With a view like the one above the vastness can be intimidating. Sure these depths hold the company of the serious bruisers of fish, but what are the odds? I guess you'll have to read to find out, or just scroll through the pictures like some sort of n00b.
Attempt 1: The Fruits of Labor
For my second ever fishing expedition by myself I headed north on a tip that Rudd were biting in New York. I gassed up and quickly jettisoned through the early morning breeze doing the only thing I can do, try to get to 200 fish species before I turn 30 (3/22/2019)
I arrived to a very crowded spot and made quick work of fish lifers under the punishing sun. My first fish was ironically a new personal best (PB) Alewife. They balled up in a school and it was almost too easy, a far cry from previous attempts.
My first lifer of the trip was extremely anti-climatic. I saw an Atlantic Salmon (fish #180). I casted at it and then I caught it, it was over just like that, a dream fish from water to palm in seconds. I repeated that once more on this trip, hilarious to think I always put that fish on the back burner as something that was going to be hard.
Meanwhile my real goal of this trip was Rudd, and I didn't see any, nothing, no Rudd to be found. I was told they would be flooding the waterway and almost too easy. So I talked to a tourist who told me he saw what I was talking about days earlier but he hasn't saw any today. It figures I was late to the party. I decided to go focus on the sole remaining micro of the trip and quickly I was rewarded with a Spottail Shiner (fish #181). The only thing notable about a spotfin shiner is its knack for losing all of its scales from the most rudimentary handling.
The rest of the day I spent more hours than I care to share pacing up and down the waterway to the bewildered looks of passerbys. I even took a food break to clear my mind and give the water a chance to warm up hoping to goad the Rudd into the shallows, no bueno. I did get a small consolation prize in the form of me walking around without a rod and finding a small school of giant Rudd as far away from my car as humanly possible. Naturally I made the walk back to my car for the Rudd to submerse themselves back into the deep. However I didn't take this lightly the chance to hold a Rudd stayed prominent in my mind and as a goal. I then cleared my schedule to try again a mere seven days later.
I fished a small creek on the way home and got three regular micros I see daily in PA.
Eastern Blacknose Dace
Attempt 2: Hes Going The Distance, Hes Going For Speed
Once a goal is in my head its hard to shake it, it becomes what I think about before bed, at work, while out to eat, it becomes the all encompassing mission. So naturally I segued a preplanned trip into a new and improved fishing trip. I arrived again early to find no fish. No nothing this time. No bullheads, no bass, no alewives, no spottial shiners, no Rudd. NOTHING. Nooooothing. I once again paced up and down with a look of bewilderment. As the day went on and the water warmed up small Rudd started to jet through the shallows but nothing you could realistically fish for. So I took to the depths where I found a school of mega Rudd. The type of fish school you know doesn't fall for nonsense, any experienced fisherman knows targeting a grouping like this is borderline futility. However that is exactly what I did for hours. Until it happened. IT HAPPENED. I connected with the gold shining brute and as it flailed side to side in the water. It was hard not to imagine it falling off but it didn't. Triumphantly the Rudd made land fall and made my entire day. I guess I can wait on the trip to the UK after all. The after feeling was glorious and I'm still reveling in it as I type. Not only did I catch a lifer Rudd, i caught a respectable superbeast. (Fish #182)
I tried another spot for micros but caught the regulars I'm used to seeing.
leech ridden Eastern Blacknose Dace
After fishing it was off to watch the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan play live.