It was one of those rare fall weekends when I didn’t have a kayak fishing class or guided kayak fishing trip booked. Honestly, I didn’t have to ponder what I was going to do with the windfall of time. It was one day before “go time” so I quickly ripped through my phone list looking for anyone who wanted to do some fun fishing. I was able to convince my neighbor that his grass mowing could wait at least one more day. My son needed no convincing at all. Fishing has been part of our normal routine quite literally since the first months of his life. His first camping/fishing trip took place on a cold snowy April when he was barely two months old. I can’t say that he did any fishing nor did he chop any fire wood but he certainly took the whole experience in stride.
Fall is great time of year for fishing. The colors are spectacular and the fish are feeding up heavy so they can survive the long harsh northeastern winter. My son, my buddy Dave and I mapped out a game plan to meet up in the morning and make a two-hour drive to the Susquehanna River. The “Susky”, as locals call it, is legendary for producing incredible numbers of trophy sized smallmouth bass. We would start the day with an hour-long paddle to an excellent fall fishing area dotted with large tree covered islands. The smallmouth bass tend to focus on the shallow gravel and rock around the islands during fall because they are teaming with shad and other bait fish.
The fishing around the river islands was everything that we expected. We used big swimbaits matching the colors of the baitfish that we observed in the shallows around the islands. The smallmouth bass gobbled up our presentation like candy. We didn’t bother counting the numbers of bass that we caught, but we all agreed at the end of the day that we caught “a lot”. There is much controversy in the fishing world in terms of how many fish “a lot” constitutes, so for the sake of this blog post I’ll define the number “a lot” as more that 20.
The highlight of the day was lunch. We beached our kayaks on one of the wooded islands and broke out our ultralight camping stoves. My son, Juan Jr. did the honors of bringing our dehydrated camping food to life. In no time at all we had a hot lunch. We spent quite some time on the island eating our astronaut food, replaying some of our catches and just enjoying the river in all its fall beauty. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day off from fishing.
"We spent quite some time on the island eating our astronaut food, replaying some of our catches and just enjoying the river in all its fall beauty."