Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Finally... Lake Aldred With Jeff (06/14/11)

Hello Folks,

Finally, Lake Aldred has opened after a three week closure due to the Holtwood Dam placing "safety" buoys and flashboards upon the dam. The buoys are warnings to boaters that they are nearing (Stay Out) an overflow dam and the flashboards actually hold back water so that the lake can reach recreation level of 169.75'.

Yesterday was a first for Jeff and me. Jeff was my guest on the 1860 DLX G3. He told me during our outing that this was his first trip on another boat in over 20 years! I hope he had a lot of fun "riding" along, relaxing, and enjoying the beautiful day.

And what a beautiful day it was... 55 degrees on my truck thermometer as I drove to the ramp yesterday morning at 6:00 am. We've been having stifling 90+ degree heat during the last week and that has all changed now. The air temp only rose to 71 degrees yesterday while we were on the water. In fact, as I was driving home at 2:30 pm., I noted on my truck thermometer a 69 degree reading while driving along a hollow and a local creek. It rose to 71 degrees as I climbed to higher heights.

I told Jeff I would meet him at 6:30 am., but I was running a bit late and arrived at the ramp around 6:40 am. I hurried to ready the boat and launched from the east shoreline. I then traveled across the river to pick up Jeff at the Holtwood Dam's York Furnace Launch.

Jeff had his video camera along for the day and although a bit rough, he was able to capture a few decent videos. "Hey, we're amateurs!"

Here is a pretty neat video of us boating up the Conestoga Channel. Take note to the right side of the video. We scared a blue heron out of the trees and then right above it, an immature eagle took off. As the video progresses, you'll see a mature eagle in flight. We were able to see three eagles yesterday while moving in and around the rock garden below the Safe Harbor Dam.

In the above video, we are moving along the water at about 35 mph. I have a 115/80 Yamaha Jet OB pushing a G3 1860 DLX. This boat is now ten years old and well-balanced as you can tell in the first video. It is crucial to balance a jet OB rig to get maximum performace and shallow running.

The Safe Harbor Dam website posted that the water would be at 170' and rising to about 172' by 5:00 pm. yesterday. However, when I arrived at the launch, I noticed that the water was about 1/2 way down the concrete ramp. I knew at that time that the water wasn't quite up to the 170' mark. (Take note to the comment I make at the end of the second video).

Before I arrived at the ramp, Jeff had already caught a smallmouth on a spinnerbait. That, my friends, was a good sign!

"Here's the Proof!"

Jeff got on the board first from the boat and caught a nice 15" smallie. It took me awhile to finally hook up on a Cotton Cordell Big O in Firetiger... "The Ugly Bait"!


The water was 73 degrees and quite dirty. I wouldn't call it muddy, but it was on the cusp of turning that way. I believe that as the day progressed, the water clarity actually became worse.

But we were able to salvage the day with quite a few smallmouth by using a chartreuse bladed spinnerbait and the "Ugly Bait".

Jeff's 16" smallie fell for his spinnerbait!


The "Big Boy" of the day was a 17" smallmouth caught on the crankbait.


Another angle of the 17" taken by the Big O.


We worked our way in and among the many rocks that scatter below the Safe Harbor Dam, picking and bumping whatever we can.


Check out this smallie that was taken on a Lockett Minnow that Jeff dyed with blue Spike-It Dip-N-Glo. He was attempting to match the purple color that we were having success on during several trips. Although he told me that it hadn't worked for him, it sure looks like this fish fell to it's bright and shiny glitter!


We had a N to NW wind all day long. It was blowing b/w 10-15 mph and kept us nice and cool throughout the trip. In fact, Jeff kept his jacket on the entire day. What a pleasant day to be on the water... For Sure!

I certainly hope that Jeff enjoyed his day on "The Barge II" with Dad and won't think twice in joining me again in the near future. It's about time that he sits back and enjoys a day on the water without having to watch for "goonies" (underwater rocks/boulders) or keep his foot on the trolling motor for several hours. I definitely had a ton of fun today with Jeff on board.

"Let's do it again... Real Soon!"

Take Care and Be Safe!