Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Ultimate Guide To Supercold Smallies

This article from ESPN/BASS isn't bad: The Ultimate Guide To Supercold Smallies however, there are a number of things that jump out at me. Super cold water smallmouth bite cutoff being mentioned at 39F, maybe throwing jerkbaits alone (in general), but.... It also seems BASS/ESPN article is behind the times a little. There are more than a few internet smallmouth sites that discuss 'super' cold water fishing in depth these days and on a continual daily basis. Many of the limits the BASS article puts on winter bass fishing are commonly exceeded by regular Joe, winter smallmouth angler.

I don't know exactly how cold the water was pushing ice flows off to sea and catching fish underneath, but I am certain smallies bite very well in 33-38F water. In my experience, it's the weather, direct light, and current height(CFS)that matter most in 'super' cold water.

Example 1, say you have 36F ultra clear water (4'+ vis),low flow, bright sun, and plenty of ledge rock for smallies to hide under. They aren't going to be easy to catch because of the low temps. They'll be hard to catch because the cover allows them to hide under things that prevent any sort of proper presentation. These fish are lethargic and not at all confident in their abilities to hide from percieved predators above! In this situation, I'd fish a winter pool with little cover and enough depth that you cannot fully see bottom.

The same weather with stained water, the same fish are now quite catchable as they are up and moving somewhat in the current of the slow water. Smallmouth are paranoid, light shy, probably never more vulnerable than when their metabolism is so low. The seek the security of darkness/shelter. If they cannot find it, will hunker down. These clear water/bright light situations lead to more 'the fish aren't biting' days than anything. Maybe they are biting, but under undercut banks and such-inaccessable.

Fishing creeks and seeing to what length smallmouth will go to hide from light in low clear water on a small manageable scale (you can eliminate behaviours based on less behavioural options in a smaller stream, (the behaviours at least locally translate on a larger scale)- under sycamore trees- in the hollowed out banks beneath the roots, under those hanging carpets of small roots dangling the stream banks, wedged under rocks, in drain pipes, laying in leaves,etc... smallmouth bass have the complete ability to disapear if they are inclined.

In winter, this all happens still with the caveat the fish have to be able to survive cold high water events. There are more days when the big fish is plum in the middle of a eddie and catchable. That hog is probably limited in it's activity hours compared to warm months when you have a smaller chance of catching it feeding and liklier chance it'll be hid.

It part of what makes them so fascinating to target.

Example 2, medium flow or greater, good green stain, 36F water, snowstorm, and decent water visibility. The color cuts down on the light penetration, Mr Smallmouth feels safe. Uses the slight current of the eddie or slack pool to hover about the circuit looking for an easy meal. Bigger fish have more energy reserves, while small minnows do not. Must be easy pickings. The incoming storm warns the bass that they should feed or risk not having the energy to survive possible high water event to come (storm).

So why do smallmouth diehards fish the Winter bite? The opportunity to learn about stream bass is at its greatest in Winter. We can get a sense of just how much energy a cold blooded stream bass has, another glimpse into how it thinks.

Which leads onward to catching the elusive brown whale.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/20/09 Float and Fly

Fished a different stream Sunday hoping for more hot action like yesterday. Unfortunately, water was ultra clear had come down considerably in the last couple days. The drive was too long to not give it a try.

This stretch used to be beautiful and filled with fish everywhere just a couple years back. The last two years of floods has changed that significantly. Silt filling in beautiful pools is depressing.

I found a lone fish sitting on an inside seam below a riffle where the water was slightly deeper than the silted in pool. The boulders I had witnessed smallies amongst in the Spring were buried in silt-completely gone.

I tight lined the FnF jig, the fish didn't move for it. I moved it in closer and let the jig sit. Nothing. Must have been 4 or 5 minutes of playing with it when the jig got swept into the fish. I set the hook and the fight was over before it began.

I think this is a female I witnessed spawning in the same spot earlier this year. The fish was in bad shape. One eye blind, a spine wound that looked like a heron stabbed it and some messed up scales, eroded tail, skinny. Clearly on a downward spiral. Here I was witnessing the formerly massive fish's end. It measured well over 20" without a tail pinch. I got the fish back in the water quick. It swam to a new position. Surprised to see it out in the open like that.

The next cleft I hit produced two bites. A miss, then a second float dunk that produced this 18" SMB that fought very well. The title pic at the top of the thread.

I walked another 2-3 miles looking for more spots. No more bites. Definitely concerned with all the silt and two large thin fish. Still, a couple more 18"+. 11th smallie in 2009 over 20".

Walked way too far, which of course made me sweat. A lot. The problem with this stretch has always been the massive distance between good holes. It's worse in the Winter. I maybe fished for an hour today. Walked in the woods for 2-3.

Good to get out and exercise in December. Skyline Chili supplied the refuel after.

2 SMB (20"+, 18")

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Float and Fly 12/19/09

Finally, the conditions were right. Got out for a stomp through several woods and some bobber toss action. Water was green rather than straight clear for once. Up a little. Hit 9 in the first big pool in like an hour and a half on a black/mallard flank fly jig. First 4 were 15-16". Bobbing the float in place then letting up seemed to get the fly jig bit today. Since the hot start, I rushed back to the car and hit some more holes. Pulled the fly free of a couple fish on hookset, so it could have been better still.

After a couple strike outs, I found a 10 by 10 box in a larger pool that seemed to hold a mess of bass. I somehow went 5/8. The bass were doing a lot of head shaking. My float sunk and I felt weight, not 16"er weight this time. This bass was peeling off drag and almost made it under a log. In all, it went on about 5 or 6 really powerful runs. Stunned the fish had that much energy in 36 degree water.

14 SMB (19", 2-16", 3-15") In 3.5 hours.

No Comment IV


No Comment III

Friday, December 4, 2009

Don't know if I'm ready for the cold.

Good News/Bad News.

Good News: Stream flows have about doubled from the rain we got the other day. It's gotten colder. I was afraid the temps would drop off with low water levels. It leads to quick ice flows covering all the winter hot spots. Rain means more flow which will prevent freeze ups. Without all the foilage, I can walk to the spots through the woods these days.

Bad News: Has anybody felt that wind? F-blank-cold.

Have an 'S' curve I need to Winter test drive. Tomorrow looks sunny and 34 F. Not worried about the sun because the water will have a good green stain to it. In fact, the sun should improve things.

Sunday, if I get out temps will rise to 41 and partly cloudy.

Either case, water temps have to be in the low 40's to 30's. With water up, it's time to hop float and flies in some pretty slow, cold water.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


A couple movies I absolutely love: the James Cameron's Sci Fi Classic Aliens. One of the all time quotable classics, it still holds water today.

Of course, Ridley Scott's original Alien is more of a Horror movie, but bloody brilliant nearly 30 years later:

Watch them again in the dark. Hell, just own them.

Quick bunch of beer reviews

Upland Schwarz- not a huge fan of this black lager. Though I do love Schwarz Bier in general. The German versions are better, like the Sam Adams better. Nice smokey bacon flavor that comes and goes as you drink. Not that enjoyable overall compared to other brands. Worth buying if the selection is domestic. C+

Founders Breakfast Stout- another overly concentrated, over flavored microbrew stout. COFFEE. CHOCOLATE. Motor Oil. Drink one. B

Stone Russian Imperial Stout- Read the above add heavy taste of alcohol. C+

Steelhead Extra Stout- Like this stout a lot. Coffee, chocolate, smokiness, nice complex flavor without the syrupy thickness that makes it hard to drink a bunch. Drinky, drinky! A-

Rougue Dead Guy Ale- B

Victory Hop Devil- Hoppy but Bleggh. Did not finish. Not what I wanted that night. D

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout- Not what I expected at all. Way too sugary, without much bitter or hops, or flavor. Poured it out, and I rarely do that. Could have been a bad one. F

Schneider Hefe Weissen- Love this beer, brownish wheat beer with lots of floaties. Oh so good. A

Spaten Oktoberfest- Good drinking Oktoberfest that I am sure I had a better version of somewhere. Spaten's beers all seem to have a slight 'Spaten' metallic flavor. Price was right, different enough to be enjoyable. C+

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter- Liked this one- a subtle vanilla flavor porter wanted to drink more. Wish it had more carbonation or thickness to it B

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Smallmouth Fishing- the Float and Fly

Smallmouth bass can be caught in rivers all Winter long. A simple 1/16th oz hair jig, 1" weighted foam float is all the special equipment you need. Mostly ignore lake FnF articles for rivers unless they are very deep.

Here are several factors to help make your winter hunt a successful one:

1) Know your water. The best stretches of river will have somewhere close where the fish will survive through the Winter. Look at those river bends on Google Earth. Where would you shelter if your life depended on conserving every drop of energy?

a) Bass need shelter from current since they are cold blooded. There is a definite current speed at which they can conserve energy. The 'hole', may not be a hole at all; an inside bend that diverts current away, a sudden deep ledge that drops off, a long straight pool that gradually bends ever so slightly to where a couple lay downs provide ample resting area. There needn't be rock in the area, though some of the best winter holes are also great spawning grounds.
b) Bass like overhead cover when the water gets clear and the sun shiny. Deeper water where you can't see bottom, rocks to wedge under, rip rap etc... Water doesn't have to be deep at all if there is shelter from high waters.
c) Smallmouth need food. Food is attracted to some of the same places as Mr.Smallie.

2)You can catch smallmouth all winter on Float and Fly as long as ice doesn't cover your water. There is no water or air temperature at which you cannot catch fish.

3) Visibility of at least 14" will greatly increase the chances of success in cold water months on FnF.

4) High water concentrates fish more than normal. Winter high water can have good clarity.

5) You must really believe the fish are there. Impatience will kill you. Once you begin catching fish on FnF, you'll see there is nothing hard about it. The key is location.

6) Observe how the sun shyness crowds smallies in the darker easier to predict areas for your catching pleasures. Observe how the sun can turn the bite on when moments ago there was none! If the bass are gone to ground, observe how they move about when the day has less light.

The below picture illustrates a recent winter spot I found. The picture is sadly out of scale as the slot on the left looks smaller than the water to the right. The slight bend above the riffle bending to the right sends all the creek's water plunging right even at high water. The riffle and point on the left provide shelter all winter long even if the water were up several feet. The bass simply follow the slower water on up the bank.

At 5' higher the fish will move up that bank on the left. At a 1' lower than the pic, you are looking at fish in a 2-3' hole that is right on a food source (riffle). Looking at the river all year long for these types of spots, things start to make sense. Just ask yourself after you catch a nice fish or concentration of bass where these fish live.

The technique- you cast the bait out with about 3' of line underneath your float (adjust for your hole, I like the fly just off the bottom or even on the bottom). Let it drift along slow seams (depending on temps)if it is warmer, or to the slowest possible water if colder. As it gets colder, hopping the float in place, pausing, dead drifts all work at times. Be methodical and search mid and lower water column by changing depths until you get bit.

The object is to catch fish by being thorough, observing, and thinking like a cold fish.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Afternoon Wade 11/20/2009

Did a long stretch of stream with several wintering holes. Shiners couldn't stay off my fly in the beginning, then a 16"+ smallie dunked the float off a sycamore.

Sun got directly overhead. One more dink on the fly and a 12"er on flashminnow 110. Fish were really spooky for the next couple hours. Found a deep pool with bedrock crevaces, nailed SMB on tubes with several misses and one 16-17 flopped off prematurely. Largest was 17".

8 SMB (17, 16.5") 2 large baitfish on FnF in 4.5 hours Nothing thick or large, but entertaining nonetheless.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Whole New Breed!

I never thought fishing for smallmouth bass would cause the mood to sway so much. When reading the ramblings of others when I'm not actually fishing. I admit, it's a constant struggle to rank and classify the various Internet smallmouth bigmouths and expert personalities. To be sure, I'm somewhere between jackass and ert...

Being mostly male and 30-60, there seems to be a constant struggle for the best alpha male pee-pee spot. As if catching a bigger fish on occasion makes you a better human being. As if comparing a puddle to Loch Ness is equivalent.

Those new to the the hobby/sport/obsession should know there is a wealth of Internet information on smallmouth bass available for absorption. Glean and chuck, glean and chuck. We can't keep our mouths shut so you're welcome to our bragging, but don't bother to ask questions. You're sludge clouding my water. Don't buy a license, but admire my fish. Stay home. Don't speak, don't breath.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Internet Weirdos Land Here Too!

I want to thank everyone for reading my blog. It started off as a place I could control my own fishing memories and log data for my own secret purposes.

I know some guys are gonna try and use SIYS to try and glean a spot to fish with minimal effort. Forget it. All those backgrounds in the pics are in Illinois. Not one Indiana Sycamore was exposed to fish wrangling by my photography. Go back and look at the pics. You'll see they are recycled.

One soul out there recently searched "small mouth porn". I don't even know what that is. What is attractive about a small mouth? Why would someone look for that? You people are sick.

Here are the top hit upon topics by internet travellers on this blog:
1) Big baits for big bass.
2) How to fish a buzzbait.
3) Texposing a tube.

Top visitors:
1) People from Palastine, Pakistan, Iran looking for Anthrax recipees.
2) FBI and CIA looking for people looking for Anthrax Recipees.
3) Josh McDermott
4) Germans- looking for small mouth poop porn.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Wade 11/15/2009

Waded downstream from bridge aiming to hit a rip rap point. The point is piled like a peninsula at the end of a long, straight, shallow, silty pool. It happens to be right above a riffle. The only deep part of the entire pool. Pigs like to lay there in Spring. Though I'd see if they are there in Fall. Picked a Goog and this 17" after about 15 casts with a tube.

Walked back to the car and hit another stretch. The first 6 or 7 holes were empty. Nothing there. Finally, hit a nasty "S" curve. The bottom of the S had fish in it about 4-5' down, first on tube, then dead drifting FnF. 10 fish out of the pool. I'll hit this one again in the winter. Biggest two went in the 15"'s. Some of the float and fly hits were pretty immediate.

9 SMB (17",2 -15") 6 Rock Bass in about 4.5 hours

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Autumn Wade 11/14

Was really hoping it would rain and fill the creeks up with water again for the weekend. Low, clear water is mostly the pits in Fall. Reserved to the fact the fishing would be slow and probably hot before dark, I set out to take some lumps. Again brought a float and fly rod just in case.

Fished a large pool with Flashminnow 110. First cast with the bait produced this 12-13" smallie. Thought it would make a funny picture.

Nothing much happened and even suckers were hard to spot. Finally got about to the spot where stuff has happened the other time I waded this stretch of creek this year. In years past, I would have easily expected to have had 5 good holes to catch good fish out of. Nothing in any of them this year. Another was filled in.

Finally, connected with a nice 17"er on a tube in the deepest part of the pool (and in shade).

Later, I swung and missed on a light hit. Worked the tube back to that general area and got a similar light strike. This time it was a nice big smallmouth that did the head shake hustle all the way to my hand. 18.25". The fish was out in the middle of featurless run adjacent to a laydown. The sun had come down out of the sky quite a bit, predictably the fishing got better.

Caught a dink and lost a 12" bass on a jump. Had to make a decision as it was 5pm: Keep wading up to a couple can't miss spots and be on the creek at dark with hunters in the woods, or head back with only 4 fish. Just not enough time in the day to fish patient and hit all the holes.

Bites on the tube were extremely light. We need some rain to get the root dwellers up and moving around. Not a sniff on spinnerbaits, grubs, or jerkbait, after that first fish.

Felt great to be out after a frustrating week. 2 good fish made it doubly worth it.

4 SMB (18.25", 17")4.5 hours that seemed to fly by in the beautiful Autumn sunlight.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Catching of some Fall Bass 11/08/09 Wade

After catching some fish yesterday I got the fever for more. Got in the new 50+ MPG Bassmobile:

Got on the river by 12:30. Up and clear with visibility to 5'. Sunny and I couldn't see fish anywhere. Float and fly went over like a lead balloon. There was some interest in my 3/8oz white chatterbait. Drew one fish out of a deep hole who turned away when he spotted me.

Hit one winter hole where I saw another fish follow the chatterbait. It committed when I let it drop and started again. When I pulled the fish out of the water, I immediately recognized the fish. It's been caught 4 times that I know of by man. I had caught it twice last winter, and Zpac caught it on a float in March! I think it's grown about an inch this year.

Nabbed a dink who inhaled the CB from the middle of a large pool. Target was an old friend. Hoped to find the bass stacked up in there. Nothing. Waded further downstream without luck. Headed back up and hit the big winter pool from the other side where I picked up a calico boxer admirer and one more dink on LC Pointer 100. At the top of the pool, a 12"er on a tube. I hit another dink on the chatter back at one-eye's home.

The boxer finally went for a swim. Why not? The water was the perfect cool to the sun's warm. Upper half pleasantly toasty/lower half pleasantly cool. Perfect. This yin and yang gave me an ear to ear grin. Perfect moment.

Busted a 16.79999" smallie on the chatterbait in about 4-5' of water in another winter hole upstream. Walked on some pipes and had a half dozen smallies jut out from under one at a choke point, caught another dink on a tube sweeping a short line under the pipe. Little ones sure are dumb.

Finally, chucked a tube into a push water area littered with boulders. The tube got slammed and a nice fight erupted as I tried to keep my FnF rod out of the way. Fish went 17" and change. Threw back in and got another dink. Both nice fish came as the sun went out of the sky.

9 SMB in 4.5 hours (17.25", 16.99", 15")

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Little bit of everything. 11/07/09 Wade

Haven't been fishing much, when I have, there hasn't been much to tell. Work is crazy busy and now we have an hour less light each day. Too bad. Suppose I still get more than my fair share. Not denying that, just making comparisons.

I am very close to my record for 18", 19", and 20"+ smallmouth in a year. Seems odd because this has clearly been the weakest of the last 5 years of stream fishing in terms of numbers of smallmouth bass.

Brought the float and fly gear and a tube/jerkbait rod. One rod ML 6'9" Avid rigged with 8lbs mono, a weighted one inch round float, and a 1/16 oz hairjig (size 2 hook). The other was my medium avid rigged with 20 lbs yellow PP braid (last 8' colored green with a sharpie),black tube, 3/16th oz EWG gamakatsu 4/0 jighead.

The water was lower than expected and very clear. There was a lot of leaves in eddies, and many floaters as well. Not as bad as last time. Sun was bright but that is usually a good thing in cold months. Helps to warm water and pack bass into places you can't see bottom.

I aimed to hit a few winter holes. Picked up 5 fish quick from dink-nearly 15" under a bridge with 5' of leader under the float, float didn't sink, it just moved different.

Moved up and fished a Sycamore rootwad with FnF. Nothing. Switched rods and threw the tube. The tube was slowly tapping along the bottom, when it suddenly felt like someone flicked the bait with a ruler. I flipped my wrist back from 45 to 90. The rod bent double and a large fish was tearing up the surface. I was able to swim him clear across the creek, keeping pressure on to land the bass. Measured just shy of 20". Thick as a tick.

Picked up another bass 13" off the sycamore on the tube. Then another dink off some riprap on Float and Fly.

Moved up to a couple of other holes. Mostly waisting time, two more 13-14" smallies and a 10" crappie on float and fly.

Headed back downstream, nailed a couple on a white grub, finally a 15.5" bass fell to a chatterbait. Of note, the smallies were getting pretty frisky, several times nailed my float as I bounced it.

I ended up with 15 SMB (19.75", 2-15", 3-4 14"'s) 1 crappie

5.5 hours with a good half hour of that waisted walking between holes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10/18 Smallmouth action

Clear, low, cold, sunny....spinnerbaits/chatterbaits?

Whatever works. Nothing big, 12 fish all but one 12-15.99". 6 were in the 20 minutes before dark.

10/17 Tube Toss- Dusk Spinnerbait Action

Found a black tube bite, if I made long casts to deeper holes. From 1:30-6:30 I hit 8/11 strikes. The largest was a 20" fish that was long and thin. Had been caught at least once before. Unfortunately, my batteries depleted when I went to photo the bass. So I missed out any photos of the two monsters to follow.

Lost another nice fish off a laydown that seemed in the 16-17" range. Walked the cornfields back and hit a confluence just before dark. Picked up one on a tube and missed another. Went with a white Spinnerbait and all hell broke loose. Hitting 8 more bass from 12-17.5 in like 15 minutes. It was awesome. The 17.5 was well over three pounds I'd guess. One of the fattest fish I have ever caught. Looked like a bluegill. When the night went black the bite stopped.

Didn't bring a winter jacket so toughed it out in the 40's temps and wind. Spinnerbait bite warmed me up just right.

17 SMB (20", 17.5, 3 15-15.5") All but one over 12" in 5.5 hours

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghetto 10/14/09

Met up with SJ after work on Wednesday. Got fishing by 5:30. Smokey Joe was late so I wet a line. On the second pass back upstream I threw a 1/4 white spinnerbait up into some trickling low head dam. A 14ish" fish hit the bait from the side but did not hook. On the next cast, I threw closer into the dam. Maybe 18" into the retrieve, my bait got hit by a rubber band.

Pulled the fish out thinking it was decent, but it stretched on to 18.5". Half the mouth was missing from a previous encounter with man.

Went to look for Smoke. We fished about an hour and had some maybe bites, but no fish in about an hour.

Will try again tomorrow, maybe some sun?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Favorite Movie Moments I- The Big Lebowski

I'm going to start posting some of my favorite movie moments to the blog. Maybe it'll take.

The Big Lebowski:

I first saw this film on video in the late nineties. I think I enjoyed it. It didn't register much with me. So much that the next time I saw it, I seriously wondered what was wrong with me the first time.

An all time quote classic. One of those films you enjoy more with each viewing. I love this movie.

Here's a little reminder if you haven't seen it in a while.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Phillies Advance to NLCS

Just finished watching game 4 of the NLDS between Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies. The last two games have been legendary. Back and forth, tension, great plays by both teams. The Phils finally vanquished a scrappy Rockies team tonight scoring 3 runs in the ninth with two outs. Phils second straight National Leaugue Championship series against the Dodgers.

Had to post this to release some tension. YES! Incredible games.

Now on to a quick drubbing of the Dodgers (I hope).

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I have a love/hate relationship with rain. It cleanses, washes away, and renews. It rained all day today in Indianapolis. We have had very little rain since June. A good soaking and cleansing now and then are just the ticket for changing river fishing patterns.

Low, clear water, ultra spooky fish. I've had enough.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hit a new stretch of a small creek that feeds out of a lake by about 12:30. It's filled with bass of spotted and smallmouth variety. Today they wanted the baby fluke. Bigger fish weren't present. Which helped confirm my suspicion I should be fishing closer to dark.

Water is really low and clear everywhere. I got 15 from dinky to 13" on baby fluke 3-4 hours. On the walk back, I swum a tube slowly upstream and missed a good bite. Tried again and was a little shocked to see a 17" Sauger (thanks Curtis) on the end of the line. First this year, I believe.

Left and hit the mother stream, hoping to hit some wood piles at dusk. Caught a 16" on a tube. Had a violent blowup pitching Sammy at a laydown. 3 Dinks.

Hit an 'S' curve with wood piles, worked a buzzbait from every angle just to get a tap. Went with the tube. After about the 6th or 7th cast to one particular laydown, I felt a tick. It was on. A quick, violent struggle and I had beached a thick, long smallmouth. It taped 19.5". Ended a long dryspell on bigger smallies.

Totals were 20 bass (19.5, 16) 1 Sauger and a chub 6-7 hours

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A note about this Blog

If you're going to have an obsession about stream smallmouth bass fishing, you might as well chronicle the adventures and misadventures, the successes and failures so you can think about it again later when the details have worn thin.

Almost as much as I enjoy the fishing is talking about it later. Strategize like a general about what worked, didn't work, and might work based on what happened that day. Many times out with Mike or Jim we've unlocked a key ingredient in one trip. Theory in discussion would later pan out in big fish or big numbers on other days. Testing our powers of observation, channeling into a hunter's cunning, presenting that perfect presentation.

There it is, reaching for perfection. Stream smallmouth fishing offers the opportunity to constantly improve one's knowledge, skill, and instinct. Though an angler will never be perfect, fishing offers us the opportunity to reach for perfection on so many levels.

One more perfect plan, one more perfect cast, one more perfect fish. Never going to make it. How fun to try!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Return to an old favorite 9/20

I hadn't fished my old favorite in a month and a half. The last couple of years of high water Springs and extra nutrients in the water have it fishing weird. The big fish are there, but smallies seem to be gone from a lot of places. Numbers are way down. 40-60 fish days have become 8-20 fish days.

When I say gone, until recently the water hasn't been clear enough to see much in the water. A sickening brown with floaty brown algae unlike anything I've seen this side of the 2009 White River.

Returning this Sunday, I was surprised to see the water a more normal color. The algae growth was what I would expect this time of year. I saw plenty of fish. Suckers, Quillbacks of size and everywhere. Didn't see many Smallmouth Bass, but that doesn't mean they weren't wedged under rocks.

We were expecting rain. It never happened. Grossly disappointed. I wanted a prestorm feeding binge to lift my spirits over rough time at work.

Started off well enough. I nailed 4/5 fish on one of my homemade buzzbaits in the first 15 minutes. This was the nicest bass, a bit over 17".

The next hour saw no action in places there always is. I caught a 15" on Wakecrank splashdown. In the next 5.5 hours, I caught 2 smallmouth and a Goog.

Unhappy about the results, I waded downstream and fished a deep pool with multiple laydowns. I pulled the buzzbait across the front rootwad of one laydown. Just as the dual prop bait was about to climb over the next log a enormous smallmouth launched deep out of the rootwad at it, flipped in the air, landing on the second laydown and then the water. Complete. Whiff.

It's always hard to guess how big a jumping fish is. From 50' away it looked like a legit 4-5 lbs smallmouth. Very thick. Tried the whole bag of tricks to get a second strike. Tube, fluke; cast after cast hoping to piss the moster off. I waded downstream then came back to try again. Nothing.

Very promising area. Easy to walk to. Several linked pools with lots of wood that are probably hard for novices to fish efficiently. Pretty safe against sustenance fishermen as well.

Wish I would have hit another small one.

7 SMB (17"+, 15) 1 goog in 7.5 hours

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I been hitting small, clear streams, hoping to find some stupid fish. Tired of the silly patterns some of the others are on. September has been mostly micro flows. It's been fun.

Tried a new stream. Hardly any water in it. Water clear. Bedrock bottom and limestone cliffs. Bedrock kept it from having many deep holes. They were few and far between. Creek was filled with huge bait fish of all types most were in the 4-6" range.

When I did find a hole the bass were easy to catch provided I was silent and made long casts. Since there wasn't any current and the trees are losing some leaves it was hard to work many baits. All fish came out of the deepest holes. Nothing in shallow runs all day.

Everything came on the Wake Crank. I couldn't get bit on anything else. Most were absolute chunks. It was obvious these fish were well fed. The thickest on average I've seen in an Indiana creek.

I was having back stiffness, I stopped after 4 hours, followed an old abandoned railway back to the car. Ready for the storms tomorrow and some big creek big fish.

10 Bass-9 SMB (16.25", 15, 3 14-14.75") 1 KY Spot, 1 Chub

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smallmouth Fishing Effort by Month 7/2007-9/2009

I started keeping track of my stream fishing efforts in late 2006. Finally, by June of 2007 I had a system of things I felt were important to count. Unfortunately, that doesn't include my hours fished totals for the first half of 2007, so I have to throw that data out for anything other than fond memories.

Think it will be interesting what the data will show over the next couple years. The purpose of this chart is to show patterns in catch effort of smallmouth bass by size and number at different times of the year.

Anglers are fond of throwing anecdotal comments out there about one thing or another. There are simply so many mysteries to stream bass fishing, the only way to get any real answer is to fish a lot and keep accurate data. Tourney largemouth fishing is where most research study $$$ go. Most of my questions go unanswered.

I try to let the charts speak for themselves. The trends are interesting. With more data, I may have something useful.

I wouldn't say the results above are typical in Indiana. A lot of hours were spent on the water, observing, and listening.

I also keep track of each stream's fish stats, but you don't get that data my friends!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Report Log Jam September 5,6,7,12

---------------------------------------------------------------------Been getting in this habit of getting up earlier on the weekend than I do to go to work. Of course, this involves stream bassing. Get out fish early, return to base. So in a strange way, going to work, I can rest. Looking forward to the work week? That is new.

Fishing this weekend had some hot action, but topwater bite was still spotty to non- existent.

Got started Saturday the 5th, AM at daybreak. Fish were slapping hard at buzzbaits and missing entirely. 1 out of 8 with a lost 14"er. Went to the Splashtail 90 for a similar effect with better hook up ratio. Got bit less. They wanted loud and clackity. Finally hit a good deep bend and pulled 3 nice fish including this 18"er that destroyed the 1/8 oz buzzbait.

Had a huge blowup on Sammy 100 and competition strikes that resulted in a 12"er. Sun came out and the topwater ended. All tubes from there on. Caught a chunky 16.5 and a bunch of Googs. Bite died midday, so I went home after 5.5 hours with
20 SMB (18, 16.5)
Saturday the 6th, my wife had to work, I headed out to a different section of the same stream. Worked a long, deep pool with the usual tube, fluke, grub, Sammy, Wake crank combos. Finally got bit at the top on a grub, then lost her. Found my way to a 'Y' junction and pulled 3 dinks on a tube. I realized I had picked the wrong section for a tube bite. Too many wide deep pools and not enough targets for the tube.

I left as the rain came in. Plan B was a small river I fished 25 miles of back in 2007, with pretty good results. I arrived to cool and very clear water, Visibility to 4'. There were actually a few holes that might have been that deep.

Baby fluke bite was on. I tried with the texposed rig, but they just wouldn't hook up on the G-lock. Went to the nose hook and started slaying. Lots of dinks, but some very nice chunk 14"'ers here and there. Anything with a little depth held fish. The bass were everywhere. Sycamores produced 4 or 5 fish. The rain poured, I got soaked, and slew, and laughed. I got some bigger fish hopping a tube, with 3 16"'s being the largest. The constant action was the joy. Resolve to catch fish after fish kept me going despite cold pouring rain. Rip it to get their attention, let the fluke sink to get bit.

Here was a very brown 14" smallie that was too cool so I had to snap a pic of him:

I fished maybe 6 hours and got 42 SMB (3-16") 9 Googs and 2 Creek Chubs.
On Sunday the 7th, I had to fulfill the guided trip I donated to the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance. My guest Stan was a fly fisherman/spice salesman from Chicagoland. As it turns out, I left way too early, got a speeding ticket, caught 5 dinks on the baby fluke out of Big Pine, talked to landowner for an hour about butchering cows and hogs and other such talk waiting for Stan at 10am. Stan had gotten lost and we had our time zone mishap. When we finally got on the stream, it was bathwater clear. I let Stan take most of the first shots at all the holes. He needed to get close; clear water with sun did not add up to many caught fish. Baby fluke action was on again as I landed 5 on it of decent size to dink out of the first good hole.

Stan landed his first fish. We caught one here or there flossing boulders, when a train of ATV's and jeeps that had muddied up our water came into view. The best part of the wade was foiled . They looked pretty nervous about what they had done. Been seeing a lot of tracks on the creek beds lately across the state.

We got above and actually caught some fish 15 minutes upstream of the mud flow. Stan caught a nice 15 on the fly and a goog. I caught a couple dinks. We hit a pool where fish swam the circuit. I could basically keep casting to the same spot, catch a fish, cast back to a new fish in its place- all 12-15". Above the riffle Stan lost a headshaking "fish of the day".

As we moved away from the path of the ATV's the fishing got better as the sun went away. What did we expect on Labor Day?

I got a 16.5" then this 17" (put on a show). Fishing was easy. Not sure Stan was stripping his streamer/wooly bugger fast enough to get bit. The quick erratic rip seemed to turn fish aggressive.

I think I had around 23 Bass 21SMB (17, 16.5, 15) 1 KY Bass, 1 LMB, and a Google eye. Hardly fished in about 6 hours. Good time!
Saturday the 12th, Mike and I fished three new small streams looking for lots of action.

At the first, I waded downstream, while he got ready at the truck. I hit this 17"+ smb dragging a tube upstream, then a 15" on the next cast. The stream was pretty small and pretty dry, but shows a lot of promise. I spotted a 30"+ flathead on the prowl in the same small pool. Mike caught a nice 14", but there was simply too little room to maneuver and be stealthy with two people. After an hour or two we headed out.

We stopped at Deer Creek by Greencastle, as from the bridge we saw visible riffles. At first, it looked very promising. Certainly the cliff walls were beautiful. Mike nailed another smallie on a tube in the one deep pool we found. As we walked upstream it was apparent this creek once had great habitat. It was now filled in by sod and silt form nearby farms. Simply disgusting. Hardly any flow to it. We walked far looking for another hole but it was all flat without any depth and filled with silt meters deep.

We scouted another small stream that proved interesting indeed. Again we had to walk way too far for fish, but when we did get to some holes, they were filled with smallies and some spotted bass as well. All the action was hopping or dragging tubes, although I did nail the largest fish on a Splashtail propbait on the power walk back to the car. Fished about a total of 5 hours with lots of driving and lots of walking. Some good basis for future trips with the first and last streams.

BT 22 (17.25, 16.75)
MC 12 (15.75)