Jul 25, 2010

Smallmouth fishing on the Delaware River

Well it seems the like the summer heatwave we are having here in Connecticut has surely put a damper on my outdoor activities this past month so I finally have something outdoors related to write about.  My daughter spent the past week visiting family in New Jersy and Pennsylvania and I had to pick her up from my dad's house and decided to take a a couple of extra days to visit with m y dad and step mom and partake in some smallmouth bass fishing on the Delaware river.  I love river smallies because it doesn't matter how small they are they all have attitudes and fight like a bluefish.

When I was growing up , many of my summer visits to to see my dad would usually include a fishing trip on the Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap which always meant a new adventure.  My dad doesn't believe in going to a bait and tackle shop to buy some bait when you can get all the free bait you need right from mother nature.  If we weren't turning over leaves on the side hills looking for worms, we were turning over rocks in the river looking for some smallmouth candy, Mr. Helgramite.   ofcourse when you are little and you get a chance to play around in the water on a hot summer day you take it, but see we weren't supposed to be playing but picking bait.  The rule was simple, no fishing was allowed until we had enough bait for everyone and as we did with many of my dad's rules we would ignore them and splash around in the water or start fishing.  At some point my dad would have filled the bait pail with enough helgramites, crayfish and stone cats foreveryone.

The nice thing about this trip is that Dad is retired and can pick bait every day if he wants so I didn't have to pick any bait, just use the bait he had already picked for us.  My brother Steve joined us for the Friday trip which started off with a stop at a local general store along the river for some Taylor Ham, Egg and Chess sandwhiches.  Can't get taylor ham in CT so this is always a treat.  We launched out of the Smithfield ramp on the PA side and motored up river up to the top of the Poxono Island were we started our drifts.  Our setups were some  6 foot Shakespeare ugly stiks, which are my dad's favorite, a size 2 circle hook and some small split shots. Yes it's true, i actually used spinning gear instead of my fly rod, yup I was old schooling it for sure. Basically we just drift our offerings along the bottom as we drift down river.  ofcourse depending on the bite we might throw a little hardware as well. 

The river was low and clear with water temps in the high 70s and we had storms on the horizon but the cloud cover was nice to have.  Fishing was slow for sure but I picked up 6 fish with the best being about 13 inches.  I won't tell you how my dad and brother did because i don't want to sound like I'm gloating or anything like that.  We did get a good dumping of rain about 10:30am and I still made them do another drift or two during the deluge of rain before we headed back to the launch.  On the ride back to the house the rain had stopped and the animals were out.  We had seen over a dozen deer and two real nice bucks, along with some turkeys.  I took a picture of one of the bucks and as you can see he is a beauty for sure.

We decided to hit the river again on Saturday even though they were forecasting sunny and super hot with temps hitting 90s.  The game plan was the same except this time my daughter would join my dad and i and we would meet up with some friends as well.  Ray and Raymond were already on their first drift as we were launching but we caught up with them and started at the same spot along the Poxono island.  Fishing was even slower today and it took about 3 or 4 dirfts before I got hooked up.   My daughter finally got a nice smallie and then another and I knew that I was in for a fight.  Well neither of us did super great but she bested me with catching more fish and the biggest of the day.  I keep forgetting why I ate to take her fishing....It's because it usually ends up with her catching more fish and the biggest fish.  Oh well, she gets bragging rights until the next trip.  In the summer it doesn't take long for the Big D to get crowded with swimmers, tubers and canoes so we were off the water about 11:30am and head home to some air conditioning.

The Delaware Water Gap is one of my favorite places and it's always great to get back out there and share it with friends and family but even better when you can throw in a couple of those Big D smallies.

A few more pictures from the trip.

My dad and Daughter

A beautiful PA buck

The Big D after the rain


  1. Great write up! Must have been real nice to spend a couple of days with the family slaying a bunch of smallies. Nice helgramite too!

    1. Caught 13 smallies on 12 helgramite (we call them 'dobsons')in Nanticoke Creek, upstate NY one fine Summer afternoon. The smallmouth before last didn't entirely mangle the dobson, hence the 13th catch. They truly are like candy to bass.

  2. Nice post.

    I know the area you were, and agree with the Taylor ham, good stuff. Was the buck in the DWG?

    I fished the D at the mouth of the Lackawaxen, near Zane Greys home, and at certain times of the year a woolly bugger would bring surprises galore.

  3. That looks like it was a great float and some good fishing. Nothing wrong with breaking out the spinning tackle every now and then. Very nice post.

  4. Brk Trt, That buck was up near scotrun. My dad hasn't seen anything in the DWG worth chasing yet.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  5. Fishing is fun and exciting. It is an activity that most family loves to do during weekends or vacation. They love to ride on a fishing boat to have a nice fishing trip and a comfortable fishing adventure. A Fishing charter is recommended in this kind of activity. Good to know that it is available online. Better to check it out.