So there I was…….. Playin` in the rain this past Saturday….. not a soul out & about on the water. Figured I`d have a go at some Toothy Critters to start the year off right. I got to the river at noon & decided to try to wait out the rain in my truck……for a friggin` hour & a half!
Finally I said the hell with it and tossed the Yak in the pond. I worked various drop-offs and weedbeds for about two hours……..nothing. Then I decided to mix it up and tied on a jerk-bait as at this point, I really didn`t care what jumped on.
“Whooooooooah! Helluva nice Bass!” I said aloud as I bare-handed the chunky, football-size green-back. As I admired the big Largemouth, I figured the bucket-mouth had to go somewhere between 3-4lbs….
A reeeeeeally nice fish indeed! Especially for it being January and the fact that this was my very 1st fish landed in the New Year! I was pumped up as I sat there in the torrential down pour admiring my big Bass. “Let`s take a few pics and put you back in the pond” I told the Largie. So with that, I brought out my net and carefully laid the beast into the cold water, while I set up the Go PRO for some pictures. I figured I`d let the monsoon blow over a bit, and snap a few pictures.
Then that `ol magic kicked in……..BAM!
After about ten minutes, the rain quieted down…….. As I pull the net into the Yak…….. it was empty!!! My friggin` big greenback, Bucket-mouth had escaped! Through a hole in my net! “Son of a bitch!” I barked out loud. Boy was I pissed…… and laughing at the same time.
I quickly dismantled a metal stringer that I had on board, and mended my net for the rest of my outing.
Lo and behold, I did manage to nail a decent pickerel shortly thereafter. And my makeshift mended net worked just fine. By the way, if you look closely, you can see the “Snot” runnin` off of him too…. hence the name “Snot-Rocket” –
So I really don`t know what the moral of this story is…..…. Other than…..
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;
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;