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Jerry Vovcsko

First dunked a worm in Otsego Lake (upstate NY) some 68 years ago and began pursuing striped bass in Cape Cod waters 40 years ago. Pretty soon I should be able to get it right...maybe.

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December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Jerry Vovcsko

Well, folks, here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, the best of the Holidays and a Happy New Year for 2013. May Santa fill everyone's wish list and may Tom Brady and the stout lads on the New England Patriots bring yet another Lombardi Trophy home to Patriot Nation.

The air temperatures have taken a decided downward turn lately and with the possibility of a white Christmas in the offing we could be seeing ice forming on local kettle ponds before long. But not just yet. There's still good access to those ponds and the broodstock salmon that the folks at Mass Wildlife trucked down to the Cape have been making local anglers happy indeed. For those willing to drive a few miles off-Cape, Plymouth's Long Pond is another fine salmon venue.

Along with salmon there have been good results for folks who pursue the mighty brown trout, the hard fighting element of the trout family that spends time in both fresh and saltwater environs and puts up a determined fight, especially when hooked on artificial lures. They're in the mix these days and make it worthwhile for anglers to fish tidal streams and rivers in hopes of tangling with one of these battlers (they've also been stocked in some of the local ponds.)

Although some anglers regard trout and salmon as the glamour species, the Cape also harbors some excellent bass populations – both large and smallmouth - in its ponds and anyone looking for a real battle will do well to fish Peters Pond in Sandwich; Mashpee-Wakeby on the Falmouth/Mashpee borderline; Long Pond in Harwich; Cliff and Sheeps ponds in Brewster and other less well known ponds from one end of the Cape to the other. When I have a chance to get out on the water in a skiff I enjoy tossing plugs to bass about as much as any freshwater fishing I get to do. And while I'm at it, let me put in a plug for the lowly pickerel, that toothy, feisty character that inhabits pretty much every bigger-than-puddle-sized body of water on the Cape that features a weed bed near the shoreline. They're real battlers and, contrary to popular perception, they're damned good eating as well.

We don't have any walleyed pike opportunities in our local waters bur we've got the next best thing: yellow perch! Many consider the walleye (actually part of the perch family) to possibly be the tastiest freshwater fish – count me among the fan base. And they tend to school up so that when you locate them, chances are you can take a bunch of the tasty little critters without moving very far.

Small jigs and light gear make for great fun with these guys because, lightweights or not, they will give you a fight. And when you catch a batch of perch scale and clean them, toss them whole in a bi cast iron skillet and fry them up for a mouth watering meal. (I roll them in cornmeal, add salt and pepper and drop them in bacon fat sizzling in the skillet…Yum!)

It's Christmas Eve and I think I'll hop over to Google Earth and keep an eye on Santa's progress as he heads out with his reindeer-driven sleigh packed chock-full of presents to bring happiness to all the good little boys and girls around the world, including everyone here at Noreast. So, as Clement Moore so eloquently put it: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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