The first few hours were all about muddy, weedy junk and the closest thing to a hollow bodied frog I can design. Bowfin are muck lovers, even when those areas are hot and not very well oxygenated. Air breathing has its perks! The first fish I got was a really nice pickerel, I mean REALLY nice, and it absolutely slammed my fly. It was a hassle boat-side, so no photo.
It took us very little time at all to see bowfin gulping air. Good, they were around. Now we just had to elicit a take and succesfully hook up. My fly was eliciting a lot of takes in the big weedy flats, but they were not bowfin.
After a while of seeing bowfin here and there on the "inside" of the cove and not really getting much response from them we went to the inlet, which is more of a short creek. That's where I got the first of 10 very obvious bowfin takes I would get on this outing. Just a viscous, loud, violent topwater eat from a big fish that hasn't changed all that much from it's ancestors that were thugging around the warm weedy water of the Cretaceous period. Spoiler alert, I missed ALL of the bowfin takes. Every. Single. One.
Plenty of bass though. Good bass day for sure.
The fish below was the hawg of the day. Not huge, but what a stout largemouth! She was not very long but just as thick as can be, 3.5 maybe 4 pounds. I was impressed overall by the health of the largemouth I caught, this was the first time I caught Connecticut River largemouth in any sort of numbers. These fish were all just chubby little things, which makes sense because there was so much bait around it was insane.
Before we made our way out of that particular cove we also had a couple close encounters with some absolutely beastly pike. And, weirdly, peanut bunker. We were pretty far from the salt water but they were unmistakably juvenile menhaden.
In the river itself some smallies were caught. Not big ones, but those river bass just pull harder. That happens when you spend your life fighting currents. After a log paddle we made it to the next cove, where we encountered something very unexpected. If I get back there soon I'll write about it
After a long paddle upriver, a long fishless time in one cove, and another long paddle back down, we spent the last hours of light where we had found the bowfin before. I missed my last three takes, found some roosted turkeys, and marveled at how much bait was around. We left pretty well exhausted.
14 hours on the water. That's a long day, a long, not so successful day! Sometimes just by targeting something you decrease your chances of actually catching it.