Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The End of The Bronze Age 05/14/12

After last week's fast smallie action, I was looking forward to another day of nailing the little buggers.  I even brought a fly rod to see if some would come up for poppers.  I drove to my new spot and put in on dead calm water.  I started throwing a chartreuse Chatter Bait, but nothing happened.  I tried a lipless crank and a the little Squirrel 76 I still had tied on from my last largemouth trip.  Nothing much happened.  I finally got a fish to roll on a little topwater, but he didn't hook up.  Eventually I caught a couple of little guys on a craw worm on a shaky head.  Then I caught on on the squirrel.  I worked that bank for some time without much to show for my efforts.  I caught one on a Cultiva Mira Vibe lipless crank, but he was on the smaller side as well.  I was going to go around the bend and see what was down that stretch, but suddenly some wind arrived from nowhere and kept me from doing so.  I eventually gave up on it and drifted down to where I'd been fishing.  I ditched the shaky head for a regular old curly tail grub and caught a few more.  I don't know if any of them broke a foot in length.  I was feeling pretty sure that the fish had moved onto beds and that's why I wasn't finding them.  I moved down to a gravel flat with weed beds and finally hooked up with a better fish.  I love the markings on this bugger.

I fished around the weeds for a while.  I pulled one good one out of a pocket in the vegetation, but he pulled free when I got him into open water though.  I missed a couple, and caught a small guy on a Rapala Rippin' Rap in brown craw.

I needed to get home soon, so I ditched the reservoir for the river.  The first spot I fished I caught a few on the Rapala and a couple on a 3" Keitech Little Spider.  I then moved downstream to my favorite bass run.  There were fish all over the beds here.  The water was very low, and surprisingly clear.  As a result, the fish were very spooky.  I missed one on the spider and that was about it.  I started making long casts with the Rippin' Rap, burning it over the weed tops.  I picked up several this way, but they weren't super big.  I made a cast parallel to the bank when I saw a nice bass shoot out from a clump of grass and swim a good 6-8' at top speed to intercept my lure.  He leaped several times and put on quite the show.  It was the highlight of the day until I netted him and discovered that my lure had completely vanished down his gullet.  Blood was already streaming from the fish's gills.  I decided to let him die with dignity and didn't try to retrieve my lure.  I could get that back later while cleaning him.  I also didn't take a pic as I didn't want a visual of his grisly demise.  I deposited him in the car and tied on a Lucky Craft LVR mini in "brownie" as a replacement.  I decided to move up the run, and when I got to the water I spotted a nice fish on a bed.  There was a large tuft of grass between me and the bed, so I used it to hide behind while dragging a spider onto the nest.   He immediately went nose down and sucked it in. That thick little bass put up a nice tussle.

He was about the same size as the one that would later become a taco.  I continued up the pool catching smaller fish on both the spider and the LC.  Nothing huge, but it was fun.  I also caught a couple of these from a clump of weeds.

That was a first for me here.  I've caught them further downstream in Cutler, but never up here.  I don't mind, variety is the spice of life.  I ended up salvaging the day with 25 bass.

Total for trip:  23 smallmouth, 2 largemouth

Total for year: 353 fish

The Wind is Still an Obscenity to Me 05/09/12

Another trip to my favorite largemouth pond, another day of battling the elements.  There was a little breeze when I arrived, but nothing too troublesome.  I kicked over to a favorite stretch of water and quickly caught a little guy on a lipless crank, and another on a Jackall Squirrel 79 deep jerkbait.  Then, while throwing a Lucky Craft Skeet Mini DR in baby bluegill, I hooked a good one.  He rolled on the surface and came loose.  I threw to the same spot and caught his buddy.

I caught another small one on the jerkbait and then it was quiet for a while.  The wind really started to kick up and I couldn't stay on a spot very effectively.  During a lull a moved up to a point that has been good to me, but not that day.  I let the wind take me back down the shore.  Finally, while fishing the Squirrel 79, a fish hit it on a long pause.  This was a much better fish.  After a nice fight I scooped her up to find my jerkbait was consumed in it's entirety.  Thankfully the hooks missed her gills and she was good to go.

I picked up a couple around a foot long before moving across to a productive point.  The wind had produced some current along the edge of the point.  I lobbed a Lucky Craft CB Flat DR in Aurora Bass out into that current and picked up this little chunker.

I fished all over the point with cranks and jerkbaits, I even rigged up a dropshot, but all I caught was a dink on a Jackall Squirrel 76.  I was nearly out of time, so I paddled across the bay.  I actually had some protection from the wind here, so my final 15 minutes was spent fishing instead of flailing my legs in an attempt to stay in one spot.  I quickly picked this guy up on the Squirrel.

I saw some flooded brush and threw a soft jerkbait into it.  I managed to pick up a few little guys this way before I had to go.

Overall, not that exciting of a day, but the weather should be stabilizing soon and the fish will be moving shallow.

Total for trip: 13 largemouth

Total for year: 328 fish

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Bronze Age 05/08/12

I went in search of some prespawn smallmouth.  I was surprised at how clear the water was compared to usual.  I put in at my usual spot right as a boat went over and plopped down where I normally fish.  I was weighing my options when he left.  I paddled over to a nice flat before my usual dropoff.  As I arrived a shore fisherman waddled down the steep bank and parked himself at the end of this stretch.  I still had a good buffer between the two of us, so I began fishing the flat.  I immediately hooked and lost a good fish on a chartreuse spinnerbait.  A few casts later I hooked this nice chunk.

These little rascals certainly fight like a much larger fish.

A moment later, I caught another.

I caught a couple of smaller ones on a jerkbait before moving down the bank.  I caught a few more here, but  the action was slower.  I love the color on this wee devil though.

The shore fisherman was still hunkered down on the point and blocking off access to the next stretch. I went back over to the flat and scored a couple more on a Spro Aruku Shad Jr. in Magic Tiger.  I also pestered some little guys in the shallows with a pink Twitchy Minnow.

The boat fisherman returned with a friend in a second boat, and they camped out between me and the shore fisherman.  I was sick of all the crowding, so I kicked my tube out wide and went around everybody.  I got to a promising stretch, and had a follow right away.  Then I heard talking, and before I knew it, there was another boat full of people coming down the bank the other way.  I had had enough and decided to get in my car and drive down the reservoir to a new area.  It's kind of annoying when people have boats and can quickly and easily go anywhere they want, but they still choose to crowd me out.  I'm not sure why there were so many people out on a Tuesday afternoon anyway.

I drove further than I had ever driving along the rocky, pothole riddled road before finding a likely spot.  There was a flat adjacent to a steep rocky bank here, it looked prime.  And it was.  I didn't find much on the flat, but the steeper section was on.  The fish were holding on the drop and baits worked tight to the bank would elicit violent strikes as they would shoot up from the depths to intercept it.  I immediately got a nice fish on the spinnerbait.

I only had a couple of feet of line out when I watched him annihilate my bait.  I worked down the bank and continued catching fish.  I caught some more on the spinnerbait and on the lipless crank as well.  I tried a little Rebel Crawfish crank and a good fish nabbed it on the first pass.  He got down in the rocks and came loose, leaving my lure stranded in the depths.  I was able to get it loose and caught a smaller fish.  I liked it, but it was a bit too shallow of a runner for this place.  I switched to a Koppers crayfish lipless crank and caught an obese little bugger off a point.

 I went back over the area I had fished with a little Crazy Craw that I had made, and they ate it up.

After they had chewed up a few of those, I decided to try a Keitech Little Spider.  They liked that too.

I realized it was time to go so I started heading back.  I did manage a few more, including a pretty nice one on the spinnerbait.  She was hooked kind of weird, so I released her without a pic.

Despite the annoyances with crowding early on, I discovered a new area that was very productive.  I ended up with 26 smallmouth for the day.  Not too shabby.

Total fish for trip:  26 Smallmouth

Total for year:  315 fish

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weathering the Storm 05/03/12

I hadn't planned on going out.  The forecast was abysmal with high winds and scattered showers and thunderstorms.  Well, I awoke to find the forecast downplayed and partly cloudy, calm weather outside.

I headed out to my favorite largemouth pond hoping for some more big slobs on jerkbaits.  Pretty much as soon as I got my tube blown up, a wall of clouds blew in.  It was breezy, but not too bad.  I started deeper, fishing a Lucky Craft Slim Shad 9 in a matte largemouth color in 10-13 feet of water.  That did the trick as I quickly caught this little guy.

I worked the same spot, and got his slightly older sibling.

It seemed that each fish was just a little bit more of an upgrade.

That one looked ready to pop.  There was a slight lull, but 15 minutes later I caught another.

After that, things died down with the fish, but the wind picked up.  I was determined to catch them on jerkbaits, but I couldn't get them to touch them.  I tried both shallow and deep divers, with a wide range of patterns and pauses, but nothing.  The wind was making it tough anyway.  I had been blown several hundred yards down the bank before I went back to the crank.  I should have stuck with it.

Looks like she's done, her thermometer popped.

The weather continued to deteriorate, as did the fishing.  I didn't get anything for a while. I finally gave in and nipped the little LC Pointer XD off of my light spinning rod and rigged up a dropshot.  I tried pitching it around the deep side of some brush, and I pulled a little foot long out of it.  I missed another, and then the wind whisked me away.  I tossed a Texas rigged tube as well, but found no interest.  I went back to the crank and hooked a decent one, but she pulled off tube side.  I headed across the channel to a point that has been good to me this spring.  The wind was really howling now, and I couldn't hold my position at all.  I fished the crank across the end of the point in about 13 feet and picked up this portly customer.

I couldn't get any more action on the crank, so I lowered Slick Willy down to meet his maker.  This was my first time using this bait, and I'm pretty happy with it.  I will definitely be shooting some more of these.  I picked up a few more, and missed a bunch because of wind induced slack.

That was the best fish, the rest were around 12".  Things were getting nastier, and my wife was home from work at this point, so I called it a day.

Total for trip: 11 largemouth

Total for year: 289 fish

An Attempt at Redemption 4/30/12

While the bruises were still fresh from kicking myself over the previous week's trip, I decided to head back to try again.  In the meantime, the weather had gone from highs around 80, to highs in the lower 50s with rain and snow.  The weather had rebounded slightly, but it was still a cloudy, cool, blustery day.  I had the day off, so I tried it anyway.

When I arrived, I couldn't spot any fish from shore.  I got out in my tube and wasn't surprised in the least to find the water temp had plummeted seven degrees down to 54.  I tried looking for a drop off where I could fish a crank or jerkbait, but it was more of a gradual slope in this area, and I found no fish.  I tried fishing the outside edge of the brush with plastics, but the wind was getting worse and it was an exercise in futility.  I was getting cold and was sick of being battered by the waves, so I went in to shore.  I was contemplating fishing The Bear for smallies, but I decided to toss a fluke against the inside edge of the brush while my tube deflated.  I felt a little tick, but swung and missed.  It happened a couple more times before I finally saw the culprits, a wolf pack of  little 8" bass.  Well, I hate getting skunked, so I switched over to a smaller 3.75" jerkbait.  Of course once I did that, the little fellers were gone.  Out of curiosity I decided to explore further.  I packed up the car and switched over to a little 6' rod I got over the winter just for this sort of jungle warfare fishing.  With a pocket full of jerks, I moved on.

The fish certainly weren't thick, but I did manage several.  There were a couple of total dinks, but most looked like this.

Still pretty dinky, but better than being skunked, and they fought surprisingly well.  I continued on and found more of the same.

The waves were getting large enough that they were rolling through the trees.  I couldn't wade as deep as I would have liked because I ran the risk of them going over the top of my waders.  The fish didn't seem to like it either and I hadn't had a strike in some time.  I had switched to a more subtle bait in green pumpkin hoping that would entice a strike, but nothing.  Just when I was about to switch back to my spring special color, the line twitched.  I saw the fish turn sideways, it's green flank magnified by the crystal clear water.  She looked bigger than she was under the water, but she was still a much better fish than what I'd been finding.

I was feeling optimistic, but that was all I found in the area.  I decided to head back to my car and fish just down from where I had started.  I found and area of really dense cover, and quickly caught a typical little guy.  On the next cast, second best for the day absolutely hammered it.

I fished a while longer, but that was it for the day.  It wasn't enough to make me feel much better about the previous week, but I'm glad I was able to salvage the day and get some action.

Total for trip:  12 largemouth

Total for year: 278 fish

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Well That Was a Stupid Decision 4/25/12

I'm really going to try keeping this one short.  I went to a different lake for a change of pace.  I almost stopped at a favorite spot on the way in, but instead I went straight for an area with deep water adjacent to the bank.  The other area was more of a flat, and I didn't think the fish would be up in there yet.

Anyway, I found slightly turbid water, though it was 60 degrees.  I tried some brush with plastics, but found nothing.  Pretty early on a scored a decent fish hopping a Specialty Tackle one knocker lipless crank.

It put up a good fight for it's size.  Clouds and wind arrived shortly after and blew me down the bank.  I headed for some deeper water, but got nothing.  Finally I caught a little 10 incher off some brush with the soft jerkbait.  That was it for a while.  I probed the whole area with deep cranks and long lipped jerkbaits.  Finally I decided to get back in the car and move to a new area.  I managed a brute of an 8" bass from the same tree on the same bait.

I drove all the way to the end of the lake.  The conditions were the same, and the wind was getting worse.  I worked my butt off for an hour and a half, and managed one fish on a Duo Hacker Slaver 90 suspending jerkbait.

I tried deep cranks and dropshots as well, but that was all.  On the way out, I took a quick peek at that first spot.  I was cursing my name vehemently.  The water was crystal clear, and bass cruised the shallows.  I scrambled to grab my soft jerkbait rod, but it was severely tangled with my other rods.  I worked it free and missed a fish on the first cast.  On the fourth cast, I set the hook with a little too much enthusiasm and broke on off.  Somehow the line had become frayed and I failed to notice it.  Oh well, I was running late for work now anyway.  I jumped back in my car and drove to Logan, grumbling under my breath the whole way regarding my poor decisions of the day.

Total for trip:  4 largemouth bass

Total for year:  266 fish

Reprise 4/24/12

Well, so much for keeping it short.  I will try harder this time.  The weather was still warm, and there was still too much fun to be had, so I returned to the pond the next day.  I caught a decent but skinny bass on the 110 pretty quickly.

I was alone today, so I decided to work my way up into that bay where I was told all the fish were.  I scored a few smaller to okay fish from the brush on the soft jerkbait.

I even managed to catch a decent foot long bass on an Evergreen Combat Popper.  Kind of crazy to get topwater action in April in Idaho.  I tried the 110, a chatterbait, a swimbait and a lipless crank out from shore, but I couldn't find anything.  I pulled a few more from the shrubbery, I even managed this nice little fatty.

I got all the way into the back of the bay, but all I could find were fingerlings.  A couple of shore fishermen showed up, so I decided to work my way up the far bank.  I found more dinks and some bluegill, but nothing worth bothering with.  There was a smaller bay off from the larger one that I had always been curious about.  It was The Avian Kingdom apparently.  There were several Canada geese honking, splashing and attacking each other while a pair of voyeuristic sandhill cranes and a great blue heron looked on at their shenanigans.

I only found dinks once again, so I decided to head back to the point where I had my first flurry of action the day before.  I switched out the popper for a Jackall Squirrel 76 in perch.  I got to some deeper water, and on my first cast with it I caught the best bass of the day so far.

I continued up the bank, missing one fish, but not much more.  The wind was getting to be rather pesky making it difficult to sense a strike.  I arrived at the point, but didn't have much action.  I missed one fish, and was about to leave when my fortunes changed.  I was jerking in the 110, when I thought I hit some moss near the end of the retrieve.  I tried cranking it in as fast as I could so that I could clean it up, but I had a bass on.  A good one, and she was completely hooked in the side.  That was quite the fight on a medium light rod and 8lb test, but I eventually scooped this porker up.

I moment later I hooked another good fish on the Squirrel.  I saw a huge head come to the surface and thrash.  She jumped several times, which was surprising, because she looked decrepit and ancient.

Judging by the size of it's head, that fish would have been a toad had she been as fat as her peers.  I lost another good fish, and then it quieted down.

I was nearly out of time, so I went back to the bank where I had ended the day before.  I caught several 12" males on the Twitchy Minnow before finally getting this nice one on the Squirrel.

I caught a couple more decent ones on the 110 before losing a really good fish on the Squirrel.  I had to leave for work at this point, but it was another productive day.

Total for trip:  14 largemouth bass

Total for year:  262 fish

And It Begins...at Least For a Short While 4/23/12

So I'm way behind on my posting here.  I guess getting out to actually fish is more exciting than writing about it. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to try keeping these next few posts short and to the point.

We had been experiencing several days of abnormally warm weather for April with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s.  I had a feeling that this was going to get the bass going, so I took off for a few hours to one of my favorite bass ponds.

When I arrived there was a fisherman fishing a shallow bay from shore.  While I was getting my gear set up, he came over to chat.  He told me that he could see good sized fish cruising the shallows in massive numbers, but he couldn't get them to bite.  I didn't want to crowd him, so I ended up fishing elsewhere, but I certainly took note of this.

I was excited to see that the water was around 60 degrees as I shoved out from shore.  I had made a few casts with a lipless crank when I noticed a jerkbait had come unhooked from it's keeper on one of the rods next to me.  It gently swayed to and fro and I planned on securing when I finished the current cast.  Suddenly it swung wide and plopped down right on my back.  I tried to pull if free, but it had managed to hook my shirt and the suspenders on my waders numerous times.  One of my gloves soon followed.  I cut the line and maneuvered to the shallows to remove the thing.  I realized there was only one way to resolve this mess.  I undid my suspenders and was removing my shirt, when I heard the sound of a vehicle approaching.  I could just picture what that would look like.  Some big, harry, guy standing in the water, topless, but decked out in a dorky hat and a sun scarf around his neck.  Luckily they stopped to fish with the other guy and were spared the spectacle.

Anyway, I caught a small fish on a Megabass Vision 110 just around the bend along a dropoff.

A couple of casts later I hooked into something big.  Unfortunately it pulled free after a short tussle.  I got no more action in the area, and I didn't want to intrude on the other fishermen's area, so I kicked across the bay to a nice, steep, point.  I stuck with the 110 and hooked a good fish almost immediately.  She hit on the pause and knocked a good foot of slack into the line. I couldn't believe how strong these fish were.  I eventually netted the fish and was pleased at how healthy she was.

I taped her at 18".  This morning was starting out great.  A minute later, I was into another fish on the jerkbait.

Another rod bending chunk was soon landed.  I caught another smaller fish, and then decided to try a little Shimano Scorpion lipless crank in a ghost bluegill color.  That did the trick.

Things quieted down after that.  I had one violent take on a Skinny Carrot tossed to some wood, but somehow I swung and missed.  I kept working the point, when I had a visitor.

He sat and watched me for about ten minutes.  Disgusted that I couldn't catch a fish for him, he flew off in a huff and dive bombed a mallard for what seemed like the pure joy of it.

I didn't catch anything for some time.  I switched to a 5" soft jerkbait, and eventually caught a smaller male bass from some shoreline vegetation.  I missed a couple more and decided to move to a steep shoreline across from me.  I quickly caught a smaller bass on the 110.  I also had a hard thunk on a Chatterbait fished parallel to some brush.  I swapped out my soft jerkbait for a smaller 3.75" jerkbait that I started making over the winter and hadn't had a chance to fish.  Whelp, it worked.

I pulled a few more from the submerged brush, though nothing too large.  I went back to fishing the 110 and hooked a couple more good fish before needing to head to work.

The two larger ones went 18".  The 2nd one took the lure headfirst and had the entire four inch lure in it's mouth.  Luckily the hooks missed it's gills.  Right before I had to leave, I managed to nab this rotund little teenage bride.

I ended up with 15 bass in the three hours I had to fish.  I was really impressed with the quality of the fish, and with how hard they fought.  Most of the fish clobbered the jerkbait sideways and had a hook on either side of the mouth.

Total for trip:  15 largemouth bass

Total for year: 248 fish