Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some Days You Just Know

When: Thursday, September 11th, from 6:30am to 2:00pm
What: Musky fishing.
Weather: Cloudy. S to SW wind up to 10mph and gusting to 18mph. 68 degrees warmed to 80.
Barometric Pressure: 29.91 fell to 29.84
Relative Humidity: 70 to 80% all day.
Sunrise: 6:34am
Sunset: 7:14pm
Moon: Waning, 3 days after full. Set 9:32am, Underfoot 3:15pm, Rise 8:50pm.
Water Conditions: Good clarity and weed growth. Temps between 70 and 71 degrees.

You can never really tell when fish are going to bite, especially muskies.

But, there are times when you can take a pretty good guess.

When I saw Thursday's weather report at the beginning of the week, I was chomping at the bit. With an approaching front and plenty of cloud cover, the day had all the earmarks of the kind of conditions I associate with good musky fishing. You can never be too confident, but I had it in the back of my mind as I was launching my boat that I had a decent shot at boating more than one fish.

And I did.

I was supposed to have some company, but things happen and it was just me. Nevertheless, it's enjoyable to fish alone sometimes. I had the lake to myself when I launched, and I began casting bucktails in complete solitude.

On the third cast, I felt a bump and I knew it was not a weed. As my bucktail reached the boat, sure enough there was a musky behind it, but it turned away. That would be all the action I'd have for a few hours, but the next sign of life was a little more exciting.

I was fishing the same area where I got the bump earlier, and this time the bump was a solid strike and a hook-up.

For anyone who has never attempted fighting and netting a musky by yourself, it's tricky, and takes quite a bit of practice. I still have not perfected it, and to be honest, it's a miracle the fish actually made it into the net. My first attempt got the bucktail stuck on the outside, and I had to flip the net over to scoop-up the fish.

But I got it.

After unhooking her, I placed my camera/tripod on the back deck, set the timer, posed with the fish and hoped for the best before letting it go. I got a quick measure of 41-inches, and sent the musky on its way.

Feeling good after boating a musky, I got right back at it. However, I didn't see anything for another couple of hours. Then, as I moved back to the mouth of a cove with the wind pushing the boat into a shallow weed flat, the scenario looked too good think I wasn't going to get bit. I was half expecting to hook-up on any cast...

And I did.

I immediately knew this was a better fish, and it was putting up a good fight. I got it to the boat in short order and had moved the net close by so I could deploy it once the fish was close enough. When the fish was boatside I reached for the net...which was now entangled in my trusty rod holder.

My rod holder is for trolling. Did I mention that I never troll? And because of this, I never use the rod holder. Well, except for entangling my net, that is.

As I worked to free the net, the fish dove under the boat and I had to set the net back down. When I got the fish back to the surface, the net was tangled again. This time, it was even worse.

But the story had a happy ending, and fish Number Two measured 44.5-inches, my largest New Jersey fish of the year so far.

Now I was really stoked, and started having thoughts of a three-fish day. But all was quiet after that. I left the lake a few hours later, having had one of my life's most memorable days on the water.

When I got back to the ramp, my buddy Brian was there taking his boat out of the water.

He got a great deal on a rod holder.


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