Sunday, June 29, 2008

Golden Retrievers-Wendy

Lucky Craft Splashtail 90 action 6/26/08

Got a 10:15 start, having planned a marathon. Started throwing a buzzbait and had an early taker. I was in much deeper water than the other day and the action was slower. Was throwing Sammy, Bzz, fluke, chatter....

It was around noon, when I was walking a Sammy past a stream that came out of the cliff down slightly upstream into a large deep pool. When the bait got almost within reach of me a large bass took it in without much splash. Short fight and I was taking pics. She measured 19.25".

After that the fishing was slow, as I thouroughly fished the deeper pools with deep cranks and chatters dragged along the bottom. Perhaps this was a mistake. Later on, I found a lot of fish a couple pools up.

Nothing was working well, though the buzz and Sammy both got hits, less than half struck home with stained water being some factor. Kept catching fish in the shallow stuff- most of these were small- topping out at about 12".

T-Storm was making threats but rolled right on by. Arrived at another huge pool and walked parallel to the steep bank that nobody wades, picking up fish out of the water willows as I stumbled and clamoured over slippery bank and mopssy log alike. I decided to throw the Lucky Craft Splashtail 90 on and was off to the races the fish wanted it in the wider slower water. The first larger fish was right on the shaded bank mouthing the bait very quickly after splashdown! It exploded into the air impossibly high. 18"

I spotted clouds upon clouds of black fry!!! These were small enough to have been born after the flooding. We had historic flooding here in Indiana and it is awesome to see the fish had presence of mind to hold back on the spawn! Great sign for future generations. Also saw a couple of Smallies guarding nests in the 14-15" range to go with all the longear on beds:

Not long after, a 17 again on the LC SPT 90 it was clear in the slower water they were loving the noise the lure put out a Vrrroooop, fwwwwiiiip, swuzzzz, swaaaaappp, when dived or pulled up, or just a slow bubbly choppy noise on straight retrieve:

At this point, I was Rainman with the prop bait. I got another 18" off a laydown, most the bigger fish (except one) just mouthed the topwaters without exploding on it. They did look a little worn from spawn+floods.

At the top of another huge pool there was a side pool with water willows everywhere, I caught something like 12 fish from it. Then walked up through water willow island enough to see it was packed with baitfish....Hmmmmm....

As I moved up a little girl yelled to me from her back porch to "be careful so snappers don't get my toes". I told her, they already did. I think it blew her mind.

A couple guys in a canoe came rolling up, we chatted for a couple and I heard them catch a turtle downstream as I threw the perfect cast at a bend in the water willows. A fish hurtled through the air at the bait, then quickly again was in the air jumping powerfully and large....

When I landed it the canoers had been Measure...19.5" and a pig . reaching for my camera the spirited fish was not quite done and flapped out of my grip escaping without a pic! Drats.

I moved to a spot where I'd caught a nice fish early last year, caught this 17"er right on the water willows again!

44 Bass in 11 hours: 43 smallmouth bass (19.5",19.25", 2 18, 2 17, 2 15) 1 largemouth bass on chatterbait (15")

Maybe about 2 miles of total wade, beautiful sunset as you can see from the last pic. I trotted home back along private property rather than walk the long winding roads back to the car, the last 15 minutes in total darkness except the small hat light MC gave me. Few times I had to remind myself I was a hard ass. Seeing shadows and imaginary ghouls...

On the LC SPT 90. Excellent bait. I've heard it is discontinued by LC, this would be a shame. I've done my best to get the word out. Buy them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Buzzbait Smallmouth Bass 6/24/08

Went for a wade by midday, started throwing 1/4 oz buzzbait, pretty much kept with it minus a couple attempts at other lures. Fish were slapping it all day. It was insane. Mostly missed at the ends and connected in the middle. Lots of small fish, but hey the crazy action is crazy action.

Ran into a 70 year old fly fisher who already hit my hole and caught 6 16"ers out of it. We chatted for about 15 and off I went. The hole he already fished was remarkably quiet. By this time, I had 20 fish inc this 17"er:

Lots of action in the riffles and just about everywhere but the deep slow middle of large pools.
Here's a fish which jumped through my buzzbait from below, went a hair short of 17":

Caught 5 fish in 5 casts highlighted by this fish at 17.5":

72 SMB on the day in 9 hours!! (17.5, 17", 16.99, 16.5, 2 16, 5 15") 1 Goog. 65/73 fish were caught on buzzbait, 2 tube, 1 chatter, 2 sammy, 3 fluke. Probably only hooked up with slightly less than half the buzzbait strikes.

Fun. Jeez, that's what I've been waiting for. There should be a great class of fish in 3-4 more years. My fishing log reports a drop from 20% Smallies 16"+ down to 16% because of th elast two trips. I haven't caught a fish bigger than 17.5" since May 17th. Where did they go?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nothern Exposure

Friday Mike C and I traveled up to meet Gary R and Bob R to fish a couple lakes, try out some rivers, smoke a stoggie and meet Jeff Stanner (flippintube).

Since Mike and I got there first, we went for a wade, unfortunately we found a very swampy, weed choked area of the Pigeon river, where we got no bites and saw one three inch smallie. We went driving and found another section of stream that had some gradient. Not too far in the gradient was like looking uphill. The Pigeon has a number of lakes that it runs through that are damned producing current and gradient in some areas and slow swamp in others. Not a river to blind scout, as the Gazateer does no favors and ordinary lower Indiana streams are nothing like this one, as large areas of both the Fawn and Pigeon are choked with grass and lilly pads. To say it was snag haven was an understatement.

My nightmare stream to fish would be one with swift gradient and lots of fresh downed trees, channelized somewhat in the middle, and very, very few eddies of any type. No riffles and waste deep water everywhere. The water was dark but clear stain that with the dark black brown bottom ment visibility or spotting fish was not happening. We fished it three days for 3-5 hours each day looking for that magical stretch. Looked fish everywhere and it really is a great "target practice" river. We went over three different stretches with a fine tooth comb. The precise target practice that was neccesary will make most Indiana streams seem easy to fish from here on out! Accepting what the challenge of the river it was a good time anyhow as we cut up the whole time by the third day.

Tubes produced mostly as well as chatterbaits at times (when I dared) and the final numbers looked something like this: Day 1 BT: SMB 6 3 Googs, MC 3 SMB 4Googs, Day 2: BT 5 SMB, MC 4 SMB Day 3: BT 9 SMB 1Goog, MC 2 SMB, JS 5 SMB 1 Goog (I think).

BT 20 SMB (16, 2 15.5) 5 Googs MC 9 SMB 4 Googs

Here are a couple of shots of a fat 'lake' river smallie- also to give you an idea of the habitat:

Fishing wasn't great, but the river made us think! It was fun, weather was fantastic.

The four of us met Jeff who is a pretty excellent dude and his chip, Carson. Jeff invited us to fish his father's 110 acre lake sat night and all caught a small handlful of greenies with some smallies thrown in, Gary had one round 16ish and I had a 15.5 on a swimbait. Fishing was off, lake was beautiful and thanks to Jeff for having us over and Gary and Bob for putting up with me . Bob for exchanging horror stories about a paranoid landowner.

Good time guys, we'll do it again, or start putting together a rodeo.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Led Zeppelin

I'm a huge fan. Like most Zep fans, I own all the albums and have listened to them countless times. Most radio listeners don't hear some of the longer cuts which are just as good as your 'ramble ons' and 'living loving maids'. I will endeavor to find you some good stuff to listen to.

As much as I love them, I've been burnt out on their genius for a while. It's over and I'm ready to have an orgy of Zep destruction for the first time in years on the drive up to NE Indiana this weekend!

Here's one of my favorites thanks to Youtube. Suck it!

Had to edit this live version of "Nobody's Fault but Mine":

Ah, youtube, time killer!

Ok, one more:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little bit closer

Did some fishing 6/17/08. Vis about 1' stained brown and water up. First look post flood. The fish seem ok, and I saw lots of small minnow fry about .5". Trees were all over the place. Ripped down, thrown up on banks, log jams were gone and new ones started, big chunks of earth had been ripped from the banks in places, new boulders had appeared, water line of silt on plants was crazy high, yet plants were recovered, grass has grown since the last time out.

Started out pretty good with a dink on Buzzanator, then a 16", 15", 12", 16" on black/green chatter-B. Lost it and didn't get another bite on other color CB :shock: . Caught 3 more on cranks and 2 googs on cranks. Tubes, flukes didn't get a sniff. Seemed like fish were hungry and chasing, if they could only see. Started fast at midday, then sputtered with only two dinks and 2 googs in the last three hours. Was a little bored with the difficult fishing and the total lack of a finesse bite. So many branches and vegitation preventing easy fish near banks with fast current sweeping by in the channels

8 SMB (2 16, 1 15) 2 Goggles in 5-6 hours.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

German Panzer IV Ausf H, F2, and G

For more info on Germany's most mass produced tank during WWII, check out Achtung Panzer!:

Soviet JS II's

Soviet late World War II era heavy breakthrough assault tank. Joseph Stalin II.
Armed with 122mm gun, 12.7mm DSHK AA MG, a coaxial 7.62mm MG, and turret rear 7.62mm MG.

More info on the JS II from Russian Battlefield:

Chatterbaits and Tubes

3/8th's oz Chatterbaits 4/0 Mustad hooks that I make. Versatile and deadly.

3/16th's oz tube jig heads with 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG Hook. 4" tube

Various color chatters I made.

Do Lucky Craft Lures Catch Smallies?


Lucky Craft Topwater lures that I use: G-Splash 60, Splashtail 95, Gunfish 90, Sammy 100. Top to bottom:

All of the above are amazing baits. G-Splash is excellent when fish are a little lazy, deep, or under rootwads. Play around with the cadence some variation of jerk, jerk, pause...

Splashtail I use when fish are missing a buzzbait a lot, with the SPT 90's needle trebles, the hook percent goes through the roof. I smeared them on this one in 2008. It makes a really unique vroop, vroop noise and can be worked about 5 different ways to draw out fish. Fish it like a popper, a buzzbait, or topwater jerkbait. It simply is a must have.

Gunfish 90 I use when a smaller profile Walk the Dog bait works best, it casts great and has a tight fast walk. Sammy 100 is just a killer lure for big Smallmouth Bass.

Lucky Craft Jerkbaits that I use: Left to right: Wander 80, Pointer 100, Flashminnow 115, Pointer 78S.

The pointer 100 is my favorite, I've landed three 20"+ Smallies on them in limited time. IMHO superior to the Pointer 78. The Pointer 100 dives to 4-5'. I have found I can keep it from diving by jerking it hard with a high rod tip to get it to dive up or sideways, then reeling in on slack line. This prevents the lure from going deep in shallow water. The example above is the 'Misty Shad' color which I am partial to.

The Wander 80 is an interesting lure that behaves like a senko/fluke. Shimmies on the drop, walks the dog on retrieve. Haven't used it as much as I should.

Flashminnows and Pointer 78's I have little confidence in. Perhaps having too many go to lures at this point?

Worth the money? Yes and no. find the ones that really work and stick with them, they do cast extremely well and catch above average size fish. All the topwaters are gold and have a place in a stream angler's bag. The Jerks seem to be better in the early spring around me.

Using higher lbs test or braided lines will prevent losing these nice lures. It took me 200+ Smallies to lose my first Sammy 100.

How to Fish a Buzzbait for Stream Smallmouth Bass

Here are some of the buzzbaits above I recently got in the mail from a buddy. They are 1/4 oz and 3/8th's oz counter- rotating long shaft buzzers with a clacker. Sexy. I have always been a fan of buzzbaits that make a 'clacking' metallic sound. These baits are promising for the noise and long shaft that hopefully will hold the minnow 2-3" below the turbulence cause by the blades. More visible to the bass- I have high hopes for this bait and initial tests have been excellent:
I'll be reporting this year on these new baits.

Enter the 'Wolkabuzz':

The Wolkabuzz has been the gold standard for me the last 4 years for smallmouth bass topwater. 1/4 oz counter rotating blades, that cast well, nearly impossible to snag, and easily adjustable by bending the top frame or front blade. The WBZ has caught so many fish for me. It is a great search bait, and pulls fish out of wood better than any bait I know. Downside, some days hookup percent is less than 50% even with a 1/0 Gamakatsu trailer hook. Other days, fish are actually spooked by buzzbaits.

In my mind, these types of baits can be one of the best consistent producers of both sizable smallmouth bass and numbers of smallmouth bass in rivers and streams here in Indiana. Something about the clacking of a buzzbait infuriates smallies, they just have to smash them.

Look for excellent castability in a buzzbait. You want to cast the bait beyond your noise and shadow as not to spook any fish (including rough fish). Start the retrieve before the bait hits your target. Casting long helps here. Anything from a quick to slow to sputtering rhythm will draw strikes. Buzzbaiting is a tight line technique, do not allow slack in your line. Use a loose drag to prevent sudden break offs as some strikes can be vicious!

Do not react at the splash from the fish or you will pull the bait away from the fish and prevent follow up strikes. 'Feel' the fish on the bait before tightening up or setting the hook. Braided lines can help with hook setting percentage because they have no stretch. The bass often hook themselves.

Toss the buzzbait into the thickest cover and carefully weave in and out of branches and limbs. Don't be afraid to drag it over logs and cover. This will often draw the most strikes. Run it down parallel to logs and cover as opposed to perpendicular when you can. Make lots of casts, run and gun. When smallies will hit a buzzbait (clear stable conditions), many will usually do so. By moving you will find more large fish.

Sometimes it seems fish will turn off to a buzzbait after dark. You can often get them to strike at night by going super slow, allowing the Buzz to 'bubble'. This also works in the day when fish don't want it fast. If the Buzzbait bite stops, do not assume topwater has stopped. Try a different topwater lure. Maybe fish are turned off to the noise or profile. They will strike some kind of topwater all day long most summer and fall days.

Experiment and find what works each day. Another reason to use a snap or carry an extra rigged rod. Buzzbaits can be the most effective and fun bait out there. Give them a try!

Corn Mo

If you ever see Corn Mo on a concert billing, do yourself a favor and GO!

One man variety show/comedy wrecking crew.

Flight of the Conchords

Can't get them out of my head. Sarah checked out their HBO comedy series from the Library and our heads haven't been the same since.

Flight are a 2 man folk novelty band/comedy act. They rap and deadpan and must be seen for originality and facial expressions alone:

Just a few but there are many more on Youtube to waste an hour or two on.

Phillies Red

Yes, I bleed Philadelphia Phillies red since I fell in love with that Phancy 'P' as a kid. Not the easiest team to love. But my love of stats and baseball theory brings me through the rough times and into the present.

Which is pretty good. Phils just tapped off the Atlanta Braves for the 4 time in 5 games this season 6-2. So, the Phillies now stand at 38-26.

Any time they are smoking the Braves or Mets is happy time.