Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Working Our Way North on the Susquehanna River

Josh and I are heading to the North Branch this coming Sunday for four days of fishing. So, we decided to start working our way north today by fishing above Harrisburg, Pa.

I was super impressed with some of the fishing reports I've been hearing from friends on our fishing sites and with their help, we had a fantastic day. Thank you to all of them.

We met at Josh's apt. at 5:00 a.m. and headed to the garage where he keeps his rig stored. By 6:00 a.m., we were enjoying our breakfast in the Mt. Joy Diner.

We took about an hour drive north and above Harrisburg, Pa. It was 7:45 a.m. when we reached the ramp. There were only two other vehicles with trailers in the parking lot.

It didn't take us long to have the G3 ready to launch. I walked down the ramp before launching the boat and noticed that the east shoreline was still rather dirty. But through the morning fog, you could sew that from mid-river west was clearing very nicely.

We headed straight across the river and then north to a few main eddies that held some super nice smallies. Once we arrived at our first stop, Josh needed to take a call on his cell phone. This allowed me to run the TM and before long, I was able to catch my first two 16" ers and also dropped one. What a great start to a very foggy morning!

By the time Josh finished his call, I had already boated five smallies decent fish. :) But it didn't take Josh too long to catch up to me and we stayed pretty much in pace with one another throughout the day... Cool Beans!

We were fishing an eddy that was tight along the bank with a rock protruding about 15 yds away. Josh and I had the same thought. Since he was in the front of boat he had a better shot at the small eddy behind the rock. I looked at him and said, "Why don't you toss that tube just aside of the rock and let it slide into the small eddy behind it." He looked at me and laughed, "I was just about ready to say that, too!" :D

Check out this 17+" that Josh pulled into the boat from the eddy created by the rock.

Around 10:00 a.m., we made a pretty long trip further north in search of smallmouth. What beautiful river scenery greeted us along the way. We had some very active water to negotiate on our trip, but Josh handled it just like a pro. Here was our reward for that long scenic trip...

She was a gorgeous 19" 4+lb smallie. I wish this pic was in 3D so you could get the full effect of the size of this fall smallie. What a beaut!

We caught several smaller fish (14-16" range) to round out the run before heading back downriver and returning to our morning starting location.

As Josh was heading across the river on our way back, he crossed path with a surprised swimming otter. I knew that Josh was too focused on the run to catch sight of this little guy. His jet rig ran right along side the otter which caused him to take a very quick dive to get safely away from us. :eek:

We caught quite a few more bass upon our return. Check out this 16" porker that Josh brought to hand. It was shaped like a mini-sized football and seemed disproportionate to the average 16" Susquehanna River smallie.

The wind started to howl around 11:00 a.m. It was a strange wind coming in gusts and then settling for several minutes before hitting us again and again. The bite was starting to slow and it became harder to detect even with heavier jig heads. We were quite fortunate to still land a few more smallies in the worst of it all.

Thank goodness for a good anchor!

The water temp was 50-51.7 degrees. The water clarity was clear on the west bank and dirty on the east. The skies started as foggy and slightly overcast until the sun broke through around 9:00 a.m. Then the sun went in and out behind clouds all day long. There was a NE wind blowing that turned to a WNW as the day progressed. Winds were howling in the river corridor and seemed to be gusting up to 15+ mph at times... flags were straight out on some poles we saw!

We tossed many different lures today... Tubes in 2.5", 3.5", and 4" varieties. Rigged mostly on 1/8th oz. jig heads. I did toss a 3/16 oz once the wind picked up... helped a lot! Josh caught only one bass on a JB and that was his first fish in the morning. We also tried 1/2 oz spinnerbaits, 1/2 short-arm spinnerbait, and crankbaits w/o a single bite.

Accuweather is calling for a decent day tomorrow. But on Thursday, the showers will be moving and and the winds will be returning up to 17 mph gusts! Great... horizontal rain! :(

Get out there tomorrow, if you can, and enjoy the day fishing. I'll be starting to pack for our annual trip to the NB. It's never too soon to start planning!