Monday, March 31, 2014

Year of the Mullica?

      Here's a question that keeps re-surfacing in the either of the truck as we drive to our fishing destinations: Is this a known/good fishing spot because there is access here, or is there a trail or road here because it has traditionally been a good place where fish hold?  I won't be too specific, but truthfully I don't think it matters.  
    We're not catching tons of giant fish when we go out anyway.  
    And as I said, the places I wonder about are all well known, and well trodden.  So I wonder, has this road in the past been a trail used by the Lenni-Lenape to get to the Atsayunk (the real name of the Mullica) river to fish?  And if so, did they establish the trail because it was easy, or has the fishing been good here since the Neolithic era?  The road, the trail, the spot which came first?  
     When on a river I can really feel the history.  I always get a sense of the geological time frame rather than the European or modern.  I imagine all of the people who have paddled in dug-out canoes along these banks before me.   I imagine that they knew well when the perch would awaken from their slumber.  And that perhaps, maybe because all of the undergrowth of the forest is gone, this path to the Mullica (named after Eric Mullica, a Swedish explorer)  river was easy access.

This week we will try to go from one end of this picture to the other in two days
      As we start a new season discussions abound about where to be and when.  As far as goals, meeting goals.  What a successful trip means.  Some readers may think the goal is always the same: catch fish.  But that's just not right.  Sometimes we want to target certain species, or fish of a certain size, or early season fish, or any fish in a new place, or simply have a good old adventure.

sod banks
     And so, as the season gets rolling our banter tends towards the Mullica river.  An area we briefly fished last year we are thinking of studying in detail this year.

more sod banks

  This time of year on the Mullica river there are very few other boats.  We've never been here in the summer.  Is it like everywhere else?  Full of  jet-skiers and day-boaters?  We will see.

Spring Sunset

     A river is more like a road than any other body of water.  And this time of year it is like an old abandoned road.

Steve and I are pulled over to the Sods because the perch
were after stationary bait, and we haven't gotten our
anchors set-up ...yet... 

    And yes, some fish were caught despite the cold water and air temperatures....


Tagged Striped Bass

Friday, March 14, 2014

Best Trip of the Year!

And so it begins, another year, another season, another chronicle....

"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours" --- Mark Twain

      The weather on the east coast in March is so topsy turvy, it is the hardest time to find a break for fishing.  But, after two months of trying to think of other things, we will take any small opportunity that there is.  And so, Steve and I found a small window of fair weather last Monday.  We took that opportunity to hit the water and test out our boats.   Even our plastic fleet had a harsh winter.   They had spent it under a blanket of snow.  But now there is a moment.  And so we embarked on our first mission; bloodworms and small hooks, the Mullica River, Stripers and Perch.         
Steve prepares his perch rig

This was planned to be a short trip. We were on the water for about four hours.  We launched around 11:00 and Steve had a short striper bass (local vernacular) on the first drift.  After that, fishing was slow and the wind was a bit of a pain.  As it turns out, the sun wasn't going to break through the cloud cover until after we left.  The water temperature was right around 40 degrees, so these fish were slow on the bite.  Maybe an hour and a half into the trip I had a perch.

My perch

Of course, at the time I thought I would be catching many as they tend to school up, but that was my only perch of the day.  Then maybe an hour after that Steve and I both hooked up short bass at the same time in two different spots.

First bass of 2014

All in all we averaged about a fish an hour.  I have to say, it felt really good to be back in my boat.