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Hit the river finally

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  • Hit the river finally

    Ball season wrapped up for us this week and I’ve managed to mostly finish up the projects we started last year. We set the camper up out back last night and lit the first campfire of the year. Didn’t hit the sack until about 11:30 and slept in a bit this morning. Headed to the house to take care of business and let the dogs out, finally went and rousted the Kid a little after 9:00 am. We loaded up quick and my wife followed us to the drop off point then went with the Kid to shuttle the truck down river. We ended up launching around 10:00.

    The weather was perfect, mid 60’s with no breeze and just enough clouds to keep the sun at bay. I told the Kid this was going to be more of an expedition run than fishing trip as I hadn’t been down through this section of water since floating it on inner tubes when I was his age thirty some years ago. I manned the back so he could get more casts in. Trout season has been open since April 1 but bass doesn’t start until next Saturday so of course the first fish he hooks into is a 2+ lb smallmouth. I get a pic and we continue on. Not long after I tie into another good smallie that’s over a pound. Ended up with a pair of bass each and he lands two trout to my one. All released unharmed. I also lost three trout and one unknown, the kid missed a couple hits. We covered 3 1/2 miles in about three hours only stopping for a few holes along the way. Best part was we only encountered 4 people the entire time. The first was a fly fisherman who was as at a bridge crossing about halfway, the last three were fishing at the take out. Most of the trip wasn’t visible from the state highway that runs parallel with the river. Very peaceful float. The water conditions were pretty good, we only got a little hung up once in a riffle. The river is running at a decent level for this time of year but we had a big rainstorm up river a couple days ago and the water is stained if not actually cloudy. Made it tough to see the bottom.

    A few takeaways:

    The Kid wore shorts and Crocs, I had pants and Muck boots. I need to replace my lost boots for my waders. He could get in and out in spots better than I. To really fish the holes well you need to stop and wade some sections. The water temp is still a bit chilly for me to wet wade and by the time it warms up enough the water level will be too low to run the canoe.

    Years ago I quit running swivels as I like as little hardware as possible on my line. Thing is I haven’t fished Phoebes as hard as I used to since I started fishing plastics for bass and panfish. About an hour in the Phoebe I was using had my 4lb line a twisted mess, ended up cutting off about 50’ and switched over to a trout magnet. All my missed fish and first bass were on the Phoebe, my one trout and second bass was on the magnet. I need to start carrying swivels again but just leaving them attached to the spoons and tying straight to jig heads.

    This was the first time I’ve ever used a canoe in a river, previously I’ve always been on ponds or small lakes. It took a little adjustment to figure out using the current with steering. It wasn’t a big deal but wasn’t something I had thought about.

    After we wrapped up we did head out to catch a last school baseball game of the year. A coworker of mine has a son who is a senior at a smaller school in another nearby town. He’s been a hardcore player since little league and has participated on a number of travel ball teams over the summers. Those kids have played together for years and are very talented, they went undefeated this season and were in the sectional championships today. They kicked butt, game ended 13-0 after five innings and was called due to a ten run rule. Unfortunately there are no State championships this year or they’d have a real shot at the whole deal. My coworker was bumming this week, her boy is an only child and after years of cheering him on today was the last time he’ll play organized baseball.

    Not looking forward to that next year, but God willing we’ll have plenty of opportunity in the outdoors like we did this morning.

  • #2
    Living vicariously through the "fitchman"!
    ...and loving it!


    • #3
      I love floating and wading to fish, have since I was a kid in Michigan where me and all my friends had a family canoe. In the fall my grandfather and I would float for ducks & squirrels as he loved canoes as well. Go every chance you get. Go go go. I will spend all day remembering floating with gramps now, I thank you sincerely for that.
      Not having crystal clear water can actually work to your benefit in the shallower spots. Of course it can hinder a lure that relies on flash, maybe think spinner or spinnerbait or even small plug if it gets too murky. You know something that pushes water and sends out more vibe, less finesse.
      Kids down here play baseball thru November, many will play for 4 different teams in a single summer/fall before it's over. While they are playing football they play baseball on traveling teams every weekend, or just play baseball alone.
      I use snaps when I can as they leave very little profile but some lures you just have to have swivels, just how it goes. I only direct tie soft plastic hooks and flies. This is a snap next to a swivel in case you guys refer to them as something else. IMG_2450.JPG


      • #4
        Yep, I meant snap swivel, some setups use a plain swivel without the attached snap.

        Until I started fishing more for bass and panfish the majority of my spin fishing involved using Phoebes or worms. To switch back and forth I’d use a snap swivel and alternate between tossing the lure or clipping on a snelled hook and adding a couple bb sized removable spilt shot about 10” above the swivel.

        When I got more into plastics and crankbaits I transitioned to plain snaps, except for jigs lighter than 1/8 oz which I tied direct. Eventually I quit using them for jigs altogether since banging rocks and wood results in a lot of break offs.

        I fought the line twist yesterday until it got so bad it wouldn’t run back through the rod tip. Enough was enough, time to pick up a few packs of both style snaps.

        Church just ended, we’re actually headed to watch the kid play in a vintage baseball league in a few minutes. The 30 something year old coach of his former pony league team asked him to play this summer. They only have a handful of games so it’s not a huge commitment and should be laid back.

        The ball is softer than a standard baseball and they either play barehanded or using a glove similar to an oven mitt. Bunch of guys from college age through their 30’s still trying to hang on to the glory days, lol!


        • #5
          Fitch in the county I grew up in in Michigan there is a men's baseball league. Play every Sunday afternoon. Any age. I played with men in their 30's-40's-50's, even a couple in their 60's, when I was 14-17 yrs old. It was shall we say, an "education" 😳☺️


          • #6
            7C0E9A6B-CC4F-4C99-AB28-4B561F80E1A9.jpeg E3F8C118-A457-4C25-BCD6-78E8D28F7590.jpeg Summer version of going to deer camp eh Dewman?😉

            Some pics from today’s game. Was a fun couple hours, there’s some old fashioned pomp and circumstance involved. I’m still not up on all the rules which vary from game to game. Today’s was 1890’s rules: Overhand pitching but only one step allowed toward home, no wind up. Foul balls don’t count as strikes unless they make it to the catchers glove. Only the catcher used a glove.

            Sometimes they play 1860’s, underhand pitching (sidearm maybe?) and catching the ball on a one hop is an out. Next game is in a couple weeks, don’t know what the rules will be.

            This started a few years ago, there are a couple teams in the county that travel to tournaments but only play each other locally. The nearby team had a few members from or town but had enough players without them so the idea was to get a third team going this year so they’d have more competition locally. The Kid’s team lost 16-2 but 4 of the 10 players are from his school varsity team, two of which are still playing pony league this summer. The Kid said it was quite and adjustment playing bare handed. He went 1-4 at the plate with two ground outs and was robbed of a base hit when the opposing short stop made a great leaping catch, barehanded of course. Played the entire game in right field and caught the only ball hit his way in 9 innings. He’s typically a centerfielder but had to settle into a role.

            Game started with the National Anthem and ended with congratulatory cheers from both teams. Benches were hay bales and apparently at the tournaments only glass containers are allowed to be used for liquids, no plastics or modern containers allowed. They keep a wooden milk crate to hold drinks in during the game. The Kid is at bat below.



            • #7
              That's pretty cool Fitch👍


              • #8
                BA82AD5B-EEA1-427D-9D79-3B2B25CB6927.jpeg CDC9DD9C-2ECE-4F31-BBE3-4C6B4273BAD1.jpeg


                Got a little side tracked, here’s a couple from yesterday’s float.



                • #9
                  Very interesting way to spend Saturday! Nice pics and write-up. The fishing and canoeing look fun with some good catches. Are PFDs required by law or were you wearing them just to be safer? Did you carry the canoe in the truck bed or do you have a rack rigged?

                  We didn't do much on Saturday but sang at home Friday night. Yesterday morning I helped set up a two-person platform stand at the deer lease. It was me and one of the brothers who run the club. He's had some medical issues in the past but lost a lot of weight and stays active to stay alive. But a hard worker and has been clearing small food plots in the wooded areas, setting ladder stands and putting out feeders. There's just some tasks too much for one small man and I went to add muscle.

                  Our temp started in the 80's and climbed to 91 but the humidity wasn't too bad. He'd already hauled the stand parts to the woods and assembled the platform. All we needed to do was install the legs and set into place - a two-person job. Getting there was an adventure in itself as we took his old small Nissan pick-up, towing the 2-wheel drive quad on a trailer. Seatbelts? Nah, he doesn't wear one so neither did I.

                  At the property, I rode on the back of the quad, sitting on an old boat cushion and hanging onto the rack sides. We zipped along old logging roads, crossed a small stream, and then weaved our way along the small ATV path he'd cut through the pines. I caught myself grinning because it was like a carnival ride!

                  The stand was a challenge to finish and he wanted it installed on a slope within crossbow distance of one feeder and an easy rifle shot to another. Some of the legs needed to be buried in order to level, so he left me there while he rode back to the truck for a shovel and post-hole diggers. The blackberries are just starting to get ripe so I ate a few while waiting.

                  Of course being the stronger, I did all the digging and we eventually got the stand situated to our liking. By then we were well soaked in sweat and had consumed a few water bottles. He didn't feel like doing any more stands so proceeded to ride me around on the back of that quad, showing me other stand sites. At one point we were on the paved road going probably 30+ mph, with me hanging onto my cap with one hand and clutched to the carry rack with the other. Good adventure and a great way to see the property. I'm hoping for success this Fall.

                  PigHuntress and I did karaoke at the bar last night. I sang "Play That Funky Music" and "Take Me To The River".
                  Last edited by PigHunter; 06-14-2021, 11:48 AM.


                  • #10
                    To be honest PH I don’t know what the regs are regarding PFD’s and canoes but I should look into it. I do know they changed the law to require everyone in a regular boat that’s under power to have one on. Mostly it’s habit, we keep a row boat on a local reservoir and you are required to have them with you. For me it’s just easier to wear the thing as long as the temperature is comfortable. When the kids were younger they had to have them on at all times so they’re pretty much use to it. The Kid didn’t question them, first time on the river with a canoe and not knowing what conditions would be made it a no brainer. You may have noticed his isn’t fastened though.

                    Right now we just loaded the canoe into the back of the Kid’s truck. Long story but I ended up with a GMC 1500 stepside last fall a couple months after the Kid got his driver’s license. It’s turned into our work/play rig and his get around vehicle. Hopefully it gets him through college. Even though it’s a short bed the canoe fits better there than in our Honda Ridgeline. The drop off point we used is only about a mile down the road and the take out just 3 1/2 miles below that so it’s not a long haul back. If we decide to launch further downstream as the water level drops we’ll need to make a rack for the bed and tie the thing to the roof.

                    I need to get after food plots as well but this last weekend was one of those stop and smell the roses desls, we’ve been on the fly the past couple months. No complaints, it’s been like things were pre you know what.


                    • #11
                      Reminds me of the times my dad and grampa floated the Neches river from Holsombeck to Bucket Ferry.
                      After I got "old enough"* to fish, they quit float fishing.
                      When they found a white perch "top", I'd get a short cane pole to work crappie out of the top.
                      The trips I remember, we came away with enough bass and crappie for a family fish fry.

                      I couldn't have cared less about getting to fish more! I was with my dad and grampa!

                      * - a 6 year old swinging a multi hook lure in the middle of a 16 foot jon boat AIN'T a good idea! LOL!


                      • #12
                        Looks like a fun summer so far for the Fitches. Especially the cool baseball league. Although the smallies aren't too far behind.

                        Y'all wear strange sunscreen up there in Nuevo York, tho.


                        • #13
                          I wear a PFD in cold weather but not when it's warm. State boating regulations require a PFD to just be accessible in most canoeing situations. One is required only when being towed or within 800 ft below a dam. On flat water I'm only concerned when the water is cold enough to quickly kill me.

                          My large canoe is stable to stand in and I do sometimes to paddle or pole in calm, shallow water. There's no way the solo canoe could be operated like that.

                          In New York, the regulation is similar but has this extra requirement for PFDs: "Anyone riding in a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks, between November first and May first."

                          Pennsylvania: "From November 1 until midnight April 30, each person must wear a USCG–approved PFD on board a vessel under 16 feet in length, and on all kayaks and canoes, while underway or anchored.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PigHunter View Post
                            I wear a PFD in cold weather but not when it's warm. State boating regulations require a PFD to just be accessible in most canoeing situations. One is required only when being towed or within 800 ft below a dam. On flat water I'm only concerned when the water is cold enough to quickly kill me.

                            My large canoe is stable to stand in and I do sometimes to paddle or pole in calm, shallow water. There's no way the solo canoe could be operated like that.

                            In New York, the regulation is similar but has this extra requirement for PFDs: "Anyone riding in a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks, between November first and May first."

                            Pennsylvania: "From November 1 until midnight April 30, each person must wear a USCG–approved PFD on board a vessel under 16 feet in length, and on all kayaks and canoes, while underway or anchored.
                            Thanks, good info. Makes sense about cold weather periods and there is the possibility we could be using it during April someday.


                            • #15
                              In TX and OK, a PFD has to be "within reach" of every person on board.
                              I never put mine on.
                              The wife never takes hers off! (Vest type)




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