Monday, July 16, 2012

Frogger 6/14/12

I managed to make it out for one more quick largemouth trip before leaving for Minnesota.  I only had about 3 hours to fish, but it proved a fruitful little excursion.  I was amazed to find calm conditions on my arrival.  I worked my way toward a weedy bay, catching one on a spinnerbait as I traveled.  I caught a couple on top from the bay on a Megabass Prop Darter 110, then I noticed a lot of fish going nuts in the rushes up against the bank.  I got up into the weeds and started throwing a soft jerkbait.  I caught several cookie cutters on that before switching over to a small hollow belly frog.  After that it was non stop topwater action.  Some would detonate on the frog, others would gently suck it under.  I missed quite a few, but I landed the majority.  Most were typicals, but a few were a little better quality.

Eventually the action slowed down and the wind kicked up.  I moved to a steep bank with some flooded willows on the far shore.  The water had come down a little, so a lot of the willows were now on dry land.  I still caught quite a few on a soft jerkbait.  I was catching quite a few small fish, and I was having a hard time setting the hook with the wind, so I tied a wacky rigged 4" Baby Tiki Stick on my light action spinning rod.  That did the trick.  Not only did I have a better hooking percentage, but I caught some better quality fish.

The stupid wind made waves which caused that last pic to be out of focus.  Lame.  The two better fish were in a tight strip of open water between the inside weedline and the willows.  I hooked another good one, but she buried herself in a mass of vegetation before I could turn her with my flimsy rod.  I caught a couple more little guys before having to take off for work. 

Total for trip: 35 largemouth

Total for year:  749 fish

A Practice Round 6/12/12

I had received a tip that the smallmouth were hitting on top.  I had been focusing on largemouth as I was heading out to Minnesota the end of June, and I planned on catching lots of smallies there.  Still, smallmouth on top sounded too good to pass up.  When I arrived, it was sunny and glassy calm.  I started fishing a River2sea Bubble Pop 65.  I didn't get much luck, so I tried lipless cranks, spinnerbaits, squarebills, soft plastic craws, all with little to show for it.  I finally caught a couple of fish on a nose hooked soft jerkbait.  They were dinks, and I missed many more than I caught.  I finally caught a decent one on the popper tight to the bank. 

I caught a couple more dink smallies and a green sunfish on the jerkbait.  I reached a point, and just then the wind kicked up.  I worked my way up the bank, with more of the same.  I hooked something large on a Lucky Craft LV100, but it pulled loose before I got a look at it.  I snagged the crank on some discarded line in the water.  All the racket I made trying to shake it loose attracted a nice sized trout of around 18".  It had a look and then turned tail.  I had never seen a trout there before, so that was a surprise.  I decided to try a medium diving crank in a crayfish pattern.  I cast it parallel to shore, and a decent fish smacked it off the surface before I even started the retrieve.

I continued on, and in a promising looking area, I decided to try my fly rod.  I had it rigged up with a perch colored wiggle minnow.  I had never fished this pattern before, but I was impressed with its wiggling, rolling action as I twitched it across the surface.  Apparently the bass were too.

I had a flurry of action with fish crushing the fly.  Some of them even went aerial on the strike.  After ten or fifteen minutes of non stop action, it ended.  I continued on, picking up fish here and there.  I reached a submerged point that is usually really good when the wind blows, but apparently the fish didn't get the memo that day.  I picked up one small bass on the lipless crank, and that was it.  While I was in the shallows, I did notice an encouraging site.

There were thousands of smallmouth fry all over the area.  Oddly enough, no angry dads were in the area.  Just past the point I had a few more hits on the wiggle minnow.  I tried a Yo Zuri Swisher on one of my spinning rods, and the fish liked it for a bit.

It was time to head back.  I had a couple of good blowups on the Swisher, and a couple of smallbass and a sunfish took it as I worked my way back to the car.  I stopped by the river on the way down the canyon.  The water was high, murky and mossy, but I managed another bass or two on a pearl swimbait.  I was quite disgusted by the trash strewn about, and the flattened foot long trout with a boot imprint across it.  This place seems to attract the white trash for some reason.  I think I'll take a break from it for a bit.

Total for trip:  31 smallmouth. 2 green sunfish

Total for year:  714 fish

Things Heat Up 6/4/12

It's amazing how much things can change in a week when you live in the mountains.  It had been hot since my last fishing trip.  I almost didn't go out because it was stiflingly hot, and extraordinarily windy.  When I arrived, there were whitecaps on the water.  I seriously contemplated leaving, but thankfully I endured and gave it a try.  I started off fishing a Damiki Gladiator spinnerbait.  I quickly caught a small bass or two, and then oddly enough, another foot long rainbow took a spinnerbait, and this time right in the mouth.  I tried to get a picture, but he spazzed out and just about destroyed my lure.  I got him back in the water where he belonged and began working my way up the far shore, catching a fair number of cookie cutter bass.  I finally caught a better one.

I was catching fair numbers of fish, but I really wanted some higher quality bass.  I tried throwing a soft jerkbait, but the wind made it extremely difficult.  I had an idea, and it paid off.  I got up against the bank and began throwing parallel to the shore along the inside weedline.  This cut down on slack line tremendously.  I was now able to make long casts and still get solid hookups. 

I began a system of fishing the spinnerbait, working my way up the shoreline, then I would paddle up to the shore and fish the jerkbait tight to the bank.  It was fruitful.

The wind even died down for a bit and I scored the best fish of the day.

The wind got going again, but I caught several more skipping the bait across the surface. 

I switched to a different spinnerbait, a Damiki MTS as I thought it would be better in the wind.  I put a small swimbait on as a trailer and began to hammer the fish.  Most were small, but it was still fun.  I realized it was time to get home, so I reluctantly kicked back across the lake.  I had about a quarter mile to go up this bank before reaching the car, so I cast the spinnerbait to the reeds as I went.  It was a fish on almost every cast for a while.  Most were typical 11-12" largemouth, but I caught a few that were a little better.

I had decided that I wouldn't look at my clicker until I got to my car.  When I arrived I was impressed at the total, 84 fish for a four hour trip.  Not too shabby.  I was kind of bummed that I had to go as I would have easily topped 100 fish again, but that's just the way it is sometimes.

Total for trip:  83 largemouth, 1 rainbow

Total for year:  681 fish

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Downward Spiral 05/29/12

I wasn't planning on fishing again so soon, but I couldn't find my camera and I feared I had left it at the lake, or worse still, on top of my car.  I hurried back to Idaho, scanning the canyon for the wreckage of my camera, but to no avail.  I brought my backup camera, but it didn't get much use.  The water was still chilly and the fish just weren't aggressive.  I caught a few on a Megabass Vision 110, but only one was decent sized. 

I tried spinnerbaits, soft jerkbaits, cranks.  I don't recall finding much of anything in the shallows, and the deeper fish were really inactive.  The wind also kicked up, making subtle presentations more difficult.  It was some dang slow fishing.  I only managed 16 bass in the three hours before I had to head to work.  I did spy this cute little guy as I was leaving.

 It's always a treat to see amphibians in the arid west.  This story does have a happy ending though as I was reunited with my camera.  Apparently I set it on my wife's car the night before as I was unloading my gear and forgot to pick it up.  It made the 12 mile ride to her work that morning and somehow stayed on the car.  Even luckier still, someone noticed it there and contacted her.  I'm definitely a lot more careful with it now.

Total for trip:  16 bass

Total for year:  597 fish

Post Frontal Blues 05/28/12

After the previous week's success, I was anxious to return to my favorite little bass pond.  Unfortunately, things had cooled way down.  I was concerned when I saw that the water had dropped ten degrees down into the upper 50s.  Nevertheless, I quickly caught a nice chunk of a bass on a spinnerbait fairly quickly.

I had several quick little taps at the bait, but no hookups.  As I reached the far shore I picked up the best fish of the day along a drop in about ten feet of water on a little Lucky Craft Bevy Shad 60 DD.

I kept fishing the area and had more quick taps on the spinnerbait before finally hooking up with the culprit.  I had hooked a rainbow planter on a 3/8oz spinnerbait, right through the back behind the head.  Crazy bugger.  I worked my way up the bank and scored a fish here or there.  Most fish were out a little deeper away from the shoreline reeds.  Still, I managed a few decent ones on spinnerbaits and soft jerkbaits.  I also got some love on a Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 97.  I remember losing a really nice one on that bait too.

Nothing too exciting happened really.  I caught a fat perch on a small soft jerkbait, the first of the year.  I ended up with 33 bass, trout and a perch in my four hours of fishing.  Still a decent day, but not like the last.

Total for Trip:  33 largemouth, rainbows and a perch

Total for Year:  581 fish

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How Are Things On the West Coast? 05/24/2012

I decided to hit one of my favorite little bass reservoirs to see how it was fishing.  It had been quite warm, but on this day it was sleeting on me while I rigged up my tube.  The day was a mixture of sun, clouds, sleet and rain, wind and calm.  I wasn't expecting much because of the inclement weather, but I was pleasantly surprised to nail a nice bass almost immediately on a spinnerbait.  I was also surprised to find the water in the upper 60s already.

The day was steady, I caught many bass on spinnerbaits fished parallel to shore along the rushes, and when the wind would die I would clean up with a soft jerkbait.

I really wanted to fish the far bank, but two other tubers were working it.  Once they left, I made a b-line for the far shore.  I immediately caught a spunky little bass on a Jackall Squirrel 67.

I love fishing miniature hard baits on light tackle.  The wind started blowing fairly hard again, so I went back to fishing the spinnerbait.  I switched over to a more compact bait, a Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait.  On the first cast I nailed this slot buster.

With the crystal clear water, I was able to watch her ambush the spinnerbait not far from the tube.  This far bank was on fire.  I was nailing fish after fish on the spinnerbait.  There was a slight lull in the wind, so I went back to the soft jerkbait.  I got to try out a new bait I just started shooting.  The bass approved.

I was really impressed by this little bait's ability to walk the dog on the surface, and even jump and skip across the surface like a fleeing baitfish.  The bass were also impressed with this.  I switched back and forth between the jerkbait and the spinnerbait with consistent success.

I glanced at my watch and realized I needed to get home.  I was sad to leave on such a productive day, but I was still on thin ice from staying too late on my 100 fish day a week prior.  I fought the wind back across the lake, but it wasn't a complete loss.  I broke out the fly rod and trolled a bugger as I went, picking up a couple of little chrome rockets along the way.

I love Kamloops, they're absolutely nuts.  I made a couple more casts with the spinnerbait as I worked my way along the bank towards the takeout point and managed a few more small bass.  I ended up with 51 bass and two trout in under four hours.  That was definitely better than I expected with the weather and a great change from last spring's lackluster action there.

Total for Trip:  51 largemouth, 2 rainbows

Total for Year:  548 fish

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Letdown 05/21/12

With my previous week's success and reaching 100 fish in a day, I decided to return to the same lake for a rematch.  When I arrived, I was greeted by a good 7 or 8 boats on the water and several people in pontoons.  I made a few casts from the bank, just to try gauging the activity level of the fish.  I had one follow, and that was it.  I had a feeling already that things weren't going to be as hot this time.  I fished out in my tube for a bit, and caught some fish, but they definitely weren't very aggressive.  The water was glassy, the sun bright, and the fish spooky.  I'm thinking they'd been hammered all weekend and were wary.  I spotted one really nice 18-19" fatty, but she was skittish and wouldn't come after my bait.  I caught a few decent ones, but most were smaller.

After about an hour, a boat load of loudmouth, club music bumping frat boys showed up in Daddy's boat, so I ditched the tube and waded.  I could see quite a few decent fish swimming about, but they weren't aggressive.  I also found tons of large bluegill that were more than happy to attack my bass baits, but my gill gear was back in the car.  I continued on, and did manage to get some better fish here and there.

I tried fishing a 6" ribbed paddle tail worm that always seems to entice the bigger fish this time of year, and it did get me some action, just no monsters. 

It was starting to get late, and I had planned on fish tacos for dinner, so I went back to the car and exchanged the bass stick for a 10' crappie pole.  I tied a small jig with a 2" grub to my line and headed back to where the sunfish had been so thick.  The wind had kicked up in the meantime, and it was now difficult to see anything under the surface.  I dabbed my lure in the pockets in the brush, but I just kept catching small bass.  I moved deeper into the trees where I remembered seeing some gills earlier.  Finally, right between two trees, I found my first victim. 

I pulled two more out of the area, and then it was just a small bass here or there.  I went back to the first spot, but still wasn't getting any love from the round guys.  I decided to put on a small tungsten head caddis emerger from my fly box.  That did the trick.

I got a couple from that spot and decided that was enough for dinner for two. 

I hadn't eaten bluegill for about 20 years, I have to say I was impressed.  Those were some of the best fish tacos I'd eaten in a long time.

Total for trip:  37 largemouth, 5 bluegill

Total for year:  495 fish

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Trip of the Century 05/15/2012

Well, it finally happened this year.  I reached 100 fish in a day.  With last year's hectic schedule and wretched weather, it never happened for me in 2011.  I arrived at the lake around 10 am and couldn't help but make a few casts from the bank, just to gauge the bass activity.  Within a few minutes I had caught two bass on a soft plastic jerkbait, and one on a small swimbait.  They weren't large, maybe 11-12", but it seemed like a good indicator for a great day.  And it was.  I launched out into the crystalline  waters and was scoring fish from the get go on the jerkbaits.  Most were cookie cutter imitations of the first three, but I got into a few better ones. 

I had some fast action on a swim Fluke as well as my little Twitchy Minnow in various colors.  The wind kicked up, and a ski boat arrived, so I kicked in for some lunch.  I decided to ditch the tube and wade in among the trees.  That proved to be a wise choice.  I switched to just my 6' Shimano Clarus and a vest full of jerkbaits and worked my way along the shore.  I caught a ton of smaller fish, but every once in a while I would get something nicer.

There ski boat had been hanging out nearby, bludgeoning me and the fish with a ceaseless stream of top 40 crappage.  The fishing slowed down until they moved on.  Once they did, I began to see more good fish showing up.  Most were skittish or at least uninterested.  Some were already beginning to couple up.  At one point I spotted a fat sow of about 18".  I worked her for some time, jiggling a 5.5" trick worm on the bottom, when she finally came over and slurped it up.  I set the hook hard, the drag giving just a bit, the rod doubling, but for some reason we didn't hook up.  I switched back to the jerkbait and continued on.  I was beginning to see a ton of large gills and some decent crappie, but I wasn't rigged up for them.  I kept at the bass, and it was beginning to seem likely that I would reach 100 fish.  I would have a flurry of action,

and then it would die down.  I would be ready to pack it up, and then I would have another rally.

My camera began to fog up from all the deep wading I was doing.  I slowly climber upward in my numbers until it was getting dark and I was stuck at 99.  I missed a couple and was wondering if I wouldn't make it.  It was time to go, so for the heck of it I grabbed a rod rigged with a spinnerbait out of the car.  I missed one almost immediately, and then nothing.  I fished another ten minutes and had resigned myself to only catching 99 fish.  As I was walking back to the car, I threw a cast and began reeling as I walked.  Wouldn't you know it, fish number 100 finally arrived.  He was a dink, but I did nonetheless.

Total for trip:  100 largemouth

Total for year: 453 fish