Finally wet a line in the famed crystal lake in newton. Crystal lake is aptly named because the water really is "Gin clear". I parked in the parking lot near the beach and walked around the western side of the lake to check out the fishing spots. The homes that abut the lake really make this public waterway very difficult to fish. In spite of all the rain that we have been having recently the water level in the lake is very low. I could see that the water level at least 10 feet from shore was only perhaps 10-12 inches deep. Which makes fishing from shore very challenging as there is very little structure to fish.
On this trip I brought two rods with me: a 6'.6" eagle claw medium action spinning rod that I got at Dick's last year for $9.99 and a new 9' Medium light eagle claw feather light rod that I got from Cabelas during their 42rods sale online. The 6 and a half rod was rigged and reading to go. The nine footer was broken down for transport.
Because of the water depth issue I needed to tie on a lure that could give me distance in my cast. So I tied on my trusty golden 1/8 oz Johnson's silver spoon which has the barb mashed down. Last year the first fish I caught with this lure was a pickerel from Chestnut hill res. In order to release that fish I had to mash down the barb on the lure, which was brand new out of the box. I put a 3 in orange Field & Stream twister tail grub as a trailer. The action of this lure is just incredible, its highly visible, the grub flutters on the fall and lure swims like a wounded baitfish. In fact I would recommend this lure for striper fishing as it is a predator magnet.
But I digress. So I get to this place where park benches are down below the roadway and there are some trees to by the water's edge. On the first bench is another fisherman, an old european guy who I have seen fishing around town before, he typically bait fishes with ultra light spinning gear using worms and bobbers. He mostly catches bluegills and pumpkinseeds which he keeps. I asked him: "Any Luck"? he nods yes, "Trout?", he nods no and opens up his plastic grocery bag to reveal about 6 or 8 bluegill on the small side.
So I walk over to the spot off to the left of him about 10-15 feet away and start casting my johnson's silver spoon. I am just fan casting to get the line wound up tighter on the reel so that I can change rods using the same reel (a Shimano IX 2000R). While I am doing this I hook up with a 14 inch pickerel. This fish was really feisty as he put up a reel good fight. So I land the fish which promptly help itself off my barbless hook, which is great BTW because I don't have to get bite by the toothy beast while trying to unhook it. So while the fish is flopping around and I am struggling to get a picture of it, this being my first fish out of Crystal Lake, Mr. Catch and keeps everything comes over and asks me: "You give me?" to which I reply, "let take a picture first".
After much fumbling around I take a picture of the fish. However, it looked small to me so I got out my measure tape and measure the fish to make sure it was legal to keep. Well it turned out to be an inch to short. I show him the tape measure and say: "This fish is 14 inches long in order to keep this fish it has to be 15 inches long. I have to put him back". He give me a dirty look shakes his head and walks away. After I put the fish back in the water it sulked for about half an hour recovering before it finally swam away.
So now I decide to rig up my new 9 foot noodle rod and give it a spin. I am used to the length of the rod because I have a 9' fly rod which I fish on occasion. The reel seat on this rod leaves something to be desired. The reel seat is all cork which is nice but the hardware that secures the reel to the rod is awkward to use. It has 2 threaded lock rings with a rubber washer between them that is to secure the reel foot to the rod. The lock rings don't turn easily on the threads and the reel does not lock down as tightly as I think it should.
Anyway, once I get the reel on, I start to thread the line through the guides threading 10 # mono is a lot different then threading 6 weight fly line especially on a 9' rod with about 13 guides along its length. my first attempt failed as the line fell out of ever single guide when I lost my grip on it. (On a windy day I think this will prove to be a ball busting challenge.) I persist and I get the rig lined up.
This rod is designed to cast baits and lures in the 1/16 to the 1/2 oz range, so I put on a kastmaster clone that I have and proceed to make my first cast. The cast was a disappointing 25 yards. WTF? I know the 10 #mono I have on the reel is 2 pounds heavier then it's max line weight but 25 yards seriously. Hoping for a better result I change the kastmaster out for a thomas' buoyant spoon. Similar result. So I put on the the Johnson's silver minnow which improves to the distance of the cast somewhat but by as much as I think it should. Proper line weight matching really must make a difference I guess.
Before I broke down the rig I tied on my Blue fox minnow spin, which is a lure that I love but have trouble getting it to swim the way I thing it should. Lo and behold the length of the rod actually makes that lure swim 100% better then it does on a 6.6 rod.
So on this trip I only caught one fish but I learned a lot.
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