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;
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.