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