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Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

I like the summer weather when the humidity is low and having cool early-morning temperatures. With such conditions I decided to spend some hours enjoying the conditions.

This venture would include a two or more mile hike and some fishing.

I was fortunate to see some wildlife this morning. I saw eight different deer and three buck. Two were running together in the fog and I managed one decent photo of one standing in the fog watching me. I saw two turkeys feeding along the woodland edge. I saw a Great-horned Owl fly out of a tree. if I would have been faster I could have managed a possible in-flight shot. Rabbits were out and about, as well.

Buck in the fog

During my walk I came upon a few bear tracks. I have been fortunate in recent weeks with bear sightings and I had hoped this one might appear somewhere along the trail.

Bear Track

Eventually I settled in for a little fishing. I had my very light tackle and began the fishing for Carp, but the catfish were biting well. I caught around seven or eight cats. One Bullhead managed a quick turn sending the pectoral barb into the fleshy part by my thumb. The barb actually stayed in the “meat” until I pulled on the fish to remove it. That has never happened before.

I haven’t been “hit” by a catfish barb for many years and the realization of those experiences immediately came to be. I bled, I hurt and became slightly swollen and red. In fact as I type this entry on Monday the 12th I can still feel a slight pain.

Some readers may not know what I am talking about at this time. The catfish family have stiff barbs on their dorsal and pectoral fins. To release a catfish one needs to grasp the fish in such a way the barbs can not jab into the hand. I have heard some believe they have a slight toxin and they might have some validity.

This morning had another first for me. My brand new, never-worn, boots were on my feet. I walked behind to the Nature’s Restroom, and noticed something shining among the vegetation. I had tramped upon a fishing lure and the one treble hook was firmly in place. I removed the boot to remove the plug and luckily the hook was in the thick bottom of the boot and not through the thinner material.

I took some photos of various wildflowers during the jaunt. I found the source of the Coronavirus, too. They grow on small shrubs in Pennsylvania. See photo below.

Swamp Milkweed

Dogbane Beetles

Coronavirus Blossom on a Button Bush

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Fishing Time

Largemouth Bass

I was out early this morning to try my luck with fishing. The temperature in the morning was in the forty degree range. I must admit I was a little chilled.

I set the minnow trap sometime between 4:45 and five o’clock. Little time evolved upon having a dozen or more shimmering little Creek Chubs and Long-nosed Dace. The jeep was loaded and off I went to see what adventures I could discover. I always tend to do some explorations during my fishing trips.

Fishing was slow early except for catching Eastern Sand Darter. These little fish can be difficult to catch for the size is never very big and they have small mouths. Sometimes they can strip a hook with very little movement at the rod tip. The funny part of this morning was how my dad and I would catch these fish years ago. I was reminiscing about those times for some reasoning and behold I caught a darter. We used to call them Sand Pike.

Eastern Sand Darter

I heard a commotion in the trees behind me and could see occasionally a hawk or owl through the foliage. Suddenly two Red-tailed Hawks came bursting forth flying very near to me. I grabbed my camera but they were gone until one flew out again close to me before moving higher in the sky. I managed one quick shot. the hawk had a Grackle within the talons. Other Grackles were not happy to see one of their own off for breakfast.

Red-Tailed Hawk with Grackle

A pair of Mallard Ducks continued flying back and forth.

Shortly, after eight I packed up and went elsewhere to fish. I walked close a quarter of a mile to the shoreline. My first cast brought forth a nice catfish. The fish must have been 18 to twenty inches. A nice fight was had. Moments upon releasing the cat I landed a real fighter and jumper of a Largemouth Bass. I would catch Bluegills and Pumpkinseed panfish, too.

I saw a Great-Blue heron, and Osprey and a Bald Eagle while fishing. I would see a number of Gray and Fox Squirrels, too. A highlight was a hen turkey walking around. I managed a few shots before she exited the field area.

Female Mallard

Beautiful morning

Killdeer

Catalpa Blossoms

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Golden Rod

Yes, the summer season for the year 2020 is heading down the road to the autumn season.  Recently, this past week, I went for a walk to a state game lands pond approximately a mile back in. I obtain the benefits of walking plus fishing during one excursion. I have placed posts from fishing this pond in the past. I enjoy catching Carp on light tackle or even a flyrod.

One observation being very prominent this past week were the end-of-season wildflowers. Yes, with the golden fields of the Goldenrods the frosts can’t be far away, in fact, as I type this on  September 18, frost watches and warnings are being forecasted for counties north of SR 422. This land area includes northern Armstrong County where I reside. Oh well it is the last half of September.

Turtlehead Wildflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Aster

 

Spotted Jewelweed

 

Bullhead Catfish

Dew-laden Mullein leaves

This excursion yielded two flocks of turkeys, one deer, a flock of Canada Geese and a very brief glimpse of a Black Bear at about thirty yards. The fishing wasn’t too bad either for I landed some Bullhead Catfish. I lost a few Carp due to the four pond test line on my light tackle rod and reel.

Buffalo Creek

 

 

Yellow Jewelweed 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday of this past week found my walking shoes along Buffalo Creek looking for whatever I could find to observe. I found a Red-spotted Newt. (Removed a Box Turtle from the road, too.)

 

 

 

 

 

Red-spotted Newt

 

Cocklebur

 

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The Wake!

My old friend from many years, Frank “Muskie” Maus and I were on the river early this morning. A heavy fog was  everywhere for some time. The air was calm, but the temperatures were to rise hot later.

We began the fishing excursion with surface lures anticipating a great day with hooked Muskies.  Sometime around 7:30- 8:00 A.M. I cast out far into the river. The retrieve began and a wake was directly behind that surface lure. A Muskellunge was in pursuit and immediately behind the lure. I continued the retrieve believing the big fish was about to take the lure and the fight would be on. I continued to turn the reel handle and soon I could see the fish. Within seconds I had the lure alongside the boat and the Muskie was immediately behind the lure. Would this fish take the lure?

 Within four or five feet from me I saw the mouth open wide. The white of the inner mouth was highly visible.  I thought to myself, get ready and hang on!

The Muskie, just as quick, closed his mouth and turned back and disappeared into the depths of the Allegheny River. I was not saddened by the failure of the fish to take the lure, but extremely thrilled to have witnessed this event. Would I have preferred to have the Muskie hit the lure? Of course I would, but I was excited and immediately called the fishing day a success.

Mallard

 

 

Interesting enough, we fished into mid-afternoon and did not have any additional strikes. That , my friend, Is Muskie fishing in a nutshell.  One never know how a day will turn out. Frank has been very successful this year with the golden colored fish. Frank is a “Muskie Professional”, in my book.

Other species of wildlife viewed were mallard Ducks, Wood Ducks, Great-Blue Heron and Belted Kingfishers.

 

 

 

 

Wood Ducks

 

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Along The Allegheny River

Freshwater Drum

I have been fishing off and on, several times to a local pond where I caught Bullhead Catfish and Carp. I enjoy the site, fir the walk to arrive is about one mile and I never see anyone. Today, however, I ventured early south of Kittanning to fish along the great Allegheny River. Action was god for a time, as I caught three Smallmouth Bass rather quickly. Also, I caught something and the weight either broke the line or cut the line with sharp teeth. Regardless, the certainty of a catch lasted a millisecond.

Cardinal Flower

I had another very hard hit and assumed I had caught a nice catfish, by the way it rolled upon retrieve. But, I soon saw the peculiar shape of a Freshwater Drum. Locally, they are often called Sheepshead. The action soon stopped and I failed to get anymore hits, so I walked along the shore to take some photos.

 

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Longnose Gar

I set my minnow trap around 4: 20 A.M. in preparation for a fishing excursion along the Allegheny River.  I was at the river by six in the morning to catch the “big un.”

The fishing was actually good this morning. The weather was beautiful although we had I witnessed several times where some rain fell. None of these events were long enough or hard enough to make anything wet. the usual swift current was workable for a change. I only lost one hook where I usually snag  often. I had watch my broken fishing pole sink into this water here recently.

  I caught varied species of fish. They species included: White Catfish; Flathead Catfish; Walleye and Smallmouth Bass. All of these species put up a nice fight and I truly enjoyed their participation.  However, I caught two fish of another specie…the Longnose Gar.

The gar is not an easy fish to catch due to an extremely bony long “nose” full of sharp teeth.  Simply put; getting a hook to becoming set is difficult. The best wat way to catch gar is to allow them

The narrow-long mouth area with sharp teeth

to run with the bait until they get it into proper position to set the hook. The problems are: most of the time you get a hard bite and do not know it is a gar so the fishermen reacts normally thinking a bass or similar fish is the one biting.  the fisherman heaves back to set the hook only to feel no weight of a catch. And if the fishermen actually knows the fish is a gar, at what time does one believe the fish has the minnow in place for a catch. Not easy!

Most of my fishing adventures over my years never once realized any gars. They were native to my area, but had been gone for many decades. The cleaning up if the Allegheny River allowed this specie to, once again, flourish locally. the Paddlefish has been reintroduced and is doing well, too. That specie gets big.

The Longnose Gar will reach 24, or so, inches in length and up to four pounds. However, they put up a good fight. As stated, I managed to catch two.

Interestingly, I believe a school of this specie must have been in the area, for I missed some fish bites. These bites were hard with a heavy pull and a strongly, bent rod. At some pint after catching two, I began to think some of these misses may be other gars.  I even tried dropping the bail and allowing the fish to take off before settling down a bit. The fish would take off again and I would heave and fail to catch.

I saw a Musky fish-tailing the water.   I saw some Wood Ducks and Mallards, Great Blue Heron and some Ring-billed Gulls, too.

Flathead Catfish

One bird I saw and watched for a time was a Common Loon. This loon was an immature, non-breeding loon.  I was fortunate to have the camera on this bird as it raised up and flapped the wings.

Common Loon

 

 

 

Purple Loosestrife

 

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Carp Chasing

CARP

I enjoyed some fine time in the cool of the day while chasing Carp. I enjoy catching these fish on light tackle and I always find a few days afield pursuing them. As I walked the distance to get to this fishing site I heard a gobbler sound off. later I would see him and a few others.

This morning proved to an interesting one, indeed. The Crap, apparently, are in the midst of their breeding season. Crap were right against the shoreline. One might see, as many, as five Carp   together as they splashed around. I crept up within feet from some using the vegetation as cover. I dangled the bait at the surface or I allowed it to settled right in front of them and the bait was ignored.

Oxeye daisy

Soon, I realized they had other things on their minds, so I cast out farther from the shoreline. That worked! I began catching carp and some Bullhead catfish, as well. Fishing was good enough that I ran out of bait quickly.

I’ll be back again. Last week while fishing the Allegheny River where I caught Smallmouth Bass and a twenty Inch Channel catfish until my rod broke. I don’t know what I had caught. I could feel the actions, atlas, the half of the fishing pole is somewhere in the waters of the Allegheny! I snagged on an old log or something. I had hoped the fish would work out of the snag, but the pole and line had another plan and that was to BREAK!

 

 

 

 

 

First Monarch Butterfly of the year.

 

Turkey Vulture

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Morning On The Allegheny River

A place to fish.

Yesterday  in the late afternoon I placed my minnow trap in the creek in my back yard. Half an hour later I had more minnows than I needed for the morning’s fishing. I collected about a dozen and returned the remaining minnows for another time.

This morning I edged along the vegetated shoreline to go to a place I have had luck in other fishing excursions.   I am careful while maneuvering the smooth river stones after all I am getting old and feeble.

Smallmouth Bass

Eventually I spotted a wooden pier-like object along the shoreline. The pier had  steel bottom as if it had been made to be pulled along behind a tractor or pickup. This would be an excellent place to fish from. From this site I caught some nice bass from around fifteen to seventeen inches. I caught a catfish around twenty-two inches in length. Nice action while fishing with light tackle.

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Carp Fishing

Carp

Last week I spent a morning walking back to an area to fish for some carp on light tackle. I had a great time. I caught some and a Bullhead Catfish.

Happiness is a taut fishing line.

 

An Aster

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What A Fight!

Softshell Turtle

I left very early this morning to fish the Allegheny River before the sun became to hot. The thick fog lasted until about none o’clock. During this time the fishing was quite comfortable. I caught three Smallmouth Bass during my two hour fishing excursion. However, I caught something else this morning. I caught and landed a Spiny Softshell Turtle, often called a Leatherback. The carapace is unlike most turtles because their “shell” is soft and rubbery, hence their name.

The fishing pole bent way down when I pulled back to set the hook. Then the fight!  I wasn’t sure what I caught and expected a big catfish by the weight I was feeling and the fighting. Twice I could see the “fish” near the surface. I thought I was getting a glimpse of a fin or tail. Eventually, I brought the critter close enough to identify and , indeed, it was a turtle.

The temps were rapidly climbing and I pulled up the equipment and headed towards the jeep.

On a sad note, the area I was fishing will now be closed to fishing. I talked to a gentleman and he told me the property will not allow fishing anymore due to ATV traffic and trash and garbage thrown about. Partiers and, even sadder to say, fishermen continually throw their garbage out. He told me they even removed a burned up mattress.  The man was very apologetic to me and I told him I understood, for such activities are common all over.

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