Category Archives: Bass

September 26 & 29, 2013 – Round Valley Shore Fishing

Went out to Round Valley to fish for some Trout from the shoreline on Thursday, September 26, 2013.  After getting a pretty late start, I got out to the Valley at around 10:30 a.m. and just as I arrived, I watched one of the guys fishing next to where I was land a nice approximately 15-inch Brown Trout on a live Shiner about four feet under a bobber.  So despite my late start to the day, seeing that got my hopes up that there were still Trout around to be caught.  As usual I was fishing with three rods out, and this time I had two with slip bobbers set to seven and 12 feet down with live Shiners and one rod with Powerbait about 2.5-feet off the bottom.  After about 45 minutes, one of my slip bobbers shot under and I set the hook.  Not sure what exactly it was that was on the end of my line since I didn’t get a chance to see it, but right off the bat it was screaming out drag and ended up shaking the hook right as I got close to the end of the line on my reel.  So I reeled in, cast back out, and 30 seconds later my bobber was under again, though this time I landed a 16-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
16-inch Rainbow Trout caught under a slip bobber

After that it was slow pickings the rest of the day, with a few fish here and there.  For the most part I only landed little dink Largemouth Bass that hit the Shiners under slip bobbers, and by the time I left I landed nine Largemouths to about seven or eight inches and two Smallmouth Bass about the same size.  Though in addition to my 16-inch Rainbow, I also landed one 14-inch Brown Trout that hit a slip bobber, as well as another 15.5-inch Rainbow that hit my Powerbait.  All in all it wasn’t the best day of fishing, but I did beat the skunk and caught a few Trout which is all that really matters in the end.

I headed back out again few days later on Sunday September 29, 2013 and this time I was joined by Chris.  We started out nice and early and got our first lines in the water around 6:45 a.m. just as the sun was coming over the horizon.  Between the two of us we had six rods out, two with Rainbow Powerbait on the bottom, two with Salmon/Peach Powerbait on the bottom, and two with Shiners under slip bobbers.  Probably about ten minutes or so in, one of Chris’ Powerbait rods doubles all the way over with the tip almost touching the water and starts screaming out drag out of nowhere.

Jaw tagged Rainbow
21-inch, 3-lb 1-oz Rainbow Trout. Chris’ first RVTA tagged trophy Trout!

With that said, both Chris and I knew there was a good fish on the other end of his line before he even engaged the fish, and the fight that followed definitely proved it.  After setting the hook, it continued to peel out drag and run from left to right for almost the entire fight.  At one point, Chris had managed to get it within 20 feet of where we were standing on shore and it jumped a good two feet clean out of the water, which is when we were able to see it was a nice big Rainbow Trout.  Immediately after that it went out on another run back towards deeper water and we were back where we started, though the fish clearly started to tire after that last run.  Shortly after that, we got the fish in close to shore and began to get it under control so we could net it; which we always do with larger fish, even when fishing from shore.  After netting it we were finally able to get our first real good look at the fish and were able to see it was a “JOIN RVTA” jaw tagged Rainbow that was stocked by the Round Valley Trout Association back in early May 2013.

Jaw Tagged Rainbow
RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow

The fish weighed in at 3-lbs, 1-oz and measured 21-inches in length.  Definitely made Chris happy since it was hit biggest Rainbow ever caught, his first Fall shoreline fish from Round Valley, and his first tagged Trout!  After that it was slow pickings of tiny Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass again and after landing around ten or so of those and losing what we assume was a Trout that hit my Powerbait rod, we called it a day at 10:00 a.m.  While Chris’ fish was the only real fish we caught that day, we definitely can’t say it was a bad day of fishing after landing that beauty of a fish!

Round Valley – October Shore Fishing

As the weather starts to cool down and Fall begins to set in, the shoreline fishing for Trout at Round Valley begins to heat up as the water cools down and the Trout come up shallow and start swimming the shoreline.  Last year was my first year fishing at Round Valley during that time, as opposed to previous years where I’d either be too preoccupied with school or fishing at Spruce Run.  Though last Fall at Round Valley definitely got me hooked on going back and fishing there every Fall almost exclusively.

Fall Brown Trout
Brown Trout from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

This was back before I started writing for this site, and I just happened to be looking through some of the articles and came across one that Rob had posted about shore fishing in October using slip bobbers, which got me curious about trying it out.  However, I wasn’t fully convinced to get out until I heard from Lebanon Bait & Sport (This was before they closed down of course) that people were starting to get into a few Trout from the shoreline, so then I decided I would go out the next morning and see how I could make out.  That decision ended up being one of the best I made to this day in terms of fishing and ended up being the beginning of almost three weeks of beautiful Fall weather, and some phenomenal fishing, some of the best I’ve ever had the entire time I’ve been fishing!

Fall Round Valley Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

I remember my first day out there last October like it was yesterday, I stopped and grabbed 2 dozen Shiners from the bait shop, and was out at Round Valley putting my first lines in the water not too long after 6:00 a.m.  I cast out my first rod, which I had rigged up with a slip bobber 10 feet down, and before I even got a chance to turn around to bait my second rod, my bobber was gone, and the first fish of the day for me was a 14-inch Chain Pickerel.

Chain Pickerel
My first fish from Round Valley during Fall 2012

After releasing that, I cast my rod out again, and just as I finally get my second rod out, my first bobber goes under again.  This time it was a 15.5-inch Rainbow Trout!  After putting that one in the cooler, I cast my second line back out, and not even 5 minutes after that I was into another fish, this time a 15-inch Brown Trout.  Now what was all within a time frame of 10-15 minutes or so, pretty good start to a day  if you ask me.  I ended up going back to the bait shop two more times that day because I kept running out of bait!  After that, it only got better for me as October went on.  I had a good amount of days that I was able to land 100+ fish, all of which were released perfectly healthy, except for my daily limit of two Trout whenever I felt like keeping a few for dinner.  Nearly everyday I got a mixed bag of fish as well, between Chain Pickerel, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, and the occasional Smallmouth Bass.  While most of the Bass were on the smaller side, nearly all the Trout were 15+ inches, which is keeper size at Round Valley for those of you that may not know.

Fall Rainbow Trout
One of the many beautiful Rainbow Trout I got during Fall 2012 at Round Valley

Last year, I got nearly all my fish on Shiners fished under slip bobbers, with a small percentage caught on artificial lures; Rapalas and small spinners.  Though with the amount of fish swimming the shoreline that time of year,

Fall Bass at Round Valley
Largemouth Bass from Fall 2012 at Round Valley

you’re pretty much bound to get something eventually with whatever it may be that you’re using.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this time of year again since last year, and I’ll be sure to be out there nearly everyday come October.  So if you haven’t tried Fall shore fishing at Round Valley, I suggest you give it a try, and if you see me out there feel free to come say hi!  Overall, Fall at Round Valley to me means; beautiful weather, awesome Fall scenery at Round Valley, and not to mention lots of fish … Who could pass that up?  I know I couldn’t!

Kayak Fishing Reports – Spruce Run Reservoir

Finally brought the kayaks out for a fishing trip at Spruce Run Reservoir with Frank Deluca on Sunday July 14, 2013. Despite getting a late start, we managed to get out on the water at 4:30 p.m. in some sunny 90 degree weather, with a slight breeze coming from the west.  Surface temperature was 80 degrees and the gage height was 272.35 feet.  We started out working the shoreline for some Bass with Rapalas and other various crankbaits, with no luck.  After probably about an hour or so of that, I put on a bigger Rapala to troll behind me and moved out to deeper water and trolled along a rock ledge for a bit to try for some Pike, also with no luck.  Though while I was trying for Pike, Frank put on a large Shiner and dropped it down to the bottom in 5 feet of water and not even a minute after dropping it down, Frank was into a fish.  After putting up a nice hard fight, Frank landed a 15-inch Largemouth Bass.

Spruce Run Largemouth Bass
Frank with his 15-inch Largemouth

Shortly after that, both Frank and I decided to move out into about 25 feet of water and try for some Hybrids, but it became clear after one drift that the wind was making us drift too fast for that to be effective. So we went back into the same cove we were fishing before, though this time we set up a drift going along a rock ledge in 10 feet of water.  Shortly after I began my first drift through the area, I got a nice hit on one of my rods and was into a fish.  Once I got it up to the surface, it turned out to be a Channel Catfish, which weighed in at 4.5-lbs and 20-inches, so I wouldn’t really say it was big, but it was definitely a decent size and put up a fun fight from the kayak.  On my second drift I hooked up with a decently sized fish, which turned out to be another Channel Catfish, probably about 5-lbs, though unfortunately it spit the hook right next to my kayak before I could net it.  After that, we set up a third drift through the same area.

My 4.5-lb, 20-inch Channel Catfish
My 4.5-lb, 20-inch Channel Catfish

Right as we started our drift, I hooked up with another decently sized fish which shook the hook before I could get it in close enough to see it, though I’m pretty certain it was another Channel Catfish judging from how it was fighting. A short time after that, as Frank and I continued our drift, we started getting a lot of smaller hits from smaller, more finicky fish. Frank managed to pull one up and it turned out to be a 10-inch Crappie, which led us to believe that we were drifting over a school of Crappie, though that was the only one we managed to land. We tried one more drift after that, with only one or two hits, so we decided to call it a day and got off the water at 7:45 p.m.

A few days later, on Wednesday July 17, I headed back out to the same spot, this time with Chris Moran. As opposed to last time, we started out later in the day and got out on the water at 7:30 p.m. so we could target some Channel Catfish, and by that time the water temperature had dipped down to 76 degrees.  We went straight to the same area over the rock ledge that Frank and I had fished the other day and immediately dropped our bait to the bottom and began drifting.  I was the first to hook up with a fish after a slow start to our trip, and my fish turned out to be a small, 14-inch Channel Catfish. After trying a few more drifts over the same area, as well as a few different drifts in different areas with no luck, I moved over to the same area Chris and I had been catching all of our fish back in April.  Shortly after I began my first drift there, I was into another fish and managed to land a slightly larger, 16-inch Channel Cat.  A few minutes later in the same area, Chris hooked into and landed another Channel Catfish, about the same size as my last one.  After that, it slowed down for about 15-20 minutes with nothing hitting our lines, until out of the blue, Chris got a big hit on one of his lines.  He was using a light 4-lb leader we normally use for Trout so he had his drag set fairly low so the line wouldn’t break, which made for a fun fight.  After a good fight which lasted a few minutes, Chris finally landed another Channel Catfish, which ended up being our last and biggest fish of the night.  Chris’ fish ended up weighing in at 4.75-lbs and measuring 22-inches.

Spruce Run Channel Catfish
Chris with his 4.75-lb, 22-inch Channel Catfish

We kept trying for about another 45 minutes or so with no more luck.  All of our fish were caught on live Shiners fished on the bottom while we were drifting between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  Didn’t land any real big fish this trip, but definitely had a nice night fishing from our kayaks and had some fun reeling a decent haul of Channel Catfish.  This trip was also Chris’ first time kayak fishing…or is it fishing from a kayak, so it was something new for him and I’m sure we’ll be getting out on them yaks again real soon!

Spruce Run Kayak Fishing
Sunset on Spruce Run

May 27, 2013 – Memorial Day Fishing Report

I managed to get out to Round Valley for a few hours today for some Memorial Day fishing in some nice and sunny 70 degree weather.  Definitely a nice change from the cold, rainy, and windy past few days we’ve had this week.  I was originally going to try and get out around 6:00 A.M., but I managed to sleep through my alarm until around noon.  But anyways, I got my first line in the water at about 2:30 and ended up fishing off the rocks by the boat launch since it was pretty packed everywhere else I would usually go from shore.

Memorial Day 2013
Round Valley – Memorial Day 2013

Today I was fishing with two poles with large Shiners under slip bobbers, as well as a third pole which I was casting a size 5 Rapala Countdown in Rainbow Trout pattern with.  As far as depth goes, I set my slip bobbers about 10-20 feet down as opposed to the usual 5-10 feet down.  The reason behind this is that there was a ton of boat and shore traffic today which usually pushes the Trout out of the boat launch area and I figured maybe a few would stick around, but go deeper.  This is also why I chose to use a Rapala Countdown as opposed to a regular floating Rapala, which I usually prefer to use.

Fishing started out slow for the first 30 minutes or so, but after that it was bite after bite for the majority of my day there.  The first four fish I landed were three decent sized Rock Bass and one Largemouth Bass, probably about 12-inches.  All three of the Rock Bass were caught on Shiners and the Largemouth was caught on the Rapala.  My next fish took one of the Shiners, and I originally thought it was another Rock Bass since it didn’t really fight too much at first.  But when it got closer to shore it went on a strong run to the left and then again to the right, which is when I was able to get a good enough look at it to see it was a Brown Trout.  Before I got the fish in all the way, it managed to peel drag several times and jumped a good two or three feet out of the water five times and made for a really fun fight to bring it in, especially seeing as I was using ultralight gear.

My first Brown Trout of the day
My first Brown Trout of the day

After that the action really picked up for me, and eventually got to the point where I would recast one of my lines and by the time I put my rod down my bobber would go under.  Even though I had a few missed hook sets, as well as some fish that got off after a brief fight, I managed to land five Brown Trout, one Rainbow Trout, two Largemouth Bass, and probably somewhere around 15 or so Rock Bass.  All the Trout were small with the largest being probably just shy of 15-inches, I had forgotten my tape measure at home and didn’t want to take any chances with it being not a legal length with the amount of Park Rangers that were out today.  So everything I caught today was released, except for one Rock Bass which I gave to a kid that was fishing next to me with his father who had asked if he could keep it since I was throwing it back.  Overall it was a fun day of fishing in some enjoyable weather, and even though I didn’t get any keepers I walked away happy with the outcome.


Spruce Run – April 23, 2013

Fished at Spruce Run again with Chris Moran on Tuesday April 23rd.  Fishing was completely dead, especially compared to the days we were having last week.  We wet our first lines around 7:00 A.M. at the spot mentioned in my previous report, though this time we decided to throw some lures around as well.  Chris was throwing a Senko Worm for Bass while I was trying various Rapalas and Chatterbaits.  

Zach Merchant, Hybrid Striped Bass
The Author, Zach Merchant, with his first Hybrid Striped Bass of the year. 4.25 pounds and 18.25 inches.

After a few hours of no action except for one missed hookset, we decided to go back to Hampton Borough Park to fish the Musconetcong again for some Trout, nothing there either.  We were starting to get a little frustrated, so we decided to take a break for lunch at 25 Burgers.  

During that time, we tried to decide what our next plan of action was seeing as everywhere we went we weren’t having any luck and eventually ended up deciding to go back to a different spot at Spruce Run.  Once we got our lines back in the water, fishing was painfully slow again. But after almost two hours of no action again, one of my rods doubles over.  Whatever it was, both Chris and I knew it had some power behind it seeing as it didn’t bounce the rod back and forth like Catfish and Bass sometimes tend to do, it just simply bent it down to the water and it stuck there.  So I got up, set the hook and the fight was on!  As soon as I began fighting the fish, it was very clear that it wasn’t a Bass and most likely not a catfish seeing as it was making long, hard-pulling runs from left to right and vice-versa.  Once I got it close enough to shore, we realized that what we were both thinking to ourselves was right, it was our first Hybrid Striped Bass of the year!  I landed the fish on shore and it weighed in at 4.25-lbs and 18.25-inches, a beautiful fish!  Yet again, we were using our basic rig with live large shiners that we used in my last report, which consists of a 1-ounce egg sinker, barrel swivel, size 6 hook (As well as size 2 or 4), 20-lb Fluorocarbon leader, and 15-lb braided line.

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