By Tim O'Neill
Well, in last weeks blog post I talked about our fishing for pre spawn Smallmouth. I can remember one of my Dad's favorite sayings "Ride it till she bucks" well, we are going to ride this particular tributary until it bucks. This post is about the second of many floats down this river this spring. and what a float it was!
The day started at 5:40am on Saturday morning. I was up and getting ready when I looked out my window and saw my buddy Ed already backed up to our Smith Fly Raft and he was hooking it up to his truck. This was a welcome change from the week before when Tyler was ALMOST A HALF HOUR LATE! To borrow another one of my Dad's favorite sayings "If you cant run with the big dogs, stay on the porch" Apparently my son had gone out howling at the moon the night before and couldn't get out of bed on time...This week it was myself, Ed and Brian Shumaker of Susquehanna River Guides. By 6:00 Ed had the raft hooked up and we were on our way.
After a quick breakfast we had the shuttle car dropped off and we were at thee put in. We were quickly geared up and soon we were headed down river with Ed on the bow, Brian on the sticks and myself in the back.
It was apparent the water had dropped dramatically from the week before as soon as we started fishing. The Sonar Titan line that was so good to me just a week prior was not going to work today. In the deeper holes this would do fine, but I quickly had to switch to my intermediate shooting head for the bulk of my fishing.
We had floated less than a quarter mile and had just hit the top of the first productive run and Ed was tight to a good fish. A solid chunker came to net and with that the skunk was out of the boat.
I swear it was on the next cast and I looked up and Ed's rod was doubled over again. this time an eye popper of a Smallie showed itself.
We continued floating, casting and picking up a fish or two. We were coming into the spot, you know the spot, the spot where it is about to go down!!! This was the run where we had put three 20 inch fish and several 18's in the net the week before. We had switched and Ed was on the paddles, Brian was up front and I was in the back.
We would drift a bit, drop the anchor and fish. Pull the anchor, drift, drop anchor, fish. We repeated this several times in the 1/4 mile stretch we simply call "The Run". I watch as Brian put on an absolute clinic on the front of the boat. Fish after fish, one after the other, and big fish too. I don't know how many Brian landed, I lost count. I do I have never seen anything like this. For a bit, I just sat and watched trying to figure out what Brian was doing. I guess the saying "there is no substitute for experience" would fit well here. Now, I did manage some fish, and I would have been happy with the outcome, but I was not having success like Brian. Clouser Minnows were the fly of the day and after a bit of a discussion as to whether they were tied correctly, I got to see the fly in action fished the way it was designed to be fished. I also got to witness the effectiveness first hand. It was impressive.
We took a break for lunch to give us and the fish a rest. We paddled over to the side and sat in the boat and ate our sandwiches and talked about the things three guys sitting in a rubber raft talk about while on the river.
After lunch we switched and I was on the bow, Brian was in the back and Ed was providing the muscle. It was a good thing because after lunch Ed said what do you want to do, I said I want you to row us up to the top of this run and we are going to go through it again. He kinda laughed and said "no, really, what do you want to do" I said I am serious, take me back up to the top of this run...Ed's face looked like that big eyed surprised emoji from your I phone.
In short order we were at the top of the run and started the anchor, fish, pull anchor, drift system again.
In last weeks post I referred to my best day on the smallmouth river as Epic (I still dislike that word). I honestly don't even know how to describe this float...
I don't know what to say. Till Next time...
Tight lines - Tim