Sunday, May 10, 2015

Epic Day with Suckaaaa!!!

What would you do in a nice afternoon with a couple hours to spare? I knew what was planning to do...

And thus I brought out another expedition for the elusive, uncatchable small stream NJ white suckers. 

The stream I fish is less than 3 feet deep at its deepest, and is gin clear, except for when it rains. I fish a little pool under a bridge, where there is a year round school of white suckers. Most are smaller sized, but there are some that definitely pushing 3-4 lbs. I know this because I can see their every move in the shallow creek... So far I have only caught one white sucker, and it was probably a fluke. 

But every sucker is special, so off I went to catch the uncatchable fish to fuel my addiction that is fishing. 

I had hopes that there weren't many sunfish yet, but unfortunately, the creek was stuffed with them. These sunfish are born experts at stealing worms when a white sucker is supposed to eat it. I guess the hot weather has brought them here.

Instead of on top of the bridge, my usual spot, I took a long loop and got on a very, very muddy shoreline. Looking into the water, I saw them. The Uncatchables were here! Quickly setting up, I wasted no time in flicking out a worm. Sadly, the Bait-Molesters got to it first... Can't complain though, the first couple were absolute gems!

Ain't that a pretty redbreast!

Pumpkinseeds weren't ugly either.

But after a ton of runt bluegills, it was clear that I just couldn't position my bait close enough to the suckers from my location. So I moved back to my usual spot above the bridge, where it was easier to position the bait but also easier to spook the fish.

From this spot I could see a lot of suckers, some of which were monsters. However, most of them, including the big ones, were suspending 1/3 of the way from the bottom. I figured out that they were uncatchable in this position. I lowered a worm down, and it settled near a small sucker. It looked at my bait, and promptly sucked it up with a cloud of sediment. Setting the hook, I saw the fish flash and turn, and felt the fight on my rod.

Sadly, that feeling was over quickly.

This fish came unbuttoned. Dang it!!!!! The hardest part is getting them to take the bait... Not easily put down, I set the worm back down. More sunfish came up, but these weren't tiny. In fact, I landed 2 NJ Skillful Angler Award size sunfish! Both were just past 9 inches- a bluegill and a rock bass.

Funny thing is, I landed my second and third rock bass ever in NJ today! Compared to the other sunfish species, they aren't too common.

Now for the interesting part... Of course no one is going to enjoy the tale of how I placed baits in front of suckers' noses for an hour, so I'll get right to the good stuff.

After fruitless attempts at enticing suckers, I spotted a lone one sitting on a silt flat a little ways from me, just sitting on the bottom, as opposed to the suspending ones. The water was less than a foot deep. It presented a good target. The first cast was slightly off. I cast, and reeled in to position my bait about 2 inches from its snout, and waited...

Not good enough. 

I reeled in and recast. This time it was perfect, and I adjusted my bait ever so slightly. It was DIRECTLY under the sucker's lips, perfectly positioned where I could still see it. Seconds seemed like years as I waited. Then, ever so quickly, a white flash, a twitch of the fins, and a puffball of sediment. I watched my bait disappear, then set the hook. 

The sucker was not small, and I was using ultralight gear with 4 lb test mono. I made a quick prayer to the fish gods, hoping that nothing would go wrong. The beast was bucking and thrashing as I strained to control it. The fight was spectacular, with what could be described as a tailwalk. The scales glimmered in the water as it fought to release itself from the metal hidden in a delectable-looking piece of food.

My adrenaline was building up as the sucker neared the shoreline. I climbed down the side of the bridge to land it. It made one final run, one final blaze of glory.

Then it was mine. 

The fish was beautiful beyond words, encased in a golden suit of armor. I had worked for this fish and I couldn't help feeling proud of myself, yelling loud enough to stir the entire neighborhood. :)

This picture turned out amazing!

Can't catch a sucker without a lip photo...

Anyone want a kiss?

I feel I may have overdid it with the photos, but I wanted really good documentation of the fish. I released it, and watching the round, elusive fish swim away was one of the best feelings in my life. 

Not wanting to push my luck, I headed home, satisfied and happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment