“Life, for the most part, inevitably becomes routine, the random confluence of timing and fortune that configures its components all but forgotten. But every so often, I catch a glimpse of my life out of the corner of my eye, and am rendered breathless by it.” Jonathan Tropper
I wanted to start this post with that quote because it is true. We often take for granted the small things in life because they seem routine or mundane. When my friend graciously invited me to participate in a camping/fishing trip I thought it would be a great way for me to relieve stress and possibly catch a glimpse of life out of the corner of my eye as Jonathan Tropper states. On this trip, I fished an area where two mighty rivers came together in a beautiful spectacle. The confluence forms an awe inspiring ecosystem that without a doubt took my breath away.
The first night, we arrived after work, set up camp, and hit the river in hopes of catching one of the many fish species that call the area home. Due to the low water levels, the fishing was more difficult than expected and stealth was the key to success. After a few hours of fishing the riffles upstream of camp, I was rewarded with a toad of a Green Sunfish. It was the largest of this species of Sunfish I have ever caught.
After fishing, we headed back to camp to start the fire and prepare dinner. After a wonderful backcountry meal and camp talk we hiked roughly a mile over to the Confluence to view the convergence of the Rivers under the full moon. The sight was magnificent and I itched for the next morning and the view the vista in daylight.
Upon returning to my tent the sounds of the wilderness soothed me to sleep and I awoke early the next morning to the sound of flocks of Canadian Geese landing. I crawled out of my tent and reignited the embers of the previous night. By the fire light, I rigged my pole for some pre-breakfast fishing and waited for the others to awake. We hit the water and I was able to catch another large Green Sunfish. The Smallmouth, at this point, were still eluding us. So after breakfast we make the trek again up to the confluence.
We arrived at the confluence around 10 am and rock hopped/ waded out into some of the best Smallmouth habitat that I have ever seen. I found an area where the channel constricted and could see a large group of smallmouth darting in and out of the current. I casted a Gitzit tube bait into the area and as I reeled across the channel a fish completely nailed the bait. I knew by the force of the strict and the aerial tricks that ensured that I had hooked a nice smallmouth. After wrenching the fish out the rocky bottom I was relieved to have my new personal best smallmouth in my hands. He may have only been thirteen inches but I was incredibly pleased. After fishing for a while long my friend came to grab me. He had found a low-water refuge for the Smallies and had caught nearly a dozen in less than 30 minutes.
My first cast into the area produced a 10” Smallie which my friend promptly told me to release because there were much bigger fish in here. I sent another cast into a channel near a large rock outcropping and let the Gitzit Tube drift. I had no idea about what was going to ensue as the bait drifted slowly toward me. The strike came with a force have not honestly ever felt before. My rod tip bent in a way that I was sure was going to make it snap in two. The fish was stripping drag as fast as I could reel. After a short but fierce battle the Smallie surfaced and my friend literally jumped in the make sure he could grab the fish in case the line snapped. When he pulled the fish out of the water I was in awe. We took a quick measurement and released the little monster back into the river. 18 inches is now my new personal best for Smallmouth and I don’t think I will best it anytime soon. I am definitely okay with that because I was blessed to be able to catch such a wonderful fish.
This trip was incredible. From beautiful weather and scenery to comradery and new friends, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend 24 hours.