Category Archives: Firearms

Firearms are a tool, one of the most prominent in the development of modern man and western civilization. The original Winchester Repeating Rifle is known as “The Gun that won the West.” In short, no firearms, no America and where would we be then; back in Europe? Firearms were prevalent and popular in the United States through the 1960s when large increases in urban crime made them less socially acceptable. In recent years the crime rate has declined, gun control is out of favor and once again it is cool for Americans to enjoy recreational shooting. Stay tuned to these blogs to watch the crew at Moose Knuckle Fly Fishing in their trap shooting and target practice adventures.

Fishtember

The World War era bunkers at Sandy Hook.
The World War era bunkers at Sandy Hook.

Today is the last day of September, we are now two weeks into the autumn of 2015. Temperatures have been steadily cooling though holding higher than I can anecdotally recall in the last two autumn fishing seasons. The fall fishing extravaganza leaped off to a strong start as the water temperatures steadily cooled and our H2O residing quarry again became more active.

A sign of the fall, pickups loaded down with wood.
A sign of the fall, pickups loaded down with wood.

This weekend the majority of the MKFF crew is headed up to Pulaski, New York to check out the early Salmon run then Mark and Zach will be heading down to Sanibel Island for an extended fishing adventure. I will not be fishing due to my college roommate’s wedding; therefore this is an appropriate point to provide you with an update on New Jersey fishing for the first few weeks of fall.

Black River WMA

Pheasant Hunting Season and the Cast and Blasts which mark November are now less than two months away. I dusted off the old JC Higgins 16 gauge side by side along with the Remington 12 gauge and headed down to the Black River WMA range. Both firearms performed well, presenting my shoulder with the swift kick of an old gun while consistently delivering a load to the target. Next on the agenda is to attempt and gunsmith my Savage Model 220B with some parts that are now available online.

Gunsmithing Kitty
Gunsmithing Kitty

The Jersey Shore

Light surf in the morning.
Light surf in the morning.

The salt water community is abuzz with the looming biannual arrival of the Striped Bass to the New Jersey shore. It is still a bit early for the main event however we headed down to Avon by the Sea to evaluate what could be pulled out from the beach. Initially I was going to try to fish with some spin gear but the guys over at Orvis NYC convinced me to try a few softy minnows in the surf. The plan worked with me landing a few one pound Blue Fish and Jack Crevalle in the morning. Mark pulled in a nice Sea Robin and Star Gazer, however I could not convince him to measure the Star Gazer in an attempt at the MKFF Salt contest. We wrapped up over at Sandy Hook where a few keep able size Fluke were caught from the beach.

Mark’s Sea Robbin
Mark’s Sea Robbin

Orvis Game Fair

Bison head at the Orvis Game Fair.
Bison head at the Orvis Game Fair.

Continuing the fall adventures, Mark and I met in Morristown on Sunday after fishing the shore all day Saturday to head up to Millbrook, NY for the annual Orvis Game Fair. The Game Fair, which we have reported on in 2012 and 2014, is a sporting lifestyle fair geared for the family. This year they had few more distilleries, which are popping up, in the Hudson Valley thanks to New York State’s updated liquor laws. The event has expanded every year that we have attended and is a great way to spend the first weekend of fall.

Handcrafted bar made of fir wood. Made in America.
Handcrafted bar made of fir wood. Made in America.

My other favorite part of the Orvis Game Fair is fishing Wappingers Creek, a local stream in Dutchess County New York. Wappingers Creek stretches 41.7 miles from Thomson Pond to New Hamburg, NY, emptying into the Hudson River. The northern stretches of the creek hold Trout while the southern stretches are more of a Smallmouth fishery.

Wappinger Creek Smallmouth Bass
Wappinger Creek Smallmouth Bass

After leaving the Orvis Game Fair, we stopped at The Roadhouse in Pleasant Valley, NY. This is an excellent upstate New York bar. This establishment is a jewel, a true treasure including a main floor with a list, pool table, dartboard, cold beer and delicious beer. This is not a yuppie bar, the bartenders are friendly, the food delicious and reasonably priced!

Looking Ahead

New Jersey’s fall Trout stocking is scheduled to commence between October 13th and 21st , this year they will be placing 20,000 Trout, between 14” and 22”, in 16 streams throughout the state. Our club is also planning on stocking our private pond with Tiger Trout for the winter. After the Trout season dies down, Saturday November 7th will be opening day of Pheasant season in New Jersey. This is in addition to the fall archery season that begins in October and then the December firearms season for deer.

Cast and Blast Weekend

Sassafras tree showing off its colors.
Sassafras tree showing off its colors.

The fall is at its peak here in the Skylands region of New Jersey. Farm country is humming with the annual rituals of harvest season apple picking, fall foliage, hard cider, wine tastings, craft beers and of course what we do here, Trout fishing. After a long summer hiatus and a hard skunking up on the Salmon River we are back in New Jersey and loving the weather.

Osprey doing a fly by.
Osprey doing a fly by.

After an aborted spring stocking season, New Jersey Fish and Wildlife revved up the stocking program with a strong fall stocking of catchable Rainbow Trout. Many of the local streams still have resident Trout due to the unseasonably cool summer and lower than normal interest in Trout fishing for the 2014 season.

Mark caught a few stockies.
Mark caught a few stockies.

Mark and I decided it was time to get out there and hone in our casting skills while prepping for Pheasant season which kicks off on November 8th at daylight. The MKFF crew plans on doing a fall Cast and Blast series about exploring the fallowed fields and the streams that wind through them this fall.

Bees nest in the trees.
Bees nest in the trees.

The Cast

Our local cosmonaut.
Our local cosmonaut.

The primary hatches expected in New Jersey streams have passed as the weather has consistently cooled. Sunday night provided us with our first full frost throughout the county. This does not mean the Trout are not biting, what works has changed but they are still eating. Midges, Woolly Buggers, Egg Patterns and midges are all good choices for the Trout.

Wild New Jersey Rainbow Trout with beautiful colors.
Wild New Jersey Rainbow Trout with beautiful colors.

Water flows are still coming up from their summer nadir therefore a good rain in the middle of the week helps fishing on the weekend. Fortunately, the weather pattern seems to be cooperating.

The Blast

.357 Revolver holstered on the hip.
.357 Revolver holstered on the hip.

Pheasant season in New Jersey opens on November 8th 2014 and intermittently continues through mid February with a brief intermission for regular Shotgun season. Personally, my shotgun skills have gotten a little rusty in the off season as I have not found much time to practice shooting. This fall weekend made for the perfect opportunity to try out the thrower.

Mark keeps the peace.
Mark keeps the peace.

This coming weekend, The Rockport Pheasant Farm is having an open house at their Hazen Road location in Hackettstown. New Jersey Fish and Wildlife will be opening the doors of the Pheasant farm for tours on Saturday October 25, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lead the bird!
Lead the bird!
Mark's aim was dead on.
Mark’s aim was dead on.

Home on the Range

A week or so has passed since our last full blog update. There is so much Fly Fishing, shooting, Hay making and exploration occurring, it is summertime and the living is easy! We have been carefully chronicling all of the adventures for your weekday amusement.

Hunter Safety Course

Mark and I successfully passed the New Jersey Hunter Safety Course on Saturday June 9th at the Clinton Wildlife Management Area. It is an excellent course with very useful infield instruction.

Remember these three rules:

  1. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  3. Know your target, in front and beyond.

Sleepy Hollow Lake Bass Tournament

This was a complete bust, we failed to pre-register the boat and it didn’t start in the morning. We are looking forward to finishing Gil’s boat project so we can fish the legendary Sleepy Hollow Lake. The New York State White Crappie record was taken here in 2001 (White Crappie 3 lb. 13 oz. James Weinberg Jig Sleepy Hollow Lake, Greene Co. 6/9/01).

Target Shooting

On Sunday, Mike, Deb and I shot the Remington 12 Guage at clay targets out on the MKFF Proving Grounds. The weather is significantly better than last week for outdoor activity. Check out the pictures of the fun.

Panfish Update

Again, on the MKFF Proving Grounds we have been pounding the water for Bass quite hard lately. At this point in time it appears the Sunfish are building their nests near the shore. The Bass fishing dynamic has been altered. The biggest Bass are circling the pond surface while the smaller guys are hiding in the weeds.