October 7, 1999
I'm supposed to be on vacation... I've spent three days of it working on updates for the family web site and answering e-mails from work. Not to mention having some time to do some problem solving and thought sorting for things I need to do when I go back to work and things I figured out with a little quiet time. Today I finally caved in to my wife telling me to go out and fish! (Yeah you read that right... My wife told me to go out and fish! Isn't she great?) So with that admonition under my hat I hopped in the old Cherokee and headed out for parts unknown. Heck! I've been itching to get out but it's been kind of chilly the last couple of days. Unseasonably so I am told. Well I can live with it. Considering it's already starting to snow back where I came from (See introduction). It was a bit chilly (around 55-60 F) but a black wind breaker and a pair of light grey sweats sufficed for clothing. As I drove out of the garage I was pondering where to try. I supposed I could have gone back over to New Brooklyn Lake where I normally go for a quick trip but then again I was also hankering for a new spot.
So the desire for adventure and something new won out. I headed east on Berlin Cross-Keys road towards Berlin. Once past the at times hideous Berlin Circle I turned north on route 73 and my destination was Lions Park Lake in Voorhees. On the drive up I noted the Shoreway Marine and Discount Tackle Sign and vowed to stop in on the way back.
It was around 15 Minutes to get to the park and upon arriving there I was somewhat curious as to the sight I beheld from the parking lot. Looked like a nice place to picnic. Even lots of volleyball nets around. I decided to re-connoiter prior to committing by unloading the gear. I walked past the picnic tables towards a line of trees I could see and once I got o somewhat higher ground I saw the water. Well... It was a lake... Sort of... I'd say that from one end across the longest way it may have been 50-60 yard long and was maybe 30-40 yard across. I think that a serious guy with a surf rod could clear it from end to end. I walked around the perimeter of the lake and found a small stream no wider than 2-3 feet across but it had cut deep into the ground. I'd say at least 2' in some areas. The stream was teeming with minnows. A close walk around the edge of the lake also showed me many minnows darting about.
Ok. So at least there are fish around... Now what kind? I suspected that this lake would more than likely have Bluegills. Heck anything larger than a puddle seems to have bluegills. I usually drive by Camden County Technical School and it has a fountain in the main drive way but I see people fishing there all the time. I suspect that there are Bluegills there too but then that's for another trip... So anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah... So I know there's probably bluegills and perhaps sunnies as well. But would there be Bass? On my way back to the Cherokee I was walking along the little stream and I noticed a large shape moving in the water... I crept close slowly keeping low to see if I could ID the fish. Well sufficed to say it was now a Blue or a Sunnie. I'd seen enough of those... This one definitely looked "basslike". I watched it all the while moving closer so I could get a better look. Then the paranoid litte bugger saw me a bolted. I walked back to to the Cherokee with a renewed determination to see what was in the lake and perhaps try to drift some flies in the little creek.
I got back to the Jeep and as I looked at the mess of rods in the back I fished out my fly rod (8wt Diawa Black Widow) and my vest. I was tempted to try the spin gear but more and more I tend to go with the fly fishing gear if I can. I love the whole casting aspect and the "pure" nature of trying to get the fish to bite a fly. Heck! No fancy action, smell, feel or anything that might event tickle an infomercial director. Just pure guile and wit! After threading the line through the rod as I walked back to the lake I searched the fly box for a likely candidate... I am still new to fly fishing as I had said previously (See introduction) and I am also trying to learn how to tie my own flies. Til then I am living through the kindness of others. One of the fellows I work with named Tom Fink is a FANTASTIC fly tyer. He's actually gonna get some of the stuff he did in a book coming out soon! His work is just fantastic. Very well crafted and REALISTIC! Even I had to resist the urge to hose them with Deep Woods OFF. He gave me a bunch of stuff that he wasn't using and my fly box had some of these beauties in it as well as an assortment of Bargain Flies (I am just now learning the difference). I remember having an Black Ant pattern from Tom and I found that tied this on. I really have to learn some more knots. That Trilene knot I use is sure "long winded" to tie.
The reason I went with the ant was that I had noted that there were not too many flying insects around anymore. Could be that the frost was doing a real number on them so I thought that terrestrials would work well. The ant was the only terrestrial pattern I had in the box. (I really must get that Thompson Vise and some smaller hooks!) Once I reached a likely spot I tried to just drop the ant and line on the water of the little creek and let it drift but the tiny stream was too cluttered with dead fall and overhanging branches. After about 15 minutes of this I moved to the lake.
The lake looks like it was the victim of a liability suit as it had signs warning of no swimming or boating or skating!!! Heck I thought that was one of the reasons for a community park! So anyways I started to side cast the ant into the water and not too long before I got my first hook up. Sure enough it was a Blue. It was also quite small... I started to get that feeling that this was all I was going to see this day. So I started to work the edge of the lake in various spots until I found my first "Honey Hole". This was a productive location. I was pulling in Blues that ranged from 5" to 7". Un fortunately I did not have a scale... I kept casting into this area until the tree ate my Ant! (Hmph!) All this time the winds had been coming and going and that made casting a challenge!
I worked this hole for about an hour solid and brought in fish after fish. Then I moved along the bank bringing in small blues and pumpkin seed sunnies. The second "Honey Hole" was better than the first. This produced some large sized Blues and Sunnies and My FIRST EVER Largemouth on a Fly! I worked this spot for about an hour loosing one other fly I had tied on before I called it a day.
It was a marvelous day. I fished from 11:00-3:00 and then headed for Shoreway Marine to check out the tackle. And that was also quite good as they had a part number for my GPS that would allow me to plug it into the Cigarette lighter and into my notebook! I can finally download all of my way points off the handheld Garmin GPS III! I also got a chance to wind the Penn 6500ss and 7500ss as well. I really like these two reels but I absolutely fell in love with the Finn-Nor AHAB Size 20 Reel. Instant Auto-reverse and an action soooooo smooth. But heck! For $209.00 bucks it damn well better be!
Well that's all for this rant. Now I am gonna show the pictures from the trip!
Til next time: "Tight Lines and dry Bottoms!"
P.S. All of the fish depicted here were caught and released successfully! Let 'em get bigger. Think if it as sharing with your kids!
|The first Bluegill of the Day||Around 6"||Nice Fall Colors on this one!|
|This is sort of Artistc no?||This was the first of the big ones!||Fight's on!|
|Ready to come in?||Nice Pumpkin Seed!||Another whopper Blue!|
|This is the Whopper on a Measue||Yet another good Blue||This is my first Bass on a Fly Rod|
|Had to get two pictures||Here's a nice colorful one!||These are all from Hole #2|
|This was the last large one of the day!||Kiss 'em good night!|