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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Day With Dunfee

I couldn't tell you how long I've been planning to visit the Red-bearded dude who goes by the name of Dunfee. Its been multiple years with multiple missed opportunities, from lack of funds, to torrential rain storms, and hurricanes. The stars just never seemed to align until now.

You'd think, hey its the same state dude, that's kind of close, nope, you'd be wrong. Its a little under a 12 hour round trip. 12 hour round trips are appealing when its somewhere new and exciting but try talking yourself into driving 12 hours to visit the state you live in.

But the stars aligned and a job opportunity came up so I finally got my much coveted go ahead I'd be seeking all this time. The bad news? Its gonna be a 2 day trip MAX. We left Sunday afternoon to arrive Sunday night. We got to meet up with Dunfee and despite being the first time meeting him I felt like I've known him for a long time because in essence, I have. We hopped in the magical Toyota and ventured down to what Dunfee kindly referred to as the "Borderlands", if you've played the game you'd get the double entendre. It very closely bordered West Virginia and man was this a strange place. The noises at night were straight unidentifiable, and were downright spooky even for 3 dudes who spend the bulk majority of their time outdoors. It didn't help being a straight hour from civilization, some people use that loosely, I assure you its not used loosely here, it had to be 40 minutes for any sort of amenity.

Here is some delicious food from Dunfees hometown.

Enough of that though, back to the fishing! We/I casted frantically until I could no longer stand but the stonecats just weren't having it, in no way shape or form. I manged to get my hopes up in the form of a bruiser baby carp and yellow bullhead. I made the solemn and extremely tired drive back to Dunfees pad.

Common Carp
Yellow Bullhead
We arrived home late so we woke up a little late the next day. We went straight to the White Crappie location that Dunfee swore by. He wasn't wrong, it didn't take long. It was pretty straight forward and they were very cooperative despite the chocolate milk waterway. Below is the brave Fathead Minnow that kept serving his purpose even after being partially digested by a lifer White Crappie.

White Crappie

We spot jumped for a little while before settling down to an undisclosed location on the Ohio River and when emo couples weren't skipping rocks at our bobbers, we were wrangling in the denizens of the deep. I have no choice, but to bolster the legend of Dunfee. He literally asked, "Hey do you want to wade out here and catch these Smallmouth Buffalo?". I figured no way fish of that size would let you wade out in arms length of them and just let you wrangle them in. Damn, was I wrong. He did just that, he walked right out, barely casted and a 5lb range Smallmouth Buffalo ensued. Well deserving smack talk ensued. Don't doubt the Dunfee people, dudes as fishy as they come, doubt him and it'll cost you a lifer...
Smallmouth Buffalo

We moved to another spot and after a good bit of casting and some knowledge of "fish cover" I landed a small Spotted Bass. I knew something smelled afoul, but wasn't quite sure. It didn't really resemble a Largemouth Bass, it had redish eyes, but I didn't want to be the guy getting all ID worked up over a Largemouth Bass. Luckily I had to bring it over to Dunfee to gain access to pliers to which he exclaimed "SPOTTED BASS!", otherwise I probably would of settled for a grainy selfie and tossed it back in.
Spotted Bass

We fished around for a little while longer before making a judgement call to make a trip to the Longnose Gar graceland. Dunfee was very reassuring that catching these gar was SUPER easy, the dude was right. Every cast we hooked up with a Longnose Gar. Being still noobie gar fisherman its offly entertaining waiting for the hookset, I'm usually an overzealous early hooker, so its definitely entertaining to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Longnose Gar
Yellow Bullhead
1st PA Freshwater Drum
I made a last ditch effort at the Stonecats but only Drum and Yellow Bullhead would take the bait. I was pretty stoked to catch PA drum though, I'm not going to lie. I caught 3 lifers, and that was actually on the higher end of my expectations, my trips are about having fun with friends, targeting the targets I personally covet, and we had a blast and 3 highly coveted new species were landed. All and all it was a good trip. We waved farewell to Dunfee and headed to Northwest Pa to seek out a job opportunity, visited another friend who moved out that way and shortly thereafter made the journey home.

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