I`m 51 years old & I still get as excited about the first day of NJ Small Game Hunting Season as much as when I was nine years old & Dad let me actually hunt with him carrying my trusty single-shot .410 shotgun on that Opening Day long ago.
(Yes yes……. I know…….. legally you can`t be a licensed hunter in NJ until you are ten years old……… All I can say is that things were very different back then. Hell I`d been walking alongside my Dad rabbit hunting since I was six years old. Nowadays you wouldn`t think about
letting a kid hunt without having a NJ Hunting License………yea……. like I said folks, it was just a different time way back when)
So on Saturday I met my best friend Curt Ryder & his dog “Jake” at our usual meeting place,… the Quick Check on 46.When Curt pulled into the Quick Check, I grabbed my gun & hunting gear & as I jumped in his truck he joked sayin`, “Geez………. What the hell is goin` on here???
Ken Beam is actually on time! For that matter he`s even early!“…… ha! ha!
Our Hunting destination was about a little over an hour away.
We planned on hunting the Walpack Cemetary as we usually do very well there on Opening Day of Small Game Hunting. The weather was perfect. It was a nice, cool, sunny Autumn morning to hunt.Curt had this new GPS-tracking collar on Jake & it was really pretty exciting because it actually tells you how far away he is & and when he`s on “point”! As you walk towards the dog, it shows your getting closer on the GPS screen.
By 11am we each had our limit of two Pheasants. It was definitely a great morning to start the NJ Small Game Hunting Season of 2014!
It was a nice balmy night on November 5th and at about 12:30am our Pomeranian “Buttercup” woke me to go out. So I picked her up & I swaggered outside on the porch, half asleep. As I put my Crocs on she started growlin` in my arms……. I said, “Buttercup!…..Shhhhhh……..There`s nothin` out here”…………
Boy was I ever wrong.
I put her down with her leash on & she bolted for the driveway……….. I ran over & walked her out in the yard, still going, “Shhhhhhh……knock it off Buttercup!” as she growled. I should know better………
dogs have a much better sense than us especially in the night.
Then I heard a loud smash right across the street & as I hustled her back to the house, I said, “Guess we`re not alone Buttercup!”………… I put her back inside & grabbed a flashlight & pussy-footed back down the driveway to see what was makin` all that racket across the street. Low & behold as I shined the light towards the neighbors driveway, there where not one, not two, but three Black Bears rummaging through the garbage! They could`ve cared less about me as they “dined” away! After watching them for about ten minutes, I went back inside.
Now in the morning, I took all three of our pups out at 9am……….. again as I walked them towards the driveway, that little Buttercup went crazy barking again!
They were back!
Yep…… All three Black Bears where at it again! I hustled the pups back in the house & grabbed my camera!
Now I could obviously see them really well…….. Looked like a Momma & her two youngsters.
The two younger bears probably went about 150 pounds and “Momma” was quite a different story!
My guess was she weighed in between 600-700pounds! A Monster NJ Black Bear indeed!
I worked my way down the edge of my property & wasn`t even 25 yards away from this big bruin!
(Yes….I know……. Definitely wasn`t a very wise thing to do on my part! Please do not try such a foolish stunt like I did!)
Here is that enormous NJ Black Bear caught on video that morning……….. Hope you all enjoy it.
The weather forecast was suppose to be warm one more day before a cold-front was upon us. I was getting itchy to take advantage of the short-warm trend so I text my boss at 8pm the night before asking if it would be ok to burn a half-day of vacation. He said, “Sure”……. so I loaded up my `Yak that night & drove my truck to work the next morning, all prepared to get a little NJ Pike Fishing in the next afternoon.
Now that day-light saving time was over, I had to strategically plan out my time that afternoon as I only would have decent light till 5:30.
So at 1pm I changed my clothes & headed for the river with the idea that I would attempt to film this adventure as I worked the Passaic River in my `Yak. I don`t have a Go-Pro Camera yet, so I
bought this head-band that actually holds Canon Powershot Cameras from eBay. As I put it on my head the night before at the house, Sharon said, “Are you really going to wear that thing on your head while you fish?”…………… ha! ha! I said, “Sure…..why not? No one will see me!”
Now I only caught one Pike that day & lost another, but I think you`ll enjoy watching my little NJ Pike
Fishing Video as I explain what I use & how I fish for Pike in the Passaic River.
Last Sunday was suppose to be my day to work around the house & my one focus was going to be to bag leaves as our yard is covered. It was a picture-perfect Fall Day. Except for one thing……… the wind.
So at around 10am I went out to give it a go with my leaf blower and climbed up on my roof to blow out my leaf-packed gutters. After this was done I decided to tackle the yard figuring it was perfect as the leaves where bone-dry & easy to blow around. Yea……well that was true. Those leaves started blowing everywhere as the wind was picking up.
This was useless I thought.
Well…….. no sense wastin` this gorgeous Fall Day right? So let`s load up the `Yak & hit the river to do a little NJ Pike Fishing for a few hours! Now the problem with that statement is simply this,…….. Ken Beam + Fishin…RARELY = just a “Few Hours!” ha! ha!
So I did a few more odds & ends around the house loaded up my truck with my gear & `Yak & headed to the river.
I got on the river at 1pm and by 1:20 I landed my first young Pike! I figured, “Wow…… this might just be a good day despite the very windy conditions similar to last weekend.”
My plan was to fish till 4:30 as I told Sharon I`d be home for supper by 5:30. So I strategically figured how much time I could spend between fishin` & paddlin` at each of my three spots. Startin` out backwards, out of order, I was at spot number 3 first and had to be out and back at my truck by 2pm if I was to stay on course in order to hit all three spots.
At 2pm I was right on schedule and driving to spot number 2. I launched the `Yak & decided to give it a shot upstream first. As I paddled under the bridge, I actually had to duck my head a bit……… “Ahhhhhhh…….. The recent rains made the river rise.”
As I worked the spot thoroughly with my accurate casts, I couldn`t believe I hadn`t had a strike. “Time to head downstream”, I thought……
As I worked my way downriver, a Pike jumped right alongside my `Yak! Casting in that direction, brought a swirl then a strike! Fish on! Another young Pike. Wasn`t long after that I caught another Pike casting in the debris in the river. It seemed to me that the Pike that were normally in those other spots, were now downstream, hovering around brush & other debris as the higher water apparently moved them down the river.
Now it was 3:30…….. “Heck….. might as well stay right here at spot number 2 and finish up the day here. Why not? I`m catchin` fish!”……………… Then it became 4:15………. “Fifteen more minutes……ahhhhhh…….I can get back to truck by 4:45″ I said to myself.
Then at 4:40 I was still fishin` as I was gettin` a lot of action. Up to that point I had landed four & lost two others right at the `Yak!
At 4:45 I set the hook again on a slighly heavier Pike! Yes! A decent one that made number five on the day! As I netted him & took a few pictures, I could see that the spinnerbait hook had come out high up towards his eye. So I gingerly worked the hook out of his mouth bare-handed, rather than use pliers. As I did this, he chomped down on my finger with those razor-like teeth!
Needless to say, I did indeed get the hook out of him & returned him safely to the murky waters….
Another great Adventure on the River! (But boy oh boy…….did I ever catch hell walkin` in the door an hour late! -ha! ha!)
Despite the strong windy conditions today, I launched my `Yak in the Passaic to see if I could chase a few Northern Pike around. I launched it at 2:30 and at 4pm looked at my watch & thought, “What the hell was I thinkin` about?” A cold-front had come through the night before and the high temperature was 58 degrees today. Surely this would shut the fishing down in my book. As I worked my way down-river I was coming upon a dead sycamore tree laying half-way across the river. My first cast was picture-perfect, landing inches from the submerged tree trunk. BAM! The water boiled as a Monster Pike grabbed my spinnerbait!
“WOW!…..This is a good fish!” I said out loud as the river monster towed my `Yak sideways across the river!
I fought this big Pike for nearly ten minutes, playin` him out.
Then he showed himself in the sunlight near my `Yak! As I grabbed my folding little kayak net, I knew I was in trouble! I could never get his thick head, let alone his huge body in that puny net!
My only plan was to attempt to scoop him with that little net & flip him in my `Yak!
As I got him closer, I slid the net under him & as I lifted him out of the water, he thrashed his head violently, shaking the spinnerbait loose & gliding back down into the deep murky water of the Passaic River…….
I smiled as I looked down at that little net and said, “Why didn`t I have my “real” net today???!”
So I regrouped & started paddling back down river. “Perhaps all of the Pike were not turned off by the cold-front” I thought as I paddled.
The on my fifth cast since losing the river monster, I thought I was snagged in some weeds……… Wait!
That`s a fish running! Fish on! As I set the hook!
Even though I hadn`t seen nor caught one of these in years, I knew immediately what I had landed……
A really nice 24″ Chain Pickerel!
Well now this certainly was unexpected & definitely added to this Adventure!
*Also check out the video I shot of the three deer swimming across the Passaic as I sat in my `Yak. Pretty darn cool eh???
Curt, “Jake” and myself enjoyed a day of Woodcock hunting way up north near Walpack New Jersey.
Me and Jake with my first Woodcock of the day.
Curt had this awesome new GPS Tracking Collar for Jake today. He explained to me that he would now be able to monitor Jake as to what direction he was and if
indeed he stopped and was on “point”. See Jake has a habit of covering alot of ground and running way, way far away at times. So I asked Curt how far out can it track him? He said, “Seven miles!” This is perfect I thought!
I have to tell you, it was pretty exciting when he went on point, then to know how many yards away he was and what direction we had to walk in to get to Jake.
The technology definitely adds another dimension to hunting. I mean there are plenty of times that he`ll go on point quite a ways out and we don`t have a clue what direction he`s in. This will absolutely make our hunting adventures very interesting!
Time for lunch and what an awesome lunch it was! We stopped at the Layton Country Store and had Spanakopita for an appetizer, then we each had these incredible Quesadilla Gyros. I never had a Gyro till today…… Sharon has asked me for a few years to try one but I never would. I can hear her now…. she`ll be going, “Ohhhhh sure sure……. you won`t try a Gyro with me but when you`re out & about with your buddy Curt Ryder you will!”…..ha! ha!Well if you`re ever up in that neck of the wood, definitely stop in the Layton Country Store for a bite. The food is excellent.
So the Opening Day of NJ Woodcock Hunting Season was a good day to be out & about in the woods.
Heck…… Any day is a good day when you`re in the woods!
Sharon & I had a really nice weekend hiking at Merrill Creek with the pups. If you`re looking for a great place to hike, definitely check out Merrill Creek Reservoir in Warren County New Jersey. It`s a 6.5 mile hike if you go all the way around, so definitely pack a lunch or some snacks! The trails are well marked for novice hikers and you will definitely get a lot of exercise hiking all the way around.
Very scenic area this time of year with the beautiful Fall foliage.
(I`ve been scoutin` this out and plan on launchin` my `Yak to chase some Bass!)
Caught this NJ Coyote or `Dawg(as I refer to them) in my trail camera right on top of my rock wall in my backyard the other night. The funny thing was this, I took the pup out around 2:30am the night before and actually heard a couple coyotes whining back & forth…….. and they were not that far away.
That`s ok……. let this `Dawg hang around a little too often and this Demon of the Dark will get to meet my other “friend”……… My `ol Browning Shotgun!