Friday, January 30, 2009

Big Fish of the Internet

Poking around the internets recently. Found some interesting pictures. I love incredibly big fish. Really, I love incredibly big native species that I might actually have a shot at. (Sorry Pirhanas and Mekong Catfish)

So a new series called "Big Fish of the Internet" is born. I'll take your submissions. It's got to be a crazy huge fish like these and a common species to North America fresh water.

These really make your jaw drop. My first thought at each was, "WTF?"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Paulaner Salvator DoppelBock

I am buzzed off some 7.9% Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock. Brewed in Munich, Germany. It is one smooth Doppelbock. Almost a light dopplebock. It is a good beer to have with friends when you want to get stupid with a smooth drinking beer. Deceptive. Nothing negative about the taste, but it also doesn't take any risks. The usual carmel maltiness that doppelbocks are famous for without the thickn sugaryness or any bitter flavors. Nice. I like it a lot, but not for the same reason Schneider Aventinus is a masterpiece.

Definately go get some if you like Doppelbocks

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Buzzbait Modifications

Round nose pliers make this any easy modification to the following buzzbaits:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Favorite brewery: Weihenstephaner

Observant readers will have noticed the links to two German beer breweries on the sidebar. It's no secret, Weihenstephaner is my favorite.

The Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan. Nearly one thousand years ago it was the monastery brewery of the Benedictine monks, then the Royal Bavarian State Brewery. Today, as a regulated enterprise of the Freestate of Bavaria, it is a company run according to the precepts of private business. As the oldest existing brewery in the world, our brewery occupies an exalted site atop Weihenstephan Hill in the Bavarian city of Freising, surrounded by the comparatively still very young Weihenstephan science centre of the Technical University of Munich. Yet it is precisely this unique combination of tradition and custom, proven knowledge, and modern science, which gives the brewery its incomparable identity and permits it to brew beers of the highest quality. And, of course, we're more than a little proud of that.

The brewery claims to have been started in 1040. Tasting the fine beers now made by the state of Bavaria, I can see why. Here's Freising's location on the map.

View Larger Map

My first sampling was the Hefe Weissbier. My favorite. Go. Run. Speed. Buy some. So good. Give this beer to a beer hater and you'll have an instant convert. The beer is like eating cold sunlight. Amazing. Widely available in the US for 2.20-3.50$ a 17ounce tall bottle.

One point, Hefe Weissen's should be poured in a special way:

1. Take a Weissbier glass and a bottle of Weihenstephan.
2. Rinse Weissbier glass with clear water, do not dry.
3. Open Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.
4. Hold wet glass at an angle, almost horizontal, and pour.
5. When the opening of the bottle dips into the beer, slowly tilt the bottle up until it is vertical.
6. Keep a little beer in the bottle; use a circular motion to rinse the yeast from the bottom of the bottle and pour.
7. Prost!

And don't stop there. There is a dark Hefe, the Vitus, Korbinian etc... all awesome in their own way.

Schneider Aventinus Doppelbock- Simply Fabulous

Here's what I am drinking a lot of lately:

Aventinus wheat doppelbock. Bavaria from its strongest side.
Dark-ruby, almost black-colored and streaked with fine top-fermenting yeast, this beer has a compact and persistent head. This is a very intense wheat doppelbock with a complex spicy chocolate-like arome with a hint of banana and raisins. On the palate, you experience a soft touch and on the tongue it is very rich and complex, though fresh with a hint of caramel. It finishes in a rich soft and lightly bitter impression.

Dark-ruby colored, wheat doppelbock
Complex spicy chocolate arome
Pure top-fermenting yeast
Original bottle fermentation
Created in 1907
Creator: Mathilde Schneider
Wheat doppelbock 8.2 % vol. alc.
Original gravity 18.5%

This stuff is potent and GOOD. Oh so Good. Surprisingly widely available in the US.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Buzzbaits Builds

The rivers in Indiana are frozen over or freezing up. I've turned my time to INSA activities, tying float and fly jigs, and making some buzzbaits.

I am making about 100 Buzzbaits this year for various projects and fishing of course.

The first prototype is a 1/4 oz 'Wolkabuzz' style bait. I made the bait on thicker, .045 frames which should make for more durability and less double handling. The blades are further away from the jig head. Theory there is fish will see the bait and hit the hook more often. I have some anecdotal evidence on this theory here: Post Spawn Buzzbait Madness

Trying some 3/8ths oz buzzbaits in the never ending quest to cast a country mile with a buzzbait. I had success with single spins in 2008 when a quieter approach was needed. These excelled around dark for me. Made some with and without clacker.

This one hasn't been tested yet. I don't know if it will run true. The bait has a lot going on. 3/8ths oz counter rotating with a clacker.

Still looking for skirts in the style of the white bait. Some white, some black, all I need colorwise. Sparse, good profile, doesn't hang in the blades. With the thousands of casts I make a year with buzzbaits, the less double touching and rerigging the better.

A problem is created by the way I like to use a snap on all my lures for quick change ability: Stream Smallmouth Fishing is Snap! The open r-bend causes the snap to slide down and tangle. Solved in the past by closing off the r-bend. Going to try surgical tubing over the r-bend in the future.

One last surprise, the hooks are 1/0 or 2/0 Owner Ultra Point. Will prick you if you look at them wrong. Look out bass in 2009!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Texposing Tubes for Smallmouth Bass

Texposing a tube. Nearly snagless. Skips great. They catch fish. This particular jig is a 3/16th oz 3/0 Gamakastsu EWG with a 4" tube. Wicked sharp, stiff hook. I've moved mainly to 4/0 since taking these pics (wider gap). The EWG gives the plastic room to get out of the way on hook set. I like to wiggle the hole at the rear of the tube a little larger to help the bait slide down the gap when bit.

I like to kirb the hook out slightly to increase hook ups. Tubes can sometimes be problematic on hooksets so manipulating for easier hookups helps- This technique hangs the bait up more, bending the hook back and forth three or four times will allow heavier line users to pull it free from snags most of the time. The hook bends enough to free the jig.

I prefer a slightly longer bodied tube. Rig that sucker straight so it doesn't twirl on retrieve. Hop, hop, long pause can be deadly.

Another solution for bunching plastic is to hook through the side of the tube. Less plastic to penetrate. Causes tube to twirl at medium retrieve.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Name Change: Smallmouth in Your Soup

Time to change the name of the blog to something less silly. Smallmouth in Your Soup is a natural considering the focus of content.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What's with the Carp? 1/4/09

Went again today. I targeted long deep pools with high banks near where I landed a nearly 22" Smallie this summer. I was typically pitching down from 5' up. Lots of walking and it didn't pay off as well as I thought.

I did learn carp will take Float and Fly if the jig is on the bottom. This guy came off a log up against the bank in the eddy pictured. Float didn't dunk. I went to pull the lure out to recast and SURPRISE. Not easy to land a 2' long carp from 5' of a steep muddy bank with sheer drops. Got him tired and gill plated him off some protruding roots I climbed down. 2nd carp in two days.

As for Smallmouth, I got 3 all in different places. Two were nice 15-15.5" bass.

Went home early today. 4 days of winter smallmouth action is enough for now. Cabin fever licked.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

1/3/09 Winter Wade Bonus Carp+ lots of swings and misses

3rd day of Winter fishing in a row. Scouted some high water for new winter areas. First cast out into the fast water the float sunk. I battled a 23" carp to hand. Good sign when you hit a fish like that out in an unexpected spot. I knew the bass would be feeding.

I eventually found a 15" bass after an hour of fly hopping. Crossed the creek and hit some eddies made by a slight bend and creek rushing in. The creek was running crystal clear. I hang dropped down the high bank onto the clay below and quickly had two fish 13-15". This is what it looked like, the creek is coming in upstream behind me. The pic is looking downstream at the eddies and clearer water 18" vis. The discolored green area is where I found the bass.

I found another bend that is usually shallow in summer, I caught three more fish 14-15". Missed another 6-7. Was setting the hook too hard and the head shake was pulling it free. Too much caffeine! Adjusted late. I saw most of the fish I yanked. Several 16-17! A slight lift is enough. Connected on the last three. What could have been.

Waded further downstream, threw into fast current where I knew a boulder would be. Float dunked and I landed this fish nearly 17". Strange to pull 3 fish out of current like that but this stretch of stream has lots of large boulders.

Lots of fun finding new holding areas based on summer fishing. Where tomorrow?

7 SMB (17, 3 15) 1 carp 1 sucker

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Float and Fly Approach

I hit a second stream far west of the river I was on yesterday. Unlike river A, creek B was flowing about 2.5 times as much water. River A's visibility was a nice 18" of green white icy water. Creek B water clarity was about 6" and still brownish.

So naturally, the fishing was a bit tougher. It turned out just as rewarding.

It really helps to monitor the USGS flow gauges for all the streams you fish. Educating yourself on the effects of precipitation, thaws, and ground freezes. This will help picking the right spots to fish year round. Watch those gauges like a hawk all year. Get out and see what the water clarity is like under different conditions.

Often the best time to fish in the winter is after a snow, thaw, then quick freeze. The cold temps will cut off the water supply and clear up the water much quicker than if the air stayed warm and mud poured in from the feeders. It will still be high but not flood stages. Pick the stream that matches the ideal conditions. You can use your angler knowledge of where the highest concentration of bass are on your rivers and find the wintering holes holding fish. Doing your homework when you are wading or floating in the summer. You know the spots you always catch fish! Ask yourself: How the bass survive floods in icy cold water? Where do they go when it's cold? Where would the bass go if the river rises 3'? 6'?

One of the things I enjoy most about winter smallmouth fishing is locating fish. A very rewarding 'Aha' moment. This is where an good memory, attention to detail, or a notepad are needed. You are looking for a hole with a bend or obstruction that will divert current without causing the eddy to maelstrom and force bass to spend too much energy. It has to be deep enough the bass can be unseen to predators. Cover and food are important so they have to be able to survive there too. Often the triangle at the tip of the eddy is shelter for baitfish in high water. A good wintering hole is also good spawning grounds- no wonder there are so many bass around there!

Mike was late so I fished a high bank 5' above the slack water caused by a slight bend in the creek. Took a while, but the float finally sunk, a nice smallie struggled for a bit. I heaved him up the bank and took this shot:

Yep, that's either my war face or unsettling constipation.

A half hour later I decided to SLOWLY drag a heavy black tube though the slack. The slow water area was large, this was my method of searching for bites. 1) The tube would bump bottom helping Mr.Bass's lateral line locate it. 2) The bait would stay on bottom in Mr.Bass's face. Maybe ten cast in (10 minutes) I was dragging the tube like an inch worm along the banks roots when it felt like someone flicked their finger into the Berkley Sensation I've been using. Unmistakable. Swing. Rod loads up. Big fish runs for shore roots, surfaces, crud, I am up 5', roots and thorns everywhere. All in one motion I lift Mr.Bass like a tuna on a commercial fishing ship. Now one thing about fishing high banks in winter the bass like to head shake. A lot.

The slim bass went 18.25", had been caught before, missing a piece of upper lip. Second day in a row I caught an 18" fish missing a chunk of lip 100 miles apart. At least people are releasing nice fish to fight another day.

Mike caught up with me and we hit some other pools, we caught another 3 fish from 12-15".

5 hours
BT 4 SMB (18.25,16.5",15")

The actual fishing part of Float and Fly is adjusting the float for depth, messing with the cadence of the bobbing floating and reading the speed of the eddy current. With experience one can cut to the chase on all of the above.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Great Start to 2009!

Mike C and I got out for some January 1st Smallmouth action. Mike took his sweet time, so we ended up late to the stream around 1:45pm. The sun was out, the water was green and the bite was on, even if it took a bit of probing with FnF to find where the bass were in the first eddie. Perfect conditions. With the water up, I hoped bigger fish would be closer to the slackwater 'triangles' that seem to hold baitfish in cold high water.

After a few moments I hit a 13", then a 15", then this nice 18" all about 10' from shore in the slowest water hit by sun in the eddy.

We moved to another spot, a deep rectangle pool current barging down one side, the triangular eddy was formed to the other side. Over the first few minutes a 13", 15.75", then this 17.25"er that actually went airborne and went on a couple of wicked rod bending runs.

Mike was having trouble with line freezing. He finally broke through with a 14"er that hit when neither of us were looking. I nailed a slab rock bass and a dink SMB before we went looking for another couple of pools that mostly wasted precious time. Returned to the first pool, Mike got another bass 14-15". We were followed by a friendly country boxer and headed back to the second pool where I landed another dink.

BT 8 SMB (18, 17.25, 15.75", 15) 1 8-9" Goog.
MC 2 SMB 14-15"

Tomorrow looks even better.