Friday, April 1, 2016

Fresh in the Finger Lakes: Day 7 (the Finale)

The last day of the Finger Lakes one was a fun one. The atmosphere was relaxed as we packed and reflected on the trip. 

In the afternoon, I found a little creek under a dam of a pond near Lamoka. The pool under the dam was low and choked with fish. And by choked, I mean literally filled to the brim. As a walked on the edge, dozens of sunfish scattered. To give you a visual, there was a kid (probably about 8) catching bluegills by hand there. It was a tiny pool, but the fish couldn't travel downstream because the riffle was way too shallow. 

Sunfish, perch, bass, a pickerel or two, suckers, and some huge golden shiners all resided there. I was looking for some micros, but it was soon clear that the creek was very sterile and the fish present were all washed down from the pond. Having (presumably) caught all the species present there, I decided to try for the bass and pickerel. 

Immediately I hooked into tons of sunnies and little bass. 

This bronze and green bluegill was interesting. 

One of the perks of this day was that I hooked into a new hybrid sunfish, a green x pumpkinseed. 

It's a beautiful little sunny..

It was then when I found one of the rarer species in the roughfishing/lifelisting word - the creek chubsucker. It is notoriously hard to find and even harder to catch. Unfortunately, the one I found was dead...

Realizing that some of the suckers in the pool were creek chubsuckers instead of whites, I immediately tried for this rarely caught fish. But the sunnies proved to aggressive and fishing for the chubsuckers was too difficult. Unlike Moby Dace, this one was impossible.

Returning to Lamoka and the cottage, I decided to do some fishing out of the kayak after dinner. I set off, and later my grandpa joined me in the other kayak. I spent about 2 hours fishing, and caught one or two small bass. However, a bass broke me off in the pads, and I lost my last bass hook and worm (on me). I decided to call it a trip when my grandpa called me, telling me he was heading back. My grandpa was fishing with the same lure, (YUM Dinger) and I asked him if I could borrow his rod.

The sun was about to set, and I was fishing in low light in 2 feet of water. There was an opening in the mats in the marsh near our cottage, and I had pulled some small bass from there previously. If was sheltered and off a point, only 5 feet from shore. I even went over that spot before on the same outing. I was heading back, and I thought I'd give it another try.

I cast my lure out, and was watching my line steadily move while my lure sank. Suddenly, my line twitched ever so slightly, and began to move to the left. I tentatively tightened my line, and when he fish felt it, it took off. The rod doubled over, and the fish began a series of runs. I don't know if it's something in the water, but the bass in Lamoka fight so much harder than on the golf course. It even towed the kayak around for a period of time!

Eventually, I pulled near the kayak, and was about to grab it when it dove into the mat. I tightened up and couldn't differentiate between the heavy weight of the vegetation and the trashing of the fish. Soon, however, I was able to pull the fish out slowly. Right as the fish's head came out, I was taking no chances. I grabbed the bottom lip and hoisted the entire mass out, 20 lbs of weeds and all.


Wasting no time, I paddled back the the cottage for photos. It was the largest bass anyone had caught all trip, and my grandparents immediately requested to keep it. However, we were leaving the next morning, and the fish was rather large, so I decided to release it.

4 lb Upstate NY largemouth!!!


It was by no means that big or long, but it had one hell of a gut, and was my biggest lure caught bass to that date. It was a fitting way to end the Finger Lakes trip. I caught some very cool fish and 4 lifers... Hopefully I'll return soon and catch some more!

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