2009 SPRING FLING!
Every year since 2006, as the ice melts off the water and the buds on trees fatten up, becoming colorful, Howard and I have gotten together in north eastern Pa to wet a line and renew a friendship that got its start in the NAFC. Simply put, to enjoy each others company! Our activities include fishing for panfish and brown trout. This year we will add lure making to our activities, something new to add to an already established tradition. Another tradition is getting together with Ed and Howard at lake Seneca, N.Y. in June; A tradition that inspires great fellowship. Those of you that know me understand that I have many fishing related traditions, and they all inspire great fellowship.
As I look out my den window, across the rolling hills, I am reminded of the many new turns my life has taken. The many new friends I have made and the many traditions that I participate in. My heart swells with anticipation as I look to start another year being with the folks I love to be with. Realizing that I have been blessed with these fine traditions, I find myself praying that I will have many more years a head to enjoy the traditions and people of this great club!
10:30 am – After getting caught up with my chores around the house, I take a break with a hot cup of coffee. My mind starts to drift as I look out over the countryside. I am reminded of prior year’s adventures, of the many new friends I have made and the renewing of old ones…Ah, the memories! Each year has brought a new experience and yet these have become as traditional as Thanksgiving dinner. I joyfully a wait the renewing of these traditions and the excitement of new experiences…
9:00 am – The excitement is building! I busy myself with preparations for the trip…Woo wee! Excitement is building! I am already experiencing problems with sleeping!
4:15 pm – I’m on the road and singing to myself! The only thing missing is the “Bushwacker!” The traffic is light, making for an enjoyable trip to Howard’s. As I drive the winding road up through the mountains, I take notice to how red the tree branches look. The new buds are swollen giving a red and green hue to everything.
6:45 pm – I arrive at Howard and Nancy’s home and, you guessed it, hugs and kisses all around! It has been a year since we have been together and your heart kind of does back flips – ya know what I mean? Howard helps me unload my truck. We store my gear in the room that has been mine since 2006…While we store my fishing gear; Nancy prepares a beautiful roast beef dinner. Yum! Afterward, Howard helps me rig up my rod as we prepare for our panfish hunt tomorrow. When that is completed Howard and I sit out on the back porch, sipping liquid pain killer over ice! It is still very hot, it got to 90* today and it is supposed to stay that way until Tuesday evening…Wow! I hope this won’t affect the fishing. We talk about all that has happened in our lives over the last year…At one point Howard gives Ed a call, hoping we can hook-up for lunch tomorrow…We’ll see!
11:00 pm – Lights out in the house! Tomorrow will be a very early rise. I sit in a comfortable chair reflecting on this tradition, attempting to put it to words for this entry…
4:00 am – Rise and shine sleepyhead! Howard’s voice penetrates my dreams and I slowly wake…I can smell freshly brewed coffee as I hurry to dress. This one simple thing takes me back to the salmon trips that I spent with Ed…Remembering traditions!
6:00 am – Howard and I slide his 12’ aluminum boat with trolling motor into the pond. This pond is a little smaller than the one we usually go to but it is much deeper. As we scoot across the pond, the crappie are rising and swirling at the surface. Woo wee, looks to good to be true! Howard maneuvers his boat out to the center of the pond and we drop two anchors. I take notice that the wind is dead calm…
Today we are using small shiners hooked to a 1/16 oz jig and a float. We are both using two rods and Howard puts waxies on one of his rods and I put a crawler on the other, all with a float. Howard takes a water temp. reading; 72*…He comments that it is much warmer than last Friday! Like I said earlier, I hope this hot weather doesn’t mess us up! Howard is first up, landing a very large bluegill on waxies. I follow with a very nice catfish taken on a shiner, which I lost right at the boat! We moved around, out in the center, several times as we sought to find the crappie
…Nada! Howard move the boat near the shoreline on a hunch that these fish have been pushed into spawn. Sure enough, we started hitting the gills!
We spent the next five hours catching some very nice size gills and a small number of large crappie.
The bite was tuff as the fish were into spawn…
Noon - We cruise on over to the launch area for a much needed break and some lunch…The heat has been brutal! While we are sitting in the shade that was provided by a large hemlock, a strong wind kicked up. As we ate, we watched the water become nice and choppy! So we decide to head over to the only area that we hadn’t tried yet, set the anchor and proceeded to catch several more gills and crappie.
As we looked back on the day we figured we had one keeper for every ten fish that was caught!
2:30 pm – The boat is back on its trailer and head back to Howard’s house. After putting the boat away, we settle in to preparing our gear for the run on Harvey’s tomorrow. Lake trolls are checked out, spoons looked over and of course our jointed Rapala minnows are gone over. The drags on the Okuma reels are set…I think we are ready to go!
5:00 pm – Nancy made lasagna for supper! Yummy! After dinner the three of use sat around talking about the things in our lives since last year…
10:00 pm – Early to bed for this boy!
4:45 am - I am up but a little sluggish at first. The coffee is hot and ready for me. Nancy’s home made sticky buns are for breakfast! Yum! We load Howard’s vehicle and head down the road to Harvey’s lake, the largest natural lake in the state of Pennsylvania.
6:00 am – Howard’s boat slips away from the dock, and we stet the boat on a straight track as we prepare to set up our lines. Currently there is no wind and we are the first ones out, which will make it easier to put the two riggers down and two flat lines out. Howard considered using plainer boards but changed his mind. We hook up lake trolls to both riggers and one of the straight lines. The other straight line had a J-13 jointed Rapala, orange sided and white belly with a 1 oz weight out front to keep it down to about six feet. This line was put back 100’. The straight line on my side had one of my lake trolls and a nickel plated spoon with gold tape and a ¾ oz rubber core sinker in front of the troll to help maintain an 8’ to 10’ depth. This line was put back 75’. Both riggers went down to 13’ and the line out was 30’. Both were using lake trolls and J-11 jointed Rapala’s, black back silver sided and white belly. After all lines were in, Howard made a big u-turn and headed back across the dock area to follow the shoreline around the lake. Fish on! Only 5 minutes into the troll and my flat line fires! I reel in a nice 16” brownie, my first for the season. We continued our troll, changing baits about every twenty minutes. Howard had a nice one on all the way to the boat before it got off. The port side downrigger fired twice but we didn’t hook up. At least we had a chance to try out many of the spoons I had made over the winter.
12:30 pm – After removing the boat from the water and storing our gear, we pulled the boat into the shade that was being provided by two large pine trees. There we sat and ate a sandwich and told stories about ole pie face! The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning all the fish that had been caught over these last two days.
Nancy made a great ham dinner and of course we had home made apple pie with French vanilla ice cream.
9:00 pm – It is now raining and it is very windy. A cold front is moving in and we wonder if it will still be raining in the morning.
10:00 pm – Lights out for this tired boy!
4:30 am – When we rise we are greeted by the sound of rain…This give Howard and I an excuse for sleeping in!
7:00 am – After a few hot cups of coffee Howard, Nancy and I head out to Francis Slocum park to check out the camping facilities. I want to come up here this summer and camp while I fish Harvey’s lake. Oh, did I tell you there is a lake at Francis Slocum? It is stocked regularly with trout and has an established musky, walleye and bass population. It is electric motor only but I think I could get into it!
Noon – After a hearty lunch, Howard and I sit down to making lake trolls.
We made ten in all and I took pics to use in a “How to” for lake trolls. We talked a lot about the times we have had over the years. About what the future may bring…I am sure it will all work out!
8:00 pm – We have a late supper consisting of pigs in a blanket…Yummy! Nancy is such a good cook, and she cooks for me and Howard every year…She is the greatest!
10:30 pm – We head for bed early tonight. Tomorrow morning the three of us will go out to breakfast before I head for home…It seems like I just got here!
6:45 am – I awake this morning to the sounds of the birds; really peaceful! We dress hurriedly and head for breakfast…After a hardy meal; we hugged and talked of all the fun we had. Howard and Nancy are off to Hershey, Pa. Nancy must have stitches removed and a check up…I am sure Howard will post an update for everyone on the club web site. Saying good by is always difficult. Just yesterday Howard and I were talking about how we met the first time, and all the adventures we had over these last four years. This is one of those great traditions that you hope and pray will never end…See ya around the fishing hole!
LM since 2005 Bushwacker Deputy Sherif from S.E. Pa.