Sunday, November 25, 2012

Late Fall Outing - Black Bass Friday! (11/25/12)

Hello Folks,

I hope that everyone who visit "Fishing With Dad" had a great and fufilling Thanksgiving with their loved ones. We all have things that bless us in life and one of mine is having a loving and rather large family - immediate and extended. My father had five brothers and sisters and my mom had 11 other siblings. That made for a lot of cousins, as you can imagine.

My mom (deceased) and dad (deceased) had three boys. My wife and I had one daughter (deceased) and  three sons. My oldest brother and his wife had four boys. One of my sons is married with two daughters and all of my brothers sons are married with seven grandchildren. My middle brother (Jim) was never married.

Our "Boyd" family gathered at my oldest brother's home (Denny and Judy) for an abundant Thanksgiving feast. Julie and I were thankful to have our youngest son (Zach) and our oldest son (Chris) along with my daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in attendance.

Brad and Bryan, Denny and Judy's two middle sons, were there with their growing families.

All-in-All, we had seventeen Boyds in attendance and one expecting! I can't remember the last time that so many of us were gathered at one time for one occasion.

I had posted a picture of my good friend, Josh Kreider, on Facebook last week and jokingly labeled in "MIA". I used to fish with Josh every Wednesday when he worked hauling milk for the "Mt. Joy Co-Op". But this past year, he left the "Co-Op" and got a new over-the-road trucking job and we no longer fished each Wednesday (Wednesdays With Dad). In fact, we had only been out fishing once all summer long.

Josh saw my post and posted that he was hoping to fish on November, 23, 2012 - Black Friday or as I dubbed "Black Bass Friday". I told him that this curmudgeon was available if he would have me tag along.

Josh and I met at farm home at 6:30 am and headed to Gus' Family Restaurant in Mt. Joy, Pa. for a hearty breakfast before heading to the mighty Susquehanna River to fish for smallies.

Cold... Yepper! It was only 27 degrees when I arose. So, I made sure to dress in my silk bottoms and cold weather gear up top... in layers! I knew that the weatherman was calling for the air temperature to rise above 60 by the afternoon and I wanted to be able to shed as the day warmed up. There was a massive cold front approaching from the Midwest and the temperatures were going to be tumbling into the low 20s by nightfall and only 40 degrees on Saturday, plus wind! :(

The Susquehanna River water level gauge at Harrisburg, Pa. read a low 3.95' and dropping slowly. We haven't had rain since Hurricane Sandy (October 28, 2012). Not only was the river dropping, but it was a cold 41 degrees and "gin clear". These are not the best fishing conditions for late fall.

Our run upriver in Josh's jet rig was a bit chilly... I loaned Josh my ski goggles to keep his eyes from tearing.



As you can see by the above pictures, we had partly cloudy skies with a good amount of sun in the morning. The sun felt so nice on such a cold morning run. By the time we returned to the ramp, the sky had clouded over and it was threatening to shower.

We had a slow start in the morning with only one hit in the first hour. As the day progressed, the fishing failed to pick up. At first we thought maybe we made the wrong decision and made a move to leave of our first hole. But as we were slowly moving downriver with the OB running, we started to see large schools of smallies in about 2-3 feet of water... "Slow down, Josh!" We stopped and started to fish once again. This is when our first bass, a 13.5" chunk, came into the boat on a Winco Chillee Willee rigged on a small 1/8th oz. football jighead.

A few minutes later, I thought I had hooked into a submarine!

Look at that G. Loomis bend!

10 lbs test on a 30 lb Carp


I had tail hooked this monster and the fight was on. I loosened my drag and played it into the net. What a treat on such a slow and cold morning.

A few minutes later, Josh called out that he just had a musky follow his jerkbait back to the boat. The water was so clear that the fish were shying away from our lures within 20 yd. of the boat. That meant that we had to give one hellacious cast away form the jet rig so that the fish would not see us.

Josh and I both caught "fallfish". These fish fall into the chub family and are very slimy. They do, however, put up a decent fight and some consider them a game fish.


After catching the carp and fallfish, we decided to head south towards the launch to finish our day of fishing.

As we were casting and drifting, I spotted a smallie acting in a strange manner. It didn't seem to be spooked by our presence and was swimming in circles. Josh and I watched it for a few seconds and decided to see if we could catch it and see what was causing this erratic fishing.

I jumped on the OB motor and started it up. We inched our way toward the smallmouth andJosh was able to catch it. At first, he thought that maybe it's jaw was broke because it refused to open it's mouth. But as it relaxed, the fish did open it's mouth and allow Josh to hold it.




We thought that it may have a broken or deformed spine. The second pic shows a slight indentation just in front of the dorsal fin. But upon further inspection, we didn't notice any scarring or old wounds. In fact, Josh was able to move the fish's spine rather easily. So, it seemed to have good range of motion. Possibly, it was a congenital issue.

Not wanting to keep a healthy looking fish out of the water any longer, Josh returned the fish to the river and it darted away. We thought that maybe it was now swimming fine as it took off in a straight line under the boat. We went to the other side of the boat and... There he was swimming in circles once again and staying near us. Hmmmm.

It was funny that this bass didn't seem spooked by our present as did all the other bass we passed by that day. In fact, this bass actually floated downriver along with our jet rig. It was like it was asking us to help it... Nah. LOL!

Neither Josh nor I have ever seen such behavior in a smallmouth bass before. There was something definitely uncharacteristic with it's circling behavior. It must be eating okay because it seemed healthy and growing.

We decided to head back to the ramp around 1:30 pm. We had been out since 8:00 am and spent 5.5 hrs fishing with only a few coming to hand.

Jeff and Penny were fishing north of us on Black Bass Friday. There catches dropped dramatically since "The Community Hole" became active. Penny, however, did have a very nice size "One-Eyed Jack" smallie.

Check him out...


Even handicapped smallies can grow to decent proportions. This injury can happen many ways... bird attack and treble hook injuries come to mind.

Jeff caught a great shot of "Lady Liberty" in the middle of the river along rt. 22/322. She has taken a beating in floods over the years and with a little tender loving care, she has remained standing and projecting the message of "Freedom" to all that view her.


The Susquehanna River is dropping to a level that makes it unsafe for non-seasoned boaters to navigate this area.

Here is another fantastic panoramic pic that Jeff took of the infamous "Dauphin Narrows Wall" along Rt. 22/322.


"Great shot, Jeff and Penny!" - Thanks for sharing your trip once again with all of us. Your ongoing reports and pics continue to enhance the "Fishing With Dad" blog by keeping it an up-to-date fishing site. And for that, I am appreciative!

I want to also thank my fishing buddy, Josh Kreider, for taking this old geezer fishing once again. It had been awhile since we hit the river together. We developed our friendship almost a decade ago when Josh was still in high school and we were all kayak fishing on the Susquehanna River and attending "River Smallies" rodeos. We always have a great time together and learn something new each and every trip we take together. Watching the behavior of that "circling smallie" was something I will never forget and actually being able to catch it, examine it, and return it safely to the river was an unique experience.

Take Care and Be Safe!