Friday, July 18, 2014

Flying Solo For The First Time This Season: Above and Below Harrisburg, Pa. (07-16 & 17-14)

Hello Folks,

It took me awhile, but I finally was able to get myself out on the Susquehanna River for my first solo trip since last year... I had my left knee revised in July, 2013 and my spine fused in December, 2013... That's been an awfully long time!

My first sign that Wednesday may be my first solo trip was shown in the skies after several nights of thunderstorms that passed through our great state of Pennsylvania. Afterward,
'God's Promise" showed...

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First Solo Fishing Trip - Wednesday, July 16, 2014... Above Harrisburg, Pa.
Although I had the sign, the next morning another sign showed that was the complete opposite. When I arrived at the launch...

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I went through my routine of getting the G3 ready to launch when I found out that my Lowrance X-65 wasn't working... Well, let's see, I had three new trolling motor batteries and a new $700 four bank Minn Kota charger placed in the boat several months ago. I wonder if something wasn't reconnected???

So, I gave JC Nuss at Lakeside Marine a call... I'm sorry that I got a hold of JC while he was on vacation in North Carolina, but he gave me the go ahead to call the shop and take the boat over when I was done fishing for the morning.

I decided to take a look at several other accessories before launching and being surprised to find something else wrong... Second depth finder, lights, bilge pump, etc. What I found out was that my console digital flasher wasn't functioning either... Great!

During my check, I found a snipped black wire which Andrew at Lakeside Marine also found while trouble-shooting after I brought the boat into the shop... Good job, Andrew!

I was unable to get a water temperature reading, but I guessed it to be in the mid-70s. The air temp only rose to a beautiful 80 degrees with little humidity. This was a truly gorgeous day after a couple of weeks of 90+ degree days and high humidity. We had several days in a row of thunderstorms towards evening due to these terrible weather conditions.

I caught smallies in double figures and the very best smallmouth was this beautiful 18.5" bass...
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I stuck to tossing my recently favorite 1/2 ounce War Eagle, Green Shad in Double Willow Blades. I also tossed a Green Pumpkin tube and a Boogerman Buzzbait...

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I took a few pictures of the numerous white egrets that were stalking the shorelines in search of a snack or two.

Egret looking for the play lot... Swings and Sliding Board Included
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He eventually found a buddy to hang with and they worked in tandem.
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I stayed on the water from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. before "trailering" the G3 and heading over to the shop to have my depth finders checked.

It was a great day on the water despite the initial troubles at the ramp. I had faith in Lakeside Marine and the crew to find the problems. I also noticed that the cracked passenger side LED trailer light had seen better days. I must have cracked it the rest of the way when backing the boat into the water. I had brakes lights, but no running lights... Oh well, I got an additional year's use out of it before I needed to replace it. The delivery truck was going to bring a new one in the next morning... It would delay my second solo fishing start, but that was fine with me... Sleeping in!

Second Solo Fishing Trip - Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Below Harrisburg, Pa.
Irene, Barb Nuss' mother, was running the shop while JC and Barb were on vacation. So, I gave her a call around 9:00 a.m. to see if the trailer light had shown up on the morning delivery. She checked with Andrew on the light and depth finders... Trouble-shooting the depth finders paid off and they were both functioning and the trailer light had been delivered.

About an hour later, Irene called me back and told me everything was finished and I could pick up the boat anytime today... I decided to head up around noon. I first stopped at "Red Hill Produce" to pick up some corn-on-the-cob, string beans, fresh ripened tomatoes, and some juicy cling peaches... The peaches were personally for me and my trip onto the river. Several did make it home to share.

I chose to drive up through Middletown by way of Rt. 441 so I could check out the river conditions at Canal Lock. Yesterday, when I was driving home that way, I noticed that the Swatara Creek was dumping mud into the river. Today was much better and it was only dirty water entering the main stem from the creek.

The North Branch of the Susquehanna River was pushing dirty water on Wednesday and again today along the eastern shoreline... Add that with the muddy Swattie on Wednesday was not a good day to be fishing below Harrisburg. Today, was a totally different story...

I was in about five feet of water when I took this picture. I could only see about 10-12 inches of clarity...
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The wind was blowing before I even left the house today. It was even worse out on the river between the shorelines... Check out the trees blowing and the wind rippling the water.

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"The Steelton Flats"-Looking North towards Hawk Rock
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My best fish today came on this old beat up Green Pumpkin tube. I placed a pic of the tube on Facebook today and several of my fishing buddies felt that the older and more beaten up a lure is might give it a more realistic look to a smallmouth bass. I tend to agree with them... It also allows any scent that was impregnated to escape.

Check out this "Old Geezer" of a tube...
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20.25" Smallmouth Bass - My Best of the Day!

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Not a better picture, but at least I caught the entire fish in this ""10 second shot. I was having trouble remembering how to use my digital camera and getting that delayed shot going correctly...
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I must say... That fish made me a "Happy Camper".... I may have been smiling after that one, but I believe I was more happier about being able to be back solo on the river . I was a bit sore and my lower legs and ankles were swollen a bit, but not as bad as a few weeks ago when I was out with Josh. That day was pretty rough on my ankles and feet.
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After I had released the "Chunk", I had my "daily scare"... his time on the water! The motor was acting up and didn't want to start as it normally does. This was the first time I had such a problem. It finally turned over and ran... I know that it was suppose to be hooked up to the four bank charger, but I wasn't too sure after seeing that broken black wire the day before. There was no way that the battery shouldn't be fully charged. Another thought passed through my mind and that was the quality of the gas after sitting for two months... Although I had Marine Sta-Bil added, it may have been a cause of the problem. When I got home, I checked the water levels of each battery and whether the cranking battery was connected... Both looked good. I guess I'll see how things go on my next trip. Pray for the best!

I stopped fishing around 5:00 p.m. and starting to stow my equipment for the run back to the Canal Lock. I gave Julie a call to tell her I was about ready to head home with our supper tonight. She was preparing to cook the bacon for the tomatoes I bought and to boil the water for the corn-on-the-cob! I was certainly looking forward to biting into a buttery and salty delight... You can see where my thoughts were while on the river today... Food!

I was off the water and on the road by 5:40 p.m. and home by 6:45 p.m. The air temperature on my truck's thermometer read 79 degrees... It never did get above 80 today. In fact, the weather is calling for a possible record low tonight in the 50's!

The river water temperature was only 74.3 degrees and very dirty to stained green. I caught the bigger fish in 4.5 feet of the more stained green water along the edge of a large grass bed. I also caught some smaller fish in the dirtier water, as well.

I started the day out by tossing a War Eagle spinnerbait and a Cotton Cordell Super Spot in Silver with Black Back... Anything to catch the sunlight and refract it. But the fish only came on a slow bottom bouncing plastic tubes... I was surprised that I didn't get a bite on my spinnerbait today, but that's why it is so important to change up on your approach to meet what the fish are attracted to.

Now, look what Julie and I put together on short notice when I got home... Heaven from Lancaster County!
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Take Care and Be Safe!