Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Finally, A Trip to The Susquehanna Flats! (05/22/13)

Hello Folks,

I've been waiting well over two years to write this blog entry. "Why?", you may ask! Well, I finally got the opportunity to fish "The Susquehanna Flats" with my good friend and great angler, Mike Burton. It has been well over two years since we made the drive together from Lancaster (Pa.) County to Havre de Grace, Md.

As many of you know, two years ago, I went through my third joint replacement. And for the past two years, I've been waiting for the day when Mike and I would once again be on the Flats together fishing for largemouth bass.

Getting into the mindset of fishing for largemouth after spending the last two years on the river and fishing for smallies is not an easy thing to do. I began the physical preparations the day before our trip. My middle son, Tom Jr., helped me place braided line on one of my baitcasters (P-Line - 30 lb) and on one of my spinning reels (Suffix - 20 lb). I knew that we would be fishing in several different grass-beds and that the braided line would be helpful in cutting through it, if I was lucky enough to even hook into one. :)

My tackle bag has been set up the past two years for smallmouth fishing on the Susquehanna River and I needed to cross over to my largemuth tackle. Being that I haven't fished The Flats this season, I wasn't quite sure which tackle I needed to take along.

Of all the tackle we carried, plastics brought fish into the boat - Zoom Brush Hogs, Zoom Baby Brush Hogs, and 5" Yamamoto Senkos.

Here's a pic of the "Zoom Baby Brush Hog" rig that I chose to use yesterday...
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My gear across the back deck of Mike's boat...
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Mike picked me up in Willow Street, Pa. at 5:30 a.m. for the drive to The Flats. The traffic was light and we made good time to Havre de Grace. We arrived at the ramp around 6:45 am. The fee for launching at this particular ramp was $5.00. Typical public ramp fees in Md. can range from $5.00 to $10.00.

We were just in time to fish the last half hour or so of High Tide (7:09 a.m.). High Tide is followed by slack tide and then several hours of outgoing tide, which would be the tide we would be fishing most of our trip.

It seemed that we got all of our bass during that first hour or two of the out-going tide.

We started fishing in a large grass-bed on the Flats between the Susquehanna River and the Northeast River. There were about ten other boats scattered over this grass bed. By 9:30 a.m., neither one of us got a hit on this bed and we decided to move to our fishing next spot.

There were two boats holding along the bank that we wanted to fish... Typical, but not a problem.  We just readjusted our plans and moved to another shoreline. We didn't get bites along this shoreline and slowly moved off shore to a grass bed that had a few choice laydowns. This is where Mike caught our first largemouth bass...
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Ah... The skunk was now out of the boat! Within a few cast after Mike caught his bass, I landed our second bass of the morning...
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Mike switched up on baits and started to toss a weightless 5" Senko. He did get a few strikes with the Senko, but couldn't hook up on it and converted back to his Zoom Brush Hog.

The tide was moving out and the bass were holding in the grass and on wood...
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Mike landed our largest "Bass of the Day". She weighed in at 4.5 lbs. ...
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We took a break around 11:30 a.m. and ate lunch. We decided to fish this general area for a few more minutes after we ate and then move up into the Susquehanna River.

Some of you who fish the Susquehanna Flats may recognize this quarry which is just south of the Susquehanna Park launch...
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The morning was completely overcast and the sun started to show around noontime...
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This rip rap surrounds a bird sanctuary island that we were fishing. As we moved closer to the bank, we noticed a family of geese that were making quite a racket. Moving a bit closer, we noticed that there was a gosling stuck in among the loose rocks. This poor little guy could not free himself and his parents and siblings were not abandoning him.

There was a lot of bridge work taking place on those that held roads. Due to that work, there were several large tugboats that passed us as we were fishing along the shoreline. These tugs created large wakes as they went by us and one of those wakes eventually freed that poor little gosling and the family swam off and away from that bank.
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Take a closer look at the Tugs name... We had a good laugh! My wife's "official" name is Julia and our last name begins with... a "B". I told Mike that Julie had sent out her own personal tugboat to keep and eye on us as we fished... :)
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Mike was hopeful that we would catch a few decent sized largemouth bass in the lower river, but we failed to get even a single bite. But that's was okay because we had decent action in the morning before taking the run up and into the Susquehanna River.

We decided to head home around 2:30 pm. The water level at the ramp was quite low and we had just enough water to get Mike's big Snyder Boat up and onto the trailer.

A big thanks to Mike for inviting me to fish with him on The Susquehanna Flats!

"Please keep in mind those in Oklahoma who lost family and loved ones when the tornado hit. Kudos go out to those teachers who risked their own lives in attempts to save their students. And thank you to all Rescue Personnel who spent hours searching for survivors. Your dedication to helping others does not go unnoticed!" 

Take Care and Be Safe!