Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kayak and Raft Fishing Dad 02/02/11

Hello Folks,

Happy Groundhog Day from the great state of Pennsylvania. Our annual prognosticators seem to have a slight difference of opinion. "Punxsutawney Phil" came out of hibernation to claim he could not see his shadow and winter would end soon. However, our local Lancaster County whistle-pig, "Octoraro Orphie", predicted yet another six weeks of winter after seeing his shadow this morning... Wait, Octoraro Orphie! It was freezing rain outside this morning. Are you sure you weren't fooled by all the reporters' camera flashes and t.v. crews? Oh, well, winter will end when it does.

I'm going to start a topic today that I thoroughly enjoy and that is "Kayak and Raft Fishing". Please don't confuse this type of kayaking, like my insurance company once did, with white water kayaking that we often see on outdoor adventure shows. Yes, sometimes we do Class 1 and 2 rapids, but not the outrageous and very dangerous rapids we often associate with the smaller and very maneuverable kayaks used by Olympic kayakers and thrill seekers.

My kayaks were between the sizes of 9' and 12' in length and fully rigged for fishing.

Over the next couple of blog entries, I will be sharing close to 60 pictures of kayak and raft fishing adventures that started in 2003 and continued through 2009. Seven full years of memories, laughs, camp outs, and lots of fishing. I think that you are really going to enjoy this pictorial of friends and fish! So, let's get started.

I was introduced to kayak fishing by Pete and Tim Hanford on the Susquehanna River near the confluence of the Juniata River. We used to launch from under the Rt. 22/322 Clark's Ferry Bridge near Duncannon, Pa. So, let's start with kayak fishing and move on to raft fishing.

My first kayak was a Wilderness Pamlico 120. The Pamlico 120 was 12' "sit in" (SIT) yak. I had fully rigged it for bass fishing with two Scotty rod holders, a "fishing deck", and a waterproof deck bag attached to the front deck. I had added a padded seat to ease those long hours of seating on my butt while doing floats. A float is what we called launching from on location and "floating" to a take out point. A rule of thumb for kayak fishing was to estimate one hour of fishing per one mile of the float. Therefore, a five mile float under normal river flow would take about five hours... Leave at 6:00 a.m. and be finished by 11:00 a.m. Add another hour or two in for eating lunch, taking breaks to stand and stretch, or wade fishing.

After my bilateral hip replacements, I bought a Wilderness Tarpon 100. The Tarpon 100 is a 10' long "sit on top" (SOT) yak. It allows you to sit on the yak rather than in it. This allowed me to enter and exit the kayak rather easier under my restricted movement. The SOT sits a bit higher and is not quite as stable. I used knee straps to "lock" me in when maneuvering small rapids.

We kayaked and rafted a lot of rivers from Pennsylvania to Virginia. Here is a list of those that I can remember... Main Stem of The Susquehanna River (Pa), The Juniata River (Pa), Conestoga River (Pa), Codorus Creek (Pa), Swatara Creek (Pa), Sherman Creek (Pa), Rapidan River (Va), Rappahannock River (Va), Shenandoah River (Va), James River (Va), New River (Va), and the Potomac River (Va).

Kayak fishing puts you just inches off the water. It is a lot more stealth in it's approach to fish, but it does limit your visibility. The closeness to the water is a unique experience when landing a feisty smallmouth bass. My biggest pleasure while kayak fishing was catching my largest smallie at 23.75" on the James River!


Let's begin the kayak adventure!

Phil, Pete, and Dad on the Point b/w The Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers. Phil and I had to "mud bog" his F150 from the parking lot to the take out in order to pick up our yaks and gear. This was the summer before I had my hips replaced!


Did you take note to the "2-Way Radios" we always carried in a waterproof bag? It always kept us in communication with one another when we would lose sight of our fishing buddies. Some of us carried GPS units to keep track of our location. Safety First!

This was a great weekend of fishing. Pete's screen name is BassmanPete until I dubbed him PinmanPete. No explanation is needed.


Harry Fetter assisting Pete in freeing his yak.


The very next day, Pete and I headed out together to fish the Rappahannock River and look what he did... AGAIN!


Yep... That's PinmanPete!

One great thing is communing with nature and teaching your children about the river and fishing. Here was a trip I took with my then 16 year old son, Zach. Zach will be celebrating his 22nd birthday on February 13, 2011.


A nice 17" smallie for my boy!

Here's a picture taken by Tim Hanford of me in 2004. This was the summer immediately after my hip replacements. I received a lot of help from my friends that summer so I could continue to enjoy fishing. I appreciate everyone and everything they did for me after my surgeries.


My good friend, Ron Reidenbach, with a smallie on the Codorus Creek in 2003.


Yakbow and Dagger Dave... Yakbow taking a cooling dip!



Hang tight and stop back soon. I'll be continuing this kayak and raft pictorial adventure in my next few blogs. I have plenty more to share, including an encounter with Walt Disney pescado.

Take care and be careful in this wintery weather,