Showing posts with label Darby Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darby Creek. Show all posts

March 29, 2014

The Opening Day of Trout Season Retrospective Post - aka The 2014 Opener That Wasn't

Today is opening day of trout season in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania actually has two opening days, one for the Southeast, and one for the rest of the state...further proof that Southeastern PA and South Jersey should secede from their respective states, absorb Delaware and become the new state of Rendellphia, but I digress...

This is the first year in quite a few that I won't be making the opening day of Pennsylvania trout season.  Makes me a little sad...not because the fishing is epic or anything (I prefer an 8" wild trout to a 18" stocked trout any day), I just miss the theatrics...the shoulder to shoulder fishing, the anticipation of an imaginary 8AM alarm to toss in the first line, and the eavesdropping while your neighbors debate the merits of wax worms vs. Powerbait vs. corn niblets...  It's akin to being at a very public place - airport, restaurant, etc... and just "people watching."  Yeah, I sound a bit snobby, but even I leave the fly rod at home on opening's one of those days to scratch a spinning rod / inline spinner itch.

So with no opener down here in Florida, I thought I'd link to some of the previous years' posts.  Note, with this blog starting in June of 2007, there are no records of openers 2006 and older...which sort of sucks...but whatever...

(My second blog post ever in June 2007, no pictures)

(A written account, no pictures)

(Evidently, also the year the camera was invented)

(My friend Mutt with a pig)

(Ponch & John made an appearance)

(Trout Island)

(Somewhat uneventful)

March 31, 2013

The Spectacle of the Annual Trout Opener

I don't go to the opening day of trout season for the "stellar" fishing.

No, I go for the tradition and spectacle, which includes...

A lot of cars trucks & SUVs...

Random dudes to the left...

random dudes to the right.

random dudes over here...

random dudes over there...

random dudes everywhere...

It wasn't quite the shoulder to shoulder combat fishing that it has been in years past, but there was still quite a lot to see, mainly from folks that clearly only fish on this occasion each year.  What you get is a mixed bag full of anglers wading through prime holding water, numerous bird's nests consuming reels due to being spooled with mono that hasn't been changed in a decade, a sporting goods store worth of lures caught in overhead tree branches, and of course every color of Powerbait and species of worm/grub under the sun.  

But whatever, my brothers of the creek paid for their license fair and square, so they have just as much right to be there as I do...  I'm no snob, however I find myself easily entertained.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't fish...but no fly rod, no Tenkara wand.  Instead, I came bearing some serious hardware.

Pflueger bitches!

Caught one shy of my limit tossing spinners...

...and escaped about an hour later to the sanctuary of the golden arches.

Tradition laced with spectacle capped off with Canadian bacon, egg, and melty orange cheese.  
Yet another Southeastern Pennsylvania opening day in the books.

I'm really gonna miss it next year.

April 2, 2012

Opening Day 2012

To be honest, heading into Saturday's rite of Spring, I anticipated somewhat of a letdown.  I was fishing solo on Opening Day this year, an unfortunate development documented a few posts ago.

With no partners in crime this year, I rolled up to our usual spot a little after 6:30 AM.  There were only two other Powerbait bombers anglers there at the time, so I was able to settle in on a nice little "island" of land, all to myself.

Once 8:00 AM (and about 6 or 7 others) finally came around, the fishing itself wasn't bad, I ended up catching my limit + 2...although it did take a bit longer for whatever the reason.  The past two years I've hit my limit in 15, maybe 20 minutes.  Hungry & confused stockies tend to toss aside all inhibition when presented with a gold spinner.  However this year it took about an hour.  Either the bite was just slow, or not quite as many fish were dumped in "the hole" as years past.

In any event, I unfortunately don't have much to show from this outing.  I had planned on making a tripod-mounted POV video...but the camera battery ran out a few casts before I caught my first fish.  Silly thing is I didn't even realize the battery was dead, so I "steered" the trout in front of the video camera on the retrieve, and then held the fish up to the lens and said something stupid like, "Whoomp, there it is!".  I'm a dummy.  FAIL!

I let the battery rest long enough to snap a picture of one of the last fish of the day, a 13" brown, before it finally gave out for good.  Oh well...that's what I get for buying cheap, "bo-bo" camera batteries from eBay.

After that, I went home and dealt with other non-fishing things...we went to see the tax man, as 2011 was a bit too complex for Turbo Tax...and in a total unexpected event, was coerced into buying a new car for my wife.  Actually, I just had to do all the paperwork...because...well...she "bought" the car without telling me the night before.  But that's a story for another day...

March 21, 2012

Yesterday Brought Bad News

Yesterday sucked some really stank ass.  Ooooh, I cursed...sue me Carla DeKalb.

About anything that could have gone wrong at work did go wrong.  Later I arrived home and was greeted with an extended dinner drama with the kid.  Since chicken nuggets were not on her plate, she didn't want to eat her food, which resulted in some removal of privileges. (I hate it when I actually have to be a parent and make my kid cry).  Worst off...which may be more grim than death or dismemberment...I learned that I would be fishing solo on Opening Day for the first time in years.

Sure, Opening Day isn't everyone's cup of tea.  Purely ceremonial, it's a shoulder-to-shoulder, stupid stockie, battle fishing cliche, but I still enjoy it because I generally get to hang out with some of my oldest friends and just be idiots for a few hours.  We take sick pride in getting there early, spreading out, claiming wide swaths of land, and mocking pretty much everyone around us that clearly doesn't understand that you don't wade through the middle of the fishing hole.  Plus, if you show up to the fishing hole 5 minutes before the 8AM start and expect us to make room for've got another thing coming.  Yeah, we're pretty much douchebags.

Unfortunately, over the past few years the number of attendees in our party have slowly grown up dropped off, one by one, to the point that for the last two or three, it's become a simple two-man mission, which while was not the same, was still very enjoyable.

Well I got the news yesterday that it wasn't gonna happen this year.  Something about my fishing partner's need to be overseas for work.  Dude, it's Opening Day!  Screw work...that's what the other 364 (this year I guess it's 365 thanks to Leap Year) days are for...  FML!

So I'm rollin' solo on Opening Day 2012.
Look out Darby Creek, we may be down to one, but you're still getting your ass kicked.

Last year's "Creel o' Death"

Post Script:
I will confess that I did consider taking Lilly out on Opening Day instead, but last weekend she confided to me that "I don't really like fishing anymore," so I'll just let that angle simmer for a while.  I'm not one to forcibly shove something down my kid's throat...unless it's the dinner she stubbornly refuses to eat.

April 3, 2011

Another Ope In The Books

Yesterday...Opening Day of Trout in Southeastern 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 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 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 I said before, anything goes.

April 10, 2010

Darby & Valley Creeks

Today was a day of contrasts. Stocked vs. Wild trout. Spinning Gear vs. Tenkara Fly Fishing Gear. Wind Chill vs. The Gooey Warmth of Sausage, Egg, & Cheese.

I started my morning by deciding I was going to head down to Delco and hit Darby Creek. This is the same creek I fished for last weekend's opening day, and figured I should probably get back before all of the stockies got snatched up.

Armed with my spinning rod and gold spinner, I stood on the bank staring into a large pool for a few minutes but didn't notice many trout. None swimming, none rising, only a handful holding in the current. Looks like Darby (at least the section I was at) got hit pretty hard this past week.

As I waded a bit upstream, it was pretty clear that was the case as I saw at least 3 or 4 "floaters" (aka stockies that didn't make it) strewn among the rocks and branches along the bank. After maybe an hour and a half of wading & casting, wading & casting, I only ended up with one trout.
This is the dummy who didn't get the memo

Did I mention it was freakin' cold this morning? Was probably spoiled by all of the 80 degree weather this week, but between the sun hiding behind the clouds and a constant wind, I was pretty cold. That said, I muttered "screw this" to myself and headed back to the car speeding off toward the Golden Arches to regain some warmth via a Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McMuffin.
Breakfast of the Gods

Now warmed up, I decided it was too early to throw in the towel so on the way home I pulled off at Valley Forge and hit Valley Creek.

At Valley, I also switched tactics from my spinning rod to my tenkara rod and things turned around quickly. I only fished for another hour and a half (maybe two), but brought in 4 feisty wild browns. I fished upstream between the covered bridge and the wooden step bridge pictured above. The bug of the day was a size #18 prince nymph drifted beneath an indicator dry.
Thank you & your buddies for making my morning

Unfortunately, all of the driving (& stop at Mickey D's) took time away from fishing, so I wasn't able to fish either creek as long as I had hoped. Between the two I did catch my 5 trout limit (all were released), so I suppose all's well that ends well.

April 3, 2010

2010 Trout Opener - Darby Creek

Oh, how I love the opening day of trout season.  Hanging out with good friends, ridiculously easy to catch stockies, and the crowds and hi-jinks of the other "anglers," the combination of the 3 always make for a great time.

I was meeting up with three of my oldest friends, Wright, Len, & Mostel.  Of the three, Mostel is the biggest outdoorsman; he puts John Muir to shame.  Well, maybe not exactly that outdoorsy, but you get the point.  Got the text message from Mostel that he was at our hole at Darby Creek reserving a spot on the bank at 5:30 AM.  Atta Boy!  I rolled in a little after 6 AM, and Wright & Len arrived a little after 7 AM.
Len (foreground), Wright (background)
Mostel - The dude has a Barred Owl call as his "ringtone"

Around 7:45 AM (you can start fishing at 8 AM) the latecomer clowns that always crowd your group and cross your lines came rumbling through the woods and decided to wade right across one of the pools.  Nice job idiots.
Outta the pool d-bag!

There should be some sort of outdoors etiquette test you take before being issued a fishing license.  We wanted to wing the can of corn at them, but decided not to for some reason.  They were lucky this time.  They'll get niblets across the forehead next time.
Can o' Corn - Unfortunately never got used

Well 8 AM came - I was tossing a gold spinner, the others were using wax worms - and I was lucky enough to bring in the first trout of the morning (on my first cast).  Mostel followed suit a few minutes later and the two of us were at our limits in no time.  I actually caught 5 trout on my first 5 casts - although not all were keepers.
Typical catch of the day

I'll spare you the rest of the stocked trout stories, but the highlight of the morning (besides watching Wright wade across the creek in flip flops) was when Mostel caught the largest fish from the pool.  I actually had sighted the fish about 15 minutes prior when it chased but didn't hit my spinner.  Len & I demanded that Mostel use his skills and catch it...and wouldn't you know he did!  Although the picture doesn't do it justice had to be about 20" minimum.  Everybody let out a nice cheer when he brought it to net.  Good job buddy.
Mostel's Pig

In the end we probably caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 trout out of the pool we fished - a mix of rainbows and browns - and let go about two-thirds of them.  Sure, in some aspects the fishing was like taking candy from a baby, but opening day is the one day I put aside my preference for wild trout - fishing for stockies and making memories with good friends was awfully fun.

April 4, 2009

103 Fever & Opening Day

Today was opening day in Southeastern PA. I've been excited about this for a few weeks. Opening day might not test your angling skills...but with the incredibly fast action it's a heck of a lot of fun.

So let me start this post by talking about last night (Friday). I got home from work and K.C. showed off a Texas Roadhouse gift certificate she received for her birthday (tomorrow), so within minutes the three of us were in the car headed toward the restaurant. During dinner, Lilly had a pretty consistent cough. K.C. said she had it all day, and thought it was the croup. Lilly had the croup before, but other than the cough didn't show any symptoms, so we didn't think it was a big deal...

Fast forward to about 11PM on Friday night. Lilly's been asleep for about 3 hours and wakes up screaming and calling for "Daddy." I go upstairs, she's burning up. I called K.C., we took her temperature, and it was 103. Not good. Lilly got to sleep with K.C. & I that night, but to say any of us got much sleep would be an exaggeration - Lilly is quite the bed hog, so K.C. actually bolted for the guest bedroom.

So what does this have to do with opening day? Well, I was planning to get up around 6 AM to ensure my spot at the shoulder-to-shoulder fishing experience that is the 8AM opening day first cast. Well, with no sleep, and unsure how Lilly was going to be feeling, that mission was aborted. I was kind of sad I was going to miss it...but my baby was sick...priorities. Lilly & I got up at about 7:30, and K.C. made up for some lost sleep.

As the morning progressed, Lilly was acting pretty normal. She was a little "out of it" but still pretty happy - watching her cartoons, putting together puzzles, teasing Caesar, etc... Her fever also came down a bit so it appeared the worst was past. When K.C. woke up, she ran some errands (got Lilly some medicine) and gave me the green light to go fishing for a few hours if I wanted.

By now it was about 1PM, and I was off to Darby Creek in Havertown. When I got there, I saw tons of cars & trucks parked alongside the road, but as I hiked down the embankment to my spot on the creek, I was amazed that nobody was there. Absolutely nobody. Perhaps the traffic had left? Perhaps it was because we were having 50 MPH wind gusts? Perhaps it was because the water clarity was poor from a hard rain the prior day? I didn't care, I had the creek to myself on opening day and I was going to make the best of it.

WHAM - BAM - THWAP! Seriously, it was a like Batman comic. Every 3rd or 4th cast a trout was smashing my spinners. I fished a few different types - some homemade spinners, Fish Creek Spinners, Worden's Rooster Tails, and Wyld Edge Bezerkers. Spent most of my time fishing the Wyld Edge lures, because they are J hook spinners and I bend the barb down. Makes it much easier for catch & release.

After a while I stopped counting (and taking pictures), but the count had to be 20 at minimum. Here's a few pics.
There were no bruisers or trophies in the batch, I'd say most were in the 10 - 12 inch size, but the non-stop action and some of the acrobatic leaps from the water made it an extremely enjoyable couple of hours of fishing. Even better, when I got home K.C. & Lilly were sitting on the sofa watching disasters, no debacles, just a Mom & her kid looking a lot better and doing normal kid stuff.

May 5, 2008

May 4th - Darby Creek

Well, hit the Darby Creek again today, had heard it was re-stocked on Friday so figured I'd take a peek.

Weather was cool, but not cold, probably about 55 degrees and overcast. Actually it was quite foggy when I arrived at 7:15 AM, but by the time I left around noon the clouds had burned off, and it was warm and sunny, in the mid 60s.

If Darby Creek was stocked two days ago, didn't find very many large trout - unless somebody else beat me to them. Water was extremely clear today, so I was able see a bunch of small guys just doing some scouting from the bank. I picked up some Wyld Edge Outfitters Bezerkers (inilne spinners) this past week, so tried them out as the "lure du jour" and was fairly successful. Caught (& released) more than my share for the morning.

Snapped a quick pic of one of the larger trout (above), with the Bezerker still in mouth.

Like I said, today's haul was mostly small guys, and maybe two or three about 11 or 12" long. Still looking for this year's "Troutzilla."