By John “Toast” Oast
This morning I hit the North Branch of the Susquehanna River for a few hours with my friend Mike Flanagan. As we launched around 9:30am, there was substantial fog on the river, and the air temps had a bit of a chill. Like the past several weeks, the river level was considerably lower than typical for this time of year. Oddly, there was only one boat trailer at the launch we accessed from, which surprised me for a beautiful fall morning.
To target a combination of shallows and deeper stretches adjacent to ledges, I was using both a medium sized yellow/white spinnerbait, and my favorite soft plastic craw from PowerTeam Lures. Since the water was lower than I expected, we had to search out a little deeper water, and structured areas. My first fish for the day was a beautifully patterned smallmouth, caught on the craw close to a bridge piling.
A short while later, cranking a spinnerbait across a shallow shoreline flat, I had a short strike from a sizeable fish. To see if he would take a second swipe at it, I paused my retrieve, and then slowly started to reel it in. A fat 18 inch smallie then tailed, reminiscent of my redfish back home down south, and darted straight at the lure, and hammered it. It was one of those exciting strikes that I will remember for the rest of my life.
I then headed towards my favorite “honey hole,” which I expected would be holding a good number of walleye. As I reached the location, the wind began to howl. It was blowing constantly, against the river’s flow direction It was churning up the water quite a bit. Once I was on the spot, I hunkered down in the wind and hung out until Mike caught up. I immediately landed a couple nice walleyes on the craw, jigged through the deeper stretch.
Mike then attacked the same deeper stretch and hooked into something really nice. The fish was holding deep, with a constant pull, but he could feel the head shake. Just as I started to paddle closer for a few photos, the fish threw the hook. It was possibly a larger model walleye.
We heard a bit of thunder, and the sky was darkening quickly, so we headed in. As we got to the take out, the rain started.