Proud to say that my “Winter Catfishing” story is in the December issue of Fur-Fish-Game Magazine! This is 5th time that I have been published, but it`s the 1st time that my story appears as a “Feature” on the cover of a magazine! I hope you all can pick up this month`s edition.
If you can`t find it locally, here are a couple ways that you can get it;
After discovering the excitement of Fall Turkey Hunting in New Jersey last Fall, through my friend Nick Dalasio, I am absolutely thrilled when this one-week-only season rolls around! Nick graciously offered to bring his incredible Turkey Dog “Maizy” up my way last Thursday to have a go at some Thunder-Chickens around Pequest WMA. So I took the day off and was was more than excited to go!
Now here`s the thing that`s sort of interesting about Fall Turkey Hunting. Almost everyone that I run into while Fall Turkey Hunting up around here, does not have a clue about this type of hunting whatsoever. And everyone one is generally surprised when we tell them what we are hunting turkeys with a dog. The usual question goes something like this……..”Dogs?…..Is that even legal?” – It is indeed and you are allowed to shoot gobblers, hens, poults…. any type of turkey during this short-lived Fall season.
We made our first walk way out on the top of WMA where I had consistently seen birds in the Springtime. Maizy started acting very “birdie” as we hiked in. Nick explained that more than likely, she was on old scent but that there had been turkeys here recently. After walking out and about for a couple hours without locating any birds, we decided to move to a different location.
I suggested that we go into the southern end of the WMA tier and try that. As we trekked through the fields and hedgerows, it wasn`t long before Maizy started barking! She had found birds and was busting up a flock of turkeys! Within minutes, she came back to us and we proceeded to go to the area via Nick`s GPS and Maizy`s tracking collar.
We got in position and sat up for an hour before Nick started calling the birds with his Kee-Kee call. See in the Fall, turkeys flock up and once you break up the flock, eventually they will want to get back together and usually come back to the spot where they were broken up.
Hunting Turkeys in the Fall, has to be just about the most exciting ways that I have ever hunted in New Jersey!
We sat for two hours…….nothing called nor came back in. Nick figured the entire flock more than likely, flew away together and didn`t scatter in every different direction. Hence wherever they had landed, well they were obviously all together because they didn`t break up as a flock. And that happens.
By this time it was late in the day, so we checked out one more spot to no avail and decided to call it a day. As we walked back to the truck, a guy popped through the hedgerow and said, “Hey….how you guys doing? Gettin` any rabbits?” – I started laughing and said, “See Nick? No one has a clue up here what we`re doing!” – then I proceeded to explain that we were Turkey Hunting. He couldn`t believe it, “No kiddin`…..with a dog huh? I never heard of that” – So we all introduced ourselves and I said, “I believe your my friend on Facebook”- He turned and said, “ohhhhh what`s your nam?” so I told and he goes, “I didn`t recognize you without your hat Ken!” – Then he called over a younger fella who was heading out to hunt and told him who I was and turned out that we are all friends on Facebook! Dennis kindly showed Nick and I all around and took us up in his awesome “condo-treestand-house” – holy cow! You could actually live in this thing! Dennis and Corey were really nice guys and it was really nice to meet them in person.
On that note, our day ended. The next plan was for me to drive way down into South Jersey to meet up with Nick on Saturday, the last day of the season.
The problem was the forecast, as they were calling for a very windy day on Saturday. Sounded actually like it would be bust to even hunt. But it was the last day of the season, so we had to try. And while it certainly was windy, it didn`t seem as bad as they had forecast. We hunted quite a few different areas throughout the day and Nick was very surprised that we didn`t find nor even see any turkeys all morning. In the afternoon, as we hiked an area, Maizy broke into a bark that didn`t last very long. Nick surmised that it may have only been a couple birds, not a flock. He turned to me and asked, “What do ya think? Do you want to set up?” – I replied, “Well it`s 1:30 now, if we set up and burn a couple hours, we might just be wasting daylight as I kind of think it`s a gamble for just a couple birds don`t you?” – Nick agreed so we passed on setting up with the hopes of locating a flock.
As it got even later in the day, I said jokingly at one point, “Well….looks like I`m gonna have to buy a Butterball this year Nick!” and he laughed and said, “You and me both” –
Then at around 3:50, something happened. Maizy got into a decent flock and really busted them up! We quickly sat up…It was like we were in the “Bottom of the Ninth, bases loaded and with two outs”…….. it was now or never…. or until next season to get our Fall Turkeys.
He started masterfully working the Kee-Kee call at 4:45pm……. by 5:15 a Long-Beard came cautiously within 30 yards of me. I slowly shouldered my Browning A5 and took out the 21lb Gobbler!
I didn`t move as Nick had instructed me to sit tight if I shot, because other turkeys would more than likely be coming back as well. And boy was he ever right.
I guess it was around 5:40, when Nick`s gun cracked the cool Autumn air…….Bang! Another turkey down! And a kind of “Rare” one at that!….a Bearded Lady! Yep…. a Bearded Hen Turkey! What a way to end the day! The last day of the season and the last day of Daylight Savings Time had offered us enough light to get `er done!
A mighty fine Fall Turkey Hunt indeed, with a great friend and his great dog. Thank you very much Nick and Maizy for an awesome Adventure!
I`ve been going way up to Tug Hill New York Grouse hunting with my good friend Curt, for quite a few years now but haven`t been back since having the heart attack two years ago.Well my confidence has certainly grown since then, and I decided a few months ago that I wanted to have a go at those “Thunder-Chickens” again. So we set the date for a late October, for a three-day hunt back up in North Country. Even with a Nor`easter was in the forecast, we thought we would still be able to get in some quality hunting time. So we decided Thursday night to roll the dice and go for it.
I pulled into Curt`s driveway around 3am Friday morning and there was `ol Jake all fired up and raring to go. “It`s almost like he knows where we were going” I joked with Curt as I loaded my gear into his truck and in a matter of minutes we were on our way. The plan was to hunt Friday, Saturday and possibly a half day Sunday before we trekked back home.
Our destination, Tug Hill New York, was about a 4.5 hour ride. Heck call it 5 hours once we stop at Fat Nancy`s for a hunting license and grab a bite for breakfast at the Railside Restaurant.
Interesting fact: Tug Hill`s location in relation to Lake Ontario often creates ideal conditions for lake-effect snow. The snowfall totals for the Tug Hill region average more than 200 inches and at times closer to 300 inches per winter.The snowfalls at Tug Hill have been described as being “the most intense storms in the world” in terms of the amount of snow falling during a short period of time. *source Wikipedia
After eating some good grub, we headed out to our first spot. The cool, crisp morning Autumn air was perfect as we trampled through some nice cover with Jake.
Wasn`t long before Curt`s Beretta 20-gauge Silver Pigeon cracked the morning air as the “Thunder-Chicken” flew to live another day……Which is quite typical with this type of very challenging type of bird hunting. For those of you that do not know, Grouse are incredibly speedy. Regarded as the “king” of game birds, they can fly up to 70 miles per hour, will often fly low and have the habit of changing direction in a matter of seconds. The supreme shooting challenge indeed!
We hunted until about 12:30 then broke for lunch. My girlfriend Sharon graciously packed lunches for all of us….. yep……even for Jake! While we ate, Curt mentioned that “there just aren`t as many birds up here compared to years ago” and I thought the same thing. He explained his thoughts for this, “Grouse prefer a “younger” type of woods filled with young saplings for cover, not mature, tall, full-grown woods. And the areas that we`ve been hunting, haven`t been logged in quite awhile, so I believe it`simply to grown up” –
After lunch, we drove into a “newer” spot that he had discovered. As we walked into the Alders, Curt`s remote beep…… The remote dog collar told Curt that Jake went on point about 80 yards away. As we worked our way, Curt veered to the left to get below Jake and I hustled up on a small hill crest to get in hopefully a good shooting position. Curt walked in as Jake held the point like a champ. In a matter of seconds, the thunder of Grouse wings erupted as the Thunder-Chicken shot out like a rocket! I quickly shouldered my 1959 20-gauge Browning A5……………And……… without any further ado, here`s a quick little Go PRO clip for your viewing pleasure;
We called it a day around 4pm and headed to the hotel. On our way there, I am always fascinated by the sort of rather eerie looking Wind Turbines up on Tug Hill
Needless to say, the weather took a quicker turn for the worse than we had expected. After hunting Saturday morning for a few hours, and with the Winter Weather Advisory that came across my phone, we decided to call it off early and head back to Jersey.
And I dined on delicious Grouse for my supper. So while it wasn`t one of our better hunts……it still was a fine couple days up in North Country with Curt and `ol Jake. Nothin` wrong with that.
Ahhhhhh Autumn is here. The leaves are turning color, the nights are getting cooler and the Muskies are fired up! Nothing quite as enjoyable as taking the `Yak out on a nice, crisp, cloudy Fall day and having a go at the “fish of 10,000 casts.
And that was exactly my plan today.
The forecast called for a rather hot and balmy day this past Thursday, but the weather was suppose to drastically take a nose-dive on Friday night….. and it certainly did. Usually I generally shy away from wetting a line for a few days right after a cold-front moves in, but this time of year, I take advantage of any window of opportunity when I can to fish. Simply because it`s the middle of October and there are only a matter of several weeks before it`s time to pack the `Yak away for the year.
So I loaded up my gear and headed out to Mountain Lake around 1pm eager to try my new “Believer” lure that my friend Pat Gallagher introduced me to the previous week.
As I drove around the lake, I noticed a familiar white SUV in the area I normally parked. As I pulled in the lot, I recognized my good friend Andrew Hunter Yutko with a few other guys loading up their kayaks. Two of the three I knew from Instagram as I follow their excursions. I asked, “So everyone`s leaving?” – Andrew said, “Yea we`ve been here since 6am, had a couple “follows” and these guys caught one”….We`re going to head over to Oxford” – I replied, “Ohhhh……ok. Hey!….that was a Muskie that just breached out there…did you see that?” – Andrew looks at his buddy and says, “Ahhhhhhh let`s stay here maybe Ken will be good luck!” – Then he introduced me to his friend Javier and we all started setting up to launch.
As I pushed off in the water, I took notice of the way the wind was blowing. My strategy is usually to paddle up-wind and drift back along spots that I want to target. Whereas Andrew has pedals in his kayaks so he can maneuver more readily in windy conditions.
I began working the outer edge of a weed-bed that had a drop-off with my Believer Lure. Andrew and Javier were about two hundred yards away working another edge of weeds. I retrieved the jointed lure slowly, working the drop-off, then finishing up with my version of a “figure 8” in a kayak. Making a clean “figure 8” is kind of tough especially when you can only sit in the `Yak. So my pattern was a combination between a “figure 8” and a sort of “U-sweep” which I did on almost every retrieve.
And I don`t think I was fishing even quite an hour…….then it happened.
As I retrieved my lure and started my “8” literally a foot from the `Yak, this magnificent Esox followed my lure! And as I made the “8” sweeping pattern BAM!!! Muskie on! The muskie struck so close the `Yak that I never even had to turn the handle on the reel! Quickly I grabbed the net and swooped up the beast of a fish! As I wrestled with the mighty Esox, I yelled to the guys, “I could use a little help please!” with that, they quickly jolted over to me. They quickly pinned me in with their kayaks for stability as I unhooked the beautiful Muskie. Up to that point, I had never ever caught a Muskie on the “Figure 8” and it was absolutely thrilling!
Andrew took a bunch of pictures and measured the Muskie, then I quickly released the 39.5 inch monster back into the murky depths.
While we fished for several hours thereafter, no more Muskies made it in the `Yaks. And that`s pretty much the norm when you`re after the “fish of 10,000 casts. But I have to admit, while I almost always fish by myself, but it sure was nice to have couple of extra hands out there today. And If it wasn`t for fishing, I would never have had the pleasure of calling Andrew and Javier…….just that. Good Friends.
I had a little mishap a few months ago(ok ok….sometimes I don`t have much patience!) and inadvertently spun or broke a couple gears in my favorite reel. Heck it`s not only my fave baitcaster, it`s also the very first one that I ever bought way back in 1988 at Cabelas.
As a matter of fact, it`s the only baitcasting reel that I own. So ya get where I`m going with this Gang? That old reel has a lot of sentimental value to me and I`ve caught a lot of fish with it over the years.
So when I “buggered” her up because of my lack of patience, I wasn`t sure if she could be fixed.
Then one night I was “Googling” something and I don`t exactly recall what, but somewhere I got a list of names of Shimano Repair Technicians/facilities and that`s where I found this gentleman, Peter DeVit located in Connecticut. I wrote to him and explained what I did and asked if he might be able to fix it. Listen Gang, the reel`s gears appeared to be stripped/broken as it wouldn`t reel at all and I stepped on the handle breaking it in half(that`s a whole other story…..so don`t ask! haha!) coupled by the fact that the reel is ancient….. I wasn`t even sure if parts were available.
You can just imagine how pleasantly surprised I was, when he wrote back and said, “I can absolutely fix it Ken” – Then he added me on Facebook as a Friend and we continued our conversation.
Before sending the reel, he gave me a very fair and reasonable estimate. I think he only had it for about two weeks. I got it it back completely repaired and serviced! I was absolutely ecstatic!
I highly recommend Peter! His Fishing Reel Repair Service was absolutely fantastic! This is where my reels will be going if I ever need repairs. You can reach him at 203-592-1424. Heckuva nice guy!
What a pleasant surprise when Mark from Buckshot Taxidermy messaged me on Facebook saying “Hey Ken your Snakehead will be done by the end of this week” – Holy cow….was I ever excited! So I went up this past Saturday to pick it up and I was absolutely thrilled with the results! This is that nice Snakehead that I nailed that day while fishing with my buddy Carmen, deep down in the swamps of south Jersey as you might recall. Here`s the link of that day with Carmen;
It looks absolutely stunning! If you`re looking for high quality taxidermy for your next mount, I highly recommend Buckshot Taxidermy. Mark is a stand-up guy and very straight forward and I like that a lot.
And now every time I look at at that wall and see that beautiful Northern Snakehead, it takes me right back to that day in the swamps with Carmen.
Buckshot Taxidermy –
Address: 215County Road 519 Wantage New Jersey 07461
Probably quite a few of you out there know about smoking cattails,…..then again, maybe one or two of you might not. So I thought I`d share this fun, “good-to-know” outdoors tidbit with all of you.
Night fishing in the Summertime means hot, muggy-buggy nights and being devoured by mosquitoes, as you sit along the banks of your favorite river. Now as I sit here writing this, I can`t really recall where I first learned about cattails as a kid growing up. Might`ve been Boy Scouts…….not really sure. But I do remember riding my bike down to the Mill Race in Califon and then tromping out in that mucky-swampy area to cut down my cattails. Then I`d take them home and lay them on top of Rusty`s dog house to dry out for a week or so. Next time Dad would take me eel fishing in Black River and I would be bringing along my cattail “bug repellent” –
While I was out last week with my `Yak, at the end of the day, I whacked down some cattails or “punks” as they are also know as.
Once I got home, I took them up to the attic as the ungodly heat up there would dry them out in just a few days.
And here`s a quick little clip showing how well they smoke once lit;
Eel fishing in the Summertime is something I have always enjoyed on those hot, muggy nights as long as I can remember. Actually don`t know very many guys that still do it…….. but I had the pleasure of doing it with a very special person last weekend…..my younger Brother Keith.
We talked about doing it a week ago and he was pretty excited to have a go at it, as we hadn`t fished together in probably over twenty five years. So we made plans to get together that night and hit the “Musky” below Point Mountain near Changewater. I told him that I`d have all the gear, rigs, lantern and bait for our Saturday night excursion on the river.
Well that afternoon around 4 o`clock I set out to wrangle up some bait at a local pond. As I pulled in and saw four fellas fishing……. and had an idea. Figured I`d use my “Bilingual” capabilities to get them to help me out a bit. These gentlemen were of the spanish persuasion. With that I swung open the door to my truck and said, “Hola hombres!” which two replied “Hola” – And with that I quickly went for my phone to translate;
Struggling to pronounce the words correctly, three of them started laughing! Then one spoke up and said, “Hey buddy I can speak english” – with that we all started laughing and they gladly helped me. In about twenty minutes, I loaded my bait bucket back in my truck and gave them a few extra bobbers, hooks and the rest of my worms. Then I shook their hands, jumped in my truck and said “Gracias amigos!”(ok ok….so I suck at spanish!)
Around 7:30 Keith and I made our way to the river. As I drove we were joking and he asked me, “Hey is the moon out tonight? I said, “Ya know….. I never looked! Ohhhhhhhhhh nooooooo! – See we grew up eel fishing and anyone that knows much about fishing for eels, knows that it generally is a wash-out if a bright moon shows up. You might catch a couple if it comes up later though. But for the most part a full moon and eel fishing are like oil and water……. they don`t mix. “Ahhhhhhhh….. we`re on our way so let`s go have some fun anyways”, I chimed in.
The thing is with eel fishing, they generally don`t feed all night(hence is why we “Gigged” eels many many years ago…… but don`t ask about that. That was a long long time ago.) so we figured we`d fish until 10:30 or so.
It was really good to be fishing with Keith again after all these years.
I guess it was right around dark, about 9pm, after my pole got jarred hard on the rock, that I landed the first river serpent of the night. And a nice one at that!
Then Keith had a real nice wirely eel on……. got it to the bank and it jumped off on land and quickly wiggled and dove back into the dark waters of the Musonetcong. I said laughingly, “Hey…. that`s why it`s called fishin` and not catchin!”
He re-baited and in a matter of ten minutes, had a monster on…..
His line shot directly up river as he reeled back to set the hook! He said, “I think I have your line” – I replied, “No ya don`t…..my line is out of the water!” – and with that the beast of an eel thrashed on top of the water!
“Holy cow!….You`ve got a monster buddy!” I said.
He dragged the serpent on shore and I quickly dispatched the monster with my knife. Keith couldn`t believe it, “Wow….that is the biggest eel I ever caught!” he said as I took a few pics.
Right around 10:30 we called it a night as the bite had pretty much subsided. And as we drove back over Point Mountain Keith said, “Well I`ll be damn…..look. It`s a full moon!” – I said, “Ya know what? Sharon and I ran into the exact same situation in the same spot a few years ago. And I totally forgot. It`s because the mountain top blocks the water until later in the night. And when that `ol moon peeks over the hill, fishin` shuts off completely”
We ended up with only three really nice-size eels(and one jumped back in remember?) but what a good time we had.
I threw them on ice for the night and went back down to the river the next morning to clean them. If you`d like
to learn how to clean an eel, watch this clip I shot a few years ago;
My plan was to try something new with my river serpents……. They were headin` for my Smoker! Had smoked eel when I was a kid and wanted to see if I could do it. After I cleaned them up, I rubbed them in sea salt and brown sugar. Then let them set for about twenty minutes before putting them in the Smoker.
So this was pretty much trial and error……but hey that`s how ya learn right? I fired up the Smoker to 190 degrees and used apple wood chips. I only cut up half of them in case my “Smoking venture” didn`t turn out all that well. Figured Sharon could fry up the other batch for me and the bears could eat whatever I messed up smoking! HaHa!
I smoked the eels for an hour and a half and kept an eye on them as they turned a nice golden hue. Now because they`re a sort of fatty/oily fish(but they do not really have a fishy taste), I thought they would turn out great………
Ok ok…… yea I know what you`re probably thinking. “Come on Ken…… We`ve heard of “writer`s block” but a story about a bug? Seriously? Seems like you`re lacking a little bit content-wise with this one buddy!” –
However, I assure you this is unlike any other story that you could ever imagine about a little bug……..
a Katydid. So that being said……..
Once upon a time there was a little bug named Katy….and this is what she did.
Last Tuesday morning I was in a rush as I had a meeting at work. Hastily I gave Sharon a kiss, petted the pups and walked out in that beautiful, warm Summer morning air. As I walked to the car and put my attache case in the back seat, the nice slight breeze put a smile on my face.
I jumped in and started up the car……..backed down the driveway…….As I stopped at the end of the driveway to look for on-going traffic, I looked in the side mirror and said, “Hmmmmm….. look at that bug” – There she was perched on the inside of my mirror almost like she was looking at me.
I took my usual routine drive to Dunkin` Donuts for my morning cup of joe up off of Rte. 31 and as I pulled up to place my order, there was “Katy” still sitting tight inside the mirror. When I pulled up to the window to get my coffee, the girl reached out and almost dropped it when she saw my “passenger” on the mirror! She gasped “Ewwwwwww I hate bugs! That thing is huge!” What is it?” We both started laughing as I explained that I had just driven seven miles and the bug stayed on the mirror!
Now coffee in hand, I headed back out on 31 and made my way to Rte. 78. As I balanced the hot cup of java, I turned on E Street Radio as I steered onto Rte. 78. Bruce ripped into The Promised Land as I cruised at 70 miles per hour and sang along. I gradually made my way into the left lane and glanced into the side mirror and couldn`t believe what I saw…… The magical Katydid was now clinging onto the top of the mirror in the open air! As if she was surfing in the air, clutching happily as I sped down 78 to Bruce`s lyrics. I laughed out loud as I couldn`t for the life of me figure out how the hell this bug was possibly still on that mirror!
I pulled into the dealership at 8:50am and yep! The Katydid still sat on top of that mirror as I got out of the car. I snickered a little bit, shook my head and said, “Welcome to Summit Katy……guess this will be your new home” –
Or so I thought.
Later that day around 2 o`clock, I went out for a cup of coffee. Walked out to my car and yep, you guessed it. My passenger was still hanging out right on that mirror where she was when I arrived earlier that morning. Now I started to have a conversation with the bug…….. “Hey bug….don`t you have to eat or drink or something?” HaHa! Right then one of my colleagues walked out and I called him over to show him “Katy” – I explained how this crazy little green bug rode all the way from Port Murray to Summit. Ohhhhhhhhh…….I forgot to mention how far away that is…….. 52 miles one way!!!!
Now you`re starting to see why this was indeed turning into quite the adventure gang!
As my day ends, I walked back out to head home, lo and behold little Katy was still relaxing on the mirror. I said, “Little bug I`m sure this is where we`ll part as friends, as I highly doubt you`ll ride all the way home” -( jesus christ….. now I`m talking to bugs!!)
Boy…..talk about eating your own words. Katy sat right on top of that mirror and enjoyed the whipping wind as we drove all the way home. Now I was puzzled and amazed all at the same time. How the hell could this little bug stayed on the mirror all day? When I got home, I texted Sharon and told her about this magical little bug. Her response was, “Are you sure it`s not dead? HaHa!” –
Wednesday morning – I looked at the mirror as I approach the car…… No Katy……”Guess she finally flew away” I thought to myself. I got in the car, put in reverse, start backing up and stop immediately! What the hell???
I couldn`t believe it…….. The Katydid was now on the passenger side mirror! I started laughing my ass off…….. Now all I needed was Rod Serling to show up and say “Ken…. you`ve just entered the Twilight Zone”-HaHaHa! I couldn`t believe this!
Same routine as the day before, grabbed a coffee and away we went back down Rte. 78. And yep, there was Katy on top of that mirror riding the wind again.
It was like deja vu all over again. She stayed on that mirror again, all the way from Port Murray to Summit.
As you can see, that is the parking lot of Douglas INFINITI. Folks…… you can`t make this up!!
Later Wednesday afternoon, I went up to 7-Eleven to get a drink. When I got back in my car, the window was down on the passenger side. This guy parked right next to me, walked towards his car and saw the bug on my mirror. “Damnnnnnnnnnnn!……. That`s a big-ass Grasshopper on your mirror man! I started laughing and proceeded to tell him how the bug had been on my car for over 150 miles! He couldn`t believe it and said, “I gotta take some pictures of that Grasshopper for my kids!” and with that he took out his phone and snapped a few. ( As you can see the 7-Eleven sign in my mirror and Aston Martin across the street)
Later that evening, I trekked back home and the little Katydid rode that mirror all the way back to Port Murray. In two days, that little bug rode over 230 miles. What`s truly amazing is the fact that the little bug started her journey in Port Murray and it ended there as well. On Thursday morning, I went out to my car and she was gone………and I never saw her again.
They say a Katydid only lives two or three months……….but I think that little bug lived a lifetime in just two days.
Maybe that was the message of this whole adventure…..Being mindful of our own mortality is the key to making us realize the importance of the moment.
Carpe Diem – “Seize the Day”……To make the most of our current time.
Whenever anyone asks me “Hey Ken do you Saltwater fish?” my usual answer is this, “Not really, but when I do, most party boats usually let me go for free. Why would they do that you ask? Well….. when they see me coming they`re like “Hey here comes the Chum King! Just stuff `em full of donuts boys and we`ll have all the chum we`ll need!” – Yep……. I get really seasick in the Saltwater. Hell I can still hear my Dad yellin` at me when I was 13 out in Sandy Hook, “Jesus christ Kenny! We`re in the damn bay!” –HaHaHa! So when it comes to boats and saltwater, well let`s just say I ain`t too crazy about it.
But there`s always the Surf which is something I`ve never really indulged in very much having only tried it twice in my life. However, when my buddy Mark Jones invited me to have a go at some toothy critters in the Salt, how could I say no? I couldn`t! So we made plans to head down to Cape May to go after some sharks on the beach. Sounds exciting doesn`t it? Sure did to me! Chasin` toothy critters in the dark!
For me this would be the furthest south in Jersey(couldn`t get much further!) that I had ever been and the possibility to catch a `Ray or Shark was also a first. Heck for that matter, catching anything in the surf would be a first.
Upon arriving at their home, Mark came out and as we greeted each other with a handshake, he introduced me to his Wife Shelly who would also be joining us on our night time adventure. Such a pleasant Lady…. one of the first things she said was, “Where`s your Hat?” —HaHa!
We got to Cape May around 5pm and made our way out on the beach to begin our night. What a beautiful beach! There was a nice, light breeze coming off the ocean. Quickly Mark put the sand spikes in for the poles and cut up some bunker for bait and before you knew it, we were fishing. Shelly got all set up as she was going to be our “Photographer” for the night and a great one at that.
Several of Mark`s buddies also joined us in the evening surf. Real nice fellas. Heck I didn`t even realize that one of them was already friends with me on Facebook until I got home the next day!
Always amazes me how many nice people I meet because of fishing!
After fishing maybe an hour or so, Mark had a bite. As the fish ran the line he reeled back setting the hook!
Fish on! I couldn`t believe the bend in that twelve foot pole! He immediately called out saying, “Feels like a Ray” – And after about a twenty minute fight, the massive Ray was on the beach!
I couldn`t believe how these big fish fought! Then it was my turn……
Whatever I had felt great to me! What a fight!
At this point, the big Ray actually broke water! It was awesome to see with it`s big wings taking to the air!
Eventually I tired(or I got tired! haha!) and landed the beast on the beach.
Next Mark and Scott had a “Double” on!
Then at dark, Scott caught a behemoth of a Ray! Had to go over one hundred pounds!
A Monster Butterfly Ray! Absolute monster!
So while the sharks never showed up that night, it certainly was one big Ray “Party” and it was a blast! I can`t thank my gracious hosts Mark and Shelly enough for inviting me down. Just enjoyed everyone`s company immensely. I`ll be back…… after my Shark!