Saturday, March 29, 2008

Early Spring Indiana Bank Pitching 3/29/08

Mike C was fiending to get his fish on. Unfortunately, after an inch of rain everywhere 2 days before, most streams were at 3-4 times normal spring flow. Our one local fallback suddenly raged and we took a wildcard and fished this stream for the first time this year. Visibility was about 4-6" current was up and fast. Sun was out and warming. All fish were caught in direct rays of the sun.

Now usually, I wouldn't be excited to drive half across the state to hit high, muddy, cold water, but it was a challenge. I met Mike and we got out to the water with a plan of hitting every feeder creek area we could hoping on clear inflow, shelter, and food attracting Smallies. The first 2 hours we hit a couple of different spots that were mainly muddy banks with plenty of silt everywhere. We were about to pack it in and go fish greenies when I decided to try what I thought was a wintering hole. Mike demanded we go try.

While passing over the bridge Mike spotted a slack area with high bank and sun beating down. Furthermore, there was a small feeder feeding in between two sycamores. I tossed my recent lucky tube down the steep bank for the second sycamore 2' from the bank. My line got fouled on some plants, when I untangled it, I felt the 'twang' of a strike and set the hook by hand. Grabbed my rod, it was a pretty large smallie that I had to haul up three feet onto the bank.

We moved up dragging heavy tubes trying every current break we could for SMB.

We hit a pocket area where a piece of turf deflected the current away. I again dragged a tube close to the bank along the protruding roots. A big fish 'thunked' again. It went 19.5". Pig fat. Mike got arty with the pics.

Mike and I moved up a ways letting those spots cool, while trying to find a couple like it. The day burned and we returned to the spot where I caught the 19.5"er.

Running one of my white Clatter-B's past the same spot mere inches from the bank, I saw a fish nail the bait. 17.5" Then a few casts later a 15.5" first fishes I have caught on my home made baits- they work! Both were kind of a slow roll, the second being a hard strike.

BT 4 (19.5, 18.25, 17.5", 15.5)

There's fish to be had in high water, work parallel to the shore as much as possible. Might have been an undercut bank there, but I'm guessing it would be nothing in the summer. Put in quite a few hours, and it really was only Mike's persistance that got us on fish. Funny how fate can sometimes lead to a lightbulb moment while fishing. Keeping bait in the zone close to shore was key. This time last year, I found similair size Smallies in shallow flooded flats. Warmer water, shelter, and minnows to eat.

Thanks Mike for being patient with me catching fish. If it makes you feel better, the worst Hardies ever gave me terrible diaherra last night :)

Good week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Smallmouth Turn On! 3/26/08

Jim F and I went out for the wade we've been talking about all winter. Actually, more a Nascar race around a large circular pool with huge boulders, a cliff wall and several stepped shelves which the creek spilled down through. Some of the deepest water I've fished in a creek. The sun was out and the water was green! Vis to 2-3 feet and the water warmed up to 50F as the air got to 65 during the day! Finally!

I imediately thought: "shiny jerkbait". I threw on a LC Pointer 100 in Misty Shad, first cast a 15"er hit the bait. Jim was working from the riffle shelf down the deep side of the pool with FnF. I caught two more on the Pointer 100 on the pause. Surprised a 10" would hit the pointer 100.

Moved over to fish the deep current cut bolders on Jim's side of the stream. Jim was getting bit on a small worm and soon had a nice 18"er to hand!

18"Check out the worm in it's mouth:

I pulled free my tube from a 16-17"er who never had the hook in flesh.

We started to circle the pool I got three SMB on a venom Watermelon black pepper/red flake tube with 3/16th oz jighead hopped along the slacker water. Most of these fish were thin. They meakly tried going airborne to prevent my unhooking them.

I circled to the deep side again and was rewarded by two solid hits on my tube in current, both felt like pigs, but I pulled the new unkirbed hook free of both fish. A couple casts later my now kirbed jig hook struck home on another 15"er, then this 17"er:

These fish were under the main current sitting at the bottom of some rock shelves my 3/16th oz tube was tumbling past them just right.

We left the smaller and hit the larger river. :) Did I say I love this river? When you aren't catching SMB you can marvel at the geology. Too bad its so far away , over 2 hours of driving today round trip.

I got three fish on the Pointer 100 12, 14.5, and 16". The 12"er had come from some crazy current.

Jim and I hit a large flat ona bend near some current with bigtime drop off. I nailed a 16"er on tube then this 17.5 on the next toss, right as I was about to pull it out of the water. Ended up with 6 fish off that spot 16, 17.5, 15.75, 16, 15.5, 17", all on tubes. These fish were all very fat and fought like [b]crazy[/b]. I had forgotten how BA Smallmouth can be over the winter. They were smacking the tubes with authority and fighting like the wanted my rod out of my hands.



We headed back and Jim went off into the woods and caught a couple dinks and a 17". Poor guy had problems with his line snapping all day on casts. Jim was also tossing a lighter tube. BUT he had big bass!

BT 17 SMB (17.5, 2 17,3 16, 4 15") 6 Pointer 100 11 tube. 0 FnF bites. Jim 6 (18, 17") We fished 6-7 hours.

Good company and absolute blast. It really was great fun to feel that twang of a large fish nailing a tube again. The fight on these fish is just unheard of.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Flock of turkey, herd of deer, and lone piggie. 3/17/08

Got out for a wade today, more like a bank pounding with crossings made to test my waders. The air was cold 39F with sleet and drizzle off and on. Water was clear to about 2' and 41F.

I got two 16"ers on a tube near a current seam. They fought hard, surprisingly hard.

Moved on to my target pool and looked for the slackest areas that held fish in summer. I got a 15"er on FnF which was followed by a huge carp as it fought hard. Don't know what was up with that. Got 3 more 13-15" on FnF, with some behind boulders in current.

Saw a turkey up the hill within 30 feet of me, when I got out to get warm, I saw this:

Blurry flock (term?) of tukeys didn't like my presense. They were quite comical running away like that.

Went back down to the bottom of the pool to take it from the other direction. My fly dunked after going over a point about 10' in front of me and there was a brief struggle with this 19"er who was quite well fed! Smaller fish fight harder.

Caught another 13"er and headed back home. On the way, I spotted a herd of deer at least 10 strong. Cool.

8 SMB (19", 2 16") No dinks

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cold Water Float and Fly Smallmouth 3/12/08

Went out for some more cold water smallie action today. Stream was still up in the 1,000's and green. Temps may be approaching 40. So I brought along my jerkbait box. The bugs have started to come out and were all over my kneck all day. The kind you are constantly squishing on your kneck. Even heard a bee at one point. Saw a mink, we got in a stare down, he left just before I got my camera out.

Plan was float and fly in the same holes that have proven fish, drag smaller tube, and use jerkbait around muddy flats. Started off slow with a couple 12-14"ers on the fly and a dink on the tube. Crossed stream and got a 13"er on the xrap during the pause. Moved on to the pool JB saw me catch some crappies on Saturday. Caught smallies on three straight casts on fly 13-15" (the 15" went airborne!), then an 11" crappie on the next. Slammed 3 more crappie 8-10" then the next dunk was really heavy, a large black fish came near surface and made a run for some branches, I knew it was big. Went 19.5". when I banked her.

After that I got a 14", a 13" greenie and lost another crappie.

Went back to first spot and got three more 13-14"ers.

4.5 hours 11 SMB (19.5) 1 LMB, 4 nicer crappies, and a Goog.

Beautiful day

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another High Water Bank Stomp for Winter Smallmouth Bass 3/8/08

I called Jbcook for some wintertime bronze fishing. He was just waking up so must not have realized the weather wasn't great. Slight breeze, flow was up around 1,000, and the air temps were in the mid-twenties, Partly cloudy. We aranged to meet at 2pm and got fishing by 2-230pm. Jason hit the first fish, a 14"er on a Hairy Bug Jig. I finally found the Smallies and hit 4 on FnF in about 25 minutes from 12-15".

We decided to move to another spot. As fate would have it, we were chatting about things when I realized we might have missed our first hole. We cut short and ended up on the side opposite of where I ususally work. Two big downed trees stood parralell to the stream next to 3-4' of water. I zipped a float in between the seam and the rootwad. Quickly the float dunked and I wrestled a 16.5"er to hand. Then a 12-13"er. Then Jason hit this 16.5" on a hairy bug jig in the same spot only on the bottom!

Jason lost a good fish on a break off that had his pole bent double. Jig still in fish jaw! It shook a few times afterwards and we could see it was in the 17-18" range. The fish had wrapped JB's line on a root. Then I lost a jig in that same rootwad and decided to climb up on top of the upturned rootwad. I caught 7 fish 13-17" + crappie in the next 30 minutes on float and fly, they were using the rootwad as a current break to the eddying water! JB hooked another good one, that shook of at his feet.

The fish were really stacked in there! We had to let the spot cool as neither of us got a bite for 20 minutes. Moved up to another pool and caught a small LMB and 4 more crappie.

We went back to the laydowns 45 minutes later and the fish were back. JB landed a nice 15" on the HB, I got a couple more on FnF 12-14".

We were both cold so we headed back after 22 fish between us in a bout 3.5 hours. Hope that broke the cabin fever for ya, JB!

Friday, March 7, 2008

High Water Winter Float and Fly 3/7/08

Took the dog out for another walk today. Water was up in the 1,000's CFS, however the visibility was 10-12" and green :) . Air temp was 25-27F and water temp was 38. Most of the ground was still thawed.

In the first 15 minutes, the float dunked and a 16" SMB came to hand. The fish had hit close to the main current seam.

I landed a dink about 30 minutes later. Moved downstream and got a 10" Rock bass on a chartreuse fly from the middle of a large eddie. Moved back to the first spot and tried a more natural color. Either, the fish had turned on or they like the chub imitation better. I landed another 16" and a 13" and 14". All the fish had red 'lipstick' from the cold water.

Decided to leave, warm the dog up in the car ride to the next spot. One which I haven't hit this year.

This spot is a tall steep western bank with a long a 45 degree bend in the stream. Quickly found fish close to shore in the high water. Picked up a beautifully yellow 17" within 6" of the shore in a beaver hole. Yanked it straight up without a fight.

Let the beaver hole cool and moved up a bit. Landed two more a 12 and 13 on the fly, again close to the bank (within 5 feet), after it cooled I lost my fly in a tree. Decided to try a blue/black 4" Hooked Up tube dragged painfully slow in the Beaver Hole. A solid thwack, startled, then the fish camer to surface and I lost it. Looked about 13-14". The aggressiveness of the strike was a definate clue to drag the tube some more.

Casting parallel to the steep bank, I was rewarded by another solid 'thunk'. it was a large fish that went on a solid run, then I pulled up the 4 foot bank thanks to strong braid. It went 18+

What a goofy picture :D:D .

9 SMB (18+", 17", 2 16") 1 Rock Bass (10")