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Old 05-19-2011, 07:29 PM
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Default Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

I don't know that I've ever had a bad day fishing, even when I flipped the canoe and my wife's spinning gear sunk to the bottom. This afternoon's mission was to shoot over to the local lake, and see how the crappy were biting. I tied on a #10 Wooly Bugger, and began catching crappy immediately. After 30 minutes, I ran into a friend that I hadn't seen since May 2010.
All good so far. He was interested in the stocked trout, and was fishing powerbait 90 feet from the bank. I cast 15 feet from the rocky edge, and caught one crappy after another. It began to rain, and my friend left. I decided that things were going too well to let a little rain stop the fun, and stayed.

After moving to a bank that really had a steep drop, the crappy-fest only got more exciting. Most of these fish were huge, and I previously posted some football sized crappy from this lake last year. It began to rain again, and a couple of other anglers and I took shelter under a pavillion. Wind, rain, lightning and thunder lasted about 30 minutes, but we decided to stay. They had heavy accents, and I asked where they were from. They were Ukrainian, and were very interested in my fly fishing outfit. They said they had seen fly fishing on television, but never in person. I gave them my 20 minute presentation, and the rain had nearly stopped. They told me they were interested in catching bass, and I told them that the crappy were biting much better. When we reached the bank, it only took a couple of casts for a LMB to nail my little wooly bugger and dive for the bottom. I yelled for the Ukrainians to look, and eventhough they were only 25 feet away, it took them a minute to come out of hiding. There are many Russians and Ukrainians that fish this lake, and most don't have a license. They cast their baited lines into the water, and then take refuge in the trees along the bank. They emerged just in time to see the bass leap out of the water, and shake its head in the finest fashion. Just when I was reaching for my net, the bass leaped again, and spit my hook. He came crashing down onto the water, and seemed a bit surprised himself that he had earned his freedom. I catch a lot of bass, and would estimate that this one was 18-20 inches, and fat. It was a great thrill on my 8'6" 4wt rod, and something that I wasn't expecting. I would have enjoyed landing it, but it was my first decent warmater fish of the year. Thinking back, there wasn't really anything bad today, and I was reminded why I love that lake so much. It suffered badly last summer, and I would estimate that 50% of its water was lost due to drought. Its banks looked more like beaches, and the water had receded well over 50-75 feet. It also turned an ugly brown color. Nature seems to be robust, at least in this case, and the lake is everything it was last May.....

P.S. Here's one of many crappy I caught this afternoon. They were mostly this size, and catching one after another is a real
riot on a moderate 4wt!

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by FrankB2; 05-23-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Congrats, but I have to think that your a little crazy to fish today. With all the tornadoes and what-not we've been having.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Great story Frank and congrats on the fish.

I wonder why they don't buy licenses?

Dave
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Anthony,
The weather forecast was 50% chance of rain, but I wasn't expecting it to rain during the second 50% of the day. It was a drizzle that became a downpour, and then ended briefly. That's when I caught the bass. Then the real storm began: downpour, thunder and close lightning, along with wind. I hiked back to my Jeep and grabbed a raincoat. I was set for the next two hours.

Dave,
There's been some speculation about why they don't buy a license: not here legally, too cheap, philosophical objections, etc. I think it's just because the older guys don't have them, and the younger ones follow. Bucks County has a couple dozen park rangers, and all but one (as far as I know) looks the other way. These guys don't get out of there comfy SUV's to enforce much of anything, and I've seen some crazy stuff happen right in front of their eyes. The state park rangers in the nearby park just park their SUV's near the crowded area, and shoot the breeze with anyone willing to walk past. There are "No Swimming" signs posted along that park's stream, but the rangers do nothing when toddlers show up in bathing suits and shoot the rapids. ! There's another state park about 20 miles away, and the rangers there run a tight ship. That park has a very large lake, and the rangers patrol it tirelessly. They can spot an infraction from a mile away, and are on you like a drill sergeant. The county rangers roam from park to park, but the lake I fished today is home to the county's park headquarters. There's always a ranger in the park, but I have yet to see one (other the one I mentioned above) get out of their SUV.

When I said that the other fishermen were fishing for bass, I should have noted that these guys don't put fish back. Their fishing rig consisted of a 1 inch bobber, some hooks, and sinkers the length of my index finger. Their bait bag fell over, and a can of corn and a cup of worms fell out. I don't know how that all fit together (especially since the sinkers could anchor a canoe), and they didn't catch anything. I have pointed out the bass season dates at that lake before, and would have gladly educated them if they caught any.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Frank: Despite the bad wx it looks like you had a good time catching fish! Too bad the rangers don't do their jobs enforcing the rules.

Larry
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Hey Larry!
More good with bad as far as not enforcing license laws. When I first fished this lake (Lake Luxemburg), it was swamped with fishermen during the Spring trout season. That was over 30 years ago, and the opening day crowd looks like a cold day in December. The Russians use the park, and a few even have a license. The lake's original purpose was to be an impoundment for rain run-off. It's become one of the county's best largemouth fisheries, and is stocked with trout during the spring and fall (southeast PA is open to trout fishing 11 months each year!). Ignoring the rules and keeping trophy bass isn't an ideal situation, however.

I was fishing a fly fishing only section of Ridley Creek in Ridley Creek State Park a couple of years ago. A Russian guy had a joint compound bucket just upstream of the ff'ing section, and it contained his lunch, bait, and a rod that he had whittled down to a length that fit inside the bucket! After quickly casting his baited line into the stream, he would put the rod back in the bucket, and then sit on top of it. It was one of the funniest things I've seen while fishing, and the park rangers there don't play games. TU members are all over that stream, so I'm sure someone said something.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

frank,

those are some nice crappies! sounds like you had a great time , minus the weather.
what depth were you finding those big boys, and what sort of strip were you using?
ive caught alot of crappie on a catalpa pattern, seems to work good, also a whole plethora more on random patterns, but i think ill try the old stand by bugger.


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Old 05-20-2011, 01:55 AM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Quote:
Originally Posted by caseywise View Post
frank,

those are some nice crappies! sounds like you had a great time , minus the weather.
what depth were you finding those big boys, and what sort of strip were you using?
ive caught alot of crappie on a catalpa pattern, seems to work good, also a whole plethora more on random patterns, but i think ill try the old stand by bugger.


casey
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

Looks like it was a good day in spite of the bad weather, I too have never really had a bad day fishing.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: Taking the Good with the Bad....Sort of....

I don't care what the weather is doing when it's a day like that. I had one of my best day's fly fishing for trout on a day that started out with rain. Nice report and I hope you have more days like that there.
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