We had an amazing spring. The weather and water were both very cooperative. The hatches were consistent and predictable. The trout were large, and most were oddly agreeable. Now, however, things are beginning to change.
The streams are low and warm, dangerously low and warm. The fish are stressed, and even though we're barely into June, many of the river's trout are beginning to move to cold water seeps and springs. Unless we see some continuous, heavy rain - weeks worth of what we had this past weekend - then we're likely to have a tough August. Should you head out to one of the local ditches, please remember that as bad as it will be for us flyflingers, the trout will have it much worse.
So, it seems that summer has arrived a little bit early; perhaps it's time to switch gears.
Summertime is bass time; time to dust off the 9' 8# and 10' 7#, and chuck some deer hair, foam, and Krystal Flash. This summer promises to be special as it will mark the maiden voyage of Patches. Patches is the name I've given to my pontoon boat; a used Water Skeeter River Tamer, which I purchased in February.
Together, she and I will be exploring the backwater coves of Ballston Lake, the reeds and weed beds of Round Lake, the meandering flats of the mighty Mohawk, and the locks and dams of Henry's Hudson. I think that Patches and I are going to get to know each other intimately and well (especially if my wife lends her blessing to the purchase of a trailer).
If Patches is a good girl and proves her worth, I might go so far as to deck her out with a trolling motor - just to make the ride that much easier on us both. After all, she appears to have been through quite a lot in her days on the water. Her oar locks are tarnished, her frame's showing a little rust, and her pontoons look like they've seen the bad end of grandpa's 12 gauge. And let's face it, I'm not as ... svelte ... as I once was.
Who am I kidding? I've weighed over 200 pounds since I was 12.
And when I was a fat, prepubescent boy, I fished nearly everyday from the public dock here in town. My friends and I caught bushels of smallmouth, pike, and crappie. Ocassionally, we would hook a largemouth, walleye or carp. I remember taking one rubber-lipped specimen that must have weighed nearly 30 pounds. That behemoth sucked in a small woolly bugger, and nearly buckled my 8' 6# Orvis Superfine (not the ideal carp rod). I wish I had a picture of that fish. I wish I still owned that rod. I wish I could spend just one more boyhood summer fishing from that dock.
Who knows? Maybe I'll recapture some of that feeling this year. Maybe I'll catch that toad of a largemouth that eluded me last season. Maybe the river gods will see fit to throw a monster pike or tiger musky my way. Maybe this will be the summer.