Monday, February 22, 2010

Finally - My First Fishing Trip of 2010!

January and February were memorable months for dear ole' dad. It started out with me being in the hospital for 6 straight and worrisome days. January finally turned into February and we got slammed with back-to-back major snow storms that dumped the most snow EVER in recorded history onto our county.

The 9th Grade bball team that I help coach went undefeated once again (lost only 1 game in the past three seasons). And our high school varsity bball team fought hard to make another appearance in the PA. District Playoffs.

This past Friday, I got yet another cortisone shot in my right elbow. It has been doing rather well over the weekend.

So, in some ways, January and February sucked and in many other ways, they were rather good.

Last evening, as I was driving to visit my 9th grade coach who is recuperating from bilateral knee replacements, I got a cell phone from my good buddy and fishing mentor, Mike Burton. Mike wanted to know if I had been fishing much lately... "Yea, sure (HA!)." :-) He knew I had been in the hospital in January, but he didn't realize that I was currently experiencing more swelling in my right "surgically repaired" elbow.

I told him I hadn't been out fishing since December, 2009. Mike was planning on hitting the river in the morning and wanted to know if I wanted to accompany him. Okay... let me think about this for a moment... "SURE THING!"

I have been working diligently on my tackle this past week and had everything ready just for this moment. There was just one more thing I needed. When I returned home from visiting my fellow coach in the rehab center, I needed to jump on-line to get my 2010 Pa. "Resident Annual" license.

The on-line "Outdoor Shop" it is extremely simple and fast process to purchase a fishing or hunting license. I bought my Resident Annual ($22.70) and my Trout/Salmon Permit ($9.70) for a grand total of $32.40. Now, where else in your life do you put so much time in for just $32.40? What a bargain in today's economy! Think about how much time you fish.

We planned to met at 8:00 a.m. at the ramp. The weather was iffy, but the expected rain was suppose to hold off until the afternoon. Good, we'll be fishing a pre-front condition which should help some.

As usual, I get excited the night before a fishing trip. So, before heading to bed, I packed a light lunch and set the coffee maker timer for 6:00 a.m.

It had been over a month since fishing in cold weather conditions. I always plan to be warm. Before hitting the sack, I found my silks and set them out along with my insulated boots and fishing garb.

I arose at 5:00 a.m. with my wife. As she prepared to head to work, I packed all my gear into the F150, kiss the wife goodbye, and set out for breakfast at the local greasy spoon. "George's" has a breakfast special of 2 eggs, home fries (I substitute pears), and toast for $.99. Coffee runs another $.99. You can have a nice breakfast with tax for $2.10, Not bad, for a small town... LOL!

I bought a local morning paper to mull over as I ate my breakfast. After paging through the news, I worked on some of the crypto-puzzles and the crossword puzzles. It helps to keep this aging mind engaged. :-)

I met Mike at 7:45 a.m. We quickly and carefully loaded his Snyder jet rig on the icy and slippery ramp. I have to be extra careful with these two metal hips inside me. We launched without incident and headed across the river to a very rocky "bassy-looking" eddy.


Within a few minutes, I landed my first 2010 smallmouth bass. She measured in at 15.5", nice and fat! Yes, I felt so good being able to finally be on the water after so much drama these past two months... Thank You, Lord!

I caught another bass rather quickly afterward. She was a bit smaller, but a real chunk.

We ran a bit further upriver...

... when Mike nailed this pigbeast.

My largest bass came towards the end of our trip.

It felt so good being out on the water once again. We were able to catch 7 smallies and fouled hook a carp ("She's got some weight, Mike!").

We were about 3 miles down river from a warm water discharge. The main river was reading about 34 degrees. The water we were fishing ranged from 42-45 degrees which was a big help.

The skies were overcast and there was a stiff South Easterly wind blowing between 5-10 mph. That may not seem like a lot, but blowing over 34 degree water makes for a rather chilly morning!

The air temperature ranged from 31 degrees at launching to 37 degrees upon trailering the boat.

We tried numerous lures today - JB, Deep Diving JB, Spinnerbaits, 3.5" and 2.5" tubes, and Grubs. The only successful lures were the two sizes of tubes.

I wanted to throw a hair jig, but didn't find the time to do it.