For ~13 years in a row, a group of my friends, co-workers and our sons would get together on a weekend in October and paddle the north branch of the Susquehanna. Over the years, the make-up of the group varied as did the stretch of the river we paddled & fished, but I look back upon those sojourns at this time every year and wish we could have kept them going...or be able to pick-up where we left off.
From the first trip in 1997, recognition was given to the paddler who caught ( & released ) the biggest fish that weekend, and eventually we came up with an award known simply as "The Paddle."
From the infamous 20+" smallie known as "One Eye ", to the year we were completely skunked - and I'm talking about some very serious fishermen here - there are enough stories from those weekends to last a lifetime...and then some.
After reading some wannabe-fracktivist's claim this week that the headwaters of the north branch of the Susquehanna are in Pennsylvania, I've decided to take a mental break from the Marcellus Shale Madness out there and let the self-proclaimed experts like him make some real progress...
So, with an understandable allowance for a potential diversion or two, I'm going to devote the majority of this month's posts to some flashbacks from Octobers past.
As I thought about this post...my first chuckle came from the year that I told all the guys - in advance - that we were going to stop at French Azilum for lunch. Several of the gents from New Jersey didn't bother to bring any food beyond a few snacks on the trip - but they did bring plenty of cash - because they thought we were going to have a relaxing streamside repast at a fancy French restaurant...
Here are a few random pics from all those trips as a warm-up.
The coveted "Paddle" award. The names of the winners were recorded on the back.
When I find it, I'll post a pic here.
Above: I won "The Paddle" in 2004 with an ~18" smallie
Below: The winning fish that year.
Above: 2006 - The year we caught no fish. The Susquehanna was really high. So high, in fact, that the outfitter suggested we stay off the river. We didn't listen.
Below: One of the MASH units we stayed in over the years. My favorite memory of sleeping there? Turning the lantern on to see what time it was and noticing that the ceiling was covered with hundreds of spiders...
Below: Does this qualify as "roughing it"?
The Boys of October in Laceyville - 2002.
Enjoy the rest of your day.