Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tale of Two Rivers! October 20, 22, 23, and 26, 2009

It was like night and day. Josh and I have been preparing to fish in the "Susquehanna Fish and Tackle Fall Bash." We spent four separate days over the past week trying to figure out the ever changing waters from Long Level north.

The river we saw on Tuesday when we launched from the Wrightsville, Pa. PFBC ramp was dirty and cold with rising waters. The water we experienced yesterday was dirty to muddy, rising dramatically, but much warmer.

We were able to find some cleaner water on Tuesday (see Oct. 20th report). I spent Thursday and Friday on the river alone seeking a pattern and attempting to adjust to the ever changing water conditions.

My plan was to eliminate as much water as possible before Sunday. That plan fell through due to the rains we received Friday on into Saturday.

We had tons of rain and wind Saturday. This rain filled the river basin from NY to Pa. and caused a dramatic rise in the river.

When I awoke Sunday morning, I checked the River Predictor and it said the river was going to rise to 4.9'. Man was that ever way, way off! Instead of 4.9', the river rose to 7.6' by the 3:00 p.m. weigh-in. That was a three foot difference in predictions in only a few hours. So, you can imagine how much water must have entered the river to make such a thing happen.

When we got to the Long Level Ramp at 5:00 a.m., the wind was howling and the water was rough. We had two hours to wait until blast off. In that time period, the wind settle quite a bit and made the run north more bearable in Josh's G3 tunneled jet rig.

We ran all the way to Bainbridge. It was quite a long run and we found "perfect" water in the middle of the river. We were excited and fished hard with only one 7" smallie and a 20+ channel cattie to show for it. What a disappointment! This water looked great and yet no fish. We had it all to ourselves and couldn't take advantage of it.

The worst part of the river was the Marietta area. It was like a mind field of debris which included floating barrels, whole trees, tons of grasses, and leaves. During both the trip north and the returning trip south through this obstacle course, we had to stop numerous times in order to clean out the jet boot.

We caught another smallie just below Wrightsville on a spinnerbait. It measured 16.75". Shy of the necessary 18" legal limit.

We were running out of time and ideas. I had fished on the east shore during my practice and have often caught fish in this area in the past. Josh admitted that he had never fished that area and was willing to give it a shot.

So, off we went and I'm glad we did. It was about 2:25 p.m. and a half hour before we needed to be back at the ramp and off plane. No keepers, but we did have a lot of "High Hopes", like Harry Kalas usd to sing! Josh was replacing a tube and said to me, "I don't know why I'm doing this?" Just as he was finishing up, I felt a "Smack" on my spinnerbait... "Josh, I got one!" "Is it 18 inches?", Josh asked. I had to laugh and told him to just get the net... LOL! It measure 18 1/8th inch. "Yes!!"

We would be going in with at least one fish for all our effort. But wait, it's not over. Within two minutes, I had a 19" smallie hit. OMG! We had two of the needed three keepers in the boat in less than five minutes of fishing. WHAT LUCK!!

That was it and we had to get up on plane and back to the ramp. We packed up and left at 2:45 p.m. for the ride back... What a classic ending!

Our catch was a modest 6 lbs. 1 oz. which put us in the money. We placed 7th among 37 boats. We got our entry fee back... which will go towards our trip to the North Branch in November... Yes!

Congratulations to Chris Stoltz and Bruce Neil for their 12 lb plus catch. Folks, that's 3 smallies that averaged over 4 lbs. each. They were on fish most the day. What a great success for them during very tough conditions.

Weights of 12, 11, and 10 rounded out the top three places. The next four places were all in the 6 pound range. Many 1 fish bags were measured.

Also a big congratulations to Tony Spinelli who caught a 5+ lb largemouth for lunker. I spoke with Tony and he was pleased as punch to take our $10 lunker fee... LOL! Tony was a dedicated largemouth angler for years and he put his skills to the test and it paid off in the pool.

I normally don't fish tournaments anymore. This T was sponsored by our good friends George, George, Jr, and Mike Acord at Susquehanna Fish and Tackle. We all wanted to support their efforts over the years in bringing us a fantastic fishing tackle shop in Lancaster, Pa. area.