Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wow, it's officially winter......

I know it is hard to believe, but as of yesterday (December 21st--our Winter Solstice), we have officially moved from fall to winter here in central Pennsylvania..... "Boo, Hiss," lol. Still, we have been lucky in that our recent weather has not yet started to reflect our changing seasons. In fact, I would have to say that so far in 2011 we have experienced one of the mildest Decembers that I can remember.

If you haven't noticed, it seems like our recent weather patterns have been going from one extreme to the other lately... Will it be extremely cold? Or unseasonable warm? Extremely wet? Or bone dry? It is hard to know.

You river anglers can probably remember back to last December. Last year we were blasted by extremely frigid temps in early December, with lots of snow and ice. The result being the majority of our local waterways were locked up by ice early and stayed that way basically all winter long--from mid-December on through early March--major bummer!

Fortunately for us, this December has been the opposite of last. While we have been receiving a good bit of precipitation so far, we haven't seen much snow. The temperatures have remained fairly mild as well, which has served to keep the rivers wide open, and flowing quite well. This has been a great fall for fishing our rivers. Aside from a few frosty mornings, I haven't had any problem with ice at any of my fishing spots as of yet. It has been a joy to fish the fluctuating river levels... And at times we have seen some very productive fishing.
Aside from a couple of short lulls in action, the fall of 2011 has turned out to be the season for large smallmouth for us. My Dad, in particular, has had an awesome season for large, 20 inch + smallmouth, and I have been fortunate to add a couple in that same "C-Class" size range as well.

One morning this past week Dad gave me a schooling on the river... We arrived at our spot, and before I even hooked up on one fish he had already released a 21 inch bass, a 19, and then another 20 incher, lol. I don't think I would have believed it had I not been there... I even threatened to not buy him lunch! :)

Bass haven't been the only name in the game this fall, however... Generally, I 'm not completely happy until there have been at least a couple toothy fish added to the mix, and we have been fortunate to find a few fish with teeth this fall.

When I think of fall, a lot of times I think walleyes... But so far this fall the only way I've been able to have any luck at all with the eyes is to go at night... And even that action has been slow. Since the beginning of November, I have gone on 3 separate occasions at night, and landed one walleye on each trip. I was lucky in that one of those fish was a nice 25 incher, but also unlucky in that it was raining and I didn't get any decent pictures of it to share with you guys. I did get a decent shot of a nice fat 19+ incher that I caught a few days later however.
No report on toothy fish would be complete without muskies... So fortunately, I do have a couple of esox masquinongy to share with you as well. It is a bummer that they aren't as big as the skis from my last entry, but a musky is a musky in my book, and like my buddy Zack says--"Every musky counts." So with that said, I have a couple pictures of the two muskies I caught one afternoon last week to share with you. Neither fish was a giant--one was 29 inches, and the other 32--but each one got my heart beating pretty fast. Every time I hook a fish that I know for sure is a musky I immediately go into panic mode, trying (and hoping) so badly not to loose it... If you have been fortunate enough to hook one of these beautiful creatures, I am sure you can relate, ha ha. Both fish swam away happy.
For now, I guess that is all I have to share with you from our fall on the rivers in 2011. Let's continue to hope that the mild weather we've been experiencing lately decides to stay with us through the following months until spring. I wish you all the best of luck in your own outdoor pursuits this winter. Hopefully I will see some of you guys and gals out there on the water. Thanks again for reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS! :)

Also p.s., GO STEELERS! (Had to throw this one in, a pic from last winter)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fun, Fish and Fur..... Man I love Fall! :)

If you are an outdoorsman, Fall has it all...... For those who love to fish and hunt, this time of year is often jam-packed with choices. And if you are like me--as I'm sure most of you are--there is a good chance that you also have to deal with a limited time schedule. Family, work, and other commitments often take priority over our outdoor pursuits (as they should). For me, the result is often a juggling match of balancing my limited free time, and trying to pick and choose the right activities and budget the necessary time for the ones that I feel will be the most productive (and enjoyable).

Fortunately, things have been working out quite well as of late, as this has proved to be a wonderful fall so far...... If you've been spending much time fishin around central PA lately, I am sure you've noticed that the flows on our local waterways have been receding for a while now. I love dropping flows on our local rivers, and we have been blessed with some awesome conditions to fish. Likewise, the weather has been pretty mild (minus one nasty snow storm) and it seems like a lot of local hunters have been enjoying a great fall in the woods as well.
My Dad was one of those lucky hunters this past week. On Tuesday morning I got a call while I was on my way home from work... On the other end of the phone I heard my Dad whispering to me: "I'm looking at a bloody arrow"... Needless to say we were both pretty excited! A few hours later, after a surprisingly long blood trail, Dad and I finally stumbled upon his beautiful (and very dead) buck--a nice 8 pointer. Way to go Dad! This is two years in a row that he has killed a nice buck with the bow.

We have also been pretty fortunate to experience some wonderful fishing lately... Dad has spent a lot of time along the river bank, and it seems like every day I get another text message with a picture of a large smallmouth in it. Personally I haven't been able to fish as much as I would have liked to lately, but I have been able to spend a couple (very successful) days on the river with my Dad. I also had the privilege to fish with my friend Jeremy one evening as well, and it has been fun to find a few nice smallmouth biting during my daily commute home from work also. I will spare you all of the details from our trips, but hopefully you will enjoy the pics... The musky pics are extra special to me, as they are from an awesome afternoon outing with my Dad... He caught his "ski" first (a 41 incher) and about 20 minutes later I landed mine (a 37). Woops, I guess I said I'd spare you the details, ha ha! Anyway, I hope you enjoy them.... And best of luck to you guys and gals in your own outdoor pursuits this fall! :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Erie steel....... :)

Believe it or not, this past week I was lucky enough to have a couple of days off work in the middle of the week. And you know what that means--- GONE FISHIN' ---Lol!

Dad and I loaded up the Pathfinder on Tuesday around noon, and by 5 PM we had our waders on and were waste deep (Okay, maybe ankle deep) in Elk Creek. My Dad and I have been making steelhead fishing road trips to the great lakes region for nearly 20 years now... So every year when the heat of summer begins to fade into the longer, cooler nights of fall, it is a pretty sure bet that both of us are starting to think (at least in part) about steelhead.

Fortunately, on this trip, we were able to encounter a good number of those steelhead that we had been thinking so much about... The trib conditions weren't perfect, in fact they were very low and clear--which actually equates to being pretty tough. Still, there were good numbers of fish in the creeks, and the numbers of fishermen didn't seem that bad honestly (considering we were fishing Erie in the fall).

Given the low/clear conditions, getting a proper presentation is of the utmost importance if you want to get bit... So we both spent our entire time float fishing, which tends to produce the best (IMO) when things get tough. As far as bait and terminal tackle goes, we had to fish very light leaders (like 4 lb, flouro) to get a decent number of bites, and you had to use very small hooks, small shot, and you needed to have the right bait for the type of water you were fishing.As far as the fish go, it seemed that there was a pretty good mix of fresh (chrome colored) fish and dark battle worn veterans in the creeks... And with the weather being on a warming trend during our stay, the fish were fighting pretty hard as water temps rose throughout the day. We encountered a lot of great jumpers on this trip... In fact, my best fish of the trip (a nice 30" hen) put up an awesome fight--twisting and turning and launching itself into the air probably 5 or 6 times. I was probably lucky to land that fish on 4 pound leader.

This was probably the only trip we'll be able to make to Erie this fall... And lucky for us the fish cooperated well enough to keep both of us looking forward to making another trip again come late winter or early spring, if all goes well.

I guess that is all for now... As always, I wish you all the best of luck in your outdoor pursuits, and thanks again for stopping by and reading. I hope you enjoy the pics! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some more Martha's Vineyard pics... and a sneak peek into some fall PA action! :)

Hey guys! I know it's been a while, but I just wanted to drop back in for a few minutes so that I could share a few more of our Martha's Vineyard trip pics with you.... Unfortunately I don't have too many fish pics to share with you as the striper fishing was really tough this year during the derby. In fact, it was the toughest striper fishing I've ever experienced on the island. Given the stellar fishing that we've experienced in past years, it is hard for me to believe that we only managed to land 2 striped bass in almost an entire week on the island.

Still, the trip was awesome! And the fish we landed were even more rewarding than usual due to the difficult circumstances...

My wife Marianne was the hero of this trip, as she caught the one and only keeper striped bass--a beautiful 31 incher--which was almost big enough to weigh in for the derby. Even though we couldn't weigh it in, we did fillet it up for a delicious striped bass dinner. She made me a VERY proud husband! And she did a great job breaking in her new purple St. Croix mojo inshore rod also.

As luck would have it, on the last night of fishing, I landed the only other striper of the trip--a scrappy little 25 or 26 incher. I was never more excited to catch a short striper in my life, lol! :)

Still, in spite of the slow fish catching, we kept plenty busy on our trip... We ate a lot of awesome food, took in all the great sights (some particularly spectacular sunsets), and enjoyed some good time just chillin' on the beach and hiking/exploring some new areas. I truly believe it is impossible to have a bad trip to the vineyard--no matter what the fishing holds--and this trip was proof enough of that for me. I can't wait to go back.

Oh, and btw... The local fall fishing has been heating up here in PA. We've had a lot of high water lately, but we've also had some decent windows of fishable water as the creeks and rivers have been receding from their high flows. Now is the time to get out there if you aren't already busy in a deerstand. Best of luck to you guys and girls in your outdoor pursuits this fall. Who knows, maybe I'll see you out there...
I hope you enjoy the pics.

And now for your sneak peek...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just a quick update...

I'm still working on getting our pics together from the vineyard trip... I apologize, as my intentions were to have a post up by now, but alas, it still hasn't happened... So here are a couple pics to tide you over. I'll try to post a few more in the coming days.

Hope you all are doing well!