Got a hold of my buddy John Fasanello last week as we had briefly discussed doing this edgy idea last year. “Ya up for a little adventure?” – John, “Sure….what are you thinking?” Me,”Chasing Flatheads in the kayaks on the Delaware River at night” – John, “I`m in!”
So plans were made to meet on the Delaware Saturday evening around 7:30pm – I figured this would give us enough light to paddle up to a couple deep holes that I had in mind, and to hopefully get set up before it got dark. This gig was really going to be shooting from the hip as I had never tried fishing the river at night in a Yak. Days before I went over my checklist making sure we had the proper gear for any unforeseen situation. Extra life-cushions, plenty of lights and a first-aid kit were all on board my Old Town Next Canoe. John`s Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman Canoe was packed with fishing gear and amenities if we needed to set up on shore for any reason.
We held off as a strong storm was supposedly ending and clearing out by 7:45 according to our weather apps. The key word here was.. supposedly. And like the old adage goes, “You can’t trust the weatherman….. or your apps!! After paddling about a half mile up river, we got caught in a light rain that in a matter of minutes turned into a damn monsoon as darkness crept in!! We kept paddling as we had about another mile to go to get to our destination. Between the hard rain pelting us and light fading fast, visibility became very limited. We had to throw our headlamps on to continue or journey as we trekked upstream.
Finally arriving soaking wet, at the deep pool I had in mind, we were relieved to stop paddling and ready to fish. The idea of this spot was that we were in a very slow moving eddy, so slow that the current of the back-eddy actually held us without having to anchor. We were only about twenty feet from shore but in very deep water. This was one of only two spots that we calculated could possibly work like this. And it did.
Keeping the Yaks fairly close to one another, we began to fish our live eels in our quest for a Flathead.
It didn`t take long before I wrangled up the first Flat of the night! Not a huge one coming in at just over ten pounds, but we were on the board! Had a couple more run-offs over the next several hours that we didn’t connect on. Probably somewhere around 1am, I managed to boat another Flathead.
Somewhere in the wee-wee hours of the darkness, this thick eerie fog crept up the river eliminating any little visibility that we had. I said “Hey….. let`s beach the Yaks and finish the night from shore as we can`t see to go back now anyway with this fog….we`ll stay here until sun-up” – .
Once on shore, John shaved some dead limbs in order to get to some dry wood and then started a small fire, which we both welcomed as we were still soaked from hours before. We set up four poles and fished there until daylight. Right at dawn, I nailed a decent channel Catfish and when I looked over, John was out like a light in his chair! Yep…… it was a long night on the river!
Right around 6am I woke him up and said, “Hey let’s call it a night and get the hell out of here” – With that we loaded up the yaks, threw the channel cat back as she was pregnant and brought the two Flats home for supper as we paddled back down river in the thick fog.
Sure was quite the adventure out there in the Yaks that night and I`d like to make myself perfectly clear to anyone reading this. Some people do things for the adrenaline rush, the challenge or the thrill….well….. anybody that knows of me knows this to be true. However, I do not recommend or advocate that anyone try this gig at night on the Delaware. Period. Things could go wrong real fast. Thanks.
See ya next time!