Friday, May 6, 2011

A Quick Run to the Catawba River

On our Easter trip to North Carolina, we had a chance to stop by our friend Candy & Bob's campsite along the lazy Catawba River.  Funny thing is that the Catawba River isn't naturally lazy - it's dammed up in 6 places in North Carolina, and another 5 spots downstream in South Carolina. So in essence, the River is actually a series of lakes.  American Rivers calls it the most endangered river in America.

I had very little time to assess the spot (I didn't even have an address or map ahead of tiem) and get a line wet, as our Henry, Bob & Candy's 3 little ones, some other kids, and a bunch of dogs were all running around the floodplain like a bunch of maniacs.  Wet, sandy, runny-nosed maniacs.

I tried one backwater spot and found that the whole area within my casting range was too shallow for big fish - a lot of sediment in this river!  BTW Candy - I left a nice popper hung up on a clump of Arrowhead approximately 10 feet out into the cove, right behind your campsite.  Enjoy! The River was the same - very shallow and poor structure outside of the deep, muddy channel, which really looked more like a catfishing spot than anything else (Bob caught a 9lb channel cat that night).  I then tried the inlet that drained the backwater pool into the River and had a little more luck - sunfish, juvenile largemouth, and yellow perch all holding in 4-6' of clear water.  Good deal.

The yellow perch run in Maryland was totally useless this year, and honestly I haven't caught yellow perch in years, so it was good to get re-acclimated.  They would only hit lures that were on a burn at the exact depth they were holding, although a few did rise to take fast-ripping lures in 1-3' of water.

I ended up catching about 9 yellow perch and 4 or so pumpkinseed in a little less than 2 hours of mid-day fishing - hey, I am taking what I can get these days.  I found one very nice size largemouth holding (probably on a nest) right off of a downed log.  He hit but missed the hook a few times, gulped once and bounced the hook another time, and eventually got wise to my ways and fled the scene.

It was at this time that I met See Saw.  My boy See Saw owns a red-glitter bass boat with a 250hp Merc on the stern.  See Saw rips up and down the river looking for fish, which is OK with me.   I can't help but be amused by the later information I received that See Saw owns this beautiful $40,000 bassin' outfit but lives in a singlewide trailer in the area.  Dream big, See Saw, dream big.

I did get a chance to show Henry his first live fish (I fished with him in a backpack last summer but caught nothing), but by the time I showed up at the toddler scene down the bank, wiggling (suffocating) perch in hand, Henry was eating a hot dog and chatting up some toddler ladies, making my fish pretty uninteresting by comparison. Don't believe me?

These days, he is mostly interested in running into the water at full speed, chasing ducks, chasing turtles, and falling/jumping off of boats and piers into the water, with no fear of the potential outcome.  I hope to focus that enthusiasm on some real water sports in the coming years, and I look forward to coming back to the Catawba River and doing some serious fishing.

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