Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Bass

There's nothing I would like more than take my son fishing for Father's Day, but we have at least a few years until that's going to happen. At seven months, he's mostly into steady naps- between brief periods of mayhem. I do hope to strap him into the baby bjorn and fish a safe, non-wading stream for a little while one of these days, just to see if it can be done. In the meantime, this Father's Day I settled for some solo fishing before joining the little guy and mom at home for the afternoon. I first had to make the difficult decision of where to go. I've had precious little time on the Croton streams so far, just one evening session that was short but sweet. I haven't even been to the Amawalk yet this season. I love it there, but I don't always catch fish.  And catching fish was definitely the goal this time. A sunny morning on a pressured stream isn't exactly a sure thing. In the end, I went for the closest thing to guaranteed action there is and took the boat out on Kensico to hunt for smallmouth bass. I've had a lot success this time of year drifting the shorelines and throwing poppers and streamers. It's tough to pass up a sure thing. And being able have a cooler of  beer within reach while fishing on a hot sunny day doesn't hurt either.

I set the alarm for 5:30 and was surprised to see the sun well on its way up already. I moved quickly and by 6:00 I was on the water and rowing to my favorite spot. I usually troll a streamer as I row, and right after I spotted something on the fish finder the rod bowed deeply- just like I hoped it would. This fish was putting up a strong trout-like fight- especially considering this was a 10 weight trolling rod. The ultimate goal on Kenisco, which I have yet to do, is to catch a big reservoir brown on the fly and I thought this might be the day. I was completely shocked when I saw the bright colors of a lowly yellow perch. A big one, actually, but not a brown. Oh well.

I made it to the shoreline where I usually find bass and started casting a big deer hair popper. I had a couple missed strikes, but the bass were mostly pretty elusive for the first hour or so. Finally I tried a streamer dropper, using the popper like an indicator and suddenly smallies started coming out of the woodwork. I didn't see them just cruising around like I have this time of year, they were tucked way into the overhanging branches and waiting to pounce. They went nuts for the black wooly bugger, completely ignoring the popper.  I didn't bother counting, I must have landed well over 20 fish throughout the morning. They were mostly little guys, but there were four bruisers that were a blast to tussle with, complete with jumps and deep runs at the boat. I had the security of 15lb fluoro tippet and an 8 weight rod that gave me the bullying power to get them to the net quickly. As I was fighting the largest one of the day, another big one swam over and followed it so closely I thought for a second I had hooked them both. After I let the first one go, I made another drift past the same tree and that second one came back to take a swipe at my streamer that promptly landed him in the net as well.  By now, I was feeling pretty good about my decision to fish Kenisco, I've never seen that happen on a trout stream. Eventually wind kicked up, like it always does on the reservoir, and the drifts got shorter and harder to manage. It was an easy decision to call it a day- the whole morning had been perfect and beyond satisfying. I don't know how long to wait to take my son fishing, but when he's ready I know we'll have a day just like this one.