Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Day On The Water With CHRGD (03/01/11)

Hello Folks,

We've tried twice before to get out on the water together, but each time brought snow, ice, and dropping temperatures into the teens. Dare we try again! Of course, the third time was "The Charm"!

Jeff and I have been watching the river gauges closely over the past week and realized that if we didn't get out today, the water would be rising into the "Action Stage" very quickly. So, today was the day.

It was 24 degrees at sunrise with gusting winds from the North, but we planned to meet at 10:00 a.m. to allow a little warm-up to occur... very little. It was 30 degrees with the wind chill in the lower 20's at 10:00 am. The wind was blowing at 15 mph with gust up to and exceeding 20 mph. Not only that, but we had post-front conditions with Blue Bird skies and very cold water temperatures... Not a good scenario, but we were game.

Jeff had to hold the boat tight to the shoreline as I loaded all my fishing gear into his Tracker 175 IB jet. As we took off from the launch, we took close notice to the white caps on the main river. Are we going to get wet, too?

Actually, the ride to our first hole was extremely cold, but dry. We were moving at 45 mph in 30 degree temperatures. So you can imagine how we felt. We were dressed for the cold weather and even colder run, but we still felt the "brain freeze" at those speeds in this extremely cold weather!

Her's a pic of Jeff as we were running first thing this morning.


The river looked like a protected water fowl sanctuary today. There were tons of ducks and geese surrounding us. Along with the water fowl, there were gulls and, of course, and our beloved eagles! We spotted the eagles on three different occasions throughout the day.

Did you know that eagle mating often coincides with Valentine's Day or around then? Each time we spotted the eagles, they were in a pair. Both were matures, the female being the larger of the two. After the eggs (usually two) are laid, it takes 35 days or so to incubate... Duties are shared by both the male and female eagle.

We had a stiff Northern wind blowing when we first started fishing. Jeff's first choice of lure was a plastic tube and I picked a black/blue hair jig on a 1/4 oz. jig head. The wind dictated the heavier jig heads in order to stay down in the fast moving current aided by the strong winds.

We made short drifts and anchored in several times. On the second anchor, Jeff felt the all too elusive "thunk" of a smallmouth bite. As I was getting my camera ready for a pic, the smallie, which was next to the boat, "snapped" the 6 lbs. line! The beautiful 16+" smallmouth swam off with Jeff's black neon tube stuck to her lip. What amazed me the most was that the smallmouth's length immediately increase from 16-17" to 18" within seconds. And by lunchtime, Jeff's smallmouth was a citation bass! ;) These Susquehanna River smallmouth sure do grow at an alarming rate once they break free and take off with your lure stuck to their lip... LOL!

At 1:00 pm. , we took a short ride back to Jeff's tow vehicle for lunch and a little warmth. Jeff had purchased some soft plastics at Wacky Worm and wanted to show me what he had bought. Lou has some really nice color selections at his shop. The new Shell Craw looks like a sure winner.

After this much needed break, we headed back out on the water for another 3 hours of "casting practice" and caught absolutely nothing.

I didn't have high expectations for today. It was a post-frontal conditions, high blue bird skies, high winds in the morning, and 38.5 degree water temperatures. The water color was a milky green and actually in much better shape than I expected we would have under the circumstances.

Thanks to Jeff for "putting up" with me once again. We solved the world's problems at least twice today. Despite our dismal showing in the fish category, we had a great time shooting the breeze, catching site of some awesome wildlife, and getting a lot of casting practice in.

Take Care and Be Safe!