Have you ever watched the evolution of a fisherman? We start off fishing for anything that will bite using anything we have at hand. As we move on, and our interest intensifies, however, we begin to become more precise. We become more specialized in our approach — gearing up for specific species at specified times and locations. That’s a normal progression, I suppose. I started off as a young kid fishing in a slow, muddy creek near home with a cheap closed-faced spinning outfit and a worm and bobber. I had no idea what I would catch, just as long as I hooked something. More often than not it was a chub or a sucker, but we were elated.
Well, I’ve evolved. Now, I specialize. I have certain gear, lures, and techniques for certain species at specified locations at the most appropriate times. My fellow fishermen and I do this because we have learned what works best under what conditions. I’ll have to admit, however, that every now and then I like to just back off a little, and revert back to some of my old fishing days. OK, so I don’t go back to the closed-faced reel and the worm and bobber, but I do like to simplify things and take a more general approach.
What I’m talking about is maybe just heading out to a local mid-sized stream with one rod and a handful of lures, and targeting whatever I can entice with my offerings. I’m not talking stocked trout water, but rather the lower stretches of a decent-sized stream that may offer a number of different species of fish. We have a good number of such destinations that fit the bill nicely — streams like Loyalsock Creek, Lycoming Creek, Muncy Creek, Fishing Creek, Pine Creek, Penn’s Creek, and many more. While the lower reaches of these creeks may not be stocked with trout, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a nice trout in these stretches once in a while. In addition, you have the option of hooking into some nice smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegills, catfish, and who knows, maybe even a nice walleye.
I guess some of the fun of this type of fishing is that element of surprise — not knowing what’s at the business end when you finally get a strike.
For this type of fishing, I like to keep my equipment in the medium to light range — an ultralight open-face spinning rod and reel with about 4-6 pound test monofilament line. I keep my lure selection a bit on the smaller size as well. Floating minnow type lures generally cover most situations well, and maybe even some inline spinners to cover some of the deeper holes. I would never venture into this situation without a small assortment of lead head jigs and a variety of soft plastic grubs — white, brown, and black. Some crayfish imitations would also be good to take along since crayfish are usually abundant in these stretches of water. A small soft swimbait or two, and you are good to go.
For this kind of fishing, I like to wet wade — old sneakers and an old pair of pants, and you’re good to go. With the hot, sultry weather we’ve been experiencing, it might be a nice way to catch fish as well as relax and cool off a bit.