top of page

Susquehanna 2020

Do you like to fish? Do you like to fish while walking a river? Do you like fishing for Small mouth Bass? Friend, if you said yes to one or all three and haven't visited Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and more specifically the Susquehanna River you are missing out on one of the most beautiful and enjoyable trips I've experienced. Our annual trip to the Susquehanna once again failed to disappoint. The weather was perfectly ideal, it was a new moon and the river was lower than usual. My favorite type of Fishing is spent walking up a river, stream or creek. It's the perfect combination of water, trees, grass, rocks and sky, who have all been wonderfully arranged for my enjoyment. Even if the fish's cooperation is with someone else, I find it to be highly fulfilling.

This year we began the trip like most anglers begin any trip, throwing lures you know work majority of the time. We spent our first two hours in the Key Stone state throwing our primary producers which are 3/8's or 5/16's Oz. Shakey head jigs and one of two colors of craw shapes; Green pumpkin with red flake or Craw Laminate.

I've had days that June bug couldn't be eaten fast enough and natural colors performed just fine but the first two colors seem to produce regardless the area or time of year. So we took a lump or two striking out on our first venture during dusk. Later on, while talking through the day, we both noticed the bites were very timid and noncommittal. This is not the bite we normally associate with big river small mouth bass.

Coming to the conclusion that something was amiss my cohort stated he would be throwing a lure that was much less frills the next day. That morning we decided to try out another spot and with the co-captain trying something different I decided I would continue on with the tried and true to see what flushed out. Let's just say that my friend found the bite and won the prestigious title of "Princess Slayer" (first, most and biggest) while I swung and missed all morning.

At first we thought it was the more natural color but what we missed was the fact that his creature bait was completely no frills, no movement what so ever a dead stick bait so to speak. A fact we wouldn't put together till the next day.

The next morning instead of using Shakey head jigs we switched to a 3/8's Stradling Custom swim jig in order to test its' worthiness on the big river. The swim jig presents the lure in a less aggressive posture and lays the bait down on the bottom in line with the hook. I also wanted to try out a new color to see if not only the presentation mattered but if the new color (Okeechobee Craw) would be able to produce quality bites. As we headed out we decided to try a new approach to an old spot. Instead of putting in at the same spot we normally do, we hiked up the road a ways and crawled down the 40' drop and maneuvered our way through the over growth, tree limbs and spider webs. Once we got out on the water we were surrounded by grass patches, intermittent 3' boulders and both were strewn about regular river sized rocks. We had walked about 50 yards into the river when I made a cast to the upriver side of a large grass patch when I felt an immediate tug! I reeled up my slack to ensure what I felt was in fact the targeted species, once the indication was confirmed I entered all launch codes into the rapid fire console and latched into an absolute beauty measuring out at 21"! That's why we keep coming back year after year.

Later on that morning we had stumbled upon a large tree trunk caught on some rock formations. My comrade pulled one, two, then three and ultimately seven fish off that same piece of structure. This scenario would play out later on revealing what the fish are doing this time of year. We summarized that the fish didn't want to fight the craw fish they just wanted to eat them and color was a second consideration to presentation.

Next we made our way out to the Swatara input and headed down river with little to show for our efforts. Once we made our way about 3/4's of a mile down river we thought we would cheat over towards the cooler waters of the Swatara water flow in order to see if the bite was better there. Just a short walk after our turnaround we started getting bit and the quality of the fish didn't disappoint.

Four fish of that caliber were caught on our way back to shore.

It's always nice when you conceive an idea to put more fish on the line and it actually works out in your favor. Once we finished up at Swatara input we concluded to hit up one of our favorite spots again before we left town with all of our new information at hand. The new Jig with the new color and heading back to the proving grounds with a new perspective and new expectations! That's a lot of new but I think that's why we always end up with more lures than shoes in your wife's shoe closet!

The next afternoon as we headed out on the last great walk with all of our "New" stuff, our rewards came in buckets with additional information we hadn't contemplated. We stumbled upon another scenario where a large tree branch had been lodged between a collection of rocks. My Achuk threw in to the small nest of wooden limbs and rocks and pulled out a small feisty critter only to repeat that same sequence another 11 times. The fish kept getting bigger with every follow on bite, but alas nothing gold can stay. That's when we put that particular pattern together. Wood and rocks had collected several of our precious prize winning creatures of the deep! With that glorious conclusion we made our way bank side, tired, sore and rewarded. Over all we learned a lot, had a great time and caught some nice fish. Thankful for the time we got to share out on one of our favorite water ways this was a fishing trip that makes all the aches and pains worth the toll.

The remainder of this article is Gear review and extra photos from the Trip. I hope you enjoyed reading this and it inspired you to get out there and enjoy the great out doors! Godspeed Neighbors.

The Front Sling performed admirably. Just release the buckle on the lower right side and pull the 8L pouch to the front in order to access all your little goodies. There's plenty of room, in fact if you plan just right you could fit lunch in as well. Inside there is a waterproof pouch which I used to hold my phone. My wife was pleasantly surprised when I came home and my phone still worked, so kudos to the pouch. the front chest pouch allowed me to store four to five bags of plastics or one Plano 3213. The smaller one in front of that I used to store trash or old plastics. The water bottle sleeve is big enough to hold my 32 Oz. Hydro flask. Overall super happy about the purchase with zero buyers remorse!

The Felt soled boots are by far the best and most comfortable foot ware I've used for walking in a river/creek. Your feet will have plenty of room, I used Smart wool socks with them and had plenty of space to double up. You could probably even put some inserts in them and still fit just fine. I didn't think of that till just now (I'll have to remember that for next time).The stiff toe allowed me to keep my toes while crashing into boulders that have been there for a millennia. The shoe strings are very durable. After a week of kicking around on all sorts of rock formations they still don't have any frays.

bottom of page