Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crafting Homemade Fishing Lures (SFM Sept. 2010)

From the September 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Bryan Wilhelm

This is the first of what is to be a series of articles for anglers who may be interested in making their own fishing tackle. Like previous articles in SFM on making and fishing jigs, the purpose of this series is to introduce interested anglers to the procedures of tackle making. Subsequent articles will cascade through intermediate level projects, ending with more complex ones like making wooden crank baits, painted and finished to commercial quality or beyond.

We will begin with a simple project requiring only a few tools using purchased materials while learning elementary skill.

Stay with me through the whole series of articles to gain an understanding of how homemade lures are built and what makes a great lure work. Follow along…because all of the lures you make will attract and catch many of the Susquehanna regional sport fishes.

Our first project works magic on bass, pan fish and trout. It is the 1/8 ounce inline spinner.

There are just a few basic tools which are needed. They are: 1.Round nose pliers 2. Wire cutters. If you plan to continue making lures for a while, buy quality tools that will last for years. Many of the tackle component suppliers sell these quality tools.

Buy a kit of all the needed parts from your local tackle shop or one of the online/mail order houses like www.lurepartsonline .com (formerly Stamina Components) or This will allow you to focus on learning tactile procedures of this craft without all the complications of trying to determine part selection, sizes and compatibility.

As we work, I will describe proper techniques and correct procedure and include photo examples to guide you. The results of your work will be effective fishing lures you will be proud to use.

Let’s get started...

What follows are all the parts you will be working with:

- 6” piece of .031 wire with a readymade loop on one end
- Spinner blade
- Wire clevis
- 1/8” bearing bead
- Brass lure body
- Number 6 treble hook
- Colored plastic tube as embellishment for the hook shank

To become familiar with what we will do… if you have a computer or a way to go online checkout Play the video…it shows all the steps we will go through to make our inline spinners.

Assembly –

1. Insert a clevis into the hole in a spinner blade.
2. Slide the blade clevis assembly onto the 6’ wire perform with the convex or rounded side of the blade facing the pre-formed loop in the wire.
3. Slide a bead bearing onto the wire.
4. Slide a brass lure body onto the wire (as shown in photo no.1).
5. Slide a ½’ piece of colored plastic tube onto a treble hook shank.
6. Bend the end of wire into an open loop 1” from the lure body.
7. Add the treble hook and close the wire loop. Your finished lure should look like this (see photo no. 2 of finished lure).

Photo #1

Photo #2

This is all there is to this. It is a nice and easy way, to make a great lure. I like easy! Improving your spinner – to reduce line twist while fishing, bend the loop end of your lure that the loop is off center from the shaft like this (see photo no. 3). This will reduce the lure tendency of rolling on the retrieve.

Photo #3

Now that you have confidence working with these tools and materials…start all over again with larger parts to make several ¼ ounce lures.

When finished, you will have produced a number of new lures to add to your fishing gear. Use these skills to create your own hand crafted lures. You can expand on what you have learned here to make very light spinners using plastic beads for fly fishing and huge spinners with larger blades and larger, heavier bodies for larger fish like musky.

I recommend fishing these 1/8 ounce lures on a 5 to 5 ½ foot spinning rod spooled with 4 or 6 pound test monofilament line. Inline spinner lures combine flash with vibration –
a winning combination to catch crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and trout.

One tip for fishing spinners in moving water - cast across current. Immediately begin your retrieve when your lure touches down. Vary the speed of your retrieve to suite the flowing water you are fishing. Whenever the water color is murky or stained…try a spinner….and hang on!

Have fun fishing!

Bryan Wilhelm is a multi-species light tackle angler with many years experience both as a professional and a sportsman on the lower Susquehanna River. His zeal for fishing grows each passing year. We look forward to him sharing his experiences.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 TKAA Kayak Fishing Tournament Results

Norfolk, Virginia

Hobie Kayaks Slam Winner (largest red, trout, flounder):

Ben Swenson Williamsburg, VA Slam Total 49.5” (Hobie Mirage Pro Angler)

Appomattox River Company Speckled Trout Division:

1st- Tim Morris Hampton, VA 24” (Ocean Kayak Prowler Trident 15)
2nd-Kemarin Kim Newport News, VA 19.75”
3rd-Ben Kleeger Virginia Beach, VA 17.75”
4th-Robert Clemente-Woodbridge, VA 16”

Tar River Paddlesports/Nu-Canoe Redfish Division:

1st- James McDermtt-Lorton, VA 45” (Nu-Canoe Solo Adventurer Kayak)
2nd- Ron Rucker Norfolk, VA 30.75”
3rd-Jim Kukura Virginia Beach, VA 28.5”
4th-Justin Mayer Gloucester, VAN 26.25

Native Watercraft Flounder Division:

1st- Marty Mood Yorktown, VA 22.25” (Native Watercraft Manta Ray 12 Angler Kayak)
Graciously donated to new Farmville Chapter of Heroes on the Water. Thanks Marty!
2nd-Brandon Poulter Virginia Beach, VA 21”
3rd-Rob Choi Richmond, VA 19.75”
4th-Michael Williams Richmond, VAN 19.25

Keith Hamlin Striper Division:

1st- Mark McKenzie Virginia Beach, VA 22.25” (Feel Free Moken 12)
2nd-Don Fields Buxton, ME 20”
3rd-Doug Wilson Williamsburg, VA 15.5” Systems Largemouth Bass Division:

1st- Forrest Short Yorktown, VA 18.25” (Wilderness Systems Commander 140)
2nd- Charlie Hill Ashburn, VA 17.25”
3rd-Kyle Sawyer-Virginia Beach, VA 17”

Old Dominion Kayaks/Malibu Kayaks Female Angler Division:
(largest fish, any targeted species)

1st- Emma Johnson Virginia Beach, VA 14.75” Flounder (Malibu Kayaks Pro Explorer)

Bass Pro Shops Youth Division:
(largest fish, any targeted species)

1st- Louie Argiro Chesapeake, VA 22.5 Catfish (Ascend 10 kayak)
2nd- Chris Smith Virginia Beach, VAN 17” Croaker
3rd – Rose Oast Bloomsburg, PA 15” Flounder
4th-Stephen Hilowitz Virginia Beach, VA 14.5” Redfish
5th-Alissa Tharrington Virginia Beach, VA 11.25” Croaker


Close to 200 anglers, from Maine to Florida to Washington, participated in this year's event!

The event raised a record amount of funds to support a new chapter of Heroes on the Water in Farmville, VA.

Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, donations for prizes, raffle items, and captain’s bags there were approximately $55,000 in prizes and drawings!

Mark you calendars for next year... Sept 23/24, 2011


From Koinonia Guide Service:

Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.0 with 4,000CF of flow and 72 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.0 with 4,100CF of flow and 75 degrees. The BP was 30.20 and falling.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Monday evening and we fished from 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM and we boated 16 Bass and 1 Walleye. The largest bass was 19.25” and weighed 4# and the Walleye was 21.5”. We caught them on Rattle Baits, Swim Baits, Top Water and Spinner Baits. We had 3.0 – Clear – Steady – 3,800 CF and 72 degrees. It was extremely windy and we had a BP of 30.45 and falling.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Trip – This was a Thursday PM half day trip and we boated 10 Bass and 2 Walleye. The largest Bass was 17.25” and the largest Walleye was 17”. We caught them on Rebel Wee Craws, Rattle Baits and Spinner Baits. We had 3.0 – Steady - Clear - 3,900 CF and 76 degrees. It was clear and we had a BP of 30.55 & falling.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a half day AM Trip on Friday and we boated 10 Bass and 2 Walleye. The largest bass was 15” and the largest Walleye was 18”. We caught them on Rattle Baits, Rebel Wee Craws and Spinner Baits. We had 3.0 – Steady - Clear – 3,900CF and 76 degrees. It was windy and we had a BP of 30.55 and falling.

4. Trip #4 – Guide Trip – This was a half day Saturday AM Trip and we boated 12 Bass and 1 Walleye. The largest bass was 17.5” and the Walleye was 19”. We caught them on Rebel Wee Craws, Spinner Baits and Rattle Baits. We had 3.0 – Clear – Steady - 4,100CF and 75 degrees. It was extremely windy out of the north and we had a BP of 30.20 and falling.

5. Trip #5 – No Trip

6. Dave’s new boat is now in service and will be used for guiding starting this week. This is the boat we gave special consideration too regarding catfish trips.

7. The cooling water temperature is killing some grass and the extreme wind is causing it to float and made it difficult on Saturday to throw baits with treble hooks.

8. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.

9. Every time I fished this week we boated legal Walleye.

10. We currently have a good bite going for white perch for those of you who are interested in some good eating fish.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service Fishing Report: Sept 23,2010

The Susquehanna River was low and clear, but the fishing flood gates were open for my anglers today as they boated lots of smallmouth bass and two walleyes on various lure presentations. If you want to get in on the fall bite Give us a call to get in on the action!

"Get bent and sling some string" with us this fall!----<*)}}}}}>< Your Susquehanna River fishing guide Steve Hancock

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mastering the Jig for River Smallmouth Bass (SFM, April 2010)

From the April 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Bryan Wilhelm

In the first and second editions of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine were articles on jig fishing. The first edition had Winter Fishing for Smallmouth Bass and the second edition was Smallmouth Candy. Both detailed the attributes of jigs… plus how to select and fish jigs in rivers. This third and last in the series of articles gives greater detail of the advanced jigs (what I call Master Jigs) and how and when to fish them. In addition, this third article reviews and summarizes all three installments. When you have read all three you will have a better understanding of what jigs to use in what situations for best fishing success.

There are three additional jigs that I would like to introduce…

First is what I call the flippin and pitchin (f&p) jig.

Flippin and pitchin jig is shown above.

This f&p jig is a very effective jig to use anytime of the year. The one shown is dressed to emulate a crawfish. Rabbit strip claws, rubber legs, and large eyes are key trigger features. A multi-stranded weed guard is one of these jigs features. It comes in a wide selection of weights from 1/8 through 2 ounces. You should select a size and weight that maintains bottom contact but does not anchor the bait in the current.

Second is the river jig.

The river jig

The river jig is again made to appear like a crawfish. The Erie head shape sets this jig in the defense posture while fishing. It can be made in many weights from 1/8 through ¾ ounces, 1/8 and ¼ ounce versions are most popular. It is dressed with feathers to suggest claws, has eyes, and includes latent features such as craft fur (which I call Bozo Hair) and flash to suggest movement. The craft fur retains scent extremely well. Sometimes bass will nose or bump a lure. If the lure is scented… they will commit and bite.

The third jig is a finesse jig.

I call this my jig. It weighs just 1/16 ounce. I always fish this jig on a short (4½’ to 5’), fast action spinning rod with 4 pound test mono. It is the most difficult jig to fish because of its light weight. Even with the slightest breeze you will have a bow in your line. Watch the bow for a subtle tick…. then set the hook. Most times you will not feel the take. This jig is made to fish soft plastic, like 4” do-nothing worms or 3” grubs. Select color and translucency of plastic to suit conditions.

Summary –

Jig selection:
• Match the jig color to the bottom color of the river you are fishing.
• Use brighter colors in stained water and darker muted colors in clear water.
• Fish muted colors and low flash when fish are neutral. Use bright flashy jigs when the bass are aggressive.
• Add minnows or leaches when fish are neutral and reluctant to bite.
• Fish the lightest jig for prevailing conditions (depth, current and wind).

Preparation and Presentation:
• Wash your hands before handling lures… rewash several times each day.
• Fish with 5½ to 6½ foot medium-to-fast action graphite spinning rods for light jigs and 7 foot flippin sticks with 30 pound test braid for heavy cover.
• Tie a 6 foot leader of Fluorocarbon line to super braids with back to a back uni-knot.
• Use as light a line as possible … open water: 4 lb test, heavy cover: 20 lb test and greater.
• Use scents
• Fish jigs in close, and maintain loose contact to reduce snags and detect takes.
• Immediately strike when you detect a fish. Wait to feel them and it’s all over. Smallmouth will pop it and drop it in a heartbeat.
• The most important thing is… when your lure hits the water, maximize your concentration. Think of nothing but what is going on down there. Focus on the other end of your line.

I sincerely hope this information helps make you a better fisherman.

Tight lines… Bryan Wilhelm

Bryan Wilhelm is a multi-species light tackle angler with many years experience both as a professional and a sportsman on the lower Susquehanna River. His zeal for fishing grows each passing year. We look forward to him sharing his experiences.

Carp, the Freshwater Bone Fish (SFM, March 2010)

From the March issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Brad Wilson

In recent years, the common carp (member of Cyprinus Carpio) has, in this country, become a popular game fish. Carp have gone from a bottom-feeding “junk” fish to what many have named “the freshwater bone fish.” This is due to its feeding manner… head in the mud, tail in the air. They do this mainly in shallow water along shore lines or shallow seams in rivers. Carp grow rapidly (world record carp 82 lbs, 3 oz, caught in Romania), and attain sexual maturity about their third year. Carp have even been known to live more than 40 years in captivity. Some people think carp are one of the easier fish to catch… this couldn't be farther from the truth. Carp have excellent hearing, as well as eyesight, making them a challenging pursuit.

In the past several years I have made it a point to visit a local river that holds an excellent population of some big carp. There's something really exciting about wading upstream behind a mud cloud being made by a feeding carp. Now is the time to put the same stalking tactics used for trout to work. One bad move or kicking of a stone will result in a rocketing carp making a getaway! The ideal position to cast from is either side of the fish, and remember: “low and slow!” Stay well behind and make sure to keep the leader and line from splashing down above the fish. That's why fishing off to the sides is an important thing to do. Polarized glasses are highly recommended. Being able to see the fish will drastically improve your success rate.

An 8-9 wt fly rod with a nice sized reel loaded up with plenty of backing will do. I like to use an 8 ft leader, 10-12 lb, and I use a small split shot about a foot or two above the fly. This makes sure the fly will settle down on the bottom. Clothing is also very important; wear a drab shirt and hat, and leave the bright attire at home. Most of the time you will be only 10-15 ft away, and remember carp have great eyesight!

Now for the flies I use with very good success. My first choice is a fly I started using several years ago, after acquiring several nice 12-16” eel skins from a tyer at one of the fly-tying symposiums. Eel skin is great for many fly applications due to its flowing, life-like movement when wet and it's smell. Carp, besides having great sight and hearing, also have an excellent sense of smell. If you can find eel skin (it is available, but you really have to look), you might want to try this fly I have named “carp sushi.”

Hook: I use Mustad 3366 #6-8, but any short-shanked strong hook will work
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Two V-shaped slips of eel skin (to make the eel tie on easier, moisten skin where it will be tied on)
Under Body: Several wraps of lead wire
Body: Bill's Wooly Bugger maribou chenille (Bill Skilton – USA Flies)
Wings: Two more eel skin slips, half the length of tail
Collar: Brown hackle

When wet, this fly has great life-like movement. Even at rest it is effective due to the smell of the eel skin. If you can't find eel skin, you can substitute this fly with several other “hot” carp flies, another being “Clouser's Darter” pattern (designed by Bob Clouser).

Hook: TMC 811S
Thread: Olive 6/0
Body/tail: Orange dyed calf's tail
Over-wing: Gold flashabou and red krystal flash
Wing: Olive calf's tail
Eyes: Black lead barbel eyes

My prediction for the future of fly-fishing for carp is bright, due to the challenge of landing a 10+ lb fish on a fly, as well as the fact that carp can be found in most rivers, ponds, and lakes. So, get out there and remember, “low and slow”, and hang on tight when hooking those freshwater bones! Much luck!

Brad Wilson has been fly fishing and tying in the mountains of Pennsylvania for 18 years. Two fly tying mentors had a big influence on his tying more than anyone, George Harvey and Paul Jorgensen. He has had several articles published and plans on continuing to write about the sport he loves.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

River Jigs are Bass Candy (SFM March 2010)

From the March 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Bryan Wilhelm

Pursuing bass with rod and reel is my favorite pastime. Over the years I have had many opportunities to fish for these water-born athletes… and when I’m fishing a river, I always try some kind of a jig. A jig is a hook with a heavy cast metal head, usually lead, most often painted and assembled with some form of dressing.

When I was a young man, my dad would make most of our family’s tackle needs at home. It was a craft at which dad excelled. He did this not only for enjoyment, but because he was able to make many lures that were not available any other way at that time. I have followed in his shadow. But for me… jigs have become an obsession. Today, there are many sources and many choices both in materials and molds for jig making.

The attributes of great river bass jigs are, they:

• Have features that trigger fish to strike
• Are inexpensive and made with available materials
• Look great and are ready to fish
• Are confidence, go to lures
• Can be fished productively with few hang-ups

When you make your own jigs, you can pick the components that work for your river and fishing conditions. Making jigs is well worth the expense and effort, as you can produce some awesome fish-catching jigs.

In this and future articles I will describe some good and bad features of many jig styles. I will highlight how to select head shapes… and match them to body designs and materials for optimum performance. I will include details of how to fish jigs. Plus, I will provide information to help you select the right jigs for different fishing situations.

The round head jig is the most widely sold jig for fresh water. It has universal acceptance for that reason, but it often hangs up on the bottom. It’s good for tackle sales, but frustrating to the angler. The round head jig can be improved by selecting a body or live bait that will help overcome its shortfall.

Fig. 1: 1/8 oz. undressed ball head jig…
best fished with a minnow.

The wooly bugger jig (below) has a marabou tailing for movement and a soft hackle collar full length to stabilize the jig on the bottom while emulating aquatic insects for enhanced attraction. This would be a good color choice in clear water conditions.

Fig. 2: 1/8 oz. Wooly bugger jig …
a good body design choice for the ball jig head. It can be fished as is or with live bait (like: minnows, leaches or half a crawler).

Another great live bait jig is the Walleye Jig. It has an oval head shape that makes it a disaster to fish alone…but the Walleye jig excels when fished with a minnow.

Here’s its secret…

As soon as the walleye jig lure hits bottom…it wants to roll over on its side. The attached minnow works continually to stay upright. The minnow’s continuous movement attracts fish and triggers bites.

Fig. 3: ¼ oz. Walleye jig of muted colors of deer & black bear hair with later line for flash... Good choice for clear water.

Fig. 4: ¼ oz. Walleye jig with bright color deer hair and flash… An appropriate color & flash choice for stained water.

To make life simple…clear water is when I can see my lure at a foot or greater depth. Stained water is anything less.

Adding an L arm spinner (like a beetle spin) to any jig will add vibrations that attract fish when water clarity is poor.

I fish jigs on 5-6’ fast action, light power, graphite, spinning rods with a 2500 series reel spooled with 10-15 pound test bright yellow, super braid line with 6 feet of 6 or 8 pound fluorocarbon leaders attached with back to back uni-knots.

Fishing close ensures fewer snags.

So, that all for now. In later articles I will cover material selection, jig design, building techniques and more.

Tight lines... Bryan Wilhelm

Bryan Wilhelm is a multi-species light tackle angler with many years experience both as a professional and a sportsman on the lower Susquehanna River. His zeal for fishing grows each passing year. We look forward to him sharing his experiences.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.1 with 4,200CF of flow and 66 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.0 with 4,000CF of flow and 74 degrees. The BP was 30.50 and steady.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Monday evening and we fished from 8:00 PM to 1:30 AM and we boated 12 Flathead. The largest was 29.4# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 3.1 – Clear – Steady – 4,300 CF and 65 degrees. It was calm and we had a BP of 30.20 and rising.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Tuesday and we fished from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM and we boated 16 White Perch, 1 largemouth and 1 sunfish. The largest Perch was 12” and the Largemouth was 12”. We caught them on all on a worm harness. This was on a local lake. We had 3.0 – Clear - 4,100 CF and 66 degrees. It was clear and we had a BP of 30.24 & Steady.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a half day PM Trip on Friday and we boated 9 Bass and 2 Walleye. The largest bass was 18” and the largest Walleye was 18” as well. We caught them on Rattle Baits, Rebel Wee Craw and Spinner Baits. We had 3.1 – Steady - Clear – 4,000CF and 66-71 degrees. It was extremely windy and we had a BP of 30.30 and rising.

4. Trip #4 – Guide Trip – This was a Saturday PM Catfish Trip and we boated 8 Flatheads and the largest was 18.3#. We caught them all on live bait. We had 3.0 – Clear – Steady - 4,000CF and 74 degrees. It was cool and we had a BP of 30.50 and steady.

5. Trip #4 – No Trip

6. We thought we were getting Dave’s new boat on Saturday but it was not 100% so we are hopeful we will have it this week. We have put extra thought into this design to specifically aide us in our Catfish Trips.

7. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.

8. The last couple bass trips we are picking up a few walleye and the majority of them have been over 15”.

9. We currently have a good bite going for white perch for those of you who are interested in some good eating fish.


Visit the Koinonia Guide Service online:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Susquehanna Fish of 10,000 Casts (SFM, March 2010)

From the March 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:
Visit to view the current and all back issues for free!

By Rich Buchinski

How many casts does it take to catch a musky? 100? 1,000? 10,000? This old saying scares most fishermen from even attempting to target musky for an entire fishing trip. Fishless hours, days, and even weeks are common for some anglers trying to catch a musky. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have one of the best musky fisheries in our backyard! No need to travel to Wisconsin or Canada to catch one of these mysterious fish. With a little homework and preparation an angler can very well have a good chance of catching a musky every fishing trip on the Susquehanna River.

Keep in mind that a musky is one of the top predators in the food chain. This means that they are not as plentiful as bass or walleye. But just like any other fish, they must eat to survive. Any serious musky angler knows to expect days without catching a fish, but they also know there will be days of catching multiple fish. There are basically three key factors an angler needs to be aware of to catch a musky: #1 Location, #2 Presentation, and #3 Timing.

First, Location- The location of musky on a river system such as the Susquehanna River seems overwhelming at first. Not so. They are much easier to pinpoint than a lake-dwelling musky. The most important aspect of locating musky is by far current. Muskies do not like current, but remember current is a relative term here. Unlike smallmouth bass which may hold in rapids, musky shy away from rapids or high current areas. Look for areas of slack water, such as bridge pilings, the backside of an island, downed timber, wing dams, or feeder streams entering the main river. When the river rises, fish move to the banks to escape the current, when it falls, they move towards the main channel to avoid being trapped in backwater areas. Any object that creates a break in the main flow of the river can be considered a current break and a possible ambush spot for these predators. Another key factor when looking for current breaks is depth. My rule is that if you can see the bottom, it usually is not a good spot as if you can see the fish they surely can see you. Plus, big fish tend to stay close to areas where they can retreat to deeper water and escape danger quickly.

Second, Presentation- Just like fishing for any other species, such as bass, walleye, etc., lure selection and presentation is important. Big fish eat big baits, so you must upgrade your equipment, using bigger lures and tackle. Muskies are predators and strike lures hard, even in cold water with the right presentation. Some days it takes a slower moving bait to provoke a strike, other days it takes a fast moving bait to get a reaction from the fish. Musky tend to be moody and may become very picky at times. When nothing’s working, don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box.

Third, Timing- Timing is everything when it comes to musky. I can’t tell you how many times I have fished a particular spot all morning with nothing to show for it, only to come back in the afternoon and catch multiple fish in the exact same spot. Were the fish holding there the entire time? Did the fish move into that area in the afternoon? It’s hard to say, but what I can tell you that if you fish a spot and see a musky follow your lure to the boat that doesn’t strike, you need to have a plan. Quickly change a lure, whether it be the color or a different lure entirely and make a few more accurate casts to the area where the fish was last seen. Nothing? Next thing to do, leave! I know it’s hard to leave an area after you have searched for hours to locate a fish but do it. You have just succeeded at the hardest part of musky fishing, finding one. The worst thing you can do is camp in that spot and pressure the fish by making repeated casts in the area. You now have two choices: you can return in a half hour or my favorite, wait until something changes. It may be as subtle as the wind shifting directions or a few clouds rolling in that makes the day a little cloudy. In the fall it may be the water temperature warming from the midday sun. This is when the fish you have seen earlier may be ready to eat and all of your hard works pays off!

Just remember, if you’re brave enough to fish for musky, be prepared. Once you meet one of these mysterious predators up close and personal, you may never be the same. Some call it a disease, some call it an addiction; either way you look at it you will find yourself buying more and more lures, new fishing rods and reels, and constantly thinking about your next visit to the river. Remember to always release the king of the river to fight another day so we can all have an opportunity to share and experience the mystique of the musky.

Rich Buchinski is a fully licensed Pennsylvania Fishing guide specializing in musky on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Angelo Cristofolo with a Susquehanna Musky!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kayak Fly Fishing the “River”, No Cast Technique (SFM, Sept. 2010)

From the September 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:
View the current and all back issues online for FREE!!!

By Hank Hewitt

Perhaps no other angling method has more confusion, or misconception about it than fly fishing. There’s no question that this method of angling often falls prey to an elitist, exclusive, contingent. Why that is I can only speculate and we’ll save that speculation for another day. In this article we’re going to focus on two practical tools that when combined are highly successful at bringing fish to net, often when no other approach will.

The two tools which we’ll be addressing are first the kayak as an angling platform, and second, the use of the fly rod fished from the kayak. Before we move on, and so you know where I’m coming from, when I go fishing I go fishing to catch fish. I look at my rods, reels, lures, flies, and kayaks, as tools used to achieve my angling ends, that being, to catch fish. My focus is to be well versed enough with my tools that regardless of the conditions I have the right implement, and know how to use it to get the job done. Unfortunately when fly fishing gets brought into the mix many fall to a common misconception that the cast catches the fish. Well, I’ve yet to see a fish swoop down out of a tree to eat a fly. So many fly anglers often get so caught up in how their fly is getting to the water that they don’t focus on what the fly is doing once it’s in or on the water. It’s my purpose in this article to explain how to fish the fly rod from the kayak while keeping casting to a minimum so as to keep the focus on effectively fishing, and ultimately catching. Yes, when stationary on foot, distance casting is often necessary. Well, when one is in a kayak, the kayak cuts down the distance to the fish, and in the case of river fishing the kayak often moves right over where the fish are eating. Because we are dealing with river fishing, fishing from the kayak, and using the fly rod, let’s keep things simple and first address the water types, then the use of the kayak, and last a simple effective way to present a “fly rod lure” to the fish in these areas.

I love fishing rivers because of the variety of ways the water moves, and the potential areas to find fish. There are long slow-moving stretches of water… What we’ll call a “pool”. Then there are the shallow broken water stretches that for our purposes we’ll call “runs”. Runs, which are usually associated with elevation changes eventually transition to pools. The transition area we’ll call “tail outs”. I’m not a gambling man as I have nothing to loose, however if I were to wager that I could catch a fish on the fly rod in one fly cast, from the kayak, on any given summer/fall day, the place I would say I could do this is where the broken water of a run transitions to a tail out, eventually slowing in velocity to the head of a pool. I did say one cast, and yes with the fly rod while fishing from the kayak, one cast could be worked effectively, well over a few hundred yards. Let’s look at handling the kayak.

There are a multitude of virtues about a kayak as a fishing platform on flowing water. For me, the primary virtue is that the kayak easily floats through water depths measured in inches, and does so quietly. Here’s the technique I use in the kayak to set my drift. First and foremost, keep in mind that when drifting through moving water in the kayak, I drift stern, back end first. So as I come up on the broken water I first address the water from a forward-facing position. This is done so as to see any rocks or obstructions in my path that could possibly be a hazard. Once I have corrected my course to avoid obstructions I spin the kayak so I am drifting stern-first. My paddle will eventually be set in my lap so I can handle the fishing rod, usually the fly rod. There will be some current formations that may spin or twist the kayak one way or another. To correct positioning I’ll keep the rod in its normal hand and with the no rod hand grab the paddle. I’ll use my rod hand elbow to brace the paddle across my body, and either push or pull the paddle on my non-rod hand side through the water to correct my drift. After a bit of practice it becomes quite easy. That’s the extent of kayak handling needed to drift the moving water. Let’s now look at the use of the fly rod in this situation.

Here’s a quick overview of the fly rod and the fly line I’m using. My preferred weight rod for the river is a 9’ 8wt fly rod. It can handle a good range of weighted or wind resistant flies. It can also handle smaller flies. It also has enough backbone to handle smallies measured in pounds, and the occasional carp, channel cat, and possible musky. Last I can still pull the kayak up before a shallow rapid and get out to fish the fly rod on foot if I so choose. The fly line I use is a “weight-forward” floating fly line. In fly fishing terms it is written like this,
WF8-F. The WF stands for weight-forward, the 8 is the weight of rod, and the F is floating. Fly lines have tapers. The diameter of line, front to back, tapers from a thin diameter called the “tip” to a thicker diameter, which is called the “head”. The head will eventually taper back down to a thin diameter and this is called the “running line”. There seems to be a million and one tapers on the market. For the technique we’re discussing here any WF8-F line will suffice. The fly line where it goes on the reel attaches to backing. Reels are sized by the weight of line they can hold. Some reels are designed to hold a range of line weights. The fly reel should have at least 200 yards of backing on it. That’s not to say you’ll need that much backing, but it is important in how the fly line wraps on the spool. Dacron backing is the conventional running line used, however, I have gone to using 20# tensile Power Pro as backing. Doing this I get pretty close to 300yards of backing on the reel due to its thin diameter. At the forward most tip of the fly line, a tapered leader gets attached. The leader I tie is 4’ of 50# mono, to 2’ of 35# mono to a tip section of 8# mono 3’ long. I use uni-to-uni knots in the construction of the leaders. That’s a brief over view of my normal Susky kayak set up for the fly rod. Let’s get back to fishing it from the yak…

At this point we’ll address the fly. Actually, what I’m using in the runs through the tailouts is a wet fly tied on a 1/32 ounce jig head. See the recipe that accompanies the article. The 8wt fly rod has no problem tossing the weight of this presentation, when I decide to cast. It’s tied to look like any number of critters or bait fish that the fish in the river will see as food. All one needs to do once the kayak is set on the drift is to pull about 5’ of fly line out of the fly rod. Drop the jig and line onto the water. Strip about 10’-20’ of line off the reel as you drift back and shake it out of the rod tip onto the water. Always watch where the leader meets the fly line. When that dips under the water use the rod tip to straighten the line and get tight to the jig because at this point the jig is connecting with the bottom. Simply lay the fly line, coming off the reel, under the index finger of the hand that is on the rod, and strip or hold the line with your off hand behind the index finger of your rod hand. You should occasionally feel the jig contact the bottom. When this happens quickly strip line in using very short quick 2” long strips until you no longer feel the bottom. You could also lightly twitch the rod tip up. I prefer the stripping technique. As the water gets deeper, shake out more line. Keep in mind that the leader is 9’ long. It’s simple to get the jig into the kitchen of the fish in quickly flowing water 4-10 feet deep.

So now you’re jig is down in the column, it looks like hapless food adrift through your quarries’ kitchens. It comes across the nose of a 3# smallie, and it breathes it in, now what? Well, the first thing you feel is a breath taking thud. Provided you have the line locked under that index finger and your other hand holding the line, the rod will double over and start convulsing violently, your kayak will get spun around in circles or pulled in various directions. You can do one of two things to gain line on the fish. If it’s a bigger fish it will run line out until the point that the line is coming straight off the reel. Fight the fish as you would any fish from the reel. Sometimes though when the fish goes to run it pulls you in the kayak before pulling out line. So just gain line back by pulling line across your index finger, and close that finger to lock the line to reset the hand pulling the line. I suggest having a decent sized net in the kayak with you to scoop up the pooped fish. It only takes a few 2#-4# smallies on the fly rod, while catching them from the yak, to make the day.

If you have a fly rod, and get a chance to drift the river in a kayak, try this technique with any 1/32 ounce or smaller ice fishing jig, and hold on. If you have any questions e-mail me at
Tight lines, screaming reels, and safe paddling!

Hank Hewitt is a guide for Anthracite Outfitters, and owner of HCH3 Photographic Productions, LLC.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Susquehanna River Fly and Spin Fishing Report: September 11, 2010

From Susquehanna Fly & Spin Guide Service, LLC:

The Susquehanna River is Low and gin clear and some good size Smallmouth Bass have made it to the boat for clients my this week. The fish have been decent size and put up a good fight. Numbers and sizes of fish will improve as fall approaches. Fall is also one of my favorite times to fly fish as they are readily willing to take a properly presented fly.

Give us a call to Get Bent and Some String!-------<*)}}}}}><

Your Susquehanna River Fishing Guide Steve Hancock!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


From Koinonia Guide Service:

Hi Gang,

The river was at 3.3 with 6,300CF of flow and 80 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.1 with 4,200CF of flow and 66 degrees. The BP was 30.40 and falling.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Tuesday evening and we fished from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM and we only boated 1 Flathead but it weighed 19.80#. We caught it on live bait. We had 3.2 – Stained – Steady – 5,200 CF and 80 degrees. It was windy and we had a BP of 30.40 and falling.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday afternoon and we fished from Noon to 4:00 PM and we boated 5 bass and 1 walleye. The largest bass was 19.5” and the Walleye was 15”. We caught them on soft plastics, Spinnerbaits and Stickbaits. We had 3.1 – Clear to Stained – 4,800 CF and 80 degrees. It was extremely windy and we had a BP of 30.00 & Steady.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Thursday and we fished from 5:00 PM to 9:00 and we boated 2 Flatheads. The largest was 5# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 3.1 – Stained – 4,100CF and 75 degrees. It was extremely windy and we had a BP of 30.20 and rising.

4. Trip #4 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Friday and we fished from 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM and we boated 12 Flatheads and 3 Channel Cats. The largest flat head was 5# and our largest Channel Cat was 6#. We caught them all on live bait. We had 3.1 – Clear – Steady - 4,300CF and 70 degrees. It was breezy and we had a BP of 30.40 and falling.

5. Trip #4 – Guide Trip – This was a Saturday Mid Day Half Day Guide Trip and we boated 9 Bass and 2 Walleye. The largest bass was 16” and our largest Walleye was 17”. We caught them on Rattlebaits and Crankbaits. We had 3.1 – Clear – 4,200 CF – Falling and 66 degrees. It was clear and sunny and we had a BP of 30.40 and falling.

6. I know I keep saying this but we are expecting Dave’s new boat any day. We have put extra thought into this design to specifically aide us in our Catfish Trips.

7. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.

8. I believe we have the 80 degree water behind us now and the bass fishing should continue to improve.

9. We fed over 60 people at our Annual Fish Fry this year. We had Halibut, Salmon, Ling Cod, Yellow Eye and Walleye. We also had marinated venison steaks, corn on the cob, hamburgers and hot dogs. Thanks to Kermit Henning for providing the great sweet corn and to Dave Neuman for providing the ice.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Exploring the River as a Family (SFM, July 2010)

From the July issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By: Matt Metzger

It wasn’t long ago that I purchased my first kayak to fish out of and soon a second for my wife. We chose sit-on-top kayaks because we were fearful (although these fears were unfounded) that we might roll over and not be able to get out of a sit-inside. As we looked at models of sit-on-tops we saw the large storage areas behind the seat, just big enough for our then four and five-year-old boys. The ideas began to come of teaching our boys about the river and the many natural resources through kayaking.

When introducing our boys to the Susquehanna River, we kept the trips short – maybe paddling upstream for forty-five minutes at most and then finding an island to explore and swim around. We would take nets and allow them to catch small fish and then release them after they were examined. While walking along shore, bird and mammal footprints would be found and guesses of the maker would be made. This was followed by snacks and the lesson of leaving the area as we found it making sure nothing was left behind and picking up extras we found. When the kids seemed content we made the faster paddle downstream to the ramp and home with new knowledge gained.

As they have gotten older the trips have gotten a little longer and now include a ten-foot kayak they take turns paddling. Since they are seven and eight we now position cars so we can go downstream to make their paddling easier and allow them to feel more independent. Safety talks, paddling techniques, and controlling their kayak by using the power of water have now expanded their summer education.

The kayaks have opened up the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay to our family; the kayaks have helped our boys discover bald eagles, explore islands, and examine aquatic life. They have taken us to Elk Neck State Park in Maryland where we viewed the light house at Turkey Point, and pointed north to show the boys the answer to their question of where does the Susquehanna River go. They have taken us in the bays behind Assateague Island to dig fresh clams to cook that day and to the marshes of Janes Island State Park to explore new wildlife. They have seen the waters of Gifford Pinchot and Hills Creek State Parks in PA. Every time we go out in the Susquehanna Watershed we come back with something new.

Our hometown, Selinsgrove, lies along the Susquehanna River. As teachers we see kids who do not even realize what the river has to offer. Our kayaks have been the vehicle to teach our children about this valuable river system and the beauty that surrounds us. As spring comes, the boys are already asking when they can go on the river and now fish out of the kayak as I do. Whether by kayak or boat, take a kid out and show them what we have in the Susquehanna River Watershed. Time spent together on the water always provides lasting memories.

Matt Metzger teaches 6th grade math along with coaching the Selinsgrove High Girls Soccer Team. He has become an avid kayak fisherman along the Susquehanna River.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Guide's Guide to Catch and Release the Right Way! (SFM, February 2010)

From the February 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Steve Hancock, Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service, LLC

When handling fish, there is a right and wrong way to land and handle your catch. The best way is to not handle them at all, but let’s be realistic. We all want that picture with the catch of a lifetime. Even small fish should be handled with care and released quickly, as they are the future of OUR fishery. Here's a good analogy of what it’s like for the fish… It’s like you or me running a 100 yard dash, and then holding our breath. Try to keep the fish in the water until you are ready with the camera, and snap that picture quickly.

Here's a simple guide to landing and handling your catch correctly:

1. Play the fish as quickly as possible.

2. Once at the boat, try to unhook the fish while in the water, and keep it in water until you’re ready with the camera to snap a quick picture. If you use a net, consider the new type, which are designed to be less damaging to the fish than the older style nets.

3. If you must handle the fish, wet your hands before handling it (fish have a protective layer of film that protects them from disease). Then support the fish with both hands horizontally, not vertically when possible (fish are in a weightless, underwater environment, and holding the fish vertically may be harmful).

4. Revive the fish by placing the fish back in the water. Hold the fish’s lower lip with your thumb on top of the lower lip and your index finger on the bottom of lower lip, and move the fish in a forward motion through the water until the fish can swim freely out of your hands (the fish processes oxygen by water passing over its gills).

5. Watch the fish swim away and feel good that you have done everything possible to ensure the fish's survival, and share this knowledge with others.

Below are a few pictures demonstrating these techniques:

Article written and photographed by PFBC licensed guide Steve Hancock of Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service llc

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kayak Fishing & Camping: The North Branch of the Susquehanna River (SFM, June 2010)

From the June 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Capt. Dan Hubbard

When you were a kid and read the stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, did you imagine yourself floating down a river, fishing and camping along the way?

Well, we might not have the mighty Miss here in the Northeast, but we do have the Susquehanna River which starts at Lake Ostego in New York and traverses 444 miles across New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland culminating its journey at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The Susquehanna is an ancient river that can provide the kayak angler with breathtaking vistas and urban environs all rolled into one, affording the angler a multitude of kayak fishing and camping adventure possibilities.

Kayak fishing and kayak camping really allow the angler to be at a different level with the river and the wildlife that it sustains, including bald eagles, osprey, hawks, great blue herons, and countless other species. The kayak is the most effective and efficient platform to fish and camp this river. The angler can, with little effort, plan and execute a great kayak fishing expedition on the Susquehanna River or their own river at home following some of the brief guidelines and tips that will be laid out in this article.

The North Branch of the Susquehanna River is a major drainage basin for the region of Northeastern Pennsylvania; consequently throughout the length of this river there are large islands that have been created and these islands have large hardwoods many years old as well as softwoods and weed growth. These islands can provide the kayak camper with many prime areas to set up camp at the end of a long day of fishing.

The kayak is by no means a raft, so considerations need to be taken in regards to its limitations when packing and preparing for such an adventure. This is where the kayak angler will separate himself from Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, not in the imaginative sense, but in the equipment and provisions needed.

Kayak camping on a river like the Susquehanna really adds that element of adventure to a weekend of fishing and with some preplanning and the right gear it will make for a comfortable weekend on any river. The basic elements of water, food and shelter come into play; the equipment that is needed is readily available at most outdoor gear retail stores and there is no need to break the bank to get the right equipment for your river adventure.

Water is probably the most important and the heaviest item you will take with you. An angler should have at least one gallon of water a day for drinking and the meals average about eight to ten cups of water each for two anglers. Basically a gallon should provide enough water for two meals. There are many backpacker water filtering systems on the market and they can allow you to filter the river water, but this would only be recommended for cooking water and it should be boiled after it is filtered.

The campsite and cooking gear is basic. A lightweight two or three-man tent that weighs less then six pounds is perfect and there are many on the market that are very affordable. A forty degree sleeping bag is more than enough to sleep comfortably and again is not an expensive item. Cooking pots come in nested sets of two pots and one frying pan and single-burner backpacking stoves with sealed self-contained fuel cells are the way to go in order to avoid any fuel leaks in the kayak.

The menu for an overnight kayak fishing and camping trip could have many variables, but perishable foods are not recommended. Summer heat and various conditions can lead to spoilage and an ice chest would just add unneeded weight to the kayak. A favorite riverside lunch is chicken wraps; basic ingredients like pre-cooked rice packs, fresh onion, fresh green or red pepper, and one can of chicken heated in a pot and then wrapped in tortillas is perfectly simple and easy. Fresh fish, of course, can be prepared with dry breading mix and oil in a pan as well. Prepackaged foods offer a great variety for menu options at little cost, but need water to prepare. Food and menus are very subjective so that will be left to the individual kayak angler.

For all the Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer fans, a trip like this is fun and easy to do with good preplanning and preparation. We hope that this article will help you in your quest for a kayak fishing and camping adventure and we will not even ask you to paint our fence for the information. Tight lines and safe paddling…

Capt. Dan Hubbard is a lifelong outdoorsman and the owner of Anthracite Outtfitters, Northeast Pennsylvania’s first kayak fishing guide service.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


From Koinonia Huide Services:

Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.0 with 9,800CF of flow and 76 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.3 with 6,300CF of flow and 80 degrees. The BP was 29.70 and rising.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Monday night and we fished from mid night to 6:00 AM and we boated 20 Flatheads. The largest was 32# and we caught them all on live baits. We had 3.6 – Stained – Steady – 10,000 CF and 74 degrees. It was calm and we had a BP of 30.50 and steady.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we fished from 6:30 PM to 11:30 and we boated 15 Flatheads. The largest was 10# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 3.5 – Clear – 8,700CF and 85 degrees. It was hot and we had a BP of 30.50 and falling.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was on Thursday and we made bait with the client and we caught about 50 pan fish and we then went for Flatheads. We fished for them from 6:00 PM to 11:00 and we boated 12 Flatheads. The larges was 8.10 #. We caught them all on live bait. We had 3.4 – Clear – 8,200CF – Falling and 88 degrees. It was breezy and we had a BP of 30.20 and falling.

4. Trip #4 – Guide Trip – This was a Friday night trip and we boated 9 Flatheads. The larges was 26# and we caught them all on live bait. We had 3.3 – Clear – 6,300CF – Falling and 80 degrees. It was extremely windy and we had a BP of 29.70 and rising. You can see the picture of this brute on our web site photo gallery at

5. I know I keep saying this but we are expecting Dave’s new boat any day. We have put extra thought into this design to specifically aide us in our Catfish Trips.

6. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Film Canister Fly Tying Tip (Hints & Tips; SFM, June 2010)

From the June 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Bryan Wilhelm

Here’s a really cool way to keep your bodkin handy, clean, and always ready when tying flies and lures. A bodkin is a needle with a handle used by fly tyers.

This is so simple and takes just a few minutes.

• Stop and pick-up several plastic film cans from a photo processing store.
• Drill several holes in the lid. A 1/16”drill bit works well here.
• Pack the film can with 00 steel wool, then snap on the lid.

When working with glue, epoxy and other gooey stuff…just push the bodkin into the film can to clean off the goo. It a great place to store your bodkin too.

Tight lines...

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Guide’s Guide to Proper Boating Etiquette (SFM, March 2010)

With fall moving in and more people chasing the bite this time of year, we thought it would be a great time to revisit...

From the March 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Steve Hancock

Many of us out on the water know what proper boating etiquette is. But very few times do I see boaters and fisherman display this etiquette to one another. Let’s begin by separating the types of boaters out there. There are the pleasure boaters (pontoon boats, ski boats, and run-abouts), jet skiers, and of course fisherman, whether they fish by boat, kayak, or wading. There are several instances I observe out on that water that need addressing; here are some examples of improper boating etiquette:

1. Running too close to another boat, or cutting someone off while running.

Proper Etiquette: Give yourself and others more room than what is noted as the minimum by law. Remember it’s a “minimum,” so farther away is better in most cases.

2. Boating too closely to a person who is stationary and fishing, whether they are wading, in a kayak, or another boat.

Proper Etiquette: If you get too close, it may disrupt that person’s fishing area by spooking fish or causing an unnecessary wake. Try to remember that it may have taken that person some time and effort to get to where he is. Generally speaking, a distance of at least 150 feet is ideal, if possible. The more room you can give, the better it is for everyone. Just remember that the next time you’re on a spot catching fish that boater may do the same for you.

3. Another good one is "spot jumping." Spot jumping is when you position your boat into someone’s drift or direction towards which they are traveling.

Proper Etiquette: When you are traveling up or down river and you see another boater fishing, try to determine which direction they are going. If they are trolling up-stream, then you may proceed to fish below. If he is moving down-stream, then travel up-stream of him, a good ways away, then drop in where you would like. Again, the more distance you can give, the better. If you’re not sure which way they are headed, motion to him by pointing up or down river, or simply shut down your motor and ask. He will be glad you did rather than jump his spot.

4. Lastly and most importantly, don't ignore someone in distress!

Proper Etiquette: As a boater, more than likely you will be in this situation, either as the one in distress or the one responding to someone in need. As a good boater you should be attuned to what’s going on around you at all times, and this includes identifying and responding to someone in distress. A good sign of this would be a person waving their arms, making noise whether it be verbally or with a noise making device (whistle or air horn), or even seeing a flare. Once you see that person signaling to you, acknowledge you have seen him and proceed in his direction to assess what may be needed. Hopefully it will be a mechanical problem and just need a helping hand or a tow to shore. Just remember to never to endanger yourself or others, and if you need emergency assistance such as a water rescue or medical attention is needed, call 911. They will direct the right people to the situation.

In conclusion, practicing what I've mentioned above, using good common sense, and applying the "Boater’s Golden Rule" will make the Susquehanna River an even better place to be than it already is. "Do unto other boaters as you would have them do unto you!"

TIGHT LINES--------<*)}}}}}>< Everyone!

PFBC Licensed Guide, Steve Hancock

Thursday, September 2, 2010


From Koinonia Guide Service:

Hi Gang,

The (Susquehanna) river was at 3.2 with 5,600CF of flow and 74 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.0 with 9,800CF of flow and 76 degrees. The BP was 30.40 and steady.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Trip – This was a Monday PM Trip for Panfish and we boated (3) Largemouth Bass, (2) Fallfish, (8) Rockbass and 53 Sunfish. The largest Sunfish was 9” and we caught it on a jig & worm. We caught all the fish on a jig & worm. We had 3.4 – Stained – 7,200 CF – Steady and 80 degrees. It was cloudy and breezy and we had a BP of 30.30 and steady.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and it was a combo trip and we fished 8 hours. We boated 3 Smallmouth, 3 Channel Cats and 2 Flatheads. The largest Bass was 17”, the largest Channel Cat was 4 pounds and the largest Flathead was 10 pound. We caught them on Stickbaits and live bait. We had 3.6 – Stained – 9,600CF and 80 degrees. It was sunny and windy with a BP of 30.40 and falling.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Friday and we fished from 8:30PM – 12:30PM and we boated 6 Flatheads. They ware all around 5-6 #. We caught them on live and cut bait. We had 4.0 – Stained – 9,800CF – Rising and 76 degrees. It was calm and we had a BP of 30.60 and rising.

4. Trip #4 – No Trip

5. The bass fishing in the Harrisburg Area is starting to improve but you have to cover a lot of water. The fish are really scattered and the cooler water temperature is helping.

6. Dave will soon have his new custom boat ready for Guide Trips. We have put extra thought into this design to specifically aide us in our Catfish Trips.

7. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why Kayak Fishing? (SFM, April 2010)

From the April 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By John “Toast” Oast

While the concept of kayak fishing is gaining popularity around the world, a kayak is an often overlooked fishing platform. Utilizing such vessels offers an angler an affordable, ecologically friendly, and easy way to target fish. Although many are just beginning to recognize the potential for this form of fishing on the Susquehanna River, it in many ways is an ideal method for fishing our beloved body of water. The way an angler rigs a kayak for fishing is a very personal undertaking. The choices you make are dependent upon your fishing style, and the waters you paddle. What works for me may not work for you. Over the years as a professional kayak angler I have conducted many presentations on kayak rigging, and even created a popular Youtube channel dedicated to the practice (

The typical fishing kayak consists of a sit-on-top kayak with a couple flush-mounted rod holders behind the seating area, and a strapped-on milkcrate in the tankwell. These two options enable the angler to transport both rods and essential gear, which may not have been possible without their addition. The next common feature would be a pivoting-style rod holder, normally mounted to the front of the seating position. With this feature, a rod can be placed in nearly any position, and located in front of the paddler, for easy access and view.

For an angler who wishes to anchor during an outing, the installation of an anchor trolley system is very common. A trolley system can be as simple as a cleat, or as complex as utilizing pulleys and bungees to attain the best anchor line position. Keep in mind that anchoring a kayak in turbulent or flowing water has its dangers. The same anchor that helps you stay on the fish can also cause a kayak to be pulled under water. If using an anchor, always carry a good knife! Many of the Susquehanna’s stretches of flowing water are not ideal for such a practice, but in slower moving or still water, anchoring may be very beneficially.

Another popular add-on for the fishing kayak is the fishfinder or sonar unit. These electronics can be purchased new for anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars. It all depends on what resolution you want, how many “bells and whistles” it has, and how big your budget is. As for the rigging of these devices, some prefer to attach the transducer with suction cups below the hull, while others use a through-hull transducer application. Each has its benefits and downfalls. I personally shy away from the external application of the transducer, since underwater obstructions may cause it to be knocked off of the hull.

Finally, an important piece of equipment which is often overlooked is the seat. If you want to enjoy your time on the water, you need to be comfortable. I always recommend that the new kayak angler invest in the best kayak seat that he or she can afford. Look for durable stitching, and a high back for added support. If you can’t get comfortable in the kayak, you won’t be on the water very long. Some seats even have optional rod holders attached right on the back, or even a small tackle holding area.

These are just a few items to keep in mind when first considering a kayak for fishing, but also remember a few mandatory items, such as a personal floatation device (life jacket), whistle, and some form of light if paddling at night. The PFD has to be comfortable just like your seat so that you will always wear it, because it may save your life. The whistle may help you signal assistance from others if you are “up a creek without a paddle”, or just trying to hail your paddling companion.

The list of rigging options and accessories for the kayak angler is extensive. Each time you hit the water to fish, you will think of new ways to best rig your kayak for your own purposes. To many kayak anglers, the art of rigging a kayak is nearly as entertaining as being on the water hunting for a favorite gamefish.

John “Toast” Oast is the publisher of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff and Ocean Kayak Fishing Team. His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world. For more information, visit and his Youtube page at