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Poster: Rat Man
Subject: Re: NJ fishing

Wow, what a question. I'm not laughing at you, but at this time of year the fishing is sensational in South Jersey, especially around Atlantic County. I wish you'd been more specific as to what type of fish you were after, but since you weren't, here's some advice on the best possible action you could have. By the way, I'm a life long South Jersey resident and have fished here for 42 of my 47 years. The best action you'll find is fishing in the Pines for Pickerel. Some people think of the skinny, eel-like fish the catch in their town lakes when they think of Pickerel. No way, Jose. In the Pines they grow fat and huge. In fact just a week ago I caught a 28 incher in the Wading River that must have been over six pounds. A big Pickerel in the Pines on light tackle (I was usnig 4 pound test line) is always a bar room brawl. Please release them unharmed. They're too bony to eat, and much too much fun to catch for them to be killed. Any of the lakes or rivers in the Pines are full of Pickerel and they're VERY active right now. To catch them find a quiet, possibly weedy, place, out of the current, but not far from it. Pickerel like to lay in cover and wait for prey to pounce on to swim by. The weedy mouth of a small feeder creek is a good place to try. If you can't find one (?) try weed edges or near any cover or structure that will give them a good ambush site. If you fish with live bait, minnows, lip hooked, are your best bet. But I've seen Pickerel hit almost anything, bait wise. For lures, weedless is the way to go, and fish not near, but right on or in the cover. A good bait to use is a Texas rigged plastic worm with no weight on it. Use a big worm, no smaller than seven inches, and twelve inches isn't too big. Throw it right into the weeds, then, keeping your rod tip high, slowly jig it in. Lift it over the rough spots and let it swim through the holes. When a Pickerel takes the worm, although this is very hard to do, wait a few seconds to set the hook. They like to turn the bait around in their mouths to swallow it head first. Set it hard and hang on. Make sure the line stays tight at all times during the fight. If he can make any slack, he'll turn and cut your line like butter. To release him, make sure your hands are wet so you don't damamge the slime layer on him. Try to grab him over the gill plates. Don't ever put your fingers inside the gills or he's dead, just like that. It'll take a while, but you've killed him for sure. And for God's sake, keep away from his mouth. He's got teeth a wolf would envy, and he'll make a bloody mess out of you before you can say "oops." Other weedless lures that work well are spoons, big bass spinners, jigs, just about anything you can get through the weeds. Good luck, and let me know how you make out please. You might want to try Oswego, Nummy, Atsion, Batsto, Apsigami, or any Pine lake. Good rivers are the Wading, Bass, Batsto, Mullica, Egg Harbor, or any river like them. Cedar water is best. Bye. I'm at mstone22@comcast.net



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