There's More than Just Trout Out There
by Mark Boriek
Principal Fisheries Biologist
Trout thrive in cold water. That is why the NJ Bureau
of Freshwater Fisheries stocks trout in the early spring and now
in the fall. To other fish such as smallmouth and largemouth bass,
walleyes, muskellunge and striped bass, chilling water in the fall
signals a time to store up reserves for the oncoming winter. Before
the water becomes too cold, slowing their metabolisms, these fish
begin to feed heavily.
Growing up at the Jersey shore, Tom Martin took advantage of the
striped bass run and went surf fishing throughout the fall. He now
lives in Hunterdon County, NJ and regularly fishes the nearby Delaware
River. "Down at the shore, I would get a break from fishing in the
winter. Here, in the Delaware River there is always something to catch,
so I wade and fish it throughout the year."
the evening of October 16, he headed to the river near Rieglesville
to try for walleyes for a couple of hours. Six-pound test line
is his choice for walleyes, but having experienced break-offs
with who knows what kind of large fish, he filled his spool
with 12-pound test. Good thing he did. Slowly retrieving a Lucky
Craft light blue chartreuse Pointer, he heard the fish take
the shallow running lure.
was a sucking sound, close by, near the surface. She didnít
freight train it." He could feel it was massive, as the fish
peeled off line, getting into the current. Cupping the spool,
he couldnít slow the behemoth, and feared it would take all
of the line. Then suddenly, the fish did a 180 and swam upstream.
Tom was able to wind in his line and eventually land the beast,
a 40 lb. 3.5 oz. striped bass.
But stripers aren't the only massive fish lurking in the river.
Within a week a boat angler, in the same area of the Delaware
River, was casting for smallmouth bass using a small spinner bait
on 10-pound test Power Pro line and a Loomis 6'6" rod . Ten feet
from the bank, something grabbed the lure and ripped off 50 yards
Patrick Hardy cranked his drag down and held on. Reeling in
after the run, he caught a glimpse of the beast. It was a large
musky, the size of a small child, swimming around. It took another
10-15 minutes to reel in and net the fish.
The musky was just hooked in the top lip by the trailer hook
of the leaderless spinner bait. Patrick was in shock. The estimated
20+ lb. fish was subsequently released, with the proud angler
happy that she is still swimming around and knowing we all will
have a chance to catch the many many little muskys that big
girl will produce.