Saturday, October 3, 2009

Planning to be on the water in the morning!

I haven't been out fishing for over a week now and I'm starting to experience terrible withdrawal symptoms. As you recall, my last attempt to go fishing on Thursday ending up in a flat tire and no fishing. Well, I plan to turn that bad into good tomorrow. My wife is working, God bless her, and I'll be up once again at 5:00 a.m. to hit the water.

The river has been rising since my last trip. It had gotten as low as 3.23' in Harrisburg, Pa. and is now predicted at 3.9' by tomorrow morning... that's an approximately 8" rise. I love levels around 4' on the Harrisburg, Pa. gauge. I can travel almost anywhere I need to at that level without too much concern.

My catch & release club has a tournament tomorrow up river in the area I lost my poly boot at 3.7' on July 18, 2009. I told the tournament director that I will not fish that area again there again with my rig during a tournament season due to my track record.

Years back, I was fishing a tournament out of City Island in Harrisburg and ran north in the same general area as my last club tournament. Well, we made it up just fine at a pretty low level, too. But we had a slight problem as we returned. I was with a very dear friend, Dave Weitzel who has since passed away. Dave was a bit bigger and heavier than I was back in the day and as we were running these shallow waters, he would often sit near me to distribute the weight better and take it off the stern.

As we were running back to the weigh-in, we had a tight chute to negotiate that sat around a blind corner. As we came around the bend, here was an angler standing directly in the chute... He knew exactly what he was doing! >:-(

So, I turned to Dave and told him to hang tight. We hit the best looking ledge to make it down river. Well, we went airborne for a second and hit hard enough to rattle your teeth.

We made it all the way back without any water entering the boat... a very good sign under the circumstances. However, as we approached the Governor's Barge at the weigh-in site, I realized I had no reverse. My reverse gate was not functioning. Dave had to reach into the water and manually pull and push the gate backward and forward depending on which direction we needed to go.

Once on dry land, we could further examine the damage. The only noticeable damage was that a pin on the right side of the gate was knocked out.

I visited 7 Seas Riverside on Rt. 441 and spoke to Brian Costic. Brian and his father, Dick, had helped me build this rig which was the first of it's kind on the Susquehanna River... A true Jon with a custom made aluminum console built in the front... breaking edge. The guys in the Pa BASS District 3 called my rig "The Barge!" Brian replaced that pin for me free of charge. Thank you, Brian Costic!

Folks, that rig, built nearly 20 yrs. ago, is still on the water with the same Suzuki 60/40 jet motor!! Suzuki built the first outboard jet combo motor. Up until the time that motor came on the market, jet boaters locally would buy the jet unit from San Leandro, California and install it on their motors. A major problem was that they often chose the wrong size impellers match and would burn up their motors due to high RPM.

So, the only two really major river problems I've faced have been in this area. I've fished it on non-tournament days and have been fine. It seems that the word "tournament" in this area is a cursed word on any jet of mine. I will travel in my buddies' jets... LOL!