Sometimes They Just Aren’t Biting

160144737What’s the old joke about fishing when you don’t catch as many as you thought you would or God forbid, you get skunked?

“That’s why they call it fishing, not catching”

I got the opportunity to fish the Delaware River yesterday, near Phillipsburg, NJ. We hit the water at 4 pm, hoping to capitalize on the late afternoon/evening bite. There had been some recent rain and the water levels and clarity were just where I like them. There was good flow with a mild stain. Water temps were about 62 F.

There were several negative factors that we had to contend with however.

Tough conditions?

A high pressure system had just come through, we had bluebird skies and we were in the post spawn. Were the smallies going to be active and feeding or where they hunkered down, recovering from the spawn?

With 3 of us in the boat, we started by hitting eddys and pools next to fast water with us all using different baits to find a pattern.

We were using tubes, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, soft jerk baits, crankbaits, and even tried the Ned Rig, depending on the current and location.

Our first strike was on a small white spinnerbait but it was a miss.

We moved to faster water to see if they were feeding in the riffles and moved to slower, deeper areas adjacent to fast water to see if they were holding up there.

As we moved to a back eddy, I changed my tube to a green pumpkin with red flake pattern and got a smallie on the first cast. I thought, “maybe we found a pattern” but didn’t get another bite on this bait. Eventually we found a pattern that accounted for 5 of our 7 bass. We found 5 of them on spinnerbaits along a steep wall, throw almost right on the bank. The bass would hit them on the fall or within the frist few turns of the reel.

Through the course of 4 hours, we caught a total of 7 smallies.

We had a blast despite the low numbers and we think we made the best of what were tough conditions.

The thing I love is that today is a different day, the fish are always changing their attitude and we never know if it is going to be a 7 fish day, a 50 bass day or one of those days for the ages with 100+ smallies.

All I know is that you can’t have the epic days without going through the tough days. If you are facing tough conditions, keep trying different patterns and keep on learning. You don’t learn much when the bass will eat anything you throw at them. You learn the most when conditions are the toughest.

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Fish on!

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