Friday, March 26, 2010

Los Cabos...

My arms were on fire! I took a deep breath as I looked at Marianne and sat down on the padded bench seat beside her. "Man I need a break." I said. "Me too!" she agreed. There haven't been many times in my life when I hoped another fish would not bite (at least not for a little while), but this was one of them...

What a trip! It was GOOD when it was good, and when it was bad...boy, it was BAD! Last week we spent 4 days and 4 nights in San Jose Del Cabo Mexico, which was awesome! :) We also spent a night on the floor of the baggage claim in the Philadelphia airport, which was not so awesome... :( Needless to say, it was a trip full of highs and lows--none of which I would trade. Well, okay, maybe I would trade a couple of the lows, ha ha. Especially the part where my first marlin threw the hook--OH! And then there was the windshield of our plane shattering mid-way through our flight into Cabo... yeah I'd trade that one for sure, lol.
Still, we left Mexico with some awesome memories. None of us had been to Cabo before, and the scenery was breathtaking. There is something awe inspiring about steep desert mountains adjoining the deep blue of the Mexican Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. The area is boiling with an abundance of wild life... We saw pelicans, whales, sea lions, porpoises, some awesome types of fish (like flying fish) and we even caught a few fish as well.

One of the main purposes of the trip (at least for me) was to catch my first marlin. Unfortunately, that dream did not become a reality on this trip--but it was SO close! We chartered two days of fishing with Dreamweaver Sportfishing, out of Cabo San Lucas. Captain Ramone and his mate Fernando were both outstanding fishermen, and they tried their hearts out to get me my first marlin. In the end, the unusually slow fishing got the best of us, but we did have some exciting action...
On our first morning of fishing, we spotted a fish right away. Ramone motored over to the fish, and Fernando tossed him a fresh live bait (a cool-looking little fish called a goggle eye). As soon a the baitfish hit the water, the marlin reacted to it immediately. He dove down from the surface and headed toward the bait, chasing it around towards the back of the boat. Once he was directly behind the boat the marlin came up behind the bait and started poking at it with his bill. At this point Fernando dropped the bait right back into the marlin's face--and he ate it! Just like that we were hooked up. Fernando passed me the rod as I sat down in the fighting chair, and I positioned the rod butt in its holster. I watched the line peel away from the reel as the mighty fish jumped and shook his head. Then he jumped again, violently shaking his head and body. Just as the fish re-entered the water, my line when slack. The hook pulled out, and my heart sank...

Unfortunately for me, this was the closest we came to catching in a marlin in the two days that we fished. We saw two other fish but neither one of them was willing to bite. Still, on day two of our adventure, we found another type of fish to chase... TUNA!

Neither Marianne nor I had ever caught yellowfin tuna before, but boy did that change on day two of our trip. We started out the morning heading offshore in a different direction than on day one. The morning started off with us watching an enormous humpback whale launch himself almost completely out of the water, twist in the air, and crash back into the water with a colossal splash--our day was already a success! We continued motoring farther offshore until captain Ramone found a giant school of porpoises, who were feeding on flying fish. Fernando dropped back our trolling lures, and within seconds we were hooked up with yellowfin tuna. Apparently the tuna were traveling along with the school of porpoises. The action continued for about an hour, until Marianne and I had had enough. At times porpoises surfed in the waves next to the boat while we were both hooked up to fish, and at least one other rod was bent over screaming in the rod holder. In the end, we landed 13 yellowfins... and we were pooped! We finished up day two relaxing, and trolling for marlin on our way back in... We didn't have any further luck, but we did sight one marlin who wasn't willing to bite. Still, it was an awesome day and I couldn't have hoped for anything more.Later that night, Marianne, Tillie, and myself went out to a nice local restaurant in San Jose. We brought along a couple pounds of fresh caught yellowfin for the chef to prepare for us. We didn't really know what to have him do with the fish, but we just hoped that it would be good. Fortunately, we did not leave disappointed. In fact, the chef prepared for us a feast that we all agreed was probably the best meal of fish we had ever eaten. It started out with a dish of sashimi, as an appetizer, which was just incredible. Then the main course came as pan seared tuna steaks, flavored with many different seasonings... I really don't know how to describe it other than to say it was spectacular! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
The remainder of our trip consisted of a lot of much needed relaxation... Hanging out on the beach, getting sun burned (some of us more than others... ha ha), reading books, eating food, drinking drinks, and a little bit of fishing from the beach by the resort (without much luck). After 4 days of Mexico, we didn't have enough at all and all three of us were reluctant to head back home.Still, in this world, most good things eventually come to an end...and such was the time we had allotted for our trip to Mexico. Our plane ride back home was without incident, until we arrived late into Philly airport and subsequently got stuck on our plane for an hour--missing our last connecting flight to Harrisburg. Henceforth, we enjoyed the previously mentioned "fun-filled" night spent in baggage claim; before we were able to catch our short connecting flight back to Harrisburg the next morning.

As I mentioned before, it was--without a doubt--a trip filled with highs and lows, and--without a doubt--the highs outweighed the lows. I hope someday to return to Los Cabos and feast my eyes on the highs of the rugged desert mountains and drink up the lows of the beautiful Mexican Pacific. Until then, I have memories... Good ones.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pre-spawn on the "J"...

For those of you anticipating the report and pictures from our recent trip to Cabo, I need to apologize. I downloaded the pics from our camera a few days ago, but since then, I have unfortunately run into some issues transferring them onto the computer I use to update my blog. I should get them downloaded in the next couple of days... but until then, the wait continues. Ha ha ha!

This will be just a quick little report. Yesterday, Dad and I hit the river for a few hours in the AM and early afternoon. The water levels were still on the way back down, but there was still a decent amount of flow. We fished the Juniata as it was in a little bit better shape than the Susquehanna... reading 6ft. at the Newport gauge (Susquehanna was still a bit higher).

We put on some miles, and hit 6 different spots in all. We found fish at roughly half the spots we fished. All of our fish came on jigs, with various soft plastics. We didn't catch a lot but ended up with around 10-12 fish. There were a couple of nice ones, but nothing over 18 inches. The average was probably 14 inches. Pretty much all of the bass were close to the bank and relating in some way to slack water--either on the edge of a current break, or located in the slack water itself.

Right now the bass are in their pre-spawn mode... If you are interested in getting out on the river for some of the seasons fattest smallmouth, the next few weeks would be a good time to do it. Hopefully we will get some good, stable weather over the next couple weeks, and some predicable river conditions. I hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We made it back...

In spite of their best efforts, U. S. Airways was able to deliver Marianne, Tillie, and myself safely to and from Cabo San Lucas this past week. But, in spite of our traveling debacles, we had an awesome trip. The weather was great, the food was good, and we caught some awesome fish. I don't have all of my pictures downloaded yet, so I'll will write up a full report in couple of days.

Until then, I do want to write about a couple of other things...

First, is my nephew Bailey. Last week Bailey caught his new personal best smallmouth. He was fishing in the river with my Dad, and was breaking in a nice new spinning rod that he had just purchased. Needless to say, he did it the right way. The monster bass was 20 inches long, and was caught on a jig and soft plastic. Way to go, Bailey!

Last, I wanted to bring to your attention the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement concerning the new draft of the Migratory Fish Management and Restoration Plan for the Susquehanna River Basin. Here's is a link to the PAF&BC announcement concerning the new plan. Here is a link to the actual draft of the Susquehanna River Migratory Fish Management and Restortaion Plan. If you are like me, and would love to see fishable numbers of american shad and other anadromous species (like striped bass) return to the Susquehanna River, check it out. It's open for public review until the end of March. The draft is long, but very informative...with some very educational material covered within the draft.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wont' be long now!

Tomorrow at this time I hope to be standing on the beach with my wife, enjoying a soft breeze, taking in the smell of the saltwater air, and watching the sun set over the waters of the Pacific... I cannot wait! We have been planning this trip for a few months and the time is finally here... :)

Marianne, her sister Tillie, and I are flying out bright and early tomorrow morning. Our final destination... CABO! San Jose Del Cabo to be exact... We are going to be there for five wonderful days, soaking up the sun, eating awesome food, and best of all... FISHING!

It has always been one of my dreams to catch a marlin, and it is my hope that this will be the trip when it finally happens. The past couple of years Cabo has experienced some of the best striped marlin fishing in history, unfortunatly however, this winter has been different. This year's El Nino has changed the water tempertures enough that there have not been nearly as many marlin caught. Still, there is a chance... and I can't think of a better place to catch my first marlin than Cabo San Lucas. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Besides the marlin fishing, I am planning to do plenty of other fishing on this trip as well. I have my surf-fishing, travel rod packed with a bag full of lures, and a nice new Shimano Stradic spooled up and ready to go. I'm hoping to get into some good beach fishing action for sierra (spanish) mackerel, possibly some big jacks, and if all the stars are aligned perfectly--I might get a shot at a roosterfish. If things aren't going well from the surf, I may try to book a day fishing from a panga (small boat) hoping for better chances.

Right now I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas... Still, whatever happens, we are going to have an awesome trip... Did I mention that I'm excited, lol. Hopefully I will have lots of stories and some great pictures to share when I get back.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring is just around the corner...

I don't know about you, but I have been seriously enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having lately. Sunny afternoons, melting snow, and stable river conditions have made for some great opportunities for anglers to get out there on the water. Fortunately for us here in central PA, our local fish have been enjoying the weather lately as well.

This past Tuesday, my Dad and I hit the river for a few hours. We fished a portion of the river that neither of us had been to for a while, and it was our hopes that some new fish had moved into the area and the bite had turned on. My Dad also had a brand new custom jigging rod with him, and it was our duty to break it in properly... Luckily, the fish cooperated pretty well. We didn't catch any giants on our trip, but the numbers were half decent. We ended up with about 15 to 20 bass between the two of us, and 5 walleyes as well.

On Wednesday, I had to attend some training for work... but I was able to stop along the river for a quick trip on my way home. Luckily the bass cooperated pretty well in the short time I had to fish. I hooked six bass in all and landed three, which came on a new soft plastic that I have been trying out lately and have been very happy with.As the title of this entry indicates, spring really is just around the corner. So if you like to catch smallmouth bass, the next couple of months can provide some of the best action of the year. Wait for some stable weather (like we've been having lately), a warm afternoon, and get out there and hit the river. Bass will be in the pre-spawn mode, and this can be your best opportunity to pick up your heaviest fish of the season. Just treat them nice, as they are fat and full of eggs... With our local smallmouth population down somewhat, we need to do our best to encourage healthy spawns in our river system. So good luck out there. Hope to see you on the water.