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Posts Tagged ‘Drift boat trip’

It was a cool fall morning when we launched the boats in the dark.  This was my first time rowing down the river in the dark and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to let me first ever customers know that though. I was lucky enough to have a veteran guide let me follow him down river.  We were the first ones in the river so we had our choice of spots.

At 5:15 am we dropped anchor at tail of the School House Pool. We only had about a hour and a half to sit in the dark and wait for legal fishing hours.  We hadn’t been sitting there 5 minutes when one of my guests cracked his first beer.  They had brought a 30 pack with them so this had me concerned.  I started rigging up the plug rods we would put out at daylight. Once the plug rods were set I made sure our bottom bouncing rods were ready then I drank my coffee while they drank their beer.

When I put out the plug rods at day light there were at least 6 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat and fish all around us. I was praying we would hit a few fish on the plugs and get them to the net first thing. That was not the case. We had 3 hard hits that doubled the rod over but never hooked up. At that time you couldn’t run bead chains unless you had a special lures permit and being new I didn’t have one.

Now it was plenty light out and we could see the fish constantly moving through the current around us. You could also now see at least 10 empty beer cans in the front of the boat. I pulled in the plug rods and hand them the bottom bouncers. I am not going to lie and tell you we were trying to get the fish to bite. We were trying to line them just like almost everyone else on the river at that time.  I explained to them how to cast just up stream of the fish so as not to spook them and then drift the line back into them. They kept casting right at the fish. I would tell them to cast ahead of the fish and they would cast way upstream and get snagged. I retied and they cast directly at the fish again. I was in trouble and I knew it. After about 2 hours of this and a few more beers the fish were gone and it was time to pull anchor.

When we dropped anchor again there were about 50 in the current right along side the boat. I though we were safe because it was a bit deeper water so they could get away with casting a little too far upstream. They were having trouble seeing the fish so their casts were even farther off target. It seemed no matter what I told them they did the opposite. It wasn’t long before another guide came through saw the fish and purposely splashed his oars through the hole sending them fleeing. I was not happy and never forgot this moment. I didn’t say a word as I was the new guy on the river and I had customers with me. I let them cast for a few more minutes while I regrouped and made a plan. I knew something had to change if I was going to get these guys at least one fish.

We made a big move down stream where I could pull plugs in some deeper water. I knew this was our only chance as they were never going to get one casting.  We fished through the first hole with out a strike. There were a few shots from a liquor bottle taken though. As I was setting rods in the second hole I noticed there were at least 20 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat. I could tell the guys were far from sober. The second hole was money or at least it should have been. I watched the right rod double over and saw the fish thrashing on the surface. As I yelled “right rod right rod right rod” I rowed upstream as hard as I could to keep the line tight. Of course both guys tried to grab the left rod. By the time they got to the right rod the fish got slack line and came off.

There was only one spot left to try plugging before the boat launch. It was now or never and I was far from optimistic. I put the lures out again and started working them in the current. We were almost to the tail of the pool when the middle rod slammed down into the bow of the boat. I pulled hard on the oars and yelled “middle rod get it and reel”. I told them in the beginning you don’t have to set the hook, the fish will do it for you, just keep the line tight.  When he grabbed the rod out of the holder not only did he set the hook like Bill Dance but he dropped the rod right back down giving the fish the slack it needed. The fish was gone and so was all hope of saving the day.

Back at the lodge they told a bit different story to the owner who they had booked the trip through. They were not happy to pay all that money and not catch a fish. I was given the chance to tell my side  of the story when I stopped in later that evening. I learned a lot in that first trip. First and foremost I needed a special lure permit. Second there would be a limit on how much alcohol was allowed on my boat from there on out. This was when I decided if someone is just looking to catch a buzz they can hire someone else.

 

 

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Phil has fished with me the past 2 years. The first year was a great trip. We had 2 kings in the boat by 6:30 in the morning and put the 3rd in the boat about 10:30. Last year was not so great. Actually it was horrible. It rained the entire time we were on the river. To make it worse we never landed a fish. We only hooked one fish that turned out to be a very large brown trout that got off just inches from the net.
This year Phil and I debated where to fish when he came up. After looking at our options I told him I felt fishing the evening into the night in the river mouth would be our best bet. Turned out I was right. We started fishing about 4:30 pm and the boat was back on the trailer with a limit of King Salmon in the fish box by 8:30. Phil was obviously a very happy customer. Phil’s fish weighed in at 24,19,and 17 pounds. All very nice Salmon. The only problem he had was that he brought a cooler for Maryland fish to NY. As we say here we measure our fish in pounds not inches.

Phil should've brought a bigger cooler.

Phil should’ve brought a bigger cooler.

philsalmon1

philsalmon2

Team Pavati. I love this boat and so did Phil.

Team Pavati. I love this boat and so did Phil.

Built in fish box. Team Pavati

Built in fish box.
Team Pavati

24 pounds of King Salmon. Gotta love "the truth" scale. Pavati has it all.

24 pounds of King Salmon. Gotta love “the truth” scale. Pavati has it all.

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That’s right Salmon Season will be here in just a couple weeks. The DSR is reporting a few very early fish spotted in the river. I have not seen any myself or heard of any being hooked yet. This is normal for mid August.

The lake guys continue to catch some very nice fish down on our end of the lake. Which is a very good sign for our upcoming river season. Captain Chris Yard of Irish Knots Sport Fishing had some very trips this past week and weekend. If you are looking for a lake charter I highly recommend Chris. However if you are looking for a trip this year it may be tough to find a date he has left open. Still well worth giving him a call. His info can be found at http://www.irishknotsfishing.com.

If you are looking for a river trip I do have some prime dates still open however they are filling up fast. If you have a date you want call now. If I am not available I have a great network of guides I work with and I will get you on the water. Most people are wondering how this season will be after the tough season we saw last year. I can’t promise anything but judging by the way the lake is fishing I think it is going to be a good year. Last year at this time the lake guys were having a lot of trouble locating fish and that is not the case this year.

Don’t forget if you are looking for lodging contact Tailwater Lodge. It is an upscale fishing lodge located right in Altmar, NY. You will not only be staying the nicest rooms in the area, you will also have access to private river frontage on one of the best holes in the river. They also have an amazing restaurant and bar serving up delicious meals and ice cold drinks. I will include some pictures in this post for those that haven’t seen it. Check out their website at http://www.tailwaterlodge.com Also if you are fishing with me you get a discounted room rate. Just let them know when you book.

Don’t forget call soon if you want a chance to fish out of my brand new Pavati drift boat. They are by far the nicest boat on the market. Check them out at http://www.pavatimarine.com

Tailwater Lodge

Tailwater Lodge

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Wader Locker Room

Wader Locker Room

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I had the pleasure of fishing with Joe and Natalie today from Altmar to Pinneville. We started at the Schoolhouse pool where were Natalie caught here first ever steelhead a nice 9 pounder that put up a good fight. Joe also hook into a very good fish that would have been his first ever fish on the centerpin if it hadn’t made a hard run right at the boat and broke off.

Overall the fishing was slow today. We hooked five and only brought the one to the net. Most people we talked to on the way down had little or no luck. This time of year can be very hit or miss. The fish are in prespawn mood and the bite is either on or off. Today was mostly off. Actually all of our hook ups came at our first stop. We tried almost everything, beads, sacks, jigs, plastics, and plugs. The best bait was plastics today.

In another week or two the fishing will really heat up as the fish spawn and head back to the lake. Looking at the snow pack along the river and up on the hill we are going to have high water right into May again this year. I am going to offer Walleye and Steelhead combo trips the first week of May. Walleye at night and steelhead during the day. Call for details.

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The extreme cold weather we have been having has most of the river iced or slushed up. The only section that is fishable is from Altmar to Pineville. The weather is supposed to improve the next two days which should lead to more fishing pressure. However the snow will keep some away.

If you are planning on fishing this weekend I would bring some snowshoes and get away from the parking lots. There is plenty of good water that is not going to be easy to get to. The best way would be by drift boat but if that is not an option snowshoes will get you there. Hiking into the north side of the trestle would be a good bet for sure.

You best bet for baits will be single beads in natural colors or small egg patterns. Egg sacks will also be a good bet in white, pink, or blue. The water has been low and clear. We may get a little run off if temps go above freezing this weekend but it won’t be substantial. Lighter leaders will help also. I would recommend 6 pound fluorocarbon.

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My friend Andy had today off and asked me to take him down the river for a few hours today. We decided to meet for breakfast at 7 as he didn’t want to get up as early as I wanted him to. At about 8 we put the boat in the water in Pineville with plans of taking out at route 2A.

We both had stuff to do in the afternoon so the plan was to plug fish mostly and float fish a couple spots. We hooked one very nice steelhead fishing with a jointed Rapala while back trolling. Unfortunately the fish rolled right at the boat and the hook came out.

We talked to a couple guides during our float and everyone seemed to be saying the same thing. The fishing was better than it has been on the Salmon River but still a bit slow. We did see one boat land a very nice steelhead while fishing with a float.

I think if we had more time and had fished harder we would have caught a few. The river is very crowded right now and if you are going to fish from shore get there early to get the spot you want. After we took the boat out I drove up through Altmar and it almost looked like salmon season. I counted 8 boats still on the river from Pineville to Altmar and that was just what I could see from the road. Good luck and see you on the water.

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