I, but I'm just going to say this was the most amazing fight I have ever had with a musky and it is nothing short of a miracle that it wound-up in the net.

For Paul's first time netting a musky, he could not have done a better job. Thank you for that, Paul!

The fish seemed to go quiet after that, and although we moved a couple more, none seemed to want to eat. Still, every second on the water was thoroughly enjoyed by us both.

Paul had to split around 3pm, but the weather was perfect and I decided to stick it out a few more hours.

I didn't move another fish until about 7:30pm. It was a little guy, but with light drizzle and clouds coming in, I though the fish might start chewing.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature unleashed hell, and by 8:30pm I was on my way home. It's been awhile since I've had the energy, time and peace of mind to fish a 14-hour day, but the good company earlier in the morning, the nice fish we caught, and a couple other surprises while on the water made me want to savor every last minute of this day.

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