Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 274: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Just when you thought not catching fish wasn't any  fun...
When: Friday, February 10th, from 8am to 3pm
Where: The Delaware River
What: Fishing with Jay and Redi
Weather: Fair skies, 21 degrees in the morning, warmed to 42, calm winds to SW 12mph and gusting to 17mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.12in and steady, began to fall after we stopped fishing
Moon: Waning, a few days after full
Water Conditions: Low and very clear, water temp just above freezing (33-34 degrees)

Every once in awhile, the focus of a fishing trip shifts from catching fish to simply trying to get back to the car. These usually aren't the most enjoyable outings, but they do seem to be the ones that are most often talked about.

Today was one of those days.

Before I left for my trip to South America six years ago, Craig, Mike and I spent a handful of nights on the porch reviewing the adventuring ahead of me and repeating the line, "what could possibly go wrong?"

Well, plenty went wrong.

So, when I was talking to Martalus yesterday, telling him we were going to a spot on the Delaware we'd never been to before in the middle of February, I got an uncomfortable feeling when he handed me the same line.

The day started off well, and after meeting Redi and Jay on Route 15, we were launching the boat in a picturesque stretch of the Delaware just past 8am. We motored a little further north and were soon sitting above a 40-foot hole that we assumed was filled fish. Jay and Redi started jigging for walleye while I tossed musky baits along the shoreline blowdowns. Another boat was there and confirmed we were in the right spot, but the fish were not going to bite on this day.

So, we moved.

And moved again.

And moved once more.

The third time we moved, we eventually came to a "decision point," and based on my suggestion, we made the wrong decision. After agreeing to "check-out" the depth on the side of an island heading downstream, we hit shallow water. Jay pulled the engine and the trolling motor and we drifted our way down until we met back up with the main river. 

Little did we know the main river was a mile downstream.

Then we hit ground.

Jay got out, then Redi got out while I pushed the boat up from the inside with a paddle. After what was probably 30 minutes -- that seemed like 2 hours -- we finally met back up with the main river.

But it wasn't over yet.

The river was flowing at a good clip and there was plenty more shallow water to navigate before Poseidon allowed us to kiss dry land. At times Redi and I needed to sit all the way up on the bow, pushing it down so the prop would not hit bottom.

But, we made it.

By that point is was magic hour and there was a good chance the fish would start biting, especially with a front moving in that evening.

Instead, we headed home.

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