by Ray Merckx
This year has been a roller coaster ride for many people and some can’t wait for this year to be over with and are hoping for better things in 2017. In looking back over last year (2016) I have to say that there were several good memories including a fishing trip I was able to take this year with some family/friends that is up there with my top five fishing moments of 2016.
#5: Learning how to operate a bass boat
I was lucky enough this year to get a new (used) bass boat and learning how to operate it was a little difficult as I was used to a smaller fishing boat. I’ve learned a lot of different tips from a few of the guys in the bass clubs, however I still manage to be forgetful in remembering to put the plug in the boat on three occasions. After the third time of almost sinking the boat while fishing a tournament at Stewart Lake in Woodbury, my TOP priority is making sure that the plug is in the center hole every time I head out fishing. Proper charging and making sure your live-wells are working are a close second; but staying afloat is a good lesson learned.
#4: Fishing in the South Jersey Bass Stalkers Club Tournaments.
2016 was my first year fishing in a club and the South Jersey Bass Stalkers are a fun bunch of guys who have helped me learn more about fishing. My first year I was able to place 6 out of 20 plus members and got to fish in the South Jersey Bass Club Association’s Bass Bowl on the Salem Canal. While I only placed third twice and took second place once, I’m still grateful that I was able to experience with the club and am looking forward to fishing with them again in 2017.
#3. Springtime Bass fishing
My best fishing was during the months of April and May during the early spawning periods. The bass were over four pounds more than six times within a three week span! Usually, anglers have to wait a few months to catch fish that size and I was lucky to hook into ones back to back within those 3 weeks. The biggest was 5.5 pounds off of Iona Lake.
#2. My Nephew Jack Won the 2016 Kids Fishing Tournament.
My nephew Jack had just turned 5 years old when he won the Gloucester County Kids Fishing Tournament on Wilson Lake with only 10 minutes to spare! Jack had his small rod rigged with a night-crawler out within the channel of the lake. He fought this bass for about 2 minutes before we were able to net it and get it in the boat. We made sure that the live-well was up and running good to weigh the fish which weighed 1.5 pounds and was recorded by the tournament officials as the biggest bass they had seen all year caught from that lake.
#1. Farm Lake, MN Fishing Excursion.
I had the opportunity of a lifetime to take a trip out to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and fish within the boundary waters of Northern Minnesota. Thanks to my wife’s cousins who invited me to tag along on the road trip to a beautiful place. From being able to fish right off of our dock and seeing four out of five of our “Great Lakes” this was an awesome trip! It was a great time getting to know all the men and am looking forward to taking another trip with the guys to do some fishing again real soon.
I’d want to wish all of our readers a safe and Happy New Year! I hope that the 2017 fishing season will be better. Don’t forget to renew your fishing licenses and saltwater registrations and best of luck in 2017.