April 3, 2011

Another Ope In The Books

Yesterday...Opening Day of Trout in Southeastern PA...an annual pilgrimage to the water by everybody and their mothers (literally) to catch their limit of confused, recently stocked trout.  It's like a freak show at the circus...a place where pretty much anything goes.

I rolled out of bed around 5:30 AM...see, if you want a prime spot around the not-so-secret honey holes you usually gotta get there early.  Luckily, my buddy Mostel had sent me a text by 5:45, he was already there and presumably had already lifted his leg to mark our territory.

My drive to Darby Creek is a bit longer than his, but I arrived around 6:30.  I contemplated making a Yukon Goes Fishing style video to document the day's events...

...but then I bailed.  I ain't got no time to make dem newfangled moving picture shows.  Me gots fish to catch.

After shooting the sh*t with Mostel for a bit, we noticed it was 7:30 AM and we still amazingly had the hole to ourselves.  8 AM is the official "go-time" so it was kind of surprising considering the crowds of previous years.  Perhaps the 35 degree temps were scaring folks off?  Nah...once 7:45 rolled around the crazies started showing up...and of course wading through the hole itself.  Damn.  Too good to be true, but also a good source of comic relief.
Mostel with fish in net...yeah this photo is out of sequence, but it looks good here.

Mostel made the first cast at 7:59 (shhh....don't tell) and fishing commenced.  He was fishing wax worms, I was fishing spinners.  I started with a size 0 Blue Fox Spinner, and BANG, first cast, had a trout on. And then another, and another...

Now I'm not one to brag, (ok...yes I am), but I had my limit in about 25 minutes, before any of the bait fisherman (PowerBait or Live bait) had caught a single trout.  Spinners aren't rocket science, toss 'em out and reel 'em back...stupid fish are bound to follow.  It was simply a case of bait just not working, but I laughed silently on the inside as I started to notice one of our "companions" starting to get pissed off as I was reeling fish after fish in right in front of his feet.  We'll call this character Ponch.
Hope those shades are polarized...

Eventually, I started to lose feeling in my toes from the Arctic-cold water, so I hopped out of my spot to walk around for a bit....and wouldn't you know Ponch jumped right in where I left...as if standing 10 feet further to the left would help his game.  Nope.  Insert another silent giggle here.

Circulation restored to my toes, I politely nudged my way back in to the chorus line.  Ponch & (we'll call the other guy) John were still fishing fast and furious with their live bait and not getting any favorable results.
Ponch gets all the ladies...why can't I at least get the fish?

Since they were drifting their worms (or whatever) across the pool in tandem, leaving long lines extended and exposed, I really didn't have a lane to toss my spinner...so I stood back...and waited for John to get his bait picked or Ponch to get a bird's-nest in his spinning reel.  Once that window opened up, I was able to sneak in a few more casts with a Fish Creek Spinner and catch another 3 or 4 trout almost right away.  That really pissed Ponch off.
Here piggy...14", biggest of the day.

All you hear next is, "I'm switching to spinners," and you know what, Ponch actually did catch a fish with his white Rooster Tail.  Eureka, gold at last!  But that was it for him.  He ended up catching two fish - one on bait, one on the spinner before bailing, presumably hopping on his patrol chopper to chase down speeders.

John actually caught two really nice fish (I think they were both browns) with the bait...he never gave up.  I tip my cap to John.
Nice work John!  Slow & steady wins the race...or something like that.

In the end, it was a fun, but cold & tough morning of fishing.  I caught 11 trout, while I believe Mostel caught 4...maybe 5.  All were solid fish, between 9 and 14 inches and quite plump.  Mostel took the combined haul home for cleaning & of course eating. (don't worry, we let the "overage" of our limits swim away to be caught another day).
Plastic shopping bag creel o' death.  C&R guys hide your eyes.

Now I know this post is somewhat deviant in nature.  See, I believe in karma so I'm certain I'm going to get a month's worth of skunkings for taunting Ponch like that (& also highlighting such futility by writing this post)...but hey, it's Opening Day in Southeastern Pennsylvania....like I said before, anything goes.


  1. Good post again.

    To be honest, I cannot see the difference between spinning, and fly fishing IF your going to kill your catch?

    Was anyone putting back the fish?

  2. im was one of the useless bait fishermen this year... being my first time going for trout i wasnt very sure on what would work best. looks like next time i go out, i will be using spinners! thanks for the post... actually, for all the posts!

  3. That was great. I loved it.
    A fitting title could be...
    "Meat fisherman beat to a pulp."

  4. Nice post and better yet some nice trout.

  5. Opening Day, Combat fishing at it's best.

  6. Just what is wrong with fishing spinners? I'm old so be kind and give it to me clearly. You may have to tell me twice!

  7. Well, a nice day for Troutrageous!!! Minus the plastic shopping bag! Where's the cooler?? haha

  8. Nice fish. Great story! Nothing wrong with spinners. If they are hitting them, use them.

  9. I can't believe you saw Ponch fishing...he hasn't aged a bit! Looks like the circus didn't disappoint, glad the fish showed up.

  10. Flipping John's face for the second picture was a nice touch, perhaps unnoticed by those who never open photoshop.

    And there's nothing wrong with keeping a few fish. I hear they taste great.

  11. @Flyfishermanrichard.
    I didn't see anybody putting back the fish. I usually C&R, opening day is the one exception...and I give my limit to Mostel anyway!

  12. @Stealth
    Bait works...so don't kill yourself...just didn't yesterday for some reason where I was fishing (& evidently not where you were either). I'm a spinner devotee, but guys usually have great openers using wax worms, nightcrawlers, you name it. Don't be a stranger!

  13. @Raz
    Thanks, if it gets the Raz seal of approval, I know I dun good.

  14. @Cofisher
    No kidding. I was going to bring my Rambo knife and grenade belt just to scare some folks off.

  15. @Mel
    Nothing at all...I fished spinners all day! Ponch had the problem with them. You know how I roll Mel. Usually flyfishing, but when I pick up the spinning tackle, spinners are on the end of the line.

    I dunno. I don't keep em, it's Mostel's preferred form of transport for the day. We had the bag partially submerged to keep the fish cool, it was actually a pretty slick setup.

  17. @WDSTK3
    Agreed. Opening Day fish always slam the spinners...they just don't seem to know better. If they make it past the first day and wise up a bit, it gets a little tougher.

  18. @Sanders
    Ponch did age well. I was amazed he could still fit in that skin tight highway patrol outfit.

  19. @Clif
    The little things Clif. Thanks for noticing.

  20. thanks for shoutout "TGF". one of these days you will convert your video into some artsy-fartsy crap like I do with slow-motion and new-fangled effects. looks like it was a great day on the water.

  21. Way to go Mike. I can't stand opening day anymore and I will skip CT's opener once again. I love to watch people get frustrated when they are not catching. Opening day is usually good for some amusement.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

  22. I miss CHiPs. Creel o' death looks hefty...good opener.