Alex Esmeraldo and I have been fishing the tidal Housy on Easter morning for 10 years or so. Last year was the first time I can recall that there were other boats on the river with us. To the best of my recollection there were two.
Today, I counted 9 trailers at the Derby Ramp and another half-dozen at Sunnyside. A couple more boats came up river from beyond the Rte 1 bridge, too. I wouldn’t say it was crowded, but it sure wasn’t like having the place to ourselves.
Water temp flirted with 51 degrees before we hightailed it for the trailer just after 10:30.
Under bright skies and dead calm winds, the fishing was mediocre at best. At least that’s the way it seemed to me. But it might have been me more than the fish. Other than a 32 incher at the morning twilight, neither Alex nor I had anything decent. The problem was, I was barely catching anything at all. Alex wasn’t counting, but I’d conservatively guesstimate his catch at 75 to 80 fish. Meanwhile, I was counting, so I know that I caught 25.
We’d pull up on a spot and Alex would catch 8 or 10 to my 2 or 3. Or sometimes, my nothing. A big run for me today was catching two in a row followed by another one 3 or 4 four casts later. Something just ain’t right!
I probably spent too much time with a topwater bait in my hand, as there was zero reaction to it today. I also spent a good deal of time fishing a 1/2 oz head and a small (5″ range) bait, while Alex stuck with the 7″ and 1 oz combo. But most of the fish I actually did catch, came on the lighter head, so I kept going back to it.
I often stress the importance of repeating the same cast with the same bait, letting it sink for the same count, etc, after you catch a fish. I believe that kind of hurt me today. I think I was fishing something that appealed to a certain group of outliers. I should have been trying to duplicate Alex’s last cast rather than mine, because he was the one getting bit regularly, not me. When I did catch one, repeating what an oddball fell for didn’t help me until I happened to run it by another oddball of a similar bent.
Trying to piece it all together, I think I was fishing too slow and too deep, too often. Or maybe not. I haven’t felt out of the loop with the fish like I did today in a long time. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon. Like on my next trip.
Here’s Alex with the day’s only keeper.
Steve Durkee and I hit the Housy today. Water temps as low as 45 and as high as 49. Clarity 6 to 8 feet up river, 3 to 5 feet down below Rte 1. Yes, we covered a lot of water today.
We caught in excess of 100 fish between us, but only 1 keeper, and that one was barely so.
The fun part was that we caught about 1/3 of our fish on topwater today. Who doesn’t love a topwater bite?
After putting 150 fish including 26 keepers into the boat yesterday, and enjoying topwater action all morning, Steve Durkee and I thought we had their number, and were looking for bigger and better things today.
We launched just before daybreak, and gave Carl Lovisolo’s partner Patrick, a ride out to Carl’s boat. Steve put the Minnkota on spot lock so Carl could pull up alongside and Patrick could safely step from our boat to his. Since we were on spot lock anyway, as Carl pulled away, I made a cast. Caught a 26 inch fish right there, before we even went to any of our fishing spots.
Oh, boy! Great day on tap for sure!
Yeah, not so much.
Actually, once we got to where we had intended to start, the first hour of daylight went more or less according to the script.
Got some quick topwater action, and the jig rigged soft plastics produced a few keeper sized fish. But the bite was definitely slower than we expected, and the jerkbait that was so hot yesterday was going untouched. The big difference though, was the lack of preyfish in the area that had been chock full of bait just yesterday. There were still bass around, but once the sun started to get high, catching them got to be a whole lot more tedious than we were expecting, and just enough tougher than we were willing to deal with, that we knew we had to find some new water.
Just to steal a little more time out of what was already set to be a shorther than normal day, while trying to get into a shallow area via an even shallower route, we bumped a gravel bar with the trolling motor, and broke the shear pin. Steve’s spare parts were in his other boat, and we were about to improvise when the ever prepared Rick Zucca came by. Of course he had a Minnkota shear pin on board. A few minutes later, both boats were on their way off to find some biters.
An hour later, we’d found a fish here, a couple there, and had pretty much run out of options, unless we wanted to make a long run — a move that would severely cut into the limited time I had left to fish, as I had an afternoon appointment to get to. But then my cell phone rang, and it was Zucca, telling us that the run we’d been pondering might be worth it. So we made the run.
And it was.
We didn’t add to our keeper total, but found some pretty fast and steady action for an hour or so before we had to split, and ended the morning with almost a hundred fish between us, including the keepers we got at our starting water before it slowed way down.
As good as the action has been since April arrived, it’s about to get better. Topwater season is here in earnest.
With the water temp in the mid forties and rising, Steve Durkee and I threw soft plastics on jigheads today. Jerkbaits too. Both caught us plenty of fish. But we threw unweighted soft plastics like Slug-Gos and Fin-S Fish more than anything else, and we caught more fish on them, too. With the warm temps today and even warmer scheduled for tomorrow, the topwater action should continue to improve. A rainy mid-week day on Wednesday might just really kick it into high gear.
Maybe it was because of the opening of trout season.
Maybe the early morning air temp in the mid thirties had something to do with it.
Perhaps it was the sustained 15 to 20 mph northwest winds in the forecast for the day.
Whatever the reasons, for a sunny, weekend in April, the tidal Housy seemed relatively uncrowded today.
I guess it could have been that there was an even better bite going on in some part of the river that Steve and I didn’t visit today, and it actually was crowded wherever that was. If so, was everybody else really smoking ’em while we had to settle for a 31 keeper day?
I don’t think so either.
At least for us, the fish were back on the heavier heads and bigger baits that they seemed to prefer earlier in the week. About half our fish came fishing the tail end of the swing and getting bit when the current’s effect on the lure and line hanging almost straight behind the boat at the end of the swing started lifting it in the water a bit. The other half came working the heavy lure aggressively in fairly shallow (<10′) water.
While we may have caught a few more hanging the bait in the current, I believe that most of the fat girls we hooked came from the shallow water pattern.
We didn’t stop to take too many pictures today. Just one good fish each, and pics of our double, double headers, aboard the Double Header IV. Steve’s nickname and his boat name are both Double Header, so named for the frequency with which both of the guys in his boat get their rods bent at the same time. So we like to take a pic when both a keeper aboard at the same time. Today, we had a pair of double headers, about two hours apart. The 2nd double was particularly exciting, totalling 74″ between the two fish (36 and 38 inches).
Our first double header of the day came early
Our 2nd double header of the day amounted to a 74 inch catch!
There was still enough color to the water to offset the bright blue skies and keep the big fish chewing.
This is what we call a fat girl.