Fishing out of Newberg, a Father's Day story

For Father's day my family suggested, no begged, well actually demanded that I go fishing. In retrospect that seems a little off, but hey fishing :)

I got to Newberg around 5:20am and I was on the water by 5:45am (I am a terribly slow launcher since I do bring most of the Bass Pro Shops catalog with me each time out). I got on the water and started tossing a whopper plopper knockoff. It was serene and calming listening to the plop,, plop plop and watching the lure makes it way back. After ten minutes of that I remembered I was there to catch fish and not feel alone in the universe.

I don't know this area very well, I have fished it a handful of times for sturgeon in the winter and early spring, and I have only explored and/or fished for bass around some sturgeon spots. So, I was throwing a lure that might be unproductive or just be fishing an unproductive spot. I am sure every fisherman has felt that angst. It really looked like topwater morning but so be it.

As I moved downstream I came upon a big rock shelf. I never realized how bit it was. I threw a few active baits (crankbait, spinnerbait, swimbait) over the top of it without a sniff. I was trying to decide what to do when I was visited from beings from above:


That was amazingly cool. When they came down the roar from their fires was impressive. Apparently they were there to wake up the fish. After they left I moved to the downstream side of the shelf where it dropped from about 5' into about 30' almost straight down. I decided this called for a Ned rig. I missed fish on my first couple of casts when BAM, success.


Not exactly what I was looking for, but it was still pretty cool. I picked up another 1/2 dozen or so of about the same size when I decided that was not was I looking for -especially with the sun getting close to rising over the hill tops.

I kept moving downstream away from the crappie looking for smallmouth. Near the bridge the water was running pretty swiftly and it looked pretty bassy to me. I tossed out a swimbait and on the second cast I had a huge hit! Oh yeah baby it is on!!


I plan on making an appointment with the optometrist soon because clearly my ability to see bass water is being screwed up by my glasses :) I said to myself, not whatI was looking for but a lot bigger than a crappie. I missed a few more hits on the swimbait so I decided to switch to a squarebill crankbait. On my first cast, BAM, another hard hit and this thing was really pulling in the current.


You have go to be kidding me. I decided that perhaps the water at the bridge was running too fast and that I needed a little slower water for bass. So, I continued my journey downstream. Alternating a swimbait, crankbait and a spinnerbait. I just could not catch a fish on any of those 3. The sun was now over the treetops and I was bassless and a little stunned to be sure.

I decided to put away my "fun to fish with" lures and picked up my spinning rod with a Ned rig. I moved to a steep bank and tossed it out. On the first cast a fish picked it up and the frustration and tension of the morning came to a boil as I set to the hook with a little too much oomph and snapped the 8lb leader on hookset. I am not going to lie, I was not a happy camper at that point. The sky was pure blue but I felt a dark cloud looming over me.

I took a deep breath and re-tied a new leader and tied on a new Ned rig. On the third cast I set the hook, firmly but not like a maniac, and voila I finally caught what I had came for. It had taken nearly 3 hours but I felt all the tension drain from my body.


Sad to say that this fish was about as good of a bass as I caught all day. I ended up catching 16 bass (15 smallmouth and 1 largemouth) but the best of them were 1.25 to 1.5 lbs and there were others that made those look big. The Ned rig really produced well for me. This time I was throwing green pumpkin, I am not sure if color matters, but that is what I was tossing. While I was working my way down one steep bank I had a visitor.


Really cool and odd to see a beaver out that late in the day. I can only assume it came to see the balloons but overslept.

I just slowly worked my way down the bank picking up fish here and there. If there was any kind of shoal, or point I would catch a fish or two. It was nice steady fishing. I was catching most of the fish in 10-20' of water. I tried fishing deeper for a while but only managed to snag up twice. By the time it was early afternoon I decided to get some exercise and pedal up around Ash Island and do some fishing up that way. By that time I had 14 bass. As I made way up the side channel along Ash I tossed a Carolina rig with a short leader around all the wood. I picked up two more bass doing this and lost a couple more. That was it for the day, but it ended on another cool nature note:


A bald eagle scavenging what was probably a carp carcass on the shore's edge.

I did not catch a ton of bass, I did not catch a big bass, but I was still light-hearted as I pedaled back to the ramp. I thought back on the day and felt good that I had stuck it out and scratched out a decent number of fish, especially given that I had completely blown the best part of the day. You have to focus on the positives and learn from the negatives. I think I understand that area better now and I know I can do better in the future. It is like making a par on your last hole of golf when you made a ten on every single one before that. You have to ride the positives!

When I got home, my son made me dinner, my daughter made me dessert and my wife poured me some wine. At the end I could not have wished for a better father's day.
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Great report, thanks for sharing.
Thanks Golfbum, I figured you could relate to the golf analogy :)
Sure do enjoy reading about your escapades. Your writing style often reminds me of the musings, of Pat McManus. Sans Retch Sweeney.
Thanks TD, that made me smile. I love Patrick McManus. One of the best parts of getting Outdoor Life was turning to the back page to read his story that month. I think I have all of his books and have read them to bits.
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