Captains Log 2013
How They biting?
I started 2013 chasing that elusive musky. He wound up eluding me go figure. So I turned to the 3-6 # channel cats that inhabit the waters below Brunner Island warm water discharge. I got a treat with my 1st flathead of 2013. A 31 #er. Not a bad way to start the year off if I do say so myself
I am the proud owner of the largest and most state of the art fish finder on the market today. The Humminbird 1198c sonar,GPS Side Imageing combo unit. Some available options for this are. 360 scan for scannin 360 degrees around the boat. Ipilot link, which lets my trolling motor communicate with my unit. This thing is like cheating. The state record cant hide from us this year.
I have been very busy getting every thing ready for 2013.
I had my boat at Lake Side marine. They held it hostage for 2 weeks. They tried to make it right butt it was doomed to be a bad experience. I apologize to those that are on call for not having a boat during those 2 weeks of perfect weather. Despite the bad energy at least my motor has been professionally serviced and my electrical system is cleaned up and reliable. I got my new trolling motor with I pilot link. I was up until 1am trying to get it installed.
I took my friends and best customers out fri night. I thought we would get rained on for a half an hour or so when the front pushed through. It rained hard. Then It rained pretty steady the rest of the night. My $400 Fra bill storm suit left me cold and wet. It is less than 1 year old so I was disappointed. At least we all got to test our rain gear out. The cold front had a negative impact on the fishing. The fishing was slow. We put 9 flathead and 1 channel in the boat in 8 hours. Biggest fish of the night was 10#. We were limited to fishing protected areas because of the wind. I felt a little rusty. I need to sharpen up my game a bit
My close friends Shane and Mark came to visit. They are my 1st guests at my camper. They gave me a hand with some things around camp. Then we hit the water for a little catfishin just for fun. The wind subsided enough to fish the Maine reservoir. We got in to some fish immediately. We made a dramatic move to set up for prime time but it did not pay off. We only got a couple small ones. The wind picked up and it got cold quick. We moved to get out of the wind. It was slow. I think the cold has put the fish down. We caught 12 fish in about 5 hours. Our largest was only 12#. After fishing with my tournament partner shane. i can feel my game coming back. I was alot more pleased with our boat controll. It wont be long before I am back in the zone.
I was invited channel cat fishing with my good friend Steve Reed. Steve is a veteran channel cat expert. He was a serious competitor in the tournament scene. He does not compete anymore because he feels tournaments are hurting the fishery he loves. It was really cool to witness what he called red neck engineering. Every single thing on his boat was made by Steve himself from the rod holders to the anchor and everything in between. I was really impressed by the numerous modifications he has made over the years. You could tell this boat has seen many years of hard core channel cat fishing. The day started out cloudy and chilly. We caught fish right away but the bite was on the slow side until the sun came out. We fished from 8 am – 6:30 pm we only quit because they ate us out of bait. Between the 2 of us we caught roughly 20 channel cats. Almost all our fish were over 10#. Big fish of the day was 16 3/4 pounds. I had my 1st 20# plus on but the hook tore out horsing him in the heavy current. Another giant cat that got away. That’s what keeps me going after them knowing fish like that are still out there. At 1 pm steve pulled out a grill and a frying pan and we fried up some deer meat. He said "there is something up lifting about cooking and eating a hot meal on the water". I half to agree, the deer meat was delicious. It really hit the spot. The water temp was 52 in the morning and 56 and rising when we left. River was at 6 feet at Harrisburg and falling.
I was fishing this last fri sat and sun. Fri night Shane and mark came back down. This time shane brought his boat down so we could split up and find some fish. We found some but no size yet. The bite is on the slow side with the night time lows so cold. The water temp was in the high 50s the warmest I saw was 60.5 deg.
Andrew drove up from Maryland. He booked a 5 hour trip sat night. We did better than the last night. I think we caught around 9 flathead. Biggets fish was only 11#. I am seeing big fish on the side imageing. I can not get them to take a bait though. I feel its to early still. The day bite is better than the night bite right now. The warmest water I have found was 61.5 deg. There is a strong flow coming from the dam. I saw alot of debris in the water column on my sonar. Thankfully it was not fouling on my lines.
I was out scouting tuesday night. I got a 19 and a 12 pounder amoung the dinks. The fishing continues to improve as the water temps increase. Water Temp was 62 Deg. Bite is still on the slow side with the nights being so cold
I had a 5 hour trip with my repeat clients Mike ken and Jordan. The bite was better tonight and we caught around a dozen fish. the biggest was only 12#. Water temp was 65 The wind was blowing stong up river wich made boat controll more dificult. The wind calmed down later that night. after the 5 hour trip was over. I went back out and met up with my good freind shane. i anchored on a good spot then he tied his boat up to mine. Th bite was a little slower but we did put a 20#er in the boat. It was good to see a fish with some weight.
Shane and i fished seperately on saturday during the day. To cover some water. Mark came down for the 3rd weekend in a row. (I think hes Hooked) He brought his wife to show her how fun flat head fishing is. They arrived after dark. they fished with shane. The bite was slow again with no size what so ever.
I fished with my freind and tournament partner jhon Sunday night we boated about a dozen fish no size. water temp was still in the mid 60's
I used these days to scout out new places to gather bait. I love exploreing for new water it is one of my favorite things to do. I found many wonderful new places to get bait. My favorite is Muddy run reservoir. It is an electric only reservoir that I can catch bait from my boat.
I had an 8 hour 2 person trip wed with Jason and Bob. We just miised some nasty thunderstorms that went just north of us. Luckily we stayed dry. It was a warmer more pleasent night with no wind. The river surface was like a sheet of glass just the way I like it. This turned out to be a fantastick trip. with the river riseing the bite was on we caught over 30 cats and finally boated a good one. A 31 pound beauty that fought like crazy. next biggest was 14# the rest were smaller. We missed quite a few good bites with alot of petential. We were out untill 4:30 am. The river was at 4.3 and rising in Harrisburg surface water temp was 68 degrees.
Thanks to wed nights success I booked a short notice trip with brent kaufman owner of rock proof boats. The weather man was bad wrong. It rained hard the entire trip. Brents son Josh is a born fisherman. At 7 years old he didnt complain once. The raine didnt seem to bother him a bit. He just wanted to catch a giant flathead. We sat under a bridge for a little while but the raine never stoped so we went back out and fished in it . my rain gear failed badly and I was soaked. After 4 1/2 hours of slow bite. We called it a night. I felt bad about the weather and only boating 5 cats so I offered them a discount on the next trip.
I took Gene,Tim and Alison out on a 5 hour trip last night. The fishing was better with out the handi cap of the rain. The river was at 5.3 at harrisburg. Water temp was 68 deg. The river was riseing and cloudy but not muddy. There was no debris fouling on our lines luckily . Wich is the case usually with riseing conditions . There were a bunch of large storm cells that went just south of us. We could see the lightning flash here and there. We boated 9 flathead and 2 channels the biigest flathead was 29#. The biggest channel was 10#. They were very happy with our success and wll be coming back in october.
I had Don and dave out for an 8 hour trip. We caught 15-20 fish. It was a little slower than normal with the water levels up and the resent cold nights .The river temp dropped 8 Deg to 60.3Deg. the river was cloudy and at 5.1 ft and falling at Harrisburg. We manage to put 3 good fish in the boat among the dinks. A 16# and a 14# flathead and a huge fat 13# channel. 3 new personal best catfish in the boat is alway a good night. Don had so much fun he has already given me a deposit on next fri night. Thanks Don for all the referals you are sending me. I am going to be a busy man. Busy catching giant catfish. I love my job and it shows.
Day 1 2013 big flat cat binge
I took randy and Jeremy out on a 5 hour after noon trip. We nailed a 23#er on the 1st spot before I even got all the lines out. The action was very good. The dinkers kept us very busy. It was good fun with my new freinds. We had so much fun in fact that randy has booked a total of 5 trips in 2013. I dropped them off. I went back out to my best big fish spot and waited. I got a couple more small ones but no state record. It looks like I will half to earn him a little more.
I had Ben and Jordan come back from last year. We fished all night the bite was ok. We got 1-4 fish at each spot. We caught around 20 fish some where. The biggest cat was 31#. Finally a 30 plus from Lake Aldred. These guys sure Know how to make fish look big check out the pics.
I relaxed around camp today. My site is surrounded by honey suckle bushes it smells really good. I have truely found my paradise. This is the best life I could ever hope to live. I love it at otter creek camp ground. i headed out around 7. I sat most of the night in my best spot and waited Great Pappy Cat out. Only caught 2 dinks. I got impatient after 5 hours and began to fish some new water. The bite was slow my biggest fish in the boat was around 15#.
It was hot today. My 1 fan I brought down was my best freind. I have AC but I dont want to use it untill I half to. I used the showers at OCC for the 1st time today. The facilitys are very nice. I got a cool shower that was really refreshing. I have a feeling I will be takeing lots of them just to cool off. They also have laundry facilitys so i never half to go home :). My good friend Steve reed came down to take a video of me catching the state record. Un fortunately i never hooked it ;( . We fished some new water I had been wanting to try. It rained a little but Over all it was a nice night with light wind. The fishing was exellent. The action was steady. We noticed the fish are starting to fight harder. we caught a couple in the low teens we thought were 20 plus. At the end of the night. Steve was fishing a HUGE bait right under the boat. When a 33#er crushed it. Text book big fish bite. Man did this sucker fight. When we saw the bubbles the size of trash can lids our hearts about jumped out of our chest. The fish are geting bigger now. This is a new PB flathead for steve. and the biggest in my boat so far in 2013
I had to end the 2013 big flat cat binge for now. I am booked up this weekend and will need more bait so Im heading home because of the cold front tonight. They are calling for a low of 40 and high winds for 2 days. I had to rescedual fri nights trip due to conditions. so I will get bait and be back at it starting Saturday night. For those of you looking to book a trip at a good time NOW is the time call me I dont get email at camp.
Summer Flathead frenzy....
Eat sleep fish........
This is my oldest berkley glow stick. Jhon nick named it old yeller for the bad paint job. This pole served me faithfully for 6 long years. I beat the hell out of her and she kept doing her job. She died last night attempting to lift a 14# flathead out of lake Aldred. A fitting way to go for a legendary rod.
This green sun fish was blue? it is the 3rd and largest green i caught this year that had this blue hue. Neat I thought. I wonder if its from eating blue cray fish. Like flamingoes turn pink from eating shrimp?
Happy birthday to me. My new stump puller a Penn Fathom FTH30 non level wind reel. It boasts 25# of drag and 37" of line recovery per handle turn and It has a clicker loud enough to wake the dead. I loaded it with 60 # berkley big game and mounted it on an 8ft Catfish Safari flathead rod with my famous green pait job. This new set up is like taking a gun to a knife fight:)
I was veiwing my sonar logs one mourning when I came acroos this. Flathead attacking a school of fish like a pack of wolves. Very cool
After getting my ego wounded in the last tournament. I hit the water with a vengence. busted 3 flat cat over 35# in 1 week. Got some war marks as a souveneir. I knew I could find some big cats :)
Flatheads LOVE keystone light... who Knew? :)
My PW flathead. Caught him catching bait. Aint he cute :). Yup I used him for bait no he didnt get munched. This group wanted a gag photo with him
We were using this Channel cat for bait. When Pat was winding it in so we could move. This flathead clobbered iton the way in. Flathead are eating machines and even the dinks will devour giant bait
No bait wont stop me. I found this musky twister in my boat. I was verticle jigging for hours with no succes. As you can see they were down there. I am determined to catch flats on artificial consistantly.
Biggest Flat Cat 2013
Its Labor Day weekend and the summer has come to an end. After 3 years of building and growing my business 2013 was the 1st year I attempted to run my guide business full time as my sole source of income. It’s scary and a huge risk relying on peoples interest to pay your mortgage. I took a leap of faith and went for it. I am proud to say I succeeded in doing what I have always dreamed of fishing for a living. I can honestly say every time I hit the water I get this overwhelming feeling I am where I belong doing what I was born to do. I have met so many wonderful people this summer. Each trip I learn a little more about folks, fishing, guiding and life.
It hasn’t all been warm and fuzzy. I had no Idea how difficult it would be running enough trips to cover my bills or how much of my time it would occupy. I remember 1 occasion in July it was the hottest part of the summer. I was out all night 3 nights in a row I had very little bait left so I went fishing for bait in the am after our trip. I was getting frustrated running the boat in to the overhanging trees where the bait was so I pulled up to an island and got out to fish from the bank. It was so hot I couldn’t keep the sweat out of my eyes. My worm bucket and the strap attaching it to me stunk so bad it could gag a maggot. It was making me sick. I left my bug spray at camp and the mosquitos were having a feast at my expense. I was so tired and so hungry. The bait was stressed due to the heat. I struggled to get enough. I did though. I always do. I went back to camp at 3pm slept till 6;30 then ran my next trip. Guiding is the hardest most time consuming work a person could do. However it is a labor of love. I am so grateful I don’t half to go to a job that I hate every day.
I fished in 3 tournaments this year. None of which I placed in the top 3. I also had a few trips this summer that the fish just wouldn’t cooperate. I don’t take things like that well. It makes me realize I need to fish harder, longer and, smarter. 4 days a week aint going to get that record in my boat. I need to be on the water every single night looking for new spots trying new techniques. I am going to pound at my craft until I reach the next level. The fall season is always the best fishing of the year. I am going to fish my ass off.
So to all my new friends I made this year and to all the ones I am yet to meet. Let us feed the addiction to the big cat fever and get HOOKED ON CATFISHING all over again…
LIVE, LOVE, FISH
The Catfish Gunter
Angelo and michelle with their 13 #er
I had a 5 hour trip booked for Saturday night. When I arrived at the ramp parking lot I realized there was a cat fishing tournament that night . I saw the opportunity for an epic night so i took a chance and entered the tournament. I would run the trip until mid night then finish the tourney by myself until weigh in at 7AM.
Angelo and Michelle came all the way from New York to fish with me. We had alot of fun and boated 12 fish. The biggest was 13#. They both got new PB catfish and some meat to take home to deep fry. Angelo said I exceeded his expectations. He had a really great time and will be back to get hooked on cat fishing some more.
The last 3 tourneys I fished didn't go well for me and I was determined to salvage some pride in this one... so, I put my game face on and went to work doing what i do. I fished My ass off. I don't think I sat down once. The bite was on the slow side. I had that 13 along with a 10 most of the night. My anxiousness grew as time dwindled away and I had no contenders in my fish box. I made my last move and was set up on my final location at 6;15. As soon as I got my 3rd rod set out the biggest bait in the water got freight trained! My heart about jumped out of my chest . I grabbed the rod and set the hook. It was a big fish with huge slow head shakes. I had him on for about 30 seconds when I felt the hook tear out. I screamed so loud you could probably hear me at safe harbor dam. My beast was gone along with my hopes of salvaging my dignity at the weigh in. The fish were really biting all of a sudden. I managed to upgrade. My 10# with a 17#er. I was out of time and had to head back to the weigh in. I made it with 3 min to spare. I weighed 30.8# for 2 fish. I got my ass handed to me AGAIN. At 1st i felt just awful. My pride needed a good finish. I fished my ass off and gave it every thing I had and I failed.
All you can do is get back up and try again. It sure was fun there in the end with the feeding frenzy and just missing disqualification. This wont be my last tournament and in the next one I'm weighing in 2 state records with 40 plus witnesses to see.
Jay and Dave came all the way from the eastern shore side of New Jersey to fish with me monday night. We had a fantasttic night boating over 30 fish. Some real good quality too. A 30,29,20,18 and a 15 were our biggest. They had so much fun they are coming back in october to fish with me again.
I had a trip cancel last minute Fri night, Then tonight we get a monsoon and cold front. Tonights will be rescedualed this year but fri nights wont be back untill 2014. I am trying to get some buisness but things are getting slow when they need to be picking up.
My camp ground closes 10/27/13 I am planing on living down there untill the end. This has been an amazing cat fishing season. I plan on finishing it the only way I know how with passion and determination.. I have decided to make a movie on my october big flathead quest. I plan to be on the water every single day. I will head down to camp tommorrow for day 1 Susquehanna River flatcat mayhem. I fully intend to Prove it.
I arrived at cat fish camp tonight sure is good to be back after 2 weeks.it feels like home down here now . Its a beautiful night out and I haven't made a fire at camp yet so that's exactly what I did. it sure helped to untangle some knots in my soul and center my Chi
Monday night they had the lake drawn down so low I could barely get the boat on the trailer water temps just broke 70 degrees at 69 fishing bite is still on the slow side with a handful of small ones. the way the water smoking and the rocks poking out of the water everywhere makes it difficult to see where you're goin at night
last night I pulled the boat up on the bank made me a nice warm fire and set still to wait my monster out he never did bite but I got some small ones and really enjoyed fishing by the campfire for a change.the water temp is 67 degrees and falling
I was out last night till about 1 a.m. Bite is ridiculously slow water temperature staying right around 69 degrees. I woke up this morning feeling a little deterred and a lot lonesome I walked over and pushed the button on my 30 year old 8 track that didn't work before and it works great all of a suddent. It actually sounds pretty good.. amazing how music can lift your spirits.
I got my shelving built this morning to get my tackle organized and of the floor and I mounted my aerial photos of Lake Aldred
after 3 super slow nights on the water I finally found some quality fish last night. I had three in the low 20's and two and teens along with some dinks
I sold a gift certificate for a 5 hour trip Jan 2. This is the trip for that . We had a great time boating 4 over 20# with the largest at 31#
Thanks to my good friend Jhon I got a paying trip from his brother Jesse. I did not disapoint we caught 3 in the teens and a 31# along with the dinks. The water temp is staying right around 69 Deg.
Ladies and gentelmen it is o fishally HOG tober! After consistently catching fish in the 30's for 4 days straight my spot slowed down last night got 2 in the teens but nothing in the 20s or 30s. so after 7 days straight of flathead hunting. 'm going to have to head home to pay some bills mow the lawn get my mail acquire some more bait and hopefully I'll be back on the water tomorrow night. There is a flat cat in Lake Aldred with my name on it and I fully intend on earning him. On my way back from camp I scouted a new bait stream. I left my flow through and 5 gallon buckets at camp. I also didnt have my wading boots. I saw some good size very spooky suckers and some trout and small mouth but no pan fish.
I drove an hour to get to some of the meanest biggest Hybrid green sunnies i have ever seen. These things will out pull any rock bass I ever caught. I was worried about breaking my rod yanking these slabs out of the water. I got there later than I wanted but I got some MONSTER BAIT for some MONSTER FLATCAT :)
WHO WANTS TO GO FLATHEAD FISHING!!
I sure fished my butt off in Oct. I had some great nights and some not so great nights. I set my 2013 PB 2 times with a 37 and a 37 1/2#er. last weekend I set a new boat best at 43#. I was so happy to exeed 40 # this year. I had as much fun watching my client battle this beast than I would have had catching it myself. I have a handfull of trips left this year. Its time I stopped fishing so much and start thinking of how I will support myself this winter. Congrats to Jr for winding in this 43# beast of a catfish