Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lucky Craft Sammy 100, the Fish that Walks 7/26/08

I wanted to check to see if there really was no morning bite in the face of mounting summer evidence that afternoon-dark is the time to fish. Caveat- I had to be home by/before 2 so I could set up for the chicken party tommorrow.

Made it to the stream slightly before 6am downing a Mcgriddle and huge hznt Ice coffee from Mcwasteland. Walked up a half mile over the rock in the pitch black, nothing really happened as I fished the first couple riffles and first couple pools. I was halfway through one of my favorite BT psuedo science holes, when I decided to use a Sammy and really force the action by ripping the thing in (by my standards). Almost immediate response- a dink, 16", dink 2.0 to hand.

Nice time to 'Rainman' Sammytime, snipe a tube at likely spots, and use a 3.5" shad swimbait in between for a different look. I picked up a couple on the swimbait and had some multiple blowups on the Walk the Dog. Wry smile. This would be good :) .

I was getting reaction strikes to the Sammy 100 and some fish didn't get a good look, but I was landing a good 65-70%.

From a bedrock cleft, I picked up a couple more tossing my tube under big rocks. Not far above, at the top of the cleft there was plenty of large chunk rocks that had broken off the bedrock creating a riffle with several large ruts. Working Sammy 100 across this terrain, it got destroyed and the fight was on. I could see the bass was in the large (18-19") range. I overmuscled it with a tight drag and it escaped within a stride's length of getting lipped.

Every summer, I go through the pains of figuring just how loose to keep my drag with Sammy and braid. Loose is better. Much better. Harder to yank the hook out on the fight. The fish can really get leverage to throw such a large bait unless your hooks are sharp, drag is light, and you keep the rod bent and line coming in. Slightly heartbroken, I moved up the bedrock and had a fish belch on my Sammy again, the drag of course was now too loose and I barely got him in. Went 17"

Not two throws later directly below a dropping shelf- riffle the Sammy had a huge bass do a whale turnover, completely missing the bait and sinking my heart further. Easily 20". :cry:

Moving fast and keeping the bait walking as much as I could I caught several more fish on the way to the pool where Mike had caught an 18"er last Friday. At bottom of that pool a small fish slapped at it and missed then turned and hit Sammy. Only it wasn't a small fish, it was an 18" SMB. Pretty sure the same one Mike caught, then I dropped. Well, I got it's piccie for the Mchammer.

Lost another about 16" in shallow rocky flats. Looking over my trebles, a couple were bent. Sharpening these led to more hookups as the next couple hours was all fun. Slowed a little and I thought the bite was over, until a 17.5" slurped the Sammy near another riffle (pattern?) landed the fish and fumbled it away pre-pic.

Some bank fishermen ahead on a bend a couple hundred yards up and put on a clinic for them, nailing about 8 SMB on Sammy off some midstream boulders. Wanted to talk to them to see if I could camp nearby sometime, but they left before I got in talking range. Waded up on their spot and pulled two 14"'s from right near where they were standing. Guys appeared to be throwing bobbers and worms.

Headed back home I went down a newly freed channel that usually has very little water. It was blocked by a logjam. Pic at the top of the post of the stream through there. Must have caught close to ten fish in that little 200 yard stream fork up to 15", most on tube.

Walked back and hit a 16" on Sammy and a big goog. Called it a day. Wouldn't say they were frothing, just kept moving and finding riffles with active fish. Slow sammy, buzzbaits didn't get a sniff...

42 SMB (18, 17.5, 17, 2 16, 1 15") 1 big Goggle in about 7 hours.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Indiana Stream Wade 7/24/08

Hit another creek by 6pm today. Sun was high and bright, with visability to 2' stain. Pretty quiet minus one good blowup in the shade near some wood. Didn't see any fish, but did spy Mr.Muskrat nabbing some water willow for an after dinner dessert. He looked funny swimming underwater.

Things were looking bleak with that shiny scalder overhead. I made a cross stream cast to shade as I was wading downstream and fouled my buzzbait on a root. Worked it free and it got destroyed when it hit the water. This fish fought hard and went 17.25". Must have been hungry as it took the hook deep in the gill and bled a bit. Did my best to get him going again. Fingers crossed.

Fish were in shade and smallish other than that fish. Finally, the sun dropped into the tree line and almost predictably the Smallmouth began to wake up. I got a 16.25" on Sammytime at the rear of a large pool, then a 14" on a shallow flat. 15"er fell to Sammy at the back of another pool, then two more to 12" before I threw on a buzzbait to make sure everything in the riffle got a look at my topwater edibles. The first cast at the head of the riffle got slammed by a nice fish that went 16.5". A super large pool had some nice activity in the distance. Didn't feel like getting wet and caught a couple more above that riffle, turned and headed back to the car.

As darkness fell, I threw a tube at a sycamore tree at the head of a choke point. The bait got hit and I could tell a large bass was on. Almost had her landed when a head shake threw my tube. Fish looked 17-18"'s.

Walking back I nabbed another on Buzz at 17" in the pitch black night in 3" of water at the tail end of a large pool in the riffle rock.

Evidence of night feed again. Getting closer to doing a total night wade.


17 SMB (17.25, 17, 16.5, 16.25, 15) in 3 hours 45 minutes

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7/23/08 + Sufix braid review

Took a short trip to a stained river somewhere in the state. Beautiful day so I made it there by 6pm. Vis was 12-18". At the put in, a decent SMB tried to nab my tube on the crank back. That was about my only action for two hours. Tubes, cranks, chatterbaits, and buzzbait got nothing. Finally, I got a 10"er on Splashtail 90. Hoping for a dusk bite, I kept going.

I hadn't been to this stretch this year, it was cool seeing it again. The stretch is filled with medium pools that are silty, laydowns and water willows. One side is a high cliff the other mostly a steep bank, when you get out of the medium pools the boulder and gravel pick up. Some natural boulder points are natural choke points. Unfortunately, while the sun was up, the fish weren't active for me.

Finally hit a laydown in an odd place- thought I eyed a carp swim under the log 3/4 stream right parallel to the current. Threw a black tube, when I cranked it fast and stopped it near the front of the laydown based on my only previous viewed activity, my drag went nuts! The fish went under and around trying to rub out that tube jig. I had him hooked solid and wasn't worried for a moment that the 20/6 Suffix would cut. Out she came finally lipped to 18.25".

Set the camera on the log snapped a pic, thought 'finally'.

From there it seemed to turn on somewhat. I couldn't find a pattern where the Smallies were holding consistently. They just turned on where I was at the moment. I got two more in two casts on SPT 90 in some push water, then a 16" LMB a few casts later off a boulder. It started getting dark so I headed back picking up 2 more on SPT 90 including a fish that hit the bait as I stepped over a log and went in up to my neck :( .

7 Bass in 3.5 hours 6SMB (18.25") 1 LMB (16")

I've fished with Sufix 20lbs test 6lbs diameter for about the last 5 times out. Here's how I'd compare it to Power Pro 20/6 so far. Sufix felt harder to break in than old PP formula. It didn't have 'gunk' on the line like old PP (old PP you'd have to overfill because the crud would shed during fishing and the line would get smaller). Sufix was hard to cast until it broke in. Here I mean inaccurate and inconsistent. When it did break in it was pretty smooth holding its color and smoothness longer than old PP. It doesn't 'fray' as quickly as PP (I like the fray). The major difference, and probably the deal breaker for me on Sufix is how easily snagged lures pulled off on my Palomar knot when pulling the rod straight back with hand over the bail. PP bends the hook most of the time, Sufix- the knot fails. Same knot.

I switched to Sufix the week after Mike, Jeff, and I fished the Pigeon. I lost like one tube jig in three days on PP 20/6. Pulling out snag after snag on the heavily wooded river. Then I used Sufix on a wade with Jim and lost 6 tube jigs on a stream that isn't so snaggy- this has continued and I rarely pull free a snagged jig with Sufix- The line doesn't break- the knot seems to slip- which leads me to believe there is something different about the line that doesn't allow tight cinching like PP does. This is only a problem when 'backing out the rod in an attempt to free lures. Sufix has given me no problems fighting fish.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


McHammer and I got on a very new stretch of a favorite of mine looking for a sampler platter of the olde browne Haugs.

We got to the water by about 4PM by a covered bridge somewhere.

Jim F gave us the pregame rundown since he had fished the area we wanted to hit before. Mentioned something about hitting a hole before dark.

Got to the bridge there were three other vehicles. A family was picnickin' and swimmin' and a bikini hatch wuz involved ;) . They were... loud.

Went downstream first because it looked like an easy wade. Mike wanted topwater to happen. He caught a couple and I 1 on SPT90. It wasn't really happening most of the day with the topwater action.

As we waddled downstream some yahoos on pool rafts (and I'm being very kind here) were float/walk/yelling/crying/peeing/splashing and slowly catching up with us. They sounded like they wanted confrontation, and I unsafetied the red pepper spray in case it got hand to hand. It didn't, though I beg, people, no more breeding. Please. 6-7 persons on blow ups. In one tube, incomprehensibly, a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl with no life vests, looking horrified, crying the whole time unnoticed by their 'parents'.

Now the river had good current in some riffles and lay downs-in a minute those kids could have been over with. Ugggh. :evil: :evil:

We sat and waited them out for about 10. I started slow bouncing a tube and got bit, landed a 13", then a couple more and a goog in the riffle they had just drifted through not long before. After about 20 casts to the same chokepoint, I hit the right spot in the roots of an upturned tree with the tube and all hell broke loose. The fish got in fast current quick and tore all over. When I landed the fish, it went 19" and my largest out of this stream!

We moved downstream and it got woody then shallow and silted in. Finally we found an eddy created by a point and drain. First cast I caught a 16" that got in current and fought like hell. A few later another went 16.5" again getting in the fast current and running wild. Mike caught a dink. And we decided to walk back up on the adjacent farmland.

Ended up in a cow pasture, where a large black cow followed us for a few hundred yards. It got uncomfortably close and Mike commented how they could be pretty fast if they wanted.

Pretty much threw tubes and picked up a few more 11-12" each. We had a double at one point, then as we headed around "one last bend" I nailed a 17.5 that ripped me apart, then a 15.75 cast after in the growing twig light.

Mike nailed a 15" and it seemed like the SMB were turning on at dark. One more about 11" And Mike got bit by something large that threw off when airborne and looked every bit of 18"

On the walk back in pitch black, a fish slapped at my buzzbait dragging the water behind me as my rod rested over my shoulder in water we just walked through :roll: :roll: .

Fun wade after the people were gone. We fished about 5.5 hours.

BT 15 SMB (19", 17.5", 16.5", 16", 15.75") 1LMB 1 Goggle eye
MC 8 SMB (15)

Another Summer Smallmouth Wade 7/18/08

Mike and I hit a stream after work. He got a head start and hit the water first, catching 3 on propbait. I met up with him and pulled one out about 13". We left and went to a wide area of stream where we know there are many big fish, but we only seem to hook up with them under the right circumstances. After yesterdays frantic action, I thought this section would have been awesome if the bite stayed in motion.

When we got there, there were two cars at our put in already. That's like 10 fishermen in 6 trips. I haven't seen that many in three years total :evil: . Oh well.

Fly fisherman was ahead of us, but there seemed to be enough room to get around so we moved up.

I got a 15" and a 13" on a 3.5" Swimbait right after the fly guy had moved on. We passed him up as he turned around. I noted he was fishing the right spots- he knew the stretch. I caught some fish with the buzzbait coming in ultra slow-the less noise- seemed the better- caught maybe 7 or so moving up this way 12-13". Nice to see them participating again the last two days. There didn't seem to be too much of a pattern. Mike and I found a riffle filled with fish that kept swatting our swimbaits- I think we each caught one fish there.

Loving this swimbait- the bass seem to key on the quivering, shimmering body quite well. I will throw it much more. 3/16 oz head seemed about right to cast a mile and sink good.

After we waded some shallow bedrock I got the first great blowup of the day about 8pm. Fish missed by quite a bit but was easy 17"+. The spot cameback around on the way back to the car...

We moved up and caught a few fish here and there. Got to a spot where Jeff Blakely saw me catch a 17.5" last spring in his first kayak run. Fish should have been everywhere there, but after casting 360 with a variety of baits Mike finally hit payload by some willows and slow bubbly current, A bass had slurped in his SPT90 and bulldogged for a while. It measured 18" and I dropped it measuring, so no pic. Sorry MC!

We caught a couple more near dusk and Mike had a serious big fish follow one in. Good future info!

Walking back to the bedrock area we saw a blowup just above and MC made a cast with SPT90 that got hammered at to no avail. I quickly threw past him and got destroyed. Fish quickly went airborne and was huge. He was supercharged and was hard to bring upstream heading towards the middle. I felt confident because I could tell he was hooked solid. Unfortunately, the wiley ole dame rubbed my Stick propbait onto a rocky boulder. It was dark with little light and I did not know the boulder was there. A fish I would have caught in the light, that wouldn't have been there biting in the light. Catch 22. MIke and I have long wanted to fish this stretch at night- our brief attempt looks VERY promising as the big fish encounters happened very close to dark.

It was dark now and Mike and I nightfished, I caught 2 on SPT 90 on the way back about 12".

We tromped like buffons through the woods.

Decent day that could have been better but the different type of stretch was fun to fish. Variety is an excellent bedfellow.

Mike 9 (18)
BT 15 (15)

We fished about 4.5 hours Mike 5.

Next something different...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Did I just do that? 7/17/08

Went for a wade around 6pm. Knew light would be short so I moved quick. Headed for a wide shallow area of stream so I might have a productive topwater day. On the drive to the river, I realized 3/4ths the way I only had my dress shoes along :( .

After debating what to do, I could wear Mike's old waders without boots that I'm holding for AaronV. Or I could just wear my damned dress shoes and wet wade in them.

Guess which one I picked. I just had to get the crackfish pipe hit. No way I was driving back home.

Fishing started out great, smallies were in the current and the water had 2'+ vis with slight stain. Was throwing a LC splash tail around midriver boulders when it got swatted at several times then hooked up with a large bass that went 18". It almost didn't fight at all.

Moved up above this minor riffle and more fish swinging competitively for the prop bait. Today was the first really crazy aggressive [i]destroyer[/i] topwater day for me. The Smallmouth were hitting very, very hard, I hooked up with a 17" soon after. They simply were destroying the surface and I caught fish equally on all three 'go to' topwater baits. Few more to 15", 16" lost a couple on jump about the same size, fish were blasting at the tops and bottoms of pools.

These larger fish are usually not in this area, so I feared my destination pool would be empty. It mostly was and I rushed through it not really trying, desperately trying to hit as many riffles as my dress shoes would allow before darkness. I nailed a 16" at the top of the pool then another 17" above and a 15". Plenty of 12-13"ers in between.

Started walking back as I had gone too far and risked walking in the stream at dark- which I did. On the way back I mostly walked, caught a couple on superslow quiet buzzbait retrieved upstream.

30 Bass in 3.5 hours 29 SMB (18, 2 17, 2 16, 5 15) 1LMB (14") Made 4 casts with tube and swim bait and caught 2 fish, so they might have worked too.

Splashtail did a good job of drawing strikes out of cover aggressively popped and later towards dusk small non aggressive bloops worked. Poppers would have also killed.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Fish somewhere on the 4th of July? Heck ya, America!

Unfortunately, all the target zones close enough got dumped on Wenesday and Thursday between 1.5-3" more inches of RAIN!!!!

We passed several scratches on the way north to our destination, stopping at each one to sample visibilty and flow height, mostly on the way to chocolate milk. One in particular had barely spiked so off we went. None of the guages were too crazy but turbidity would kill the topwater bite we wanted.

Mike and I arrived at the stream and were immediately impressed by the riffles, rockshelves, grass islands, midstream boulder fields. The best of all, 12" visibility that actually improved to close to 18" as the sun came out and the day went on. The stretch was amazing and just begged smallie habitat. The 17th Indiana Stream I've caught Smallmouth bass out of this year was one of, if not [i]the [/i]prettiest. Unfortunately, due to limited visibility, cold front, or just angler ineptitude, the fishing stunk.

We threw the kitchen sink. Mike ended up with 6 dinks and a White bass, I had 7 SMB including one 16.25", the lone decent fish of the day exploding on a splashtail. That one fish kept us from dee-deeing much earlier. Just so frustrating to see such great habitat and fish with lockjaw. Jeff Blakely and John B probably remember this one from the last rodeo where they slayed them.

Mike's also got a pic of the stream. Hopefully he'll pitch in and post it. Been a run of bad luck for us as the last 4-5 trips have been clunkers often because of turbidity... Dude has completely missed the brief periods of stability between downpours.

I also tried some Sufix 20/6 braid. At first, it was a little rough trying a new line, by the end of the day I was getting back in line with it. Seems thinner than Power Pro, 'slippery', and a little stiffer. They have rebates 6-10$ on the stuff for now so I gave it a go.

Anyone else think the 20" of rain since June 1 are a bit rediculous?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick after Work Wade 7/2/08

Went for a quick wade about 540pm, ran into another fisherman (fly at my put in), he didn't care which way he went.

Told him I wasn't going to be fishing very slow so he could go behind me and I'd not make a ruckass. Started out throwing a splashtail, had a bunch of misses and 4 fish 14-15 pretty quick, buzzbait got ignored. Decided to throw Sammy and got 5 in a row 13-15", missed a few then got this 18" after another large fish missed Sammy it went airborne 4 times:

Kept moving quick, with no finesse baits thrown. Landed more than half of the topwater strikes, with Sammy getting most of the fish. Thunder was rolling up and I rushed to my target hole, only to see it was mostly filled in with silt and filled with carp! This one had changed a lot since floods 2008. Lots of missing bank moved lay downs and no fish where some formerly held.

Oh well, made it back to the car before darkness.

17 SMB in 3 hours 15 minutes (18, 3-4 15)

Forgot to add, several times I ran into Owls who initially tried to divebomb my topwaters. Had to scream at them to divert at the last second. That would be a horror, Owl hooking up with some sharp LC trebles. Cool birds.