Archive | August, 2015

2015 Mid-Season Fishing Journal

8 Aug

Here it is. My first fishing journal since relocating back to New Jersey. Admittedly, this is long over due. A few unexpected events delayed our getting out on the water. During this delay, I day-dreamed of catching and releasing plentiful large trout and bass from the waters I fished in my youth. Many a mental fishing trip took place on the Big Flatbrook, the Musconetcong and Susquehanna Rivers, Greenwood Lake and Monksville Reservoir. Alas, once we were (finally) able to get out and fish, the spring trout season was over.

As an added measure to the joy of fishing, our little grandson joins us on the water this year. We also began the season with a new member, a Brazilian Terrier pup we rescued from the Secuacus Animal Shelter. Maharet now joins the FFD team.

   Maha-bluegill  Maha Bass

Chloe, who passed away in 2013 was our constant fishing companion. Maharet will have some mighty big paws to fill.

We'll miss Chloe on the water this year - R.I.P. little one

We’ll miss Chloe on the water this year – R.I.P. little one

Chloe helps locate fish on the Lower Salt River.

Chloe helps locate fish on the Lower Salt River.

It was also time to fish with a new mindset. I took my own advice and fished with the mind-of-a-white belt. (Click this link for my article on this topic ). We fished new waters.

Catches were small and sporadic at first. A few of the early days we were skunked-out. Catches naturally, and thankfully included bluegill (click this link for an article on the perception of bluegill fishing, shad, small pickerel (a species not found in Arizona, thus the first one I’ve caught in ten years) and small bass.
Although, we’ve began to experience more consistent and bigger catches, results are still mixed. As such, rather than name our fishing spots, in this post, I’ll simply refer to them as Lake numbers 1 through 4.

CIMG6408    Lake number 1 is an urban lake and easily accessible from our home in Bergen County. It is a small catch and release lake. I’ve been able to fish this lake before and after work. This lake also provides quick, impromptu fishing while my grandson is on summer vacation from school. In the weeks to come, this lake will become my quick go-to lake for regular fishing. Our initial catches were small to respectable. I did see a few bait fisherman catch and release largemouth in the four to four and a half pound range (as weighed prior to release). The trick for me will be to catch fish this size on artificial lures or flies.

Our daughter and grandson caught their first bass together.

Our daughter and grandson caught their first bass together.

One surprising catch (and a joy for my grandson) was a catfish caught using a # 16 pink shrimp pattern.
catfish stratt

 CIMG6531  Lake number 2 is one that I like for several reasons. First and foremost, it is less than an hour from home. Second, and most important it is not easily accessible. In order to reach this lake, you must hike a fairly rough trail almost two miles up a mountain Ramapo Trail   Ramapo Window

The few times we were able to fish, we caught an abundance of prey is, bluegill and shad, on various flies.          flies This was the most popular set-up.

 As we became more familiar with this lake, we began to catch larger and larger bass.

bass measured

The really big ones still evade us as of this writing. Internet searches result in people reporting large pickerel. I remain hopeful.

stratt bluegill scarlett    Lake # 3 is easily accessible. It is only a short hike from the parking lot. For this reason it has more fishing pressure than Lake 2 and 4, but not as much as Lake 1. So far catches have been small. On two occasions, I saw other fisherman catch and release bass in the two pound range using soft plastics. My favorite days on this lake so far have been those spent with my six tear old grandson catch and releasing bluegill on the fly. From the parking area for this lake, you can also access Lake # 4.

I love when little fish take a big lure!

I love when little fish take a big lure!


CIMG6446  Lake # 4 is about a one and a half to two mile hike up a mountain from Lake # 3. The hike is not as rugged as the hike to Lake #2; however, it is more vertical. While many hikers will take the trek to this lake, only those fisherman that are in some sort of physical shape venture up the mountain. To date this lake has produced the most reliable catches of respectable sized largemouth. A chartreuse spinnerbait with a white curly tail trailer produced my most productive day with six largemouth being caught and released.

  bass spinnerbait-mcmillan  bass mcmillan

In addition, largemouth have been receptive to a streamer fished with a nymph dropper. A twitch and pause retrieve works best.

     bass mask - mcmillan   flies mvmillan-apache lady
So, as August begins, I remain optimistic as to future catches of respectable bass and a few of those larger pickerel that are supposed to be present. In addition, I have a few trips planned to fly fish some of the salt water bays and see whats swimming around that may be enticed to take a fly.

    WC-NJ  Whether fishing in fresh or salt water, we’re ready for the New Jersey summer sun in our Wicked Catch sun protection gear. You can visit their website at
use promo code: WCProstaff-JSzmitkowski at checkout for a 5 % discount (not applicable to shipping costs and taxes).Or, you can also log in with my personal link (as of January, 2015)

FFD-STICKERS-2_Fotor     As a Thank-you for reading, I have listed a two-pack of FlyFishing Dojo on E-bay for only $ 1.75 which includes mailing. To get your FFD sticker two-pack, simply go to e-bay and search “Fishing stickers-FlyFishing Dojo Logo blog” – do not bid more than the $1.75, I’ll keep listing while supplies last.

Sensei John

Sensei John

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The FFD bandanna

The FFD bandanna

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