Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Pig Smallmouth Bass on Float and Fly 12/31/07

Started out with 3 from 12-14.

Then fish got larger as I went deeper:

Then a lot larger:

Thought this one was a flathead it dug deep:

Ended up with 11 SMB in 4 hours (20", 19", 17.5, 17, 16, 2 15) all on FnF. The all came in 4-6' of water with 3-4' of leader. Most of the action was around noon when the sun made a surprise appearance.

The startling part about these larger fish this winter is simply I've never caught a Smallmouth bigger than 18" in this stretch.

Great year. 10 Smallmouth Bass 20"+, 53 18"+

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More Winter Action for Smallmouth Bass

Got out to try my new Gorillapod and maybe catch a couple of fish. I actually made it on the water by noon. Water was still up, but not as much as it has been. Visibility was less than a few inches. FnF jigs with some black were in order.

FnF all the way today. Caught a 15" right off the bat. Then like a brutal hour where nothing hit while the sun climbed higher and I adjusted depths like 5-6 times. Then finally another 15" before another long period without a bite.

Then just like that fish, fish, fish: 15", 14.5, 13", 16", 14":

Then it died out and I moved to another spot. I had 1.5 hours until dark and 7 SMB. I returned to my previous spot when casting proved difficult.

After about a 30 minute period, the float sunk another 15", then a 13", a 16", a bunch 12-15" I was casting out into current and bringing the float to the pausing water on the seam where fish kept hitting the fly. Rapid hopping the float and then pausing it was the ticket. Last 1.5 hour I caught 13 SMB and 1 goog with a 17"er being the largest.

20 SMB in 5.5 hours no real hawgs, but no dinks either:(17", 3 16", 5 15") 1 Rock Bass. Caught on a mixture of Black/White blue/pink blue/black hair jigs.

What fun, I love seeing that float sink. After I hook up there is like a 3-4 second period where you aren't sure how large the fish is. Could be a monster or a dink. Pretty exciting. Almost as much fun as topwater. It's also nice not being frustrated by missed fish. Stuck 21/21 today.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How High? How Fast? How Cold? Float and Fly Smallmouth at Flood Levels 12/22/07

Mike C and I planned to get him a December Smallmouth Bass. He was late buying tiddlywinks, so I went and checked out a hole early. Overnight, the river had turned into a raging mess. It was up almost 2' from melted snow overnight!!!

So, discouraged I went and met him at 1PM and told him the bad news. Chocolate milk and high water.

I suggested a pond to practice FnF. We did this long enough for me to drink two beers and say let's go get some flowing water.

After wading through the woods and seeing a deer with arrow in hind quarter we finally hit the pool. There actually was some slack water up near steep bank. We started fishing it from above.

A few minutes in I caught a 12 then a 15" on FnF. There was a lot of flotsam in the eddy and both fish came 2' from the shore.

We got into some of these guys:

The Rock bass we caught were extremely pale with none of their customary greenish hue.

Most were small, but I did get 2 about 8-9" slabs.

Visibility was about 6". All our fish were caught within 2' of the bank.

I was just bouncing that float a couple feet in front of me when the float sunk and it was a big SMB. Fought like crazy. Heaved it on the bank where my line snapped and I grabbed the fish.

It caught on one of Don's FnF jig! So this pic is for him:

Then Mike caught a couple of Googs once he switched to black fly. Finally, he broke through with this monster:

We only fished 2-3 hours and expected to catch nothing with the water so high. This was a terrific surprise!

BT: 3 SMB (18.5", 15) 8 Rock Bass Mike: 1 SMB and 3 Googs.

Shocked when I looked at the flow guage to see 2180 CFS!! Thursday was about 600. Summer was as low as 29 cfs!

I can't recommend enough winter fishing for the things you learn about Stream bass. Fun.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12/19 and 12/18/07 Float and Fly Action for Smallmouth Bass

After sending a few invites for Tuesday and Wednesday FnF action, it ended up being just me both days.

With 90 layers of clothing, some FnF, and a lucky feeling I set out, hoping to find a spot I could park my car without getting stuck.

I hit a spot JB and I had done a few weeks ago, fish were very hard to find with the higher current. The slackest bank was the hardest to work be cause it was steep with bramble everywhere. After 2 hours of nothing I waded down the slow side and was rewarded with 2/3 fish 12-14". Still fish.

FnF has been pretty consistent everytime out. I was just remarking to a friend that I hadn't gotten anything big yet on FnF, my largest this year was only 17" on FnF.

I hit a different pool Wednesday hoping for a better selection of hawgs.

It was painful slogging a mile through the snow and woods until I got to my destination. A large flat wide pool with a slight right current veer.

At first I took the slow side froom the back, but my dirt was kicking up and carrying right to the target. I got out and headed up to the riffle and fished down the slack side. This seemed to work better as I could hold the float in postion without slack and there was no silt to kick up.

I had a Purple/black 1.25" 1/16th hair jig tied on. Finally, the bobber dunked and I landed a 10" SMB. A couple casts later a larger fish took the bobber under fought like crazy in the current I was standing in, jumped then came to hand. It went 15" and was fat.

I worked down the current seem on the slack side. I knew the hole was getting deeper the further away from the riffle I got. The float again dunked this time it was big and tore up and all over the place. I was shocked by the furiocity of the fight. Actually had trouble getting it to hand because I was standing in current and the float wouldn't let me get him close enough to land. A nice hefty 18" :-)

Caught another dink.

Then it happened, I had tossed even further along the current seem into the slack. The float dunked and immmediately there was a hell of a 'kick' I muscled the fish up near surface and all hell broke loose, this fish was bigger and pissed I interrupted his slumber. Standing right there in that seem made it hell of fun to bring in. It looked like it could go 20" but I couldn't get it close enough to land. So kept the pressure on and carefully dragged the bass to shore where I grabbed him up! My heart was pounding a mile a minute and legs were wobbling.

Added another 15", then it got alot colder. Most of the day the sun was warm, but when it turned, either the spot was spooked or the fish turned off.

Tuned my new homemade Chatters, and went home.

6 SMB in 3.5 hours (but really all were caught in a 1hour period) (19.25, 18, 2 15)


Friday, November 30, 2007

Float and Fly 11/30/07

JB and I had hit a section of stream yesterday with good results once we hit my last pool.

Inspired by a bit of Float and Fly success I hit another section of stream where I figured to find some bronze. This pool is known as 'leaf pool'. It's been very hard to fish at times this year.

It holds a lot of fish and is large, the challenge is to find what part of a pool that big holds the fish.

The answer was everywhere. For the second time in three weeks, I hit double digits out of that pool. Fished only FnF this time, with some Johnny on the spot jigs in the mail from a buddy.

I'd catch a fish or two then the spot would die so I'd move to another side of the pool and catch a couple more, when that died out I went back and hit the first spot. Seemed the fish would spook after catching a couple, but were also holding there for a reason.

Started out with some smallish fish in the 9-12" range, hit one 15". I had been fishing just slow water and eddies when I decided to cast out in the main channel with a 3.5-4' leader- whump! The float ducked under and I knew immediately it was a bigger fish. It went 17, but felt like a whale on the set up from 25 yards out.

Finally missed a strike on FnF and lost a couple when I didn't keep enough pressure on them.
It was cold. Windchill in the low to mid 20's with sleet and Icy rain for a while! Ice was forming in my guides and my line started to freeze. Wasn't prepared for that.

As dusk came, caught fish on 5/7 casts from 13-15". Broke off on a log and desperately tried to retie in the near darkness to keep up with the frenzy only to make the next cast the first one into a tree of the day! That was it!

I ended up with 14 SMB in about 4 hours on about 17 float dunks. Pretty efficient technique.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

11/20/07 Twin 20"+ Smallmouth Bass on Chatterbaits

Decided to hit some water for a wade this afternoon. Wanted to hit a spot I knew attracted baitfish- hopefully catch half dozen SMB. While on the road, heard a forcast of 68 and 38 tommorrow. This could be a good day. Perhaps the pigs would strap bib on like they often do in summer before a storm?

It didn't start out very hot. I hit a very large pool with deep holes to 4 feet. The water temps were 47-48F. Didn't get a strike on fluke or jerks, but a couple casts did scare some fish in shallow water. Probably carp. Lots of minnows sunning on that slow bank too. Leaves were just bad enough to make treble hooks not an option :? . Water was clear but dark brown color to it. I could see down 3', but not make out very good detail.

About an hour in, I was tossing a 3/8 OZ white chatterbait along a waist deep pool to the slow side. Undulated the chatter a couple times before a slow retrieve. Smack ! Quite surprisingly, a fish nailed my chatter and took off on several powerful runs.

I saw it was big and it made a hellacious run for a boulder. I turned him just in time and got him heading towards shore and beached. When I gripped the fish, the Chatter easily fell out of the skin behind the upper lip! Whew!

There was a midstream obstruction just upstream that I knew from a previous visit held lots of baitfish. 2 Casts later, after dragging the chatter over the laydown and undualting the bait a couple times on the drop, the bait got hit again. Like the twang of a bow, the strike was solid. I again saw the fish and it was again large. It went on several pissed off runs before I finally beached it on the opposite bank.

Pulling it out of the water my jaw nearly was in the water. It looked like the same fish. I had hooked it on the opposite side of the upper lip in the thin skin again. There was no hole where it had been hooked minutes before. Different fish ! Caught them both within 30 feet of each other.

Needless to say I was very excited after that. I had dreams of half dozen 20"+ fish. A couple more slaps and a couple follows, but no more fish. Probably was too amped up and failed to duplicate the retrieve. When the fishing failed to remain good I bailed early. So I went home after 3.5 hours with only 2 Smallmouth. Both in the 20-20.5" range.


Monday, November 12, 2007

11/12/07 wade for Late Fall Smallmouth Bass

Went and hit a wintering hole where I was hoping smallies stack up bigtime. Brought Float and Fly for the second time this year.

Got there about 12:30. Threw a fluke because anything with trebles would snag on subsurface leaves. Tubes were out due to dying algae and leaves collecting on the bottom.

The pool I was aiming for is at least 50 yards across and 300 yards long. Last time Mike and I hit it, it was unfishable due to leaves everywhere. The rain had done a great job of sinking the leaves for the most part.

I worked the fluke on a slow pausing retrieve. As it turned out fish were fairly active. I caught them in many of the same spots I did in the summer.

It took a couple hours to fish the pool this way. It was hard, I wanted to run and gun but resisted and was rewarded with 10 SMB 10-nearly 18" on the fluke.

I tried tossing Sammy up to the front of the pool. Was surprised when a fish took a swipe at it. Working it slow above the riffle I caught a 14" and then back down the slow side caught two more 13"ers. Thunder and lightning rolled up and I got soaked.

Went home with a smile. 13 SMB in 3.5 hours. Definately a surprise at the topwater fish. Would have continued, but it was raining cats and dogs with thunder and lightning. Didn't give Float and Fly much of a shot.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

10/20/07 Some Nice Smallmouth Bass

Mike and I have been targetting high percentage holes where we caught hogs in the past. Most have been within easy walk. We fish up and down from these "hawg holes" then walk back to the truck and go on to the next.

Water clarity varied from stained 1' to ultra clear see to the bottom all on the same stream.

Baits used:Chatterbait,Hardnose Fluke, BZB, Sammy 100, Splashtail 90.

We hit the first hole around 9AM amidst the sound of distant gunfire. Thought it was still bow season, so somebody must be blasting squirrel. Mike and I hopped in the stream and saw a hunter get out of his stand.

Mike caught a couple about 12" on SPT 90. Good start. We hit a hole at the bottom of two stream branches near a Maple, with half a maple tree dangling across the hole. I got a 15" on SPT 90. Then threw back in with a 6" Rhino fluke. My cast was rewarded by this nice 18" who had been caught before. Thanks, catch and releasers!

We had sorted other pretenders. Mike worked parallel a rock wall and picked up a couple more dinks on that SPT 90.

We waded up to a hole I had hit some fish 2 months ealier out of, I got one off twig pile on chatter, another 17" on fluke, then a dink on fluke and a 12 on Sammy.

BT took the 7-5 lead going into the second quarter. We walked back to the truck to find a warning note from a police officer that we had tresspassed. I think the hunter called because he was upset about us....

Second quarter. A 5 mile truck ride. Mike led. He got this nice 16.5"er off the back of a pool on SPT 90.

Here's Mike's victory dance:

We saw scads of good 16-19" bass, but could not get them active. Amazing how they hide under flat rocks through hole #2.

Mike got this bruiser on SPT90 at the back of our chief target, a long, wide shallow pool. It went 19" and is missing a huge part of tail. Nice fish!

I managed 3 negligible fish to Mike's 2 nice one's. Then we were off another 10 mile truck ride to the next hole.

The third hole was a decent wade. I was getting bored when I had a sizeable fish strike Sammy and the fight was on! It went 18.25". Looks bigger. Photos can be so deceiving.

Here's fall river beauty:

I had the nastiest strike ever on Sammy late. Mike commented it was a hawg when it hit. It made a 'Thwuck' like a beaver tail hitting water. Never seen a more viscious strike. Turned out it was only a 16".

Mike hit a couple more 14"'s and the day was over!

We didn't catch many, but had a lot of fun trying, and both caught nice fish.

BT 13 (18.25", 18, 17, 16)
Mike 10 (19, 16.5)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wakeup call 20" SMB Bass 10/08/07

Got the wake-up call from buddy to go fishing today. We hit the water for an 7.5 hour wade. Creek was filled with leaves and algae with very little current.

I threw WolkaBuzz 90% of the time. It was by far most productive, though I caught a couple on Chatterbait.

I ended up with 33 Bass 28SMB (20.25", 17, 16, 3 15) 5 LMB

Here's the biggest fish caught on chatterbait slightly off a current seem of leaves, it went 20 1/4":

Thanks for the call, Jim!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Buzzbait Wade for the Ages 10/02/07

What's the Fall fishing fuss? Waded a long wade and walk. Got started at 8am. Water was cool, leaves and dead algae floating everywhere.

The fishing was good! At first I threw everything, but keyed on Mr.Wolka's buzz toy. 17" on it then another 17.5" on a chatterbait:

Caught fish on tubes, flukes, chatters, buzzes, WTD, and popper. At some point I stopped throwing everything but 1/4th oz counter rotating buzzbait. They were slamming it so often.

At one point, 4 16-17" consecutive casts on WBZ

13 of first 39 were 16"+.

Then a long run of 26 fish with nothing bigger than 15".

Finished out the day with these two 17-17.5" on WBZ on consecutive casts.

Ever seen smallie poop? The first fish was punching out a loaf when he decided to destroy WBZ. Orrrr a tapeworm.

Then the 3+ mile walk home:

67 SMB in 8 hours: (2 17.5, 8 17, 16.75, 16.5, 3 16, 6 15-15.75")

Never did find the big ones. I had at least 5-6 fish that had been caught before. All hail catch and release . As you can see from the pics, the fish are starting to fatten up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

21.5" HAWG Smallmouth Bass! 9/27/07

Went for short mile and a half wade in the drizzle. Water wasn't murky from rain. The stream had some current- leaves were not bad yet on this one.

Used Sammy 100, chatterbait.

First 10 fish were of this variety:

But then got bigger:

Then a lot bigger:

New Personal best 21.5"

The fish made a loud noise but not much splash when it hit Sammy- I knew immediately it was a big fish. Jumped once. Sigh of relief when I got it ashore.

5.5 hours 28 SMB (21.5", 2 17", 16, 3 15)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

9/22/07 Smallmouth bass creek Superwade!

Mike C. and I formed up an early morning caravan and set out to round up some brown bombers. We decided on a 4.33 mile wade about an hour+ away from our basecamps.

When we got there, I figured the stretch we picked I had fished via kayak in spring 2006. Those results back then were not as good as these. There was one more cold kayak dump that day :wink: .

We got to the put in first when a Vietnamese man shot ahead of us and started seining the stream. Said to stuff some eggrolls with various bits from the sea???

Fishing started off a 3/3 WBZ at the put in point while Mike put on his waders. Shortly thereafter I gota 16" SMB on Sammy, then a fat 16 Spot on WBZ. The fish were hitting everything. Tubes, BZZ, WTD...

Water was crystal clear to 3.5 feet- this made long casts critical. We saw fish fleeing before us everywhere.

I got a couple 16"'s in a row on Sammytime then tube on a swift little stretch. I let Mike lead most of the day and was happy to cast parallel to the deeper bank with WTD or tube when he moved up. We caught several fish from a arcing pool when my WTD fouled on a leaf. When I stopped it for a moment I saw a huge head come fully out of the water! It got the bait and fought well. Measured in at 18.5

I was a little ahead of Mike when he was casting a prop bait into shallow quick riffle that was funnel shaped. He got bit as I was in midcast. What happened next was very blury and a lot like all hell breaking loose. It was very clear Mike had a pig!!! It charged downstream and I enjoyed watching it while subconsciously walking the dog. It got swiped at hard then fouled and stopped walking and I kept brainlessly reeling while Mike's fish torpedoed for some branches between two boulders- his line looked in peril. I yelled at him to run up to the fish- then felt my own pig on the sammy 30 yards upstream I had fouled and absent mindedly been reeling in! It tore ass downstream and I saw it was big then it jumped and it was long... I was half watching Mike... :-) By this time Mike had his beached. For a second we thought double 20"'s, but upon close measurement his was beefier and 19.5", mine went 19" . Both were hefty, though Mike's 19.5 outweighed mine by a 1/4 lbs at least.

Here's the photopics- They don't do the fish justice. We were excited and the shot was at a bad angle. I had taken the picture with both of us in it but it looked really gay. I refrain from inflicting further abuse on readers.

We pounded the choke point made by some riprap and caught 4 or 5 more. I was in midcast when Mike yelled for me to look over- led to a Sammy 30 feet up in a tree. After climbing up and deciding I weighed too much and the tree would probably collapse. I pummeled the Sammy out of the tree by throwing about 30-40 river rocks at it. Yes!

Moving up it was a steady barrage of small to medium sized fish. We scared an 8 point Buck right streamside. We also saw a little green heron that looked like the road runner with wings- it was the largest one I have ever seen, but still quite small. Not as big as a duck.

Mike picked up this 17" on Gunfish

Again, most of the fish in this stream were long and thin. The water was so clear, I was shocked about a dozen times to find the fish was much larger than it appeared underwater. Some kind of optical illusion in clear water with sun??

I hit a couple of 17"'s on Sammy as the sun chilled a bit. It was a bright sunny day and shade seemed to be the ticket.

Working the deep side of the creek in shade right near a small creek draining in the stream I had a solid large attack on the sammy from the right. It fought well and I knew it was a good fish. Looked all of 18" in the water. When I beached it it was long and thin. 21" clean :blink: ! You can see in the pick at 21", she's slim.

John Bunner Pose:

Thank goodness my fly wasn't open. Right.

Am I 'Rainmanning' if I am only catching fish on one lure the second half of the day even if I try throwing other lures?

Oh, yeah. We caught a lot of fish and got off the water still light. The last mile stunk as the habitat was very silted from eroded banks.

I finished with 57 bass: 54 SMB (21, 19, 18.5, 2 17", 5 16", 4 15") 3 KY Spots (16)

Wool had 28: 27 SMB (19.5", 2 17", 16" 3-4 15") 1 KY

Crazy day.