“NJ Striper Fishing and a beautiful Fall Day,…..The ideal combination for an awesome Indian Summer Adventure!” I thought as I was watching the weather forecast days before.
Definitely like to take advantage of any prime-time fishing weather if and when possible and having three days of vacation-time left for the year, would make this the perfect time to burn one of those days.
Loaded up the `Yak and my gear in the truck the night before, grabbed my Hat and made my way South to the Garden State parkway at daybreak.
“Was very excited to have a go at some NJ Stripers. as I was looking forward to getting towed in my `Yak!”
Only fished for about an hour or so, and landed my 1st Striper I ever caught while fishing out of a `Yak! A smaller Bass, but nonetheless, still my 1st in the `Yak!
I fished all day enjoying this gorgeous weather and catching a few Stripers along the way. Then in the evening things got very interesting………
While working a Bomber lure barely under the surface, the water exploded violently as a good-size Striper attacked it! BAM! Striper on indeed!
This was good, solid size fish as the big Bass gave me the “towing” in my `Yak that I was hoping to experience pulling me everywhere! WOW!
Now it certainly wouldn`t be a complete Adventure without a Go PRO Video right? This is the clip that I shot of the day`s adventure. You`ll enjoy this one!
I filleted that nice Bass and my girlfriend Sharon, made this incredible Herb Encrusted Baked Striper dish the next night! I certainly love eating fish, but I have to tell you,……Striper just became my all-time favorite fish after that amazing supper!!!
The perfect ending, to the perfect Indian Summer Adventure!
NJ Bowfin……. The “Jurassic” NJ River Monster, was the latest target in my quest for NJ outdoor adventures. Yes indeed, I did say the Jurassic River Monster and here is why; The Bowfin is a primitive type of fish and the sole representative of an ancient fish family that dates back to the Mezozoic Era, Jurassic Period – more than 180,000,000 years ago!
Just imagine dodging T-Rex while you`re out and about trying to catch your Bowfin supper many many moons ago!
I got the idea to chase Bowfin over a year ago and posted a question on a fishing thread, asking if anyone knew of a place to go after Snakeheads and Bowfin in New Jersey. This Lady wrote saying she knew of me from watching my You Tube Fishing Videos and that she knew where there were Snakeheads and Bowfins. So we chatted back and forth a bit and she shared some very impressive pictures of the Bass that she had been catching lately. Let me tell you something, she is quite the expert Bass-Fishin`-Fisher-Lady!
I loaded up my gear and made my way down into South Jersey and met up with her. She graciously showed me around to the couple of spots where she had seen the Snakeheads. This was more of an exploring expedition. I needed to learn my way around this new area a bit and in doing so, this was definitely burning up my daylight, as I would only have a few hours to have a go at it in my `Yak.
Definitely a different type of terrain than I had ever fished.
There were creeks seemingly
everywhere, that had an abundance of lily pads and plenty of excellent cover for those Bowfin and Snakeheads.
Only had one smaller Bass strike a Booyah Pad Crasher Frog that I was throwing in the lily pads that day.
Fished for about three hours then headed back up north. I was very excited about fishing these “new” waters and was on vacation all week, so I decided to get up at dawn the next morning, and run back down there to have a go at it all day. But I decided to really concentrate on just Bowfin and went and caught some live sunnies at daybreak, then headed south that next day.
I brought my heavy poles that I use for catfishing on the Delaware River that next day, figuring I would live-line the sunnies that I had caught that morning for bait.
I sat up all three poles with steel leaders as everything I had read indicated that these primitive fish had teeth as sharp as a Pike`s.
I fished for about two hours without a strike………. Then BAM! A wicked strike! I grabbed the pole as I watched the line spin off wildly from the reel. It ran up and down river unlike anything I had ever seen. Then the line went limp, as the fished swam towards me, then it stopped. Then like a rocket on a launch pad, it shot out viciously and I set the hook! Fish on! As I reeled that fish closer to the spot where I was standing, the fish flashed sideways in the murky creek water…..and revealed itself……. A Bowfin!! And just as I saw it flash, it thrashed it`s head and threw my hook. I quickly re-baited and got the line back in. Not long after I sat the ple down, another hit on a different pole! Again, took off wildly and I yanked back attempting to set the hook. Nothing. A miss. As I reeled in the pole to check my bait, this is what I saw;
A Bowfin dined on my sunny, biting it in half!
An hour later, the first line ran wildly up river…….. I let the fish really take it good, then set the hook very hard! Fish on again!
I managed to wrangle up this nice `Fin! What an excellent fight too! Notice the `Fin`s battle-wounds….. the tail is bitten off! Remember the diagram above? On the male Bowfin the tail fin is rounded and has a “black
spot” on the upper base of the tail. This “black spot” resembles an eye that predators will
mistakenly attack, allowing the bowfin to get away. On this `Fin the tail had looked like it had been literally just recently been bitten in half.
As you can see, the `Fin certainly had some extra battle-wounds. See the small puncture wounds in it`s side? This was definitely a fighter!
Quite the adventure. The day I`ll always remember down in South Jersey when I caught my NJ
NJ Ice Fishing on Spruce Run Reservoir is another awesome Wintertime activity that I enjoy doing with my very good Friend, Curt Ryder.
I gave Curt a ring on the phone on my way home last Friday night to see if he was up for trying his hand at a little ice fishing the next morning. He said, Sure…let`s do it!” – So we planned to meet up at the Reservoir at 7am the next morning. However, the day didn`t start out too good, as I got a phone call from Curt at 6:30am saying he had just hit a deer with his truck. He said, It`s just the bumper cover,….. only cosmetic” – I said, “Well do ya wanna forget about it today? Curt said, “Hell no……let`s go fishin`!” With that I got the bait and headed over to Spruce Run.
Loaded up the tip-ups, jigging poles, ice-auger & bait in Curt`s Ice Fishing Sled and set out on the ice at Spruce Run Reservoir.
The Reservoir is probably about twenty feet low water level-wise, so we had to hike a good ways in order to get out into twenty four feet of water. We were after
these monster slab crappies that we saw a few guys catch out here last Winter.
Curt and I discuss our hard water ice fishing strategy as we hike out across Spruce Run Reservoir. Me, “I got a feelin`
it`s gonna be a really good day
out here Curt” – Curt, “You always say it`s gonna be a good day no matter when we go fishin`!”
I drilled out our first set of holes as Curt followed with setting up the tip-ups. You`re allowed five tip-ups per man, but if you each jig, then you are only allowed to se four tip-ups each plus a jigging rod. Curt figured that the crappie would likely be in the deeper water as we didn`t connect with any last weekend in the ten to fifteen foot depth that we fished the tip-ups at. Also we saw a guy catch two Pike the previous weekend in this area that we were setting up in.
We fished till around 12:30 and only had three flags tipped so far for the day….. and we were both getting hungry. I decided to take a break and go get us lunch at a local general store. After getting lunch and heading back out on the ice towards Curt, I could see him talking with two other guys. These two Hispanic guys from Bethlehem Pa. had nervously wandered out to see what exactly Curt was doing as they had never seen anyone ice fishing before. I wasn`t sure if they had ever seen or been on ice for that matter!
These two guys really made our day…….they were an absolute riot! I don`t think they knew what to make of me at first, with my `coonskin hat as they just stared at it as I approached them as they stood next to Curt. They went crazy when they saw a few of my YouTube Videos as you can see in the pictures.
By late afternoon, the only fish we had caught were a bunch of little perch that were anywhere from five to eight inches. It just wasn`t panning out to be a good day fishing on the ice.
Curt and I had been ribbin` each other as we usually do, most of the day. He claimed he has a “Secret Formula” that he was spraying on his jig and I was braggin` about my “Game Changer” that I was using on my set up. Now my “Game Changer” as I call it has Anise Oil in it and I do believe this makes a difference when ice fishing. I think the strong smell of licorice is very appealing to fish under the hard water.
We both started to jump from hole to hole hoping to catch those slab-size crappies or a nice bass.
As I went to my next hole of choice, I loaded up my Swedish-Pimple and Butter-worm with a good dose
of the “Game Changer, then started to jig.
Then all of the sudden ice pole crazily bent as a decent fish jumped on my jig! WOW! It really felt good!
Curt could see I had something nice on and rushed over. As the fish got closer, I could see it flash under the ice and said to Curt, “It`s a nice bass!” – As it came to the top of the water I saw the all too familiar whiskers…… a Catfish! As I pulled the catty through the ice, the line snapped as the fished laid half-way on the ice. I swatted the nice fish with my hand and sliced my finger on the catty`s barb as flipped up on the ice. We weren`t exactly sure what kind of catfish it was, then Curt said, “It looks like a yellow-catfish” – As we looked it up on my phone, it was indeed just that. I have never caught a catfish in February Ice Fishing and the even odder part to me was that the catty hit a jig…….yes…….with the “Game Changer” doused on it. It made sense. As Catfish are attracted to smell/odor, the anise oil was the calling.
**Enjoy the Video of our Ice Fishing on Spruce Run Adventure below;
NJ Winter Deer Hunting is something that I have always enjoyed doing and today should be good I thought to myself as I strategically put on my layers of hunting clothing this afternoon. I then grabbed my faithful old 1960 Browning Light Twelve Gauge Shotgun, a box of Triple-O Buckshot and my GoPRO Camera, jumped in my truck & headed out and about on this rather cold last day of January 2015.
Not sure why I like to be out in the cold air, but I certainly do. Today was a “balmy” 23 degrees this afternoon with a wind-chill that made it feel like 6 degrees in the brisk artic-like air.
Perhaps I was so excited to be using my new GoPRO Camera that Sharon got me for Christmas, that I was even a little more oblivious to the chilly air than usual.
I got to my stand at 2:30 and planned on staying till dark, as the days are a bit longer now, I would be able
to have shooting light till at least 5:30-5:40pm.
I sat my GoPRO Camera up and turned it on at around 3pm and left it on record the entire time I was in my stand this afternoon.
I didn`t have any deer activity until around 5:15pm………. Then things got interesting. A young “Button-Buck” appeared from my left and meandered about below me nibbling at the corn and rooting around in the tulip bulbs
The GOPRO captured the rest of today`s adventure very nicely! Turn up your speakers & enjoy the show!
NJ Deer Hunting in the Wintertime can certainly be challenging and today when I jumped up in my tree stand at 5:45am it was a brisk 12 degrees. Fortunately I do indeed like the cold weather, not the wind, just a nice calm, cold winter morning.
After seeing what showed up on my Trail Cameras this past week, I was very anxious to jump up in my tree
this morning! Two very Big Bucks showed up during the week, one is an absolute Trophy! A Huge 8-Pointer
with very high tines on both sides. Have a look at the pictures below –
Quite the Big Bucks eh?!
Now I do read about this quite often, hunters on various threads around the internet saying, “Ohhhhhh they`ve gone “Nocturnal”….. Really? No no……. see they went “Nocturnal” because nowadays we all have trail cameras and can finally see Monster Bucks like this at night! Big Bucks have always been Nocturnal feeders and are very wise deer, hence the impressive “Crown of Antlers” they usually exhibit like the Big Boys above. So I have been regularly jumping up in my tree stand, hoping that one of these Big Bucks would walk out of the cover…….. but to no avail as of yet. While I am routinely in my stand, I`m not taking that bet that either will show up before the NJ Deer Hunting Season ends. I really think my opportunity to see either or both will be in the Fall of 2015 during the Rut. But I have my fingers crossed and maybe if we get a little snow, these Big Boys will show up in the daylight hours.
As it is getting along in the NJ Deer Hunting Season, it is also time to fill the freezer with some meat!
My opportunity came this morning around 11:30am as four does approached “Ken Beam`s Big Big Buck Deer Feeder”, I cracked the one below, loaded the doe up in `ol Big Red and drove it over to my friend`s place, Tommy the Butcher in Washington to have it processed. By the way, if you`re looking for an excellent butcher in NJ, I highly recommend Tommy! All of the cuts are vacuumed packed and you can`t beat his prices!
Last Saturday as I walked out of the house, I turned back and grabbed my hunting coat out of the garage as I couldn`t believe how cold it was. Normally I like to hunt Quail wearing my vest, but with temperature at a very frigid 14 degrees, I decided to go with the coat.
I met my buddy Curt and “Jake” at our usual meeting spot in Clinton at 4:45am to head back
down south to the Pine Barrens to do a little NJ Quail Hunting in Greenwood Forrest. We always leave very early as it`s a 110 mile drive to our destination in Whiting New Jersey.
As we pulled into the parking area at right about 6:45am, I commented, “Wow……. looks like we got more than just a few hunters here today huh?” as there were quite a few more vehicles than the previous week.
We got out of the truck, threw on our coats, grabbed our guns and made our way out into to woods about 15 minutes or so, before the legal shooting hour, sunrise.
As we hiked out down an old logging trail, we noticed a person chatting with a few hunters. When we got closer we realized it was a Game Warden. When we walked by “Her”, we both said “Good morning”
I also said, “Geez…..we were wonderin` who the heck was out here today without any orange on!” She smiled & said, “Ohhhh I have it right here in my pocket.”
We made our way down an old abandoned road and the first shot of the morning rang! Then another…. and another!. I looked at Curt and said, “Time to hunt!” and with that Curt let Jake off the leash. It was only a matter of minutes before he was on point in a hedgerow. Curt worked around one side trying to get into position, while I was coming around the other side towards Jake.
As I made my way across the hedgerow, the bird broke out behind us and Curt spun around, took the shot and got our first Quail of the morning.
Wasn`t too long after that Jake was on point again. This time on the edge of an open field. Curt made his way towards the dog and told me to “stay out in the open as it will probably break across the field.” Jake held point very well and just as Curt was about twenty yards away the bird did indeed break across the open field. I immediately shouldered my .28 gauge over-and-under Beretta shotgun and had my second Quail of the morning.
Here is a Video with some action-footage from our Quail Hunting Adventure that morning.
Turned out to be another fine morning NJ Quail Hunting with Curt & Jake as we each ended up with our limit of four birds each.