Full Moon Eel Fishing on the Musconetcong River

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;  
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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. 
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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!  
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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.  
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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. 
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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!   
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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………
                                             And they did! Absolutely delicious! 
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Till next time…..
See all of my Adventures

2 thoughts on “Full Moon Eel Fishing on the Musconetcong River”

  1. That is a night you will remember. They looked good and know you had a lot of fun. Both of you look so much like your dad. Really enjoyed your adventure.

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