Friday, August 28, 2009

Dell, JJ, Kramer and dad on the Susquehanna River 08/27/09

I've been looking forward to this trip all week. We were suppose to take Kramer (math teacher at Penn Manor High School) fishing last week, but he took a little "slime rocket" trip to the mountains and couldn't join us. We got him in the boat last evening for a lot of fun and fish catching excitement.

We have had three beautiful days of weather preceding our trip. A front was approaching and dragging moisture up to us from the south. We had some cloudiness when we departed the launch around 4:00 p.m.

When we arrived at the ramp, there was a group of upper elementary-aged and middle school youngsters packing up after a great day on the water boating and tubing. I spoke to a few who claimed they had an excellent day. I guess it's the middle school counselor in me that draws me to this age group. Their zest for life is unmatched at that age. :)

Having four anglers in my 18' boat can create some angst. The last time I had that many (actually more) was when my 25 yr. old son was a member of the Boy Scouts and we had five of us fishing out of Elk Neck State Park. It wasn't too bad since we limited the fishing to two of the boys at a time.

I had an additional 400+ lbs on the boat last evening and I could tell, especially when two of the guys last evening would step up onto the back deck. It would lift the trolling motor up a few more inches. That can create a problem since I have the TM set up higher for the rocks and boulders we encounter in this part of the river.

It certainly was a re-learning process for about an hour or so. With a little instruction to my angling buddies, we did rather well. There were times, though, that I had that 101 lb thrust at 100% to navigate safely.

Safe Harbor has been generating a ton in the past few months. I'm asuming they are selling this electricity down the line somewhere(?). I saw two smaller boats anchored just below the corner of the dam when we arrived. Within 30 minutes, the sirens wailed away and the gates opened. These two boat pulled up their anchors quickly and scooted out of the area. Normally, those gates are the last to open. But on all my trips in the past two months, they have opened these gates on a fairly regular basis.

When there are 6 or more gates pushing water through, it becomes highly unsafe. I took our boat down and into the rock garden where we could escape the main tirade of rushing water. We boulder or ledge jump with my rig most of the evening to avoid the heaviest of currents . By doing so, we were able to catch over 20+ bass and three walleyes in about 2 hrs. and 30 minutes of fishing.

The hard plastic jerkbaits, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits were our go to lures.

The air temp was a nice 80 degrees and dropped to 72 by dusk. We had generally cloudy skies with a slight southwest breeze (prepping us for today's rains). The water temp was in the mid-70's. Just plain nice weather and conditions.

Here is Dell and JJ's first walleye of the evening. She came on a lipless crank in about 4' of swift moving water. Just look at those faces and tell me it wasn't fun for the dad and son duo!
Dell and JJ with Walleye 08_27_09

JJ caught this perfect 16" smallie on a spinnerbait in swift moving current directly behind a boulder... Nice fish, JJ!
JJ with 16in smallie 08_27_09

Once again JJ hooks up with a beautiful smallmouth on a hard plastic jerkbait.
JJ with 16in smallieB 08_27_09

As you can see, it was all about teaching JJ and Kramer how to use different lures and finding success with them. Here were two different species of fish caught on three different lures in three different locations. Nice job, guys!

Kramer was struggling a bit. Not only was he learning about new lures, but he was also trying to learn how to cast with that many folks in the boat. Not an easy task for anyone just getting into fishing.

As we were leaving the rocks and heading out to a channel, I spied a bass leaping along an outcropping of rocks surrounded by 10+ feet of moving water. We headed in that direction and noticed that the rocks and boulders cause a rise to 4-5' of water. I mentioned to Kramer what I had seen and he tossed a crankbait into the river... "WHACK!" He had the biggest fish of the evening hit only a few feet from our boat. "What should I do?" He asked and I told him to keep the fish down and in the water, strip some line out to allow his rod to work, and wait for Dell to get the net.

Dell was excited as all get out. He grabbed the net and proceeded to spill two sodas in the mayhem. LOL! :D He set himself well and as Kramer brought the fish in, he committed a cardinal sin of fishing... he lifted the pigbeast! "Oh No!, " screamed Dell as he saw that monster shake her enormous head loose from the trebles. Off she went and down went Kramer's head. "That was the biggest smallmouth I've ever hooked into", he lamented.

Don't worry Kramer. There will be plenty more in the future, buddy!

It was a terrific night. We had a ton of fun before dusk came and we headed to the ramp in darkness, the bugs ticking off my safety goggles, and I'm sure a few got in my teeth because of the huge grin I had on my face. :D