Monday, July 3, 2023

The Spot That Always Delivers // 500th Fish

 Once again, I'm back in the northeast. Considering the success of last year's trip, we decided to make the trip out to Reading, PA for more fishing at Gring's Mill on the Tulpehocken Creek followed by a minor league baseball game. We drove over, very excited and anticipated to see if we could repeat the success of last year. We first stopped off at Dick's to pick up some nightcrawlers and hooks, sinkers, leaders, etc. I got hooks in size 6 and 8. Soon enough we were on our way. Luckily when we arrived they sky didn't look too threatening. Jakes and I set up quickly and put our lines in as soon as possible.

Jakes went to the right side of the bridge while I tried the left. I dropped my line in by a hole right behind a big rock, but as soon as I looked back over at Jakes, he was calling out to me with a fish on his line. A small bluegill, but a fish is a fish. They're always fun to catch. Before I could walk over, I also got a hit and hooked up on a small Rock Bass. They may not have been big, but there's no better way to start off a day of fishing than with a double up!

Soon after, my sister Dani came out. I handed her a rod and told her how to cast and where to place the bait. It took her a few tries, but eventually she got it where it needed to be and got a bite as well! She was pretty excited about reeling in that rock bass, deservedly so, since it was her first fish in a few years. Jakes and I kept on fishing, with Jakes once again outfishing me by repeatedly catching fish in his honey hole. Later on, as I was walking up and down the bridge looking for new fish or spots, I saw a school of Smallmouth Bass above the dam. I called Jakes over to keep an eye on them while I set up my line with a hook and bait, and we dropped them down. The bass checked out the worms, but often spit them out. It's my suspicion that since it was hot out, the worms had started to dry up and die, and the lack of movement caused them to be less enticing. Keeping the worm container cold is a lesson I'll need to remember for next time.

While we weren't able to get the bass above the dam to bite, Jakes did hook up into something special. The fish fought hard - enough so that the old cheap bait caster reel started to lock up and we had to hand line it over. We were surprised to find out that the fish was a new species: a Pumpkinseed! That's another fish off the bucket list. I've now caught 3/4 of the main sunfish species in the Philadelphia area: the Bluegill, Redbreast Sunfish, and Pumpkinseed. It's a beautiful fish with blue rays by its mouth and gold/blue patterns across its body. Finally seeing one in person, especially having caught it, was an amazing feeling.

After that fish, I knew that my lifetime count was at 499 total fish. We also didn't have too much time remaining. There was one time I had a sunfish on my hook, but I waited too long to set it and reel in because I saw a Smallmouth Bass chasing it. Once again, I was taught not to be greedy when fishing; don't leave fish to find fish, as I learned and kept with me over the years. Because of that, I went back to panfishing at Jacob's honey hole on the right side of the bridge in hopes of catching my 500th in the limited time remaining. I felt a lot of nibbles immediately, but the fish kept stealing my bait. That was, until one time I did hook up. I reeled it in, and brought it out of the water long enough to see what it was, but it swiftly came off with the hook. It was an unexpected good sized Smallmouth Bass, and while it does count as a catch, I felt real heartbreak in not being able to bring it over. Alas, that's how fishing goes. Regardless, it was a great catch and nice for number 500. We fished some more to be able to bring one over the bridge, and I caught a Rock Bass before Jakes finished off the day with a Bluegill.

Leaving the bridge, we were all thrilled to have caught so many fish at this beautiful spot on the Tulpehocken, which has easily become one of our favorite fishing spots. After all, it's delivered quality fish of different species both times we came here. And one can't ask for a better setting. The variety of unexpected catches we have pulled from the spot also made me think about a quote by Robert Altman: "I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don't know what's on the other end. Your imagination is under there." When you're fishing, anything can happen as long as you go out there and wet a line. When you get rewarded with a special catch, it's that much better. There's nothing like it.

I started jumping after this video. It stings. But that's fishing.

No comments:

Post a Comment