That and a trip to southwestern Virginia have kept me off the water entirely, until I saw that the remnants from the next tropical storm were headed our way. For another 6 days of constant rain. So, with an aching back and pounding head from several hours of interstate travel, I set my alarm for 5:45am to do a little dawn patrol on some local ponds that are public but way, way off the beaten path. And you know what? I actually woke up and made it to the water by a little after sunrise. I was really glad I did.
I have not done a lot of fishing in northeastern New Jersey, but I imagine that the scenery is similar. Even at 6:45am on a federal holiday, the sky was full of the sounds of freight trains, transfer trucks, and hundreds of Canada Geese sitting on various stormwater ponds throughout the area. At least the wind wasn't blowing.
The hike into the spot was pretty brutal. When I first scouted it last month, it didn't seem so bad from a distance. Unfortunately, the whole place is covered in sturdy Pennsylvania Blackberry and some ornery species of Lespedeza. It looks like somebody took a weedeater to my legs and hands.
It quickly became clear that the bloodletting was just the fee for admission to a fun morning on the water. The fish were there, and they cooperated with my clumsy techniques. A rebel jointed minnow, BPS minnow, and Berkley Power Tubes were the day's big winners.
|Very pale and very big female green sunfish|
|More typical of the day's catch|
|This green sunfish looks like it recently escaped a heron's beak.|
After catching about 30 white crappie and green sunfish, I started tossing a Matzuo Nano Crank (top picture), a noisy, wobbly lure that usually spooks sunfish and attracts bass. Unfortunately, the only bass of the day came after I foul-hooked a small pumpkinseed on the Nano Crank, which was then almost swallowed whole by a bass that appeared from out of nowhere (and successfully threw the hook and the little fish).
The surprise hit inspired me to stay a little longer in the morning than I had originally planned, and I caught a few more decent fish. But no bass. Then, like
|Yup. It's gonna rain.|