Saturday, May 31, 2008

5/30/08 Wade and 5/31/08 Float- Semi Stinky.

Reporting the stinkers, too.

Hit a small creek early friday morning, the one Mike C caught his two hogs on. In fact, same stretch. Conditions were not the same. We had hit the creek with the water up in the 200's CFS and it was less than 100 and crystal clear. I did not see one bass, I saw few if any minnows, the water was down what seemed like at least a foot. Where had the smallmouth gone? Nothing in the hog hole... nothing. The sun was bright and was only going to get worse as the day wore on. I got a bad spooky feeling and went back to the car after about an hour, drove to the next creek, third of the way across the state.

Water was good level clear with brown tint- a definate improvement. I saw oodles of 4" Smallies in some of the eddies! Good for the future! However, my baits were largely ignored except one dink caught on WBZ. I decided to wade downstream and kill the day, waiting for dusk to hit my favorite riffle/hole in the area. As the day wore, a 3.5" swimbait was getting pecked by dink smallies and longear alike (plentiful), of course I couldn't catch any of the little turds. The action was terrific, and gave me confidence to throw it in the future. Got to the end of my downstream and finally saw a couple sizeable SMB, caught a couple 10"ers and then a 14 on swimbait. On the way back up, I threw a tube into a boulder laden eddy and was rewarded by a solid 'thunk' followed by bronze explosion airborne missle 17-18"ish and tube slow motion spat in air. Heartbreaking after 8-9 hours and 5 little SMB.

At the top of the riffle, I let the current drift my tube under the front of the rootwad and hooked up with another turbo charged torpedo, it shot in the air and tried to wrap line on my leg. Ahh, a little redemption. Bass went 17.5":

Ran into a couple of guys and told them about INSA website and conservation group. Hopefully, they'll remember the URL.

Ended up with 9 SMB (17.5, 14) nothing else bigger than 10" all day. Ouch. Fav hole produced nadda, fish shut off again at dusk.

Got out with JbCook for a flotilla of INSA yak power, instead it was just he and I and more bad fishing! LOL. The creek we picked read no spike and the take out had vis about 1', but when we got to the put in, Chocolatish! Looking now it got to 281 (not bad), but because of the gradient, it was hard to stay in position.

JB threw a Jack's worm. I tried a chatter, crank, fluke, popper, and buzzbait. They only hit a black tube. Caught a 16" in 'hawg hole', then another about 12" above it. JB had lost a sizeable fish up in a shallow creek branch on the inside bend. He had the fish broadside in his yak and coulnd't bring her in. Long stretch in the middle of the day where nothing happened. I got out in front of JB and threw my tube at a good hole near a sycamore after the 7-8th cast I just let it sit and started inspecting my cranks and laying them on top my legs to check out their awesomeness. Moved the tube a little and it got whacked! Crud, good fish. Had 100$ worth of baits on my lap anchored next to current and an angry brown fish on the line, it went airborne and I saw it was good. Held the rod high with one hand while the other swatted Sammies and cranks to the kayak floor. Yikes. Fish measured just shy of 18": Here are some yak hood tripod shots.

Next time I'll get the tail up higher on this shot:

Water seemed to clear up after that and I caught another 6 Smallies in the last couple hours: couple 15"'s and a 14.5"er all on black darth vader tubage. Stained water=Black baits. Seems to be true.

JB was beat and we still had to do a couple miles. Made it back before dark. Fun to get in the kayak again. Several times smallies splashed my face wet. Forgot about that. Hard fishing as you had to let the tube sit a little or tumble but the gradient was so high we got swept along often with 5lbs anchor deployed.

JB and I both tried to boat through trees hanging over heavy current- mine had 3" thorns on it. We had floated 4.7 miles in 8-9 hours.

BT 10 SMB (17.9", 16, 2 15) 1 big goog all on tubes
JB 4 SMB I think

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How many times will I fall in the river?

Went fishing Saturday with an objective of hitting two rivers, the first had been recommended to me by Prowler a year or two ago. I made the mistake of trying the same stretch and we ditched out after about an hour of zero activity :oops: .

Went to one of my favorite rivers to fall in. Averaging 1.2 baths per outing. Mike caught the first fish on tube, we had both been landing casts in the trees every other toss, the sun was making it hard to see anything in the dim light.

We started picking up fish on flukes near current, throughout the day it seemed the larger fish were in fast current, or very shallow at the triangle tops of eddies right next to fast current. We caught fish in these areas and walked up on several 17"+ fish in sick, inexplicably shallow areas. Mike and I worked a large winter hole type pool picking up some 15"'s and I a 16.5" on Sammy at the back of the pool who hit twice. It was not a Topwater day, though I did manage 3 on Sammy and Mike 1.

I randomly pitched short casts with fluke into bendy or rocky current areas and was rewarded many times with bonus fish. Mike bomb casted alot. Fish didn't seem spooky. Mike perfected the prevent D by walking into a hole right after I pulled a 16" out of it :o :lol: :P .

We hit a branching area of stream where Mike hit this nice 17.25" on a White fluke off the left current seam (right side) above:

The above was a branch of the river, there was another to out left and another directly above. Fun fishing to root around in all the nooks and crannies.

Here's a fish caught in a deep current blasting pool similar to Mike's above. Caught dragging a tube, didn't feel the hit, but the bass found it.

I hit the opposite side of a riffle in the fast current as Mike moved up. Drifting a fluke through I was both surprised and delighted to have this nice 17" gulp her up:

After that I had another nice fish attack my chatterbait from above and miss it in the fast current. Mike caught a fish on Sammy in the above pool. Lots of tail swats at sammy today- small or guarding fish I'd guess. One attack shot my Sammy a foot in the air!

Then I decided to land my kneecap directly on a hard rock and 20 minutes later go for a swim! Wading belt wasn't sinched down so I got leaky wetness. We moved on as it got dark and I got this last fish on a tube right at the very top of a rocky often productive pool. The tube started to swim off and hit her. Largest fish of the day about 17.25-17.5". Par for the course on this section of river. Loads of 15-17"er, an occasional 18". The best looking smallie habitat I've seen in the state and hardest stream I've ever waded. You simply are always playing 'twister'. All slippery chunk and river rock all the time, even walking the bank!

Pretty cool shot of the coloration:

Great day for all day wade, the temps were perfect and the fishing was good enough for the temps this year and flow heights. Mostly a fluke bite, but tubes worked when we threw them. We could easily see beds as the rocks were orange vs slightly mud colored. Many, many craws bluish, reddish and a buff green undercolor. Bet that color tube would rock.

We're going to float a long and totally new section to see if we can get into some larger Smallies soon.

BT 21 SMB (17.5, 17, 16.9", 2 16.5, 2 16" 2 15") 2 Googs and 1 Green Sunfish on 4" tube?!
MC 11 SMB (17.25", 16, 3 15)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Primary Colored River Report 5/18/2008

Jim F called wanting to drive to the great White north in search of Mushrooms and maybe fish. I suggested a bendy section of a colored river. Not that one, not the other either, yes, that color.

The river was flowing between 500-227 depending which gage. Clear at the put in and rocky. Average depth waist high or more. Lots of steep banks and wood everywhere. The sand did have a yellow/orange/brown tint to it.

I stuck with the 1/32 EWG fluke hook for ferreting out the fish near the high water and blasto current. Letting it drift in the current over and past laydowns worked well. Early in the day the fluke was getting bit and Jim got a 17 on chatterbait. I was in the penalty box, but recovered nicely with a 16". Smallies were getting caught left and right.

At one point, I hooked a solid SMB and a large 2'+ Pike was following it downstream neck and neck. Cool. I got the fish to hand, it was a 16"er. All the bass fought hard in the fast current.

About halfway through the wade my Supreme started 'knocking' like it had a dead spot in its tires. I sat and stripped it down while Jim went 'shroom' hunting. The reel had lost about 8 notches on it's main gear wheel. We walked back to the car to get Jim's other spinning reel and went to another stretch.

We also saw a heron rookery with at least 12 nests in a huge sycamore tree. Did you know herons can sound like apes? New on me. The fishing stunk through there. They tried to carpet bomb me.

More fish on flukes including a 17", Jim started getting some on tubes, and finally I made a little run at the end with the firetiger chatter-B at dusk.

Definately a stream to kayak vs wade. There were many areas impossible to fish because of depth or high steep banks.

On the walk back I missed a pig I turned, while Jim found a few Morels. Just like Saturday there seemed to be dead spots in both stretches. We didn't wade very far, so much potential fish holding area.

Overall, I'd fish it again if I lived close or was camping. No big fish, but it's hard to say there aren't mosters in there. Could have just been the day. Too far to drive otherwise.

BT 27 (17, 2 16 2 15) 1 SPT 90, 1 BZNTR, 4 CB, 21 fluke
JF 17 (17, 2 16, 2 15) Jim caught his on CB and mostly tubes

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mike's Giant Indiana Creek Smallmouth Bass 5/17/08

Guilty parties

At the root of it, my smallmouth fishing is the quest for satisfaction. Sometimes it's hard to quantify what is so magnificent about wading a stream. For me, it starts with waking up with the hope something new and exciting will happen. Each time out is a script yet to be written. How will it turn out?

Today was one of those days where Mother Nature gave us a peek at how things might work. Neither Mike or I had any idea what was to come. The unknown potential craziness, the camaraderie, the sport.

We got to a high flowing stream by about 10am, the water was cool (55F) and surprisingly clear considering the rains most of Indiana has gotten. For a few moments, we contemplated driving as far North as the Yellow or Pigeon for a chance at SMB. We sobered up and vowed to try those some other time.
Mike was jonesing for some topwater fish. I didn't think we'd find any because I feared the water would be muddy. It wasn't bad, and at points got downright clear. Some stain and vis to 18".
First fish was a 16.5"er on a fluke who hit next to some pretty fast current within minutes. We moved up and got some light taps. The surface had helicopters and those annoying maple strings that fouled both trebles and spinning blades.

Picked up a couple more on flukes. I was trying out some weighted EWG stickbait hooks on the flukes bought at Wallyworld. They worked great :) . We got to an above riffle area with a slower side to both sides created by a choke point. The right side had depth and a couple of great looking lay downs parallel to the current. Mike caught a fish on his fluke. I got one on Sammy then a couple misses I switched to a LC G-Splash Popper. Working the popper with only an occasional 'bloop' fish started drawing up out of the depth and wood. In no time, I had three more Bass to 14". Mike switched to the same lure and we were dueling.

I thought really hard about working the G-Splash upstream along the opposite bank (slight undercut bank), but my waders were folded down at my waist. The water there looked too deep and there was no casting angle. I told Mike cast parallel to the bank in close and bring it right upstream towards you. Mike tossed the perfect cast into the area and started to work it upstream, almost too fast. CLUNK. It wasn't too fast.

It was immediately apparent he had hooked a large Smallmouth Bass. Mike kept great pressure on the bass, but we were both worried it would cut loose since it was now in the some pretty fast current. As Mike reeled this behemoth in, I scooped it's belly and lipped it. I was pumped. I know Mike was. We snapped a couple pics and released her. Apparanetly, she had NOT spawned yet. Fellas, this fish was fat and long :o :o . So happy and pumped to see Mike catch a whopper.
She measured just shy of 21", about 20.9". How heavy? Be the judge:

We high fived like 3 times. Awesome.

After leaving that spot, we worked deliberately with most of the normal lures. It became apparent the bass were in slower areas and wanted something somewhat helpless- crippled.
We went 2-3 hours in the noonday sun without a bite.

We caught a few more on flukes, Sammy, popper. I got a 17.5" on fluke at some slack push water.
Fish had an open bleeding sore on its tail and had been mangled by whoever caught it last.
Suddenly, Mike was throwing his popper into another slack area and had a couple violent misses. About his 5th cast, the fish missed no longer. He fought the spawned out bass in. It was followed in by a larger fish. Mike: "Looks about 16" Measurement: 18.5" but sickly:

BT catches a fish on a fluke, and I throw on my G-Splash as Mike throws in again. "Let it sit" BLUNK! Another crazy big Smallie for MC Hammer, lipped and measured to the mm, it just broke 20"! 2!

I could swear that this was the fish that had followed the other in. I got a fish short of 16" and Mike another. We moved on, I picked up fish here and there on the fluke getting a decent numbers day. We kept looking for more post spawn highwater staging areas.

Finally, I got a good fish on a long upstream cast to the slow side. This fish was taking drag, I didn't know how large until it came in close. A 19":

Now it was a long day. The bass seemed scattered, when we found them, they were grouped. In between- not much. I used the fluke as a search lure for most of the day, this paid off nicely on decent numbers.

Mike is on Cloud 9. Call him up and hear the story.
We had a blast! We'd both been pretty happy with one 18" fish.

MC 11 SMB (20.9", 20", 18.5, 15) 7 Popper, 4 fluke

BT 22 SMB ( 19", 17.5, 16.5, 15.75) 2 Sammy, 4 Popper, 1 tube, 14 fluke, 1 R. Subwalk

Saturday, May 10, 2008

5/10/08- Post Spawn Buzzbait Madness!

Got to wade a far northern Indiana stream that didn't spike much with recent rainfall. Surprised to see the water crystal clear and less stained than before it rained. Rock on. Got out of the car and in the water when Russ C showed up with the same idea in mind. 2's better than one!
We pretty much bs'ed half the afternoon away while tossing all over the place. Russ introduced me to his new Buzzanator, a 1/4 oz counter rotating dual blade job with a [i]clacker[/i], pointy mustad hook, and wire form about 4" long! This seemed strange to me at first, but I had to try it. It tossed pretty good for the shape. Better than I thought it would.

In the midst of monolouge, the Buzzanator got killed by a 15.25 spawned out Smalljaw. Then I got another 11"er (there will be a pattern here) while Russ got one about 11" on a fluke. I was trying everything to try and find what would make the SMB go nuts.Throwing a fluke, Sammy, Crank, Chatter, and tube at the most high percentage spots. I didn't really get the hint from these two fish until later.

Russ was telling me about a cold spring up ahead I had fished before and how good smallies key on it in the warm summer. We didn't get anything there but there was a very deep pool at the bottom of a dropping run with a log pile for cover. I basically threw a tube into the log pile with wreckless abandon- then was rewarded with a solid thunk from a good sized fish. I put pressure on her immediately and realized the fish was wrapped on a log. I had to get that fish off the logjam, but it was probably 5' of water and fast current. I backreeled to shore, tore off my vest, threw the suspenders of my waders over my shoulders and waded downstream, backreeling and then taking line to keep that fish pinned to the log. Climbed up over the logjam and was able to free the bass from it precarious postion, unhook it and release. Went 17.75" and was spawned out. No way I catch that thing without braid short of using heavy mono.

We moved up and caught a few more on swimbaits and flukes. Russ had to dee-dee, and we said our goodbyes. We had caught some fish but most were 9-11"ers immature non spawners. Hmmm. I rounded a bend and saw another cold spring. Working the riprap with the Buzzanator, I caught three 11" Smallies and then as I tossed near the spring and slowly retrieved the BZNR, slurp! The fish went on some crazy runs, but I kept the pressure on and bulldogged her in. Looked like it could go 20", measured a spawned out 19.75"!

Next cast a 16" slurped the BZNR and fought like mad. Then 3 more 11"ers. Hit another deep riprap run slammed a 16, then a 16.99"er, then 11"er all on a fluke near current. Thing started getting crazy with 11"ers. They were hitting Russ's buzz and getting hooked every attempt it seemed! I was getting like 90% of the fish that a hit in, until the walk back.
A 15", another 16" below the bridge, most spawned out, above the bridge this 17":

Couple more 11"ers, then along long deep riprap, slurp!

This one went 17.5". Caught a few more then started walking back. Got another 17, 15 on the walk back and a hard fighting 16"er at the first spring Russ showed me.
Pretty crazy day-2 miles each way. Only a handful of 12-14"ers. Saw some around beds. Most of the 16"+ fish had spawned, a couple of the 16's had not yet done the deed. Awesome day of topwater and fighting PO'ed smallmouth.

39 SMB (19.75, 17.75, 17.5, 2 17, 1 16.99, 1 16.5, 3 16, 3 15-15.25) 1 Rock Bass

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sammyfest 5/6/08

Voted and did a couple of other errands. Went out for a wade in Russ' territory again. Water was clear and the sun was out. Fishing started out very slow. First 5-6 hours: 2 6" dinks a goog and an 11"er on a fluke :( .

Kept going thinking the sun would eventually go behind the tree line and I walk up on better water. Lots of silt the first half of the stretch, river was wide and shallow/flat.

I found better water and Sammy made them pay, I got 20 Smallies in 2 hours, then 3 more on the walk back to the car. Most were 11-13". Acrobatics in full effect.

Biggest was 16.25 on the walk back, also had a 15.5 that was spawned out. Don't know if the lack of bigger fish was spawn or the relatively poor habitat. Lots of gar hanging out

Walked 7 miles and drank 5 waters. Woof.

26 SMB 1 Goog (16.25, 2 15-15.5")