As soon as I could walk my Dad took me fishing and I think I have spent the better part of 25 years fishing the Merrimack River myself from shore. Over time I have been able to find about 30 or so spots that are sure things but I always dreamed of being able to get out on the river and see what I could find away from the shore. Besides, poison ivy is never fun!
I was a bit apprehensive about taking the kayak out on the mighty Merrimack because it really is a good sized river and the current moves medium fast. I also have very limited experience fishing from the kayak. Seeing that I am totally dumb, I just went right ahead and did it today! I am glad I did.
There is a nice boat launch right near where I live and it is located in a region that I wanted to try with a boat, so that made it easy. I was supposed to get up at the regular time (5am) and be out on the water by 7am. Of course I went out with the wife last night for a while and then came home and stayed up too late! I was slow to get going, but I was on the water about 9am. What can you do? Here is a shot looking back at the river:
There were tons of fallen trees in the river from shore erosion, and I targeted these fall downs as I passed them. Smallmouth bass will not relate to wood structure unless they have nothing else, but largemouth bass love trees. I tried about 6 places and nothing happened. A couple of taps, but no fish. Here is one spot I tried:
I was not worried, I knew I needed rocks! Smallmouth love rocks, the bigger the better! I kept paddling along for a while and I was getting nervous as I had not seen the type of rock strewn bottom I was looking for. After travelling for about 20 minutes I finally found what I wanted. Only One problem, these pesky ducks came in from the shore and would not leave me alone!:
You can see the boulders in the water at the right hand side of the picture.
Things picked up, but sunfish kept grabbing my senko lures as soon as they hit the water! Here is a good sized sunfish:
Here is a really awesome colored pumpkinseed fish:
I was fishing 3 inch fat senkos but I switched to 4 inch regulars to get rid of the tiny fish. Of course, then I caught a bunch of tiny smallmouths:
This one had great color and the darkness of the fish clued me in that the bass were in much deeper water. If this guy had not been caught, several big fish would not have been caught either, HAHAHA!
I backed out a ways, about 50 feet and there the water was about 12-18 feet deep. I switched to 5 inch senkos and stayed right on the bottom. I could feel big rocks as the lure bumped bottom, so I knew this spot was going to be very good. I was slowly bumping the senko back when a small tap made me give some slack line. The line started to move against the current so I slowly reeled in and applied pressure to turn the octopus hook up and WHAM!!!!!!!!! It was on! This fish stayed deep, right at the bottom and was so strong. River fish are way more powerful than lake fish due to having to swim in current all the time. This was a big one. It took about 6 minutes to get the fish ready to come in the boat. It was a bruiser river smallmouth, about 4 pounds:
See how big this fish's eye is? That's how you can tell a big smallmouth!
I put the fish back in the water and it took a minute for it to get going. I did not take anymore pictures of fish because they were all pretty good sized (2-4 pounds) and after the fight they were really done so I wanted to get them back in the water as soon as possible. I caught 12 total in about 2 hours.
At some point my anchor (a 7 pound hand weight on a rope) got wedged in some rocks so I had to cut the line. I used the wind to drift fish the area and it seems I have found a great 15-25 foot deep rock strewn flat teeming with big fish. Unreal. I will be going back, count on it!
My friend Mark had this to say:
Why do we call skipping work or school "playing hooky"?True talent is rare in this world, enjoy it when you see it!
Perhaps it is based on the word hook? I'm just trolling for fresh ideas. Just angling for a new spin. Spawning some thoughts. Weighing-in with my opinions.
Have I hit bottom? Is the jig up? I feel a backlash. I'm bobbing and sinking here. I should probably stop now before I cast off some real barbs. That would be a real drag. Some just don't appreciate puns and would likely throw a few carping remarks at me! I'm almost baiting them!! I need to learn to shut my large mouth!
Oh buoy. I've crossed the line. The lure of streaming puns was just two great lakes. I've hit my limit. The pun reservoir is dry and I can't restock it.
A good day away from work and the markets.