Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dad's First Spring Smallie Adventure Since His Knee Surgery (04/14/13)

Hello Folks,

This past Wednesday, after my morning PT session, I drove north to meet up with Jeff (CHRGD) for my very first Spring 2013 outing. It was such a beautiful day to be on the water, too. We did have a slight breeze blowing from the northwest that kept us feeling nice and cool despite the fact that the air temperature rose to 92 degrees by 3:30 p.m.!

When I arrived at the launch, I pulled my truck up to the ramp and unloaded my tackle and gear. Jeff was waiting alongside the shoreline in his jet rig and came to ashore to assist me. By the time I parked the truck in the parking lot and "hobbled" on back to the ramp, Jeff had piled all my tackle and gear onto his boat... "Thanks, buddy!"

It's hard for me to explain just how appreciative I am when my friends and family when they reach out and help me. I am still in 24 hr. a day pain since this knee operation back on February 11, 2013. I also have pain in my lower back and cannot deal with that until I get off the pain medication I have been taking for the past year and a half. 

He fired up the big motor and moved the boat towards a concrete block that the dock attaches to so that I could step down into his boat. It is much easier for me to step down than it is for me to step up. Once in his boat, I carefully made my way to the bench seat and we headed out to the main river.

It felt so good feeling the wind blowing in my face and to knowing we were heading out to search for our favorite fish, Smallmouth Bass!

We arrived at our first spot around 10:15 a.m. Jeff had already landed two smallies before I even arrived so he basically had a jump start on the day and knew what the bass were biting. In fact, he had already boated a nice 18"+ smallie soon after he had launched his boat.

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It's not easy taking a photo when you're alone!

No sooner did we start casting our spinnerbaits when Jeff landed this beautiful and healthy 17.5" smallmouth...
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Soon after, I was on the board with a 17.25" smallie...
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Boy, did it feel good to get that first tug on my line by a Springtime Smallie!

Take a look at what happened during the fight for my next bass. Yepper, that fish "threw" my blades right at the boat...
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...but, I was lucky to have landed her before the knot slipped passed the bend of the R-shaped arm of my spinnerbait.

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Throughout our time on the water, we both landed some beautifully marked bass. The clarity of the water was extremely clear and we could see down to the bottom of 5' pools of water. These bass came from shallower waters in which they were holding tight to the bottom.
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There was an immature eagle flying overhead as we floated along the river banks. At one point, we even saw an osprey carrying what appeared to be grass or reeds. We assumed that it was building a nest nearby, but we couldn't locate it from where we were.

I saw a few osprey last year during some of my outings on the lower Susquehanna River. Osprey are rather common on the Susquehanna Flats, but more rare this far north.

Several of our smallie catches were "Red-Eyes". Jeff made mention that we used to see a lot of this variety years back and, as time has passed, there seems to be less and less...
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Jeff was tossing a chartreuse bladed spinnerbait and landed this nice chunk...
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The next photo shows the biggest fish I landed all day...
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I had switched rather early from a chartreuse bladed spinnerbait to a 1/2 ounce Green Shad War Eagle with double Willow Blades. The top blade was chrome and the bottom was gold. I felt the need to get some flash going when the sun was shining. It seemed to work out well with the amount of smallmouth I caught throughout the day.

Only one bass came on a green pumpkin with orange flake tube. The bass seemed to be happier chasing the spinnerbaits all day long. That was fine with us because I know that both of us just love feeling a bass "Thunk" a piece of metal. 

What a great feeling to get such a beautiful fish into the boat, measure, take a quick pic, and then release her back into the river unharmed.

Here's are two more chunky smallies that came to hand just south of where the last one was landed.
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The weather report called for the possibility of passing showers during our outing. I did bring along my lightweight Frogg Toggs just in case. However, it never did rain on us. We did have threatening heavy cloud cover that passed and then the sun would return, nice and bright.

We decided to call it a day at 3:30 p.m. When I "hobbled" back to my truck and turned the key, I quickly read the thermometer. It read 95 degrees in the sun! Holy cow, 90 degrees and it's only April 12th.

Jeff had help me carry my tackle and gear up to the driveway... "Thanks again, buddy!" We said our goodbyes and I stayed to watch him pull away from the launch.

We had such a great day on the water. I know that I'd be feeling it once I got home... Sore and tight-kneed!

On my way home, I took notice to the truck thermometer readings. It fluctuated between 88 and 90 degrees. When I pulled into our home's driveway, the temperature was holding at 90 degrees.

I unloaded my gear back into my jet rig and headed indoors to eat supper with my family. After supper, I headed to my bedroom to get out of my sweated up clothing and turned on the faucet to the bathtub. I was going to take my first bath since my surgery in order to soak this aching knee and back.

After my relaxing bath, I jumped (figuratively speaking... LOL!) int my P.J.'s and Julie brought me an ice pack to ice down my knee.

It was definitely a rough night, but I survived with my pain medication and he "off-and-on" icing down. My PT explained to me that I should only keep the ice on y knee for up to 10-15 minutes tops. He said that recent studies have shown that longer icing downs are recognized by the body as a problem with that area and will send fluid to protect it. Thus, defeating the purpose of icing down to reduce inflammation.

B's Retirement...

Julie and I attended our Brian Gormley's retirement party yesterday (April 13, 2013). ScottyDog Sundy came from Harrisburg, Pa. to pick us up and travel with him. The trip down and back took nearly two hours each way... Four hours on the road, but it was well worth every minute to be with our good friend, B, at such and important time in his life.

Thank you, ScottyDog, for driving us to and from the retirement party. Julie and I appreciated it tremendously. And a big "Thank You" to B's wife, Sue, for inviting us. I know that Brian was surprised to see Scotty, Julie, and me there. We had a fun time.

B's last day on the job will be Friday, April 26, 2013. After almost 31 years on the job, he will be free to do whatever he desires each and every day. Congratulations, B!

I'm hoping to get back out on the river this coming week with Jeff. Josh Kreider also contacted me and wants to go fishing for a few hours this coming Friday.  Josh has been trucking cross-country year and hasn't had the opportunity to get out fishing. Here's hoping the weather holds out and we can pull a few into the boat  before he has to take off once again.

The river is rising due to this past week's rain locally and also up in New York state.

We had a drowning on Lake Aldred yesterday. It was awfully windy outside yesterday and the man and woman were boating in a 15' 6" boat. The boat overturned just south of Jacks Island which is suth of the Safe Harbor Dam. The authorities mentioned in today's news report that the river current was quite heavy in that area and recovery will be difficult.

Please remember to stay safe when on the Susquehanna River. I am constantly reminding you all that Lake Aldred (Susquehanna River) can be rather tricky and somewhat treacherous during high flows. Add in the windy conditions like we had yesterday and it makes the entire situation much worse.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and the rescue workers who have responded.

To leave my entry on a high note...

Jeff and Penny were fishing on Friday (April 12, 2013) and caught three smallmouth bass over 20". It's not common to do his on the river... Congratulations to both Jeff and Penny!

Jeff sent me pictures, but I will not post them due to respecting their choice of location. I hope you understand.

Take Care and Be Safe,