Sunday, August 31, 2008

3 Stream Wabash Wade for River Smallmouth Bass

A buddy and I fished some tributaries of the Wabash River this Saturday. We had set out for one particular creek, we'll call it stream X. Stream X is a long winding creek that runs from Northeast to Southwest.

Stream X looked like it was not covered by trees and shade so I wondered about it, considering the poor daytime fishing the last couple of months. I have begun to come up with a theory on river fishing under this type of weather condition. Shade is the answer. Water temps. Lots of farmland adjacent which would probably silt the creek in and make it shallow. All leading to warmer water and lethargic big Smallmouth Bass. From last weekend I knew all was not lost: little-mecca-for-smallies The night before I spotted tiny Creek Y:

Creek Y runs from east to west into the mighty Wabash. We were excited by all the sexy bends and tree cover right on the water. The bends are important on stream because they create depth, cover and places for riverine creatures to rest from current in eddies. The shade should create cooler water temps that theoretically would keep fish more active throughout the day!

We decided to hit Creek Y first and hit Creek X later in the day. We drove out to the put in and the creek looked excellent if skinny at the bridge. We decided to wade up from the Wabash itself. The Wabash was crystal clear and for a moment, with all the surface activity, we considered fishing the big river. Creek Y was a trickle entering the river, it was silty at the mouth with eroded banks and some wood in the creek- what creek there was. It was all of 8' wide! We walked on a at great pace. At the first 2' deep hole I nailed a long 16" SMB on a tube as Mike was throwing his usual buzzbait. Got bit a few more times than grabbed a 13" SMB out from under the wood.

We hit another hole and caught like 5 bass 12-14" with a couple of fat Kentucky Spotted Bass included. One right after the other. We were finding small holes in the 10' wide stream and the fish held under the wood. It got a little ridiculous. I had 11 bass in the first hour and Mike 4. Including a terrifically fat 15.75"er he pulled off a root wad. As we started to see less erosion and more rock the stream changed 180 degrees about a mile up from the mouth. The Ky's were gone and the creek became bedrock, boulder and high beautiful limestone cliffs. It was loaded with SMB when there was any depth or cover.

I started cleaning up with Lucky Craft Splashtail 90 Prop bait. The bass wanted a realistic looking topwater in the crystal clear water. They largely ignored Mike's chart buzzbait all day. Unfortunately, I lost about 4 good fish around 12-15, the worst offense, an 18"er that I muscled the bait from.

I changed out for some fresh Gammies and didn't lose another on the bait.

While still in the caverns my SPT got nailed by this nice fish that measured 19"! A total shock since we hadn't seen a hole the size of a small swimming pool yet!

We started to hit some deeper pools here and there. Tube bite had died off by now. The pool had to have fish in it! We got nothing and Mike moved past- I thought crank bait bouncing off the bottom would get them. Tied on a Bandit 200. Several good fish followed it to my feet. I tried again- but faster- Bam, Bam, 2 fish 12-13". Mike threw on a crank and nailed a 16"er- it spat up a 10" water snake! We wanted to continue the crankbait pattern. Deeper pools to run them through became scarce. My limited crank selection may have come back to haunt there.

I lost a couple more on jump with the large billed crank. It just wasn't very useful in 18" of water. We threw Splashtail and learned the fish wanted a fast moving bait.

I hit another about 16.25" on a tube. We turned around and walked back up the roads after climbing out of the valley.

I had 22 Bass (19, 16.25", 16, 2 15") Creek Chub, Goggle eye.
Mike had 11 Bass (16, 15.75) In about 4 hours of fishing!

Walking back to the car Mike incurred sand and rocks in his Chota STL boots. He was in agony. His feet were getting torn up. We should have walked the stream back because we added a mile and a half to our journey. The wade was about 3 miles- but a 7.51 mile round trip!

Photoed this blue tailed (salamander/skink/lizard?) walking cross the road:

We went and got refreshed, checked for a couple more possible Creek Y's but they seemed skinny or dry. We hit Creek X by 4PM. It was wide, down in a valley of limestone cliffs, but unfortunately mostly silted in. The water was 10 F warmer than Creek X. The fishing was slow. After an hour, we buggered out with Mike 2 me 1 SMB. Add it to the 'list'. We walked about 2.25 miles and got fried by a hot direct sun.

Heading for a wildcard, hoping to hit it by 6PM, we headed for another small creek deep down in a wooded valley. It was bedrock and boulder- but no water. It was quite a walk before we got on any fish or decent water. They did come, we started nabbing them on tubes. I caught a 15" and 14.5" as the largest two. We fished about 2 hours 15 minutes. I got 9 SMB, Mike 5.

We power walked back in the dark for a 2.91 mile round trip.

Small streams certainly do fish different than the larger ones this year. Lots of empty water to skip, sights to see, and if you find them, fish to catch. Today we did a lot of driving and still managed to put about 12+ miles on our legs.

Only about 8-8.5 hours of actual fishing.

BT 32 (19,16.25, 16", 2 15)Chub, Goggle
MC 18 (16, 15.75)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Staying Patient for Larger Indiana Stream Smallmouth Bass

Once you get the confidence that your system might work occasionaly on a river or creek, it's good to be tested. Sunday was one such day.

I took Nate from Friends of Sugar Creek out for his first real trip off the home crik.

Nate was throwing a Zoom 3" tube on a 4/0 or 5/0 hook texposed with 1/16th to 1/8th oz bullet head. As was usual on all my favorite creeks this year, the midday bite was dominated by dinks and dinks only. No matter what we threw for 3.5 hours everything came up dink. Nate had climbed to a crushing 17 dink and one 12" SMB lead to my 6 measly dinks. His 3" tube was getting bit and my 4" almost wholey ignored. My few dinks came on a propbait or buzzbait.

Now I like to say that 4" tube will catch as many fish as 3" tubes, but I never would catch that many 6-8" smb on a 4" tube. I have to say there was no way I was going to start throwing that little tube. I knew the bigger fish would turn on sooner or later. Hopefully sooner!

I was throwing a buzzbait around 5:30 when the larger fish started to come out from their hideouts.

First a 13.5"er, then a dink, 12"er, then a 14.5" at some push. Nate hit a couple dinks and one that looked 14-15" from 30 yards away.

We were at the top of a steep run where the current passed over a depression and ridge before plunging down the run. I had just pulled out Sammy, declaring how despite a couple of amazing days this year, the Sammy bite had been 'off' .Tossed to the top of a hole/rock ledge a good sized bass took multiple swipes and finally hit home after a quick fight, in the 16" range. At the top of what seemed like a featureless silty current seem below a riffle, Sammy got swiped at twice with the second being the charm. It was a large fish 18" that got beached, measured, photo, release!

We ran into a couple other guys wading down, so turned back and headed for home.

Nate decided to catch even more dinks and go walleye fishing. Sauger and walleye in a stream I've never caught either.

We talked of possible joint events with FOSC and INSA in the future. Here's the sauger. It didn't want it's picture taken.

We fished like 6 hours or so, getting back before dark. No sign of Mayfly hatches, spiderwebs were clean.

I can't honestly say that today was a good side by side comparison of the 4" vs the 3" tube. Even medium sized smallies were mostly non existant today. I know the stretch is filled with them. All things being equal and a good tube bite being on, I was hoping for a convert or at least a good comparison for knowledge's sake.

2 fish out of 30 12" or greater is non refundable IMHO. Nate can definately fish. he's got good patience from LM fishing. Getting in closer to cover and throwing bigger baits would improve his take in terms of weight.

I'll schedule another one at some point to see if I can learn more from the small baits contest.

BT 18 SMB (18, 16)
NT 30 (15) 1 Walleye- 14.5" 1 Sauger

Little Mecca- for Smallmouth Bass that is!

I woke up late-7:30 and got out to an old standby. Wasn't really into it, but went there because I thought I'd get to the stream too late where I wanted to go. Parked, geared up, climbed over the guard rail, and went for a dip. Sun was bright and shiny- it was going to be hot. Had a few slaps at Sammy and nothing else for a while.

Ran into 3 kayakers who where apparently power fishing. They had nabbed three smallies at the bridge. I hadn't one bite on finesse, and a few weak slaps at topwater. As it got hot, I finally broke through with a couple of finger length smallies on the techno minnow 2000. That was it! Turned around and headed bank for lunch and a car ride to another stream. I decided to scout something new even if the fishing was bad, I would learn something about the landscape of this great state of ours. On the way back, I got a 13" on the riprap where I started. Meh!

At about 1-130, I arrived at my first hopeful put in. The map showed greenery around the creek and some bendiness. The put in was secluded to say the least. Took a peek and spotted a very skinny flow, with fishes swimming in shaded areas. No litter, no signs of fishing. Just some trash in the creek throughout the day washed in from floods or littering A-holes. Upstream was even skinnier, so I went against my normal doctrine and waded downstream, I would come back up in just a bit.....

The creek was terrifically covered by tree canopy most of the day. I could always count on plenty of shade. I think the various shadows and shine made it hard for the bass to spot me. Because I caught fish from ridiculous short tosses. Maybe they really had never seen what I was throwing. Besides coon tracks, there were zero signs of other fishermen.

Throwing LC Techo deftly between several obstructions, I had a surprising blow up, that tried to connect three times. I flipped on a tube and got bit. The action exploded on the end of my line, as a decent fish gave it his all and came to hand. The fish was a 15.75" CHUNK. Almost like an Erie fish. In the first hole I found. This continued. Everywhere there was some depth and cover with shade, I'd pick up a fish or a few. Mostly 12-14" Chunky Smallmouth that were supercharged. I lost at least 10 fish on rocket jumps today. The fish were fighting very hard. This made the day very enjoyable.

The stream just kept getting better and better- riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool, riffle-pool. There must have been 50 riffles I walked through today. Each bringing anticipation of a supercharged Smallmouth.

I would throw a topwater ahead of me to test for fish, then maneuver to get a good angle to throw the tube in to clean up. Several big blowups that didn't connect made me rethink this micro flow might not have any hogs.

Sycamore tree root wads tended to have deeper water. I caught many fish off sycamores including some nice 16"'s: Don't normally take pics of 16"'s, but they were chunky.

The creek was getting wider opening up with each new feeder that came in. I finally hit a deeper pool with a log jam and hit a pig near current on the green/copper/green tube. The fattest big smallie I have ever caught, it was awesome. The fish kicked my but all over and when I finally lipped the 18.75"er wasn't done and shook free, pre-photo. I got 4-5 more 12-14"ers from there and got addicted to seeing one more pool, then one more pool etc... Such a pretty little creek!

I turned around and started walking back around 7pm. The fishing had died off as I reached a house near the creek ahead. I saw two permanent hand lines staked out. Turned and walked back thinking that was it, the smallies are done. At that point I had 37 SMB and 5 Googs. When I got back upstream I started hitting them again on the way back on that same Gander MT 4" tube:

I have to say that GM tubes performed awesome in the first run. A little thinner, so the hookup percentage was excellent and they don't roll easy. I caught a lot of the bass on the way back swimming it and dropping it. 1 tube until I lost it, for 40 fish and it was still going. The plastic is not as soft as some brands, but very durable. The tube was almost white from smallie teeth roughing it up.

I got 4 bass off a Sycamore I caught a 16" and 3 fish before- this time a 17.25"er came to hand:

Another 14 SMB total on the way back. The fish hadn't turned off, I had just walked up on a lower population area.

This was a great wade for the action, the exploring, the incredible fights, and the beautiful little creek!

First creek 2 hours 45 minutes, 1.5 miles, 3 SMB
Second creek: 8 hours, 5 miles, 48 SMB (18.75, 17.25, 5 16", 15.75, 2 15) 5 Googs

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The river is in fact, Blue!

Did a little bit of scouting south of Indy Tuesday and Wednesday. Lots of wider rivers with tons of wood in them. Mostly failed to find access and burn gas.

Did go back to a little jem from the past. This one is a micro flow- but get this, I found an area 4' deep. First cast, I had a 14"er on buzzbait. After that nothing seemed to work well. Ended with 5 bass and 5 Googs in like 2.5 hours.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Best is yet to come- Late Summer/Fall 2008

Fear not Indiana Stream angler! As we work our way through an inexplicably mediocre month of August 2008 river and creek smallie fishing, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon. September!

Last year, September was a balmy 5.13 SMB per hour over 13 trips.

In looking over my log stats for 2007, I noticed that even though I am only at 2.31 SMB per hour in 2008. June 2008 (3.5 SPH) and July 2008 (3.35 SPH) actually improved over 2007 (2.97 and 3.25 SPH respectively). I had been assuming the fish per hour rate was down due to a poor August. It really may be a factor of including year long stats including December, January, February, March, and April. I experimented heavily with fishing high flows when I could and it payed off in big fish.

The appearance of plenty of nice big fish has kept things interesting for me personally. Again I thought I was behind 2007's pace on huge 20"+ SMB. Now that I have hit 2 monsters the last 4-5 times out. I have until the end of August to pull ahead of last year's pace.

Problem is, without totally neglecting my family, I won't be able to keep the number of trips up there.

As a connoisseur of Stream Smallmouth Bass, I sure would like my fine wine pulled out of the wood with buzzbaits. I want huge blowups on Sammytime again. I want fish to nail craftily worked flukes. I'll settle for a 21.5" and 20.25" SMB in the last 2 weeks on tubes.

I want 10-15 17" fish days again.... Hehe.

Damn, I love this hobby.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some pleasant surprises during an otherwise slow day of Indiana creek wading 8/16/08

Mike and I hit the water this am and were fishing a medium stream with 18" chalky visibility. We hadn't fished it yet this year, but the best trip last year was 98 SMB mostly 12"-18"+. That day Mike lost a couple pigs so he wanted to return to the pool where he lost the largest of the two. We parked at a roadside farmer's field and got in. It was slow as we threw tubes and buzzbaits.

Mike got a 13"er on a buzzbait and I a couple of dinks and a 12" spot on tubes. We had some action at the push water at the end of a 300 yard long run. Nothing happened in between, not a strike until we hit the head of a pool. The stream was wide and somewhat featureless in many cases. Many areas I could not cast across. We hit the top of the pool at the riffle I was dragging away with a black tube. Trying to keep my retrieve slow and disciplined. The arcing current break line was the target for my tube while Mike got in the Penalty Box for a few curses.

My bait stopped. Instinctively, snapped my wrist. Something slow and heavy became a definite large fish speeding deep downstream peeling drag like a carp. The fish didn't jump so I thought Flathead or Carp. After a few impressive runs, I got a look at the Smallmouth and knew it was another 20"+ brown fish. Finally lipped her. We measured her in the 20.25-.5" range. Sometimes it can be hard to stick with slow, methodical, complete coverage, when other techniques are more glorious. Credit this fish to Mike picking the pool and patience to stick with what I thought would work in the face of all that seemingly empty easily moved past water.

We moved on and the fishing stunk for like 3 hours. I stuck with a tube, landed a 13" Walleye, then Mike got one 15" on black tube. A few minutes later, I landed one 18". (Mike took pic). This was bizarre. I think we have caught 200 bass in the creek and never one walleye until today. Pretty cool to have another species to fish for! Last year was a huge top water bite, so 80%+ of the fish we caught there were on topwater- no wonder we'd yet to catch any Eyes! Mike caught a couple more 12-13"ers and I one. All on tubes laying on the bottom in the shady side of the creek right where SMB should have been. Their bites were quite different from a smallmouth's thunk...hard to explain. At first, I didn't think it was a bite it was so different. It wasn't a rock either.

We found flukes got bit if you ripped them as fast as you could then paused them after Mike had a smallie snap at his tube pulling it out of the water. I caught three this way after Mike's tube got bit on the retrieve. So we then threw on some LC jerks. # of fish hit my bait and failed to get hooked, while Mike faired similarly. Think the pointer was getting hit from above and thus missed the sharp hooks. We picked up some SMB on tubes and occasionally buzzbait.

BT 19 Bass- 16 SMB and 3 KY (20.25", 15) 1 Goog, 3 Walleyes (18")
MC 16 Bass- 11SMB and 5 KY Bass (15, 2 14) 3 Walleyes (15")

A couple good reasons to visit based on today. Fishing was painfully slow. Knowing there are a mess of fish at many spots made it tough when nothing went for our offerings.

Monday, August 11, 2008

12 hour death march

Matt D was in town and after laying out all the options, I wanted to show him my winter honey hole. That didn't come out right.

Anyways, whenever I fish with Matt or Terry W, the fishing always stinks. First let me say, I give Matt and his cool reports on the old ISC, a lot of credit for getting me on to walking up every stream in the state (eventually) and all the credit for my winter fishing addiction. Mad props!

Off we went to hit the creek, on water by 8 or so. Matt was sporting 3 rigged rods and a Mcguivered fishing e'nsemble. We hit a wide stretch mostly unprotected against the sun.

At the first riffle, I got a dink and a 16" on LC Splashtail 90. Just above that riffle another nice fish smashed the SPT90 about 16.5-17", a couple more dink to 12"'s. A 13" fish clobbered the bait, while it was sitting still. Matt was throwing everything including a buzzbait. It was odd that the bass wanted the special noise the SPT makes over the buzzbait.

We moved up and I told Matt, he could use my other SPT if he didn't start find a pattern. I always seem to catch a fish this size in the same spot. Second time in a row, I've caught a 17.5" Smallie in that 40 yard rock garden:

Enticed another 13" out of a deep side pool. At that point, I hooked a brother up with a Splashtail.

It wasn't until we hit that 300 yard long pool that the prop bite died down. Matt was throwing a grub and started to get his dink on a bit. I was throwing a Sammy, when I reached back for a gatorade a 14"fish slammed and hooked itself while the lure was just sitting there.

Uncharacteristically, the next two riffles only had a few dinks in them. Matt Pulled a nice 15" out of the middle of the stream on a 5" grub. It was a while until we caught the next fish, it got crazy slow. We'd get a dink her or there, after breaking I got another 13" on a tube as the topwater bite had vanished.

Flukes didn't work, buzzbaits, etc. we picked scattered fish here and there on tubes, until Prowler got a feisty fish on a tube off a shute: It was 17"+:

Shortly after that we caught a few more bombcasting and hopping tubes in a large pool. Matt catches a few dinks. I show a Chinese kayaker chick how to catch a fish on a tube and we fast forward to MD tossing a tube at his feet in inches of water when he got bit and spit. I was moving up behind on his left and hitting the eddies and channels.

Gave up on one cast because it was close to the shallow bank, kind of cranked it in. FLASH! My line jumped. A sizable bass had appeared out from under the root hair carpeting the bank! After a short bushwhacking I landed the fish. It was fat and Matt measured it a tad over 18". I didn't know what the hell happened :) . You can see the roots the fish 'emerged' from in the right side of the pic-ridiculous (and explains why we were struggling since 10am:

Matt's theory was it was the same mad fish- could be.

We got flagged down by INSA member Gstump on the 2+ mile walk back, Gregg was going to get his fly fish on and kindly gave us a ride!!! Schweeet!

We refueled and headed to a hog stretch, hoping to get some pre-night bite going, It sucked. Matt caught a few on a blcak spinnerbait, tube and grub. I caught one nice 14-15"er on a buzzbait, and a couple more on a tube. We ran into some fishermen with a bucket who thankfully were fishing for catfish.

I walked through a stretch I had fished a few times before. Ended up walkin up to my chest where there had been INCHES of water before- incredible. There were tons of new silt and rock at the head of the pool, partially filling in a once 6-8' deep hole the run above had lost a foot or two of bank and was considerably wider. The floods changed a lot!

My totals for about 12 hours of fishing were a meek 29 SMB (18, 17.5", 17", 16, 2 15) 1 Goog and a readear sunfish (tube)
Though I got out to the big early lead, Matt was starting to make up ground by the end of the day. It was sweet talking shop and cutting up. Didn't get him the 20", I'd hoped. Fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Microflow smallmouth

Sunday I got out of the house and to a small stream. I knew I had a shortness of time (4 hours). So decided to fish a creek, I haven't caught any fish out of this year. There is never an area I cannot cast across. It has plenty of wood laydown both fresh and old. Mostly shallow. Filled with large baitfish.

The wade up would be past a collection of trailer type homes along the creek.

I was jittery from 2 Pepsi Max and the houses righton this small creek made it feel like I was walking through someone's backyard. At one point, I could hear a man and woman screaming blood curdling murder at each other.

Got a nice fat 14"er and 2 others about 11-12" on tube and one on buzzbait. Had some problems losing some fish hooked near current then went through a long stretch of houses and nothing but Rock bass. Culminating on the bank lined with 4 rods unattended.

Finally skipped out the trailer area and found working a tube slow was the ticket. Got a 16", 11" and couple more Rock bass near deep water and willows. Hit my target right angle bend pool where the riffle drops off deep quick, got two on tube and one on chatter there 11-13". Above the riffle was a laydown across the creek and some low hanging branches. I pulled a 15.5" out from under the low hanging branches by skipping carefully under, then to the other side a 16"er.

Ended up with 12 SMB (2-16, 15.5")5 Goggle Eye in 3 hours 45 minutes.

Things started out bad as my tubes werte hanging on everything. Finally found some catchable fish and made them pay.

Great to get on a micro flow again.

I've got to do more of this minus the trailer park.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wade v Kayak for Smallmouth in Indiana Streams

I have come 180 on wading vs floating. Sort of...

When I started out Smallie stream fishing I'll admit, I was a somewhat afraid of wading in and out of rivers and streams. I mean: who wants to deal with gnad pike and beaver traps?

So when I bought my first kayak, it was immediately very cool that I could cover alot of ground and paddle through deep pools or around thick wooded areas to get at better fishing spots. Floating 6-8 miles allowed me to learn a stream quick.

But in tromping my yak around and over log jams, floating into schools of Smallmouth I could not see until too late. I began to see some disadvantages of kayak fishing even as I got more daring in where I would climb, crawl, and wade.

I've seen my catch rates go up wading and bank tromping. The higher angle of bank tromping means I get better view of fish, which often means more fish. This plus being on foot generally means more casts at a spot- more fish as I accidentaly or intentionally hit the right spot. Feet in the water, on the bottom give a better feel for what the stream's bottom is made up of. Causing more casts based on bottom evidence unknow to the yakker. Noticing dropoffs or depth changes the water's visibility may not betray in a kayak.

Now come colder water months, or with limited visibility, thick wooded banks, a float is preferreable. There is also something to be said about how much less energy is required to float 5 miles vs wade 3 when it's hot. I like the exercise of wading.

It is very easy to overlook good spots when kayaking. Your anchor doesn't hold, a fish pulls you out of position, the current misdirects your boat, next thing you know you've missed it and likely won't spend the energy to go back.

Best of both world may be wading upstream with a kayak in tow, then fishing back downstream... tossing a buzzbait and relaxing after a fine days catch...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Excellent Tube bite for Smallmouth Bass 8/02/08

Went for a wade this morning and couldn't sleep so hit the water by 5am. At least an hour too early. It was pitch black with no moonlight, so I waited in my car until it started getting light around 6.

Caught a 15" on buzzbait at first riffle. By 10 I had a few blowups and a bunch of googs on topwaters, 8 more small smallies on tubes.

I noticed that fish seemed to be chasing the tubes, but wouldn't hit them on the move. As the day went on, a cast let it drop,long pause then jerk-jerk pause-drop worked very well drawing extra bites. The bait would often need to sit a few seconds, but they'd hit it! :)

I hit 7 fish 12-15" in one long pool then moved up into a skinny shallow area where 3 more 12-14" on ripping tubes came to hand. Kept getting bit in the shallows and near riffles with shade. Topwater bite completely died off by 11am.

Hit an area where the stream formed two branches, at the top of one branch, the perfect ambush pool leading to a deeper narrow channel with high banks and ample wood laydowns. As I approached up the bottom of the deeper branch towards the ambush pool I nailed another couple Smallies. The last one bent my snap up and my next cast hung across the stream on a branch. As fate would have it the line snapped and I had to retie. I moved up to the ambush pool intending to come back to the other side for my tube on that branch.

I flubbed the ambush pool by getting hung twice and since it was my last venom Smoke gray/red flake tube I went in after it. When I went for the other lost tube here's what I saw from the opposite bank of the narrow channel:

From my high position on the bank, I could see a few large carp swimming up the laydown. When I noticed one wasn't a carp, I pitched out in front of the fish with the flick of a wrist landing the tube about 6' in front of him. The large bass moved towards my tube and I rip paused it to get it's attention. The fish responded. Instinctively, I watched my line for movement over the fish in the water, having been victim of premature hookset when eyeballing fish before. When the line jumped, I set hook and the fish came up out of the water and I immediatley thought 'huge' and don't give her any slack. I kept my rod bent double and dragged the big bass over this log:

Now this smallmouth was the biggest I have ever seen in a creek and I was not going to lose it so I dragged rear back up the bank from the roots I was standing on. Furiously headshaking, I could see my tube hook through the upper lip bone. Hand grabbed my 20/6 braid and hand over fisted her up through the roots. Lipped!

The action went something a little like this:

Put the camera on interval timer and here they are:

Sorry to be self indulgent on the pics. Couldn't pick one. Came in just shy of 22" at 21.5"- tying my best length Indiana Smallmouth Bass, but clearly a heavier fish.

That was fish #25, which I wouldn't have caught had a brought extra tubes and not broken off or gone up on that high bank. The bass took its sweet time- good 6 seconds before he engulfed. I didn't feel the bite, I saw my line jump. Didn't let that fish get swimming near that wood. Hail braid. 8-)

Above the ambush pool in some push water, I hit a 16"er, again on popped and dropped tube, always picked after the drop. Got another 16" and 3 more, then off to the races after this football hit in some shade near mutiple laydowns: She went 18.25"

Fished clear through until 3pm catching fish after fish right where the should be enticing them to bite with the cadence I discovered. Bite then seemed to die down and I began the long walk back to the car.

43 Bass 42 SMB in 9 hours 15 minutes (21.5", 18.25", 2 16", 2 15") 1 LMB- [i]tubes, tubes, tubes[/i], 5 nice rock bass- mostly topwaters-weird

Mike's great day

Mike dragged me out to a stream after work yesterday. I was kind of jonsing for some fish and anticipation built up. Thought I'd get out by two or three and something held me up. By the time I got out there by 540PM I was ready for [b]ACTION[/b]. Everything went wrong from line problems, to reel binding up, to overcasting into trees :). A couple of good fish missed my baits and I caught about 13 mostly small bass in 4 hours. I was more frothed than my baits. Not very zen. Spoiled brat. :D :mrgreen: Like gollum and the ring, I wanted some smallmouth piggies.

Mike on the other hand, channelled the Chart buzzbait for a pretty nice day. We found small to 14" fish in riffles away from direct sun. We didn't get bit in deeper pools again, symptomatic of topwater froth or lack of fish in those areas I can only guess. Fish weren't on my side, Mike was picking up a few ok bass on stream right while the sunny side (me) was vacant. Finally hit a stretch where there was depth and water willows. I caught some fish and Mike nailed a pig in inches of water the went under a tree in inches of water trying to escape. Took drag on him like crazy and was fun to watch. Jumped at least twice and from 30 yards away looked pretty hefty. When I got there to snap some pics, it was a pretty dark green/black fat smallmouth that measured out to 19.5". VEERRIE NICCCE-AH!

We each caught a decent smallie on the way back in the dark and I suggested hitting the put in riffle as now mayflies were swarming and I just knew the SMB would be in there up from a well populated deep pool.

While the Mousquitoes feasted SMTH were busting surface. I lost a good fish on ChattterB and Mike had several large swats at his Buzzbait as he pulled it out of the water.

Finally, he got slammed a foot from shore and immediately pulled a big smallie out of the water. Mike jumped at the impact then tippey toed again when my headlamp shined on the 17-18" bronze flopping on his line. SURPRISE! It was like he pulled the ceolocanth from hell out of his undies. He let it get from shore to the water and tried to scoop it to claim it, but too late. The key to getting bit was a slow quiet retrieve with the buzzbait, something I noticed a few weeks ago. Mike was that close to having two really nice fish in 4 hours.

MC 14(19.5) 1 Goggle
BT 13 (15) most of mine were dinks, maybe 3 that went 12" or more.

I tried the new flash treble on the Splashtail. Caught three dinks on the rear treble . Not the results I was looking for but may help with more accurate strikes/less foul hooking.