A few weeks ago some family members and I took a trip with Breakline Charters. If you are not familiar with Breakline, they are one of the best charter boats in the central Pennsylvania area for catfish and smallmouth bass. They even do a few saltwater trips each summer for flounder and shark.
Breakline Charters is owned and operated by Captain Jaime Hughes. (Yes, that is the way she spells her first name.) Captain Jaime is not your typical guide either, she is a cut above, holding a US Coast Guard captaincy and can do business anywhere in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. In short, she knows her way around her boat and water.
I first met Jaime this past winter at a fishing show where we were both vendors. She said a few nice words about my nets and then I got her talking about catfish. By spending a few minutes chatting, it was clear she was PASSIONATE about catfish. I told her I would book in the summer and that opportunity came in early August.
Aside from me, the group included my dad David, oldest son Pierce and uncle/cousin combo of Keith & Zach. Zach is the brains behind Schearer Speed, the Reading, PA company who makes the brass eyebolts I use on all of my Scout and Guide nets.
We boarded the Breakline boat around 7:30pm where Jaime told us a little history of the area and what the latest trends have been on the water (she’s fishing practically EVERY night, even when she doesn’t have clients booked). After finding a spot in the river, the guys sat back and relaxed while Captain Jaime got everything ready. Once the lines were in the water we continued to relax some more while Jaime told us more history and features of catfish and fish in general. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of fish and I encourage you to attend one of the seminars she presents at local fishing shows in the offseason. Seriously, she knows everything from bone structure and water condition preferences to tidbits about baitfish and boat maintenance. Heck, I bet if we asked her about the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, she’d be able to tell us about that too!
Our bait was not in the water long before the first rod started to bounce. This was Pierce’s rod and he managed to bring a nice channel catfish to the boat. This was not only the biggest fish he ever caught, but also his first catfish. Needless to say, he was proud. After posing for a couple of pictures, the catfish was gently released back into the river. Breakline Charters is all catch & release, an ethos I support 100%.
Pierce caught the biggest fish of the night shortly before he fell asleep on one of the boat’s bench seats. That fish was a nice sized flathead that was close to 20 pounds. I held onto the butt end of the rod just in case, but he did a fine job reeling in the beast. It was too big for Pierce to hold on his own, so I happily photobombed the picture with my hand in the fish’s mouth.
I forget exactly how many fish we caught in the 5 hours we were on the water but we were busy reeling in fish. The number of fish really didn’t matter to me though as I was happy just being the water and enjoying good company.