Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fishing With Jeff B. On Lake Aldred, Susquehanna River (08/21/13)

Hello Folks,

I have not been fishing on the Susquehanna River since July 12, 2013. Can you believe that has been thirty days ago!? It's hard to believe that I have not been casting a single 1/8th oz. lure for an entire month and in that same time period a lot of things have taken place.

I have had several spine tests preparing me for the upcoming "Spinal Ablation Procedure" that will take place on August 28 in Dr. Trevin Thurman's Office (Argires, Becker, Marotti & Westphal - Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Spinal Surgery, and Sports Medicine). I am eager to see if this procedure will give me the much needed relief from back pain I've been experiencing for many months. The spinal epidural injections that used to work for me failed to give me any relief after Dr. Thurman injected me three times in the past two months. The injections used to give me up to a year's worth of relief, but my situation has changed with the bone spur on my "extra" vertebrae (L6) that is causing a "False Joint" (L6-S1) on my pelvic bone... Now that is a mouthful!

Julie and I also took a much needed four day stay at the NJ shore. We stayed at the Olympic Island Beach Resort in Wildwood Crest, NJ. This is a very family-friendly run business that we have been staying at for the past ten years. We did stay twice at the Aqua Beach Hotel Resort which is located just off the boardwalk, but they are a bit more expensive and very, very busy.

There is something special about knowing the owners on a personal level that is well-worth a couple extra blocks to walk to the boardwalk. Although the extra exercise was a bit demanding on my body (especially my replaced left knee), I was able to handle it pretty well. Plus, we took an ice bag along so I could "ice down" each and every evening at bedtime.

During the past month, I picked up a stomach virus that has been lingering for the entire month. In  fact, this past Monday I again awoke nauseated. My gastroenterologist, Dr. Dale Rosenberg , gave me medication for my nausea after examining me at a recent bi-annual check-up on August 1. From my description of  symptoms, he felt that I had picked up a bug along the way and may need some time for it to pass. It has been several weeks now and it comes and goes, but seems to be getting better.

I had to cancel a fishing trip with Dell Jackson because of this virus. It seems that I awake feeling terrible and it takes about a good hour or so for me to start to rebound and feel better. This past Saturday, I spent the entire day in bed resting and trying to regain my strength. I told Jeff B. (CHRGD) that I felt like I have jet lag from our beach vacation.. LOL!

On Monday, Jeff and I made arrangements to go fishing at 6:30 a.m. at Lake Aldred. Jeff was going to launch his Tracker IB 175 over at York Furnace and pick me up at the new and improved PPL Pequea Boat Launch.

Although I felt sluggish getting up at 5:30 a.m., I was able to pull myself together and get ready for a day of fishing. I had packed my truck the night before with all my gear and tackle. I had also packed a lunch for myself before heading to bed. Having all this done before going to bed gives me extra precious minutes in the sack when the alarm goes off. :)

Last night was a "Blue Moon" night (Our second full moon of the month). The air temperature dropped to 61 degrees after having a beautiful 84 degrees on Tuesday. Luckily, we didn't have the heavy fog that we had on Tuesday morning. There was moisture on my truck, but I could deal with that. Yesterday's fog didn't burn off until almost 9:00 a.m. I would have hated to see us have to deal with that this morning.

I arrived at the ramp around 6:15 a.m. and pulled all my gear and tackle from the truck. The new launch at PPL Pequea has a handicap access platform for fishing. I grabbed a buzzbait and headed over to the platform to give it a try. As I was fishing, there were two fellows preparing to launch a small ABS plastic boat powered by a battery and trolling motor mounted on the transom. They heard how loud my Boogerman Buzzbait was and asked me about it. So, I walked over to the younger of the two and showed him how I had my buzzbait rigged. I also gave him a few extra pointers on how to make it even louder. His partner has a buzzbait along and said he would give it a try before the sun rose to high in the sky..

Jeff's view of the sun rising this morning on his trek to the mighty Susquehanna River!
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Jeff B. (CHRGD) picked me up at the ramp around 6:40 a.m. and we headed up river to fish near the Safe Harbor Dam. The water temperature was 74 degrees and the sky was clear. I wore my fleece this morning to stay warm on the run. It would be the only time I needed it all today.

As the day progressed, clouds moved in from the west and we had a sprinkle or two. The weatherman didn't call for rain until later in the afternoon, but we were surprised with a short drizzle on a hot and humid early afternoon.

I was able to "kick the skunk" out of the boat rather early with our first smallmouth of the morning...
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It wasn't too long until Jeff pulled a smallie in with his spinnerbait...
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We were treated with a special showing of aerial workers placing big colored Styrofoam balls on the high power lines that exit the Safe Harbor Dam. It's very common in our area to see helicopters flying along the high power lines inspectng them for any damage. But today, we got to see a worker strapped in a seat on a  platform attached below the helicopter and placing those red, yellow, and white balls for indicators of a hazard high above the river. Check these pictures out...

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Pretty cool... Isn't it!?

Check out the humped back on this smallmouth bass. We see a good deal of these down here in the southern counties...
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Another healthy smallie caught by Jeff on his spinnerbait...
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As you can see, most of our smallies were in the 15" and smaller category today. I actually caught one that measured around 8 inches... a good sign. Most were caught by spinnerbaits, one came on a Big O crankbait, and another was caught by a Cabin Creek green pumpkin tube with blue flakes.

We also caught this guy as we started to wrap up our day on the water...
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Thinking we were about ready to end our day, we heard a "distress" horn from in and among the rock islands. At first we thought that it may have been a warning signal for the workers who were working on the new power line poles that have been erected on both sides of the river. There were crews of workers up in baskets working on both sides of the river this morning. Jeff thought that they may have a communication system set up to let them know a call was coming through. But the horn blowing continued and we started to scan the river for someone in distress.

We saw a young man waving something red from the tip of an island and we decided to head back into the rocky area of the river to see if he needed assistance. But when we got to the location, the two men standing on the island had disappeared. "Was someone playing a joke on us?"

So, we headed up and around the island and found the two stranded men in their "ABS" plastic boat... It was the same two men I had spoken with at the PPL boat ramp earlier that morning. Their battery had died and left them stranded in the rocks and several miles from the docks. Boy, were they happy to see us!

We took Jeff's anchor rope and threw the one end to them to attach to their "mini" boat and I attached the other end to our boat's rear cleats. Jeff used his trolling motor to maneuver us out of the rock islands and back into the Conestoga River channel.

Once in the channel, we fired up the big engine and hauled them back to the dock. They were very grateful and thanked us repeatedly.

It would have taken them a long time to make their way back to their vehicle had we not come along to help them. They had some electrical tape in their boat and had fashioned some makeshift paddles to help power themselves. They did have oars, but guess where they left them? That's right, the oars were safely stowed away in their van back at the parking lot... LOL!

A big thanks to Jeff for taking me fishing today. I had a great time, got to witness something I had never seen before with the aerial workers, and we even rescued two very appreciative boaters stranded on the river... "You done good, Jeff!"
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Take Care and Be Safe,