Sunday, December 20, 2009

Anthracite Outfitters 2009 season re-cap


First and foremost to any who may be reading this, on behalf of Anthracite Outfitters LLC, Eddy Rider and I {Fish Tank}  wish you and yours a safe, healthy, and Happy Holidays. May the ensuing new year prove to be fruitful, and may trophy fish grace your continued kayak fishing and angling pursuits!!! CHEERS!!! 

As I type this inches of snow have fallen here in the past 8hrs. Many of you may be witnessing the snowfall measured in feet. Aside from our beloved , resident,"Southern Derelicts" , many of us have taken measures to ensure our  kayaks enjoy a peaceful, and safe winter hibernation. Many of us have stowed the rods and sorted the lures, as well eagerly await the arrival of Santa Clauss and the accoutrements of the kayak angler he hopefully has placed on his reindeer driven platform, which are destined to be placed under our Christmas trees.  For me, whom as Eddy Rider says; is afflicted by a "psycho fishing obsession" , this is a particularly restricting, and trying time of year. I am writing this at 2:40am and if the temps were above freezing I would either be flycasting to trout or targeting walleye in my riverine eddies. However, it's below freezing and I can't afford to destroy a fly line with ice, the eddies on the river where the walleye are, are shielded in ice  from my column probing lures, and my lakes have yet to build an ice sheet that would support my 265# petiteness. Given this seasonal weather induced condition I have no other recourse than to reflect upon the past angling year. This reflection always sees me delving into my angling archive of photos, captured for this occasion, whereby I may escape winter's angling prison. 

The embedded video is a collection of Anthracite Outfitters' finest times upon the water this past season. I took all the captures and highlights of the past season and created a slide show whereby one, who shares my "psycho fishing obsession", may briefly be removed from the throngs of our winter encapsulation and be reminded that winter, like time, continues to move along and before we know it our kayaks will be wakened from their hopefully brief slumber.

I hope you enjoy this piece and may winter be swift, and our ice encrusted waters soon be accessible by kayak!!!

Tight Lines and Enjoy!!!

Fish Tank


Friday, December 11, 2009

Anthracite Outfitters prefrontal walleye bite 12-08-09

Anthracite Outfitters prefrontal walleye bite 12-08-09

I hit my pet winter eddy again today. Here in Northeast Pa we are prefrontal. The weather all week has been cool, with daytimes hi's barely above freezing if that. There is a major system baring down on us, and as I type at 11:15pm the wind is howling. That means one thing, the walleye will eat. Today the air temp. by the water was 38degF. That's a perfect temp because when the air gets to 32deg the eyes on the rod, and the braid on the reel ice up and fishing becomes a chore.

The area I was fishing had a moderate main river flow, with a long, barely noticeable eddy and back flow. I can't emphasize enough how valuable it is to locate these eddies for winter time walleye success. Not only do these offer the prey the ability to conserve energy, it also offers the prey, the walleye, the perfect vantage point to ambush forage which also seek the eddies to escape the main flow. The rule of real estate is etched in stone, Location, Location, Location.


The Rapala xrsh08 in olive. The walleye were all over this lure today, and it was the only one they would touch. I did have a couple twister tails bitten off earlier in the day, but once the sun got behind the mountain this Rap bait was gold!!!


The xrap shallow shad can cast. I was throwing a cast as far as I could. I varied the direction of the cast from quartering upstream, to straight out, and then quartering downstream. All three directions proved effective, as that varied the approach or drift of the lure into the seam areas of the contrasting flows of the main current and eddy. In all cases the technique remained the same:

1- after the cast, get tight to the lure with the rod tip pointing straight at the lure.

2- sweep the rod tip approx 135 degrees across the body in an upstream arc.

3- without causing the lure to resist the current, or in other words, letting the nuetrally boyant lure fall back, let the rod tip fall back to the starting position while taking up slack.{stay in touch with the lure}

4- Repeat steps 2-3 one more time{at the end of step 3 pause, staying tight for 5 sconds approx}

5- At this point the tension on the lure lets off because the lure had come through the main flow and was now in the outer edge of the eddy. From here on in it was one or two light pumps on the rod tip with varying lengths of pauses until the lure was retrieved all the way in. This lure swims and rattles with the lightest amount of retrieve.

The hits came as a THUMP. For a split second one may have thought they hit a snag. Then the rod came to life. Every walleye I caught over the course of 4hrs hit either on the pause, or right as the lure started back up after a pause. Not one fish or hit on a steady retrieve of any speed.{I tried that too, NADA!}


13 fish hooked

8 landed, four fell off because they were only about 16" and I was horsing them in. The last fish of the day rivaled the second fish of the day, approx 28" and I lost it and the lure because I was on a mud bank that was soggy, sloped off into 5' of water with muddy bedrock on the bottom, and it turned when I went to swing it out of the water. I am using 10#tensile Power Pro leader to 18" of 12#floro.

1 fish kept. The fish in the top image and only because it inhaled the lure and tore a gill in the fight. I brought it home and ate one fillet for dinner and am saving the other for Christmas eve. The fish in the image above is 28" on the button and pulled the bogas to 7#'s even. The fish that took my lure was equal if not bigger. Of all the fish landed most were easily 18" with only one landed being 16".


I was on foot because I can not afford a dry suit. If I had a dry suit, given that there is a launch right across the river and a bridge just down stream, and not to mention the creek mouth where I hit a 40" musky in the summer, I would have caught a HECK of alot more fish today had I been able to safely paddle alone in the near freezing temps!!!

Tightlines, safe paddling, and if the river doesn't ice up the walleye will bite all winter.

Fish Tank