Thursday, July 24, 2014

Frog Fishing The Susquehanna Flats (Md) with Mike Burton (07/22/14)

Hello Folks,

I checked my blog this evening to see if there were any awaiting comments to be moderated and realized that I had not posted the entry for my trip to the Susquehanna Flats this past Tuesday with my good fishing buddy, Mike Burton. Mike is an avid angler and works closely with the TBF in the conservation aspect of bass angling for our state of Pennsylvania. Ever since I have known Mike (1982), he has been concerned about the quality of our waterways and the health of our sport fishery.

I had received a call during lunch on Monday from Mike asking me if I wanted to join him in fishing The Susquehanna Flats in search of largemouth bass. Mike had a Md. boat license which allowed me to fish for free from his Snyder boat. He also is a senior citizen (65 yrs. old) and carries a free launch pass in Maryland. Things looked pretty good for me to go along with him. So, after getting the go ahead from Julie, I told Mike I certainly would fish with him on The Flats. As I continued to eat lunch, I became more and more excited thinking about the trip. When it comes to fishing, I'm just like a little kid not being able to sleep the night before Christmas!

I arranged my tackle and gear for largemouth angling once I got home from lunch. I usually have my tackle bag set up with for smallmouth fishing, but when I fish for largemouth, there are different lures I add to my arsenal. For example, I added some "Frogs" to fish the grasses on The Flats and several different styles of "Swimbaits" to toss in and around the open areas abutting the grass beds.

We had such a beautiful morning to travel. Mike picked me up at my home in the Village of West Willow at 5:00 a.m. It took us about an hour or so to get to Havre de Grace, Md. We had stopped for a few minutes in Conowingo to grab some gasoline for the boat. I always toss in about $20 to be sure that I help with some of the expenses of traveling out of state.

Mike chose to launch from the Havre de Grace Marina. Once we arrived, I help prepped his boat and got our gear ready to launch. We launched around 6:15 a.m. and headed due east to the grass beds of The Flats.

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We had slightly overcast skies and a crazy small fly hatch happening when we arrived at our first fishing spot. The flies were only about the size of gnats and they were everywhere... up our noses, ears, eyes, etc. I grabbed my Mission Enduracool wrap to cover my head. It did a great job in keeping the flies from bothering me. Mike followed suit and put his on, too.

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Mike caught the fish largemouth using a Spro Junior Frog. Look at that happy face! It's always good to get the first one in the boat. This happened right before we got our wraps out to protect our faces...

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We were on High Tide, which wasn't the best time to be fishing the grasses, when we arrived. It wasn't as easy to pick out the channels and cuts along the many different beds that form The Flats.

Our second bass to the boat was this beautiful two and a half pounder... Now Mike is covered! If you look at Mike's right hand, you will see that he is holding a "Spro Frog".

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On August 2, 2014, the Susquehanna Fishing Tackle  (SFT) will be holding a "Frog Only" tournament out of Anchor Marine. It will be $100 per team and each competitor will receive a variety of Spro products as complimentary gifts... That's a pretty cool idea!

The bay water temperature was holding around 82 degrees and was warm as bath water.

As the tide began to drop, the bass activity started to pick up. It's amazing how the "bite" is driven by the tidal changes. Knowing how the tides effect our largemouth bass will determine the amount of success one has while on The Flats.

Our largest bass was this nice 4+ pounder that grabbed a "Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper" in Sexy Shad color. Check out this beautiful "Greenie"... Just close your eyes and imagine experiencing the moment when this chunk hit the topwater Frog... "SWOOOOOSH!"

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I had three grabs today and one nice hookup that I got into the boat. I forgot just how nice it felt to "Thumb" a largemouth bass. She had a pretty good sharp row of small teeth along her bottom jaw... No wonder it doesn't take long to develop a "Bass Thumb" while fishing for largemouth.

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You can tell by comparing the first photo taken in the marina as we were leaving in the morning to the picture above just how much the weather had changed. We were now having a bright sunshiny day. Despite the high sun, the Frog bite picked up as the tide dropped. There were a lot of patches of crystal clear water in and among the grass patches. The grasses are a good filtration system.

We noticed that the eel grass was being choked out by the hydrilla (invasive) grass. It was unusual seeing the grass dying so early in the summer. We had clumps of grass floating in and around the boat, trolling motor, and motor. Mike would allow the stiff breeze to move our boat across the large plots of grass. He would pull up the Minn Kota Enduro trolling motor and we would simply drift with the breeze and "plow" the clumps of grass along with us. The clumps actually slowed the drift down due to their weight.

The Minn Kota Enduro has a neat GPS system built into it. Mike sets the course and the trolling motor follows that course without having to keep your foot firmly planted on the foot pedal. It helps one be able to fish as the boat stays on that path.  I enjoyed watching him work that trolling motor system throughout the day.

I certainly enjoyed my day on the water with Mike. It had been well over a year since I fished for largemouth on The Flats. My health had kept me in Pennsylvania last fishing season. I haven't even been able to fish for stripers over the past two seasons. Usually, Mike and I get out for a trip or two, but not since 2012.

A big "Thank You" to my good friend, Mike, for inviting me to fish with him. I always appreciate my friends and all they have done for me over the years.

Take Care and Be Safe!