Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anthracite Outfitters August 22 & 23 2011 trip and report

With recent weather in the Northeast and everything that has come with it, the reports have fallen behind, I appreciate your patience while I try and get caught up.  Anthracite Outfitters  attention has been directed towards those that were affected by Irene and then by the massive floods that recently happened from the remnants of TS Lee here in Northeastern PA.

Family friends and acquaintances have lost much from the flooding even with some friends having completely lost their homes, nowhere to be seen and washed away clean to the ground.

This report is from an overnight trip on the Susquehanna River on August 22 & 23.  The second day of the trip was actually the day that the earthquake hit in Virginia.  Just before lunch on that Tuesday we were slammed with phone calls from friends and family asking of we had felt the tremors while on the river, we didn’t and our trip finished up nicely.

Our trip started out with a mid-day start in order to get the most out of the weather and the river between our launch and campsite. 

We stopped for lunch at the mouth of a feeder stream and the guys worked the structure while I prepared lunch so that we could fuel up for the afternoon bite.

The timing was going to place in the area called the “Boulder Garden” towards the late afternoon when the cloud cover was slated to move into the area.  I wanted to be under the cloud cover as we drifted into and through the boulder strewn area of the river, hoping that the change would turn on the bite, it did just that.

The hits started out fast and furious for Tony, Carl and I with close to 40 smallmouth coming within an hour time frame and almost a fish on every cast.  The average size was around 13” and we had some fish pushing 16”+, not huge, but an absolutely solid bite and hot action.  The clouds, structure and fish all came together at the right time.

We finally made it to our island campsite and I set camp for the night and we settled in around the fire and then into our tents for a deserved nights rest on the river.

The next day started with pancake breakfast and then on the river we went.  The day was clear, warm and the bite was a bit slower than the day before, but we managed to land fish and enjoy the day.

Right before we stooped for our hot chicken wrap lunch, Tony landed another nice smallmouth.  Coincidentally the timing of this fish was right about the same time the earthquake hit Virginia and was felt all the way up here in Northeatsern PA.  When we stopped for lunch right after the fish was released is exactly the time that all of our collective cell phones had begun to ring non-stop with the news about the quake.

This pic was taken in the wrong settings and was completely blown out, so this is the best I could get it.

The guys truly enjoyed their trip and will be making this an annual event for these fishing partners.  The Susquehanna River never failed to provide a great angling experience accompanied by great vistas and good company.

The Hobie Quest’s shined again and as great river kayakfishing platforms, while the Ocean Trident 15 performed like the workhorse that it is, carrying all the gear that we needed to enjoy ourselves and then some.

This has been one of the toughest seasons that I have had on the Susquehanna River, muddy water, high water, record breaking floods and what has seemed like endless ran showers and thunder storms all season long.....

This trip was a great time, spent with great guys on an awesome river and really that is all that we could have asked for. Tight Lines!

Capt. Daniel Hubbard
Anthracite Outfitters

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anthracite Outfitters 8-12-2011 Susquehanna River Kayakfishing Trip and Report

This past weekend Anthracite Outfitters was lucky to get out on the river with a longtime friend for an overnight trip that we had planned for a year.  My buddy Jason had flown in from Calif. to see family and decided to take an extra day from traveling to try out kayak fishing on the Susquehanna River on an overnight adventure that would take us down about 12 miles of river and camping under the full moon….

The bite has been tough with the water being stained and slightly dirty for pretty much the whole summer and free time coming at a premium this year has just stacked the deck against my personal angling time on the river this summer, so needless to say I was excited to see an old friend and hit the river…

We launched later in the day and traversed through the boulder strewn area that is called the “Boulder Garden”as the sun had begun to set.  We managed to land a bunch of smallies in the 10” to 12” range and landed a few in the 16”+ range.

We pulled the Hobie’s up on the island and proceeded to make camp for the night.  The Hobie Outback and Quest have really proven themselves over the last few seasons to be excellent fishing kayaks on the river, carrying more than enough gear and providing perfect angling platforms in the shallow and sometimes very rocky Susquehanna River.

Unfortunately one of the larger fish was mortally hooked by the stinger hook on the spinnerbait that he inhaled and was harvested.  I practice C & R with all smallmouth, but just saw no sense in tossing him back only to die within minutes, he just wasn’t going to make it..

We used my favorite campsite on an island in the river that is below a high ridge line that shields the sun until about 11am in the morning and the moon as well until it is high in the sky at night.  The full moon rose above the ridge around midnight and turned the river into an almost seemingly daylight fishing experience, but really shut the bite down in the same respect.

This image was captured at about 1am.

This image was captured at 2:30am from the campsite.

The following day we awoke to a pancake breakfast and really enjoyed our float down river to the vehicle enjoying the peace and quiet that only the river can give.  Just before our exit point we ended up picking up a few more smallmouth in another larger boulder area with some deeper water.

Smaller swimbaits and white spinnerbaits were the ticket and the fish are holding tough in the ripples and rapids behind the rocks on the down river side looking for that oxygen rich water that is naturally being cooled through the elevation drops and rapids and waiting for the food that is being transported down river through the small current seams and food conveyor belts that snake through and around the rocks and boulders on the river bottom. 

This was the best trip so far in 2011 for Anthracite Outfitters, shared with a great longtime friend over two spectacular days on the Susquehanna River here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Capt. Dan Hubbard
Owner:  Anthracite Outfitters LLC

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anthracite Outfitters North Branch Susquehanna River Conditions and Catching Report for the week of 5/11/2011

The river finally managed to drop to an acceptable level for the kayak, so I figured with the spring we have had it was time to get out while the getting was good. The day was warm, in the 70’s and partly sunny. I launched around mid-day and was surprised the find the launch ramps were still buried in mud from the previous high water events that we have had this spring.

Once I was done dragging the kayak and my gear over the slippery mud that was ankle to calf deep in spots I was off on the first kayak fishing trip this year due to the river levels and unfavorable weather.

Anglers need to be careful around the river during these conditions because even though the levels were down, the flow rate was not and the banks are extremely slippery and the water is still very cold. An angler falling into the river would be swept downstream fairly quickly in the colder water and would have a hard time getting back up the slippery bank, so caution needs to be taken when fishing the Susquehanna or any river in these conditions.

I quickly made it downstream to a feeder stream that was swollen; I set myself in the small eddie at the mouth so that I could easily swing the lure across the merging currents and the small seams that they were creating. First cast with a 6” Storm swimshad and I had a 30” Northern hit it just as it broke the current seam at the edge of the eddy pocket running tight to the bottom on a slow retrieve. Not a bad first fish for the first kayak trip this season. Several casts later I lost a musky at the side of the kayak and decided to move up into the feeder.
This ended up being my only fish for the afternoon, but not for a lack of trying. Some days are just better than others.

I was targeting Pike, Walleye or Musky, so I wasn’t looking for or even fishing for smallmouth, which are in their spawn time currently and are only a catch & immediate release fishery from mid-April through to father’s day. I like to give them a break this time of year and concentrate on the musky, Pike or walleye while they are still very active with the colder water temps.

The river was a work out to get back upstream with the increased flow rate and would have been a tough paddle, but this season I’m using a Hobie Outback and I have to say that the Mirage Drive System on the Hobie made heading back upstream against the current in that particular area much easier than it would have been by paddle.

The river is forecast to rise again to a level that I prefer not to kayakfish on, so as soon as I can I will get out there and catch up another report.

Capt. Daniel Hubbard

Anthracite Outfitters Owner/Operator
Pa Licensed & Insured Fishing Guide
Tactical Anglers Pro-Staff