We Rancocas Barners should try to fish together in 2010. I know I would like to learn more about my local fishery, especially about stripers, shad and herring.
My biggest thrill came a few years ago. I had a bad day at work and went out with my super light spinning gear/ 2# line and a small Mepps bronze spinner, just as an attempt of "job stress busting". It was a high tide in October and I just wanted to cast for 30 minutes before going back inside.
Suddenly something grabbed that little Mepps and took off. I have often hooked big fish nearby that I never got to see because they just ran and snapped the line. It is totally disappointing not to get to see a big fish that breaks the line. The reel whirred as line went out. I was determined to see what the fish was. I loosened the drag and let it run.
I gradually tightened up a bit and after many minutes, the fish started to come in. A few more runs ensued but I started to win back line. The fish wasn't far away but I still couldn't see what it was. I knew it wasn't a catfish by the way it fought. I gained more line and the fish slowly came to the surface just about 10 feet from where I stood. It was a huge (tiger?) muskie.
I almost had to change my underwear! I realized it was too big to pull up onto the bank with the 2# line but was thrilled to just see it. I looked at the size of my foot (size 13 shoe!) and it was about the size of the fish's head. The muskie itself was about 4X the size of my foot with ferocious-looking teeth. I carefully tried to lift it onto the bank when it shook its head, broke the line and swam away.
Those kind of fish are in the Ranny!