Sunday, July 25, 2021

Bass Fishing With Ben

  My cousin Ben and I had been planning to go fishing for a few weeks by now. We finally found a good opportunity to catch some Bass at a pond near Egg Harbor in New Jersey, and set out after dinner during the evening. Ben, who fished the lake relatively often over the last few months, brought black small rubber worms as the lures of choice. Until today I had never used them before, but seeing as how he has experience at the lake, I took his word for it.

    The lures worked perfectly. Sure enough, on his very first cast, a Bass took his lure once it hit the water. He reeled it in for the first catch of the day, and we knew right then that we were going to have a good day of fishing. At the first part of the bank we fished, the Bass seemed to take everything we threw at them. We were hooking up on most of our casts to start off. After only about eight minutes, we had caught about five fish combined. As we kept on going, the fish seemed to stop biting for a bit and we walked over to another part of the bank.

    Ben caught two at the other spot, meanwhile my casts weren’t going nearly as far as they had before. Only after a while did I check my reel to see that there was a small tangle, restricting the range of my casts. I may not have been catching anything for a bit, but at least I came away with the lesson to remember to frequently check my gear.

    We walked over to the first part of the bank to see if we could close out the trip with a few more Bass. Ben said that the best way to retrieve the worms was, while keeping the rod tip down, to let it fall to the bottom after casting, then jerking and reeling up the slack. Not a slow retrieve, but not too fast. Enough to aggravate the fish. I told him that the tactic reminded me of the aggressive Peacock Bass we have in South Florida.

    We were able to catch three more fish at the last spot before packing up and heading out. We caught 10 fish in total, Ben with 6 and me with 4. All in all, it was a great trip to which we had both looked forward for a while, and it was one that I will not soon forget. It was great to just hang out and catch up by the lake while reeling in some Largemouth Bass.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Bluegills in the Center Of Cherry Hill

  Even though the fishing rod I have in Cherry Hill, New Jersey has served me well over the years, I decided that a new one was necessary. After all, it is old, short, cheap, and it has a baitcaster reel. It is still surprisingly adequate when it comes to fishing itself, but my brother and I figured that another, newer one couldn’t hurt. After all, there were two of us and only one rod.

After buying it and putting line on the reel, Jacob and I went over to the dam at Evans Pond and Wallworth Lake geared with lures and worms. We spent the majority of the morning fishing around the dam with worms, keeping them low at the bottom with sinkers or drifting near lilypads in the current with a sinker. Although we didn’t catch anything near the lilypads, we did get two strikes over the course of the morning. We did, however, catch more fish under the dam. Schools fo fish were on and off, but when they were on, they were really on. We would be able to drop a worm and count on hooking up within a minute. The first fish was caught on the new rod, which worked just fine. Both of us found the spinning reel much easier to use than the bait caster. Perhaps it’s because we’re more familiar with the spinning. By the end, we ended up with about 7 fish total, 4 for me and 3 for Jacob. We had limited time to fish, but it was fun spending the morning catching some at a new lake. At the end I tried casting with a lure but I wasn’t able to get any bass to bite. I may come back to the lake in the future in pursuit of more species of fish.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

A Fish Is A Fish

        Despite being the only one (besides my brother) in my family with a passion for fishing, I do tend to find time and opportunities to fit fishing into family trips with the help of my tolerant parents and to the chagrin of my annoyed sister. This time it happened to be Cooperstown in upstate New York. We were here to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, a really cool museum, and before heading out, I found a place to rent gear. Cooperstown is located at the scenic beginning of the Susquehanna River, at the south end of Lake Otsego. The Susquehanna has always fascinated me; I’ve passed over the longest river east of the Mississippi in many places, each time thinking about the multitudes of vaunted Smallmouth Bass that call the river home. I’ve always seen the Susquehanna River as a great fishing destination and one that I would like to one day try out. On the last morning before we drove out, I found a place that rented out fishing gear in Portlandville, a bit south of Cooperstown. The staff was friendly and helpful, and recommended I head over to Silliman Cove on the south end of Goodyear Lake. Goodyear Lake is connected to the Susquehanna. When I was set up with the rod, reel, jig heads, and curly tail grubs, I went over to the cove. I fished for about 2 hours in total, but was not able to catch any Bass. I did get a few hits, but wasn’t able to hook up with any fish. There were times that I saw big splashes in the water and times when I saw small sunfish swimming close to shore, so the signs of life were there. Before I had to go, I asked the fishermen next to me if I could use a worm. I was determined to, at the very least, not be skunked. They kindly obliged and I quickly tied on a small hook. I hurried back to a spot I’d been at before where I saw the sunfish, and tried to hook one. The fish took the bait multiple times, but only one time was I able to make a solid hook set and bring the fish in. It was a small Bluegill, but I was glad to at least catch something from the river/lake. It was also notably my first fish in the state of New York.

        Even though I didn't catch anything especially big, I was glad to have caught at least something in this body of water in the limited time I had. As they say, a fish is always fish - and that’s your target when fishing. The lake was beautiful, too, and I really enjoyed being out there on the water in the morning. The search for the elusive Smallmouth Bass continues…

Sunday, July 4, 2021

New State, New Fish

One of my favorite parts about fishing is the feeling of accomplishment one gets when, after so much planning, analysis, and anticipation, they finally pull a targeted fish out of a researched body of water. This July 4th, I was happy to be able to attain that accomplished feeling once again. My family and I spent part of the day having a picnic on the Brandywine Creek, a river that goes through Wilmington, Delaware. The Brandywine is an interesting river with good rapids and rock/tree cover, and one that I had been scouting for quite a while. Despite living roughly 1,200 miles from the creek and only having seen it a handful of times, using the internet and various apps, I was able to find out the fish species caught in the creek, how to catch them, when, and where. Being a first generation fisherman with few family members that share my enthusiasm for the sport, the internet is the source of most of my fishing information. I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I was born merely 10-15 years earlier.

I made sure to bring a fishing rod and worms that my brother and I had found in the backyard over the past few days. For the future, I recommend taking worms two days (at most) before a trip as they start to smell. After hanging out at the picnic for a bit, I decided it was time to head down in pursuit of fish. The two I had in mind were the Redbreast Sunfish and the Smallmouth Bass. The Redbreast Sunfish is one of the four sunfish found in the northeast, along with Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, and Green Sunfish. My goal as a multi-species angler is to catch all four, and heading into today I had caught only the Bluegill. I started off casting my worm, under a bobber, out into the current near rocks where fish may be hiding. Sometimes I would retrieve the line a little bit so as to guide it into a calmer pool with tree cover. However, I wasn’t catching anything for the majority of the time. While I was fishing, I played the Born In The USA album (a top quality listen) especially because of the occasion, which had me feeling great and ready to catch a fish despite the lull. Coincidentally (or was it), just as No Surrender started playing, I saw a splash over to the left of me, under some trees and submerged branches. I casted the bobber out to the only sign of life I had seen in my whole 45 minutes of fishing, and sure enough, the bobber sunk. Any fisherman would tell you that the sight of a bobber taking a quick sink under the surface of the water is one of the most exciting and satisfying sights there is, and would thus surely excuse me for the awkward fist pump I made while reeling in the slack. As I reeled the fish in past the submerged branches, making sure not to get the line stuck and losing the fish, I saw a flash in the water and knew that it was the fish for which I was looking. I brought the fish out of the water and onto the bank, and it was confirmed: a Redbreast Sunfish! A fish common to the northeast, it seems to me like they are, at least in the Philadelphia area, more common west of the Delaware River and in PA and DE as opposed to NJ. I was psyched with this fish as a multi-species angler. It wasn’t the biggest one out there - most Sunfish aren’t - but it sure was nice to have finally caught a fish I had sought after for years. The fish is very nicely colored, too; it has a bright yellow/red spot underneath the pectoral fins and the gills for which it is named, and a yellow/olive green color with some spotted scales through the rest of the body. In terms of coloring, it is one of the few fish up north that are comparable with the reef fish of Miami that I enjoy catching normally.

After unhooking and releasing the fish, I kept at it for another 10-20 minutes or so. I happened to finish with my last worm right when the album finished, which was a good time to head back and spend the rest of the 4th with my family. Especially after Covid lockdown and not being able to leave Miami for over a year, only able to do research and dream about catching fish the next chance I get, I really enjoyed this trip. A new species, and my first fish in Delaware. Of course, the fishing today was about more than just the fish; the weather was nice and I really enjoyed being able to get out and appreciate the nature of the area, finally somewhere other than Miami. The 4th of July is always a special day, and I’m grateful for being able today to relax, have a good time with family, and appreciate life and the country despite all of their respective problems. As Henry David Thoreau once famously and rightly said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Keep on fishing, and I wish you some tight lines.