Monday, June 29, 2009

What time is it?

A lot of you know that I work goofy hours. Well, I left for work a little early today, thinking that I was going to get there about 20 minutes before my start time. Not a big deal, I could get settled in and not be rushed before my shift starts... When I finally got to work, people started looking at me funny--which isn't all that unusual, lol. But then I realized it was not just that I am funny looking, I was actually 1 hour and 20 minutes early! Woops!

Well I had a little bit of free time, and I also had a float rod in my car that I just finished building... A light bulb went off--a perfect opportunity to try it out! Down to the Yellow Breeches I went. I stopped at Rutters for a pack of worms, and hit the creek.

For the first half hour all I could catch was sunfish. So, I decided to try a new spot. On my first drift at the new spot I had a nice hit, but missed him. A few more drifts and nothing... Then the last drift before I left--BAM! My float went under and I was hooked up. The fish stayed down and fought hard... I was very impressed. I didn't really expect to hook anything that would be a decent match for my 12' float rod. After a good fight, I brought a beautiful, male brown trout up on the bank. I'm not sure of his measurements, but I think he may have been approaching 15 inches or so. And he had a big hook jaw. I took a couple pics with my camera phone... and I apologize for the poor quality, but I'll post the best one here for you.

Also, before I finish, I want to add a congratulations to my nephew Bailey. He was on vacation in the Outer Banks last week where he did a lot of surf fishing with my father and his brother Gabe. On Thursday night just before dark Bailey caught a beautiful red drum from the beach. It measured 31 inches. Congratulations to Bailey! Way to go on a beautiful fish!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Delmarva... Stripers, Flounders, & Lessons Re-learned

BAM! The fish hit. I set the hook, and it didn't budge... A few head shakes and she started taking drag. "Hmmm," I though "maybe this fish is a little bit bigger than the other ones..." It was, but unfortunately I had broken one of the cardinal rules of bridge fishing... Never go fishing on a bridge without a drop net!

A minute or two had passed and I finally had the fish on the surface. It was beautiful... without a doubt the biggest flounder I had ever hooked. It was finning around the surface of the water straight down from me. What I wouldn't have done to have my drop net at that moment. But alas, it was tucked away securely in the trunk of my car...

Not knowing what to do, I weighed my options for a few moments... and finally went with the strongest impulse pressing my mind at the time."Ah, screw it, I"ll try to lift her." Needless to say--not the best decision. I got the fish about half way out of the water, when she violently shook her head and my light leader parted like butter. My trophy flounder swam back to the depths of the channel from which she came. Bummer... :(

Hey, guess what!?! I finally made it to the beach this past week. I had off of work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the weather forecast actually looked good. So I decided to go for it. My first trip this year!

Tuesday night I fished for stripers. I started out at Indian River Inlet for the flood tide, and then moved further south to Ocean City, MD for the ebb. Nothing was going on fish-wise at Indian River while I was there, but I was able to meet up with a couple of friends (Peter and Bill) that I know from fishing the area. We fished and chatted, but ultimately didn't do much catching.

Luckily, the move south to Ocean City turned out to be more productive. I hit the Rt. 50 Bridge for the outgoing tide and immediately found fish... a lot of bluefish, along with hickory shad and some stripers underneath. I lost a bunch of soft plastics to the bluefish, but mananged to catch a few as well (including a couple nice ones) and I also managed three stripers... one of which was 31 inches. It wasn't a monster by any means, but it was fat and put up a great fight in the strong current riping underneath the bridge. Side note: I was also impressed with myself in that I was able to fight the fish and use my drop net simultaneously to land the my fish--not an easy task in that much current... I used to do this routinely, but it's still nice to know I haven't completely lost my touch, lol. :)

Wednesday found me seeking out flounder around Ocean City. The first spot I tried was a bust, but the second spot turned out to be a real producer... and eventually led to the predicament outlined in the introductory paragraphs above. I fished with a tandem rig consisting of a Berkley gulp mullet paired with a live mud minnow. I'm not sure how many flounder I landed, but I had a fish on just about every cast for an hour, at which point I ran out of bait. After returning from the tackle shop, I left my bridge net in my car--pure laziness--and a stupid mistake... Most of the flounder I had been catching were small, but unfortunately we all know the outcome. Sometimes in life we need to learn lessons more than once. And this past weekend I did it again, ha ha!

Wednesday night, I was fortunate enough to get out on the water with my good friends Anthony, Angelo, and Skip Maguire, who runs Skip's Charter Service in Ocean City. We took Skip's boat and drifted live spot around the inlet's south jetty. We had a great time, and it was just as much fun catching up with friends as it was fishing. All in all, I landed 3 stripers and had numerous other hits, and misses. Both other guys landed some bass as well. Skip has pictures from the trip on his camera...hopefully I'll be able to get a couple from him and post them here for you.

After we came off the boat, I hit another local spot in Ocean City and picked up a couple short stripers on the end of the incoming tide. Then I headed up to the bridge where I sacrificed a small school of plastic shads to the bluefish who willingly ravaged my baits until my energy and attention span had officially waned... at which point I retired to Skip's place and crashed on his couch.

Thursday morning, I awoke, blitzed the Fisher's Popcorn stand, hopped in the civic and headed back home to PA. It was a great couple of days at the beach. I finally got to soak in the familiar sights and sounds of the surf... Spent some great time on the jetty and the bridge... Got to see and chat with some good old friends... and I caught some pretty decent fish as well. Can't wait to do it again. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day...

Since today is Father's Day, I need to post a tribute to my Dad.

I've been fortunate enough to have a very loving family and a great relationship with my father. Dad was the first person to take me fishing, and has been my best fishin' buddy ever since. We've experienced a lot together... caught lots of fish, soaked in lots of sunrises, listened to many turkey gobbles, and shared in each others' greatest accomplishments. Our relationship goes much deeper than the outdoor activities, that we avidly pursue... but since this is a fishing blog, we'll stick to the woods and the water.

So here's to you, Dad. Thank you so much for all you have done and given...

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The rivers... tadpoles, turtles, catfish, bass and walleye :)

Marianne and I spent some time on both the Juniata and the Susquehanna Rivers this past weekend. Again, we planned to spend some time at the beach but the weather forecast ended up being too unreliable... so we stayed at home.

Sunday we rented a canoe and spent some time floating down the Juniata from Port Royal to Muskrat Springs. Fishing was a little slow, due to the dirty water conditions, but we did manage to catch a few fish. Marianne, caught 3 smallmouth bass and a fall fish and I ended up with 3 bass and a nice walleye--18 inches or so.

I think the highlight of the trip was just taking in the scenery. We saw lots of turtles, birds, and other wildlife. And also Marianne got to catch a couple bass (including 1 very nice one) on her new favorite lure-- the Yum "Dancin' Tadpole." We were walking through Dick's fishing section, when it caught her eye. She thought it was pretty, and I thought it looked like a fish catcher--turned out we were both right, lol. I wish I had more pictures to share with you from our float trip... But unfortunately I don't. Here's a pic of Marianne's new favorite lure:
Monday I headed to the Susquehanna, with hopes of hooking up with a bass or two and maybe a walleye... Unfortunately I struck out with the glamour species, but I did end up getting into an unexpected, but really nice, channel catfish bite. I never caught so many catties under clear, blue skies before... but I finished the afternoon with 7 fish ranging from 20 to 27 inches.

These were the hardest fighting catfish I have ever caught... and they just wouldn't quit! I'm not sure if it has just been so long since I have caught any decent catfish, or that these fish were just particularly good at using the strong current below the dam... but I know I saw line on the stella that hasn't seen light in a couple months. I didn't have a scale but the biggest catfish was probably 9 lbs or so, and by far the best fight I've had on the river this year. I hope to get into a few more of these, soon. I'll post a couple pics...

The evening after my catfish adventure, Marianne came home from work and said she wanted to go fishing... I said I knew just the place and we headed out (hoping to get her hooked up to a big ole' channel cat). We fished hard for a couple hours and couldn't come up with a catfish... but we didn't get skunked. Marianne caught two smallmouths on her new special lure. And I lucked into a pretty little walleye and snagged a gizzard shad.

If the rain holds off the next few days, I'm hoping to get back out to the dam a time or two... hopefully I'll have a good report and some more pics to share with you soon. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The weather had other plans...

Marianne and I had made plans to spend this past Thursday and Friday at the beach... However, after a few days of calm, beautiful beach-weather, another nor'easter decided to blow in just in time for our much needed days off. We checked the weather forecast for different areas of the east coast and all were the same--wind and rain! We were both pretty bummed... :(

Luckily however, weather was looking promising to the north and west of us. Blue, sunny skies were in the forecast for Erie, PA. So even though the beach was to the east and steelhead season has long since been over... we awoke Thursday morning to pack the car and head northwest to Erie.

Even though Erie PA is probably best known for its walleye and steelhead fishing... There is also some great bass fishing in the area. Presque Isle Bay is alive with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and loads of sunfish, bluegills, perch and many other species. And in addtion to the great fishing in the bay, many of the local tributaries ( the same ones we fish for steelhead) also receive a run of smallmouth bass in the late springtime. Neither Marianne or myself had ever fished for bass in Erie but we had decided to give it a try.

Being a veteran smallmouth bass fisherwoman (of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers)... Marianne still had never really fished for or caught a largemouth. So after doing some looking around and exploring in the state park upon our arrival, we donned our waders and set off in search of Mr. or Mrs. Largemouth Bass. As luck would have it, we were into fish right away. On her second or third cast Marianne scored her first largemouth... and she was off and running. She outfished me for the night 5 to 4. We didn't score any real lunkers, but we had a great time... catching fish, enjoying an awesome sunset, new scenery, and dodging snapping turtles--you'll have to ask Marianne about that! ;)

Friday morning we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel, and headed out to Elk Creek to chase some smallmouth... Neither of us are early risers, so our arrival to the creek was a little bit delayed. Still, we found plenty of fish.

Elk creek was running low and clear... which was actually pretty nice because it showed us what and how many fish were actually in the creek, and it also made sight fishing possible, which is pretty exciting-- or frustrating-- take your pick, hah! We didn't catch a lot of fish but we both ended up with a couple decent-sized smallies. Marianne caught a steelhead, which was a pleasant surprise... and pretty rare occurance for the tributaries in month of June. And I also caught a hungry little red-eyed rock bass.

In the afternoon, we spent some time in a futile attemp to catch some yellow perch... which we may have had a chance at had we been able to get a bait past the swarms of gobies that seemed to blanket the bottom of the channel entering Presque Isle Bay. Then later at sunset, we ventured back to the area we had fished the previous evening, again donning our waders...and paying our largemouth friends a second visit.

All in all, we had and awesome trip. We both got to see some new scenery, relax, fear for our lives (turtle incident) and catch some pretty cool fish in the process. Even though we had originally planned to spend our weekend at the beach, the weather had other plans... and that's just fine with me. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

A couple bass pics...

A couple days ago I mentioned catching two nice smallmouth bass on a metal-lipped swimmer... a plug I'd normally use striper fishing. I downloaded the picture I have of the larger of the two bass today, so I thought I'd share it with you here. And as a bonus, I'll include a couple other pics from bass fishing the Susquehanna this past month. Enjoy... :)